It was late on a Thursday in May 2005… I was headed out to see a band in Chicago. I needed to drive over seven hundred miles to clear my head – that’s what I told myself. It was a 1,400-mile round trip so I brought about two hundred dollars worth of cocaine with me. So in retrospect, the whole “I gotta clear my head” thing was bullshit.
I was remarkably good at telling lies that even I started to believe my own untruths. Go figure.
So let me back up for a moment. There was this thing called MySpace back in the day and it was like Facebook but more personalized. So, I got to talking to this guy on there about music and he told me about this band and I had to see them because they were so good.
Where do you live? I typed as I popped some pills and washed them down with coffee.
I’m in Indiana; not too far, he typed back.
It’s not exactly local. That’s over 700 miles from here!
Come on, you’ll never get to see these guys. This is the closest they’ll ever be to you.
I thought they were from Chicago?? I questioned. Was this guy a serial killer trying to trick me?
Yeah, but they’re playing Detroit.
After considerable investigation, I justified that Detroit was closer than Chicago or Indiana (where my new friend lived) and well, hey, I could sure use a vacation from my self-inflicted drama. Right? Plus, if the guy was a serial killer, I factored in my height and the fact that I can go “crazy bitch” face in two seconds. He won’t want to mess with me after that.
So, off I went on a dreamy car ride at the end of May, missing my eldest daughter’s fifteenth birthday while I drove west on the highway – stopping at every single rest stop on the way, which would cost me two hours total.
In hindsight, what I should have done was woman the fuck up and stay local for my kids. But no, I was too busy feeling sorry for myself because I relapsed in February, lost my home two weeks later and then to ice the bitter cupcake of self-pity, my boyfriend committed suicide in late March which devastated me.
Instead of staying and dealing, I guess I figured bailing on everyone that mattered to me was the thoughtful thing to do. Right? Self-righteousness and insolence were the train cars of the year back then.
2005 was the year before I got sober and after going through the index cards and flashbacks in my mind, I can say it was certainly one of the worst years of my life. Instead of sticking around the homestead, I bailed and traveled halfway across the country to hang with people I never met and find out how their local lives went from day to day.
Ironically, the guy who I befriended was in recovery (which I guess was some sort of sign from above – but I didn’t give two shits) and while I couldn’t grasp his whole clean living phase, I was still mindful to keep my drugs in the car and away from him.
Gosh, I was so thoughtful.
Everywhere I went people pointed out to me that I was not a local… and I wasn’t sure how they knew but it started making me uncomfortable. Like, so what I wasn’t a local? How do you know this? I found out later it was because A) I talked different than the Midwesterners did and oh yeah, B) I had a Pennsylvania license plate on a green ’98 Dodge Intrepid with heavy metal band stickers all over the ass end.
I try to stay pretty local these days… the furthest I have been from home since I got sober is Pittsburgh for a tattoo convention my husband worked. I’m sure at some point I will venture further out, but staying local has its perks.