There were seventeen cats living in Louie’s basement. Louie wasn’t sure how it got so out of control, but he knew he had a problem when incessant meowing had become the background music for dinner. Louie really thought he was doing the right thing, but it seemed at some point in the last nine months he became a compulsive cat hoarder.
It all started when Pawsie and Meowlofur were left after his sister Shelia’s death. She had asked Louie – while infested with tubes on her death bed – to take her precious felines. Louie had begged her in the hollow hospital room to let someone else have the pleasure, but Sheila was adamant.
“Take the precious ones, Louis. Take them and protect all of-” Sheila’s last words.
“All of what, Sheila? All of the cats?” Louie asked.
Sheila’s head drooped forward.
“Alright, I’ll do my best, sis,” Louis sighed. That was his last memory of his sister.
Fluffington, a black and white tabby, came next while Louie was taking the recycling out the back of the office building he maintained as a janitor. Fluffington, who was nameless at the time, cried under the dumpster while staring at Louie. Louie stomped his feet. The cat meowed. Louie charged the cat. The cat flipped over and rolled in the dirt all the while purring. Louie dropped to his knees and scooped the long-haired cat up.
Caring for the cats became increasingly difficult after he adopted Cat 9, but Louie was a sucker for a furry face and every cat he saw outside without a collar he took back to his little house and put in his basement.
Litter had become so expensive that he decided it was best to just dig a ditch in the basement floor. The ditch was four feet long by two feet wide and roughly a foot deep. Realizing that he dug the ditch for economical purposes, he pondered how expensive filling it with litter would be.
There was a schoolyard down the street with a big sandbox, Louie remembered. Each day he would stroll by careful not to alarm anyone about an older man skulking the play yard. He couldn’t let anyone think he was a weirdo!
After realizing that his pockets were not adequate to transport his free kitty litter, Louie had cut off of the top of a gallon milk container to get sand. He would go to the sandbox at the playground, careful to make sure he was alone. He’d look around, and he’d chop his arm down in one big swoosh like a pendulum and fill the container with sand. He didn’t even miss the days that it rained. Those were the days he was sure to bake the sand and remove any unmentionables along with the dampness.
“Sometimes shit is going to go wrong in your life. Sometimes, you’ll feel like everyone is stabbing in you in the back and you can’t catch a break. These are the moments to take a step back. Step back and ask yourself if you are trying to make something work that wasn’t meant to work for you… Sometimes things don’t work out because that path you’re on is just that: a path… that path is filled with ‘Stepping Stones.’ Some of those stepping stones are big, some small, some slippery, some beautiful, some painful. Those stepping stones are part of your life journey… and when you navigate those big slippery stones that are painful… that’s the universe telling you that you’re growing and it’s time to take the next turn.”
I haven’t used drugs or drank alcohol in over seven years so I can’t say personally how Molly affects its users. However, after reading the description and watching the video, it seems Molly is a version of the drug Ecstasy (E as it was commonly called).
Molly is usually ingested orally or snorted and it gets the ‘happy feeling’ going for about three hours. And hey, don’t we all want to feel good (euphoric) for a few hours?
Here is the bad news… when it wears off, it leaves the user feeling highly depressed for hours, sometimes days. It depletes Serotonin levels which need significant amounts of time to replenish.
Ok, so this isn’t a post about alcoholism or addiction in the sense of drugs and booze, but this is a post related to the addiction with body image of which most of us are probably unaware. I watched a video of images a young girl (or any female for that matter) are subjected to in the course of a day. The video was time warped into about a minute, but I got the idea. Apparently, if a woman isn’t either a size zero walking on a runway or built like Marilyn Monroe from yesteryear she really isn’t a woman at all.
The most disturbing part of all this is when I read the comments on articles or Facebook posts, it is women attacking other women! WTF Ladies! Get your heads out of your fat, skinny or otherwise perfect asses and wake the hell up!
The media is destroying us with commercials, unhealthy diets and ridiculous clothing. When that doesn’t work we resort to plastic surgery. There are so many items for women to make themselves “look perfect.”
bras that make boobs look bigger
panties that make butts look bigger
girdles and cinches that make waists look smaller
Those are just a handful of items.
I have small boobs. I HATE my boobs. But the thought of actually having objects inserted into my breasts to make them appear bigger so I can feel like “I fit in” is disturbing on a myriad of levels. I have actually entertained the thought a number of times because even watching the news in the morning can fuck up my whole day.
