Tag Archives: jail

BCCBIC (Baltimore City Central Booking and Intake Center):Part 2

The officer walks me into an open area. To my right is a window with a CO behind it and a chair in front of it. Imediatley past that is a very small room followed by a row of pay phones. Across from the phones is the nurses center. Then on both sides of the walls are cells marked single cell until you get to the end of the hall. In front of where I am standing is a double doorway that leads to an area similar to the set up that I have just described, only it is about three times as big. It is the men’s side. There is a room connecting the men’s and women’s sides, it is the fingerprinting area.
The cop hands me off to a CO and says, “Watch her. She’s pregnant and ill.” She shakes her head as a sign that she understands and leads me into the room next to the window. There she somewhat strip searches me (although of any jail I have been to, this was the laziest, most half-assed stip search that I have ever been apart of). Next, she leads me back to a bench in front of where I just entered where I sit for about an hour, until I am called to have my fingerprints taken. Now, I go to the window where they do my property intake.mi am given a piece of paper to sign that lists what items they have taken from me, and that I am theoretically going to get back upon my release. There is a time printed on the paper. This time marks when my 24 hours start. This time, six hours AFTER my arrest. I was lucky too. I was able to be walked right into bookings. Often times, weekends, concerts, the Grand Prix, etc. there is a line to even get in the door. I know of many people who waited for anywhere from 2-8 hours to get in the door. Add this to the probably two or three hours they spent at the district police station, and the few hours that it takes once you are inside before your time starts.
Next, I see the nurse. After a 30 second physical. I am allowed to make my call. I call my mother. She isn’t exactly happy, but tells me that she will bail me out if I am not PR’d (released on personal recognizance). A guard yells at me to get off the phone, that my 30 seconds are up, and takes me to a cell. I walk into a cell that is marked that it is for single occupancy. There is probably 20-25 women in there. It is so tight that you literally can not shift positions without making everyone shift.
The next 20 or so hours tick by at a snails pace. Talking to the other women helps pass the time, but I am so sick that it is unbearable. One girl in the sell has ready, but no lighter. A girl in the cell across from ours has a lighter, but nothing to light. The chick with the ready tries to get the inmate who is mopping the floors to get the lighter from her, but he is too scared to do it.
The only other white girl in the cell is a girl about my age (21 at the time). She is in there for prostitution. She said that she is in there almost every week. Usually it is a walk through, meaning that you are arrested for something petty like trespassing or failure to obey police orders and are held for a day and then released without a charge. She was hoping that was what this was, but wasn’t sure as none of us are told our charges until we see the commissioner. She knew that if it was a solicitation charge there would be a bail attached and probably a high one. The city had started a crack down of hookers due to the fact that we had (possibly still have) the highest AIDS rate in the country. The mayor (Martin O’Malley) felt that the hookers were to blame for this. At one point she got into it with another woman because she didn’t want to sit on the floor. “It’s dirty. It’s gross!”, she exclaimed. “How clean theses dicks be that you suck all day?”, the other woman asked. “Well theses dicks get me ready. If this floor goons give me ready, then I ain’t got no problem with it.” You cannot make this shit up people.
At some point in the day, I guess lunch, we are brought food. There are no windows or clocks in booking, and they keep the ultra bright fluorescent lights on 24/7 to throw off any sense of time that you may have. Even if I weren’t puking every 10 minutes, I couldn’t have ate that lunch. Mystery meat all the way. I did drink the juice, so that I didn’t get too dehydrated. I traded my sand which for the apple. I figured that I should try to get something down, if for no other purpose but to throw up something instead of stomach lining.
Eventually, after about 20 hours, my name is called. I am going to the commissioner. So I think. I mean, I am, but first I am taken to another set of holding cells. These are for people about to see one of the commissioners. I think that they had 13 or 15 commissioners on duty at that time. I sit for about an hour and then am lead to a tiny, tiny room. My left wrist is handcuffed to the counter, and the door is locked behind me. The commissioner, a young black guy with long dreads, sits in an office on the other side of bullet proof glass. I can see my booking photo up on the screen (and what a lovely head shot that was too), along with a statement of charges that I have not yet seen. He slides me a copy of my paper work through a slit in the glass. I am being charged with possession of a CDS (not marijuana), which carries up to four years and is a misdemeanor. He reads me what the police said happen, most of which was lies. They said that the witnessed the event which was impossible because they were coming from the Edmonson Village Center, we were in an alley further past where they had stopped us. They hadn’t even gotten to where we copped yet. Also you cannot see into the alley from Edmonson as it is an L shaped alley. Also they said that I handed the dude the money, and that he then handed Aaron the pills. That doesn’t happen. The dealer always gives the drugs to the person who gives them the money. Often there will be four or five people in the car. The person who hands the money,mis probably the person who put up most of the money. You could just be giving. Ride to a stranger to cop, and here the dealer gives this person all your shit. No. If they did that and then the person in your car didn’t want to give you all your shit, you would not want to go back to that dealer. Also, they made no mention of the fact that my husband claimed all responsibility for the drugs. I told the man about these lies. He looked at me and dead panned, “You mean to tell me that the Baltimore City police lied in a charging document?” Ok, good point. He proceeded to ask me a few questions. Had I ever been arrested before? Yes. Did I have any open charges? Yes Was I on probation? Yes. Did I have any convictions? Yes any felonies? No. Any FTAs? No (although I raked up quite a few in the year that followed). How long had I lived at my present address? All of my life. He then told me that he was going to grant me a PR. I was ecstatic to say the least. I asked him if he was going to decide my husband’s fate. He told me that he was. I asked him if he knew what he was going to do, he told me that he didn’t know. I told him that I would greatly appreciate it if he would PR Aaron as well, because I didn’t know this side of town, and my car was impounded. He laughed and said that he would keep it in mind. Just to note, he did PR my husband. He then pushed a button to let a CO know that he was done with me. I am taken back to the cell that I was just in while waiting to have my bail set. After another two hours I, along with anyone else who has been PR’d, am taken to another row of cells on the ground level. This is where you sit for another hour or six while they run your name one last time for warrants and retrieve your property. I have known of a few people who have made it this far, to only then have their warrants discovered. If you were assigned a bail, youa are taken back downstairs to the cells that you were in before they took you to the commissioner cells. Only this time you are on the last cells in the line. Theses are the people waiting to go upstairs to get put with general population while you either wait to be bailed out or sit until trial or your release date.
Anyway, the wait while in the property cells in particularly long and excruciating. You can see the street. You have been told that you are to be release, yet here you stand. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, they call seven women, and one man (Aaron). We are let through a set of double doors after we sign for our property. Aaron and I are both sick as fuck, but happy to see each other. We hug and kiss and hold hands as we walk out the door. The sunlight blinds me, and even though I have only been locked up for about 30 hours total, it feels like it has been a week. We turn on my phone, and call my mom to come get us. I have made through hell and back.

