Towards the end of my long addiction with drugs and alcohol, I found myself living with my father who at the time was also an alcoholic. We got along well and would stay in his small apartment in a not so great part of LA drinking all the time. It seemed to be a great fit for me as I had a roof over my head and more importantly someone to drink with and who would buy it as well…
We continue the story of Errol, whose lifelong addiction to drugs and alcohol has left him homeless and suffering drug and alcohol related health problems. You can read previous stories about Errol’s battles with addiction in our previous entry here at Drug & Alcohol Addiction Brings Liquid Confidence.
On night we were drinking about my Father had a seizure. It was most certainly alcohol related and once back from the hospital we went back to drinking. This was followed by a couple of more seizures at which point my Dad stood up for himself and went in for treatment for his alcohol addiction. It still didn’t stop me, I kept on drinking and abusing drugs with the same fervor and culminated in me stealing money from my Father to buy alcohol and some heroin. I found myself in a drug induced stupor laying next to some trash dumpsters behind a strip mall. I laid there for a long time paralyzed, unable to do anything. I must have been there for a couple of days before I had the energy to get up. The first thing I did was get some water and a couple of beers. I went back to the dumpsters and drank the beers and began to start shaking uncontrollably, and once again more time passed with me laying by those same trash dumpsters, just sweating profusely and experiencing muscle tremors. Once I finally had enough control, I panhandled some money and called my Father to ask for help getting into a detox facility.
After that call, in spite of the isolation and despair-I came to a place where found a semi sense of peace in that I was determined to stop this cycle and felt as if the spirit of god was urging me and behind me in the process to seek help. For the first time I realized that my addiction was hindering and hurting my Father’s attempts at reaching his own sobriety. I was stealing money to feed my addiction, from my Father who was working hard to keep his own sobriety. It was one of the rare times I understood that my addiction was actually selfishness on my part, and that selfishness was hurting others.
I ended up on a bus from Hawthorne to San Pedro to seek out a detox facility that I heard would take almost anyone looking for help. There was a rule that you had to show up drunk so I bought some vodka and drank about half of the bottle and left the other half in the bushes in case they wouldn’t let me in. After years of living as an alcoholic that was a trick that I had picked up which was always my back up plan in case Plan A didn’t pan out. Anyhow, they let me into this facility to start the detox process. It wasn’t anything fancy…you would basically go in and “shake and bake” as we called it as detoxing basically involved sucking it up for 6 days with no medication or anything to aid or ease the process of detox apart from some basic food and drink.
After a few days one of the counselors asked me what lengths I would go to get and stay sober and even went so far to ask if I would wear a dress and push a peanut up the street with my nose. I answered I would do anything to stay sober and pleaded for their continued help. They said they could help send me to a recovery home which scared me. And to clarify, there is a difference between a “detox facility” and a “recovery home.” The fact was-I didn’t want to go to another home, this place was the first that helped me start the process of recovery and I did not want to leave for fear that leaving would somehow have me back where I was before on the street being a homeless drug addict and drunk. They made it clear that staying was not an option and set me up to head to a place called Bimini House over on 3rd and Vermont in Los Angeles. It was at the Bimini House, that yet another setback in my recover somehow proved to the be the two steps back that helped me finally turn the tide in my battles with drug and alcohol addiction.
In our next blog, Errol finally find some success in overcoming his battles with addiction.