Life or Death: Choosing a Path (Part II)

This is the second post in a five-part series discussing addiction, recovery [relapse], and long-term sobriety. As I celebrate five substance-free years, I am taking the time to [publicly] look back at where I really was in the months preceding my “clean date”, how I got to where I am now, and the ongoing implications of sobriety in my life today. While I’m not secretive about being sober, it isn’t a facet of myself that often comes up in any area of life. This is something I’ve decided it is time to change.

Part 1: Addiction

Choosing a Path: The interesting thing to me about this pivotal period of my life is that as everything else declined (my appearance, my behavior, my outlook, even [especially?] my sanity) I began again to hold some semblance of hope. I don’t know if this is something unique to my journey or if an inverse relationship at “rock bottom” is common. Even as I scrawl frantically (on this far-removed and overly existential plane–yeah, I see it as it is), it’s so clear that I know I have to change, like, yesterday or I’m not likely to make it out in one piece.

I can’t even tell you the number of nights I wasn’t sure I’d make it through. There were times I’d jot down a quick “I’m sorry/I didn’t mean to/I didn’t want this” just in case. These “notes” are especially jarring and, while I’ve always been thankful none of them had to see the light of day, the inclusion of two here rounds out the reality–my reality.

Mustering the strength to give sobriety another try if you’ve failed in the past (and I had, believe you me) is harder each time you do it. Failure scars your resolve and ability is so clouded by doubt. And then there’s the ongoing question of worthiness. Who am I, so broken and such embodiment of disappointment, to believe I deserve better? Nothing is scarier than those moments you aren’t sure you’ll ever make it out.

And then you have to mourn the only comfort you’ve known (be it drink or drug, food or shopping, gambling, sex, power, fame, etc.). It’s somewhat of a wonder anyone succeeds.

May 30, 2006 10:32pm

If I die tonight I never meant to. If I do I glimpsed it coming. I felt the heaviness of heart. I just never thought it would actually happen to me.

June 2, 2006

I’m not sure I won’t die tonight. I’m not against it all making sense. It’d be tragic but it’d be simple. Over. I’d have answered my question. Released from some their prayers. I don’t want it though. Too sane for suicide. Too tired for tears. I’m worn and I will have to face it. And fight the urge to keep me that way. Just in case. Because this death would be too tragic not to be further explained.

June 27, 2006

I know I can’t be this forever. Some try and do so admirably (if you could label the feat as such). I don’t think I’d honestly live through July. And if death wasn’t my sentence, I’d get fired or arrested or inducted into an official tweaker crowd or…does it matter? I wouldn’t be living as I hide in my apartment and pick endless shards from my already swollen and bloody pores.

So forever is out, but why then the jump to never? To give up such a lack of need, such contentment with the drug and the floor and the night. The time. Even over the weight, or lack of weight, it’s the time I’d take and run back into reality with. Such freedom, such control, such chance at productivity.

How can I say good-bye? How can I find satisfaction? Enlightenment has become a barrier and experience a burden I must maneuver past it carrying. I always wondered how people found contentment alluring, or ever acceptable, after understanding true ecstasy and controlled creativity.

Going back is not an option as I can’t find it in myself to choose death. Not this go-round. It’s not just the parting of ways with no promise to visit; instead a very defined and determined declaration of never again returning. I’ll miss the dependability. Dependably destructive and consistently crazy.

June 30, 2006 1:30am

Willpower falls by the wayside and becomes unmentionable in the litter heaped beside the highway of life. Want befalls warrant. I want more. I want a future. This warrants that. I need logic. I like sense. I fear need. I dread loss. I’ll lose success. I deserve guilt. Reality eludes me.

I cannot feed the flame, fan the flame, fuel the fire, clear it’s path, repair it’s destruction and chart it’s unpredictable course anymore. I’ve been burned and the smoke stings my eyes. Persevering, I become blind to the truth. I dismiss opportunity. I diverge devotion. I’ll suffocate in the smoke eventually.

Time stretches and its existence may not be assured but consistent monotony is understood. Endurance has lost its appeal. Progress brought a small sense of accomplishment but loses its simplistic frame before masquerading as the perfection for which I strive.

Sleep calls to me. I’d kill to rest my eyes.

– – – – – –


If I could harbor this restless apathy, its indulgence would be dangerous. Life would fall apart quickly under its spell. Tweakers have made that scenario stereotypical. Such is so with good reason. Despite ability to (and usually inevitability of) damage, the freedom allows one’s breath to establish rhythm and the mind to wander. Fingers are aimless and conversations free to the flow of the words by which their thoughts are conveyed.

I can’t go back. I don’t want the consequence that this and forever together would bring. I’m sure I’d eventually not want the emptiness of intensity either, nor the inability to express, the absence of emotion-induced inspiration. I can’t choose. I can’t moderate. I can’t separate.

I could accept inability. I could succumb destiny and indulge fate. I would embody inevitability and symbolize the ultimate consequences. Tragedy may be unavoidable at our age, with the potential we’ve yet to escape or erase or expend. Tragedy can scar but also can convey…converge, and leave impressions on the mind more substantial than a mere scar of the skin. Feelings fade, tears dry. Memories are slaves to their own perception and interpretation of recollection. Lessons are learned and knowledge remains. Experience enlightens and information allows acknowledgment. Emotions emerge as apathy goes dejectedly into hiding. Chaos ensues and confusion procures. Stress encompasses and reactions cannot be assumed.

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