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I asked both Pat and Jesse, the only two people in my life (at least in the last 20 years) having seen me in the drunken, rageful, hateful place I go into when drinking, a question. One that I can't ever recall asking before, even in the first rounds of recovery 20 years ago. Like, I'm seriously amazed it never came up before.

The set-up was this: I am not a violent person. Sometimes mean and with no small shortage of anger management issues, but verbally and physically, what went on that night does not happen at all. I want to think that the monster I become when I hit the bottle does not exist until that chemical is introduced into my body. I want to think that horrible person does not exist without a few too many shots (which in my case, equals, like, ONE shot).

But accountability holds a much greater weight than it ever did before, and I have to wonder...is she there all the time? Buried though she may be, chained to the walls she may be, is she just waiting for the time when I'm my weakest, alcohol being what weakens the chains enough for her to break loose?

I once heard someone say that whatever we are capable of when drunk, we are also capable of doing sober. Sobriety simply makes it easier to not repeat the actions we do when drunk.

Is this true? And if it is, am I the monster for what lies beneath, or am I victim of myself and a mix of bad chemicals? Do I really feel the awful things I said and did, or is it the lies of addiction that revealed themselves?

We already know the beast of addiction is carried in my veins. I learned that 20 years ago. But is what happens when in the throes of it something that I usually simply bury in the guise of peaceful human interaction? Am I that hateful a creature by nature and the only thing that keeps her at bay is abstinence?

I don't know. Jesse and Pat gave different answers, Pat saying that those traits have always been a part of me, and alcohol simply removes the barriers around the awful drunk. Jesse says it's more a a press of stress and addiction, things that are intrinsically part of me, but the actions are twisted things that I normally don't feel.

It leaves me confused, though the answer to either answer is the same - sobriety. I have simply become painfully aware of the intent of addiction and am not sure where to place those intentions.

And why did this never come up before, in my days of drinking an entire bottle of vodka a day and then putting needles in my arms? How in the world is this something that never crossed my mind when I was younger?
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I keep waiting for the sun to come out. The sunlight in me to come out. Recovering from the abuse of my childhood came with clearly defined markers, year by year. Month by month, even. I could feel hope about this as I clearly was making progress. This?

Will this be like recovery from my drugs? Where it takes years of frantic obsession, checking and rechecking, white-knuckling, experiencing only brief moments of serenity, to finally get better?

Because I remember it was like that. It took two years before the terror and agonizingly long work finally paid off. Two years. It felt endless. And in the end, it was like I just woke up one day and it was gone. The obsession to use, the need to apply ungodly amounts of platitudes just to get through the day, the hopelessness, it had just...out of nowhere, it just lifted.

One day I woke up and was free from the needle and free to my live my life. Simple as that.

Since this does not seem to be like the first, I can only assume it's going to be like the second. Where one day, I'll just wake up and be...happy with being me.

And if I'm honest, getting to that day just seems like it's getting harder and harder somedays. I'll make it. There's nothing else to do BUT make it.

But if this is a needle, goddamn, it's going to be another long, long year to get there.
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I am thinking of hitting a 6 AM Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting. I did sleep, a scant five hours, but that is a scant far greater than the 2 I've been getting. Our AC has gone out, as has our fan. This does not help. But maybe a meeting before I take my first Xanax dose, so I can drive myself.

Cinema, you said things like this are like when an infant finally falls out of the womb. We are so used to being able to touch everything around us. The walls, the confines, the life is clearly defined. It causes such distress to find that sometimes we cannot reach what steadies us. This is how I feel.

The 12 Steps (commonly referred to how 'how I handle my own dumb fucking self' and The 12 Traditions (commonly referred to 'how I handle the rest of you dumb motherfuckers'") worked once. I have no small modicum of faith that they will work again. Sobriety, religion, self-will-of-the-killing-kind, these things no longer run rampant. These are not the goals.

And I know I've not the heart to attend regularly. Addicts walk in on their feet. We leave in body bags. I am not that brave anymore. Often I feel a little embarrassed when I hit my one or two emergency meetings every few years. But it's humility and surrender bringing me in this time.

What's there can still be used. I still have a few days until talk therapy. There's an AA meeting nearly 24 hours a day in this city. Twelve step programs are tools within my reach. As with any "belief" system, they can be adapted.

And if I am in need of anything lately, it is adaptive.

There will be coffee. Free coffee. Addict coffee. The kind that will kill the living and wake the dead. It's no secret that sublimating early addiction often involves inserting another addiction in its place. Coffee is where alcoholics excel. Or at least where we figure out a legal drug with socially acceptable consequences beats the hell out of a bottle hotlined with a rail of coke.

I kinda get why people COULD get high off Xanax or Klonopin, except it doesn't do the same thing for me as other people. Go figure. I finally get "fun" drugs and it turns out my brain chemistry actually needs them, so it processes in a normal fashion. The idea of drinking or adding anything recreational on top of these drugs is so wildly nauseating that I can only envision the end for a few seconds. A few, horrible, heaving seconds.

