This song, too, has its place in my recovery process. The closest I ever came to relapsing was in August 1999, with just over nine months clean. I am not going to tell the entire story, but I am still clean today for a couple of reasons. One is that all the meetings I had gone to up until that day kicked in, and even though I had already given money to someone to go cop for me, I still decided to give my sponsor a chance to talk me out of using before I actually picked up. I don't really recall anything specific he said in the twenty minutes I gave him, but as I left his house, I was now undecided about whether to keep the rendezvous with the person I had asked to go cop for me (she had used with me in the past, and there was no doubt that she was going to meet where she said to meet; she knew I dropped hundreds and even thousands of dollars during a run, and shared liberally. And she ended up coming in the rooms a couple of years later, and she told me she waited at Liliana's for a good hour waiting for me to come back before deciding to smoke it up). I turned on the radio, and this song was playing.
And I had heard this song fifty times if I had heard once before that afternoon, but I swear to God, I had never paid attention to the last two lines of the song. "Put away the crack before the crack puts you away/you need to be there when your baby is old enough to relate." I remember sitting at the stop sign, just staring at the radio, not believing what I had just heard, clear as day. I had just sent someone to buy me three bags of crack, nine months after I had been locked up for possession, and just over three months after being sentenced to three years' probation for it. But one of the many things that had gone wrong that day, one of my excuses for thinking I needed to get high that day, was that a visit with Sabrina, then still in foster care, had been cancelled that day. I had also been speaking to my caseworker--actually, Sabrina's caseworker-- the previous week, and she had indicated that although I was complying with the service plan, she still didn't think much of my chances to successfully raise Sabrina, and one reason she gave was that I took Sabrina, when I had her, to meetings with me. I remember raging against her ignorance and her prejudice-- and I would do the same today, because it is just as ignorant and prejudicial as it was then--and the worker sarcastically asking me, "Do you think she's going to relate to anything said there?" The comment stuck in my craw, and I have to tell you that she is two week short of her eighteenth birthday, she has gone to an awful lot of meetings over the years, and she must have related to something, because she doesn't use drugs of any kind, including alcohol, and is actually pretty intolerant of her peers that do.
Anyway, the point is that I never showed up at Liliana's, and thus my original clean date is still my only one. And this song has something to do with that.