All I wanted growing up was an exciting life...I did not realize that asking for excitement invited crocodiles...and fiery darts...and evictions. I thought yay, fun, excitement. What I got was AAaaaaAAAaaaahhhhhh! excitement. When you get to the point in your life when you look at boredom as a luxury, it's because excitement gets old. It really does.
Drinking didn't get old for me, the side effects of it did though. Messes and clean ups, overreactions and apologies, fires (yes, actual fires), fights, looking for my purse every morning and finding it sometimes, cheating, not remembering cheating, concussions, lies, explanations, hangovers...yada....yada...yada... Drinking itself never got old-the taste, the ambiance, the connections and the laughs, but the side effects of being a black out drunk...fuck em.
Now at two years I'm not a saint, I'm nowhere near where I could be, should be, will be....I'm slowly making amends and making things right, but the one truth I hold is that I haven't had a drink. And the bad excitement I've had in sobriety (that seems to follow me no matter what)...my ex disappearing on meth, getting cancer, losing several friends to suicide and addiction seemed less catastrophic and more hopeful. For instance my ex checked himself into treatment a week ago and I was clear headed enough to be able to help instead of firing off like I might have a year ago. When I found out about the cancer, my kidneys and liver had a year and a half to cleanse themselves so the chemo didn't send me into failure. My rent was reasonable, my support systems were strong and my kids and I had everything we needed. When I found out one of my good friends had committed suicide, it was after I had a dream about him which led me to find out. I felt I had a clear communication with him, but would that have happened if I'd been drunk. Most likely not.
At two years our brains start to repair the damage and broken connections, that's what I have heard. I guess we'll see.
I've never felt such a sense of security as when my life was
completely a P a r
Many concussions later
I'm having discussions like I'm an AA'er
cause I have problems AND my problems have cousins,
as to minimize this reprise,
I'm rhyming now AS I've been smoking weed
and drinking wine................
PART OF THIS DISEASE IS D
ASS O CIA T I O
That's why I can drink and smoke and claim I'm clean
In the meantime...
existing under a cloak of chemicals
and *takes a puff off a cigarette* "the perks I get from other folks"
I finally did it!
So why am I stoned AND why am I lit?!
ADDICTION IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF RHETORIC - It's like I'm listening to two arguments,
neither of which seem to reflect my own opinions
I SEE THEREFORE I AM NOT
I sat back and had a drink while the two of them fought.
I dug into the compartments of compartmentalization-
It wasn't until six drinks later
I had the dialogue going about how I'm better
See, having been clean three times last week
Seeps into my current,
see and I pat myself on the back
For having the self-control IT NEEDS
1. A king of a very important kingdom appoints you to the position of night watch. Your duty is to stay at the gate every waking hour and watch for a mythical sign to appear. It is important that you sleep during the day and remain alert during your shift. According to legend a comet to the east will flash red for exactly 2 seconds. If you miss the flash the kingdom is doomed, the people will die and earth will replenish itself. The comet can detect intoxication as well and will just pass you by if it senses you have been drinking at all.
2. You get hired to swallow swords on fire.
3. You have a bowel obstruction that is forcing you to shit out your mouth. Every time you try to take a drink, the shit and alcohol meet in your throat causing you to choke up liquid shit that quickly eats away at your esophagal lining.
4. You are over-hydrated (Very dangerous!)
5. Room Raiders, the MTV show, alerts you that they will be doing an expose by taking a black light to your bedroom sometime in the next year at a spontaneous time.
6. It's the future. Alcohol has been outlawed in the new prohibition amendment of 2042. There is to be an execution tomorrow for everyone who is extracted from their home that tests positive for even .01%. Everyone will be tested.
7. News flash: the DABC has been notified that terrorists have hijacked hundreds of thousands of cases of alcoholic beverages and dissolved trace amounts of Anthrax in them. Every drink is now a dangerous game of roulette.
