At some point, I found myself at the motel.

I stood in front of the blinking neon tubes that outlined the shape of the flamingo on the motel’s sign: The Flamingo Motel in Roswell, New Mexico. A few years earlier, my mom had told me a story about this motel.

“I remember once when I was a teenager,” she said as we drove past the broken down adobe structure, “I was walking down the street and right there – right in front of that sign – I saw a spaceship. It was up in the sky, not far, and perfectly clear. I was scared.”

“Really?” I asked, excited. “Were you alone? What was going on?”

She wrinkled her forehead, concentrating. “I may have been on acid,” she said.

Now here I was, at just about the same age my mom had been when she saw the UFO.

I put out my cigarette and went inside.

We’d been in there for one, maybe two days – me, my friend Tracy, and my cousin Mary, who wasn’t my cousin, though I’d been taught to call her cousin since childhood. I can’t say for sure how many days it had been. Between the head injury I’d sustained a year and a half earlier and the fire of cocaine, mixed with household chemicals, mixed with trucker’s speed – sometimes red, sometimes yellow, other times white – in which I had been consumed for six months the year I was 18, I make for an unreliable narrator.

Mary’s much older sister Courtney was there, too – she’d just gotten out of prison on drug related charges. Mary had cashed her welfare check to get us into the room. Her children were not with us.

I was wearing a black net shirt. It was too small, but I liked the way it made the tiny swells on the chest of my hundred pound frame look big in their bra. Courtney was getting ready in the bathroom. Tracy and Mary were talking on the motel phone. We were going out and someone was coming. My mouth was dry and I was grinding my jaw. Tracy and Mary were pacing and talking loudly. I sat down. Then I stood up. I began removing light bulbs from the lamps and hollowing them out. The energy in the room was a vortex that was quickly, endlessly swirling a drain.

“Are we going to go?” I asked at some point. When I got to the motel, maybe it had been morning, maybe it had been yesterday. At any rate, it had been daylight and now there were billowy peach and crimson clouds spilling across the sky. I felt antsy.

Soon, Courtney came out of the bathroom. She was wearing a lacy, black bustier.

“My boys are going to love this,” she said, chewing her tongue and rocking her head side to side almost imperceptibly. I looked down at my net shirt, at my small, exposed boobs. My gut turned to lead. I changed my clothes.

Courtney adjusted her breasts in her lingerie then began pulling on her blue jeans. As she finished getting ready, Tracy, Mary, and I paced. Doug was coming to get us and we were going to see X, the biggest seller in town.

Somehow and at some point we left the motel and made it to X’s house. Maybe we walked. It was dark when we arrived. Immediately, Doug filled my light bulb and gave us a small baggie full of more. Then he and X disappeared into the bedroom with Courtney.

Tracy, Mary, and I ran to the stove, straws in hand. We gathered around the gas burner and I rotated the glass clockwise until the small yellow rock began to melt and thin, gray smoke swirled upward. An acrid stench like burning Styrofoam filled the tiny, dirty kitchen. Three young girls bowed our heads together and pulled the smoke through the straws into our lungs.

Instantly, I felt relieved. A slight euphoria and acute alertness followed.

Tracy, Mary, and I settled ourselves in X’s living room. All night long we talked and I drew, which I did a lot in those days, but have never done since. There were long silences. Pacing. Occasionally, Doug or X would come out of the bedroom in various states of undress, hair mussed, and fill our light bulb anew. Each time, I knew it was Courtney who was paying for my high. She was in that room giving her body to two men and when I saw the door open, I heard this voice, this guardian angel – a compass that has saved me, over and over, whenever I’ve been adrift on an ocean with no oars.

“Gloria,” it told me, “this is not right. None of this is right. This choice is contrary to who you really are.”

This is the same voice I heard when I was smoking this same poison with Autumn, the pregnant girl, another friend of a friend in another part of town. Autumn and I would sit and smoke and, sometimes, she would cry and regret what she was doing to her unborn child. And this voice, it would tell me over and over, “Stop. Stop. Stop.” Slowly, but persistently. “Stop.”

