Blurred Lines & Hard Times: How the Aftermath of My Second Rock-Bottom Ultimately Drove Me Further into the Ground

This is the preface part two (a.k.a. part two) of my rock bottom number three series. In case you missed it, you may want to check out: Rock Bottom, Rape Culture & RecoveryCoastlines, Crack, & Rehab FraudFalse Freedom, Captivity, & A Lot of DeceptionCoercion, Consent & Control, as well as The Last Few Days of Captivity (in that order) once you finish reading the below.

And for a poetic account of what took place, feel free to read: Chains, Reins, & Brains. Thank you!

Full disclosure: I’ve been putting this one off. It’s hard to go back there —even if it’s just through writing. But by talking about it (because I haven’t since it happened), I think it will help me move past it a little more than I already am. And deep down, I know it’s about that time I get it out.

If you remember from a previous post, I had just gotten myself out of a sticky situation a.k.a. rock-bottom number two. I was laying low, hiding out at a friend’s house in Deerfield, Beach.

Turns out, this “friend” wasn’t a friend at all.

But not yet. Back then, he technically just saved my life. It was a confusing time, I know. Because the lines were more than blurred. I’m doing my best though. Ready or not, here I go.

James (you can find out more about who he exactly is by checking out that rock-bottom number two link, as seen above) had just invited me to stay at his place —after I got myself kicked out of the halfway house I called home. My relapse mode was in full effect and I was about to be homeless. So if you couldn’t have guessed, I was more than desperate.

Not to be so blunt but I had just gotten raped.

I escaped as soon as I could (from rock bottom number two). I literally ran down the street looking like a hot fucking mess as James chased after me. But that didn’t matter. Would I get out of this alive? That was yet to be determined.

At the time, I literally thought this was where I was going to die but I just kept running. Then, these two women (neighbors of the rapist) end up finding me a few moments later. Thank GOD —they too saved my life that day. They took me in, kept me warm and calmed me down because if you couldn’t have guessed, I was freaking the fuck out.

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They didn’t ask much of what happened but they knew something bad had gone down so they let me lead. We chat a bit when they ask if I had any family I could call. My family had no idea where I was and if I called them in the state I was in, it would have done more harm than good. I needed to hide out for a bit then I’d be able to talk about it and tell them. When I say no, they ask if I had any friends in the area.

THE TRUTH WAS, I DIDN’T. I DIDN’T HAVE ANYONE. I FELT SO ALONE, ASHAMED AND EMBARRASSED.

I was sitting there thinking who the fuck can I call? I stand up and put my hands in my back pocket to think a little more when I feel something in one of them. A few weeks prior, this guy, Bruce who lived nearby came to The Office where I worked for lunch when we got to talking.

He ends up giving me his business card and said if I ever needed anything, I should call him and he’d be there. Somehow, I kept his card that I previously shoved into the back pocket of the pants I happened to be wearing. I remember thinking how did it not fall out? I don’t question it though. When I take that piece of paper out of my pocket, I quickly realize it was Bruce’s.

I start dialing his number from their landline without a second thought. I couldn’t think of a single soul who would want to come get me so I prayed he’d pick up. I was shaking so hard I didn’t realize it was dialing as I hear a voice on the other end.

HE ANSWERED. HE WAS THE ONLY PERSON WHO ANSWERED.

Bruce was with his cousin, Ian, whom he lived with, whom I had previously met. What I find amusing is that Bruce actually tried three times prior, to see how I was doing (I didn’t yet know who he was or what he was capable of). He offered to take me to a meeting, but I never answered any of his phone calls because I thought he was boring (there’s so much irony right here, you’ll later see what I mean).

But back then, I remember saying I’d take a lifetime of boredom if it meant I would get out of here alive. Foxhole prayer, I know, but it worked. I remember him asking if I was for real in danger. Apparently, he was on a double date but I stressed the urgency of this situation and believe it or not, he said he’d be there in a few. As I got the address from these kind ladies, I translate it back to him.

10 MINUTES LATER, HE WAS THERE.

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When we get to his place, he takes my stash of pills.