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BCCBIC (Baltimore City Central Booking and Intake Center): Part One

I have been through Baltimore City’s Central Booking twice, both for the same charge. The only way I can describe this place is hell on Earth. Literally. I honestly believe that hell must be more pleasant than BCCBIC. I have been through quite a few central bookings, and I have seen quite a few of them on various reality shows about jails. None of them even come close to be comparable to the atrocious conditions that exist in Baltimore.
Back in July of 2005, my husband and I were in town copping. I was pregnant and on the wait list for CAP (Center for Addiction and Pregnancy). I was told in no uncertain terms to not try to quite using heroin cold turkey. As bad as my habit was, there was a very real possibility that the withdraws could easily kill my daughter. (I did, however, quite using coke and crack the moment that I found out that I was pregnant). Anyway, we had copped from our usual spot, and the normal amount that we would buy as a gate shot, but the shit was just off that day. It was abundantly clear that this dope was not going to hold us long enough to go out boosting. We had $25 left, and needed gas. We knew of a spot off of Loudon Ave. that had sixes. We figured that we would get three of these, and still have $7 left for gas.
We pulled on to the street and found the dude with the shit and told him that we wanted three. He instructed us to pull into the alley. This alley is a L shaped alley, meaning that no one driving down Edmonson Avenue (which is a main road of sorts) cannot see down it. He came up to our car hit us, then hit the guy behind us. We pulled out of the other side of the alley onto the one-way portion of Wildwood Parkway (for theses of you who frequently read my blog, this was the same on-way section of Wildwood that we were attempting to give Gotti a ride to when we were pulled over and he left his loaded gun in my car). We pulled out and we forced to sit at a red light before we could turn on to Edmonson Avenue.
Before we had a chance to put the pills up, before we had a chance to blink really, there was a car blocking us in, and four Knockers at the car. The were ridding down Edmonson with their doors open, and saw two white people on wildwood and jumped out on us. “Why don’t you make it easy and just give it to us,” the one said. Considering that A) they were just in my husband’s hand and B) a lot of times when they talk to you like this, if you just give it up without a fight, they will let you go, my husband gave it to them, laughing with disbelief at the situation. “I like this dude,” the cop noted.
Instantly they pulled us both out of the car and cuffed us with zip ties. “You all just saved the white boy behind you,” they smirked at us, “we just saw him swallow his shit.” Fucking fantastic. “Those pills were just for me,” my husband pleaded with them. “Please don’t arrest my wife. She’s pregnant. I stopped without telling her. They aren’t her’s.” “You’re pregnant?”, one of them asked me. I stated that indeed I was. “Oh well, they should have you out in no time.”
They put us into the car with two of them, while the other two officers followed us in my car to the Southwestern District police station. As we drove by Loudon, we saw two more cops messing with the guy who served us and another dude. At first they put me into this weird ass bull pen, and then they moved me to a private cell in the back of the police station. It was really, really dark back there. I wasn’t there long before they yanked me out and took me outside and put me into one side of a divided paddy wagon. My husband was on the other side with the men. “Whoa, whoa!”, a cop started screaming, running out of the station. “She’s pregnant! You can’t take her in the wagon.” There are no dealt belts in the wagon, and they notoriously drive very erratically with the intent to throw the inmates all over the place. They pulled me out of the wagon, and put me in a cop car. “Do you need to go to the hospital?”, the officer driving the car implored. “Umm, does that mean that I don’t have to go to bookings? Or that that time counts as part of my 24 hours?”, I asked. “No,” he told me, “your 24 hours starts when we do your property intake, which wouldn’t happen until you get to bookings. After you leave the hospital.” “Oh hell no!”, I stated, “let’s go then.” (For those of you confused, very shortly prior to my arrest Baltimore City got into a lot of trouble with the FBI due to the conditions in BCCBIC. One of the biggest issues was hat people would sit for days before they were ever taken to see a commissioner. This meant days before they were told what they were charged with, and what their bail would be. By law, you have to be taken to see the commissioner within 24 hours, or they have to release you.)
So here I was, approximately 3-4 hours after my arrest, and I was just now headed to Bookings. It took us about 15 minutes to get to Eager Street. The cops pulled up and walked me in. Now, mind you that this was far from my first arrest. I looked around as I walked in, and all I could think was, “This is gonna suck. Be time.”