Eventually, my night at X’s house ended. I stumbled into the morning light amped up and ready to start my day, but also weary all the way to the very center of my insides, unclear where to from here. I’d been awake for days. I don’t know how long. I know by the time I finally passed out, it had been five days since I’d slept. My heart was beating hard and irregularly in my chest; my head felt like a helium balloon that was no longer tethered to my shoulders and my eyes were gummy, unfocused. Ultimately, I went to sleep.

At some point, I checked myself into rehab. I stayed for eight days, but then checked myself out, sure that institutions were not right for me. I continued using for a few more weeks.

Then, one day, four days after my nineteenth birthday, my friend Joseph called me, waking me up from a thirty-six hour coma.

“Hey,” he said. “I’m moving to Albuquerque. I’ll be in town in an hour. You’re going with me. Be ready to go.”

My town was burning – burning up in a caustic stench. Burning the teeth out of people’s heads and the souls out of their bodies. A small town on fire – burning like so many small towns across the nation. Burning up in its own lack of hope and opportunity. Unlike Lot’s wife, I refused to turn to rock. I refused to become the rock. I refused to trade my body for drugs and, in a brief, lucid second while I lay in my bed with the receiver to my ear, Joseph’s voice on the other end of the line, I saw that my guiding voice, my guardian angel would eventually die and I would succumb. It could just as easily be me in the bedroom with Doug and X.

“Okay, I’ll be ready,” I told Joseph.

When I got into his car an hour later, the voice in my head told me, “Run away. Just go. Run as fast as your legs can carry you and never, ever look back.”

And I didn’t.

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GLORIA HARRISON is a writer whose work has been featured on The Nervous Breakdown, Fictionaut, and This American Life. Gloria was the lead editor for The Portland Red Guide: Sites & Stories of Our Radical Past by Michael Munk, which was published through Ooligan Press in 2007. She was also a contributing editor to Pete Anthony's book, Immaculate, for which she received a high five and a ten dollar gift card to Stumptown Coffee. Gloria graduated from Portland State University with her B.A. in English in 2006 and now focuses on her own writing. She had a work of flash fiction published in The Bear Deluxe Magazine (No. 26). You can follow her on Twitter here.

Gloria lives in Portland, Oregon with her school-age twin boys. She is currently working on both a memoir and her first novel. You can contact Gloria via her Facebook page.

119 responses to “Sodom and Gomorrah”

  1. Incredible, marvelous piece, Gloria. Sometimes a comment doesn’t seem to suffice, beyond saying that it’s a blessing to have you and your generosity of spirit here.

  2. Carol Hiller says:

    oh, Gloria.

  3. Laura says:

    It wrenches my heart to read that you experienced this. I have memories of my own negative past, and the things I have seen and experienced, which if my kids had seen the same, I would just die inside forever. When I remember these things, emotionally, I’m transported back to that grim place, and it is never pleasant. It’s courageous of you to face this, and even more brave of you for being so honest, not just with “us”, but with yourself.

    I believe you are one of the fortunate ones. I look at how brilliant you are, and it makes me aware of how many people with talent like yours are self medicating, while their talent rots away with their teeth and bodies. And all because these precious people have never felt worthy or appreciated or loved. I want you to know you are appreciated, and your climb out of that grim place is inspiring!
    I love you.

    • Gloria says:

      Right? God forbid my children ever face anything like this – one of the main reasons I’m raising them so far away.

      I love you, too Laura. That voice I describe just might as well have been yours.

      XO

  4. Art Edwards says:

    Wow, what a road, but a happy ending!

    Joseph kicks ass in my book.

    • Gloria says:

      Ironically, I was happy to survive my car ride to Albuquerque since Joseph’s car had no brakes and bald tires. He had a semi-functional emergency brake, which he pulled many seconds later than he should have and we were actually yelling at each other by the time we got to his aunt’s house. (This is the same friend who, sometime before, took me for a ride [down the sidewalks of downtown Roswell] on his motorcycle, which had no foot pegs.) But I forgive him for that since he saved my life and all.

      Thank god for the Josephs of the worlds.

