Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA, post 18, part 1 (Austin)

This is part of an ongoing series… it is suggested that you start with the first post by clicking here. This is actually an older post from my blog that was deleted a while back. I’m trying to let the past blog posts catch up to the current day. We’ll see…

I posted to reddit for the first time and holy shit…I’ve met so many other former recreational pharmaceutical enthusiasts and some individuals that are still struggling with addiction, as I guess we all are, but they are still suiting up every gameday as my buddy John Rabon might say. I’ve also had a few thousand blog views in the last 24 hours and quite a few messages from complete strangers. I’ve responded to everyone and I’m just blown away from the massive amounts of support. Is this what reddit is? I’ve just had an outpouring of love from people, just really positive shit. Wow, I’m so fucking lucky.

I LOVE drug addicts and alcoholics. I just love hearing the stories of relapses and success stories all told from the same person. The war stories. You know, it’s the same thing about hanging out with former comics or the old ones that are still in the game. When you make it through the rough times, the moments that claim the lives of some of the individuals around you. BTW. A good friend of mine, Andy Huggins is on America’s Got Talent as a comic. Andy used to work with Bill Hicks and Sam Kinison back in the day and got clean a while back. When I was struggling to remove alcohol from my life, Andy was there.

close. I’m not going to walk for graduation. I just really don’t care for shit like that. I do think that I will have some type of get together, I’m just not sure when or where. I’m going to get a class ring, but I’m considering going with silver over gold just to be a little different, plus I’m not a huge gold guy. I never got a class ring for my undergrad, so I was thinking of combining the two on the same ring. One side MBA the other side Psychology. Maybe just a face tat. I finished my last quiz and turned in the second to last paper that I’ll ever be part of and now there is just one more paper, some BSG simulation decisions to make, my 3-year plan, and a presentation. Then, I am done. I just caught myself shaking my legs nervously. Damn it. That is crackhead body language. Don’t do that. You and to look more educated, less like a former cocaine addict. Less like a drunk that is still trying to figure out their addiction, their struggle. Don’t look down at the ground. That’s what my professor told the class while staring at me.

“Don’t look down at the ground, it is a display of low self-confidence.”

“I agree, but it has an upside.”

“What is that?”

“I’ve found a lot of money and drugs on the ground.”

“………………….”

“I’ll work on it.”

I have two classes left until I earn my MBA after 7 years of being a student, starting at the college level. I didn’t know how to use Microsoft Word when I started, I had to learn it during my first full-time semester, and it took me a while to just get to the point where I could type for thirty minutes without needing assistance of some kind. If you think that you can’t go back to school, just remember that I didn’t even know how to correctly use the their, there, and they’re until I was in my late 30’s. No shit. I also went through a period where my mind just wasn’t functioning very well. I call that period of time my 30s. Ha ha. Weird fucking decade man, weird fucking decade.

During class last night we were watching a Ted talk and the speaker began to discuss feeling like a fraud in certain situations, and of course that hit home with me. I hate saying this, but I still feel somewhat like a fraud while sitting in that MBA class. The other students discuss their corporate jobs, their bosses, their subordinates, and the other aspects of their professions, but I don’t have that experience and I don’t think that’s where I’ll fit in. It’s kind of weird to be getting an MBA when I don’t really like big business, but I’m not limited to work in a big business or large corporation with an MBA. I’m just not sure wtf to do with it. I have debts to pay so I can’t just fuck around. This school wasn’t free.

