Sauna Day 4:
There are a few new students among the mix. Louis, is a tall, stocky, guy with dermal piercings by his eye. He is from Vegas and I’d guess he’s in his mid twenties. I met him at the doctor already, when he was doing detox and withdrawal. I call him, “Bling, bling.” He has dark hair and a beard. Already, he is loved by the student body and is known for his impersonation of the Malibu Passages spokesperson. It is hilarious. Not only because he has the language down, but because when he recites the line,
I was an addict for 10 years, now I’m not- Pax Prentiss- Malibu Passages
He motions, as if he has a needle and is plugging his arm with it. We all crack up. However, if Ethics sees him doing it, he is instructed to knock it off. It’s too late, he already has a group of students mimicking him.
Another student, Derek Lowry, is from New York. He also, is in his mid twenties. He is shorter and stocky. He is white with freckles and has a bald head. He wears one of several, NY hats to cover it, at all times. He has an infectious laugh and you can’t help but smile when he is around. Him and Louis, are already joined at the hip.
They have a third, partner in crime in the group named, John. He is a shorter guy with an athletic build, brownish, red hair and glasses. He also, has freckles. He is a major sweetheart.
“You guys need to do your chores,” instructs Coco.
It is after morning muster and we are all supposed to be doing our chores. I feel bad for Coco and Chanel. It’s like pulling teeth, to get some of the students to actually get up and do them. Instead, many of them gather around the smoking area, chain smoke and bull shit before class. I do my chores, but I am in PM sauna, so I can finish my smoke first.
The van is dropping off students from the houses and Keisha makes her way over to me.
“Hey lady, how was your night?” She asks.
“Come down to the room,” I suggest.
I inform her about my break down, followed by how cool Hayden is. I excitedly tell her about our Jesus talk. She looks a little disappointed, but happy too.
“Well I get you back after sauna,” she jokes.
“Duh! That’s a given,” I reply.
“So what is the house like?” I ask.
“Actually, it’s awesome,” she responds.
“What? Really?” I ask.
“Yeah. I share a room with Julia. We have a television in the room, so I brought you back my portable DVD player,” she elaborates.
“Oh hell yeah,” I respond, excitedly.
Julia is a very petite, Latina with dark hair and big eyes. She is quiet and I don’t know much about her, other than the fact she makes it to church every Sunday. Hayden is out of the shower and I introduce her and Keisha.
“Is that a portable DVD player?” Hayden asks.
“Yeah. I am going to let you guys use it in exchange for my being able to still use the bathroom here instead of the one in the lodge,” Keisha giggles.
We all laugh. Reagan still uses our bathroom, as well. It’s a female thing. We don’t need boys knowing what really goes on in there!
“Hell yeah,” Hayden says. “It’s nice to meet you. Liz was pretty upset about you leaving last night. You must be a pretty cool chick.”
“Thanks,” Keisha replies. “We’ve gotten pretty close.”
That is a bigger truth than I think Keisha knows. In fact, nobody but her, really knows much about me. I have been loud, obnoxious, angry and let’s face it, a little slutty with the way I talk to the boys. I haven’t told anyone, anything real about who I am or my past, with the exception of Keisha. Truth is, I am shy. I am terrified at the idea that someone might not like me, and I say inappropriate things to the boys, to keep them away.
I really went through hell, before I came here. I found myself in a place I never would of imagined I’d end up and I am ashamed at what I was doing and who I had allowed myself to become.
“So, the house isn’t that bad huh? But you are stuck with Jo, Victoria and Christina. Christina’s cool but Jo is a bitch,” I laugh.
“Actually, we all hung out in the living room for a little bit, and she is way different at the house,” Keisha responds.
I roll my eyes. “Well maybe she should stay there then,” I laugh.
“How is Objectives?” I ask Keisha.
“They pair you up with a twin (partner) and I was paired up with Noah,” she smiles.
“What? No way! You guys are totally getting away with a 2D flow,” I laugh.
“Yeah, but we aren’t doing anything,” she giggles. “We aren’t hooking up or anything.”
It’s true, but still, I am surprised they would pair them up when it is so obvious they are into each other.
“Bolts and Brian are twins too,” Keisha laughs. “It’s like an entirely different world over there.”
“Man, I am so bummed to be left behind, meh,” I pout.
“Two Minutes,” Jacob shouts out.
“It’s time for roll,” I inform Hayden, before we all make our way over to the course room.
Coco and Chanel have a new roommate. She is a sweetheart. She is in her mid forties. She is short and fit, with brown hair and a big smile. Her name is Cathy. Coco and Chanel appear upset and I question if they don’t like Cathy. However, it’s not that at all. They are concerned with having to possibly move to the Ginger House. They have fought, very hard to stay at the center and be bunked together. They really don’t want to move or be separated.
John Tiger is in the course room. He is there to make an announcement.
“Okay guys. This shit at roll call needs to stop. You are all adults. When Stormy, or Jacob, calls your name. You are not to say anything other than the word, here. From now on, if you make it through the week without any chits, you will not be required to attend classes on Sunday,” he elaborates. “This excludes students in sauna.”
Hell yeah. I’m in sauna, so I won’t benefit from this change yet, however, after sauna, it might be a nice incentive. Objective students are excused and make their way to the van to go across the street. I spend the morning watching Twilight in my room, before sauna.
