As a child, I did not have the full capacity to understand how quickly life stumbles along. I can remember waking up early in the morning for school thinking it was going to be a long dreadful day and I genuinely believed that those eight hours in the day were going to be comparable to what eight hours felt like in the real world. Boy, was I in for a major wake-up call.
First, let me start by expressing to the young reader that life is what you make of it. What you decide is what will be. Every decision, whether it's bad or good, was made consciously by you. With that being said, what do you want out of life? That's a question that we can ask ourselves until the day we die. What do I want out of MY life? Living vicariously through me, I hope you as a reader gain some insight into a paradoxical life that remains a mere existence until an awakening in the soul is discovered.
Life for me started on July 2, 1996. I was born in Houston, Texas to a man and a woman from two very different worlds. My Father was an all around normal man. For as long as I can remember, my dad would work ten to twelve hours a day in the hell-like Texas heat. He always provided the necessities; clothes, food, and a home. But, my mother was a different story. For as long as I can remember, she was unstable and seemed to pop in and out of my life every few years. For years she struggled with her own drug addiction and mental health issues and ultimately passed away from a Morphine overdose in 2011. That was the catalyst into a dark and taboo life.
I left high school my senior year. I wanted something more out of life and I felt like skipping a few steps would be okay. Mistake number one: life is a process and must followed in the correct order. That decision led me to this article over four years later. First, I started smoking weed when I was 15, the summer after my mother passed away. When I was 17, I began working at a fast food restaurant in Spring, Texas. That is where I would meet one of the two drug dealers who would change my life forever.
Bars. What the hell are bars? I remember when I was first extended the offer to purchase some. At the time I kindly rejected the offer, although my mind started wondering. So, after buying my weed from him I went home and googled, "What is a bar?" Google must have been baffled by that question because what returned was, "Bar: A counter across which alcoholic drinks or refreshments are served." So I figured I would need to throw in some extra verbiage. Eventually I discovered what bars were and even read some insight into how this drug made people feel. I had to try it, and a few days later I would.
I was fearless. I felt ten feet tall and bullet proof. Go ahead, take me to jail, I'm too "bared" out to care. Within a couple of months of "trying" this new found heaven, I would become completely dependent on it. At my absolute worst I was popping upwards of ten Xanax per day. Not to mention all the weed I was smoking. By the age of 18, I had an addiction that was costing me upwards of $1000 per month.
Everybody knows that Xanax destroys your memory, but I don't think I was ever prepared for what it would do to mine. In that two year period of drowning myself in Xanax and Opiate pain medication I can only remember a collective of just about two months. One story goes that I took five Xanax bars and cussed out two gas station attendants at three in the morning. For what? I'm not too sure.
Eventually, I would go on to try every drug under the sun. Cocaine, meth, heroin, molly, acid; you name it I have done it. And after a short stint with coke, I returned back to my Xannies but had lost my main connection to them. Eventually, I would meet the second drug dealer that would change my life forever.
By this time it was the fall of 2015. I hadn't accomplished anything in life I had hoped to when I left school in 2013. All I had done was go to work to make the money to get high. No continuing of education, no seeking employment in a more career-based field, and the isolation from my once close family and friends. I would find refuge in a person who accepted me for who I was and who I was about to become.
Soon after connecting with my new Xanax supply, I began socializing with this individual on a more personal level. I would soon find a confidant in this person that seemed like drugs were working in their favor.
Meth. That's the drug we are talking about now. I can't even tell you when I first tried it because I was in a blackout still feeling the effects of the probably handful of Xanaxs I had taken. But sure enough my life would spiral even further out of control.
By this time, I had been arrested and jailed four times as well as a few psychiatric hospital visits. My father and I had a volatile relationship due to my substance abuse. In the beginning, I'm not too sure he could ever really tell which drugs I was on. Some nights I could barely walk through the door and other nights I would zoom in so fast I questioned if my dad had even noticed me. It had gotten to the point where I was no longer employed and was relying on the sale of drugs to feed my addiction.
Close encounter number one. It was honestly a normal day and nothing was too out of the ordinary. I had made a couple of small drops that day selling capsules full of Molly. It was sometime in the early evening I received a text from an "old friend from high school" who needed half an ounce worth of pills. Luckily I had an ounce that me and a friend had gone halfway on. So, here I was faced with a troubling decision. "Sell" these pills to someone I honestly don't know and potentially make a good sum of money. Or get robbed and lose it all. The addict in me had spoken and I was going to go make more money for drugs! With one small exception. I had a strong feeling this was a trap, so instead of filling the capsules with MDMA, I filled them to the rim with baking soda. And guess what, I got robbed. I was staring down the barrel of a handgun. But it was okay, and he was in for a huge surprise when he went to break open that capsule and form himself a nice fat rail only to realize I had just fooled him at his own game.