I want to be able to give back, but I’m not sure how. I want to help those that think that they have no chance in hell, because I’m telling you right now. I had no chance in hell. I’ll say it another way. Steven Kendrick was a motherfucking drunk with absolutely no chance of doing anything with his life. Between 2006-2010 I was waking up in the middle of the night just to have a shot of vodka. My girlfriend was getting just enough unemployment that I could get drunk all day and not have to do shit. Maybe go do a comedy show, but my best comedy days were behind me. I’d slur out a few jokes, be told by other drunks that they loved my bits about getting all fucked up, that drunk audience member who “was a huge fan” would then ask me if I knew where to get any blow. I would usually say no, but sometimes I would say yes and then go grab some coke from a dealer, if they were around the club, charge my “fan” enough to cover a lot of my cost, and I would end up having a “fan-subsidized” gram of blow. This type of scenario would happen a decent amount of time for a while. So, when I tell you that I had no chance, I really do mean that I had no fucking chance. I couldn’t quit drinking or doing blow. Ask anyone that knew Steven Kendrick back then. I worked at the Comedy Store for 3 years and then got banned for a performance while I was too drunk and fucked up. You have to be really bad off to get banned from the fucking Comedy Store. I know that I just jumped around a bunch, but I just want the reader to understand that this is a longitudinal (lasting over a long period of time) issue.

If you are a bigger fuck-up than I was then, how are you still alive? Ha ha. Please understand that there is a chance to pull yourself out of the daily routine of pouring cheap vodka into a glass, doing blow, and learning how to be functioning.  You can stop rehearsing the play. It’s possible.

Last night I looked around at some of these classmates of mine that are under the age of 30 and it’s difficult not to compare myself to them, using the person that I was when I was their age as a reference. These young adults have so much promise, too bad they are going to waste their young lives behind a desk, probably making lots of money. It’s such a shame. Ha ha. One of them wants to be a stand-up comic… “Dead Man Walking!” haha. “Don’t do it!” “Don’t jump!” Is all of the advice that I would ever tell him.

Back in Austin, where we were on the last post, I’m trying to figure out how to convince my parents to let me have some money that was left to me by a deceased relative. As I was writing the last post I had some internal dialogue happening regarding the concept of enabling. I’m sure that some will disagree with me but when my parents would give me money, I would usually use at least some of it on drugs. That is correct. Here’s the thing though. I was addicted to cocaine and alcohol. I was caught in the current, the riptide and I was being pulled into the huge sea of alcoholism and drug addiction at a rate that seemed so slow at the time, but it was really happening so fucking fast, almost lightning speed. The money wasn’t going to have any effect on my addiction other than to keep me from crossing the line of straight-up robbing motherfuckers. I didn’t have to go out and break into cars or homes in order to get drugs when the urges were just too strong. I’d love to sit here and pretend that my moral character was strong enough not to commit random braking and entering’s, but I’ve already dicked over friends during this addiction. If I would fuck over a friend, why wouldn’t I be crawling through a window like a Kodak Black video? I was caught up in that rip current of addiction with no control over when I would be spit out or would I just drown like the others?

I spent my money on drugs. The money from jobs, the money from birthdays, the gift cards were traded, and the gifts all returned to the stores while they were relaxed on receipts during the post-holiday gift giving season. I’ve heard of parents that would cut off the addicts in their lives either financially or emotionally or both. As if there are these conditions to familial love and I guess that there are sometimes, but I feel so fortunate that my parents never fully abandoned me. Yes, they said that they cut me off completely, but I would get the occasional money slipped to me through a card sent through the mail or at a lunch with my Dad, so it wasn’t really being cut-off and they knew that I a “poor, starving, struggling stand-up comedian” which started to work well as a cover for drug addiction. “No, I’m not sleeping on the floor of a duplex because I’m an alcoholic with a massive cocaine issue, I’m an artist!” Perfect cover story.

I called up my parents and asked them if they would meet me for a late lunch some afternoon. They said that they would love that, and so we set up a lunch date for the upcoming Friday afternoon which was just a few days away. I began to prepare. I’m not sure if other alcoholic/drug addicts do this but I prepared like a motherfucker for this meeting with my parents. I put my plan down on paper and began to rehearse. I practiced my lines, no pun intended, and prepared myself to answer any possible rejections that my parents might come up with that would create an obstacle in the way of me accomplishing my goal. I had pages of what to say and pages of what not to say. I had to come off as believable but not manipulative. I couldn’t let them see that they were being conned, which was very difficult with my parents because they had already seen my show before, many times. They had front row, season tickets to the performances that I would put on if I needed money for something. They had seen my methods of money manipulation evolve over the years since I was old enough to recognize that my parents could buy stuff that I wanted. Good lord, when is that age 3 or 4? As a child you start to point and want things, then that evolves into being asked what you want for Christmas…wait I have a choice…hmmm let me think. I would usually try to push the boundries on the Christmas presents or birthday for that matter. I would ask for something really expensive or dangerous first in order for them to get that first No out of the way. I had no idea as a young child that by implementing that approach I was actually using a psychologically-based selling technique called “Door-in-the Face.”

