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The Broken Road – Changing My Life

Changing my life meant changing everything.  One thing you need to know about Costa Rica is that if you are coming here to escape some problem or some addiction this is not the country to do it in.  You will be surrounded by people drinking, doing drugs and continuing their unethical behavior from their past. 

alcoholism recoveryIf you are an alcoholic and think that coming to Costa Rica will get you away from the bar scene in your hometown, you will probably drink more in CR. If you have a cocaine habit and you think that living in the rainforest or at the beach in the land of “pura vida” will miraculously help you kick the habit, think again. The cocaine is cheaper and in most cases easier to get…just ask any taxi driver. 1 in 3 will know where to get it. In most people’s cases (not all) Costa Rica makes habits and addictions increase as you feel like you are on vacation instead of having to follow the laws in the USA or Canada.  Someone being jailed or punished for drug use or alcohol consumption does not happen often unless it turns into a fight or someone gets hurt.

I remember when I was in rehab in Houston one of the psychologists there said that to break the habit of drinking you had to change everything, people, places and things. You can come to Costa Rica actually wanting to quit a drug or alcohol addiction but if you start hanging out with the same types of people from home as you do here then nothing will change.  If you are doing the same activities you did before you moved to Costa Rica you will continue your addiction.  If you lived in a party town where all there was to do at night was go to bars and you move to an area of Costa Rica that is the same, do not except change.

I had been a prime example of this since the day I arrived in Costa Rica.  It had been a 3 year long Spring Break and yes, I had a blast at times, but is that really how someone should spend their entire life? My lord! I was 33 years old at the time of my surgery and my only care in the world was being functional enough to go to work.  What a waste of time and a waste of life.

I did want to have social interactions with others and try to find people with whom I could have an intelligent conversation.  Oh yeah, and the key was trying to find people around my age.  Unfortunately, those in my age bracket in most cases loved to party or were just here on vacation.  I did have my select set of friends in Jaco but everyone really has their own lives; making schedules match can be quite difficult. You can also factor in that after about 9 pm at night I did not want to really be out; being in bed sleeping or working appealed to me more. I just did not see a reason to go out and be around people drinking, acting like idiots, and trying to hook up. All in all, these people were just annoying me.  In order to have a good time with people (at least for me) I have to be in the same frame of mind. If they are drunk I need to be drunk. If they are sober then I am sober. If they are on drugs then I need to be on drugs.  However, after 9 pm to 10 pm in Jaco most people have started drinking or drugging so I was not going to be able to relate to them.

I know there will be a bunch of retired expats living in Costa Rica say this is not true – that they have many friends that hang out and do nightly activities that have nothing to do with drugs and being drunk. I think that is great, I just would rather not feel like I am going to one of my parent’s cocktail parties that they hold for their friends.  It is like a 60 year old man marrying a 30 year old woman, while in a few select cases it works, the age and life differences are just too much and a lifelong friendship does not blossom from a relationship with this sort of age gap. I digress.

The first thing I had to do was let go of my belief that love did not exist.  After what I had gone through with Priscilla, I had an extreme distrust for the female species.  I thought all women were just after money and financial moving onstability. While in Jaco it is mostly true and many women in the town base their living on this, however, there are women out there that do not make that the sole reason to be with a man.  I do think that a man should hold a job and make money to not live with mommy and daddy anymore, nor ask his parents for money. There is a point where their heart and ethics should be a key component of the relationship.  I guess I am old fashion and think that long term relationships should be with someone that you are friends with, can hold a conversation with, relate to, and of course feel love and passion with.

I think we all start off thinking that there is this perfect someone for us out there that is our “soul mate” that completes us.  We have grown up seeing it on the silver screen and read about it in fairy tales, but, the truth is I do not think that perfect someone exists, we all have faults and the key is finding that person that accepts those faults. If you can find that friend you never get sick of hanging around and laugh with and feel passion with and can talk to…that’s all you need.

I am in no way saying that someone should settle, all I am saying is that if you base your relationship on financial stability or money, you will most likely never be happy unless you have all those other things as well.  For me, I would rather be alone than to stick in a relationship that did not complete me or make me happy.

I had my daily routine in place. Work in the morning for 5 hours.  Walk to the beach and relax or take a nap.  Work in the evening for about 5 to 6 hours. Head to sleep.  It was a solitary life but I was content.  I did however desire a female’s touch, all men do.    Just as all women want intimacy in their lives, so do men.

A friend of mine had moved into the apartment downstairs in the house where I lived and his idea of a fun time was going to the Hotel Cocal in Jaco (a well known hotel with hookers).  There was a problem, he did not want to spend any money and was used to girls in San Jose just wanting to party with him and then have sex.  The problem with that is that in Jaco the hookers are practically unionized. There is a basic fixed rate minimum of $100 for sex and the girls do not consider party favors like cocaine or drinks part of the payment.

I would go with him about once a week to the hotel because I thought the interactions between the old men and the hookers were hilarious.  The broken English the prostitutes use to speak to the men made me laugh inside and on several occasions audibly.

“So baby…you handsome…you want company”

“Ohhh Baby I like eyes…that color my favorite”

If you are ever able to sit down with a sober frame of mind and watch the sociological interactions it would keep you rolling in laughter.  I just could not even imagine some of these gorgeous women mounting a 60 to 70 year old man.  How were they able to do that? I was truly interested on how they were able to get into a frame of mind to go home with these men and do their jobs.

One afternoon I saw one of the girls looking at me and heard her speaking decent English to a potential client that chose another girl.  After the guy left with the other girl I called her over and we started talking.  I asked her in-depth questions which she was able to answer.  I told her I was not paying her and just wanted to talk. She was free to go anytime she wanted to go after a client.

We actually had an intelligent conversation. She did not drink. She did not use drugs.  But of course she was a hooker which makes things difficult if we started dating. I thought to myself what better way to start dating again than with a relationship that is destined to fail.

Three steps forward one step back…but I needed that step back.

Next Up – “Dating” a Working Girl

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