I was a little mad but that was kind of to be expected from someone in the program and the initial reason why I didn’t want to hang out with him. I thought he was a straight edge type of guy or at least that’s how he initially played it off. Except, I’d later learn, he was far from that. Turns out, he preferred uppers and the whole point of taking my pills away was so I would have no other choice but to want to do his. He knew I was an addict. He knew my type way too well.

Bruce had been around the block more than a few times. He was a New Yorker originally —literally as soon as he opened his mouth, you could tell by his accent. And he opened his mouth quite a lot. I say that because he was a talker but a smooth one at that. He had this weird way of making you do exactly what he wanted but making it seem like it was your idea.

I’m sure you know the type. In short, he could sell ice to the freaking iceman.

At first, it was fun (like anything else). I say that because day one and two with Bruce (at his cousin’s house) consisted of a schmorgis board of narcotics —actually, it was the whole damn time. If it wasn’t my specific drug of choice, which as you know was Roxicodone, a 30-milligram painkiller just like OxyContin or morphine; it was Xanax or crack cocaine.

He was trying to detox me. I say that because that’s literally what he said. Except, his kind wasn’t what you’d expect from a medical facility. It was more along the lines of, doing every drug available minus the only one I actually wanted to do. But that was the point. Despite what you might think, he did come up with a system for when I asked for my beloved pills. But I think it was more about control than him wanting to help manage my addiction.

It was all about power.

He did say that by the time my dad came to pick me up, he wanted me to have these opioids out of my system. So I guess, he wasn’t all bad. I bet even the worst person in the world has at least one redeeming quality. But remember, he didn’t want me to just stay sober. He wanted me to want him. He wanted me to need him. And as stupid as this sounds, back then —whoever had the drugs had the power.

In this case, he did. He had all of that. So yeah, maybe he really was right because at the time, I did, in fact, need him. For the record though, I far from wanted him. But that was irrelevant. He wanted me all to himself and made sure I knew it. And I could tell, this wasn’t his first rodeo. He knew what he was doing. However, at that moment, I thought he had my back. I mean, he wouldn’t let me snort any of my pills, which is the opposite of enabling.

If I did one, I’d have to pop it. So in a strange way, it seemed like he really was helping.

Notwithstanding the fact that if I wanted one of my pills, he made me work for it. Pills of mine that he took, pills that he kept locked away; pills that I could only get if he let me. And when he did let me, there were always strings attached. There’s no such thing as a free lunch or in this case, a free pill. And per Bruce, I could only have one if I did it his way.

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He knew that I loved the process as much as the drugs themselves. So he thought that by taking the process away, I’d want my drugs less and less, which if you think about it, was actually pretty genius. Thanks —thanks for nothing. Day three though, things got real. The strings attached became more and more uncomfortable. It started PG but ended way past that. At this point though, we were still having “fun” (or so the junkie in me thought).

But now I had to do even more things I didn’t want to do.

Things that were worse than before. I didn’t want to do any of it —not even then. And for the record, not even before. I told him that but he’d say, “It’s just five minutes. Come on, Macey. Then I’ll give you some pills and we’ll get high.” He held that over my head and ultimately, I think that’s why I waited so long to speak up about it. I think that’s why I stayed stuck and didn’t see a need to escape —at least not yet.

Side note guys and it’s a big one.

I say all of this with such rage because I end up coming back here like a year later. I’ll give you the cliff notes version now a.k.a. a flash forward into my third rock bottom and if you wanted, you can read the full article here. Long story short, after I leave Ian’s, I go directly to that eight-month Christian rehab. I work hard and graduate the program (not rock bottom yet, you’ll know when we get there).

So with my rehab diploma in hand, I venture up north to start a new life at my mom’s in New Jersey (where it all began; but you already knew that). Now, keep in mind that the whole time I was laying low with Bruce at Ian’s, my family thought he really was helping me. They thought he was actually detoxing their daughter. Except, we were high the entire time.

Like I said, if it wasn’t pills, it was crack.

So post-mission, I’m back in my hometown. At first, I did exactly what I was supposed too. But when a friend of mine I just reconnected with picks me up and offers me free pills —free pills she happened to already buy that were now staring at me in the face, I cave and join her. Needless to say, she gave me an offer I simply couldn’t refuse. So I relapse after almost an entire year clean.

