It was the middle of the night. I was strung out and wide awake in Brooklyn. My apartment was so big that the orthodox leasing agent nearly didn’t give it to me cause he thought it was too big for one person; that certainly I’d be subletting it out. No. I’m just a drug dealer alcoholic running away from a toxic relationship and fighting my demons off with scotch and cocaine and I wanna do it in peace, okay? Gimme the fuckin keys.
My king size mattress was far too big to be all alone. All I saw was empty bottles of scotch and roach clips and old baggies of cocaine licked spotless for that last taste of powder before the night had to end. My heart was pounding with anxiety and the herb wasn’t helping. I took a xanax.
I Was Fucking Fighting My Demons But They Kept Coming At Me
There were seven pounds of weed in my dresser and stacks of cash hidden in my closet. My life is a mess. Thank God I have money. I couldn’t stop thinking about the fight I had gotten into with my ex the night before. I wonder where she is? I just left her in Park Slope with a plane ticket, suitcase, laptop, wifi, and four hundred bucks. I hope she’s okay. I hope she forgives me. It wasn’t my fault. I had to escape before the cops threw me in prison for ten years. My neighbor was a cop and came up with her gun two nights prior. She knew I was trafficking narcotics, and my ex ratted me out. I had to escape. That’s why I ran away to south Brooklyn. Nobody will find me here. Still my head was rampant with terrible thoughts. I was fighting inner demons with an appetite for destruction.
I couldn’t breathe. I needed to leave. They’re coming. I’m paranoid, but still they may be coming. I grab a few thousand dollars and shove some clothes in a backpack and hail a cab outside.
“Going to JFK,” I told the cabbie.
Can he smell the scotch on my breath? Does he know I’m high? Will the xanax kick in soon? Wait, where am I going?
I open up the Kayak app on my phone. I look for a flight as we drive thirty or so minutes to the airport. I found a ticket to San Diego. I had never been to San Diego, but it sounded far enough. Certainly it was better than Brooklyn. My life will be different there. I can start all over. But my thoughts will still be in California, won’t they? Maybe the sun will dry them up.
I float through the airport. The lights dilate my pupils. I can barely see. I feel faint. I’m not hungry. My stomach is churning. The bubbles inside my gut are bubbling. I find the gate and show the woman my ticket and somehow fall asleep on the flight.
I landed about the same time I took off. It’s still the middle of the night, but the clocks are different. There’s nothing here for me. I need to find a life, something worth desiring. There was a van outside in the parking lot. It’s some kind of a shuttle. Nothing felt real. Only the vibration of my vocal cords reminded me I was alive.
“Where’s the cool part of San Diego?” I ask the shuttle driver.
He’s not sure what I mean.
I tell him to take me there anyway.
He drops me off in the Gaslamp District of the city. People are everywhere. Clubs and bars and tourists. I’m completely aware I’m in California. Nothing like this exists out east. I head to a bar, which is the same thing I did three thousand miles away back home.
There’s nobody in there. I ordered a scotch. I’m not even drinking single malt by then, by then I’m drinking blended scotch, like Dewars, a scotch I never woulda touched back in the day.
Look at Me… I’m Bottom-Shelf Scotch.
I need to find something that scares me. When fighting inner demons, the best way to defeat the enemy is to conquer personal challenges. What am I scared of? Being alone. I was sick and tired of being lonely even though I was rarely alone. All the people I saw daily didn’t give a shit about me. The women I slept with hated my guts. They all wanted to help me, but I was helpless. I must start over. That’s why I decided to stay at my first hostel. I was terrified of hostels because I knew nothing about them.
I did a search on my iPhone and there’s a high-rated hostel a block down the street. I pay my bill after I consume the amount of scotch I need to get me through the night and head over there.
The first night was a disaster, you can read about it here, but I don’t feel like telling you that story right now. The point is I stayed in San Diego for three or so weeks before heading to Los Angeles. Fighting my demons might be easier in another city. The demons grow stronger the longer they eat in the same vicinity, so you gotta keep moving.
I rent a car and give a couple new “friends” from the hostel a ride to LAX. They’re flying outa there and need to go to LA anyway. One of them is going back to Australia, and the other back to Ireland. After I let them loose, I search for another hostel. I find one in Hollywood.
At the front desk there’s a bucket of condoms that say “in case you get lucky” and another bucket next to it of earplugs that says “in case your roommate gets lucky.” I thought that was funny till I went to my room and the couple below me start fucking on the bottom bunk bed. I listened to what I longed for: connection. I had to go to the bathroom but didn’t wanna let them know I was awake, so I held it till I was gonna explode.
Another Geographic to Change My Life…
I switch hostels to get away from the people enjoying life and find a quiet one by the beach.
I had been laundering all my drug money for years through promoting concerts and producing off-off Broadway shows, and I knew a talent agent from Venice. I never met him in person even though we had been working together for years. I text him and tell him I’m in LA and he says to come meet him at his friend’s party. He tells me to wear something nice cause he knows I’m trash.
All I have is a bandana around my head and a tank top around my torso and ripped shorts around my waist and flip flops around my feet. I head into Zara in Santa Monica and tell the guy working there to dress me up real good. I pay him whatever it costs cause money isn’t a problem. Thank God money is not a problem, I have enough problems.
I go to this party and I’m flooded with a sea of fancy looking people. I wake up in a random girl’s bed in West Hollywood the next morning and stay there till I’m no longer welcome. The next day I find myself on a boat with some girls from the party I was at days ago. I can’t remember much. Too much champagne and cocaine. How’d this happen again?
“Move here,” they tell me.
So I move to LA and keep my apartment in Brooklyn full of weed. I fly back months later to sell it all off and denounce New York. I head back to LA and live and drink and do massive amounts of cocaine until I fall on my ass and can’t remember where all the booze and sex came from. My new life is just like my old one, but with hotter chicks and better weather. I decided to try out making a big change.
Fuck Fighting Your Demons Doin The Same Ol’ Shit
A couple weeks after my 27th birthday I try to sober up. Either I jump off a cliff or find a way to rid the alcohol from my body. There’s no other way. Fighting your demons requires big moves and large steps. I decided to go cold turkey. I went to a meeting. I wrote a book. I picked up cigarettes. I asked nobody for help.
I sweat in my apartment and I fuck my roommate. She’s a wonderful girl going to FIDM. I’m addicted to her also. Anything I like I want far too much of. I think about giving up my sobriety for a drink. That’s when my phone buzzes. It’s a dude I went to high school with. He asks if I need help but I tell him I never need help. Then I nearly collapsed from inner pain and wrote him back. Fighting my demons is too hard, I want outa this life, I tell him. He calls me and nine years later I still haven’t had one drink or one drug. Fighting inner demons alone isn’t effective, I needed help. I needed a lot of help. But help doesn’t come unless you ask for it. Asking for help is hard, but the payoff is worth it, I think to myself.
The moral of the story is you can’t run from your demons. Big change requires big change. Don’t go into battle alone, find a tribe and do the most difficult thing you can possibly think of, cause that’s probably the thing that’ll change your life.
Now here’s a story about a chick who offered me mushrooms on New Year’s Eve on the Amtrak…