It wasn't until a little while later I realized the severity of the situation. I, Cody, was potentially looking at the man who would be responsible for ending my life. But, that isn't what happened. He drove off with the "drugs" and I booked it home because as soon as he found out what was really in that bag I knew he could come for me. But I never heard from that individual ever again. To this day I believe it was a former dealer who set me up since I owed him money. Only $50, might I add.
Like everything else in the dope game all good things must come to an end. Eventually, I was broke and stealing money from my father. And on one day in September 2016 the rock of reality would shatter the glass of my existence.
Forgery. To put in simplest terms. I had stolen a couple of blank checks from my father and began cashing them to finance my habit. I forged his signature on a document he did not approve. And technology didn't help cover my tracks. Within days of doing this, my father had checked his online bank statement that not only showed you your transaction history but also provided a visual picture of any withdraws made by check.
On that particular day, I was coming down off a multitude of substances, and my dad came roaring into the room demanding answers. But the answer was clear as day. I had stolen from my dad for the last time and he was going to make sure of it. He proceeded to call the police and as soon as I saw him on the phone, it would be the last time I would ever live with him. I remember throwing on a pair of shoes while I was still in my pajamas and running out the front door. Looking back on it, I was running away from this life and sadly it included the explosion of my dad's pent up years of frustration.
I went and hid in another apartment complex's stairwell until the police left. I was officially homeless. So, I did what any good drug addict does. I contacted an acquaintance and began what would be the last few days of this hollow existence.
I began living in a truck and relying on my superb thieving skills to obtain the bare necessities. Gas, food, and, of course, drugs. One night we even got pulled over and I stashed the bag of dope in the air vent and surprisingly after two police offers searched the vehicle, they still had not turned up anything illegal except for a few hunting knives.
Quickly I was losing the desire I had once had to maintain such a vicious habit. Every day became a new battle to just survive and stay high, but that too would come crashing down.
I had had enough. I wanted out. I had reached a point in my life where I was strongly considering suicide, and that was no way for me to live. So, I contacted the one person who might be able to help. Ironically it was an ex of mine who had also become victim to my mental state. He came and picked me up from the parking lot my "home" was parked in. I had been up for a couple days and was still higher than kite when he arrived, but he still took care of me.
I went to Kingwood Pines for seven days, and it was in there that I decided to move forward in life. Starting with this hell of a life I had been living. It was there that I had made up my mind that I wanted to attend a thirty day inpatient facility. And once I was released from the hospital, I proceeded to check into The Right Step in Montrose. It was a great time. I learned more about myself than I even realized. More was wrong with me than I believed. The death of my mother. The odd presence of my father. Being sexually assaulted at the age of 15. And a step-mother that was so evil she locked me in my room for eight days once with only a pallet on the floor.
I worked through those issues. It involved so many tears. Tears that had been pent up in my subconscious brain for years. Emotions I didn't even know were there.
Towards the end of my stay I had a telephone call with my father. Now, at the time of my admittance into rehab I had two felony warrants out for my arrest revolving around the theft I had committed against my father. Forgery of a Financial Institution and Fraud. But it was in that telephone call that my father had informed me he had dropped the charges. I was beyond relieved. It was also in that conversation that me and my father would agree that I would no longer live with him.
After being released from treatment I continued on in the program and went to live in sober living. That would sadly come to a grinding halt as well. I relapsed three months later. I left the house one night to hang out with an old drug dealer of mine and when I returned home in the morning there was a cup waiting for me. That was my last day there.
I partied for the next few days in some trashy motel room with people I didn't even know. But it was okay because I was getting high. And like I'm sure you have already guessed, that didn't work out too well either. I left the room sometime in the early hours on a cold winter morning in January and called the paramedics threatening suicide.
From there, they took me to Houston Northwest Medical Center. Ironically it was the same hospital they had rushed me to for one of my three nearly fatal overdoses. I stayed there until a friend of mine came to pick me up and helped me figure out my next step.
I stayed on a friend's couch for a few days. Sober, might I add. At this point I no longer had insurance and was seeking public assistance from the state, and I would find it at The Cheyenne Center in Houston, Texas.
