I am excited to get off the mountain today. Even more so, now that I know my CSW was approved for getting an iPod. I met with the Treasury department head, briefly. Her name is Emma Chadwick, and she is a real live Barbie doll.
I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, but she is tall, with a perfect body and has blond hair, with sun kissed skin. She has a perfect, white smile and big, doe eyes. When I first got here, I was short money in my student account. I thought Shelly (my Huntington WD Specialist) took it, because when I got my nose pierced, she had to fudge the paperwork. She obviously couldn’t hand in that receipt.
Plus, I had gotten Shelly a pedicure and paid for her lunch. Now that I am more aware of my surroundings, it feels like she took advantage a little. Emma, took money out of her own pocket, replacing what I had lost, to calm me down and make sure I could get soda on my Walmart list. I already like her.
Brad is the one who approved my CSW to get the iPod. Incidentally, Brad is Emma’s man, and the Ethic’s Officer (EO) who handed me my stack of mail initially. It is starting to feel as though the majority of the staff is a tight knit little family.
“Ready to go 2 Chaaaaaainz? Yeaaaaaa,” Rick calls out to me.
“Hell yeah! I am so excited to get off this mountain,” I admit.
“Gavrill is driving, so we are about to have a good time,” Rick suggests.
There is another student and an intern coming with us. The intern is Johnny, the guy who had court and rode up to the center from Huntington with me. The student is Nicholas, but we all call him Saint Nick, or Saint. He is an older gentleman, in his sixties. He looks a lot like Santa, hence the nickname. Apparently he has been here a long time.
“Hey Saint. What are you in for?” I ask, as he hops into the van. He has an oxygen tank that he carts around with him. Rick is gracious in assisting him with getting into the van.
“Oh, when you’re my age, they get you for a little bit of everything,” he answers, through a chuckle.
Saint is a sweet, old man. He is welcoming of all students and doesn’t participate in any Narconon drama. He is also the one who informs me of the truth, I will be taking advantage of soon.
“It’s your program. It takes as long as it takes,” he responds to my question concerning how he has been here for a year.
This is true (T.I.T.). I remember discussing this with my Reg. when I inquired as to how long the program was. I had already done a 30 day state rehab joke and wanted a 90 day program. I learned about brain chemistry and healing times for opiate (heroin) receptors to begin to close up. Extra receptors in the brain develop to accommodate the endorphin rush that comes along with using opiates. It can take up to two years (according to my doctor) for those receptors to go away.
The reason withdrawals are so torturous, is that once all of those receptors have developed, they demand the endorphin rush they have grown accustom to. In fact, your body tells itself that you are creating too many endorphins and slows down the body’s natural endorphin production. Now you have a shit ton of extra brain receptors, opened up, all waiting for the endorphin rush and your body can’t accommodate feeding them without the continued use of opiates.
Without the endorphins, you are sick, sluggish and miserable. It’s a vicious cycle. Translation? I was adamant about being somewhere longer than 30 days. Science tells us that 30 days, isn’t enough. Statistics with relapse, confirm this.
“It takes as long as it takes,” I repeat. “How long do you think you will be here?” I ask.
“As long as it takes me to feel comfortable leaving. I like it here. The program has been paid for. What’s my rush?” He asks, in response to my question.
The drive down is nice. Gavrill plays techno music that I can tolerate, lets us vape and drives like a mad man on a mission. Once at the doctor, we are herded into the back room. I guess the back room is the Narconon student hang out.
“Remember the last time you were here?” Rick asks.
“Vaguely. I remember getting my vitamin drip in that chair. Man, that thing caused pain to radiate up my arm and through my shoulder,” I confess.
“You stuck your feet out and asked Daily to rub them,” Rick laughs. “You also told us not to let you drool!”
“Oh my gawd. How embarrassing,” I admit. “I was in a Valium coma.”
“I know, but it was funny,” Rick confirms.
We take turns seeing the doctor. I don’t have to meet with the doctor, however, as a nurse can draw my blood. I want to see the doctor and ask Gavrill to get me in to see him. I am frightened and I have never received my AIDS test results.
The doctor allows for me to see him, but it causes us to be there another hour. I feel bad, but I want to know what the hell is going on. The doctor’s English is not very easy to understand. He has a thick accent. I believe it is Middle Eastern, but I don’t know.
I don’t want to sound like an arrogant American, demanding that everyone speaks proper English, however, when you are talking to me about my health, I need to be able to understand. I am irritated by this.
“No AIDS, Miss. Elizabeth,” he says. My heart slows down and resumes its normal pace. “Just, checking for sauna approval, you understand?” He asks.
I don’t understand and I am irritated that he is not clarifying what is going on concerning my liver enzymes. I can’t make out everything he is saying, through his thick accent. Nonetheless, I did hear, “No AIDS,” and that’s a huge weight off my chest.
After we leave, we stop at Walmart and I grab my iPod. Gavrill is awesome and because he has our money, he allows for us to eat away from the center today. We have Chinese food. It is so good and makes me miss home. I worked in a Chinese restaurant for 13 years. None of us are in a rush to get back to the center. Gavrill takes the scenic route down the coast.
