Surfside Relapse?


April 3rd, 2007

Returning from work this evening, I decided to try and contact Al at the Surfside Recovery House. Not having the number, I asked the on-duty C.O. if she could look it up for me. Moments later, she provided me what I sought. There were two separate numbers. One to call between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, and another to call 24 hours. As it was after dinner I called the latter but I was informed over the phone that it was a restricted number. Uncertain whether it was restricted from here or from there, I went back to the C.O. to inquire. She proceeded to dial it up from her office and quite readily handed me the receiver. I thought it odd and potentially against protocol but who the hell am I to question? I took it and this guy answered. I introduced myself and asked for Al. The guy seemed rather taken aback and asked for my title to which I said I had none. I was just a friend of his looking to see how he was doing. He informed me that Al didn’t have any phone privileges. I countered by saying that ‘I thought Al was granted phone privileges after two weeks.’ It has been twenty days since Al was discharged so by my count I figured his permission to use the phones was granted six days back. The guy on the phone then said, “Al’s phone privileges had been revoked because he has three strikes against him!”  At this point I yielded and said goodbye. Finishing the very short call I handed the receiver back to the C.O. prompting her to say she ‘thought I was calling the recovery house in the interest of applying.’ Seems that I unwittingly got away with one! A call that was otherwise restricted for me I managed to make although it didn’t bear out the result I wanted to see. I at least learned a little bit more of Al’s situation without it costing me money off my phone card. As for the reason for the three strikes, I didn’t learn that. 

It’s been plaguing my mind exactly what could Al have done in his short time to accrue three strikes? His six week term at the recovery house is broken down into different phases. The first two weeks he isn’t even allowed off the premises. No freedom and no phone for the first 14 days. It not until this initial fortnight has passed that he is granted partial freedom where he could meet with temptation and chance running afoul of rules or regulations. He’s only six days into this minimal freedom phase of his recovery and already he has three strikes? He just spent the past eight months jumping through ALL the hoops to qualify for parole and gain admission to the halfway house. No booze, no tokes, no fun… but Al was good to go. I have seen motivation, and his name is Al! Six days of minimal freedoms and already three strikes?! What on earth could he have done? Not make his bed properly? And while I’m asking all these questions, how many more strikes can he have? Is it possible that he could get kicked out of the recovery house and back to jail? For what? One more strike? Two more? Poor Al still has 22 more days to complete his term there. Given the thin ice he’s on, can he make it?