I guess I couldn’t pull off this sober thing in real life. Eventually, my mom finds out about my double life that I managed to pull off for almost a year (getting closer). So when my mom calls Bruce asking for some guidance on what he thinks she should do with me, he tells her there’s a rehab down here with my name it.

And why wouldn’t she believe him?

I mean, according to her brain, he was the only one who could get through to me back then —so she thought, he could do the same thing again. So she kicks me out under the assumption I was going to another 30-day rehab and with that, she buys me a one-way plane ticket and off to Florida I go.

But his version of healing wasn’t what she had in mind. I say that because meanwhile, Bruce is telling me in secret via text to just go with it. “Don’t worry, Macey. There’s no rehab. Just get down here.”

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One part of me knew this wasn’t a good idea. And that part of me was saying don’t go. Tell your mom who this guy really is. But the other really wanted to get high. Regardless though, I should have spoken up. I really don’t know why I didn’t. It’s just, I felt like I had no other choice. I was vulnerable, heartbroken, and weak.

My mom had just kicked me out after all, and if I wasn’t getting on that plane, I really had nowhere else to go. So I concede. Bruce had just recently moved into a two-bedroom apartment in Boca Raton. When he picks me up at the airport, it was all smiles. But those would soon fade (this is it). After a few days with him, it felt more like a kidnapping than anything else because there was, in fact, no fucking rehab.

I was basically his prisoner for a month.

I wasn’t allowed to leave the condo without him. And we rarely ever left besides to pick up more drugs. He freaking dropped my cell phone into a glass of orange juice so that I had to go through him to make phone calls. And when I managed to get another, he broke that one in half. He did this and other things so I wouldn’t escape. Like if I disagreed with him, he’d hurt me. If I said no, he’d touch me anyway. He’d put me in a room for hours or days.

Basically, however long he could go without violating me. But then he’d feed me pills and keep me high. I was literally a corpse —dying a little more inside with each uncertain breath. Everything I learned went out the window again. He’d give me an inch but then take a mile. The worst part was when he’d tell me how much my family hated me. He said, if I didn’t go along with his plan, they’d hate me even more and possibly disown me forever.

They aren’t going to believe you now.

And you know what, he was right —none of them believed me (well, besides my dad). Bruce would even put the phone on speaker whenever he’d talk to one of them —feeding them lies about my “progress in treatment.” They actually thought I was a resident at some strict facility that his buddy owned. As a result, he could keep track of my whereabouts since this place “didn’t allow phone calls from anyone including family” (or at least that’s what he said).

So for the full length of “my stay,” I was to have no contact with anyone. He’d emphasize that he was allowed to go there and check on me. So per his reports, they thought I was getting healthy —but not without a cost. He actually told them that they needed to send me money for essentials as well as therapy fees.

But remember, there was no fucking rehab.

So, all of that money went to Bruce and with it, he bought crack. Oh and, a few weeks prior to me arriving, he had gotten into a car accident. Because of that, he found a dirty doctor that was now in his pocket. This physician would write him prescription after prescription for whatever he wanted. He definitely led with that and that was how he got me to keep quiet about all of this for so long. I was allowed to have as many pills as I wanted as long as I kept my mouth shut and it hurts me to say, my legs open.

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So all of this went on for literally 30 awful fucking days. 

I cried. I cried in front of him but he didn’t care. I told him that I hated him and how I wanted nothing more than to leave or simply die. If I thought things were bad before, this was like nothing I had ever experienced. I had dark circles underneath my eyes and feeling depressed was the understatement of the year. I wasn’t safe anymore. I even contemplated how I’d off myself —it really was that bad. 

I remember screaming whenever he’d get on top of me. Remember though, he didn’t care. I remember needing drugs (of any kind) just to get through it. And the cycle continues. I didn’t think I could make it one more second but then I’d do another pill and forget —or at least try too. I remember going to bed each night with laying next to me. 

Honestly, I’d fall asleep thinking of ways I could kill him.

I even imagined escaping, running away, punching him and darting to the door, leaving whatever stuff I had for him to do whatever he wanted with. But I either didn’t have the energy or it wasn’t the right time (until it was because man, in the end, I manage to escape and karma definitely got him back; look at me now, bitch). I knew I fucked up a lot. I hurt way too many people —especially my family and myself. I lied. I stole. I knew my actions merited some type of consequence, but I knew I didn’t deserve this.

