Another year down, another year free from active addiction, this marks my 4th New Year’s Eve sober. I spent the evening at a friend’s house playing Balderdash and eating cornbread and chili, and as I was driving home I traveled back through all of my New Years experiences over the years.
It’s been 10 years since I transitioned from 2008-2009 on a high dose of powerful blue dolphin ecstasy pills, MDMA provided by a friend of mine who is no longer alive. RIP RAMBO, that was a great New Years Eve. Funny fact, the house we partied at that night was my friends girlfriend’s house, she is now engaged to Ryan Seacrest. She partook in the blue dolphins that night, as did most of our group of friends. Ecstasy is a weird drug, I never cared for it too much.
I recently ordered the Society Verse book written by the vocalist of my favorite band Ceremony, Ross Farrar. It is a wonderful collection of poetry, writing, pictures and storytelling. I draw so much of my inspiration from the exact kind of uniqueness and creativity presented in that book. The name of this site and my radio show “Your Life In America” come from a Ceremony song off their album The L-Shaped Man. I feel that it is an all encompassing name that gives me the freedom to talk and write about anything, while also paying homage to the band/writer that I draw so much inspiration from. I find myself wondering if anything I write is original, or is it just a collection of me biting the style of others and changing around the wordplay.
I can’t answer yes to that because everything I write is truth about my thoughts and feelings. I draw from other writers and artists because I can relate to the description of their thoughts and feelings, and if something has that kind of effect on me I want to share it. Everybody is inspired by somebody or something, and those gifted in creativity and language can morph those inspirations and influence into a beautiful piece of writing. That is what I strive to do when using a song or lyric as a starting point, along with honoring and respecting that person’s ability to write something I can relate to so much it has an overwhelming effect on me.
It’s 11:58 PM now and I am sitting in my room writing this on my laptop with the New Years countdown from Time Square in the background, 5 4 3 2 1… some fireworks from the neighbors and there it is. I can truly say in this moment I am very content with where my life is at, a roof over my head, warmth and a purpose. A reason to wake up tomorrow morning and step foot in the world, the wicked world, it provides. I have spent so many years trying to find something, the answer, the truth, a fucking seedling of inner peace and acceptance. I think now I realize the answers come in the searching, if I only can slow down, stop “doing” so much and just sit with myself, then I begin to navigate the root of my troubles. Somebody once told me, “if you never look within, you’ll always be without”. It’s hard to look within when you hate yourself, drugs help with that.
The fireworks in the neighborhood continue, crackling and the laughs and yelling of nearby party people. It’s cold tonight, well, cold for California, around 50 degrees. I’ve spent many nights like this outside, too hungry and cold to fall asleep, longing for a better life. I am alone tonight, and I am okay with that. A prayer for all those suffering tonight, and those who will suffer for the entire next year, i’m sorry. Here’s to the heartbroken and lonely, “keep your head up, keep the faith and pray for better dayz..”
fear the thoughts you can’t let go, find peace with all of you, the good and the bad..
In July of 1999 my dad took me to one of the final Mariner’s games in the Kingdome, which is now replaced by CenturyLink Field on the same lot in South Downtown Seattle (shown in the picture above). That Mariner’s team in 1999 was entertaining and exciting to watch, being 8 years old I idolized Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez was my favorite player. I played shortstop and so did A.Rod, this was the humble, gritty Alex Rodriguez before the steroids and before J.Lo. That team also consisted of possibly the greatest DH of all time in Edgar Martinez, and the crafty left hander Jamie Moyer. The flame throwing 6’10 Randy Johnson had left Seattle before that season, I always say The Big Unit would be the pitcher I would least like to face if I ever had to choose.
That game in the Kingdome was not only special because I got to see some of my favorite superstars, but because I received a gift that landed next to me in odds that were so slim it had to be some Act of Providence.