My pager still hadn’t gone off and I kept feeling as if this was karma coming back to get me. I had fucked over a good friend and now I was getting it handed right back to me. I was starting to crash over at Man-Boobs place, on his couch, while his roommate was out of town and that was exactly what I needed in order to hide out from the alcoholic roommate that I owed money to. I was desperately trying to get ahold of my buddy and so I drove over to the general area of his apartment.  I just happened to see a mutual friend while buying cigarettes at a convenience store that was located directly across from the apartment complex that I was pretty sure my dude was staying at. This guy knew more than I did regarding the situation and let me know what had happened. Damn, my buddy moved a few days earlier and took my money with him. I remember not even being that mad, I just shook my head in disbelief. I had been taken, but nobody is going to believe that I got ripped off and that’s why they can’t get their money or weed. I had to start thinking about damage control. The first thing that I did was to make a mental list of the people that I owed money to and then I listed them in order of the probability of them kicking my ass regarding the debt and that’s the order that people go paid back. I couldn’t come up with that much money and other way, I had to get that money from my parents. I worked on that “business meeting” for a few days until I was ready. Man-Boobs even helped me with some lines. (npi)

“Your father and I need to think about this.”

That was the answer after I had my scheduled, business casual, luncheon with my parents. We had lunch at The Monument Café in Georgetown, Texas and this was YEARS before it became so popular. I had my go-to at the time, chicken fried steak and it had been a while since I had eaten anything besides whatever 99 cent menu items of the day were in the dietary rotation or a peanut butter sandwich that I had made from the loaf of bread and peanut butter that I hid in my room.  If I owed a roommate that much money, I wasn’t going to leave my food out in the open. Not with her.

I was so nervous about having lunch with my parents. I tried my best not to look overly prepared, but confident. I took my ear-rings out and shaved my goatee as my mother had always nagged me about doing. “Those earrings make you look silly.” she would say, probably being right. She certainly wasn’t a fan of the goatee.  They agreed to give me the money since I was going to move in with Man-Boobs. That was the plan. So, I went to go pick up Man-Boobs up from his job working at the swinger’s club, “Anchovies” in Austin. I had to go around to the side door and knock loud between songs. The door was next to the DJ booth. After the 4th Prince song…Controversy! The music paused, and I banged on the door. I had been hearing some dude get a BJ behind the dumpster… Oh, yeah, did someone say classy? so I was thrilled to see the door begin to slowly open. “Helloooo? Whoooo is it?” I heard said in an overly comical, extremely dramatic, but very funny way. Man-Boobs opened the door and I was now inside of the DJ booth. I get handed a full pipe of weed that tasted decent from Man-Boobs and told to hit it after he turns on the fog machine and he hands me a paper towel roll with a bounce sheet stuffed into it. The fog machine goes off, I squat down to take a hit and I blow out through the paper towel roll bounce sheet filter. Man-Boobs and I had been discussing the possibility of getting a place, but he also needed a car, so we just figured out how everything could work. I’d put down more of the cost of the new place initially and then he would pay me back. And he did. Man-Boobs is usually really good about paying people back. This way Man-Boobs could buy a cheap car and we could both get out of the bad roommate situations that we were in, plus Man-Boobs wanted to dive head first into stand-up comedy, so that’s what he did. We went back to his place, we hung out and started planning how we were going to start our hunt for housing.

