Vegas, Part III: Just Breathe…

That is what I told myself on a constant basis…

You know how AA uses the term “One day at a time”? What you may not know is that many newcomers rephrase it to “One hour at a time,” and those feeling the jitters and pins and needles resort to the most desperate of “One minute/second at at a time.” The thing is that most “normal” people view addiction as an inability to follow through with anything, while most addicts are spending every waking moment…literally every moment…using any bit of energy they have towards keeping the memories out. Keeping the feelings out. Keeping the thoughts out because they know even the slightest of slip-ups will destroy them. Worse yet, it will destroy any loved ones they might have left, which most do not. On the other hand, when an average person has a slip-up they awake the next morning continuing their lives without a second thought.

For me, Vegas was one never-ending slip-up except that I had no control. Not in the sense of a newcomer who is killing themselves attempting to retain even one moment of control, but in that I literally had none. I was living in a situation where any given outcome was not solely due to my decisions, but also the decisions of many others I came in contact with. Their choices. Their wants and needs. I had no money or options to plan an escape.

In the beginning, during the night we would hang out at McDonald’s while attempting to stay awake in order to stay warm simply because it was somewhere that was open 24 hours without security guards. After several hours of not ordering, we were kicked out only to head to one of the many bus stops. Of course, the bus drivers would often tire of seeing us sleeping at their stops and alert the police who would ride up on their bicycles to wake us and tell us to leave. Again, in the beginning, we argued we had nowhere else to go but that did not concern them. The initial and favorite response of mine that I received was “I do not care as long as you are not on the ‘Strip’ interfering with the tourists. Just get off the ‘Strip.'” I always believed police enforcement was there to help and yet they only wanted to arrest us for the fact that we had nothing. I mean nothing.

It never ceased to amaze me at how easy it was for anyone to not only disregard someone in a state of need but for some to simply not care and yet others to be downright cruel…




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