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A drive to the Bluff (the infamous neighborhood in Atlanta) Part Four.

I met Maverick from the rooms in AA. We went to the same 6:15 am meeting. Maverick was an older businessman. He had grey hair, blue eyes, tall and funny. He walked with arrogance, but I could see through his pride. He had a big heart and adored me. Maverick had much experience living with addiction and living with sobriety. He was faithful to his meetings and program. He always encouraged me. He could see through my own bull crap too. He did not mind calling me out and speaking the truth. I admired that about him. When we first met, I was at an evening meeting. He introduced himself and said, "you look like you belong at the beach." During this time, I had short blonde hair with a feisty attitude. I was always nice, but I did not like to be bothered. He slowly grew on me because he would not leave me alone! He listened to me, made me laugh, and I was completely myself around him. I think that is why he liked me. I never tried to impress him or anyone else for that matter.

After leaving the jail, Maverick drove us to a nearby fast-food restaurant. As we sat there and talked, tears rolled down his face. He did not want to see me go down this road. I was cut off from all my emotions. I had only one thing on my mind. I needed to get to my car. I needed a drink and to get high. I could not deal with myself. I wanted to escape and continue the roller-coaster of numbing out my pain. He knew. He knew whatever I did next would not be good. He advised me to go to a meeting and to call my sponsor. I refused. He said he did not want to take me back to my car. The officer had confiscated my license. He did not want to be a part of me driving around with no license. He initially said he would get me an Uber.

Maverick: "Hope, do you even know where your car is? The officer said you were hard to handle and severely intoxicated."

Me: Yes. I was not that bad... I remember an about location.

After arguing with him, he decided he would drop me off.

He told me not to get into trouble. I did not need to be driving around and so on. As he drove away, I shot him a bird and said, "fuck you."

I went to open my car door and realized the doors were locked and my keys were inside. I looked around and I had parked in front of an Ace Hardware store. I walked in and asked for help. If anyone knew how to get into a locked vehicle (maybe with a coat hanger?) It was an older car. The staff there were very nice and helpful. A guy walked out to look at the driver's side window and after trying with a tool with no luck; he called a locksmith. The locksmith came and did not charge me.

I called my other friend, who I had met at my previous employment Smoothie King. His name was Dean. Dean was short, muscular, tattooed. He had recently been released from prison. Outside of the bad boy exterior and prison mentality, he was a good guy. We worked together, laughed a lot together, and use to hangout some before I had moved back home. He was like another brother to me. We made fun of each other a lot and we both did not take our job at Smoothie King that serious. We had a key, would open and close the store, go the bank, etc. but we knew it was temporary. It was our "recovery job." I cannot count how many times I hysterically laughed at his impressions of me. I can still see him now! Priceless.

He was living in a sober living apartment but had previously relapsed on his drug of choice: heroin. I knew this and was determined to get a taste. He knew where to get the dope and I had money. Deadly combination for drug addicts. I called and told him I would meet him at our determined location. I stopped to get vodka before I went. I was not one to use recreational drugs unless my brain had already become impaired by alcohol. He drove up and I hopped in the car with him with my vodka. I had already taken two shots. He was not thrilled that I had already been drinking. Drug users usually do not drink alcohol. They do not like being around drunks. He asked if I had taken anything else because it would be my first time using. And with a combination of drugs in your system you are way more likely to overdose and die. I lied. I told him no. We stopped by a local atm. I slid my debit card in and took out a few hundred of dollars. I did not know how much it cost. I knew I wanted a lot. I did not care if I lived or died. All I wanted was to get high. My life had become unbearable. I was tired of fighting with Eric. I felt like I had failed my kids.

I did not see a way out. Death started to look really good in my mind. I wanted to disappear. The shame and guilt were crimpling me. I did not know how to forgive Eric. But most of all, I did not know how I could forgive myself. I had done it again. I had gone off the rails.

Dean drove us about thirty-five minutes to downtown Atlanta. We were going to the infamous "Bluff." The homes are boarded up with iron gates on some windows. It is listed as the most dangerous neighborhood in Metro Atlanta and the fifth most dangerous area in the United States. It is known for drug trafficking, drug cartels, and deadly crimes. And that is where I could not wait to go. It was a cheap thrill. Dean explained how dangerous it was and gave me clear instructions." Lock the door when I get out, do not roll down the window for anyone, and for heaven's sake; do not get out of the fucking car, Hope."

I drank vodka the whole ride leading up to this moment. Oh, I was getting out of the car. I lived in my own bubble and was fearless. I was not aware of the systemic evil that existed. I saw the good in everyone. I wanted to see who the drug dealer was. I get out and Dean turns around yelling, "get back to the fucking car now." The look on his face was serious. I thought, "oh crap, this is way over my head." I am used to getting my substances legally. I am about to take it to a whole other level. This is not my 'neck of the woods.'

He gets back in the car. "What were you thinking? People kill people for the shit you just did." The subject vastly changed. He got cocaine and heroin. We stopped around the corner to get clean needles at a store. He mixed the shot up. I watched him take his. He knew I did not know what I was doing. I showed him my good vein. He gave me a shot. A euphoria I had never experienced before came over me. Instant elation. All was well in my world. Everything I had been worried about no longer existed.

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