      I wish I knew where that guy was and how he ended up. Unfortunately (or probably not), most of the bridges in Roswell burned up, too.

      Thanks for reading, Art.

      • kristen says:

        “Thank god for the Josephs of the worlds” indeed.

        I wish my younger brother had had a Joseph earlier in his now 12-year-plus drug (meth, primarily) addiction. Reading your account brought me grief, but I’m so happy you emerged from this harrowing period of your life to be where you are today. And to be able to write about it, and so evocatively.

        Thanks for sharing.

        • Gloria says:

          Oh, Kristen – I am sincerely so sorry to hear about your brother’s struggle. I know my fortunes are only one part volition. I’m wildly aware of my luck in life. Providence can come to anyone at any time – and as long as he’s alive, there’s hope. That’s what I think. Sound too idealistic? I don’t mean for it to. But what the hell is the point of any of this without hope, you know?

          I’m sorry that this caused you grief. But I’m very appreciative of your comment. Thank you.

          Cheers,
          Gloria

        • kristen says:

          Oh–but it was most welcome, your account. Therapeutic in a way. Helpful to know that others have come out of similar experiences all the wiser for it.

          And, you know, I don’t consider your “as long as he’s alive, there’s hope” idealistic. In fact, I seem incapable of viewing my bro’s situation, however bleak at times, in any other light. And I’m glad for these glimmers of hope.

  5. David says:

    “WOW”….. I have been there, in that exact moment in time. You captured what I had felt and gone through. Great, great piece Gloria!

    David

  6. Wow! Gloria! Your bold writing never fails to take my breath away. Amazing piece. And I agree wholeheartedly with Art.

    • Gloria says:

      Thank you so much, Cynthia. And yes, Joseph (the only real name in the piece) deserves a gold medal. Sadly, last I heard, his own road got rougher. It did for everyone in the story, actually. I learned within the last couple of years that Autumn, the pregnant girl, continued to use, continued to have babies, who continued to be taken out of her custody, and at some point in the last few years, she was kidnapped while hitchhiking in western Texas. Her body was found stuffed in a suitcase in a landfill. I am so lucky. And Joseph’s small act of kindness made the most profound impact on my life. Like I said to Art, thank god for the Josephs in the world.

  7. Tawni Freeland says:

    Wow. Breathtaking. This piece is magnificent, Gloria. You have the biggest, bravest heart, and I’m glad you’re here to share it with us through your writing. I am so grateful your friend Joseph made that phone call.

    I believe in guardian angels. I truly do. I’ve felt the reassuring hands of my own angel on my back more than once. It sounds like you’ve been assigned a very powerful one. xoxo.

    • Gloria says:

      Hi T-Bone! (Can I call you T-Bone? You have all of those fabulous monikers for me, after all.)

      I thought about you when I put this up, as you’d just posted your amazingly funny nudey piece and this one, in contrast, is so not funny. But then, you know, I just realized that funny exists because of shit like this. Funny has saved me as often as my Josephs and my angels.

      XO

      • Tawni Freeland says:

        Sure! T-Bone, T-Boner, T-Money, T-Free, T-Dork, Tawn-Tawn, and Freebird. And anything else you want to call me, my beautiful friend (the G-Rated, G-Lovely, G-Gorgeous, G-Loria). I respond to anything that starts with a “T” at this point in my weird name-having life.

        “T-a-w-n-i? So… Tits? Is that how you pronounce that? Mrs. Tits Freeland?”

        “Sure. Whatever. But I prefer Ms. Tits Freeland, please.”

        Yep. Look at us, yinning and yanging all up in here. You’re so right; one extreme always exists because of the other. And funny saves lives. I’m infinitely glad it helped save yours. So many hugs for you.

  8. so raw and powerful and honest — it hurts to read. but you are here and you are able to write about trying to burn yourself up in a way that aches and that is amazing. amazing.

    • Gloria says:

      It hurt to write, actually. Considering it’s so short, I actually toiled over this one longer than I ever have any other single piece.

      Thank you for reading and for your comment, Robin.