Continued in BCCBIC Part Two

Boosted

Be weary of fast cash
Be weary of fast cash

My time as a thief or a booster, happened much like my drug addiction. Very slow, and then all of the sudden it was a daily event. I do not, under any circumstances, recommend that a person goes out and makes their money by boosting from stores. Yeah, I was making a thousand plus a day easy, but I also have five theft convictions and an attempted theft. To put that in perspective, I have only one CDS conviction and I got high for much, much longer than I boosted for. These of course, are just the convictions, not the arrests. It just isn’t worth it. Fast money can lead to fast jail time.
Anyway, one day my husband and I were at the Hilton pawn shop, Shine Corner, selling something which I can not recall at the moment. While we were there Aaron saw this guy that he was locked up with at the Howard County Detention Center. They traded numbers and off we went to cop. The next day or shortly after, the guy called us asking if we could take him to the store to boost. Of course, he would be paying us. We picked him up and took him to a grocery store where he proceeded to steal, I kid you not, Monostats. Yes, feminine itch cream. The Monostat 7 were worth $7 each and I think he got maybe 10 at one store and 15 at another.
We started to pick him up daily. Sometimes we would take him and a friend of his, and they would both pay us. We started to learn what items you could sell (pretty much any name brand pharmaceutical). Thing was, this dude took FOREVER in each store. I’m talking like 45 minutes to an hour each. It was such a pain in the ass.
One day he didn’t call. We waited for awhile, getting sicker by the minute, until we said, “Fuck it”. We left determined to figure something out. I told my husband that I would take the shit my damn self. We pulled up to a store and I told him to park on the curb. I went in and grabbed a cart. I filled the cart up with clothes and other big things. I went into the pharmacy and found the Prilosecs. I didn’t have my “boosting bag” with me, as this was the first time I was doing this, so I grabbed four 42 counts shoved them under the clothes and went to the dog food isle. I looked around, put them in my bag, and got the fuck out of there.
When I got into the car and we pulled off onto the highway without a hitch, I was shocked at how simple and easy it was. I also had a huge adrenaline rush. We went to the pawn shop and sold the prilos for $11 each. We had enough for two pills each and four to go with the three we had for gas. (Remember, gas was only $2 a gallon in 2004, so you could put $7 in gas.)
That was all she wrote. I loved it. I loved the thrill of getting away with it, but most of all, I loved that I could get money easily whenever I wanted. I had the car, so I didn’t need a ride, and I could get my own money, thank you very much.
After that day, my husband and I would go out like three times a day making a few hundred each time. It was much easier than baby formula. Especially since I had two theft arrests for stealing baby formula. I was awaiting the court dates for these, so they had not yet become convictions.
Theft, like anything else, lost it’s thrill, it’s sense of fun. There were undercover security guards all over the place that knew who I was and were trying to catch me. It was a constant cat and mouse game. Certain stores would call security as soon as I stepped in the door. Sometimes, the police would call me over shit that I didn’t even do, trying to hem me up.
It started to be so hot at so many stores near by that we would have to drive far as shit to find stores where they didn’t know us. When I went to jail at the end of 2006 and got clean for a few years, I was too hot. I racked up all those convictions that I previously mentioned between 2004 and 2006. I also violated probation like three or four times.
I would most certainly NOT glamorize stealing or recommend that anyone go out and choose to make their money this way. I mean, it is better than robbing banks or robbing someone at gun point. In Maryland under $1,000 is a misdemeanor, where as anything involving a firearm is obviously a felony. Yeah, you may make $300 in ten minutes, but after a couple of slaps on the wrist, you are down for the count for six to eighteen months. You aren’t making shit in jail. Trust me, when I came home from jail, I was happy to wait tables for tips.

Staying Strong During the Storm – and the Calm Before the Storm

When a person is a recovered or recovering addict, they always have to be on their toes so to say. Obviously, it is easy to slip back into bad habits when shit gets rough. When we loose a loved one, when we (or someone close to us) gets sentenced to time in jail, when we loose a job, get sued, our car breaks down, whatever, we have to fight the urge to go back to our normal coping habits that we have used for so long. This is compounded by the fact that the universe seems to want to save up the repercussions for all of the bad shit we did as addicts until we are sober. 

As addicts we tend to have either never learned or forgotten normal, healthy coping mechanisms. If and when this shit from our past comes pact on us when we are doing well, the inner addict in our brain tells us, “This shit didn’t happen when you were getting high, but now that you are sober, the universe wants to fuck you in the ass. You might as well just be getting high.” At least then, we justify, thes bad things would be warranted. The thing that we often fail to be able to do, is take a step back and look at these events in our life as a big picture. The more bad things you do, the more bad shit that will come back on you. Even if you do not wish to believe in karma, this is inevitably true. Most of the things that we feel are “unfair” to happen to us as recovered addicts are directly linked to  things that we did as addicts, either to obtain our drugs, or because of said substances. For example, time that we get is almost definatley from an arrest that occurred while we are getting high. A job that we are not given may be due to a criminal record that we got from addiction. Bad credit? Probably due to unpaid bills or bad checks written to get money for drugs or because the money for the bills went to drugs.

Taking a step back allows us to see that getting high again will only set in motion this karmic train of retribution and self-pity and excuse for drug use again. It is difficult to remember that the drugs got us into this shit, but since most of these things are directly related to our addiction, as long as we allow ourselves to stop and think, we can usually see this. We caused the storm, and we now have to find a way to deal with it and right our wrongs.

