J W Johnston • Photography


17 -18


Francisco was mad at me. He had been angry since the previous morning. We had dropped Eric off to catch Amtrak for a trip to New Mexico. Francisco was driving home and I told him to slow down and stop driving crazy that his driving was scaring me. Francisco has a class A commercial driver’s license and is very proud of having been a truck driver, and his spotless record. I had hit a nerve with my comment about his driving. No amount of assurance that I knew he drove trucks skillfully rather than in the zippy manner he drove our small auto would suffice. The whole crisis seemed overblown to me. When Eric called, Francisco admitted that he had been using meth again.


It was a setback. Francisco had been clean for six months. The voices returned telling him threatening things: that they were going to kidnap our dogs, that they were going to kill us. No amount of assurances from us would convince Francisco that these voices were not real. I tried reminding him that this had happened to him before, that it was caused by meth, and that the voices would eventually go away. Once again, he pointed to my hearing aids as the reason I could not hear the voices. This descent into psychosis for Francisco lasted a month before the voices in his head retreated. Hopefully this second bout with extreme psychosis would convince him that there was no safe amount of meth he could use.