The M’s were squaring off against Rafael Palmiero , Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez and the Texas Rangers that day. If I remember correctly, Griffey hit a towering bomb over the right field wall, he also robbed a home run and the Mariners got the W. After the game, there were many pictures being taken, fireworks and celebrations on the field, some would go on to call it “a baseball theater”. I had been to many games at Chavez Ravine and Angel Stadium, but I still remember being awestruck walking into that Pacific Northwest indoor giant. It was nothing like an outdoor stadium, and to this day it is still the only indoor field I have ever step foot in.
We were sitting somewhere in the upper section, and I remember the wave being so well performed unlike the weak attempts I had seen tried at Dodger Stadium. After the game amidst all the flashes and roaring fans I could see that players were signing baseballs and throwing them into the field level seats. I was pretty far from those seats so I wasn’t banking on being somebody that received one of those baseballs, until one landed in the seat right next to me. I had no idea how it happened, nor did I even think about it before I instinctually snatched the ball up quicker than a heavy set man going for it next to me. It was unreal, the ball had literally landed in the seat right next to me and I hadn’t even seen which direction it came from. What happened next was even more surreal. I turned the ball over to look at it, and in fresh blue ink it read “Alex Rodriguez”, no way. I showed my Dad and he confirmed it was A-Rod’s signature even though it was kind of difficult to read, I remember we joked about it because it looked like it said “Frak” Rodriguez. I rode high off the excitement of getting that ball for the rest of the night, displaying it on our dinner table in the hotel later that night.
Over the years the blue ink signature faded to yellow, but I proudly kept the ball in a plastic case on a shelf in my room always glancing at it in passing and flashing back to that day in the Kingdome. Sadly, I don’t know what ever happened to the Frak Rodriguez ball. I must’ve left it behind with all of my other possessions when Heroin Addiction took over my life, left in a box somewhere and lost in a move. My chemical dependency took me back to Seattle in August of 2013, back to the site of the Kingdome, to the streets of downtown and south downtown Seattle.
Every time the Seahawks play at home on Sunday Night Football, NBC does their usual pans across different parts of the city when returning from a commercial break. Last night, the rising star Patrick “Showtime” Mahomes lead the Chiefs against the already proven Super Bowl Champion Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Upon returning from a commercial break the camera glided across the Northwest Metropolis, from the space needle through the public market past the ferris wheel and on down to CenturyLink Field. When I saw the Ferris wheel I was quickly rocketed back into a dismal month I spent on the streets of Seattle in August 2013. From that excited young kid in the Kingdome in 99′ to a scared, hopeless junkie wandering on to that same lot 14 years later.
I had fled a small town in Alaska due to reasons I need not further discuss, and I didn’t have enough money to get to LA on a next day flight. My only option was to get as far south as possible with the money I had, which landed me at SeaTac airport on July 31st, 2013. I had about $42 dollars to my name, a backpack full of stuff, a suitcase full of clothes and no cell phone because it was taken by the Alaska State Troopers when they raided my apartment. I stepped out of the SeaTac airport with no plan, full of fear and lacking the courage to call anyone for help because that would mean I had to tell the truth. I didn’t like telling the truth back then. So what was I to do? What I always did when I felt this way, drink and get high. I had traveled around and ran the streets enough to know that drugs were always accessible in the downtown area of any major city, so I asked a nearby woman where downtown Seattle was and how to get there.
She told me to hop on the light rail and it would take me straight downtown, so I bought a ticket and was on my way. I had no idea what I was doing, where I was going or what to expect. I was riddled with stress, anxiety and fear and I needed those feelings to go away, I had to find my solution and I would. I finally arrived downtown, came up from the train station and onto the street. For about 5 minutes I smiled and looked around at the giant buildings and all the people, a new city, a new adventure and no one will find me here. I began walking toward the water and arrived at a place the locals called totem pole park, and the smell of marijuana filled the air. It was then that I remembered marijuana had just been legalized in the state of Washington, so I sat down on a grassy hill and observed my surroundings to see where I could buy some weed. I quickly noticed an older guy who was being approached by all different kinds of people and walking them out of the crowd to talk. I approached this man and easily got my hands on some potent Seattle buds, for $10. i went and bought an Arizona iced tea drank half, poured the other half out and smoked the cannabis out of the can. Away went the stress, away went the fear, away went the anxiety and on came the delusion that “everything would be okay”, even though I was probably in the most severe self-imposed crisis I had ever experienced. I thought to myself, “I’ll get high and enjoy the city and sleep at the park tonight, and then I will figure out how to get out of here tomorrow”. Tomorrow came, but I had no intentions on leaving or figuring anything out, I needed to find some Heroin.
