The Drug Test

Oh, Inglewood.

I can safely say, at this point, that I’ve dedicated more hours of my life to proving that I’m not on drugs than I ever have to actually experimenting with them (large-scale trafficking of pot being exempt, in this particular example).

My probation officer called me in for a random drug test this morning.  The probation office is in Inglewood.  I have been looking forward to road tripping around the US after I’m free from the constraints of house arrest.  For now, the closest that I’m going to come to a road trip is an early morning drive into Inglewood, which is about fifteen miles away from my apartment.  Cruising through a seemingly endless spread of bail bonds storefronts and fast food fried chicken doesn’t stand as a very appealing compromise, but my ability to compromise is considerably limited for the next two months.

I stepped into the office at around 7am, as I’ve done so many times before.  As usual, on my walk from a distant parking space, I went through a gas station and grabbed a handful of string cheese.  Small comforts.

The waiting room in probation feels generally vacant, save for a scattering of offenders and an elaborate security arrangement, complete with a metal detector walkthrough.  Always a familiar welcome, and a reminder that I’m considered one of “them.”  The walls in the waiting room are filled with those typical posters of encouragement.

This morning, as I was handed my paperwork through a thick glass window, I was aware that I was being watch by a bystander.  He was a fellow offender who looked straight out of Central Casting.  He fidgeted with his own paperwork next to me as I began to fill in the form.  He was staring at my ankle, which was obviously exposed under my workout shorts.

“Is that a ankle bracelet?”  He pointed down.  “Yep,” I said, as I wrote on the paper.  “Sure is.”  He twitched and nodded his head with interest.  “Oh.  Damn!”  An employee of the office opened a door, and the ogler disappeared behind it.

Then, my turn.  Oh, the joyous routine.  I aced my drug test, yet again.  Gold star?  Well, at least there was string cheese.

75 days to go.

10 thoughts on “The Drug Test

  1. Ok, so i am a total stranger and somehow in the midst of searching endlessly on Google for information on home confinement, I came across your blog. Can I just say that you are fabulous and from an outsiders perspective you have made this situation look glamorous! The reason for my online searches were that I was curious to find others like my husband and myself who are in the same situation and I guess “normal” just like us-if that’s even an appropriate word to use. My darling husband of 8 years was put on 1 year house arrest with 1 year probation to follow after pleading guilty to 1 count of conspiracy to money launder. Of course, the guilty plea came after months of harassment and gentle threats by the prosecutors so it almost seems like you have no choice but to oblige. This was followed by years of pre-trial probation and then the much dreaded sentencing…

    The moniter was slapped on June 15th, 2012 to be removed June 14th, 2013. We are counting down the days his earned leave on Sept. 15th so we can venture out together again. We both work in corporate America and have a lovely cottage in a historic town in Baltimore, MD and like to maintain the simplicity, therefore keeping the monitering under wraps from the neighbors and such. Thankfully, a previous employer was well aware of the situation and he had a job waiting for him. It’s pretty much hell to find something decent with this newfound record. “D” as we’ll call my husband, is not on a GPS anklet but rather on an older looking pager like device (We don’t think it does much at all-but we’re not willing to test it). He can work 6 days a week and like you, we fax a schedule a week in advance and have to call if anything out of the ordinary arises. He cannot go out into our backyard without prior notice on his schedule so he must stay inside the walls of the house. Even though it is D that is on house arrest, I have devoted myself to not go anywhere enjoyable until he can. Aside for the usual boring errands that I run quickly after work before he comes home, I stay inside. So, we are in this together and I am so grateful he is home and working instead of incarcerated. I am sure like ours, your experience was frightening from day one of the raid (if that’s how yours started) but now it has just become a nuisance to deal with. How do I say this without sounding pretentious, but D is not your typical felon and we have had to learn to adapt to this new label and restrictions. Being that I am his wife, it comes with the territory. Funny how my husband inadvertantly gotten himself in trouble with the government as a money launderer conspirator and I am a advisor in the financial industry.

    Please don’t feel obligated to respond to my long-winded message. It’s just nice to see someone in a situation like ours and completing this strange journey with such grace. Others should learn from you.

    Good luck to you and you’re almost done!! Hang in there!!!

    287 days to go

    • Hi Yaci! Thank you for your thoughtful message. I am sorry to hear about you and your husband’s situation. I think that, in these circumstances, perspective can be our greatest tool, because it is one of the only things that is ours to control. The fact that you are being there and “in it” with your husband is wonderful. Also, that he has a job, and that you have a home that you can enjoy together during this year. I know what you mean when you use words like “normal” and “felon”– and then, when you try to reckon them together… haha. I completely understand. It’s important to not let any title influence you in your opinion of yourself, but rather, to let them serve as mere reminders of how little value or meaning they actually have. Keep your head up for the next 287 days. I think that I wrote a blog on my 287th countdown day, haha. I remember that marker– and it honestly feels like time has flown by. My best to you and your husband! Tell him that he isn’t alone in this crazy thing, and that he will be okay!

