Wednesday, January 19, 2011

This is what it feels like

This links to someone's suicide note where he disclosed that he had been sexually molested as a child and how it fucked up his life.  I'm sharing it so that others who have not experienced this can understand how hard it is to get through life for those of us who have.  Many aspects of this letter I could have written myself.  Maybe I use it as an excuse too often, but it's also the reason I struggle so much to stay clean and sober.  I do try, but then I have that other issue to deal with and it seems impossible to be alone with my thoughts without being numbed out.  Please don't mistake this as a sign that I'm contemplating the same thing as this guy did.....I'm not.  I just thought it important to circulate this so that others who don't understand why we "just can't get over it" know a little what it's like.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hitting Bottom

I was thinking this morning of how everyone's "bottom" is different in addiction/alcoholism.  Each person has their own threshold of no return where enough is enough and change is actively sought.

When the phrase "hitting bottom" is applied to an addict, stereotypical images of a bum sleeping on the street in rags comes to mind.  Does a person have to lose everything and beg on street corners for change before they officially reach "bottom" status?  No. 

It might be a white-collar professional who becomes alarmed at how much brandy is drunk every night and feels the overwhelming need to change.  It might be a single mom on welfare realizing her meth use is going to get her kids taken away from her.  It might be the boss whose wife is threatening divorce unless he stops drinking, and even then he may not stop, and won't until he risks losing the house. 

Everyone has their own wake-up call moment for when they acknowledge - and accept - the fact that they have to stop participating in the self-destruction.  Yes, some people won't stop until they literally have lost everything, and some people don't/won't stop until they're dead.  For some it can be a much lighter, but no less effective, message.  Hell, I heard one story in AA long ago of a woman who upon taking her first ever drink of alcohol got so scared at how much she loved it that she swore to never take another drink again and started going to meetings.  I don't know if that story is true, but how much misery could we all save ourselves and the world if were all in as much tune with reality as she was?

But we aren't in tune with reality because we're so busy trying to escape it.  Even when our lives are crumbling around us and we've fucked things up good and proper we still try to escape reality through our vices, because going through the misery that addiction brings is still preferable to dealing with reality.  How fucked up is that? 

For me, it's the belief that I don't deserve a better life, or will just fuck it all up so why bother trying, that keeps me continually climbing the walls of the pit.  I crawl out for a bit and hover towards the edge, sometimes leaving one foot dangling in, but never have I been able to completely pull myself out and away from the damn thing.

If you read my old blog on Myspace you know I've written extensively about my struggles with addiction.  There was a point that I did reach a point of being that homeless bum on the street and even then I didn't see any point to changing.  Fast foward through the years to now, after countless attempts to get clean and countless relapses, countless second and third chances given by friends and family, countless jobs lost, close shaves with the law and with death.....and still I hover near the edge wanting to dive right back in.

I haven't shared much about my most recent nosedive last summer, except that it was the arrest of my dealer (the only one in the area that deals with heroin) and the thought of being cut off from my supply that prompted getting clean again, not because of any *real* desire to do so.  In September I OD'd; fortunately was with someone at the time who was alert enough to recognize the signs, and upon waking up in the ER did I have some life-changing affirmative moment where I vowed never to use again?  Fuck no.  I used again as soon as I could.  Almost dying wasn't a big deal.  How messed up is it that almost dying didn't make me want to stop, but rather it was a "forced" clean up due to lack of supplies! 

Of course once the dreaded withdrawals are over and I'm thinking slightly more rationally again, I do see the insanity of it all and know if I can't get my shit together I'm going to end up dying from this.  Some days that doesn't seem like such a bad thing.  Some days it scares me enough to stay on the straight and narrow for one more day.  Most often I turn to alcohol to deal with things. 

I don't know what it's going to take to make me genuinely want to stay clean, instead of doing it for reasons outside myself or for others because it's what they want.  There have been times where I thought I wanted it, was sure of it.  I was sure I had hit *my* bottom and was ready to live a better life.  Those times turned out to be me trying to convince myself of it because I was getting clean for someone else, not because I wanted it. 

I've tried AA and NA, have done half-assed attempts at working the steps with a sponsor, but in hindsight it was all for show.  I fully state and acknowledge that I am an addict.  The thing is, I don't care.  I've never felt that deep-down desire to stop, or felt that some mythical higher power could create that desire in me.

Until I believe that I deserve better and want this for myself, I will continue to struggle.  How, then, do I get myself to that point?  That's the million dollar question.  I know the more I delve into my inner self and analyze, the more I face and process my other issues, and the more support I seek from others, it helps, but it's not always enough.  Most days just the thought of all the work and effort this takes shuts me down and makes me want to throw in the towel. 

Sorry for the whine, I just needed to get this off my chest.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


 was thinking tonight about how we all have multiple faces, or masks, that come out when its appropriate.  Everyone does to some extent, no matter who we are.  We have our public face, the face and personality we show to the world when we're at work, shopping, at social gatherings, or merely pumping gas into our cars.

Then we have our friend face and personality, that we put on for friends that are more intimate than mere acquaintances.  We let them into our lives a tiny bit deeper, and might share some personal things with them.  But never the full story.

Then we have our real face, the one that we see in the mirror each day and have to live with day in, day out.  This personality we can't escape, for it's the real deal.  Yet we still try and hide from it.  We try and live our public and friend personalities 24/7 so we don't have to deal with what's real.  What's hidden.  What we don't like to see.

Not to mention what we don't want anyone else to see.  We go to great lengths to hide our real faces to the world, because what would everyone think if they knew the truth?  No matter what your truth is, it's usually something you don't want floating out there for all to see.  We all have something to hide.

Is this OK?  Is this normal?  I have a hard time knowing what "normal" is because of this huge secret I have, this thing that I go to great lengths to hide.  So when I'm at work or out in public and something triggers me, I have to lie and make up shit to excuse my behavior.  When I'm with friends and something triggers me, I do the same.

But what about when it's a trigger so severe that it's hard to cover up?  What then?  Explaining the truth of the matter is not an option when you're in the thick of it.  Neither is trying to act cool and nonchalant until you can leave.  Then, the only option - for me anyway - is to get out of dodge immediately and worry about what you'll tell everyone at a later time.

Then the questions come....

"What's wrong?"  "What's going on?"  What the hell is wrong with you?"  "Why can't you just get over it?"

Do you answer truthfully, or continue to lie?

To answer truthfully risks condemnation and exposure.  To lie is to keep burying it, therefore allowing it to keep eating away at your soul.  A lose-lose situation.

After awhile the incident fades away into memory.....for everyone except you.  Now, everytime you lie to hide yourself, you feel it doubly and wonder if everyone else can, too.  Every word said to you, every look, holds a second meaning.  Do they know?  you ask yourself.  What do I do if they do know?

Of course, we all get to be a bit egocentric with our troubles.  We all think that the world revolves around us and if someone finds out our secret, than it's literally the end of the world.  And when it doesn't prove to be the end of the world, we pout and rage and scream because how dare the world go on oblivious to our hurt?

I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not unique.  I'm not the first person to be abused.  I'm not the first person to abuse others.  I'm not the first person to abuse drugs and alcohol.  I'm not the first person to live through this.  I am just one of millions who are trying to overcome huge obstacles.

And so I will go on with my various faces, my work face, my friend face, and my real one......and try to merge them all to where there isn't such a huge divide between them all.  I can't pretend I'm someone I'm not, but I can't hide who I am any longer.