Then I turn the news off and drive to work. When I get to work, I walk by the magazine rack: more images of air-brushed, photo-shopped women with heaving bosoms and blinding, perfect smiles.
Then I am at my desk. I have to go online to do some research for my job. Commence pop-up ads of “have a flat stomach in ten days” and “diet without exercise” and women with “curvy shapes.”
And my email homepage? Fuggedaboutit. I was on there today and the top news articles were about actresses and other famous (or moderately famous) women ‘baring bikini bods’ or ‘rocking their curves’ or ‘so and so wows in skimpy dress.’
So this is what I, a 40 year old woman, go through on a daily basis. I cannot fathom what young women and girls go through today; what my daughters go through today. It’s disturbing to know that women cannot ‘just be.’ We can’t just be beautiful because we are who we are. We (me included) point out the flaws when someone compliments us: Thanks, but…
Or we point out the flaws in other women because their beauty makes us uncomfortable and we ‘don’t measure up.’
When did the media decide body shaming is a great idea and when did we, as the human race, buy into their crap?
I don’t know and quite frankly, I don’t think anyone knows.
Hi Ted, thanks for agreeing to do an interview with me. First off, I want to congratulate you on your clean time. It is a rough road I know personally, but very rewarding. It is people like you that inspire addicts and alcoholics in recovery to keep that glimmer of hope alive, no matter how dark it may get.
1. I read your press release and you said, “After I got clean, I thought ‘What am I going to do with my life?” I can relate to trying to transition into a life without drugs and alcohol. Was it difficult for you to find something to do immediately?
I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to be creative without drugs or alcohol and I’d almost made the
decision not to play music anymore! My thinking was that my creativity was too closely linked to my
drug use. Fortunately, the Universe had a different plan and opportunities in music presented
themselves more abundantly than they ever had before! 2. What brought you to the United States from New Zealand?
I moved to the United States when I had around 18 months clean as guitarist, co-writer and
backing vocalist with popular NZ artist Greg Johnson. I had started playing in his band and he
asked me to accompany him for some showcases for Record Companies. He ended up getting
signed, and we moved to L.A. to make an album..
3. What was your darkest moment while out there (using)? Was that enough to get you to wake up and realize you could die?
I had a few brushes with death while I was out there. I think one of my darkest moments was getting
the news that my friend and fellow musician Matt had died from this disease. I was devastated and
although I had OD’d several times myself, it still took me over a year more to go back into detox and
try treatment again. He was so talented and it was such a waste, but I knew it could be me or any
one of those ‘smart, talented’ addicts I was using with.
4. What has been the most amazing part of your journey through sobriety so far?
There have been so many wonderful moments. I feel like all the great things that have happened in
my life have been since I got sober- getting married, traveling the world playing music, seeing all the
art I’d only ever seen in books, making albums.. Using provided me with a very limited view of the
world but recovery has expanded that view by putting me back in contact with human beings! Every
day can be an adventure if I can keep an open mind and remember to be grateful.
5. Now that you are clean and sober, do you look at people differently? Like, do you have more tolerance?
I really had to learn how to deal with people again because I was just so used to being loaded all the
time and that had been my point of reference for so long! I think I’m more tolerant these days simply
because I feel more a ‘part of’, but it’s still a challenge (especially on the freeway!) 6. I actually love driving on little country roads, it helps me reconnect with my Higher Power and regroup when life keeps being life. How do you relax these days?
I meditate, I read (for entertainment as well as for inspiration). I have 2 cats and a dog and I find
them to be a great source of relaxation! ( I never had pets growing up so it’s still a novelty for me). As
I said, I love art so going to museums and galleries is something I love to do.
7. Tell me about the song, “Bringing my Past Back (But Not To Haunt Me).
This is really a song about the ‘steps’ and the work that’s asked of me if I really want to get the most
that recovery has to offer. Sometimes that work is tough- messy and painful but if I’m prepared to do
it (and I never have to do it alone) I’ve discovered that the benefits are incredible. The trick is, that I
have to keep doing it if I want to experience growth.. 8. Did you ever think that you’d be living the dream today? Getting to do what you love?
I don’t know what I thought when I was in active addiction! Mostly “getting, using and finding ways to
get more”. I always thought that I had the wrong life, that it, “wasn’t supposed to be like this”…my
fear was that I would die from my using. Every day surprises me!