  9. Richard Cox says:

    This piece reminds me of why I enjoyed your writing from the start. So brutally honest and visceral. It’s one thing to read a piece of writing about drug use and addiction, but for it to be rendered so vividly and for it have happened to someone you know and care about…I mean, wow.

    It’s an awful story with a great ending, but it’s intense and extremely well-rendered.

    Well done, Gloria.

    • Gloria says:

      Richard, your care for me is completely reflected in this piece. It wouldn’t be nearly so “well-rendered” if you weren’t so indefatigably willing to help me become better and better at this stuff. I appreciate you.

      Okay, that was just **this** much too close to syrupy.

      **punches Richard in the shoulder to lighten the mood**

  10. Rocky says:

    WOW. I can’t imagine this was easy to relive. Knowing what a strong, hardworking and wonderful person and mother you are now, this truly touches me.

    • Gloria says:

      It wasn’t hard to relive so much as it was a real challenge to convey it in a way that felt authentic, with just the right tone and pacing.

      On another note, heh – you said “touches me.”

  11. Mary Richert says:

    Wow, Gloria. Beautiful piece.

  12. David says:

    “My town was burning – burning up in a caustic stench. Burning the teeth out of people’s heads and the souls out of their bodies. A small town on fire – burning like so many small towns across the nation. Burning up in its own lack of hope and opportunity. ”

    …WOW! Nice!

    This took me back to the dark times in my own life, which while quite a bit smoother, had it’s dark times. I think about the experiance of thoes moments, So out-of-body and detached, and the memory. Two memories really. One of me being there and thinking the simple, broken, and paranoid thoughts you think in such situations, and one of a completely detached internal dialog, “This isn’t right. You have to get out. What are you doing? How do I get out?”

    You wrote this so well. It brings me back in a way I haven’t been for a long time.

    • Gloria says:

      One of me being there and thinking the simple, broken, and paranoid thoughts you think in such situations… <—– I did that, too. And I tried SO hard to access those thoughts and there just gone. I have a memory of thinking them, but I can’t for the life of me get into that space to recall them. That was super frustrating for me.

      Thanks for your sweet comments, David.

      • David says:

        Yeah, the thing is, if you could access them, you wouldn’t recognize them, nor would they make any sense. Still, you did a wonderful job of pulling the reader (read “me”) into the moment, without them.

  13. David says:

    also,

    I find myself in Roswell several times a year. Despite, or maybe because of the colorful, blow-up, plastic aliens and spaceships, it always struck me as a dry and desperate place.

    • Gloria says:

      I left Roswell just as the alien invasion was happening – the museum was just being built – so luckily I didn’t have to add that nonsense to my suffering. Still, you nailed it with “dry and desperate place.”

  14. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    This is intense. The opening is gripping, Gloria, it’s like you’ve totally drawn me into your speedy hallucination… as the reader I’m agitated, no sense of time, furiously focused and dazed all at once.

    I could read a lot more of this story. When you draw the reader in, it’s like there’s no way out.

    Beautiful, brave work, love. Thank you.

  15. Quenby Moone says:

    I tried to not read this because I figured it was going live on Sunday and I didn’t want to spoil the surprise.

    But ow.

    Ow and thank god for little voices. I can’t wait to hear it on Sunday…if this is what it is.

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      Yes ma’am. This is what it is. I was too much of a chicken-shit to bring a virgin piece in, so I decided to get it out here a couple of days ahead of time for feeback’s sake.

      Yes, thank god for little voices. 🙂

  16. Joe Daly says:

    Loveloveloveit.

    I love the complete absence of pulled punches. You capture so vividly those situations where you are participating in something that’s well outside of your better interests, but it’s the situations and actions of other people that cause you unease. Unfortunately, many choose to think, “Phew- thank goodness I’m not as bad as him/her…”

    Glad you made it out when you did. Your ability to write about this period with such candor suggests that you’ve taken what you needed from the experience and have moved forward and upwards. Rock on!

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      Hi Joe. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. Yes, I’m pretty far past this, as much as one can be. I took my metal detector to these sandy beaches and picked out all of the gold I could find, but I posted it unrefined.