This was nothing like the $20,000 per month rehab I had attended a few months before. Oh no, here you woke up at 5 AM to attend seven classes and an AA meeting. You made your bed every morning, and there better never be trash in the trashcan at inspection time. You were not allowed to sit down during chores which was usually two times a day for an hour to and hour and a half each. Discipline. That is what this was. This is what we as drug addicts were lacking in our life and they made it their mission to instill that quality in us. After dealing with all the issues I had dealt with on my first rehab visit, I was released to Ultimate Changes after 44 days of institutionalization.
This time things played out differently. I stayed active in my AA program and got a job almost immediately and began saving for an apartment. Within two months, I moved out into my own place in Montrose. I loved it. It was a tiny four hundred square foot apartment. One big room, a kitchen, bathroom, and a closet. But it was mine and I had dropped almost two thousand dollars of legally obtained taxable income. But again life threw me a curveball.
I was subsequently fired from my position as a server at a popular downtown restaurant. Although, on that night I did something different. I didn't go home and get high. No, I went home, took a shower, cried, and went to bed. I did not get high this time.
Soon, I was evicted from my apartment and began living with a friend just down the street. It was right around the time of my 21st birthday and I began drinking more than I realized I could.
Two bottles of wine a day. That's where I was at, not including the liquor I would consume. I was also dabbling in drugs, but for me that part of my life was over. Every day I would walk to the store, which we all called it Disco Kroger seeing as it was in the "gayborhood," and I would purchase two bottles of Sauvignon Blanc. Usually, it was gone by five that afternoon and I was passed out drunk by eight.
Then the neighbors moved in upstairs and they seemed very off. I would soon come to realize why.
Meth and heroin. That was why they seemed so odd to me. I remember one day I was smoking a cigarette out front as they were leaving and he asked me if I knew where to get "clear." I offered to help in the hopes there would be an incentive in the form of money, and there was which was used to purchase more alcohol. Slowly I began hanging around them and slowly everything spun out of control again.
It ended on a day I can't really remember. I woke up in a hotel without my phone, all of my money and credit cards had been stolen, and I had no clue where I was. Realizing the only people in the room were my neighbors I made the safe assumption that they had stolen everything from me. So, while they were still sleeping, I took their car key, went to the business center, and contacted the police. Eventually my neighbor came around looking for me and I notified him of what was going to happen if I did not get my money back. So in exchange for the car key he gave me a crisp $100 bill. One that seemed shockingly identical to the one stolen from me, and I knew that because this was a new one hundred dollar bill. It smelled fresh of ink.
They left in a hurry knowing they were about to get caught for the acts they committed. And it was a few days after that I learned they had drained my bank account to a negative of $500.
After hours of wandering around and trying to figure out a way I could get home without having to dish out 30 bucks on a taxi, I made it home. In a taxi. Now, I had been taking pain medication for an interior infection in my foot and honestly don't remember much of what followed. But I do know it involved being kicked out of my friend's apartment after my neighbors returned home and started plotting a theory as to what happened at the hotel.
At that time the injury to my foot was getting worse. It all came to a climax when I was standing on the Metro Rail platform and collapsed. I was rushed to the hospital where they began treating me for Cellulitis. I remained in the hospital for four days. When I was released I really had nowhere to go. I contacted a few friends and ended up staying with my ex-girlfriend from junior high school. Ironically we both identify as gay today.
It was there that another friend from high school extended to me another great opportunity. I stayed in Houston for a few more days contemplating my next move. What was left for me? Should I stay in Houston?
No, I did not remain in Houston. I flew to San Diego with hopes of a better life. One of my best friends from high school had been following my sorrowful journey over the years and insisted I make a new life for myself in California. So I did. I got on the plane that night and the second the plane took off I smiled and said to myself, "It's over, goodbye Texas."
Today, I am happy. I am surrounded by people who are striving for excellence. I find myself taking appreciation in the smallest of ways. I love the beach on a cool night. I can sit and reflect on what happened over 1000 miles away. The faded memories of a life once lived are locked away in a place of my brain I usually stay out of. Some people talk about how they lock away the memory and throw away the key, not me. The lock is locked but the key is held tightly. For if I may ever question myself again I can simply take a peak inside, only to slam it shut once again.
In Memory of Thresa Le Ann Ford "Honeybunny"
December 19, 1975 to May 31, 2011