By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
By Dennis Romero
Habits progress all by themselves. One day everything is fine, you got it under control. Then like lightning the monkey on your back turns into King Kong, and all the obsession and madness that's been in check for so long comes back with a vengeance. Now I need $400 to $500 a day just to get right. I still had veins back then, and if I didn't have a wake-up big enough to put me on the edge of a coma, just getting out of bed was a nightmare. The job went fast. Acquiring dope and doing it was my whole life. I don't care if you're the pope, if you got a decent-size heroin habit you will do whatever you got to to stay well. The pride I was taking in being my version of legit was absurd, but when the day came that I ran out of dough it was back to rippin' and runnin'.
Had a close call, a dope rip-off that went bad. The dealer I'd relieved of his product shot a gang of holes in my car as I was leaving. Realizing that maybe I should look for other options before someone with better aim decided to stop my clock, I thought methadone might be the answer. Stupid. Now it's 80 mg of methadone and a fistful of Valium to start the day, shoot as much smack as I can get, and if I got enough dough add some coke so that I can experience something besides being a zombie.
When they finally busted me it was almost a relief. I was tore up from the floor up, dead on my feet, just too stupid to lie down and quit breathing. I was in County for most of '82 fighting multiple burglary charges, finally got a six-year lid, state time. L.A. County is such bogus time I was grateful when they called me to catch the chain. Got to the pen and kept as low a profile as possible, read, gambled, lifted weights, got loaded every chance I got, which was damn near every day, and decided that I didn't like jail a bit.
I also started writing my first book. Developed a new habit, burning through pencils and ballpoint pens and reams of legal pads, butcher paper, colored stationery, any fucking thing I could get my hands on. Playing it off like I was writing letters so I wouldn't have to take the chance of one of my peers wanting to read the stuff I was writing. Nothing - nothing - is as scary as putting your guts on a piece of paper for any weasel to take cheap shots at. Doing an armed robbery, fist-fighting a gorilla, whatever. It don't compare to letting other people read your stuff.
Got out and found a new line of endeavor that I feel no urge to go into detail on for now, because some people have long memories and no sense of humor. I was rolling so hard that I thought I was bulletproof, driving a new Porsche, blah blah. Get the picture? Met a gorgeous little Cuban chick, fell in love like ya read about. Managed to keep her and the habit going, had a lifestyle that I'd a only dreamed about, moved into a penthouse apartment in Marina del Rey. Then I discover the stork is on the way. I'm gonna be a dad. Could have been happily ever after except for one small detail, I was hooked like a laboratory monkey.
No matter how good the drugs you're taking are, eventually they stop working the way you want them to. I reached the point where I was either unconscious or walking around in hell. No amount of narcotics would shut my brain off, and the brain I got is a real active one. It put everything it had into killing me.
Checked into a rehab, put it all back together, tore it apart again. Lost my old lady, my daughter, a new Jag, and somewhere along the way I gave away the rights to the book I'd written, a pile of hand-numbered mismatched sheets of scratched-out overwritten insane prose that looked like a tower built by a madman. Losing all the goodies was old news by now, they come and they go. Knowing I threw my little family away rocked me all the way to the bone.
Kicked again in '90 and thought everything was gonna be okay. I had given up on living large and was doing manual labor, bouncing, moving furniture, making deliveries. Whatever it took to feed myself and stay legal. Finally got to the point where I had an old Chevy truck and a small pad, a few pair of blue jeans and enough to eat. I was doing volunteer work at We Care, a corny name but a great organization. I was making up for lost time with my daughter. I was living with a girlfriend. And every night I was scribbling away, attempting to put words on paper that people might want to read. I actually had a goal. Life was good.