With the shame and regret of throwing away my life in Alaska, and abandoning everyone who cared about me, I needed to be numb around the clock and the weed wasn’t enough. I had ran out of money after 2 days, but that wouldn’t stop me, it never did. I turned a gram of weed into $300 one morning and met a guy who would take me up to what they called “The Blade” between Pike and Pine on 3rd street in downtown. He said just walk down this street and ask someone who looks the part if they have any pure, or if you want black tar ask for black it’s cheaper. Soon enough I had 10 balloons of powder Heroin and a clean needle, I wanted to get away from downtown and all the commotion and explore the rest of the city and surrounding areas. I bought some more Heroin and some meth and made my way back down through Pike Place Market to totem pole park, picked up my suitcase that I had hidden and just started walking.
Heavily drowned in euphoria from shooting high doses of amphetamines and opiates into my arm, I made my way down into what the locals called “SoDo”. This was a desolate place full of abandoned warehouses , old buildings and streets with no sidewalks. I stumbled across SafeCo Field and thought it would be cool to do some Heroin outside of where the Mariners played, just to say I’d done it, so I did. It wasn’t as cool as I thought. Finally, I came across CenturyLink Field and I saw something or a view down a street that triggered my memory, i had been here before. Through the years of drug addiction and oblivion I had forgot that I ever even visited Seattle, I forgot about the Frak Rodriguez ball, I forgot about the Kingdome and now there I was. A 22 year old Heroin Addict running from every single problem and crisis I had created, lost and hating myself, wondering how I got to this point. It was too much, I kept walking.
I ended up underneath the 5 Freeway right above the Mt. Rainier Beer Factory, and that’s where I slept. I would wander into the city each morning hustle up some money and buy some dope, get high and roam around with people I met. I smoked crack for the first time on a bridge above Broad Street looking up at the Space Needle and overlooking a harbor. I made my way up through the U District and Capitol Hill, the days turned to weeks and I found myself back underneath 5 Freeway one night crying and wishing it would all just end. I contemplated ending my life that night, but I didn’t have the balls to do it.
The next morning I was flooded with the harsh reality of what was going on, I want to say it was somewhere around August 29th. I had been lost and loaded in Seattle for almost a month, it felt like a couple days. I got a hold of my mom from a pay phone and she bought me a grey hound ticket back to LA that day. I would continue living this way for 2 more years and it wouldn’t be until August 22, 2015 that I ingested my last dose of mind altering substances. I have been sober since that day…
December 20, 2018. One of the most beautiful days of this year, 73 degrees and sunny. your life in california.
I snapped this picture again with my LG mobile phone, cracked screen and all. This is right above Butterfly Beach in Montecito, just off the end of a cool little bike trail covered with flowers and plants on both sides. This path is interesting for me, it reminds me so much of a trail up near Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. A trail in which I stumbled upon after being hospitalized in Hoag for an infection in my arm from IV drug use.
I was listening to Waiting Room by Fugazi when I stopped to take the picture, seemingly the perfect song in that moment. The view took me back to that August day in 2014 when I left the hospital with nothing but the clothes I walked in with and a bottle of Tramadol.
They gave me Methadone for the two days I was there so upon release I felt like “everything was going to be okay”. Although the reality was I had been homeless for years, lost contact with my new born son and family, and when the Methadone wore off id be sick. I took 10 of the Tramadol hoping to slide deeper into euphoria as I drearily walked that orange county hill.
I ran into another homeless man along the way and he had a giant bag of low grade cannabis. I was feeling kind and a longing for social interaction so I gave him a couple Tramadol and we smoked some of that shwag weed. I soon realized he was lost in some sort of psychosis. as he began talking about currently being on tour with Led Zeppelin and how they were headed to Hollywood that night. I ditched him and continued on the road to nowhere.
