Friday, June 5, 2015

The Initial Thrills of Quiet Pills

I learned to drive and got a job as a secretary with a small interior design firm in downtown Little Rock.  I answered telephones and typed up correspondence intended for high-end clients with velvet drapery issues and throw pillow emergencies.  The work was monotonous but familiar.  My co-workers were friendly and relatively straight-laced.  They all carried themselves like adults, even the ones that were my age.  I still felt and acted like a kid.

Kirin started daycare down the road from where we lived.  Mrs. Collins was a lovely, middle-aged woman who ran a brisk child-watching business from her home.  The house rivaled that high traffic storybook shoe, teeming with Hubbard kids and several hundred of their closest friends.  Despite the busy household, we couldn't have asked for a nicer lady to take care of our little boy.

Mrs. Collins was right there when Kirin cut his first tooth, when he learned to walk and talk.  Although I'm sure she was thrilled to pieces with these developmental milestones, her arms were often filled with other bundles of joy and income.  How nice if Mrs. Collins could have taught me how to be a better mother.  She looked really good at it.  But it was obvious she didn't have a minute to spare.

Whenever I pulled into the driveway at twilight and saw Mr. Collins barbecuing alongside the house, I felt envious of their easy-going, laid back approach to the world at large.  Children climbing in and out of the pool, infants crying, phones ringing.  Yet they seemed to work together well and took it all in stride.  I wished I could have been more relaxed like that.  Let problems roll off my back.

I felt guilty, separating my child from his robust daytime family.  Sometimes, he cried when I put him in his car seat and we headed down the street toward home. He pointed out the back window of the car, rubbing his eyes and calling her name, "Jean.  Jean."

I felt even worse once I got home.  I just didn't see myself as part of a couple or a family or any of that.  I wanted to, I think.  Maybe.  I don't know.  I can't blame Jason, even though I'm sure I tried.  He was dutiful and diligent.  He even started working nights, so he could make a little extra money.

My drinking became a regular activity, uninterrupted in the evenings between the hours of 6 pm and whenever I eventually passed out.  That start time changed to 5:15 once I realized I could stop at the liquor store and drink a few beers on my ride home from work.

I began noticing that I reached for the wine bottle as soon as I got in the house and put the diaper bag down.  And I drank up until the moment I went unconscious. But I dismissed my concerns based on the assumption that pouring a drink was just what people did when they got home from work.  Heck, I deserved it!

I got loaded easily and often.  But I hated how sloppy I ended up when I just drank. So I resumed buying those little weight loss pills from the back of the ladies' magazines.  I selected a few different styles, to see which ones I liked best.

Ultimately, I settled on pure Ephedrine, 25 mg tabs.  I had no idea what kind of damage the shit could do to my heart, lungs and nervous system.  It never even crossed my mind.  I just liked how they made me feel - alert and energized.  The high certainly wasn't as awesome as cocaine, but it was better than nothing.  Plus, in my mind, diet pills didn't feel like drugs.  They were more like vitamins.

I placed my orders C.O.D. and had them delivered to the office.  I paid the UPS man in cash when the packages arrived, so Jason wouldn't know what I'd purchased.

In 1987, a thousand pills of whatever, plus shipping and handling, cost roughly thirty five dollars.  Initially, that could hold me for about fifteen to twenty days.  Before long, I was calling in orders twice and three times a month.

Gone was the drudgery of housework and the menial chores associated with being a worthwhile employee, wife and mother.  I could work all day - type, type, type. Leave the job - drive, drive, drive.  Do my housekeeping and take care of Kirin in the evening.  Drink, drink, drink.  I fed and bathed my baby, dressed him in his clothes for the next morning and placed him in his bed.  I vacuumed and mopped, washed dishes and folded laundry until the whole house was perfect.  The only sacrifice I made was sleep, but I didn't really feel like I needed any.

You know, when I look back over these memories, I remind myself that I never wanted to be a drug addict.  I was just trying to figure out a way to get everything done.

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