Soundtrack To My Life

I am a music junkie. Music, that was my first love. My first addiction. My original life plan was to go to New York University to study music business and become a music exec. I applied, and was accepted to NYU. I opted to go to the University of Maryland instead to stay near my high school sweetheart. We broke up after my freshman year of college. Soon after, I got into heroin and cocaine hard core. My life became drugs, and stealing for the better part of my twenties.

But the love for music has never left me. When I hear certain songs, they cut through me like a knife. They epitomize and vocalize emotions that I often don’t even know that I feel until I hear them in a song. One such song is, “My Mind’s Playing Tricks On Me”, the classic Ghetto Boys song. In Scarfaces’ verse he speaks of a tenacious, all consuming paranoia. “At night I can’t sleep, I toss and turn/…Four walls closin in, gettin bigger/I’m paranoid, sleepin’ with my finger on the trigger.” He goes on to describe the man who is after him, “When I’m awake I hear a call burn in’ rubber/ He owns a black hat like I own/ Ablack suit and a cane like I own.” The man IS Scarface. He is sabatoging himself. “It’s messed up/ When your mind is play in’ tricks on you.” Church, Face, church.

This verse, hell the whole fucking song describes me. My mind is constantly playing tricks on me. When I first got clean in December of 2006, I quit heroin and cocaine. At the time, I was living in hotels with my husband and a close friend.mi had four – yeah, you read that right, four- arrest warrants. So obviously A certain amount of paranoia would be natural for anyone in said predicament. Shooting massive speedballs all day, didn’t help. See, my favorite part of shooting up cocaine was the taste of it. When you shoot a drug you taste it as sort of reverse drinking it. Instead of starting at your mouth and going down, it starts at your heart and goes up to your mouth last. Not always, but most of the time, my husband would shoot up first, and then hit me. Every time I would tell him, “Don’t give me any coke. I am going to ask you for some, but don’t give it to me.” As soon as he would hit himself and taste the coke, he would like his lips. That would kick in the extreme desire for the same taste, so I would ask for the coke. And he would give it to me. As soon as it hit, I would regret that I didn’t just shoot dope until the coke wore off. I would sit and just stare under the door where the light came in. Looking to see if I saw feet. “Just because you’re paranoid/ Doesn’t mean they’re not after you.” – Nirvana, “Territorial Pissings”.  They were after me. Four warrants in three different jurisdictions, and I was going out break the law every day.

I knew people to do really crazy, insane things while on coke. We used to get high at this couple’s house. Well, it was not so much of a house. There was a row house that was three floors with an apartment on each level. They took over the basement, the area meant to be storage for the residence of the people who rented out the apartments. We usually hung out in the basement, but we were friends with everyone in the house. The house was hot as a firecracker too. The basement was the couple who let people come over to get high as long as they hit off the house. The first floor was basically a whore house. The second floor was similar to the basement, where you could pay the dude either ten dollars or a dime of dope or coke and get high there. And the third floor? A major crack dealer and his wife lived there. We stopped going there when a coke dealer we had that would come to the basement apartment and sell to us refused to come over because he kept hearing that house being talked about on the police scanner. So anyway, the wife would get really, really crazy after she did coke. Actually her name was Ceil. She told us that there was three personalities, Cecile, Ceil, and Ci-Ci, and you did not want Ci-Ci. One day, we pulled up to their place and Ci-Ci was standing put there, sweeping the sidewalk. She said that she wanted to watch for the people out to get her and didn’t want to look odd by just standing on the sidewalk. Yeah, cause sweeping the sidewalk with bug eyes looks totally normal. Another day, she pulled me aside and told me she figured out where the “people” came from. She showed me an air conditioning vent. You know a normal heating and AC vent, 7.5″ by 11.5″.

Ok, I know that it seems like I just went off on a tangent. My point was that I was not insanely, unjustifiably paranoid. There was people out to get me. I knew that doing coke did not in anyway increase my likelihood to be arrested on the warrants, but a also knew that it would suck major balls to get hemmed up while I was geeking balls.

