Bobby: This is for those who are gone, we miss you, we love you’s and we hope to see you soon. Back when we were there, Irish Boys dead all the way.
Danny: Yo, you see this here. You see how I got it right here, Irish Boys, um. It say’s D Street. That’s who we are. We’re D Street Irish Mob.
Tor: Original, ORL.
Danny: That’s who we are, all the way.
Bobby: See, you should, you should call the documentary Hard Times.
Danny: This, this is for real, we were some real hard killers up here homie.
Danny: Lot of our homies are doing life.
Bobby: It was hard growing up here.
Danny: Lot of our homies are doing life and shit up here man.
Bobby: Lot of our homies died.
Danny: Died, lot of homies got shot. Lot of homies got shot… We was already on 20/20, 48 hours. You name it we was on it holmes. We was, we was on some real hard… I just did 15 years. My brother did 17. (inaudible) just left did 15. All for being the Irish crew.
Paul (left) and Anthony (right), in the courtyard at The Last Stop Recovery House, 2013.
Edited Audio Transcript
I was thinking I coulda got a good picture of this when it first happened.
That’s your trophy.
It’s God’s way of sayin’ look at your arm, you ever think you can do that again look down at your arm?
Say that again for me.
It’s God’s way of telling me if I, if I think I can do these drugs again, shoot Herion in my arm, its like, he gives me a little sign, like look down at your arm you idiot.
That’s like me with these tattoos. When I got sober, I put them on my arms so if I ever decide to get it in again, my children, I’d have to look them in the eye before I actually brought it up to my face. I got them right after I stopped drinking in 05.
Can I photograph your arms?
Yeah, na. Hello? Mike, you’re gonna loose the call but I’ll call you back when I get out to the car all right? All right man, bye.
You wanna shoot, you wanna take a shot? I don’t mind.
Yeah, yeah, I think that’s really powerful what you just said.
That’s the truth.
Can you tell me a little about what it’s been like for you to be a sponsor?
I’ll tell you this much, um, 2 weeks before New Years, uh I had eight guys, I had two women in the process and um, in a very short time, all of them fell to the wayside. I’ve got one sponsee left here in Philly, and I got one sponsee left in New Jersey, both male, uh, don’t know what happened to the females, I don’t know what happened to the other men. They took their will back. It’s a pretty powerful disease. It can come at you any time through many things, a hundred forms of fear. If I remain in the moment I can help anybody, but if I don’t I can’t even help myself. Um, if I remain conscience of my higher power throughout the day and when I become uh, self-conscience of my own will returning, it removes these things from me. Uh, when I do that I become responsible. I become aware of the sickness, the demonic things that are uh, at work, the unseen war that has been revealed to me through this process, for I was unaware of these things prior and uh, its madness out here, it’s a lawless game. I have a mental defense provided to me from Christ. Without that I am nothing. I help no matter who is put in my path. For that I am grateful. I stay focussed. My mind and my soul, they’ve become centered. Uh, that’s all I really got. I’m Paul and I’m an addict.
Beautiful day out.
Yes, it’s so nice isn’t it.
It’s fucking great man. Days like today make me happy.
I was glad I came down here this morning. I had no purpose this morning when I woke up. No, no nothing really to do. Something said go to The Stop, somebody always needs help over there. And uh…
You gave me some hope today man.
Came through, met some people, not even by like choice, just came through and it starts with a cup of coffee. You know, 50 cent. Best show in the world. The last stop man. That’s no shit. Hahahaha.
This place is like… This place is better than Club Med man, for real for real. Hahahaha. You know there’s certain demons I’m still dealing with like cigarettes and coffee but the greatest thing I ever achieved from this goal, cause like I’ve had sober time before and was, I was still lost and pray on helpless women and this is the longest I’ve been without hurting anybody and uh that’s great, that’s great man, not even hurting myself or hurting anybody else, that’s the best feeling in the world. You know, not worrying about money, not worrying about my next meal, everything’s been provide like they promised, you know, all I had to do was be willing cause I can tell you for the first 6 months, 8 months of my recovery I hated my sponsor cause he always told me the fucking truth and every time the phone rang and I seen it was his number man and I’d get all pissed off cause I don’t wanna here what he’s got to say cause it’s gonna make me look at my shit, and then, I started changing something, it just started happening and I ran with it, like uh, like I tried to tell you earlier, just ran with it and um my mind started to change and then my body started to change like they said it would. Cause I couldn’t do nothing on my own man. My best thinking got me a hot cup of coffee and a seat in an AA meeting. You know what I mean.
Paul, The Last Stop Recovery House, 2013.
This my babies. Carly’s the oldest, Buckey’s the youngest, I got him first.
And look up at me. (Click) Got it.
That was a really good story. I appreciate you taking the time.
