Plan B – The Shrink and the Emotional Pain. By May of 1984, I had cashed in my Singapore Frequent Flyer miles for two free plane tickets to Hawaii. To pack, I meticulously took all the tobacco out of each cigarette in a pack of Marlboros and filled them with an equal amount of marijuana then resealed the pack in a way that my tedious smuggling went undetected. As time passed I drank and got high more often to suppress the negativity that overflowed from my job to my personal life.
I went through my pot faster than I figured, but the thought of quitting while working in my hostile environment drove me to create a Plan B, which was make a drug run to Connecticut. I’d call ahead to have Carl checkout what drugs were available so when I arrived we’d meet with the dealers, conduct our business and retreat to my hotel room to party. On the 1984 summer Plan B trip home I realized the price of scoring was too much. I decided that would be my last Plan B.
A programmer on my team was a small time dealer who sold me enough pot to control a gradual withdrawal from drugs. On New Year’s Eve 1985, I smoked what would be my last bowl of marijuana but I kept my pipe for years, in case I changed my mind. Leaving my personal world of drugs took tremendous courage to change my entire life. For example, some mornings it was a pleasant 15-minute commute through featureless back roads between small towns but other mornings I became paralyzed with fear and raced home to try again later.
“Why did you come to see me?” asked the therapist at our first session. “I am a desperate man and I feel overwhelmed and out of control.” I answered. “Those are the only type of people who come to see me,” he said. “Are you an alcoholic?” “I am not really sure, I think I am. I was a drug addict until I stopped using this past New Year’s Eve.” I answered. “We are not going to make any progress until your alcoholism is under control,” he said. I questioned his experience, wondering if he knew an alcoholic that drank as much as me. He prescribed Xanax and we met weekly, waiting for me to emerge from the depths of depression so we could begin to address my issues.
During my son’s baseball season I found myself talking with another father about alcohol and drugs and his future prison sentence. For no apparent reason, I asked to join him at AA meetings and within a couple days Rachael reluctantly joined us. I quit after six weeks but Rachael continued to my pleasure. “Jack, it is none of my business, but Rachael is not going to AA meetings. She is meeting drug dealers,” my friend told me a couple weeks later.
Within months Rachael’s outrageous lifestyle began to rob our family’s love as the kids started asking her why she didn’t come home at night and where she had been when she missed a family event. The kids laughed at her and mocked her stupid excuses that made no sense even their love could not hide their distaste and pain. I felt rage and yelled in frustration as our home became a bubbling caldron of dysfunction but I was learning the power of her drug addiction and it scared me.
Her life as a junkie ripped the hearts from us. I continued to reach out attempting to reunite the family but she did not want to be with us. All I could do was survive in ways I never imagined. The worst of our lives was still on the horizon as we approached the highway to hell. We lived each day with the pain of yesterday, the fear of what would happen next and the hopeless feeling that this nightmare would never end.
Next: The highway to hell is paved with good intentions and runs along I495 around Boston. My inept divorce lawyer fell for the old alimony trick. Are you kidding me?
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.