So I got hemmed up on the warrants about three days before Christmas 2006 for the warrants. I sat for three weeks. One warrant got dropped because I was able to provide hospital papers showing that I was in the hospital on the date that I was supposed to be in court. The judge for my no-bail bench warrant released me on time served during my bail review. Later that night, I was picked up by the final jurisdiction where I had two warrants a bench warrant with a pre-set cash bail, and an arrest warrant in which the bail was to be set by the commissioner. I was picked up from the detention center that I was at on a Friday night to be transferred. I knew that this was my last stop. My mom had mis-read the information on the online case search page. For the arrest warrant it said that bail had not yet been set, she thought that it meant that I had no bail. I figured that on Monday, during the bail review, I could get a bail and bail out. I had just come from another detention center and was mentally prepared to sit for at least the weekend. There was probably nine of us in the cell, a single cell. This included a homeless woman who kept taking off the jumpsuit that she had been given, rocking back and forth, muttering  jibberish, alternating between whispers and screams. It took probably eight hours to see the commissioner. Everyone was bitching about how slow the shit was. “I take none of you all have never been through Central Bookings in Baltimore City, huh?” This was Montgomery County, so these were D.C. girls. “No. Why?”, they asked. I explained to them that it takes 24 to see the commissioner there. After which you go to a holding cell for another hour or two to go either to a property cell, where you sit for two hours where they run your name for warrants and gather together your property, or back downstairs where you sit for up to eight more hours to go upstairs where you can make your phone call to try to get someone to bail your ass out. This was fast as shit. Anyhow, I went to the commissioner thinking that I had a no bail and a $500 cash bail. He informed me about the cash bail (which is exactly what it sounds. Bail must be paid in cash. 100%). Then he told me that he was going to set my other bail at $2,500, 10% acceptable. I wanted to kiss him. I was going home that night!    As the CO came to take me the phone, I saw my name on the board with the word detainer on it. “Amy Albright (it was under my maiden name) Detainer – Baltimore County.” “No,no, no,” I pleaded. “No detainers for Baltimore County. It got quashed like two days ago.” “Not what the computer says.”, she told me. Lovely. When I signed for my bail release, I was prepared to see a couple of Baltimore County sherries waiting for me. I assumed that I was going to have to be transported to BCDC, get fingerprinted, have my name ran, then get released when they discovered that the warrant was no longer an active warrant. I was thrilled to see my mother and daughter, who was a little over a year old. We went to 5 Guys Burgers and Fries for the first real food I had had in weeks. My daughter cried and reached for my mom when I picked her up. Heart officially broken.

She was my motivation to stay clean. Her daddy, my husband was serving a year and a day, so I was all she had. It took her about two days to get re-adjusted to me. Even while totally sober, I would have these weird flashbacks. I would starts sweating, my heart beat would speed up. Paranoia would set in. It was like I had just shot a massive dime of straight coke. But I hadn’t. My mind was playing tricks on me.

After a few years of being clean, I relied on heroin. I never touched coke again. I have been clean off of coke and crack since that fateful December day in 2006.  I am too paranoid as it is, I certainly do not need any help.

I don’t think, like that my phones are tapped or that I am being watched. I do, however, know that when I get pulled over, the cops automatically accuse me of “Riding Dirty” ala Chamillionare.  They don’t look at the fact that my past arrest is from 2006. I am pretty sure that in 2026, pigs will treat me the same way. So yeah, when ai drive, I make everyone wear their seat belts. I am overly cautious. I don’t think that that is being paranoid. I think that it is being smart.

No, my “paranoia” comes more in the form of thinking that everyone is waiting to fuck me over. I constantly an self-sabatoging all of my relationships. I kill off the friendships before I get hurt.  I have been hurt so many fucking times, so badly, by so many people that was close to, that I trusted. I won’t let it happen again.

Like Scarface, the person who is out to get me, who is “trying to kill me”, looks suspiciously, a lot like me. “everybody says chill B/ But I can’t/ There’s somebody tryin’ to kill me.” Exactly. I can’t chill, because I can’t get out of my own head. I can’t stop trying to sabatoge myself.  Somehow, someway I need to stop allowing “My Mind’s Playing Tricks On Me”, to be the story of my life.

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