      Sorry for the sappy metaphor; I just finished reading Zara’s Sense of Place piece. 🙂 But it still feels apropos.

      Rock on, Joe! (Are you a Joseph, by chance?)

  17. Ashley Menchaca (NOL) says:

    G, this one makes me want to hug you.

    I know it was tough to write and you second guessed if you should post or not. I’m glad that you did. You have such stories! It hurts me to think of you in these situations. You’re amazing. Truely inspiring.

    I wish I had more to add but the truth is, I kind of don’t know what to say except that I love you. Keep writing about the things that are hard to re-live. You are good at it and it’s forcing such growth on you. As a writer and as a person.

    -love-

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      I thought all of them made you want to hug me, Ashley?

      Kidding.

      I’m just fishing for a hug, really.

      I love you, too, mama.

      • Ashley Menchaca (NOL) says:

        They do but the thought of you in that hotel room, straw in hand…makes me shudder. I don’t like that image.

        You’re like superwoman to me so the thought of you so vulnerable and tiny is hard to stomach. I prefer the Gloria with cape and tights image. Makes me giggle.

        • Gloria Harrison says:

          Are you referring to my Grammar Girl outfit from Halloween? “To Serve and Correct.”

          🙂

          Strong is just as false as weak, I think. I mean as an identity. Most people I’ve met have an infinite capacity to be both. I’m just happy that at some point I learned how to be honest. You know?

  18. Victoria Patterson says:

    Gloria–such painful subject matter, and so bravely written. I’m sure I’m repeating the other comments, but I just want to compliment you.

  19. There’s nothing like an eighteen year story. Really solid and tight, Gloria. This piece is going to kill.

    • Gloria says:

      Thanks, Sean. Bummer you won’t be there, but best of luck with your Wesley Payne junket. (Do author’s do junkets?) That is so flippin’ rad.

  20. Hey,
    Thank you for writing this.

    GXR

  21. camille says:

    Wow Gloria. You are constantly amazing me with your writing and your incredible life story. I can’t wait to see you read this on Sunday!

  22. Zara Potts says:

    Very strong writing here, G. The first person POV works super well because it feels almost as if you are floating above the scene as a viewer rather than a participant. Nicely done.
    The voice you heard was your own. I’m glad you listened to yourself and cared enough about yourself to take notice of your own internal guardian angel. And thank God for Joseph. And thank God for you.

    • Gloria says:

      it feels almost as if you are floating above the scene as a viewer rather than a participant – – that’s a compliment, Zara. Thank you so much for sharing that perception with me.

      I’ve thanked God for Joseph many, many times in the last sixteen years. Someday, I’ll tell him in person.

  23. angela says:

    gloria, i love your brutal honesty here, the way you don’t let yourself off the hook but show yourself wholly, in harsh revealing light.

    • Gloria says:

      I decided when I started getting truly serious about writing and, specifically, writing my memoir that my job – my only job – was to be a good reporter. That girl that I was is just another girl in a story and she gets zero special treatment.

      Thanks for reading, Angela. I appreciate you.

  24. Zoe Zolbrod says:

    I read this yesterday morning and have come back to read it again twice. Great writing. The images are going to stay with me a long time.

  25. Stuart says:

    Your inner voice has more sense in its little finger than most people encounter in four lifetimes. That it has served you well is the understatement of the highest order. I love that you share your stories; stories that most of us would keep to ourselves. But you’re a sharer, you are, and it’s a beautiful thing. Thanks for sharing. My own lack of inner sense asks that you read this piece on Sunday while wearing that black net top…heh heh heh…

  26. Meg Worden says:

    Beautiful Gloria. Can’t wait to hear it live. xo

  27. Jessica Blau says:

    Gloria, this is so so so so beautifully written and heartfelt and open and honest and just . . . well, I think it’s the best piece you’ve put up at TNB. I could have read pages and pages and chapters and more more more.

    I love that voice in your head, that it was there guiding you.

    Is this part of your novel? I want to read the whole book!

    • Gloria says:

      Man, Jessica, that’s one hell of a compliment. Thank you so much.

