“I was born and raised in Freeport, Long Island. Soon to move and settle in a beautiful new development named “tree area” in Hauppauge, N.Y. My biological family included Richard, Anita, Nancy, Timothy and I.
My early years were great. Very fond memories of playing especially baseball, but I was a bundle of fire from the get go. We had a retention pond across from my house which we called the sump. My second home “the sump” was truly a wonderful thing, we created a little eco system in there. We would ride our bikes to Blydenberg Park and catch fresh water bass, trout, sunfish, carp and catfish, which we would bring them, back to the swamp where they took off and grew to be a great fishing area.
I played little league baseball in which I excelled very fast. School was another story, I really have too much interest I did minimal requirements to graduate and all my electives were home economics, wood shop, or auto mechanics. Most were home economics, because I love food and I was the only guy in the class.
I smoked my first cigarette at age 12 and got sick as a dog but by age 15 it had become an everyday thing. I got drunk for the first time at age 14, we went over to a friend’s house and his parents were not home. We took a bottle of scotch and Brian and I drank most of the bottle. I do not remember much of that night, but I will never forget the shame, regret and sick I felt the next day. Around the same time in the tenth grade I smoked my first joint. I did not feel a thing. The next day at lunch period I smoked another joint with Mike and when we went back inside everything was echoing and I felt as if I was on a “really good trip”. I really truly enjoyed it. Of course looking back now, it was a pathway to my destruction lasting the next 32 years. In March, spring tour, when the tour bus came by I got on and that is when it all began, I found Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead.
The Grateful Dead was a major part of my life for 14 years. The Dead would tour 3x a year, spring, summer, and fall. My geographic boundaries in which I followed them scanned from Buffalo down to Virginia and out to Ohio. I would guess I saw around 300 shows until Jerry Garcia died on August 8, 1995. His death was attributed to a heart attack, while in Rehab. I guess that life style was not healthy and he also was obese and a drug addict.
Rewind and Recap:
I graduated Hauppauge High in 1980, leaving with my high school sweetheart Cathy. We started dating when I was 16 and she was 15. We were together in what I considered a wholesome relationship, I was in love with her, but it did not last. In my third year of college we had been a couple for about 7 years. At this point she wanted to get married. I told her my plans were to finish college and get a job and after I have saved some money we could take the next step. She was not content with this, so inevitably we went our separate ways. I was truly heartbroken, and went camping foe about 12 days by myself and tried to fill that hole in my heart with Pot and Beer. Eventually I got over her and graduated from Brooklyn Polytechnic University with a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering.
While I was in school I was working at the “Tool Warehouse” as a salesman, stock person and when we grew, 3 new stores were built in Long Island. All during college I had to work to pay tuition. So I was determined because it was money that I was spending. I did not have the luxury of getting a free ride from my parents, like most of my classmates. Being one that did not have any formal math or science coming out of high school, I really had to work hard to get through college.
During college I met a girl at the Tool Warehouse named Maryanne. She was, as it turns out, on of the best things to happen in my life. To this day she is my best friend. She came from a family of 13 siblings, very religious and family orientated. I would like to call her a “friend with benefits”. In the beginning and for years to come, she always seemed to keep coming back into my life. As she said “I am like a wart on your ass that won’t go away.” She was there for me always when I needed somebody in my life to talk to.
In June of 1992 I had crossed the line this was the first time I had tried Heroin. It was casual, recreational at first but soon turned into a love affair lasting 17 years. When I was hooked on Heroin it took my family 3+ years to find out, and the only way they found out was by getting a call from a police officer telling them I was arrested in lower Manhattan for possession of narcotics. Mean while my family was waiting at home to surprise me with a birthday cake. But, instead, they got a phone call. I was really pissed that no one in my family knew the turmoil I was in. they had started suspecting something was up, but they did not know what exactly was going on! It took my getting arrested and a court ordered detox to see my demise. I was carrying such a load for a long time and knew if I did not dump it soon I would go crazy. So up pops Maryanne into my life again. She truly is wise beyond her years. I finally broke and revealed my other half to her before getting arrested, and it felt like a ton was just taken off my shoulders. I was not ready to stop so I asked Maryanne to pick me up two hours after I was released from the Beth Isreac Detox so I could cop. I regressed to my old ways almost instantaneously. I found out that the vortex gets quicker and harder each time I fell back to my old ways.
I finally decided to become a better functioning drug addict. I got of the hard stuff and entered a methadone maintenance program on 1st ave. and 9th street in Manhattan. I was working in the area at the time so it worked into my schedule. I then became a really good functioning drug addict. My dual life was seamless, and I thought I could continue this path with no trouble, but I was mistaken again. My last ex, Lisa, who I went to college with, we had a good relationship at first but it ended bad. She had bought her parents house in Merrick, L.I. N.Y. We had a dog Colby, mix of Lab and Pit Bull. He is a great dog. We often would go to an animal shelter and feed all the dogs, who we would as it turned out, we would take into our house and love him to death. “Monty” was Carpee and Pit bull mix. He was a gush and we were head over heals with him.
In 2005 we went to Lisa’s parents house located near Cornell University. They had roughly 100 acres in which dogs loved. They ran around chasing critters and us chasing them. We all had a great time there, except the weekend of april 20 something 2005. Monty was running and playing as usual, I was reading a book with coffee. My morning ritual. But this turned out to be one of my worst mornings. I was doing my M.O and the dogs were doing theres, when all of a sudden I saw a new white caddy driving up the road and I heard a thud. I thought the worst and it ended up being even worse then I could have expected. The lady in the Caddy had hit Monty, at first he did not appear injured. He walked across the street to me and within 5 minutes died in my arms. The grief was nothing I have ever felt.
We went home but I was never the same and I knew it never would be the same. About 2 weeks later, I got this incredible pain in my chest and thought I was having a heart attack. I let it go and it went. Then it happened again and when these attacks started coming 5 times a day I went to the doctor. He diagnosed me with having a Panic Attack Episode. Not a heart attack. This diagnosis he prescribed Xanax. I had no more panic attacks, but a new addiction had arisen. My fault because I did not do my homework and read about the drug. I came to find out how dangerous and addictive it was.
I was now progressing in a merry go round I could not get off. I was on two addictive drugs now and felt hopelessly lost and no one to turn to but my best friend Maryanne. My ex Lisa did not know about the Xanax until I was on it for 3 years, and taking 8mg per day.
The shit hit the fan when one day I really wanted to get high. I knew if I did opiates I would not feel the effects with the methadone, so I ended up smoking crack. Wrong move again!! This led to my ultimate demise. I got into it heavy and lost everything, my girlfriend, my family, my job, myself. I knew I was in trouble, but little did I know how much.
The end came when I crossed a line I never would have dreamed I would cross. I was always lucky enough to support my own habit, but like I said I lost everything and money was scarce. I turned to stealing to fill that empty feeling. I had in my own mind crossed the concrete wall I thought I would never be able to cross. I took jewelry from my sister and brother in law, to get a fix.
I knew I hit rock bottom “Pun Intended”. I researched rehab places. I did not know my sister was also doing the same and we both converged on a place called Synergy Group Services, Inc. At first I thought to myself, “this sounds too good to be true”. But after I went to Palm Beach I realized this is the place I needed to be in, but I had one last task to fulfill. I had to confront my sister and brother in law about what I did in order for me to get what I needed out of rehab. I did it, and it was the most difficult thing I had to do. But I had to do it before I get better. Then “knock, knock” I was home at Synergy Group Services, Inc. and was welcomed with opened arms”.