I know those two drugs are at least supposed to be temporary stop gaps. Measures in place to pry the mania apart from the steroids. But what if I continue to need them? Does that make me addicted to them? Is the personality change, the calm, the mellow, from swallowing those pills make me somehow dubious in my recovery?

Is it OKAY to like how calm and less scared I get on these meds? Does that make me weak? Does that put me in danger?

These are actually NOT questions one wants to pose to a general room full of recovering addicts. We run a tight ship, a hard line, and the answer will always be "Drugs are bad, mmmkay?" It turns out, though, while I am very eager to run back to a set of basics that worked before, I'm learning Life Itself is a little bigger than "just saying no."

It's 5:06 AM. It takes forever for me to get ready now. Time to start putting on real-people-things. Maybe it'll help.

Dead wrong

Aug. 3rd, 2016 10:23 pm
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Time does not heal all wounds. Loss does not diminish with time. The only difference between retching and gagging on trauma and being able to swallow it down is the illusion of immortality. The one that says that someday we'll be able to fix it, that we'll get another chance, that we can make it up later.

This is such a dangerous, dumb idea. A lie. A lie we, as adults, can easily believe in, because all the things of adulthood make the perfect smokescreen. Can't cry, have to go to work. Can't rage, got to call the electric company. Can't collapse, the floor needs vacuumed.

A necessary lie, as we'd all lose our minds otherwise. I know this.

I miss her. This is not new news. What's news is that I just now realized my phone number has changed, so if she's tried to call or text, I would not have known. I spoke to my father briefly. He says she has a job. That's good. I keep asking myself what harm could one phone call do? Just one call, assuming she has a phone, at least.

I lost my first friend to suicide in 2001. We'd met in NA. She was 30 years old and fighting to get her two children back from foster care. I went with her to the counselor's office where she disclosed, for the first time in her life, the abuse her father put her through. It was a thrilling, beautiful, and exhausting time.

She called one night. I was very tired and told her I'd call her back tomorrow. Things and life went as it goes, and I did not return her call. Not the next day, not the next few days, not the next week.

Two weeks after I told her I'd call her, I got a call. Mikki Sagan Ramsdell had overdosed in her kitchen. They put the time of death the day I was supposed to call her back. I didn't call her and she killed herself.

I lost the second friend to suicide in damn near the exact same way, later in 2007. Rebecca Rossiter, who had called me high and insane, said she wanted to talk to me. I was tired. I was sober. I didn't want to handle someone's crazy high ass. I told her I would call. I did not call her back.

A month later, I get a call. She hung herself. Her two kids found her body. I didn't call her and she killed herself.

I know I did not kill these women. I know that whatever they were facing in that moment was far more formidable than I would have been able to stop. It was out of my hands, from the very beginning. I know this.

But I also know the guilt that will stay, hidden inside of me, until the day ***I*** die. I also know that to question this, to wonder if you were what could have saved them, if you were part of the final blow that made them destroy themselves....is normal. Is natural.

Is human. And we - Mikki, Rebecca, and I - were and are so very human.

If I don't call Cassie soon, will she kill herself? Will she be yet another call that I will forever curse not returning? Will that be another secret shame that I will bear? Will I have to make more room in that dark little hole where I keep my terrors and empty reassurances that I did nothing wrong by not calling them back?

We don't live forever. I won't always have a second chance - and even if I do - she might not. I'm busy enough these days to tell myself I will.

But I've thought that before...and I was wrong.
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* He’s treating you like a medication, so let’s try it: think of yourself like a medication. For a person who reads the instructions and uses as advised, you can do a ton of good. Your partner has slipped into substance abuse of you, and is suffering inevitable ill effects, and now he’s just bashing the bottle to see if he can get any more out of it.

The answer to this problem is not to give him more doses of you."


I don't think David was ever afraid of admitting that he was using me the same way an addict uses a drug. I think he was afraid he'd have to do some work if he admitted he was using me.

Back in my day, it was very easy for me to admit I was an addict. Denying that while having a needle hanging out of my arm would have been ridiculous. So I openly said I was an addict. Often. Without prompting, even.

My problem was that I thought admitting it was enough. I'd watched too many movies and thought that the mere utterance, if done in some dramatic, sweeping fashion would show others just how much I wanted to change. After all, the first step is admitting it, right?

And I did that first step. Over and over and over again. All that first step ever did was land me with another needle in my arm. It wasn't until I took the second step, and then the third, and the fourth, that I realized honesty isn't about saying things.

It's about doing things. It was about going to two meetings a day for the first two years of my sobriety. It was about sitting on my hands when I wanted to cut myself, or about unplugging the phone when I wanted to call my dealer. It was about accepting that no one was going to lend me money for a really long time because everyone was sick of me spending money on drugs.

Eventually I did so many things that I actually did get clean. I did so many things that I stayed clean. And I still do things to stay clean.