Far more difficult, and dangerous is when the seas are calm and steady. When our lives are easy and boring almost. Say what you will about addicts, but our lives are never boring. We are constantly figuring out ways to make money, set those plans in motion, getting the money, copping, playing an endless cat and mouse game with the police, and then of course the actual high of the drugs. The drugs don’t provide the only high that we experience. Especially if the addict obtains their drug money illegally, they often become addicted to the adrenaline rush of whatever it is that they do. This is why so many bank robbers talk about being addicted to the thrill of robbing banks. (I personally don’t think that I would ever have the balls to do something like that, but I’m sure the adrenaline rush is crucial – if you don’t die of a heart attack while waiting to commit the crime). 

Not just the high that people get from committing crimes, it is such a fast, easy way to come about money that it is hard to go to minimum wage. Especially, we justify, if we weren’t spending so much money on drugs, we wouldn’t have to go about thanking on these sort of risks nearly as often. Going back to a bank robber, if they are a convicted bank robber, then they have a felony record meaning that very often the only kind of jobs that will take a chance on them is a minimum wage job. It is hard, mentally (and for one’s ego) to go from making $100,000 in 15 minutes to $7.95 an hour. Our inner addict, or the little devil inside of us, allows us to confidently forget about the legal ramifications involved with fast money. Even if we do think about it, we justify that we could commit these crimes far, far less as we won’t be spending hundreds or thousands a day on drugs. We will be taking much less risks. Never mind the fact that a real job, while low paying, also has a 0% chance of getting us arrested.

We also fail to process the underlying issue of all of these actions being connected. Try as we might, if we committed whatever crime in order to get money to buy drugs, we just can’t do them and not get high. Sure, we may do fine in the beginning, but eventually, inevitably, we talk ourselves into buying “just a little bit”. We justify that we have all of this fast, easy money, so it won’t hurt to buy a little something. It doesn’t help that very often, if hHe way the addict gets money is buy stealing something that is then sold to a fence, said fences are often in the parts of town right near the drugs. To get this money we have to go right by the places that we were used to copping our drugs. Especially if we do not live in the area where we sell the items and but the drugs, the pull is compounded even farther. It is hard to stay strong.

Addicts are used to living in a constant state of turmoil and commotion. We also tend to be self-sabatoging. When things in our lives are too easy or too calm for too long, we tend to fuck it up. It is often unintentional. We tend to not even know that we are doing it. We have to be exceedingly careful to not fall into either traps that can lead us back down the road of active addiction, either our lives being too calm or too hard. Our disease never goes away. We are never cured. We have to be vigilante for the rest of our lives. Without actively going out of our way to stay sober, we will slip back into addiction without even realizing it.

The Dangers Of Hiding Our Scars

One time I read a quote about how there is no one stronger on the face of the Earth as an addict who has managed to achieve and maintain sobriety. I couldn’t agree more. I have gone through a lot in my life. Rape, near death (through overdose and guns drawn on me), jail, loss of friends and family, and more bullshit than I care to get into in this blog, but overcoming addiction and managing to stay sober to this date was (and is) by far the hardest thing that I have ever gone through.

My question then is if we as recovering addicts are the strongest people on Earth, why are we shunned by the rest of the world? In 2007, I came home from jail after I had spent Christmas and New Years Eve away from my daughter locked behind bars waiting for a bail to be granted so that I could get bailed out on four different warrants. I came home sober to a very different life than I had before I went to jail. My husband was also locked up on a no bail warrant. (Actually, our no bail warrants both arose from a charge in which we were co-defendants. We were charged with everything from first, second, and third degree assault, to theft, to conspiracy.) One of my best friends was locked up in the strict-as-fuck Commonwealth of Virginia.

I knew that going out boosting was simply not an option. First of all, my partners in crime (my husband and my best friend being held captive in Virginia) were both locked up and thus un-available. Second of all anyone who steals (or whores or deals) in order to receive drugs knows that you simply cannot continue that activity if you wish to remain clean and sober. 

Well, I was a single mother with a daughter for whom I was the sole provider of, I needed a job ASAP. I got a job at an UNO’s Pizzeria. I never told a sole there about my history. When I had court dates, I made up an excuse as to why I needed to miss work that day. I was in a women’s addiction group every Wednesday night that I told my managers was a photography class. I told co-workers that I was separated from my husband instead of saying that he was in jail (eventually I did say that he was in jail, I just didn’t tell them that it was drug related).

I lied. I hid my scars both physical and emotional. I wore long selves all the time in order to hide my track marks. I thought that if I just hid my past from everyone new that I met then I could just become a new person. It didn’t work. I was hiding from myself. When I relapsed, I kept lying and pretending that I was not an addict. Know what happened? I got high for three more years. 

We as addicts need to admit our truth. Maybe not to everyone, but we shouldn’t lie. We need to be honest with ourselves. We are and always will be addicts. Society is not going to just decide to accept addicts out of the blue. We have to force acceptance. This will be an uphill battle of course, but I believe that it can happen. When I was in high school and college and diagnosed with a whole slew of psychological disorders it was so very taboo. Being on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medicines of any sort was something that you just did not admit to. Now it seems that every other person you meet is on some sort of psychiatric medication. 

Addiction is a disease that is both physical and mental. I think (I hope) that one day addicts can openly admit that they are addicts and that they need help. To that end, I hope that help is then readily available. Addicts (sort of like the homeless) are the forgotten. There is not an accurate picture of how many people suffer from this horrible affliction and so there is not enough resources out there for people to be able to help themselves.

I know that it is not easy or fast to change the way the vast majority of society looks at any group that is perceived as a minority, but the issue is that there are far more addicts out there than people care to realize. If people can look past their prejudices and realize that recovered addicts are some of the smartest, strongest, compassionate people in the world, then we wouldn’t have to hide from our true selves and cause greater pyschological  damage to people that tend to have enough damage to overcome. Here’s to hope!

