I’d never felt such delicacy as I awaited exile in the lobby of the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center. Never had I felt such emotional pain and solitude—that foggy June morning—when solidifying my ostracization from my friends, kids, my overly exhausted family, my precious freedom. My dirty hair was a straggly brown and grown out from the latest disaster including a pair of scissors and my obliterated self. It’d only been a couple of weeks since my last major hospitalization—my arms like bruised bananas, swathed in white bandages with little red polka dots that seeped through the bedraggled cotton. These two near-death infections landed me in the hospital for a solid week, (until the stranger came into my hospital room with a tiny little knife and sliced and drained the purple golf ball that lived in the crevice of my left arm). Now, my future ex-wife ripped through the pages of Elle magazine, craving my admission so she could head off to Vegas for the weekend with my sister—the last real heretic—and a large group of people I had once called my friends.
I was ugly on the inside. Dirty and sinister on the outside. And we all know that in a world such as this one, being unattractive, is not okay.
I hadn’t seen a mirror in at least six months.
I didn’t want to see what death looked like.
I knew Hollywood was lying; I knew Junkies didn’t look like Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting—(more like Sloth from the Goonies).
Nobody ever told me I was handsome when I was Strung Out on Junk, only cringed at the site of my shoddy eyes and face. So naturally, I shot more Junk, murdered the sparkle in my eyes, erased the color in my gaunt face, the muscle in my noodled limbs.
***You have just read the very first page of my second memoir: “A Church Named Sally.” And the picture is me. I was inspecting the mutilated crevices in my arms: battle wounds that make me thank God and write even more than I already do.