Except none of that stuff happened yet. 

At this point, remember he was just a guy letting me crash at his place who made me do a few bad something’s for it. A few bad something’s I thought I could handle. I was majorly manipulated. I think the junkie in me just saw free drugs, if I can be frank. But in hindsight, it was much more calculated than that —at least on his end. My intentions were all on the table. In short, I was his mark and he got me.

Plus, he was acting as a liaison —the go-between my family and me, which I couldn’t do or deal with. So I happily let Bruce. I guess I didn’t want to think for a while after my second rock-bottom and this just seemed easier. So, over the course of those 14 days, he spoke to them multiple times. They got pretty close from these conversations —so close that by the end, they thought he was superman and I played it off like he was.

Those crack smoking and what not sessions were our little secret.

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Later on, I had to go to therapy because of all this shit where I learned about Stockholm syndrome. I’ve heard about it before but I never thought I’d be in the same sentence as it. I remember feeling rather embarrassed when she put me in that category. The therapist made sure to emphasize that I had some and not all symptoms of this disorder.

I displayed similar characteristics of someone officially diagnosed. I could live with that considering. For those who don’t know, Stockholm syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where hostages express empathy and sympathy toward their captors. Essentially, at the time, I mistakenly took his contributions as an act of kindness.

Turns out, I’m not alone either.

The FBI’s Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly eight percent of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome. This complex disorder can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario. Instead, like in my case, it describes a strong emotional tie originated between two people where one person, Bruce, intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other, me.

Identifying with the aggressor was one of many ways that I defended myself, or at least that’s what my therapist said. Ultimately, she chalks it up to P.T.S.D. and onward I go. So my stay continues for another few days. We popped more pills. We smoked more crack. We’d come down and go back up. In short, I was high and staying high (for free).

And it was because of that, I thought everything he was making me do, was OK or perhaps justified?

I mean, Bruce literally saved my life so I owed him that much, right? No. Not in the least. But you know what, it happened anyway. Day nine, 10 and 11 go by —same shit, different outfit. Eventually, 12 and 13 do too.

Then Day 14 arrives —a.k.a. my dad was on his way.

Finally. The end is near. In fact, it’s literally here. I remember hearing the car beep out-front. It was him. I couldn’t fucking believe it. I knew I wouldn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to any longer. I felt more than relieved. Except, at the same time, I for some reason was a little sad to leave.

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Maybe because I knew I’d have to stop doing drugs and actually work on getting sober. I’d have to work on myself too and it all just seemed like too much to handle. I mean, the only way I knew how to cope was by snorting or smoking something. Plus, once again, I didn’t know where I was going. At least here, it was consistent.

But when I see my dad, all of my fears go out the window.

He always had a way of making me feel safe. I remember standing inside watching him pull up from a nearby window. I see him get out of the car as I open the front door and walk toward him. No, I ran. He starts crying as soon as I’m within arm’s length away. I give him the biggest hug and we just stand there like that for a few minutes.

He didn’t ask me any questions about what I had been through. I don’t think he wanted to know the details. I definitely don’t think he could have handled it anyway. He just wanted me healthy and safe. I told him I was. I told him that Bruce helped me detox and I was ready for whatever they had planned. And so, together, we walk inside.

My dad and Bruce never met before.

They had only spoken on the phone so this was their first face-to-face. They small talk a bit. My dad thanks him for taking such good care of me (gee, thanks). Bruce says it was his pleasure (I bet it was) and that I’m a very special girl. My dad, unknowing of what Bruce actually meant, agrees. I remember sitting down on the living room couch while they continued their conversation over a cigarette outside.

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I remembered that I still had a bunch of stuff at my old halfway house. I was supposed to pick all that shit up but I never went back. I think I was too afraid to go alone. Plus, I had nowhere to put it. Luckily, my ex-housemates so kindly bagged all of it up and set it neatly in the garage for whenever I made my way over. So my dad and Bruce accompany me upstairs (still at Ian’s) to help carry down whatever items I had here.

But not before saying our farewells. Ugh.

Luckily, my dad was here and literally by my side so that funny business was officially over. Bruce gives me an over-sized but audience appropriate hug and says how much he’ll miss me. He says that he knows how much I liked this one particular black bracelet of his. He gives it to me saying that I should wear it and think of him.