It’s breathtaking. I can smell the sea in the air and I long to sit on the beach again. We stop to use the bathroom and Gavrill lets me smoke a cigarette, while taking in the neighboring ocean to the bathroom stop. I never want to leave.
Once back at the center, there is only a single session of class left to the 9-9 schedule. That means, I have missed an entire long day and I am fucking thrilled about it. Even more exciting, Reagan has been moved to the Ginger House and Aiden informs me that I can move in with Keisha.
“Hell yeah! Oh my gawd. Thank you Aiden!” I exclaim, again fighting back the urge to hug him. Aiden has been the deliverer of my good news, several times already.
“Hey Keisha, guess what?” I ask her smugly.
“I already know! Yaaaay!” She exclaims.
“I don’t know what is more exciting, missing an entire day of class, or missing the final session to move in with you,” I say, jokingly.
“Duh. Moving in with me,” Keisha replies, in the same joking tone.
“I can’t believe it. No more top bunk,” I say. “I am going to hang some pictures of my daughter up. I didn’t hang them because I knew I was moving,” I explain.
“Cool,” Keisha acknowledges. “Your daughter is adorable.”
“Did you find out anything from the doctor?” She asks.
“Girl, oh my gawd. I found out he doesn’t speak English well and I could only make out every third word,” I explain. She laughs, but apologizes when she sees I am frustrated by it.
“It’s okay. I just feel like, damn if you are my doctor, I need to know what the fuck you are saying concerning things like, oh, I don’t know, AIDS results and liver enzymes being off, ya know?” I ask in an aggravated tone.
“Yeah. That must be frustrating,” she admits.
“I mean, clearly, he is qualified to be a doctor, but maybe he should hire a translator. I don’t know. Do I sound like a racist, ignorant American?” I ask.
“No. Fuck no, Liz. It’s not racist to expect to be able to understand what the doctor is saying to you, at all,” she assures me.
“I am worried,” I admit. “The results don’t come back right away and I feel like they already know something is wrong with me, but in order to keep me in “present time” and focused on the program, they are withholding that information,” I elaborate.
“I don’t know,” Keisha confesses. “I don’t think lawfully than can withhold medical information about your health.”
“Yeah. You are probably right,” I respond. “At least I know that I do not have HIV or AIDS. I wasn’t seriously worried about that, but you know every time you get that test and you have to wait for the results, it’s torture. Back home when I get tested, they swab your mouth and tell you 20 minutes later now.”
“I know,” she admits.
Keisha is a very reassuring friend and a great listener. It is strange, but she is able to detect when I need time to myself, when I need a listening ear and when I need a comforting conversation. We have only known each other a week, but I feel as though we are more like sisters. She just has this sixth sense about me.
Keisha’s DOC is heroin. Only, she didn’t poke and prod at the veins in her arms. She injected heroin into her femoral vein (upper thigh) with a big ass, femoral needle. I have never seen or heard of that. She is embarrassed by her scarring there.
“Damn. I am glad I didn’t know that was a possibility. My veins were so damn hard to hit, I really didn’t have a choice but to get help. If I had known about this, I may have stayed out there longer,” I confess.
The same way that I am surprised by her technique, she is stunned by my admission of hitting my neck. They are both, very dangerous spots to hit. Not that it is safe to inject heroin at all, but these spots are particularly dangerous.
All this talk about heroin, has both of our mouths watering.
“I miss it,” I admit. “I have heroin dreams and contemplate methods of getting heroin, every day.”
“Me too,” she, also, admits. “There is someone I can call back home that would send me dope in a package. It is very tempting.”
“What? No fucking way. Let’s do it,” I encourage.
I realize I am not being a good friend, but let’s face it, I am a drug addict. I am selfish and relentless for my fix by nature.
“The thing is, I haven’t talked to him in a while. My parents do not like him,” she explains.
“Well, duh. My dad doesn’t like Eric either,” I say.
Eric was the guy I was banging dope with. He was an abusive son of a bitch. I enlighten Keisha about him and in turn, she tells me about her ex.
We spend the night talking about how badly we miss heroin and how hard it is to be sober, while I hang up pictures of my daughter and unpack my belongings. We are both salivating at the idea of using, “just one last time.”
The conversation turns from hypothetical ways of getting dope sent to us, to actually plotting and planning a delivery. Keisha is more grounded than I am. While she entertains the idea and has ways of making it happen, she is reluctant because she has been sober much longer and already in the sauna portion of the program.
If she were to get caught using, she would have to start sauna all over again.
“Man, we have got to stop talking about this,” she suggests.
“I know,” I admit. “Do you think we should run a light objective to get out of our heads?” I ask, sarcastically.
We both burst into a fit of laughter. We don’t run a light objective, of course; however, just mentioning it and having that laugh about it, ends our heroin talk for the evening. I don’t want to be a bad friend to Keisha, but my mind is still wrapped around the idea of her connect sending us dope. I don’t want to encourage her to fuck up her program, but it is all I can think about, as I finally drift off to sleep for the night…