It’s nearing 2:00, meaning, it is time to report for sauna. I have not reacted to the niacin, so they continue to up my dose. We hit the track for 20 minutes before getting into the sauna.
“Is there something wrong with me?” I ask Kentucky. “Why am I not responding to the niacin?”
“Everybody is different. No, there ain’t nothing wrong with you,” she laughs. “Now get into the box!”
After a few minutes, Kentucky comes into the sauna to observe the students reactions to the niacin. Some people get really red and their skin burns. They are instructed to sit on the top bench to sweat it out quickly.
“My nose is itchy and I feel like my face is hot,” I inform Kentucky.
“Well, now gall darn it. You wanted a reaction and you got one,” she says, while observing the irritation on my face.
It is short lived. Now that I have had a reaction, I am not overly enthused about having another. Unfortunately, my body is reacting to something else and it is extremely painful. Old reliable (the vein I shot heroin into the most), is swelling up and it hurts badly. In fact, it feels so painful, it is reminiscent of when you miss the vein when shooting meth. The pain radiates up and down my forearm.
“What the fuck? My vein is swollen,” I say.
Jan makes her way over to me. “Did you maybe bump it before sauna?” She asks.
Obviously, Jan is not a heroin addict. Alcohol was her DOC. I can’t help but laugh out loud at her inquiry.
“Uh, no. This is the vein that was my, “Go to” for pushing heroin into my system,” I inform her.
“It is swollen Liz. You need to show Kentucky. It looks bruised,” she elaborates.
It absolutely looks swollen and has a purplish hue to it. I make my way out of the box to Kentucky. She informs me that there is a water bottle in the freezer, that is now ice. She instructs me to ice it.
“What turns it on, turns it off Liz. You got to go back in to the box,” she says.
Oh my gawd. Old reliable on my other arm, is now beginning to swell and hurt. Old reliable, is the vein in the corner of the fold of my inner elbow. Meaning, to bend my arm at all, is painful. Lifting anything, is painful. Moving a fork from my plate to my mouth, hurts. This is not good. I don’t tell Kentucky that my other arm is now swelling up.
The thing about the sauna anthem, “What turns it on, turns it off,” is that they will make you sit in the box, until your turn on is gone. In my opinion, this is not a turn on. I don’t feel high. I’m not embracing a heroin nod. After five hours, nothing has changed. I’ve alternated between two water bottle, ice packs the entire time and it is still very painful and swollen.
The worst part, is not the pain. This feeling, is a major fucking trigger. My mouth is salivating at the idea of shooting dope. I can’t stop thinking about it. The thought won’t leave me, because my arm is at a constant throb. This sucks. I don’t dare admit that shit to Kentucky, or I know I will end up doing some stupid ass light objectives, to get me out of my head and back into, “Present time.”
“My arm feels better,” I lie.
Kentucky checks it out and looks at me. I think she knows I am lying, as the vein is purple and swollen, but she allows me to fill out my sauna paperwork and dismisses me.
“Keep icing that Liz. I’m fucking serious, you hear me?” She asks.
“Okay. I hear you,” I respond. Yeah, she must know it hurts still. I love her for not making me stay in the box longer.
After I shower, Hayden and I make our way to the smoking benches by the pool. We both take an earbud (headphone) and plug one of our ears. I let her DJ my iPod. Most of my music is rap and she is into more rock. I don’t have much rock, with the exception of Linkin Park. Cause they are fucking awesome.
We have a blast singing along to several songs, including, Christina Aguilera, Genie in a Bottle. Yes. I am a nerd and I love pop music and I am not ashamed of my love for Nsync, Britney and Christina. Louis, Derek and John make their way over to us. Derek is crushing on Hayden.
Bolts, Brian, Hunter, Noah, Juice and Keisha, are all moved into the houses now. This is my new group for the duration of sauna, before I am likely moved over to the Ginger House. You are not allowed to move to the houses, until you have completed the sauna program. I like this group, I do, but the thing is, they are new.
See, the way it works is the new students come in and drug talk. They can’t help it. They are newly sober and dope is still on their minds. If Ethics catches them, they are told to stop talking about drugs, but trading drug stories is a newbie guarantee and we always find a way. Once you get into sauna, you start eating more, sleeping better and purging the drug residuals from your body. The drug dreams and cravings, begin to dwindle, or so they allege.
By the time you are out of sauna, you have made some close friends (usually the people you do your sauna program with), and you are feeling much better. The drug talk dissipates and you become more focused on completing the program, rather than sitting around complaining about it. Something about moving to the houses, gives you a sense of going home and normalcy.
That’s great, but I went through all my drug talk shit with all my friends that are now out of sauna and in the houses. Meaning, the group of students remaining at the center with me, are new, and I am still stuck in a circle of drug talk. This is not good. I can choose not to talk about drugs, but I am forced to listen to them talk about them. The alternative is to become a hermit in my room, and that ain’t going to happen!
My arm is throbbing, as I listen to Louis recall his trip to detox. Apparently, he had an intervention and refused to get in the car, unless he was allowed to smoke the rest of his heroin. He laughs, as he informs us that he smoked tar the entire trip from Vegas to California. My mouth salivates and the urge to get high resurfaces…