‘Crawfish ‘n the Bayou’

“This is supposed to be a road, trip. All we’re doing is driving all the time.”

It was my cousin’s graduation from high school and I went to California for a trip with my dad and step mom. 52 hours in Cali and that was it in 13 years….

That was my first trip anywhere since I went to Gulf Shores, Alabama after Christmas in 2008. I mean I did get shipped to rehab in Florida, but that was hardly a vacation. Ending up homeless and rehab hopping towards the end there in Florida was hardly my idea of a vacation. I ended up going to Las Vegas for my 21st birthday in September of 2008. I also taped heroin to my nut sack for that trip. Gulf Shores I had brought enough for the trip and actually ran out, can you believe that. Well, I toughed it out as long as I could and the first second someone talked about going home, I said I’ll drive lol. I did that drive from Gulf Shores to Milwaukee in less than 10 hours and I realized that was the last time I could go on vacation as long as I was on heroin. 

    I would even just go away for a weekend and I couldn’t manage it. There was too much I had to plan for and I never had enough money to just buy enough supply to travel with. That never worked out anyway and I just decided against traveling all together. The few times I had clean time over the years I was able to do a few things but I never really went anywhere besides Cali for my cousin’s graduation party. I never thought I would stop traveling in my life because I had already been to about 30 states and Mexico and the Boundary Waters by Canada so traveling was always a big deal to me. I loved going to California with my Grandma to visit our family that still lives there. When I was like 12-16 I went to Cali like 10 times probably with my Grandma and it really was part of my peace. 

    I loved California and the beach so much that when I was 14 my dad and I talked about moving there, but I wanted to be in High School with my friends, that was what we had been waiting for so I wasn’t going to move. I did love Cali though and the memories I have with my grandma are unforgettable and since she passed in 2015 I have only gone to California one time. Traveling has definitely not been a priority during my addiction to heroin and I really missed being able to explore. I haven’t even seen all of the U.S. and I want to do the rest of the world too. Being addicted to heroin, I would never have been able to go anywhere cool and I used to actually pass up going on a trip because I knew I physically couldn’t get through the trip without getting super dope sick and it just wasn’t worth it. 

    I always am up for a road trip and I have even hitch hiked a little bit in my time, well, more than five times for real and I love road trips, the Tom Green movie and actual road trips. I have driven from Wisconsin, to Florida and then Florida to Taos, New Mexico and then back to Wisconsin. I have driven back from Denver with my Brother and with the late B Cubed, I road tripped from Orlando to South Beach Miami. Those are just a few of my road trips, and there were many more. I plan to do many more and now that I am sober I really can do whatever I want which is a beautiful thing. 

    I woke up this morning in New Orleans, Louisiana. Actually just to the East of New Orleans across Lake Pontchartrain which is almost like a lake in the sense that it has water. The locals told me that there are Bull Sharks, although, they said, “don’t worry, they are just baby four footer bull sharks,” I mean that doesnt help me much considering lakes that I am used to have no sharks. Just an idea. They built they the longest bridges in the world across the lake, it’s like 26 miles long and is actually quite the site to see if you ever are able to get to New Orleans. I did find some areas off the main drag and in the deep Louisiana South where there was still some debri  from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. New Orleans has always been on my list of cities that I wanted to visit and I always love seeing the ocean. How can you not love the power, beauty and sanctity of the ocean. The sound of the waves and the wildlife are so peaceful and just being in a calm environment and away from the drama of everyday life. 

    There is a lot to do when I get back next week, firstly, I get to see my son on Thursday’s starting after Easter and then I have a lot regarding school and work that I have to get caught up on. But right now I am focused on finally giving my mind and body a vacation from active addiction which isn’t fun at all, regardless of what people think, and now a vacation from all the stress I have been putting on myself building my life back. I love it, and everyday is better than the last, but everyone deserves a vacation and I haven’t been on one in 14 years. My cousin’s graduation was a 52 hour trip to Cali. I’m glad I got to go but I wish I would have been able to stay longer but it was still good to get away. I did get into the ocean and swim with my cousins before they both went and go off to college. Cali I will definitely do again and I wouldn’t mind doing parts of Florida, but there is a whole world I want to explore now that I am sober. I plan to do a lot of traveling, schedule permitting, but none of that would be possible if I was still obsessing about getting high everyday. It really is a miracle and amazing that my brain is finally able to think about something else and I am able to live a semi normal life.LOL.

    Life in the Bayou is much slower and much more laid back then life outside of Madison. Talking to the guy working the crawfish stand, he sells 1200lbs a week of crawfish and has over 6,000 crab traps which is a lot. I mean this is these guys lives and it is all they know and everything they know. Crawfish is good but just the whole thing is unusual for me because in Lake Michigan I catch big SmallMouth Bass on crawfish so to be the one eating them was different. The meat is really good though, not gonna lie, it is. The gator was good too, and I already know I love oysters but I had some really good ones. They really are able to live off of the land down here and they definitely do not waste any opportunity to fry something and eat it. 

Being on the Bayou with family and seeing how they live down here has been quite the learning experience. From Hollygrove where Lil Wayne is from to the tip of the boot of Louisiana and out to Biloxi Mississippi, a road trip like this never would have been possible if I was still using. I woke up everyday sick with the  how to get drugs today mentality and that controlled everyday of my life. I never had much control over what I was going to do with my day or week. 

    Tomorrow I get to spend the day with my brother and his family in New Orleans exploring the historic Bourbon and Canal St. I already drove through there because after driving 12 hours I wanted to actually get to the heart of New Orleans instead of just the outskirts. But it will be super fun to explore Nawlins with the fam.

    The life I am creating without heroin in it has been so fulfilling and it literally just started with the rest of my life to build on the foundation I have created. There are so many things happening with SoberSteveRecovery and with transferring colleges and with working that it is so sweet that my schedule is pretty flexible as long as I get my work done. That is how it is going to be for me and that is perfect. I am excited about my life and watching my son grow up. Everything will continue to progress and it really is going to be the life I dreamt about when I was stuck using drugs everyday. I literally would just think to myself or say out loud that I just want to feel normal. I almost said be normal, I’ll never be normal, but at least I can feel content without drugs and my future has just begun.

Published by SoberSteveRecovery

It was a home birth on the Eastside of Milwaukee on September, 11th 1987. I have lived all over Wisconsin, and even lived in Florida for a year. UW-MILWAUKEE is where I studied Journalism and History and I eventually switched my major to Environmental Science. My love for the planet equals my love for humanity and now I am focused on finishing up a degree in Addiction Counseling because I just want to help. Continuing school until I have a PhD so I can teach which is my long term goal. Everything I do is to be better for my son. Hopefully we can save some lives as well. ☮️ ❤️ ♾️

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