Ghosts of Junkies Past

I don’t know if it stems from the fact that I suffer from ADD, or if I truly suffer from the junkie version of “The Seven Year Itch”, only in my book it is the two year itch, but once I have been clean for about two years, I begin to feel restless. No, I have not relapsed. I do not want to get high. That is not what this is about. I just cannot simply be content with things “as is”. I always need to have a project, something to look forward to. I have to be making plans.

I have been planning not only a trip to Ocean City, MD with my husband and kids this summer, but we are looking into buying, actually owning, our own home. I want that so much. I am thinking that this will help stave off “the itch”. I am very good about paying all the bills as soon as the direct deposit hits. Sometimes, the issue is too much extra money. That is not to imply that we have droves of extra money lying around, but a mortgage that is attached to a $200,000 to $300,000 loan is a lot to loose. It is a good incentive to keep oneself on track.

This itch is not helped by the fact that lately it seems like heroin and heroin addicts are in my face constantly. Friends, actual friends – not your average get high buddies, that I have worked so hard to distance myself, my husband, and my family from have suddenly reappeared. 

Two people in particular. One is a guy that I have been close friends with since my sophomore year in high school. The other is a guy that my husband has been best friends with since first grade, and I met while I was pregnant with my daughter who is eight and a half now. Actually, I wrote about these two men in the article “When Dealing With An Addict Is It Better To Give Love Or Tough Love?”

The man that I have been friends with for 15 years now particularly pains me to not be able to see, but I can’t. I love him. He is family. Except for one incident recently he has been really good to me, and I to him. That being said however, he continues to want to get high. He comes home from jail or rehab and starts back up in a matter of weeks or months. I had to severe the ties, but he has called recently. I do want to hang out, but addicts to not respect that you are a clean, recovering addict. They resort back to fond memories of you getting high with them and inevitably try to get you high, or at least offer it to you. I am actually crying slightly writing about this potential (probably) total loss of this man’s friendship, and I almost NEVER cry.

On Saturday, I was shopping at the local Harris Teeter, when my phone rang. I looked at it and noticed that it was a number that I didn’t recognize, so I didn’t answer. Then it called again, so I picked up. It was the other guy, my husband’s childhood best friend. I hadn’t talked to him in probably nine months, maybe more. I haven’t seen him in like two and a half years. He was locked up and I haven’t seen him since he has been home. I don’t even know where he is living. Things are very different with this man. He is like a brother to me, but he uses my husband. My husband still wants to see him for the best friend that he had for so long, and cannot see the person that the drugs have made him.

On New Years Eve 2012, me, my husband, my sister, and the first friend (the one from high school) all went in town early in the morning. We went to our usual spot to get 37 pills. My husband got out to go into the hole. He came back after about two minutes and told us that they were on hold. He went back up in the hole about ten minutes later while the rest of us waited in the SUV (we loved to use this car because it had really dark tint and you could not see our white skin through the windows) at the back exit of the alley. Anyway, the gave him the first 26 before they ran out. He had to wait in the alley for the next back. The guy went in to the abandoned row house to get the next pack and gave to my husband and sent him on his way. We were all sitting in the car and I see a cop pull up and park almost next to us. Then I see Aaron coming around the corner walking towards the car. “Please don’t come to the car”, I thought to myself. My husband was wearing gloves and a hoody with the hood up, and his head was down, so you couldn’t see his skin color. By continuing to walk the cop should have to reason to stop him, but by opening the car door and the cop seeing four white people on a small street where most of the houses are abandoned and almost no white people live there? Well, we would all be fucked. What we didn’t know was that the police had cops in abandos and on roof tops watching the hole with binoculars. They watched the hole thing. The guy throw my husband to the ground, gun drawn, and cuffed him.

They charged him with possession and possession with intent. They dropped the intent at the preliminary hearing and never intended for the felony charge to go to trial. It would never have stood up, they just did it to fuck him on his bail – and it worked. His bail was set at $20,000. So me and my high school buddy went out to get money after we got well. We had $350 for his bail before it was set. The city takes between 18 and 24 hours to see the commissioner, so we had a little bit of time. They had told him that they would not charge him with intent, so his bail should have been between $2,500 and $5,000. The intent raised the bail. We were able to bail him out on a payment plan agreement.

While all of this was happening, his supposed “best friend” called constantly. Not to see if he could help get money or anything, but because he wanted me to take him out boosting. Then about 12 hours after my husband’s bail was paid and he was due to be released, he walked from whoever he was to the Baltimore City Central Booking and Intake Center where he knew we were waiting. He had called saying that he got a pill of dope for Aaron since he was going to be so ill. I informed him that I had three for my husband. I knew how sick he was, and I wasn’t going to pick him up empty handed. Funny thing, when he arrived, after learning that I had something for my husband, he said that the pill he had for him “fell down his pants legs and is gone”. Come on dude, just admit that you did it! It is fine, I bought him something. Don’t tell me ridiculous lies. He knew that my husband had been locked up with $150. I had mentioned it on the phone saying that it sucked that he had some of the money for his bail in his property. An inmate can sign their property over to someone, but he would not have been able to do it until after he had been moved upstairs and classified. That would have taken days. That was why he met us at Bookings. Almost as soon as my husband got in the car, right after he got on he asks, “You have a $150, right? So you can afford to get me high, right?”. My husband did because that is the kind of person he is, but he saw what I had been telling him, what everyone had been telling him, for months. This guy, his alleged best friend, didn’t once offer to help bail my husband out, but now he wanted the person who just spent the last 36 hours sick as a dog to get him high.

