Monday, September 27, 2010

You Know What They Say...

I'm on a roll so I apologize for my late night ramblings and rantings, but I have a lot on my mind lately. Something in particular is really getting my goat tonight. I went to post it on Facebook, but I was cut off mid sentence so, aren't you lucky!!

Here's the deal:

Those of us from the Valley of the Sun are all too familiar with a highly revered publicly appointed gasbag named Joe Arpiao. Joe was elected, back in 1992 as the sheriff of Maricopa County. It's county seat being of course, Phoenix. Right from the start Joe was Hell bent on "kicking ass and taking names". One of his biggest claims is that he was bold enough to give Elvis Presley a speeding ticket back in 1957. His belief, and mine too until I was actually there was that jail is not a resort, so he took away coffee and porn and cut back on frivolous spending for silly things like food. Green balogna sandwiches were on the menu and pink underwear and handcuffs were all the rage. Oh, and let's not forget the world famous tent city. Yes, all of this helped Joe earn the moniker "World's Toughest Sheriff". Perhaps you've seen him on shows? I have. You know, those jail shows that they show late at night. Joe is tough on crime and anyone who looks like they weren't born here in the good ol' U S of A.

I subscribe to, the Phoenix area newspaper, the Arizona Republic online. Over the weekend, I noticed that there was a new section that posts the days' mugshots from his 4th Avenue jail. Now, I know that if you go to MCSO's website you can see the past three days mugshots and what they are for, but this is right there on the front page.
Here's my beef: if we are all presumed innocent before trial (as is the American way), why do this? It ruins lives. As someone who has had her share of photo sessions at the various precincts in the metro Phoenix area, I know that some of these people will eventually clean up and get their shit together. You know, start rebuilding their lives and put the wreckage of the past behind them. This will follow FOREVER.

I posted a comment that was not unlike this tirade here under the pictures and was told to stop whining. That if they didn't break the law, this wouldn't be an issue. Oh, sure..I thought that, too. Then I had run-ins with the law. I didn't start my wayward years until I was in my 30s. Prior to that, all I had was parking tickets. No one is exempt from tragedy or unforsee circumstances that lead them down a path of crime.. It can happen to you. Mine happened to be a foray into the world of drug addiction. I became addicted to the ritual of abuse and the short lived feeling thereafter; I couldn't get enough. I look at these people, and a large portion of them are in ther for drug offenses and I see me.

But, you what they say about go on vacation, you leave on probation.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Its the Big Things In Life.

I wouldn't consider myself someone who scares easily. Given what I've experienced in my 40 short years walking the Earth: the many deaths of loved ones, being arrested, overdoses, ghosts, Long Island....I have a pretty strong reserve. Part of being in recovery is the true introspection of oneself; finding the root of our fears and then basically rendering them inert. Fear of financial insecurity, being misunderstood, relapse, a turn for the worse in regards to my health..these are things that should frighten me, but they don't. Maybe it was all the years of "living on the edge" while I was active in my addiction and "winging it" or being raised by the royal family of "Disfunction Junction" that I have this sense of "everything will come together eventually; I can make it happen with little effort". Hell, when I was using, I couldn't come up with enough money to pay the APS (Arizona Public Service) bill, but if I needed $300.00 to cop some "smack" within the hour...DONE. I believe it was Ozzy Osbourne who said in his biography, I Am Ozzy: " addicts are a resourceful lot. Tell a junkie the only way he will be able to score his next fix is to find the cure for Cancer, it would be eradicated in minutes.". Sad yes, but true. So no, it's not the mundane "normal" fears like everyone else worries about that plague me. That would be too easy. Nope, my fears are what you'd call irrational. Nonsensical. Completely unfounded given the circumstances of my upbringing, or rather, the location of my upbringing.

For the better part of my life, I've known many a person afraid of the following (in no particular order): clowns, midgets (excuse me, little people), the dark, public speaking, flying, bugs, death, dogs, UFOs, dolls, wooden utensils, and the list goes on and on. Clowns never bothered me and that's one I don't get. Little people, I can see that, but I've met a few and well, they were okay in my book. The dark? Okay, when I was younger I was TERRORFIED of the dark. Now, I love it. Now that I know what's in it. Public speaking? LOVE it; I do it every week; I love an audience. (did you know more people would rather die than speak in public? It's the number one fear). Flying? Mom was a pilot. Judy Garland was born in a trunk? I was born in a Cessna. Bugs? Eh..spiders creep me out. Death? The dying part worries me, but death itself? HELL NO!!!! Dogs? Elvis!!?? UFOs? Never seen one. I want to because I have a hard time believing. (which leads me to believe I'm being abducted and programmed to not remember. 1981 is a blur to me). You get the gist.....