Man-Boobs asks me to take him the next day to look at a car that he wants to buy. It’s an early 80s Toyota Corona. Now, here’s the thing about that car and Man-Boobs in general. He wasn’t supposed to buy that car. Man-Boobs had decided to hire one of those services that has a mechanic meet out when you are looking at used cars in order to have an unbiased third-party opinion regarding the condition of the vehicle. Basically, it’s a mechanic to make sure that you don’t buy a lemon. Man-Boobs was so fucking tired of not having a car and this was the only POS that he could afford that was still one color. We met the mechanic and the owner of the car over at the owner’s house and the mechanic looked over the Toyota Corona. When the mechanic was done with the inspection, he took Man-Boobs over to the side in private and said “Hey, man I’m not supposed to say this, but don not buy this car. It’s been wrecked and even though it runs ok, I’m not sure about the reliability of it.” For whatever reason Man-Boobs said to himself. “Fuck it!” and he bought the car. Now, Man-Boobs has an old Toyota Corona that he was told no to buy. And…he paid full price. That’s Man-Boob’s negotiating power right there in a nutshell. Great guy…Art of the Deal. “The mechanic says that I shouldn’t buy your car…will you accept the full amount in cash?” Ha ha fucking Man-Boobs.

So, Man-Boobs has his vehicle and within the first week of owning it the water pump goes out. No big deal, Man-Boobs fixes it in about a week of working on it for a little while at a time while he’s not at work. Man-Boobs has a new day job working as a Barista on the University of Texas campus as well as being a DJ at the swinger’s club. The swinger’s club DJ gig is easy money, but it’s cutting into the time that Man-Boobs has to hang out in the comedy scene, which is crucial when you are first starting out in comedy. We start looking for places to live and we find a tiny little 2/1 house in South Austin, just a great location, for $550 a month. If you are living in Austin right now you just threw up in your mouth. Yep, it was on Elizabeth Street. Corner lot. The landlord didn’t do a background check and said that he trusted his impeccable sense of moral character. I was able to show my parents the lease application and I was given the money. I could now figure out how to pay everyone back the responsible way. Right after I get some blow to celebrate the new place. We get the keys and I pay back the biggest dude that I owe money to.

I told my roommates on top of the hill, living in the duplex that I was moving out, but that I was going to pay my portion of the rent even though I wasn’t going to be there that month. They all seemed cool with that and I was excited to start fresh. A whole new start. I promised the alcoholic roommate that I would pay her back once I had some more money. I never did. It’s really difficult to type some of these words. I just shake my head in disbelief, because the moments that I’m embarrassed regarding my past actions are accumulating with each post it seems. It’s so difficult to admit that I wasn’t a very good person when I was using.

I hadn’t paid my part of the duplex rent yet when we were moving into our new place and our first guest was one of my former roommates looking for the money. I gave it to him and he left after smoking a joint with us kind of a house warming present, or at least that’s how it was termed.

Our new place on Elizabeth was a tiny, little house that sat on a corner lot. Our next door neighbors raised birds and worked as a shade-tree mechanic. He specifically worked on dually trucks, which are the ones that have extra wheels in the back. Jimmie Vaughn, Stevie Ray’s brother would bring his dually by there to get serviced and we would see them out talking every once in a while. Kind of across and diagonal were some neighbors that we would end up getting to know a little bit. We called that dude “Crazy Mike” until he overheard us call him that. He was a crazy motherfucking guy, but he was nice and ALWAYS grilling up chicken leg quarters and then like to discuss how he bought them in a 10 lb bag for 39 cents a pound, on sale, while also doing the math out loud of how much they would cost if you bought them some place already cooked versus how much he spent, including charcoal, labor, etc. He was a nice guy and he knew some of the members of The Gourds, who are an Austin band and at least one of them lived just down the street. It’s interesting how “cool” it all sounds…living in Austin during that time, just being young and beginning to chase a dream, but once again it’s not like my anxiety and depression just vanished. It’s still there. It is better though. The depression at least. The anxiety is still through the roof as most full fledge crack heads, coke addicts will get. Not a lot of relaxed crack heads out doing yoga in the park, or at least not that I’ve seen. Being friends with Man-Boobs was fun though. He’s a really funny dude and his musical knowledge is really good, almost perfect. He can listen to some hip-hop songs and start naming the original music that they sampled in order to make the current song. That is not only cool, but it’s also entertaining as fuck for quite a while. My depression is still there and it’s nice to have this place, but my random bar-back jobs have been kind of drying up. I’ve been just working randomly and I ran into my boy Jason again. Do you remember Jason? The dude that I lived next door to over at Stonehollow when I was living with John Rabon? (who just recorded his first comedy CD)