8. It is discovered that for every drink that disappears, a monkey dies.
9. You are literally on fire.
10. Every time you drink you're an asshole.
If you go to anonymous meetings, al-anon, gamblers, coda, over eaters, etc. you may find yourself getting called out with nothing to say. Here we've provided a template for you so if you're an addict (or just pretending to be one to get all the cool member benefits) you can fit right in. Just fill in the blanks with your name, DOC (drug of choice) and whatever else fits the context and you'll be well on your way to saying the serenity prayer and accepting the things you can't change (i.e. that you're not great at telling stories, talking in front of other people or following directions).
My name is ________________(you're name here) and I'm a grateful ______________(alcoholic, ragaholic, sexaholic, addict, bingeaholic <-see my last post AA greetings for AA meetings to get more ideas).
(Clear your throat)
I realized I had a problem when I saw my friends ___________ (insert normal activity) while I was __________(adverb)___________(verb ending in "ing") until the next morning when I would discover I lost all my ________(plural noun). This went on for ______(number) years where I would start ________(addict behavior) and gradually over time I lost my _______(noun), my ______(good personal attribute) and my _______(a virtue). Soon enough none of my ________(type of relationship) would have anything to do with me. That's when I discovered that I might have a problem. When I first came into these rooms I thought _______(an elaborate existential realization), but discovered it was just my addiction _______(verb ending in "ing".) I did what everyone ______(verb in past tense) me to do and _______(irregular verb) hold of the first ______(noun) I could. I did the ______(noun) and it kept me _______(irregular verb) long enough that my own will took over. I'm forever _______(verb ending in "ful") to _________(Meeting name) for ______(verb ending in "ing") me recover from the insidious use of ________(DOC) and for that I will take another 24.
I get it...it's important to drill into your own mind that you are an alcoholic. If you say it enough, you might actually start to believe it. But sometimes you don't want to be just an anonymous alcoholic when you introduce yourself to a room of people, sometimes you want your ego to SHINE "Hey, I'm the funny one!" or "Hey, I have a name!" so here's ten alt's to use or get you started on your own.
1. My name is ____ and I'm A PERSON. (Whoa, how about THAT bomb!)
2. My name is _____ and I'm a dipsomaniac (clinical name for alcoholic)
3. My name is ______ and I'm a tea totaller (Old timey name for a sober person)
4. My name is ______ and I'm good (just nod)
5. My name is ______ and I'm a Virgo, Existentialist, Cisgender, Reptilian Cross breed.
6. My name is ______ and sorry, what was the question?
7. My name is ______ and I'm a drunk
8. My name is ______ and I'm NOT annoyed
9. My name is ______ and I prefer not to label myself
10. My name is Slim Shady, please stand up.
My teeth are going to shatter,
But it doesn’t matter
The smoke enters my mouth,
Coating my lungs,
Scraping the membranes off of my tongue.
I don’t sing…I sung
Before cigarette’s won.
When I think about em I think “Give me one, please.”
“Don’t Mutherfuckin’ tease.”
“Get on your mutherfuckin’ knees!”
I know it,
Cause I ho it.
I can’t breathe when I take a hit
and I can’t breathe when I don’t, shit.
The feeling remits, my jaw muscles feel like a muzzle
The reason I quit becomes a puzzle
Cause speed down two weeks and I’m like an infant with a special gift
Right about now I could be Phillip Morris’s number one missionary,
pick a word in the dictionary and I’ll justify why my brain activity
looks like a chunk of Italy or a piece of Swiss cheese
as I nicotease my cilia without remorse.
I will quit, of course,
But I will always be smoking in my head.
A year and a half ago I put a moratorium on my drinking. Part of my “trap” included telling myself that I’d get in better shape and lose the pounds that 4,000 empty calories a week had piled on. My metabolism was so damaged from the alcoholism that I didn’t lose weight, I gained it. Anyway, after much dieting and lots and lots of exercise (including a 17 mile backpacking trip) I was starting to feel like I was in the shape of my life.
THEN a month ago I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I’m like of course I’d be the healthiest I’ve been in twenty years and get CANCER. Of course. This is just the pattern of my life. The video game producers of “Malia’s Life” just love seeing me in these compromising positions and find it humorous to see how I’m going to react.