There are so many stories like these I have from my endeavors through the streets of southern California on up to Seattle, Alaska, Atlanta and even Omaha and Lincoln Nebraska. People ive met, crises and situations ive gone through, hospitals, county jails, greyhounds, amtraks, LA metro lines, metro links, hotel rooms, parks, bus stops, cold sidewalks, alleys and dumpsters, and smoking crack under the space needle. my life in drug addiction.
Today is one of those days where I feel happy and hopeful, in contrast to the way I have felt in my last couple entries. I am assuming it is due to the exercise, butterfly beach waves, Fugazi and the sunshine. I like being here, I like feeling happy I wish I could always feel this way. Driving on the 101 in the station wagon listening to Ceremony, blue skies and 75 degrees.
can you please teach this son to shine?
prepare to be let down..
I just got home from playing handball in a parking lot against a wall of a local church. Exercise or any kind of physical fitness is an amazing counteraction to depression, even a walk around the neighborhood helps.
There was a barbed wire fence along the backside of the parking lot that seperates the parking lot from some kind sewer or drain runoff. We had three balls and each time the third one bounced over the fence id get on my bike and ride down to the end of the parking lot, around the corner and all the way down the sewage drain. Throw the balls back over the fence and game on. These are the kind of things I did when I was kid.
As I was riding back up the sewer drain for a split second I felt like a kid again. I looked down at my old skool black and white Vans on the peddles, my cuffed charcoal grey dickies and there I was. 12 years old pushing a dustin dollin baker deck in Geoff Rowley XL Vans down a sewage drain in Tustin, CA that we called “The Never”.
There’s always that saying people use when referencing childhood days, “not a care in the world”. I cant say I agree, I cared about how I dressed, I cared about my friends, and I cared about the Furious 5 at 9 on KROQ enough to make sure I didn’t miss it every night. I cared about a lot of things, I cared about getting good grades in school and not making projects that the other kids would laugh at.
I’m glad I can still find that part of myself and connect with it. I thought maybe over the years of drinking and heavy drug use I may have lost it, but its there. Its amazing to me how a smell, a song, an activity or a movie can awaken memories that way.
“you find things about yourself that you will soon forget. counting old friends left behind a jaded mind. you can never be in love until you learn to be alone. you can never achieve true happiness until you hang your head..”
Ønwãrd and Ùpwárd…
“skies above, are close to me forgetting names when shaking hands friends and lovers, i’ve left behind i’m as apathetic as the wind”
– Ross Farrar, Ceremony
This picture was taken by my LG mobile phone with a cracked screen and it turned out pretty nice. It is from shoreline park above leadbetter beach in santa barbara, ca. About 7 minutes from my house.
I told myself I was going to write at least one entry for each month and to be honest I was inspired many times through the month of November but i’m also very lazy. A couple of night time bike rides taking in the smell of the ocean which was black, only shimmering by the reflection of the moon, and the palm trees swaying from the crisp fall air. The lights of the town in the distance and music I listened to when I was 16.
I’m a sucker for a trip down memory lane, sometimes I get stuck there. I guess the best way to describe it would be nostalgia. Certain songs produce certain effects and a feeling of loss realizing I’ll never relive those years. I’ve lost an interest really in writing about sports like I’m some aspiring sportswriter or journalist, I’m just a fan and think I will leave it at that. I am taking this “your life in america” concept on to its own radio show in January, it will be interesting. A place where I can share my thoughts and opinions on a variety of different subjects, kind of like Seinfeld on the radio with some punk rock and comedy. Sounds kinda weird when I put it like that, we’ll see.
“very few can appreciate the silence, the cold calm when nothing is left standing in our way.. this is joy in its greatest moments, shared only by the truly selfish. in a place where only the lonely ever choose to stand. behind every inch of pain, eyes unfazed and devoid of feeling, love has no place here, our hearts beat alone….”
onward and upward..
