This is part two of my three-part series on rock-bottom number one. For the first segment; read this. And for the third, read that.
I was physically, mentally, and emotionally deteriorating. I had never been this depressed before. I didn’t even look like me anymore. And I hated the person I had become.
But I wasn’t willing to change or do anything about it. I’d only complain. And then I’d get high. You could count on me for that.
It’s just, I’d only get like this whenever I was running low. So I made sure that didn’t happen very often.
As a result, I dug myself into a pretty big black hole. Rock bottom as they call it. There was no way out. There was no light either.
Well, I could think of one. And it came from the foiled reflection whenever I’d smoke another pill. What the fuck was I going to do now?
This time around, I had no clue. Instead of figuring out a plan to get my life back, I get dressed instead. I had a job interview shortly. So I pick up a random shirt from the oversized pile of dirty laundry scattered all over my bedroom floor. Most of my clothes were in that pile. I could barely take care of myself —would you really expect me to do my own laundry as if I was a normal person? There wasn’t anything normal about me.
But you couldn’t tell this girl that. On top of everything, I was pretty much in denial. Because I wouldn’t let myself go there. As you know, I’d get high instead. I was literally obsessed with those things. My pills. And it nearly killed me —physically, mentally, and emotionally. All of the above. Because eventually, I became willing to do just about anything to get and stay high. From one job to another, I schemed my way in and out; until there was nothing left. Until there was nothing left to do but sell my damn dignity.
Essentially, that’s what I had been doing the entire time.
I mean, you don’t go from 130 pounds to 87.5 because you’re healthy. I wasn’t healthy. I didn’t look healthy. At first, I could hide it. It wasn’t that noticeable. But after a year or so of the same shit different day, I remember my dad saying I looked like a freaking cancer patient. And still, I insisted I was fine. I just haven’t been as hungry, I’d say, which was true. Except, I left out why. Because I’d replace my meals with pills —hunger was more of an afterthought. Like if I only had $50 left, I’d buy 5 pills for 10 bucks before I spent it on food.
Gas too. Because there were a few instances where I legit only had a couple dollars in my pocket. And instead of spending it wisely, I’d use most of it to get more drugs —leaving less than $5 bills for basic life necessities (such as food, water, and gas). It’s just, I needed gas to get to my dealers in order to buy more drugs. Somehow though, I managed to get by. I recall having to sweet talk a few gas attendants —coercing them to sell me some for free (a few times, it actually worked). But that’s beside the point. Because what I’m getting at, is pretty dark and twisty. But it’s real.
Like I can’t deny that it’s somehow still apart of who I am today.
If you remember from a few posts back, I had been working as a healthcare recruiter —my first official post-graduation job. Employee by day. Drug addict at night. Eventually, though, those two worlds collide. When I decide to pick up more drugs instead of going back to work, I end up getting fired. As if I didn’t see this coming. Because I wasn’t as good as my boss originally thought I’d be. I knew why. But once again, she didn’t. And that’s the point. “You have so much potential, Macey.”
Potential I wasn’t using; I was using pills instead.
I was also using my lunch break to score those pills. Because I was already halfway to one of my dealers. I worked until sixish, which was around the time it started to get dark. Since I’ve always had a thing with driving at night (I hate it), it seemed as if lunch was the best time (at least for me) to see him. Because I had to have something to snort if I wanted to get out of bed. Because I couldn’t do anything without my drug of choice. So if I didn’t have at least 60 milligrams, I couldn’t function let alone work.
But once again, it was a catch 22. Because truthfully, I didn’t work too well on them either. I remember falling asleep multiple times in the bathroom. Where’s Macey? That’s when shit got really bad. Long story short, if I didn’t close two deals by the end of the week, they’d have to let me go. Because I had been there for nearly a month now. And I had zero to my name. I was a little annoyed with myself. But not enough to make a change or do anything about it. I remember doing a line instead. As the week went on, nothing changed.
It became pretty evident that I wasn’t going to be employee of the month.
Most likely, I wouldn’t be employed at all, which is exactly what happened next. Long story short (you can read the full version, here), I find another job. But that shit didn’t pan out as I hoped. So I find something else. And what do you know? That didn’t work out either. It’s just, I didn’t know that yet. All I knew was that I had an incoming phone call from an unknown number. I assumed it was this movie producer guy who was calling to schedule an interview. It was.
