Tag Archives: Northern California

Time Takes Time

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Day 254

If I were to relapse, I think it’d be from pure nostalgia; a feeling that blindsides me from time to time.  It fills my head with happy recollections of the past that make me painfully resentful of the present.

I can’t justify banishing these bittersweet memories.  I lose myself musing in the life I’ll never recapture…. even though I know that the memories I relish in jeopardize my sobriety.

I rationalize indulging in nostalgia because it doesn’t make me behave irrationally the way other emotions do–like say, anger.

When I’m enraged in sobriety I have many outlets and opportunities to express my frustrations.  Typically I blame pedestrians who have the right of way by laying on the horn and yelling “cocksuckers,” at them, while waving my middle finger out the window.  Such maniac behavior is unreasonable, irrational, and generally pretty embarrassing.

But nostalgia doesn’t make me react on the outside; it breaks my insides.

A song came on a Pandora station today and transported me straight back to the pot farm, to the point that I could almost feel the weight of a condensation covered PBR, and smell stickiness from a harvest.

The Avett Brother’s ballad took me through 3 minutes of self-inflicted torture; I could have turned the song off the second it came on, but the emotional levy broke and I did nothing for it to be blocked.

It was like a slide projector of moments in time.  I saw the bonfires in the middle of our illegal Redwood’s playground, I saw the green Jeep Wrangler with no doors, me learning how to drive stick shift with a beer in the cup holder and a huge smile on my face.

I saw the orange sunset over the mountains and felt the feeling of freedom.  I felt bumpy trips down the rocky mountain in the grey pickup, and never worrying about the mud smeared on our legs or our boots covered resin.  I could smell the pour of gasoline into a generator and the sound of it coming to life.  I saw my friends and me sitting on the tailgates of trucks, nowhere in particular, just to drink because no one was telling us not to and no one ever would.

The track switched and I was jolted back to reality, as I always am when nostalgia strikes and ends.  I force myself to remember the shell of a human being I became, that a relationship I kept holding onto almost robbed me of all dignity, and remind my heart and mind that the fire red sunsets turned into grey coked out mornings; that the Wrangler was destroyed, and real laughs died out well before the end.

Still, sometimes I try to convince myself that the old life is obtainable some 3,000 miles away on a mountain full of freedom. Maybe it was for that time.  These notions are what could take me out.  I’ve heard that “time takes time,” and illustrations of the past do eventually fade; I’m just not entirely sure I want them to.

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Woe is me

I’ve been lamenting the loss of my old life all day, and I don’t wear mourning well.  I’m sure my appearance was almost as bad as my mental state this afternoon; bloodshot eyes from no sleep, sweaty and frumpy from a panic attack at work, and either on the brink of tears or seconds away from murder.

All the ways in which life is no fair have been accumulating in my head and I was fully prepared to embellish the crap out of them right here.  The thought of never again having a Thanksgiving dedicated to beer and football sent me even further into a “woe is I” orbit.

The pity party came to an abrupt end sometime about 5 minutes ago.  Writing has this crazy way of giving me clarity, and the clarity still sucks, but it brings me back down (or up?) to ground zero.

Rationale has informed me that it’s not that I can never drink…it’s that I can never drink safely.  I’ve heard of alcoholics harnessing their obsessions to drink like a normal person at least for a little while, but there’s no white knuckling it forever; ultimately the result is some variation of a painful, destructive, long or short shitty life.

When the present isn’t all peaches and cream, glorifying to the past is a knee-jerk reaction.  It was so much better then!  When I had wine!  And football!  And that little Italian restaurant!!

The reality is that the last time I had dinner at that Italian restaurant it wasn’t the food or company I was happy about; it was the bag of blow in my pocket I wasn’t going to share.  While everyone waited for the check to come I was in the bathroom taking key bumps.  This was in January, when I had a one-way ticket to Central America.  It’s a good thing I didn’t follow through with that plan…I hear the cocaine there is terrible.  Yikes.

There was nothing glorioius about Thanksgiving last year. I was still on the pot farm, and made plans to drive five hours south to spend the holiday with close friends who felt like family.  I would have made it, too, if the night before I hadn’t been guzzling three bottles of wine with a married-ish total-mistake-man.  Thanks to my impeccable decision-making, I spent the day puking in a house on the mountain with no electricity, no furniture, and nobody; there was no football and no beer.

At the first pot farm I lived on in 2010, for Thanksgiving my “co-worker’s,” and I spent $500 on food which I didn’t even end up eating because we started blowing lines too early.  Poor time management.

Two years later, as I puked my brains out by myself in an empty cabin one pot farm over, I reflected on that first Thanksgiving, (again, looking to the past), and thought how awesome that year had been.  It never struck me that things were getting progressively worse, or that that first year wasn’t as joyous as I had it written in my memory.  I have no idea what I just wrote.

Like I said, I don’t wear mourning well.

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You Got Goals?

What have I gotten myself into

What have I gotten myself into

Hindsight is 20/20.  Hindsight in sobriety feels like 20/10; reality and memories infiltrate with no buffers, up close and personal. I feel like Tommy Boy being whacked in the face by a 2×4 a lot of the time.  Today, after writing “A Losing Battle,” I realized that chasing a high doesn’t have to be repeatedly returning to a substance, it can be a place.  For me, it was the pot farm.

The first year on The Ranch was my high, and it’s what kept me going back.  Glorifying my past is a stupid thing to do because it very quickly becomes a resurrected reality within reach. That said some of the best memories of my life were on The Ranch.  There were undeniably sublime times…in the beginning.

Midafternoon on August 23, 2010, I arrived half way up a mountain at the mouth of a dirt road.  Trees covered in lichen towered over as my driver began driving the bumpy one lane route.  The first gate we got to, I got out of the car and was given a combination for entry.  The second heavily padlocked gate we got to, I was told which rock to find a key under, and by the third gate a half hour later I was beginning to wonder what I had gotten myself into.

A giant house that appeared to be made mostly of copper and glass sat on top of a clearing on the side of the mountain, and beyond the clearing there were rolling Redwoods as far as the eye could see.  My qualifier for the farm had me sit down on a beautiful patio facing what looked like all of Northern California, and we waited for the owner of the property to come out.   He was a small man, and older than I expected, but fit.   Grey hair, grey shirt, black jeans, dark sunglasses.  Sitting down next to me, he lit up a joint the size of a gorilla finger.  Without speaking he offered it to me,

“No thanks, I don’t smoke anymore.”  I could see his eyebrows rise just above the Darth Vader glasses.  After a long inhale and exhale he asked me,

“Do you have goals?”

“Um, yeah, I want to be a writer.”

“Good.  It’s good to have goals.  You start today.”

**I’ll have to consider this the intro…To be continued!***

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Moving on….

My wallet is empty and my head is full of doubt.  When these two forces combine, my mind runs straight back to the past and tries to take my body with it.  It’d be effortless to fall back into the life I still glorify; working on a pot farm, bombarding down dirt roads in the mountains of Northern California, drinking whiskey and literally howling at the moon.

It was a lawless, illegal, isolated, yet completely known way of life, and cash came in hand over fist.  Arriving on the farm one August day at the age of 23 felt just like that; I had arrived.  My life-long identity crisis had come to an end!  I was a pot grower.

That’s  not who I am anymore and it’s a hard pill to swallow.  My lifestyle defined who I was and now that’s been stripped away.  Now I am a girl with 3 jobs, no money, and a total fish out of water.  Today the past was calling and my feet geared up to follow, when a sign smacked me in the face.  Without struggle there is no progress.  Change does not happen overnight.  Going back  would be the end, and this is my beginning.

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