Well, I always said the worst story I ever heard was my own cause I lived that shit. Truth.
How long have you been clean?
Long enough. All I really got is the moment. That’s what we all got. I can’t change five minuets ago and I don’t know what the hell is gonna happen, so I ripped the rearview out of my car, just steady moving forward man cause you can either move forward or you’re stopped. And when you stop in life, you’re just existing man, no purpose, that’s the loneliest feeling I ever felt. Just praying on others like my sponsor told me man it was like, I was a caterpillar, and he said, what does a caterpillar do and I said you know, it basically just eats all day, he said yeah it takes life, takes plants that make oxygen, just a taker of life and then he said, then you go into a cocoon which is like the 12 steps and um what happens in the cocoon? He said you become liquefied and Christ builds you back up into this beautiful butterfly and then you’re a giver of life just going around pollinating and making more trees and shit and I was like man I could, I could, that has depth and weight, I can believe that at first you know what I mean. So I just ran with that. Simple things like you know. You say in every one of us there’s a white wolf and a black wolf and uh whatever one I feed that day is gonna get stronger and what happens when you’re feeding one and not the other, the other will diminish, so it can no longer go against the one, it can’t even fight it has no energy, no strength. So if I’m constantly feeding the white wolf, and sometimes you feed the black one you know, but if you’re feeding it more white than the black, white’s gonna get stronger and stronger and stronger and the black never fully goes away but he has no attack. Cannot harm you anymore. I was like, that’s awesome! And that’s an old Cherokee teaching you know, and like he (Paul’s Sponsor) would paint pictures like that for me and like um, one of my favorites was like, I’m in a hole when I first came around in 05, uh, I’m in a hole and I can’t get out and I can’t see, I can see the top lip but I can’t reach it and you get all these people throwing you rope. So what you do, you grab the rope and you start pulling yourself up. But your human strength can’t, isn’t suffice, and they let go of the rope and you’re back in the hole again. And he said well, I’m here to tell you I’m getting down in the hole wit ya, I’m a get you out first, and then I’ll worry about myself. I was like, that’s awesome. Yup, I’ve been with him since man, he led me to the promised land.
I gotta charge my phone bro. Nice meeting you.
Nice to meet you too.
Good luck with everything. I’ll be talking to you.
Alright, Hi, my name’s Tom. I uh, I uh, spent a lot of time down Kensington using drugs off and on and um… Since last time I saw this guy- he interviewed me and my buddy when we were really into doing drugs but uh lately I’ve been um, I’ve been trying to keep myself together, I’ve been messing up, I’m on probation and all and I uh, I’ve been, I’ve been doing alright getting some clean time with Suboxones but I uh, I have been re-lapsing here and there, using uh, all different drugs but um, uh, I don’t know, things, things get good for a month and then you know you have some time on your hand, you get a couple bucks and you come down here and you get high, its like you just can’t seem to get ahold of it. Um, then when you get high you instantly regret it. You feel stupid for doing it, you wish you didn’t do it, but then soon as you as you get clean again you forget how bad it is getting high so you go and get high and its just the same vicious cycle. But um, yeah I don’t know it’s, it’s, it sucks really and it’s no fun in it, the fun was gone a long time ago but for some reason I keep falling into it. Uh, I just had a job that only lasted a couple months till I lost it because I would go to work sick, soon as I would get a couple bucks I would leave right away to go get high and my boss wasn’t happy about that so he had to let me go, now I’m trying to find another job and it ain’t working, I don’t know, um, yeah I just, I just can’t seem to get a grip on staying clean. Every time I try, I just mess up but yeah, hopefully, hopefully soon, I can end up getting ahold of it and then when I’m clean remembering that when I get high, instantly I regret it, so I’ll be able to keep myself clean.
Star: Yeah, I live on Hazzard Street in an abandoned house. Um. Sometimes… hold on a second, cause that’s loud [train passes]. Sometimes I go and sleep on the street, um, on Boston Street, and I just put, you know. I got a little mattress back there, put that. Cause the cops don’t bother you, there’s a couple of us back there and uh, just sleep on that next to the building. It’s pretty nice out now, y’know, so…
JS: And how long have you been out?
Star: Like two weeks.
JS: And have you been out here before?
Star: Yeah I was out here, um, a couple years ago, but then I went to jail, got out, went back to jail. Y’know. So, I only been out a jail for like three weeks. So I was out for a week, came right down here
Star: When you get arrested for prostitution, y’know you go for..to..for bail, you gotta go see the judge, and usually they set a bail for you. Prostitution you just get ROR. And they just let you go.
JS: What’s ROR?
Star: Uh, release on your own recognizance.