From the Craig’s List posting I read, it sounded really cool. I thought I’d actually be able to use my media degree. Because as you know, I hadn’t thus far. And I really wanted too. I thought if I enjoyed my job, maybe I’d be happier. And perhaps, more apt to quit. Like, quit using. Because I didn’t want to do drugs anymore. I had too. Anyway, I remember answering the phone and talking to that guy. Big mistake. I recall finding it a little odd that he wanted to conduct the interview at night. And at a hotel in a random room nonetheless. What about the business center?
But who am I to question this shit.
He’s the professional, right? I guess. Because I would have questioned that shit if I wasn’t too busy fiending. Fiending for drugs. Fiending for money. It was pretty clear that I needed something (anything) to supplement my income. And because I was so desperate, I wasn’t really thinking about how I’d get the money to get more drugs. Because the ad said it was a “paid” interview, which should have been a second red flag. Most legit places don’t offer money for simply showing up.
I knew that. I also knew the whole thing felt a little off. You know —like when you get an eery feeling in the pit of your stomach? Yeah, I felt that. Except, my eyes were too busy on the prize. I remember thinking that if I didn’t get the job, I’d at least get some money to re-up a little later. Because I always needed more. That’s when I get dressed and head over to the Embassy Suites Hotel off of Yamato Road in Boca Raton. I remember that vividly. I also remember arriving and then parking. I was a little early but eager to get started.
You know why.
After that, I recall searching for, finding and then getting on the elevator down the hall from the lobby doors I just walked through. I remember getting off on the fifth floor and making my way to the room he said to meet at. I remember getting there and pausing. Truth is, I was a little nervous. What if he was a killer? A rapist? I didn’t want to die or get raped (at this point, I hadn’t). So I take a deep breath. Then, I put my hand in a fist and knock three times just like he said. I was trying to be as professional as possible.
“Make yourself comfortable,” he says. “You can have a seat right here,” —pointing to the couch. I was relieved he didn’t point to the bed. I was also relieved that it was one of those hotel suites with a living room. Like the bed was in the other room. It seemed as if he made the “living room” into his own little home-office. He had a few laptops sitting on a desk to the right of us with a bunch of random papers. And then the hotel TV, which hung from the wall directly across from the couch we were on. I remember thinking, so far so good.
From the looks of it, it was a pretty decent setup.
I thought that was a good sign. I guess in my mind, it made him seem legit or something. But that was the point. Because I may have spoken too soon. Oh yeah. I definitely did. Because after that, shit got weird. Like really weird —just as I suspected. Like everything I prayed wouldn’t happen, kind of did. But I didn’t leave. Remember, I wanted my damn money, which he said I’d get when the interview was over. Consequently, I stay against my better judgment.
So what is it that I’m getting at?
Well, if I thought things were bad before, I was in store for a rude awakening. Fortunately, he wasn’t a killer —possibly a rapist (that was yet to be determined). Luckily though, he didn’t touch me. But it was far from good. Because this was the first cut. And when they say it’s the deepest, they were right. Because I was digging my own grave. I just didn’t know it yet. Because after he gives me the rundown on what I could expect if I got the position, he propositions me. It’s not exactly what you’re thinking. But it’s pretty close.
Here’s what happened.
As you already know, I’m sitting next to him on the couch. That’s when he starts giving me the rundown of what I could expect day-to-day. I was pleasantly surprised. It sounded like my cup of tea. Basically, he worked freelance for some D-list movie production company. He needed someone to write reviews for a bunch of short films his client’s company created. Every morning, he’d send over those files via email. I’d have to watch them and then write an honest review. Each review being no longer than two pages.
On top of the reviews, he had a second client who needed critiques on various screenplays not yet filmed. They weren’t filmed because that client needed someone to edit the scripts, which is where I’d come in. He said, every morning, I could expect a second email with those documents. “I’m pretty flexible,” he added. “So you’d have all day to review them. We rarely have specific deadlines.” And for those projects, I’d simply insert any edits I saw fit. Whether there were grammatical issues, a lack of flow —shit like that.
