Wednesday, June 22, 2011

GBE 2: First Love

I remember the first time I saw her:  the most beautiful woman on the planet.

She walked in the room, sure and confident of herself, smiling at those gathered.  Her thick brown hair bounced as she walked in a mesmerising rhythm that hypnotised me.  Her brown eyes gleamed and had crinkles at the corners, sure signs of a person who laughs often and loves life.

I couldn't take my eyes off her.  If I looked away, I would surely cease to exist; I stared and stared as if my life depended on it.  But would she notice me?  Ego told me of course she would, how couldn't she?  But then my ego deflated as she turned her attention to someone else.  Who the hell was I to think I would stand a chance?  I sighed and slunk off, tail between legs, to the corner.  I gulped my drink, trying to drown my sorrows.

Glaring around the room, the thought went through my mind that it was probably for the best.  After all, one shouldn't set goals that are impossible to attain, and that goes for meeting women as well.  Still, I couldn't help but sulk a little and feel sorry for myself.  Ah, love.  We are made its bitch all too often in life.

But what was this?  She was walking towards me.  She was walking towards me!  I quickly stood up, and knocked my chair over in the process.  Great, I thought to myself.  Just the way to make a good first impression.  Now she'll laugh and wonder why she wasted her time....

"Oopsy-daisy, let me just help you with that."  She picked up my chair.  I was mortified.  I couldn't move.  I couldn't speak.  I wanted to die.  Right there, right then, just needed to wait for a big hole to open up and swallow me.  Any time now.  Hey hole, I'm waiting, hurry up.

She was saying something.  I was so busy waiting for the hole to appear that I missed her words.  I forced myself to look at her and she repeated herself.

"I'm Miss Cooper, your new 3rd year teacher.  What's your name dear?"

"Uh....uh....S-s-steven," I stammered like an idiot.

"Very pleased to meet you Steven.  Are you finished with that, love?"  She indicated to the empty chocolate milk carton clutched in my sweaty hand.  "Let's just throw that away now, alright?"

Had you going, I hope?

I was seven.  I had a crush on Miss Cooper that was so intense that I stammered whenever she asked me a question.  I still consider her my first love.  Years later as an adult I saw her again at a pub, but talked myself out of going over to speak to her.  If I had, though, I'd be willing to bet money that I would have stammered.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Screaming children surround us,
smiles lighting up their faces as
the roller coaster inches its way
up towards the drop o'doom;

we plunge down into the void
that spins us up and down,
loop-de-loop, over and under,
until easing into a smooth stop.

We pour out of the car,
a smile lighting up her face
as she turns to me for validation:
did I have fun too?

I plaster a smile on my face
because it's what is expected of me,
and watch the children around me
clamour to "go just one more time!"

The rush is over, but their euphoria 
will last a few hours yet.
I muse how this is considered

I wonder why this isn't enough,
why I prefer my high to this.
The slow inching of the amber liquid
into the chamber swirling with blood;

the plunge down into the void, the 
rush that spins me up and down,
loop-de-loop, over and under
until easing into a smooth peace.

My euphoria, too, will last 
a few hours yet....until
my body clamours to do it
again, "just one more time!"

She's looking at me, 
waiting for an answer.
I say "of course!" and kiss her cheek.
I don't say I'd rather have my kind of high.

copyright Steven Clark, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Wow, so GBE is back up and running again.  Ok, it has for a few weeks now but I been slow on the uptake these days.  Haven't been doing much writing recently so it's taken me this long to decide I want to be part of it again.  For those of you who were part of the original GBE on Myspace, I blogged as Clarkster there.

So.....control.  What can I really say about control?  Control is what every addict thinks they have, even as they are spiraling out of control.  Kind of a funky paradox.  We could be homeless, living in a cardboard box under a bridge, weigh 90 pounds and have open oozing sores from infected track marks on our arms, and when asked if we want help, we say, "Nope!  I'm good, but thanks for asking.  I got everything under control."

Rather fucked up, huh.

Control is a multi-layered thing in addiction-land.  No one, upon trying drugs or alcohol for the first time, ever intends on ending up an addict.  That's loss of control #1:  genes.  Whether an "addiction gene" exists or not, one cannot argue that these things have a tendency to run in families.  Why is it that one person who uses drugs or drinks socially can take it or leave it, and another can't?  "Disease" or not, I do believe that some people are born wired with addictive tendencies.  It might not manifest itself as drug abuse, but might as an addiction to food, shopping, sex, gambling, or what-have-you.

Usually, though, part of the appeal of using drugs - apart from it being fun and cool at first - is to escape reality.  Even if not realized at first, most addicts are trying to escape from something harsh in their lives.
Loss of control #2:  the ability to face reality.  The more a person runs from their problems, the less able they are to deal with it later on down the road.  It's a cumulative affect.  The drug use itself is usually just a symptom of the underlying problem(s) that was never dealt with in the first place.  Treating the underlying problem(s) is just as important as treating the drug abuse.

Left to just run amok, drug abuse will usually end up turning into a real bonafide addiction.  Meaning, your body and brain depends on the chemicals just like it does on water or air just to be able to function normally.  Loss of control #3:  bodily functions.  Once users are that deep into their addiction the only control they have over their bodies is to keep feeding it their drug of choice, or face the consequences.  Withdrawal is not a pretty sight:  shaking, sweating, puking, diarrhea, cramps, aching, insomnia....and in some severe cases, even death.

But are we really that helpless?  Some addicts are able to take back control of their lives by admitting that they have no control.  Step #1 in AA and NA is admitting we are powerless over [drug of choice] and our lives have become unmanageable.  Of course getting to that point where we can admit loss of control - ironically - takes quite a bit of control.

Part of recovery - and taking control of one's life - as an addict is also accepting responsibility for one's actions.  In doing so, we have to accept loss of control #4:  we cannot control other peoples' reactions.  Over the course of our "career" we have hurt friends, family, and even innocent bystanders.  Recovery doesn't mean we get a free pass and all is forgiven and dandy.  We may never gain back the friendship and trust of those we hurt.

So, what does a recovering addict have control over, anything?  Yes.  Whether or not we pick up.  No one forces us to use.  No one ties us to a chair and points a gun to our head and says "shoot up or I'll kill you."  We make that choice, willingly.  Even if it seems like lifes' circumstances "force" us to pick up, that responsibility lies solely with us.


Monday, June 13, 2011


So it's been awhile since I've posted anything.  I have no excuses, just lazy.

I tend to do this every so often.  For a while I'll be really active in writing - and reading others' blogs - and then I'll just disappear from cyberspace with no warning.  Why?  Fuck, I dunno.  Ok, that's a lie.  I do know.  When I'm actively using and strung out, I don't like to be in contact with my online friends.  I guess I don't want people to see just how fucked up I am.  So I stop writing, stop commenting on blogs, stop posting on facebook.  Call it shame, or whatever.

So yeah, I've been MIA the last few months while I've been bingeing.  I fess up.  Now go throw stones at me and tell me to get my shit together, you lazy good for nothing junkie.  I know you want to say it.  And I would deserve it.

I asked myself for the millionth time why I keep putting myself through this.  I'm no closer to an answer, just thought I'd come clean to you all - if anyone sees this - that I'm not clean and sober and haven't been for a few months.  Maybe throwing this out there will encourage me to try the wagon again.

Guess that's all there is to say for now.