Star: Like you don’t gotta pay no- no money. Y’know? So…
Star: Um… well I had my son 2005. They- I got Percocets in the hospital. Took them for a little while. Um. Starting buying Oxycontins after that and then by 2006 I was shootin’ dope and… ended up here. And now I shoot dope, coke, y’know, anything that goes in a needle, basically… so… I just- I love the high… I love the high.
Star: I’m high right now [laughs]. I’m not gonna lie, y’know? So…
JS: So you’re okay- so it’s like uh, I mean, are you content with your life right now? You’re content with the way things are?
Star: I mean, I don’t… I don’t like it, but at the same time I love getting high, y’know? So it’s kinda like you can’t have your cake and eat it too and that’s what I want. But I love getting high more- more than anything so, I mean I’m willing… to… I guess suffer the consequences of living outside, starvin, y’know. Not taking a shower, not brushing my teeth, fucking people for money… y’know? I mean that’s because of the game, y’know?
JS: Can you describe to me why- why you love getting high so much? What it is about it?
Star: The feeling. I don’t gotta deal with nothing. Nothing bothers me. I’m the nicest person in the world. I don’t think about anything. Y’know?
Star: It’s um… I don’t know, I guess uh, sense of security- I don’t- I don’t feel alone. I feel… I don’t, um, I don’t know. It’s just it’s, it’s a feeling that I’ve never had before with anything else, especially with shootin heroin. I just feel like, like I don’t cry about shit, I’m not so sensitive. I’m- I still think about shit, yeah. But at the same time, I don’t- I don’t know. It’s so hard to describe.
JS: Well what- could you try to describe what it’s like when you’re not high?
Star: Um… yeah, it’s- I guess it’s just uh… the whole thing is responsibilities and shit. I gotta big problem with that so… um. I mean, I been doing this since 2006 and honestly sometimes I feel like this is the only thing I really know, y’know? Like I’m comfortable. For the most part. For the most part. Y’know? Um… I mean when I’m not high y’know you gotta pay for rent, worry bout a job, worry bout this and that, y’know? And uh… I just don’t feel like dealing with it all. I mean I know this is the pussy way of doing things- running, but… y’know, it’s the easy way out.
JS: Wow, I would say the opposite. I would say it’s the harder way out.
Star: You think?
Star: I guess it’s like a f- and out here, it’s like a fast life. Everything is so unpredictable. You never know what’s gonna happen the next minute y’know? And uh, honestly I’m attracted to that. I really am. Y’know?
Star: Uh, even when I was in jail, after months and months of being clean, I- I would sit there and think like damn. I just wanna come back down here just to see what’s going on, you know what I mean? Because there’s always something going on down here. So, I mean, not even with intentions of getting high. I just wanted to see what was going on. Then I would come down, see people I knew, like see who was all out here. New people and shit. And y’know, I would- I would get high. And then it’s like, this is… honestly, I call… I call Kensington the Bermuda Triangle. Because it’s like once you come here, you get stuck, y’know? And- and you can’t go back. Like I came down here… um, a couple weeks ago… I came down here a couple weeks ago with the intentions… a couple wee- a couple uh… a couple weeks ago… I came here a couple weeks ago with fifty dollars with intentions of- of buying the drugs and going back home. I bought the drugs. Got stuck. The next day I just started trickin to get money. So I was gonna go home, but then I wanted a bag. So I got- I, it’s, y’know. And then I just gave up on the fact of fucking even trying to go home. Y’know? So…
Star: Like me, me and my- my friend right over there, we were just shootin up in the alley and somebody just started shootin. Shootin. We just dropped on the ground. Just shot up a speed ball. Dropped on the ground and just crawled and got out, because, you can’t really run as soon as you shoot coke and dope, y’know? So, I mean, as soon as we could get out of there we did, but it’s always something going on. It’s, I don’t- I don’t know.
JS: You mean to tell me you- you were shootin in an alleyway and you heard gunshots go off?
Star: Yeah! Somebody was back there shootin, I don’t know were they shootin, at us, or who they shootin at. But we just dropped and got out real quick.
JS: But that and the fact that there were those gunshots, like, it didn’t scare you at all? Are you like, are you kinda, you kinda just associate that with the lifestyle you’re attracted to?
Star: Yeah, I mean. Yeah it did scare me a little bit, but at the end of the day that’s the shit that goes on down here, y’know? So… I guess, I- I don’t know it’s part of the game and it’s a little bit of a rush, y’know, that that happened. It’s a little bit of sick thinking, but [laughs], y’know. It’s how I think.
JS: Do you have family that you see at all?
Star: Nah. Um every once in a while I’ll call my Grandmom or my uncle. Um. he lives in Bucks County. My Grandmom lives in North Carolina. But other than that, like I have a son. He lives with his dad. I- I’m not allowed around him. So that’s part of the reason I try to cover shit up too. Y’know, so I don’t think about him. Honestly half the time I even forget I have a son. Y’know, it makes it easier.