We hung out with him a couple of times right after that, and he fucked us over each time. So excuse me for not being particularly eager to reconnect with this guy. He is also rather chauvinistic. It is not even a remote possibility in his brain that I could be smarter than him about anything because I am a woman. Forget the fact that, sorry to sound arrogant, but I AM smarter than him, as I am smarter than most people. He dismisses anything that me or any woman has to say as being without merit automatically. He doesn’t even really listen to what a woman has to say.

I tend to be a cold, closed off person. It is far and away my biggest flaw. I let no one in. When I do let you into my inner-sanctum, I am intensely loyal, almost to a fault, but I get that close with very few individuals. Both of these men are people that at one point and time were close to me (one much closer and more trusted than the other) and now because of my demons, because of their demons, I cannot see them or really even talk to them. It is sad, but necessary to keep the “two year itch” at bay.

When Dealing With An Addict Is It Better To Give Love Or Tough Love?

I ran into one of my oldest friends yesterday. My husband and I had gotten a couples massage done. When we left, we went across the street to get gas. Thertuge was a guy that I have been friends with for fifteen years. We will call him Ethan (not his real name). He just cam home from rehab for the um-tenth time about a month or so ago. He was trying to sell us something in order to procure funds to go in town to cop some dope. This is the same story with him. Over and over. He will have a killer habit, get busted- either by being arrested or by his parents, go to jail or to rehab, come home, do well for a week or a month or six, then start getting high again. So the story goes, over and over and over again.

I have another friend who I have known for about nine years, but my husband has been best friends with this guy since elementary school. He is the same way. Goes to jail for a year or two, comes home, starts getting high, rips and runs until he gets locked up and goes back to jail. Actually we haven’t seen this dude who I am going to call Adam (again, not his real name) in over a year. We had to cut him out of our lives. He doesn’t even try to do good. Also he wants my husband and I to do too much for him. I am not a cold hearted bitch, despite how this sounds, but I have my own family to take care of. He wants money (which I have no problem giving – sometimes), he wants a place to live (again, I don’t mind giving a friend a place to stay for a night or even a week, but we have given him a place to sleep and he stayed for like six months). Also, he doesn’t ever want to give my husband and I any alone time or family time. he is always there. Actually, last time he stayed with us, he would come in our bedroom and hang out, watch tv, and get high. He would never take the hint to leave, we would have to pretend that we were asleep to get him to finally go into the guest room and go to sleep. We would then get back up and hang out alone, snuggle, fuck, talk, you know – be a married couple.

Anyway, these two dudes are very similar in that the cycle of addiction is their lives. In and out of active addiction. In and out of institutions. Only difference with that is that Adam has never gone to rehab since I have known him. Once, long before I ever met him, he was in a rehab, but was out on a day pass and got arrested for picking up a hooker thus not making it back before curfew and got kicked out. The main difference with these two guys is their families. Ethan’s parents, who are his adoptive parents, support him every time he messes up. They are self mad millionaires. They own a security company. Actually they were the people that put up the police cameras that are on practically every corner in Baltimore. The other guy, Andy. His mom and step-dad are the exact opposite. They don’t help him out at all.

So which family has the answers? Who is doing it right? To even begin to answer that, we have to delve deeper into each man’s situation.

First I am going to discuss Adam and his family. They believe in tough love to the extreme. Actually, if we are being totally honest, I think that his mother would help him, support him, be there for him, but his step-dad is having none of it. I mean they don’t bail him out when he gets arrested, but many people look at this and say that he got himself in jail, so why should his parents get him out? Ok, maybe, he is 36 after all. It is so much more than just not paying his bail. They will not visit him in jail, send him money or even write to him in jail. They won’t set up an account on their cell phones enabling him to call them collect from jail. When he has done time in the past, they refused to get his car out of impound within the deadline, thus letting it be taken over by the state. So he lost that car. Another car and another time in jail, they wouldn’t let him park his car at their house, so he lost that car because he had no where to leave it safely and eventually it was towed and as with the previous car, if not retrieved from the impound by the deadline, it is the state’s to auction off. When he comes home, they are unwilling to let him live with them, or even stay with him until he gets into a half way house. They won’t help him pay for rehab. Or give him some money to get himself started when he comes home. Yeah, tough love.

Ethan’s family is exactly the opposite. He lives with them. They always pay his bail. They have even put their house up as collateral to get his ass out of jail when he had a $500,000 bail. They pay for him to go to rehab when he comes home from jail. He has had hi sentence cut down before due to this. In Maryland we have what is called an 8505. This means that at least one time, a judge has to allow someone with a history of drug addiction to be able to serve their time in rehab instead of jail. A good lawyer can often get an 8505 for a client even if they have received it before. obviously, most people would prefer to do their time in a rehab facility instead of in a prison. They have put him into rehab even when jail is not involved, (i.e. not an 8505, or no pending charges where rehab would look good for the judge and possibly spare him time or at the very least receive less time from the judge). Currently he is on a methadone program. They give him a place to live, pay for anything he needs. Also, and probably one of the biggest things they do for him, they give him a job at their company. He would never get this job if not for his father. He would not pass the security clearance. A job, besides being a requirement for parole and probation, is the biggest stepping stone to achieving self-sufficiency and maintaining sobriety.
Both men, sadly keep going through the revolving door of ails, institutions, and active addiction. So who is approaching their relationship with their child right? In my humble opinion, I think that Ethan’s parents are going about it the right way.

They are not enabling him. They will pay for things he needs, but they almost never give him cash, unless they are pretty positive that he is not getting high. They have strict rules for living at their house. Now an addict is going to find a way to get high if they want to, but they do not just allow drugs in the house. If they find drugs, or needles or any other sort of paraphernalia, they are sending him into a program. Actually they have had him arrested before, but they dropped the charges when it went to court. I think that they just wanted him to “dry out” in a cell for the night. They try to keep track of any and everyone that he is hanging out with. Believe me, you do not want to be grilled by is mother.