None of that stuff scares me. I've been in homes and places where I'm almost willing to bet I was in the presence of true evil, if not the devil himself. I've been in aeroplanes that dipped and shook harder than Charo. Didn't even bat an eye.
Wanna know what scares me? What shakes me to my inner core? What just sitting here writing about it causes me great anxiety?

Giant Squid.

Well, any sea creature to be honest. You know, out there in the ocean they have the ability to grow unlike their brethren in tanks. I saw on NatGeo a documentary on the octopus and there was one in the Indian Ocean who's head was the size of a house. In fact, on the SciFi channel they are running commercials for a new series on mythical beasts; there is one in particular that gives me nightmares: the one with the giant squid who's tentacles come up through the water and engulf a huge wooden ship. Carolyn's version of Hell, ladies and gentlemen. I think what may have sparked this fear was Walt Disney. See, growing up we had this thick book on the art of Disney and there was a pull out picture of the giant squid attacking the Nautalis in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. All I can see is that huge eye. Egad...
I have no desire to go whale watching (lest they capsize the boat). Don't want to swim with the dolphins (remind me too much of sharks...another fear worthy of it's own blog). No, see, I believe that we have no business traipsing around the ocean. Too many big things with teeth and tentacles. I grew up in a desert where there were no giant squid in my neck of the woods so I grasp that this fear is what you'd call irrational, and I'm sure that baring any unforeseen nautical excursions (sans the Connecticut ferry) that way go array, I'll never have to face my fear. But knowing is half the battle.

So, I suppose I'll read my book on the ins and outs of the funeral business and embalming (with pictures), then mosey on up to my haunted bedroom to get some well deserved rest after tonights speaking obligation. Either that or watch a few on demand episodes of, "Little People, Big World". You know, so I can relax...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Boy, Elvis. No, the Other Elvis.

My name is Carolyn and I'm an alcoholic and an addict.

I wanted to write something deep and dark tonight, but something isn't letting me. I wanted to share something about myself that will leave those who are reading this in awe of me; "Wow, Carolyn and yet despite everything, you just keep on going". That kind of thing. I want so much to go into great detail about the last time I was arrested, on this very same day, for prescription forgery some years back at a Walmart in North West Phoenix. Glendale actually (that was the precinct I was taken to). I'd been doing it for so long and was, I thought, getting away with it much to the chagrin of my liver. In fact, so proficient at this was I that the DEA themselves came to meet me at Wallyworld and pretended they were the pharmacy staff. It was a Thursday. Thursdays....I want to talk about this, get it off my chest but I really don't see the point.

I was arrested very early in the morning. Right around 8:30am. See, I'd been "clean" for a few weeks at a time. Here and there. Off and on. Not this week. No, I'd been binging so to speak. Mostly Percocets. 20-30 a day..give or take. The withdrawals were such that well, anyone who has experienced withdrawal from opiates can tell you there was no sleep for me that night. I was chomping at the bit for "old faithful" to open. I call it that because I'd never had a problem there in the whole time I was scamming. See, us addicts..we have a schedule. A routine. I had several pharmacies I would use in rotation. It takes smarts to be an addict. Always calculating, scheming, lying,'ve got to be on your game. Of course, I had to stop at the local Kinkos first to make the actual script.

Isnt this getting redundant? Really, who wants to know about this...I should stop. There's a ladybug on the floor!

So, I left the prescription with the woman behind the counter; building friendships with the pharmacists is key in situations like this. I was told it would be roughly 45 minutes until I could pick it up. That was odd. I was the first person there. I left the store, waited across the street to see if the police showed up, as you do..came back to the store, walked around and looked at shoes (all the while I was dope sick: sweating, nausea, muscle aches). Somewhere in the back of mind I had a feeling the jig was up and was basking in what I was sure was my few last minutes of freedom. Took the roundabout way to the pharmacy, checking for anything "queer" and hoping to God all would work out for the best (in this situation). The whole crew changed in the hour that I'd left. Okay. Every essence of my being told me to leave, but to an addict that is dope sick, the lure of even a possibility that the scam may work is potent magic. As I approached the desk, I saw them: the boys in blue. Glendale's finest. I asked if my prescription was ready and out stepped DEA officer Maria Tellez of the Phoenix Division. Yes my loved ones, the DEA was lying in wait for yours truly. Phoenix's own Toni Montana. I was told that I was under arrest, was handcuffed and did the walk of shame all the way through and out the back of Walmart. Sam Walton would have been proud.