      And yes, this is an excerpt of a not-yet-even-remotely cohesive whole. I’m sort of writing this memoir the way one might clean out a drawer by throwing everything up in the air and then picking it up where it lands. I’m pretty sure there’s an easier way.

      Thank you for your very sweet comment.

      • Jessica Blau says:

        You know what, I think throwing shit up in the air is perfectly reasonable and great way to write. It’s productive! People get so stuck and slowed down going piece by piece, point by point, that they never get ANYWHERE. Carry on! Dump those drawers out! And, honestly, I want to read a draft when you’ve got it all together. If the rest of it is like this (and I’m sure it is) you have one brilliant book!

  28. Simon Smithson says:

    Grim! And poor Autumn, having read through the comments. Break a leg at the reading, and I, like the rest, am glad you made it away.

    • Gloria says:

      Yeah, it’s pretty grim. Which is why I questioned posting it. But, in the end, I decided to go for it because, like I said to Tawni (thanks for reading the comments 🙂 ), there has to be dark for there to be light. And there’s been plenty of light, too.

      Yeah, Autumn’s story is super, super sad. I heard years back that Joseph went to prison several years after this, but it was third hand info. I wish I knew, actually.

      Thanks for reading, Simon.

  29. Uche Ogbuji says:

    A stark but gripping piece, leading up to a superb coda (“My town was burning…”) I’m grateful you came about that outlet to Albuquerque, Gloria.

    • Gloria says:

      It’s Uche! Hi Uche. Nice to see you around here.

      Thanks for you thoughtful comment. I’m grateful as well.

      • Uche Ogbuji says:

        Haha 🙂 TNB is enough of a phenomenon that it requires a bit of an on-ramp, at least for me, any time I get out of the swing of regularly keeping up (as in this case over the holidays). But I have been ever present in the background, doing my fair share to keep the poetry section in purple raiment 🙂

  30. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story with the world.

    Your story gives hope to the hopeless and even though I’m a complete stranger to you I am still proud that you made the decision to clean up.

    Keep writing, sister!

    You’re awesome!

    • Gloria says:

      Your story gives hope to the hopeless… – – Jennifer, I have no idea if that’s true, but if it is, I’m totally humbled.

      Thank you so much for you sweet comment and for your much appreciate support.

      You’re awesome, too!

  31. J. Ryan Stradal says:

    Uh, wow.

    Thank you for such an eloquent view from such a terrifying precipice.

    • Gloria says:

      Thanks, J. Ryan. I appreciate your comment. Having just read this to a room full of people, I can tell you – I had no idea how personal it felt. Wow indeed.

      Cheers,
      Gloria

  32. Now that’s a success story! Glad you changed your life, although I am always fascinated by drug lit. “Cains Book,” is still one of my faves.

    • Gloria says:

      I’ve never heard of Cain’s Book or Alexander Trocchi, so thanks for that, Nick. I’ll say that most drug novels don’t engross my attention – unless it’s a celebrity, but even then I have to be interested in the celebrity. Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking, Russell Brand’s My Bookie Wook, and Anthony Kiedis’s Scar Tissue are good, for example. (And by “good” I do not mean “high literature”. More like a highly entertaining train wreck.)

      Thanks for stopping in, Nick.

  33. James D. Irwin says:

    I’ve been wanting to read this for days. I’ve been able to get facebook on my phone but not TNB so I knew you’d posted but I couldn’t read it.

    Drugs scare me. I think probably because my aunt was sectioned/comitted twice for drug related mental illness. Once when I was about 14 she turned up at our house and was all kinds of crazy. She peed in our hallway and assaulted a policeman.

    Unsurprisingly both my cousins on that side are a bit messed up. One of them is the same age as me and is having a second child with a convicted knife criminal. They’re on benefits and spend most of the time in a shitty flat smoking marijuana. Such is the glamorous world of drug use…

    And I’d bet good money that neither of them will end up getting out of their rut and writing about it as eloquently and as beautifully as this…

    • Gloria says:

      Did she pee in your hallway and assault a policeman at the same time? ‘Cause that’s the only thing that would make that awesome.