The thing is, at least he has a fighting chance when he comes home from jail or rehab. Adam, he doesn’t even have a shot. He comes out of jail with no where to live. Yeah, you can go into a halfway house, but unless you are in a pre-release kind of jail, there is no way to find and contact these places until you get out. That is one of the primary flaws in the system. You have to have a place to stay for a few days in order to find a place to live. At least halfway houses will let you in without any money up front. Yeah, they charge you rent to live there, but they give you a couple of weeks to get a job. As long as you are actively looking for employment, they ill give you time. In the beginning, they are mostly concerned with making sure that all of your drug screens are clean, that you are going to the required number of NA or AA meetings and are helping out with the cooking and chores. It is usually a little bit harder to g from jail to rehab if there is no one helping you. If you do not have insurance that covers all or at least the majority of the cost, they are going to want a large portion of the money up front. State insurance takes a month or so to kick in. You have to go to the social services office and apply (you can also apply for food stamps too, in order to get the temporary cash assistance, you have to come to the social services offices 3-4 days a week and turn in like 10 job applications a week, so if you have no one to help you with a ride, there is really no point in trying to get the TCA), hen about a week later you get your Medical Assistance card with your number and a bunch of brochures about different insurance companies, you then call the state’s medical assistance number and tell them which company you have chosen, like a week after that you get your insurance card and have health insurance. That is like two to three weeks in the best case, fastest scenario. So for Adam with no where to stay while waiting rehab is a difficult option (I didn’t even get into the fact there is a high probability that there is a wait list). So he stays with a friend in the city. He finds someone who will let him sleep at their house for $10 a night. More often than not, these people get high as most 0f his friends that live in the city do. He needs money right away so he starts going out boosting. With no internet access, he ends up not even looking for a halfway house, Actually, the only time that he lived in a halfway house was when he stayed with us after he was released from jail and my sister complied a list of halfway houses. Being as he is staying with people with a drug habit who are taking him out boosting and then going to cop dope, it is only a matter of days or weeks that this heroin habit is back.

I am in no way trying to put all of his issues with relapse on his parents, Ethan is proof that an addict will relapse if they want. I have noticed that Adam developed a habit within about a week of coming home, while Ethan has gone a year, and almost always months. Yeah when I saw him, he was trying to cop, but I don’t think he had a habit. He is a fool to think that his casual use will not develop into a habit, but he is trying. Ethan’s parents afford him the opportunity to do the right thing, and one of these times he will get into his mind that he is sick of this life of drug use and abuse. Adam doesn’t even stand a chance. He is released from prison with no where to sleep, no one to support him emotionally or financially.

To Out Junky The Next Junky – The Sick Games That Addicts Play

I spent many of the formative years of my twenties as a bartender. I was usually the resident daytime bartender. I worked Monday through Friday, open till, about six in the evening. I went through periods, however, where I worked Saturday five till two am, and the Sunday Football crowd (that had to stop because I can not be disturbed during football). Hang around bars for any length of time, and you hear groups of people one-upping each other. Men seem to do this slightly more, but by no means is this a game that is regulated by gender.

The stories start out normal and get more and more ridiculous as time (and booze) progresses. You know where else you hear this a lot? Jails and rehabs. In jail there is a lot of inmates bragging about their crimes. Their convictions are worn as a badge of honor. Extra points are allotted for crimes that a person was charged but not convicted of. Everyone is the hardest motherfucker out there. They have robbed more banks, or boosted from more stores, or made more money off of selling drugs than just about anyone in the history of criminals.

Rehabs (and on the streets to a degree) the one-up-manship is twisted in sort of sick, twisted game to prove who is the biggest, most hard-core junky. Everyone likes to talk about how bad their habit was. Oh, and their dope or crack or meth or whatever was the best shit EVER. On the streets are the a good deal of addicts whose sole hustle is to cop for people. They hang around looking for people (usually white people) who don’t know where to get anything. They then proceed to tell you how great the shit they get is. They usually need some extensive amount of shit to get high, but whatever dope they are trying push you to get at the moment got them ripped as balls off of just one. You then pay them a pill to cop it. Of course the trick is that they usually know that dealer really well and get a deal if you are buying a decently large quantity and end up with a few extras. One way to see if they are trying to work you is to see if they are spending any of their own money on the shit. A homeless dud begging for money all day will try to talk you into just about anything in order to get one or more for free, but if they are spending their own twenty that took them probably four hours of pan-handling to get… Well you get the idea.

As an addict, I never found anyone who found shit that was better than what we were already getting. What someone who spends thirty dollars a day thinks is great, I more than likely will not, what with a thousand plus dollar a day habit.

This is the shift that would irritate the shit out of me in rehab. People going on and on about how much they spent, how bad their habit was, etc. They were proud of this shit. I never told anyone except the nurse how much I spent a day. Obviously, the nurse needs to know, because they need to know how sick you may get, how much medication you are going to need. I was never proud that my hubby and I went through about eleven hundred dollars a day between the two of us. When I was getting high, I always wished that I had a fourth dollar a day habit. I would have gone through much less physical hell each and every morning. We could have made money last all that much longer.

Sometimes, as sort of some sick ass, self-inflicted torture, my husband and I would add up how much money we spent in a year getting high. Well a thousand dollars a day for 365 days is $365,000 a year. This went on for eleven year. Subtract five years of clean time (two now and three awhile back) and that is six years of that. That is $2,190,000. Ok, there was months here and there that we only had habits of maybe three hundred or five hundred or one-fifty. So, even if I am generous, we spent at least $1,750,000 in six years of active addiction. You know how much I could have with that? A nice ass house, even around here. We could each have a Mercedes. So yeah, I am far from proud of “how big of a junky” I was. It is embarrassing.