Have you noticed that MTV never plays videos anymore? Oh, I love the fact that I'm obsessed with, "Jersey Shore"!!

It was while I was being processed at the Glendale precinct that I had my run in with Deputy Lindsay from TLC's, " Police Women (or woman if you're Danielle Staub) of Maricopa County. I had been interviewed by multiple DEA agents and officers and was locked in a little closet where they do the intake paper work. It smelled like piss and I had been in there for an hour after the interrogation was over. I asked if they forgot about me when Officer Sell-Out replied, "they probably did". Bitch. I was "put into storage" with a few other women and waited out the time, while getting sicker and sicker until we were taken over to the new and improved 4th avenue jail. If you're from Phoenix, you've passed it; the one with the HUGE door that as it opens it says, "Sherrif Joe Welcomes You!". That one. Let me tell you, for those of you who have never been in a holding cell, it sucks. They are cold, smell, there is no clock so you can't tell what time it's the first level of Hell. And if you are in the beginning stages of opiate withdrawal, there is nothing worse. Well, there is and I was soon to experience it. To make the time go by, I fell off the top bunk and hit my head (prompting them to call the FD, that was fun!) Anything for a distraction.

Is anyone even reading this? What I wouldn't do for some REAL Mexican food right about now. I mean, Moes is ok for NY, but hey..

The van came around 10pm to collect us criminals and off to the big house we went. There was me, a girl who went to my middle school (probation violation) and a few fellas. One of them made us ladies feel welcome with the salutation, "evenin' ladies" (who says chivalry doesn't exist!?). They put you in a cargo van, just like in cops, that smells of body odor and piss. Men on one side, women on the other. Right down Grand avenue, we went. I could make out the stop lights and other cars around us; life really does pass you by quickly when you are locked in a cage with shackles around your hands and feet. Oh, I felt so sick.
The big house is where the action is. All of Maricopa county's biggest and baddest end up there for processing and arraignments. Photographed ($100.00 to anyone who can get their hands on my mug shots), fingerprinted, evaluated for medical and psychological issues and then stored in a small room with 30 to 40 people and one toilet that more than likely isn't working properly. Well, the one I was in wasn't. There was only one roll of toilet paper and well, I wasn't about to ask the big black woman who was using it as a pillow for it so...
So, there I shat, I mean sat until it was time to see the judge at 5am. By then the withdrawal was in full effect; my intestines opened up with a ferocity that I've only seen on Nat Geo. Because I had soiled myself, I was given prison dress (the stripes you see on tv). I was sick: shaking, shitting, sweating...and yet even then, I didn't think I had that bad of a problem.,I didn't think I had a problem. Period.
I saw the judge at 5am and was granted ROR (release on own recog). You still have to wait a few hours to get processed out and truth be told, in Phoenix anyway they only let the men out in the middle of the night. Women have to wait until daylight. I was counting the seconds until I was freed. And I was. Physically anyway. I dressed back into the clothes I came in with (the dirty ones), hopped on a bus because I didn't have the money for a phone call and my cell phone was dead and headed home. Never to return again.

Now, we all know how this story turns out; it has a happy ending. I finally got sober for good on Thursday (Thursdays!) the 31st of January, 2008 ( it's tattooed on my left arm so I can't ever fuck it up!!) But see, the girl in the story (moi) wasn't done just yet. No, I had to take my reign of terror to the East coast.; do just a little more damage to myself and those who love me. There is an adage in the rooms of AA, "you CAN'T scare an active addict"; prison, overdose, death...nah, won't happen to me. Eventually, it does. No one continues on this path of destruction and gets off Scott free. I didn't . After two years, seven months, three weeks and two days of sobriety I still pay the price for all that I've done: my teeth are fucked, I'm all but deaf in both ears from all the opiates, my vision is going and on and on and on....not to mention the rebuilding of trust. Which is always the first to go and the last to come back. Crazy to think something the size of my pinky nail had such a hold on me, huh? But, that's the insanity of this dis-ease.

But, I don't want to talk about all that. It's in the past. It doesn't define me, it's just a part of me... like a piece of a very large puzzle. No, let's talk about something lighter like, does Snooki really think she can get off charging $20,000 to walk a red carpet for much longer? Or is it okay for me to have, "Enola Gay" by OMD stuck in my head? It's better than, "Shiny Shiny" by Hayzi Fantayzee or, "Calling Your Name" by Marilyn. OH, Or better yet......let's talk about Elvis!!!
No..... The other Elvis.