      Thank you for your very, very sweet comment, Irwin. It sure is nice to see you. I hope you’re well.

      XO

      • James D. Irwin says:

        Pretty much at the same time. She’s okay now— she’s giving me a lift to a funeral at 4.30am tomorrow!

        I am well though. I’ve been offline for ages, but I’m overwhelmingly well. Aside from having to go to my grandfather’s funeral. Looking at my first dead body. Grim stuff.

        On the lighter side I saved myself about £40 on a blazer by buying one from the children’s floor of a department store. Blazers designed for 14 year olds fit me like they’re tailored…

  34. Greg Olear says:

    I’m late to the game, because I wanted to take my time and read this one. In a word, wow. I’m so glad you chose not to look back. Most people in that situation, of course, don’t have the strength of will to do what you did.

    Also: I like the way you began, with the UFO story.

    Great, great piece, Gloria.

    • Gloria says:

      Welcome to the game, Greg! Can you help me pick up the programs and sweep up the popcorn?

      Strength of will. Miracles. Sometimes the lines blur.

      Thanks for complimenting the UFO story thing. I vomited this piece up with all the bones that it needed, but they were way out of order. My dear, beautiful friend Katie really helped by suggesting a few simple order changes. It was perfect. All hail Katie!

      Thanks for reading, Greg.

  35. Irene Zion says:

    Gloria,
    I am so unfamiliar with this subject matter, and yet when you write about it, it comes alive in front of me.
    Good writing.

  36. Jude says:

    Excellent writing Gloria. I was captured from beginning to end.

    Particularly love these lines… “My town was burning – burning up in a caustic stench. Burning the teeth out of people’s heads and the souls out of their bodies.”
    We know this drug as P in New Zealand, and the lines quoted, sum up what is happening here too. The stories I have heard of people addicted to this damn drug are so tragic, so sad.

    But thank god for you. And yes, Joseph did his part in carrying you away, but you dear Gloria, you were the one who made the decision to go.
    Bravo!

    • Gloria says:

      Thanks, Jude.

      I’m sorry to hear this is in New Zealand as well. I’ve not done research outside of the US, but I suspect it’s infiltrated everywhere. It is tragic; that’s the perfect word.

  37. Amber says:

    Gloria, you know I’ve lived in Roswell my whole life. I’ve only managed to escape meth because I watched all my friends do it. I’ve seen them go to jail, lose their families, and have known a few who died. It’s far and away the worst scourge to which I’ve ever had the misfortune to be witness. It’s why I’m a homebody; I don’t want to see what’s happening out there. I can’t take any more of it. Your story summed it up perfectly, the power this drug has. You, and a few others I’ve known, have come out of it beautiful, amazing people, seasoned in a way that can only be had by an experience like this.

    I often brag about you to Nathaniel and tell him how you may well be my hero. You are one of the strongest, most amazing people I have ever had the incredible luck to know. You are part of some of the absolute best memories of my teen years. Thank you.

    Wow, that got mushy. Darn you for being so amazing…

  38. Matt says:

    I regret that Real Life kept me away from TNB for most of the last week, and that I delayed reading this for so long, but at the same time I’m glad I did. This piece was harrowing, and not something to read on the fly. Everyone I know who has done meth – and I mean everyone – has had their lives utterly destroyed by it. While people seem quick to give credit to Joseph, I for one am glad you had the sense to take him up on the offer.

    Can’t wait to hear the recording of this.

    • Gloria says:

      I can’t wait to hear it, too! I’m pretty sure that you can actually hear the beating of my heart on the recording. We’ll see.

      Thanks for reading, Matt.

  39. Cheryl says:

    I love you.

  40. […] sheer force of will, she escaped the ravages of meth (and also, the ravages of New […]

  41. Erika Rae says:

    Wow, Gloria – this is an amazing story, amazingly written. I can’t believe you went through this and came out the other side so completely brilliant and wise. Man, I’d love to sit down with you in person and pick your brain. Thank you for writing this.

    Also, there could be no better way to begin this post than at The Flamingo Motel.

  42. Wow. says:

    wow. thank you.

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