Yeah, the dealer. I ran into a mutual friend, got his new number and hit him up. I go over to his new house and I see that he has a new girlfriend and that he is living with one of the dudes that was growing weed right next door to Jason at Stonehollow. Yeah, those two guys were trying to partner up and grab a place to turn into a grow house. They are just starting out on their new business adventure together, but they are really excited to tell me about it. “Hey, do you want to hit the bong?” I say sure, why not.

Jason hands me a dry, plastic, red bong. I now remember what Jason means when he says bong. I had briefly forgotten that when Jason smoked freebase he used a dry, plastic, cheap bong with no water. I actually say no. We both seem surprised, but I was able to say no, which brings me to a very interesting point. I was able to say no sometimes. I was able to say no a lot. I was actually able to say no with an alarming rate of reliability. Here’s the problem (whispering). I had to say no hundreds of times in a day on really bad days back then. I could have thousands on “No!” answers logged on the books and then all it takes is one “Yes” and then all of that work is lost and forgotten. I’m just a fuck-up again. That really sucks and is an ineffective way to measure the success on an addict, by the few losses on the record. Jason and his roommate had cleared out one of the 2 bedrooms and he was sleeping on the couch in order to use one of the bedrooms to set up a grow room. The plan was to have one successful grow room turn into a successful grow-house. Jason kept telling me about his plan and I’m looking around and see a bent-up spoon on the coffee table and random splotches of watery baking soda surrounding the spoons immediate area. His new girlfriend is not sure about me, she doesn’t know me, and we’ve never met before. She keeps watching me as if I’m a shoplifter in her store. Smart girl. Jason informs me that he’s about to take a sabbatical from smoking crack and he was just doing the last bits. He does have some powder for sale and I do buy some of that along with some good weed that he has. He says that he will be getting some opium tomorrow and for me to come back. I leave some money with him to hold it for me. I can trust this dude and I know where he lives. Even though I got burned recently, I have known Jason for a while and yes, he can be a dick sometimes when he’s been smoking crack for a day or so, but can’t we all?

Jason also is a decent businessman and informs me that he will be having “Kind Bud” or “KB” as they called it in Austin at the time, on a regular basis. So, now I have a coke guy close again and he also can get opium and good weed. I’m sorry “Kind Buds” Ask around. That’s what it was called. “The Kind”

I went back the next day to pick up some opium and Jason is dressed decently. He says that he’s going to a job interview at a local bar. One of his “clients” got him a job where he can sell bags. He laughs about how he is just doing lines and that he threw his red crack bong away last night. “Some homeless dude is going to find a lot of crack resin in the stem that I left in it!” “They will be so happy!” I remember leaving his place and walking by that dumpster on my way out to my car. I had just turned down a fresh bowl of crack from Jason just the day before, but here I was actually debating whether or not to jump in that dumpster looking for that bong with the resin-filled stem produced by hours if not days by an addict that has the intention of staying away from crack for a little while.

I said no to crack just the day before and felt so strong, now I stand there and I’m a fiend.

“Steven…yeah, this message is for Steven Kendrick. This is blah blah from Comedy Bookers. I wanted to check your availability for a gig. Get back to me at your convenience.”

Published by Steven Kendrick

I'm a recovered cocaine addict that used to smoke crack. I went back to school when I was 41 starting by taking one Spanish class. Since that time I have earned an Associate of Arts from Houston Community College, a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) from the University of Houston, a Grad Certificate in Business Development and Management, and I'm about to earn my MBA in August 2018. I have made the Dean's List and I've also been a research assistant for the Bauer School of Business at the University of Houston. I've finally accomplished enough that I can tell everyone about my past drug addiction.

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