I’ve since thrown it away, obviously —but back then, he put it on my wrist. He gives my dad and me one last hug as we make our way downstairs and out the front door. One step at a time, I remember my dad saying. My dad lived in this beautiful fully furnished three-bedroom condo right outside downtown Orlando.

So that was our next stop and final destination, (for now).

But before I go on, consider this your mid-way check-in. If anyone is confused (because I know it’s a lot), here’s another mini breakdown of when these events took place chronologically: 

So, I originally started this chapter of my life at a halfway house in Del Ray. When I got kicked out, I end up hitting rock bottom number two where I call Bruce for help. That’s how I ended up with Bruce at his cousin’s for the first time. Then, remember my dad picks me up, which is where I’m currently at (if this article was happening right now but you get it; hopefully).

After that, I go to an eight-month rehab. Once I graduate, I decide to head back home to New Jersey where I ultimately fuck everything up again. So when my mom finds out, she sends me to Bruce’s for the second time a.k.a. my third rock bottom —where he wouldn’t let me leave for 30 days since he told my family I was in rehab when in all reality, he was lying through this teeth.

Now that you’re all caught up and filled in, I’ll continue.

So we drive the three and a half hours it takes from south to central Florida. It was a rather optimistic ride considering —filled with endless conversations and laughter. Once we finally arrive at my dad’s place, he says to make myself at home while he worked with my mom and sister to figure out what to do with me. First, though, it was time for bed. We were exhausted.

Morning comes and goes. I end up staying for another two weeks. I’d hang out by the pool, trying not to rip my skin off. Luckily, this go-around, the withdrawals weren’t so bad. I will say, Bruce actually did one thing right. Anyway, this is the part where I end up at the mission —that long-term Christian rehab.

And eight months later, I was out —free at last.

Once that’s over, remember, I decide to move back home to stay with my mom. I thought this time, it was going to stick. I mean, I had been through enough right? You’d think so. Ultimately, because I was right back where I started, like living in the same bedroom as my high school self, I felt triggered, and depressed. But I carry on despite the colorful madness inside.

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I was on the straight and narrow —well, until I wasn’t. Meanwhile, both my mom and I kept in touch with Bruce. I know why she did but I don’t know why I did. So just like anything else, the days go by. I find a decent job and reconnect with old friends but not before dating another drug-dealing boyfriend who inevitability escalated the contents of my relapse mode.

Once things come to a head like when I fuck up for the umpteenth time and my mom finds out that I was, in fact, living a double life, Bruce swoops in to save the day yet again. And so, he talks my mom into sending me back to Florida (hopefully, the dots are connecting on your end timeline wise). She didn’t see any other options. So she buys me that one-way ticket I mentioned earlier and unknowingly sends me back to Satan himself.

So yeah, things got worse before they got better —like way worse.

Like all that shit in purple up there worse. But eventually, I hit the ground so hard, it was only a matter of time before I bounced back up. And I did. Today, I’m typing this to you from the top (figuratively speaking, of course). It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was the hardest fucking thing I ever had to do. I was walked on, used and forgotten about. I remember thinking I wasn’t going to make it. But somewhere along the way, I learned my worth.

So I looked my demons in the eyes and said, “Do your best, destroy me.” But I’ve been to hell and back so many times, that by now it’s like what’s one more monster? So fight. Cry. Curse. Get it all out. But then, go back to the business of living. I mean, we’ve all gotten this far right? So why give up now?

Because when it’s all said and done, we are more than the worst thing that’s ever happened to us —just look at me.

xoxo,

macey bee

*names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved. 

This is the preface part two (a.k.a. part two) of my rock bottom number three series. In case you missed it, you may want to check out: Rock Bottom, Rape Culture & RecoveryCoastlines, Crack, & Rehab FraudFalse Freedom, Captivity, & A Lot of DeceptionCoercion, Consent & Control, as well as The Last Few Days of Captivity (in that order) once you finish reading the below.

And for a poetic account of what took place, feel free to read: Chains, Reins, & Brains. Thank you!

16 thoughts on “Blurred Lines & Hard Times: How the Aftermath of My Second Rock-Bottom Ultimately Drove Me Further into the Ground

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