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The Courage to Surrender, Part 11 in the Series by john w

How life was – party town and reefer madness – 1972 > 1977

In 1973, my training and creativity introduced new ideas that I successfully implemented which put me on a fast track career that I struggled to accept. I feared the social expectations that are tied to high level management because I didn’t have the experiences to live that way. I felt I didn’t deserve help all I ever knew was to work hard for my money then go home.  Within six months I’d changed the department’s archaic systems to current technology for which I received a merit award followed by an invitation to join the prestigious high level managers program.

When I wasn’t at the office I drank alcoholically with my neighbor who also introduced me to the food chain of drugs. I felt shame from my constant self-destruction and guilt for the ways I unintentionally hurt my family.  The manager’s program was difficult and my heart wasn’t into it, even if I did well I didn’t want the job that was the reward. I’d rather be at the pool drinking gin and tonics playing with my family and friends.  My manager had a fit when I turned in my textbooks.

In 1974, I took a job at a bank holding company in western New York.  It seemed to snow daily that first winter so we stuffed blankets on the window sills to stay dry and warm from the constant Lake Ontario snow squalls. The snow was piled higher than the door casing and the snow drifts were too deep to let the kids play outside alone.

Throughout that year, I was unable to find a drug dealer which caused me to drink more to fight my psychological panic. One weekend I drove ten hours back to Ct. to party with Larry for a weekend and bring drugs home.  He had methamphetamine that weekend so we stayed awake for the entire weekend. But our private party was frequently interrupted by bikers who were his old friends so I felt vulnerable.

On Sunday we went to a state park to picnic before our trip home. Suddenly the peaceful surrounding was shattered by the thundering entry of several Harleys, as a group of bikers blasted into the parking lot and stopped at our picnic tables.  A few minutes later I started to leave when a large biker put his hand on my shoulder and told me to snort two big lines of crank (aka meth) he laid out on a picnic table. He wanted to be sure I wasn’t a narc so I rolled up a dollar bill and snorted a few times to get it all.

Rachael found a bigger townhouse for less money in a suburb populated with high level professionals.  One Saturday, I found myself watching my kids in the living room at my neighbor Kevin’s house. As I drank his home brew he asked me if I got high. The pot erased my depression and in a few hours I felt alive, the euphoria coming to me like a long-lost lover.  The drug network stretched into Rochester where our residents had a source for speed that lasted about a year. I fell in love with it but when it dried up the withdrawal left me isolated, nervous and paranoid.

The summer of 1976, the guys in town formed a softball team to compete in the Rochester Slow Pitch Softball League. Our team name was Reefer Madness and I was the catcher.  We qualified for the playoffs by winning most of our games so we decided to play the tournament clean and sober which paid off as we won the championship. The losers were pissed when it was announced that Reefer Madness was the winner as the league gave us the trophy.

Next:    My promotion to hell.

The articles published here by babyboomers.com are small excerpts of a 268 page manuscript titled “The Courage to Surrender” that I would like published. Call 678.361.4709 for information on the manuscript.

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