Summer has came and gone, and it is currently raining outside of my dining room window. Shadows of a different time hang over my head as I try to connect with the present.
I spent Sunday night in close vicinity to Skid Row in Downtown LA for a Hardcore Punk show featuring LA’s own Terror and NYHC’S Backtrack. I took a friend of mine who had recently taken a liking to hardcore music, the culture the message and everything about it. That culture of unity and love for the music was very much present on Sunday night both on stage and on the floor. I suffered a heavy blow to the face from either a windmill kick or flying elbow off a nearby stage dive, cause is still unknown. I lost consciousness for a second or two only to be lifted up by a fellow enthusiast and helped to the bathroom. Under the light I found that my Blacklisted tee shirt was covered with blood and my lip was fat, thank God the blow missed my nose. The dude who lead me to the bathroom repeatedly asked if I was okay and said he wasn’t leaving until I told him i was “good”. I told him I wasn’t going to miss the rest of the Backtrack set and he said “cool, just don’t get hurt again.” I made my way back to the floor to hear the vocalist of Backtrack dedicating the next song to the Dodgers, rad. My friend who attended the show came up to me and said, “dude I stage dived and when I hit the ground everyone helped me up and made sure I was okay.” Hearing this excitement from my young friend was the highlight of my night. I really felt the love of the hardcore scene that night, the same way I did at my first show 13 years ago. Stick Tight.
Well, the Los Angeles Dodgers are NL West Division Champs for the 6th consecutive year. A big deal? Not really. An accomplishment? Yes, of course. The offense of this Dodger team is unreal, I mean on the bench alone they’ve got the 2011 World Series MVP and All Star 2nd Baseman Brian Dozier, the best thing Minnesota had since Johan Santana. There’s nothing like the MLB Playoffs, of all professional sporting events baseball in October has to be my favorite.
Last year I wrote about Luis Severino and Aaron Judge carrying the Yankees into the AL Wils Card game against the Twins at Yankee Stadium. Here we are again, Severino goes up against the lowest payroll in baseball, the Oakland A’s. Yankee Stadium is going to be LOUD and I will be in my living room watching for a Giancarlo Stanton longball while I listen to the rain outside my window. And good for the Rockies, three different time zones in three days and they pulled off the win in the confines of Wrigley last night.
What is it about the rain that changes people’s moods? I wonder if people in the pacific northwest have a shift in perspective each time it rains, or is that only a California thing? Watch out for the Cleveland Indians hovering under the radar. Dodgers vs. Indians is my world series prediction. Until next time, be easy..
September air is not the same as August air. Although summertime in Southern California is practically a yearlong thing, the air changes in September. It feels a couple degrees cooler, and it smells different. I can’t really put words to it, but it’s just a hint of burning wood or leaves. Combine that with a salty ocean breeze and it makes for a comforting feel to the air, at least in my opinion.
I always associate this change in the breeze with my younger days back home in Riverside county. I’d say it takes me back to 14 or 15 years old, when life was “simpler” or so it seemed. When I first began smoking marijuana regularly and drinking 32 oz. Miller High Life’s with my friends, some of whom are no longer alive. Those days are burned into my memory and hold a strong connection to the smell of the Fall air, but this year reminiscing on those days comes with a dark side. As the leaves change, part of my heart stays stuck in the summertime.
My mom has been gone now for almost 4 months, a loss I suffered prior to what would be a very hot summer. A summer spent excelling in many aspects of my life. Progressing and growing materially and spiritually, all amidst experiencing a powerful underlying sadness that I now feel has grow into mild depression. These are the days I’ve come to fear.
A fatal illness knocks on the door of my mind on a daily basis and for a little over 3 years now I have not let that malevolent force consume my thought process. Some ignorant folks would say it is not illness, maybe they have not experienced the pain of chemical dependency.
I thought I would be able to “work” my way through the grief of losing my mom, but I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t work like that. I began to ask myself, How does it work then Dillon? You teach and guide others through the journey of recovery every day, you should know how to “fix” yourself. You are a guiding light in a world of darkness and you are praised daily for your contribution to the battle against addiction, you surely can’t let yourself fall victim to a mental exhaustion. I was blocked from seeing the truth by my own pride and fear of being vulnerable.