My health has declined rapidly in the last month. The stress of knowing what is going on and feeling helpless is breaking me down. I find myself in this odd dichotomy that once upon a time I was drinking to fill an innermost need to bond…and it did. Now that I don’t have booze as a crutch I’ve been spun into a disease that I am finding out has so much to do with a need to be loved. The fatigue I feel is not a regular tired fatigue. It is an emotional, guttural demand for more nurturing than can be provided by the world combined. It is sobriety boot camp, facing the thing that drove me to drink and more than I’ve felt in my whole life (and this is coming from a woman that drove herself to the hospital to have a baby…alone). My life has been marked by loneliness and self-reliance.
My pregnancy led me on a path where I hit rock bottom. The kind of rock bottom that spiritual awakenings come from. I can see that this trial in my life is forcing me to let people in where I don’t want to. I want to do this on my own, but I can’t. I don’t know where I’ll be at the end of this, but I’d like to write so I don’t forget where I started.
Of course in times like this relapse is a consideration. Just feeling an escape from the knowledge and the unknown. I've often had the thought "Geez, if I could just have one day off". But like I said there is no day, it's a portal....I can't just bust in and out of realities like that unfortunately. The portal closes once I step inside and I'm trapped until something stops time.
So if you're like me dealing with a disease on top of a disease on top of who knows what else just know you're not alone...
Photo by Ken Treloar on Unsplash
I heard a Tedtalk once where Johann Hari discussed addiction as being synonymous with bonding and it's antithesis as one of disconnection. In short, through experimentation they found that true bonding counteracted the desire to use. In one experiment they observed a rat in an empty cage with a bottle of water vs a bottle of heroine. Because 100% of these rats they studied continued to feed from the heroine bottle the researchers assumed the drug was to blame for the outcome. But when they set up the cage to include other elements: other rats to interact and mate with, activities and other stimuli...they found that none of the rats continued to feed from the bottle that contained the heroine and 100% drank from the water! In his words "What if addiction is an adaptation to your environment? Human beings have a natural need to bond and when you are not getting that from your environment because of trauma or something else, you will bond and connect with something because that is our nature."
Lately, I've observed people who are new to sobriety and now at 18 months I can see the struggle. The problem with coming off anything is that in the beginning we are unable to connect with people anyway. So these new people join groups, etc and when everyone else seems to be connecting they think geez what is wrong with me? Then they revert back to thinking about the tight bond they had not only with drugs/alcohol, but with their associations and those bonds seem to be more real and authentic than anything they could possibly contrive in their waking life. I'm beginning to explain this to people who come in, don't expect to connect right away. Expect to feel uncomfortable and like you aren't connecting. Expect to feel like a fraud sometimes, like you should be happy when in reality you are not. Learn to own your spectrum of emotions and be okay with it. Compound emotions are part of being an intuitive, sensitive, well rounded and joyful person. It takes a lot of blind faith to believe that time will fix your broken connection issues, but I tell people to shoot for a year. If life doesn't get better then there is no reason to do this. Maybe for some it does not, but I haven't seen that happen yet among the people I've seen come and go.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Can't have one drink cause it leads to another? That's too bad cause I can't have one drink or it leads to a fucking PORTAL. Once I step in that portal, it's like I'm in non-synchronized orbit with the planet earth and although I may come close to it most of the time I'm far out, man. And I don't know when I'm coming down...
I hear people sometimes relate having one drink to just going on a long bender. I think it should be more closely related to the Matrix. You took the blue pill now you're stuck in a reality that closely resembles the one you know, but suddenly you can do all these cool tricks and stuff. When you go back to the grey and harsh reality of life you're like "I would like to go back to doing all those cool tricks". The grey reality gets better...cause it's real. In it you'll find the strong, real people who been through some shit and can laugh about it. If life isn't for laughter than I don't know what.
One drink is huge, it's symbolic of flipping the switch. That's why people hold onto their time, they start to realize what one drink means. It's not a drink, it's a PORTAL.