I met Bob while I was in a sober living in Hollywood. To this point, the programming was very bland, at least to me in that particular point of my life at this time. I couldn’t relate to many of the others in the house and the stories I was told from some of the facilitators didn’t really match the way I perceived them.
I questioned their sincerity and something in my gut told me not to trust them. Bob’s group was much like any other – a fumbling and funneling inside of the doors to take our seats to listen to a story we had heard every Wednesday to this point.
To my amazement, I felt as though I had known him for years. The familiar voice, the familiar tone, the similarity of feelings in some of his stories. It reminded me of the first time I had heard Elliott Smith.
Riddled and hidden beneath metaphors and a whisper like delivery was a message that very well could have been taken out of my own experiences. Familiarity is relativity. When spoken to, I will listen. When spoken at, I will daydream into a world that better suits and fits my needs.
Bob spoke about some experiences he had getting sober – some of the AA rhetorics and sentiments he didn’t necessarily believe in. Through his talk was a bit of hope woven through that I believed. I was drawn to him – like he was the truth teller in a world filled with liars.
We spoke after the meeting about music. I felt uncomfortable chatting with somebody who was established and as respectable as he was while I was a sort of failed musician who never took an honest chance for fear of what the world thought.
Such an unfortunate passion to have with low self esteem and a low self image. Bob didn’t seem to care or to judge me, and in fact seemed as interested in my story as I was in his. This was the root of connection.
He gave me his phone number that day and so I started texting him about Bob Dylan and David Bowie albums. We spoke a little bit here and there and in the illusionary world of Hollywood in its infinite distractions, I felt as though I wasn’t alone.
Shortly after this experience, the inevitability of depression carried me into yet another relapse. Somewhere on Sunset there’s a hotel room with blood stains on the carpet and the walls from cut hands ripping beer cans in half to cook heroin off of.
The light on the ceiling fan turns into a dream catcher and a junkie inside of it can’t picture their life off of drugs entirely. This is where using brought me, before the streets.
The story has a happy ending though. Bob answered his phone when I called and connected me with Evan, one of the owners of Alo House. Reluctantly, I agreed to detox before coming into Alo House. Unfortunately there were no detox beds left at the facility I agreed to go to, and was committed to a locked ward in the psychiatric wing.
Evan answered the phone every day and called me a couple of times a day to ease my mind. Drowsy from the lights and spun from the withdrawal, I can’t imagine I made too much sense in those days – but “eventually,” slowly metamorphosed out of “never,” and after a few days I was picked up by a staff member and brought to Alo House in Malibu.
It was beyond anything I could have ever deserved. Such a long way from the Olive Motel, such a long way from Hollywood. I didn’t feel right for a couple of weeks coming off of benzos, but I was greeted with love and respect the instance I got there.
Even the clients were inviting and Malibu seemed to bring about a sense of peace I wasn’t used to for quite some time. I owe my life to Bob, Evan and Jared. This was only the beginning.