I suppose it stems from the fact that when an addict has just entered rehab, they do not feel that they have all that much to be proud of. This translates into trying to out junky the next junky. Everyone spent more than the next guy, and the drugs were a higher quality than what everyone else got. Every addict went harder when they were on the streets than the next addict. Why? Why does anyone feel the need to brag about what is considered by the rest of society as an atrocious attribute? I think it comes down to being a defense mechanism of sorts. It is kind of like by telling everyone how awful and rough you are then you beat the outside world to the punch. Sort of, “Oh, you think that I am a horrible person? Tell me something I don’t know.”

The quandary with this sort of logic is that perception tends to become reality. When you continually out up a front of being an abhorrent human being, someone who is merely an addict, is that over time, that is who you become. You sink deeper and deeper into this reality. I am no stranger at shutting off the world so that they can not hurt me first, but accepting that you are an loathsome, despicable person and then becoming it simply in order to beat the rest of the world to the punch is really the ultimate act of self sabotage.

Really through, the minute we become addicted to drugs, we are steadily undermining ourselves. We have very little comfort in much as addicts, I suppose being able to wear the crown of the ultimate junky offers us some sort of sick, fucked up comfort.

Addiction – the great equalizer?

After being clean for a little while, I have started to get very passionate about in injustices of society. I was always a “riot grrrl”, but I became a full fledged feminist in college when I took a “Women in the Arts” class that was taught by a wonderful TA. I personally have a problem with being a feminist and being totally unperturbed by the other injustices that are forced upon others.

I feel that I got a little out of touch with my feminist side due to my addiction. Not in the archetypal, “I am so high that I don’t care about anything”. It is more than that drug addiction (and recovery to a large extent) evens the playing field for us all. Now, I know that there are going to be a lot of people reading this who don’t agree! but hear me out.

First rebuttal you might have is the rampant prostitution that I mentioned in an earlier post. Yes, a large, VERY large, number of female addicts turn to prostitution as a way to make money. There is a good deal of men who turn to the oldest profession as well. (I personally did not know many, but there are more men out there than you would think). Yes, these women subject themselves to horrendous amounts of abuse at the hands of their johns. Thing is, it is hardly ever addicts picking up these women. Male and female addicts may hook up while getting high, but they stay friends, and their is a sense of equality.

Everyone does shit for money. I hung out with a lot of addicts who had millionaire parents. I also hung out with a lot of addicts who lived on the streets or in abandoned row homes. Aside from maybe having a car and a nicer place to sleep at night, we all had to earn money daily. Of all the “rich” people I knew, I only knew one girl who never had to steal or hustle. She could just call her mom and say that she was transferring $500 from her mom’s account to her own and take $5,000. Her mom never noticed. She also had a Mercedes, her own $500,000 town house, and more Gucci bags than you could shake a stick at. These of us who cam from money, probably had run that well dry long ago. Your parents might give you a place to live, but they aren’t going to support a thousand dollar a day heroin problem. Maybe, if you could come up with a really slick reason, they might give you money, but it usually wasn’t worth how guilty they would make you feel, and thus was to be saved for desperate times only. (Most of the middle or upperclass addicts were at least fortunate enough to have someone to pay their bail).

Rich, poor, black, white, male, female, some where in our dark and twisted realities that is our past existence, we all did shitty things. We all woke up daily throwing up. Our families were all disappointed in us. We have all been to jail, or rehab, or an ER, where the employees of that institution treat you like the scum of the earth. Especially in jail. The COs really enjoy seeing dope sick prisoners. Seeing us two shades above death gets them off on some kind of sick power trip. We have all been harassed, mistreated and abused by police. If you are black and in a middle class area, you are fucked with (Trayvon Martin anyone). I was used to being a white couple in an all black neighborhood. The police would literally tell us that they pulled us over because we were white, and thus buying drugs (One time in particular hot are a car of knockers, or undercover drug cops, drove by my husband and I and yelled, “You’re white, get the fuck out of here.”) Almost everyone I know has been beat up severely by the knockers for literally nothing at all. Easiest way to get your ass kicked by undercover drug police? Not have any drugs on you. This pisses them off to no end, and there is a good chance that they will kick your ass.

We have all been arrested, then read our charge papers and laughed out loud in the cell at all the lies they put in to make it not an illegal search and seizure or just to make their case better. We all also know that in a court where it is a junkies word against a car full of cops who got their stories straight while they wrote your charging documents that you are fucked, royally.

Addiction breaks everyone down. It doesn’t care about your gender, race, or class. As such, the longer a person has spent in the hell of addiction, the less that they even see those distinctions. This is why recovering addicts are such a hodge podge, mixing pot of people. This is why they all tend to get a long for the most part. Once someone tells you that they are a heroin addict, you instantly know that the two of you have a spiritual connection that transcends the boundaries that hold others apart. We know the internal struggle that one another has had with out speaking a word.

Once an addict gets clean, they tend to stay sympathetic to anyone facing any level of injustice. We have felt it. It seems that everyone, rich or poor, black or white, male on female, looks down on the addict. We are discerned to be the lowest of the low. We tend to have criminal records, and poor credit. Not a lot of people want to help us out. To get back on our feet. I think we know that we can’t commit the same atrocities that we see others doing. We can not justify a belief that we are better than someone for any reason, when we ourselves are considered the bottom of the barrel.

I wish that it didn’t take a lot of people the ongoing hell that is drug addiction to see that we as humans are not all that different from one another, that most of those difference are due to where we grew up and what we have been through. Addiction, it seems to be the greatest equalizer.