Pete and I made our way through Detroit Metro Airport at 5 am December 20, 2014. Our stepdad, Ken, graciously volunteered to play the role of taxi, “Bye guys, get yourselves better!” He said, seeing us off after we got our boarding passes. “Ken no, you’re supposed to say: see ya junkies!,” my brother quipped.
Airport security has always been a point of contention for me. Racial profiling is real and I’ve become accustomed to TSA agents hassling me more than your average bear living in a post 9/11 world. Forty-eight hours ago I was glued to a hospital bed in Saginaw, MI on suicide watch. My graceful plunge into the toilet bowl busted the blood vessels in my left eye, I was enduring the lingering effects of severe pneumonia, and a collapsed lung. Furthermore, I’m sleep deprived having spent the previous evening satisfying my carnal desires with my soon to be ex wife in what would prove to be the singular instance I would get to enjoy the lovely new rack I’d purchased for her just one month earlier. Needless to say, I was in rough shape, so this hassling felt justifiable.
This illustrates a shining example to one of the many reasons I view addiction as a disease. It’s because the disease really is not about drugs. A normal human being does not have sex four times 48 hours removed from a hospital bed on one functioning longue with muscular dystrophy of the legs, but, by George an addict does. Drugs are a symptom, or byproduct of a deeper, more complicated, brain disorder.
We arrived in sunny Florida around noon. The rehab facility had two separate inpatient facilities which meant my bro and I were immediately separated. Upon arrival into a rehab facility the first step upon arrival is going through an intake exam. This is standard operating procedure: your belongings are examined for paraphernalia, you provide answers regarding your overall health, a drug test is administered, and you get strip searched. When I first reached the Watershed Boynton Beach location there was a fellow junkie in line, Charlie Bakker, as I made my way to the aforementioned examination room. I sat down quietly in the chair next to his. “Sup?” we said to one another, sharing a quick headnod.
A smallish man in his early 30s with sandy blonde hair, quick wit, and tramp stamp. Charlie, a semi pro golfer, and his fiance Bree, a physical therapist, had driven all the way from Texas to Boynton Beach consuming copious amounts of booze and cocaine, along with an assortment of other narcotics, along the way. The couple hit a snag upon arrival at the Watershed two days earlier, having been given the false pretense they would be staying in the same facility in Boca Raton. Bree ended up staying on the Boca campus, while Charlie did what any good addict would do; he said “fuck it,” and spent the next forty-eight hours getting blitzed out of his mind. At some point in the extended drug fueled haze his vehicle was impounded along with all of the belongings he intended to bring into the facility. The absence of his luggage, coupled with the withdrawal he was assuredly experiencing, had my new friend looking just as hopeless as this sleep deprived, busted eye, weezing version of myself. In other words, he looked like an addict.