      • Meili, Thank you so much for your response. We appreciate your insight more than you can understand. Reading your blog and experiences are like another window to the world which helps us feel less imprisoned in our home. Yes, we do love our house very much but being that we are avid outdoorsman…boy, we cannot wait to get out there again! Also, the fact that I do not have to explain myself to you is comforting and yet disheartening that we are even in this situation with other good people. Long story short, D worked for his much older (“wiser”) brother-in-law who laid the path of platinum and gold before our eyes. After a while, D knew something wasn’t right but trusted Mr. older and wiser until something went severely wrong. We learned the hard way as one usually does. We lost so much the first year before his sentencing and it’s remarkable that we came out of this stronger and happier than before. Forgive me, I know this is your blog and I don’t mean to ramble…like I mentioned earlier, it’s nice to speak to someone judgement free! You don’t find many of those here in town.
        I can’t wait to continue to read thoroughly through your blog. You are truly an inspiration!
        Thanks, again for communicating!
        Yaci & “D”

  2. I just wanted to echo what alot of other people have probably told you. Your blog is awesome. I too am in the midst of home confinement with 67 days to go and reading your missives has let me know that there’s someone else out there going through this rather strange process. House arrest can be a pretty daunting affair at times, equal parts frustration, isolation and lonliness. You definitely learn alot about yourself to say the least. Keep up the good work and hang in there.

  3. This is the best blog I have stumbled upon searching for personal experiences regarding house arrest. I, too, am in an unusual circumstance and just laughed out loud reading about the inevitable “drug test.”

    I am sentenced to house arrest beginning on your anniversary release date! November 14! I merely attempted to perform a good deed for a friend who needed someone to pick up her controlled substance, Lunesta, at the pharmacy. It isn’t even an illegal drug! It’s a sleeping pill. Alas, I was the person responsible for picking it up only to learn that it was frauduently called in by my friend. No good deed goes unpunished!!!!!

    I never physically picked up the pills because the pharmacy already called the police. I was guilty by association and ended up being charged with procuring a controlled substance by fraud. My being guilty by association led me down the path of a long, dragged out criminal justice marathon trying to preserve my innocence.

    Here’s where I stand currently. I am to serve 26 days in the workhouse behind bars and then serve 94 days of house arrest. In exchange for that time served I will not be convicted as a felon, the court waived all fines and fees, and the judge filed for an expungement after my 3 year supervised probation is completed. It still sucks anyway I look at it. I have never done illegal drugs a day in my life, nor have I ever smoked a cigarette. I only drink wine socially at dinner. But, yes, I, too, have to spend the next 3 years trying to convince everyone I am not doing drugs or am an alcoholic. Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!

    The part that upsets me the most and shatters my heart into a gazillion tiny fragmented pieces is that fact that I am a stay-at-home Mom to my beautiful 6 year old daughter. I must be separated from her for an entire 26 days. I have never been separated from her. I am honest, not even for a sleepover. I am a single Mamma to boot and the stress I’ve endured thus far in just trying to prepare for my extended leave of absence has dampened my spirit.

    I don’t appreciate the disproportionate lack of justice in my case. I am not going to let my “former friend” affect my spirit totally. I am going to prevail from this and I know there is a hidden blessing in this scenario that God has planned. I already have created new boundaries! I was forced into a substance abuse program for 6 months in hopes that I would receive credit by the court for my effort to be proactive. My counselors couldn’t diagnose me as chemically dependent so I was technically, on paper, there for “unresolved anxiety and grief” due to my current situation. You think? The court refused to acknowledge my proactive behavior and even threw a warning at me that if I even so much as one time test positive in a UA I will be ordered back to a treatment center. Nice, huh? I’m glad they are very worried about this stay-at-home Mom’s agenda to maintain her upstanding Christian and morally sound lifestyle.

    Thank you for posting this blog. It has been an eye opener of what is to come. It also comforts me and reassures me that in our unexpected circumstances we can lean on God and keep a positive attitude.

    Happy relase day on Nov 14!!!!!!!!! Yippppeeeeee! You go, girl!

  4. I was wondering if your drug test was supervised? The idea of someone watching me pee is uncomfortable and I have 10 days of house arrest coming up. I’m hoping I won’t be watched if I happen to get a drug test.

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