I sit down on this cool September morning to write about my thoughts and struggles because I find serenity to match calamity when writing. I find that I cannot “work” myself through mental exhaustion and pain. Early in my new life without Heroin I thought that I would never slip into a low spot because my spirit had been awoken in a way that I had never felt. I no longer felt hopeless, but found hope that there was another way. A way to the truth, a way to be utterly present for myself and others. The thinking of an almighty Creator had found it’s way into my delusional thought process and opened a portal to an entirely new perspective on the world around me, and life itself.
Merriam Webster defines life as the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for GROWTH, functional activity and continual change preceding death. What a beautiful description of this thing I often take for granted and find myself rushing and racing through. Racing to get where? Who knows, hopes for an eternal life of serenity with all of those I have lost is what I’d like to think. I am learning that I will fall down and I will get back up, and that’s okay. Pride keeps me from being vulnerable, and lack of vulnerability leads to exhaustion and a crumbling spirit.
Today marks 27 years I have trudged along in this world. September also brings about the beginning of the NFL season and the race for an MLB playoff spot. It looks like the boys of the Chavez Ravine may never win a world series in my lifetimes, now THOSE are the days I’ve come to fear.
Until next time, with love…
It’s almost the end of August and the future for the boys of Chavez Ravine does not look bright. The Dodgers have more than enough talent to win baseball games, despite a struggling bullpen and banged up starting rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado and Brian Dozier I am still scratching my head wondering why Zaidi didn’t think it would be smart to go after more arms than John Axford. Axford is now on the DL as well. It’s been a tough season, especially after still feeling looming defeat of last year’s fall classic. I could sit here and pick a apart Dave Roberts and the decisions he makes all day, but i do that enough with my fellow Dodger fans. I don’t care for Roberts, especially after I heard him mic’d up one night. “Dude, he’s a savage bro, straight savage”, said Roberts to the infield in regards to Tony Cingrani after he took him out of the game. Dave, you don’t sound cool. Pick a lineup, stick with it, and let your team gel and get some momentum. Trust your pitchers, trust the guys you have that are performing and maybe you wont run out of pinch hitters and relievers by the 9th inning!! My hope for a world series title may have been lost the night he decided to put utility player Enrique Hernandez in to pitch in late extra innings instead of Rich Hill. He had given up and accepted defeat, my opinion is that Dave Roberts does not truly care about winning. More will be revealed.
“The Dog Days of Summer” refer to the dog star Sirius, and it’s positions in the heavens. Many people will use the term in reference to July and August being the hottest months of the year contributing to tiredness and lethargy. I am in the midst of these dog days in my own spirit and soul. The seat that holds my emotions and character is thin and I am struggling to make it through each day. My mother and grandfather both died in alcohol-related deaths this year and I am running from the grief. I’m tired, but I’m pushing forward.
Lebron James is a Laker. This is exciting. The Oakland A’s have tied the Astros for first place in the AL West.
I am co-hosting a sports talk radio show with a friend of mine on a local radio station. Who would’ve thought a junkie like my self would be given an hour on live radio to talk about a subject I love so much. Last night I experienced one of the coolest things of my entire life. An interview with Santa Barbara Foresters manager Bill Pintard left me awestruck and in tremendous gratitude for my life in that moment. Here was a guy who has been around and contributed to the game of baseball for a long time. From stories about Bobby and Barry Bonds to text messages from James Shields and signed jerseys from my all-time favorite The Captain himself, Derek Jeter. I could’ve listen to coach Pintard talk about america’s pastime for hours. I felt like a kid again mesmerized by the beauty of Ken Griffey Jr’s swing for the first time. Thank you God for that opportunity.
So amidst the humidity, box fans and battle with depression I am trudging through the dog days of summer. Will I be okay? I will… Will the Dodgers be okay? I don’t have an answer for that, but my gut instinct says no..Until next time, be easy..