9. Do you have any words of advice or wisdom for addicts and alcoholics still struggling with addiction?
Anyone can get clean, lose the obsession and find a new way of life. But you need to have had
enough and of course that ‘rock bottom’ is different for everyone. One thing I know is that we can’t
do it alone, I tried many, many times. The disease of addiction is cunning, it will give you many
reasons why you’re different, why recovery won’t work for you, but it’s working for millions of people
all around the world every day! It’s important to just jump in feet first! It’s scary, but so is using..
10.I did not get to hear the song, “Looking for Home Down Hallways.” But it immediately gave me a chill as I thought back to the days when I was so alone and just wanted to be loved. Can you elaborate on this song?
This song is about looking for salvation. From a person, a drink, a drug, money, a location.. Anything
outside myself that I think might be the thing that’s finally going to make everything ‘O.K.’ The pursuit
of that ‘fix’ is what nearly killed me and it can manifest in recovery as well, even without the drugs
11.When it came time to make amends to people, were you excited to get it out or nervous to reach out to people you had wronged?
When I was new, the first step I noticed on the wall was #9 and I thought, “Oh no, I’m never going to
be able to do that!”. Fortunately the steps are in order so I didn’t have to make amends until I got to
that step. I did however try to make some amends before I got there and without my Sponsors
blessing- needless to say it didn’t go so well. The steps are a gentle slope, so even when I’m
apprehensive I’ve been able to move forward..
12.What is in the future for you and your music?
We just completed a beautiful clip for the song “Love Is..” which is due to drop on
10/15. I’m working on songs for another album as well as promoting “An Unwide
Road” The future looks musical!
I started drinking at an early age. It became a way for me to stomach myself each time I looked in the mirror or engaged with other humans. I never thought it would come full circle and the thing that gave me ‘people power’ would take that power away along with any perceived power over every other person, place or thing in my life.
Getting clean and sober was not an easy task for me by any stretch of the imagination (is it easy for any of us?). I made a decision to go cold turkey. I locked myself in my basement apartment for roughly a week only going outside to walk down to the Walgreen’s to get cigarettes (I also drank gallons of water). I was dizzy, sweating, cold, hot, felt nauseous, had wicked stomach knots and the shakes just to name a few symptoms of opiate withdrawal. I became a skeletal recluse for those seven or so days and it was the best thing I ever did for myself.
Now, I’m not saying going ‘cold turkey’ is the best way – and I didn’t go cold turkey – but for some, it isthe best way. I weaned myself until there was nothing left but me, my coffee cup and lots of cigarette butts. I pretty much glued my ass to this chair in said basement and just eked it out. It was fucking hell, lemme tell ya. I mean, at the height of my addiction, I was consuming about 1000 mg of Percocet a day along with one or two Fentanyl pops and not to mention all the 80 mg Oxy’s I was crushing and snorting. Yeah, I probably should have been dead a few times.
I read so many horror stories about people who use methadone or Suboxone to wean off opiates. It makes no sense to me as an addict. Seriously. Why would I want to stop using one drug only to become addicted to another? It made zero sense to me. I did go to an outpatient center, they asked me how long I was off pills and I told them. Now, I was off for about a week or so when I called this place. They actually suggested these two drugs to me. I was like, “NO EFFING WAY.” I didn’t go through hell in my basement for that time only to revisit a different level of hell. Thanks, but no thanks.
I belong to a few groups on Facebook centered around recovery and hope. This is where social media is truly awesome. We get to share ideas, thoughts and a lot of memes. I have been reading about methadone and Suboxone use in opiate withdrawal. It seems like a double-edged sword. On one hand, an addict is getting off the hard shit or fist fulls of pills. On the other hand, they are creating a brand new addiction that is equally gruesome.
I read a lot of statements that go something like, “I have been clean for three months, well, really two days because I was on Suboxone all that time. I feel like crap and I want to use.” Seriously?!
Please understand… I judge no one. I am no better than anyone, period. I just don’t understand. So I guess in a sense, I am asking: if anyone using either of these for opiate withdrawal or using something else for opiate withdrawal could explain to me why this is a choice, that would be great.
Yes, the basement was hell. I may even write about it one day in a memoir because I feel like people should know how fucking awful opiate withdrawal really is.
Looking back, I am glad I did it that way. I may not have survived if I became addicted to something else.