Did you guys know that Microsoft Word has this built-in tool that can track your changes, edits, and/ or comments —so that another person can see your revisions? It’s pretty cool. It lets you mark up documents as if you were editing them on paper. Like with a red pen. It literally shows you and anyone who opens it what modifications were made. So after that was done, I’d return the edited version back to him. And right away, he’d see my highlighted changes —where he’d either accept or reject my suggestions.
He said sometimes, there may be a little back and forth.
But overall, he wouldn’t bother me too much. That’s it? Damn. There was no question. I could more than do it. I’d excel. Maybe this is what I was looking for. Maybe it was the answer. I mean, I’d be using both my journalism and public relations degree. Something I had longed for but couldn’t figure out how. Because being creative makes me feel fulfilled. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain. But I was excited. Plus it was all done online; we’d only meet when necessary. It sounded like the perfect gig.
Did I mention I’d be making $600 a week? That was way more than my last job —not as much as my first but it was exactly what I was hoping for. How could I say no? I don’t. I tell him, “I’ll take it!” That’s when he tells me, “There’s just one more thing we need to discuss before I can officially offer you the position.” So I ask, “What is it?” And that’s when shit got weird. Like I said, really weird. It’s hard for me to type out. It’s hard to say out loud. Because it’s kind of embarrassing.
But here goes nothing.
So I’m waiting for a response. Like what more could he want to know about me? Because before he said his little spiel, I shared a bit about myself —including a detailed work history. And not to sound arrogant, but I knew I nailed it. He seemed into it. And now that I think of it, maybe I did too good of a job selling myself. Because. Are you ready? This is when he asks if I could jerk him off until completion. He literally said that. Verbatim. Whaaat? I was stunned. He said if I did, the job was mine. Wait a second.
Because I quickly realize what was playing in the background of his hotel room. I can’t believe I didn’t notice it before. Porn. It was fucking porn!!!! That’s when I start piecing everything together. I was sad. I was pissed and he got me. Because I knew this shit was too good to be true. When it seems that way, it usually is. And in this case, it fucking was. Because the films I’d be watching, reviewing and editing were also porn. And this guy was a fucking creep. Remember though, there was $100 with my name on it.
He said he’d even throw in another $200. But only if I made it through the entire interview. And that was the point. That’s why he said entire interview. And that’s why he waited until now to share the cliffhanger ending with me. Because if I walked out now, I’d get nothing. Zero. And I needed something. It’s just, with what Ted was asking for, you’d think the answer was simple. No. No way. Get the fuck out. Run. But as you know, life isn’t so black and white. And I was grey. More like black and blue. But you get it.
Because I wasn’t sure what to do.
Like I wish I could sit here and tell you I did, in fact, run away. But that would be a lie. Because I didn’t. I didn’t do anything. I was in a state of shock. I had never been propositioned like this before. I never even knew this was a thing people did or asked for. I was on a freaking job interview, after all. What the actual fuck. So I think about it for a moment. In my head, I’m like OK. No one would know I did this. I’d be able to not be sick for at least another day. Plus, he wasn’t asking for sex, which would have been a hard no.
At least that’s what I told myself. Unfortunately, the ugly truth is that a lot of female addicts (men too) end up exchanging sex for money in order to score more drugs. Based on some research, financial struggles —normally stemming from drug use, may pressure both men and women into prostitution. They say that addiction can keep a person trapped in prostitution, and prostitution can keep a person trapped in addiction. As you know, drugs are expensive. When you’re doing them day after day, shit adds up.
So you can’t have a normal person’s job.
When the addict begs, borrows and steals everything and anything they can get their hands on, eventually, there’s nothing left to do but sell themselves. And when the high wears off (it always does), experts emphasize that he or she probably feels more than icky. Like icky enough they need more drugs. They need drugs so that they don’t have to think about what they did to get them. Hence why it’s such a challenging cycle to break. Because you need money to get more drugs. And everything sucks without them.
So at that point, it may seem that the only way to get the amount of money needed to buy those drugs day after day is to sell themselves. Like their bodies. Services too. Obviously, though, there’s a ton of risk involved. It’s just, women and men in need of money, for this reason, may find that it’s worth the gamble. Plus, anytime drugs are involved, there’s usually not enough time to pause. Well, there is. There always is. But you get it. And if you’re not pausing, you certainly aren’t going to weigh the pros and cons against one another.
But for me, at this very moment, I was pausing.
I needed a second. I didn’t want to feel like a prostitute. Because I wasn’t. So for a moment, I thought I’d say no. Because I wasn’t sure what would happen if I said yes. It’s just, as you know, my brain wasn’t mine anymore. Nevertheless, I remember asking myself, “Am I ready for something like this? Could I live with myself after doing what he asked?” Because in all of my awfulness —like robbing and stealing and scheming, never did I participate in any sexual act for money (not yet at least). But that’s the thing about addiction.
Never say never, they say. Because what happens next? I end up saying yes. In my defense, all I had to do was touch his junk with my hands. And I’d get 300 bucks. The addict brain only saw dollar signs. It saw a way for me to stay high a little longer. And it pains me to write this out. Because never would I do this shit now. I didn’t even want to do it back then. But remember, I did a lot of things I didn’t want to do. So I ask if I can use the bathroom first. He points to it as I get up and walk over.
Luckily, I had a few pills in my purse. I knew I couldn’t do what he asked of me sober.
I knew I was in there somewhere. But I was gone.
There’s no going back now. After that, I do my pill crushing thing. That’s when I pull out a rolled up twenty from my bag, take it to my nose and snort the powder I just crushed up. As I wipe away the remnants of any leftover residue, I tell myself —OK. I’m ready. Ready as I’ll ever be. That’s when I walk out. That’s when I see him laying on the couch. Ew. Whatever porn flick he had playing in the background was now full force. I didn’t know how to start or what to even do. But I fake it.
I knew I was good at that. So I make my way over to the couch and decide to sit next to him. I was trying to smile. I couldn’t. I fake that too. Instead of trying anything else, I simply turn toward him, undo his belt buckle and begin. I hated every second of it. It was horrible. But it could have been worse. A few minutes later, it was over. Thank GOD. Just as promised, he hands me $300 in straight up cash. My eyes were sparkling. I remember thinking how easy that was.
At the same time though, I remember being totally grossed out.
But I just kept staring at the 15 $20 bills that were now safe in my wallet. He thanks me for my time and my services —as I wash my hands with bleach and gather my shit. He already had my number. And now he had my email address as well. He said he’d send over my first assignment in a couples hours. But that I didn’t need to start until the next day. That’s when he quickly details a little more about when he expected me to have shit done. It’s not like I’d be reading rocket science.
I’d literally be reviewing porn conversations. So I wasn’t worried it would be too much to handle. I was worried about what I was going to tell my family and current employer. Because with the money I’d be making, I could quit my full-time job. I was kind of relieved about that. I was making pennies over there —working 40 hours and bringing home nearly nothing, which was the main reason I was here at this interview, to begin with. Because even though I liked the people, it was more of an inconvenience than anything else.
Because the office I worked at was 20 minutes in the opposite direction from most of my dealers.
But with this office being so far, I couldn’t do that and make it back within the hour.
Which implied I had to meet my suppliers at night. And let me add, shit looks so much shadier when it’s dark out. It’s like what’s this single white female doing driving a murdered out Mercedez in the ghetto —at night nonetheless. I remember being anxious until I was safely home. It’s just now, working with Ted from home, I’d have the freedom to meet those people anytime I wanted. I was excited and equally scared. It’s getting late, Macey. Have a great night. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. I thank him one last time and finally exit stage right.
This was the beginning of the end.
Because after that, things didn’t get much better. In fact, they got exceptionally worse. Unfortunately, though, you’ll have to wait until my next blog post to find out how it all went down. Because there’s more. I will say this. That job Ted described, never fucking existed. It was all smoke and mirrors. Oh. And the money I got. Yeah, that would be the only bread I’d get from him. Because I never saw Ted again. But like I said, I didn’t know any of this yet. So I quit my job under the assumption I had another one.
And once I figured out I didn’t —well, the consequences of my actions closed in rather quickly. But when it all came to a head, I end up surprising even myself. Because I was able to find a way out. Fall down seven times. Stand up eight. Because things are never so bad they can’t be undone. No matter what you tell yourself. I mean my head told me I was a lost cause. There’s no coming back from this. But there was. There always is. There’s always a way back —always a way through. Because it’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.
And who says I can’t be free from all the things I used to be?
*names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.
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