David was very good at admitting he was an addict. But all he ever did was take that first step, jump back, take that first step again, leap back, step forward, skitter back...on and on until I decided I couldn't dance with a partner who had only one move.

It's easy to say you're addicted to what's in the bottle.

It is a HELL of a lot harder to put down the bottle before you end up shattering it.
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A Cracked Article sent me through the Way Back Machine. Saved By The Bell. American adults - and mostly American adults with vaginas - will recognize that title. For those who aren't American or else aren't in the 30-35 age range, it's was a teeny bopper tv show about a zany group of early high school kids and their zany adventures. Think "Degrassi", but sillier and with mall hair.

I loved that show. I'd watch it everyday when I came home from school. I mean, jesus, my first wet dream involved Zach Morris. This guy. No, for reals, this guy.

He's turned into quite the tasty adult as well.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. Being as it's just a week past my 15 year clean birthday (thus the unusual number of addiction related posts), and being as Cracked corrected me on a several decade long misconception I HAD about an episode of Saved By The Bell, we have this post tonight.

Jessy Spano was the bookish character. Long before the actress Elizabeth Berkly played a Showgirl having the worst sex ever in a pool, she played a bookish, driven girl whom, over the course of one episode, turns into a middle-class junkie.

Kind of. The episode is an after school special in which Jessy becomes addicted to a set of pills she is using to pass a test. I'd always thought the pills she was on were derivatives of Ritalin or some such drug. Cracked corrected me, noting that they were caffeine pills. While it makes the episode twice as silly, it made the way I related to the character, to that episode, to that moment ever stranger.

I was around 11 or 12 when I watched that episode. The episode where Jessy freaks out, gets hugged by Zach Morris, and releases her terror and pain in one heart-rending scene. What I remember noting strongest at the time, though, was how out of control she seemed. Frantic, not making sense, dashing back and forth, completely out of her mind.

Most people I know say they don't like drugs because it makes them feel "out of control." They don't like to be "out of control."

That was not my experience.

I did drugs KNOWING it would spin me out of control. I did drugs WANTING to be out of control. I didn't want control. I didn't want to be in my head. I didn't want to be contained.

I. Wanted. OUT. My mind hurt. My mind didn't fit in. My mind never felt comfortable. My mind was a dangerous place for me to be in. Being OUT of my mind seemed like the most wonderful place to be.

These days, I can understand the value of being in control. I have to, or else it's down into an endless spiral that ends with a violent and sudden stop. But it wasn't always this way.

It used to be that whatever Jessy was experiencing, it sounded way better than what was going on in my head - and if drugs were what took Jessy there, then maybe it wouldn't be so bad if that's what took me there, too.

Roll call

Jan. 17th, 2016 09:27 am
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I spoke out roll call a few days ago. Roll call of the friends I'd made and lost in early recovery. Their names, what they were like, the fun things we did, the things I said at their funerals. It is how I keep them alive, as once we pass into the land of the dead, it is only through what others remember that we live on at all.

There's several of them whose deaths are confirmed and many more whose stories end with "and they are probably dead now." When the first one died, I thought about getting her name tattooed on me. A dear friend advised against it, saying that by the time I had five years clean, I'd be nothing but a walking obituary.

She was right. Her name might have gone onto my skin as well, had I known what was going to happen to her only a few years after I left. She whom, when the first one died, wound up writing her own eulogy, the phrase I'd contemplate when she hung herself only a handful of years later. My friend shared the anger, the sorrow of losing the first one, saying "and now all I have to talk to is a hole in the ground."

And now, of course, should I want to talk to her, all I have is a hole in the ground to speak to.

That is simply the price of knowing and loving addicts. It is part of why I don't go to meetings anymore. They walk into the rooms on their feet and they leave in body bags. Once I was brave enough to wade into those storms.

I haven't the heart for it anymore. I speak the names of the dead who have passed through my life. I cannot bear to add any more names onto that list.

Sometimes I still get scared that Cassie's name will fall onto that list. Her name I would get tattooed. There is a beautiful picture she drew once that I framed on my wall. I knew from the moment she gave it to me that if she died, it would be what I would have marked into my skin. I hope it simply stays a framed picture on my wall.

Time will tell, as it tells with all men.

A song had prompted all of this a few days ago. A song that a friend of mine in recovery loved, and we would drive down the beach and sing it to the rafters. Shortly after I left, he got AIDS. A dirty needle signed his death warrant.

It's been 13 years since he called and told me this. He is probably dead now. And I had to wonder....why him? Why did he die and I live? Why did so many of them have to die while I am alive and aware enough to contemplate their deaths?

I don't believe in fate or destiny. I do not believe in anything that would say the heavens kept me alive because of some grand plan. I think I did the work while they did not.

I also think I got lucky where they did not. One dirty needle, one time of having sex with the wrong stranger, one bad deal in a house full of sketchy tweakers with a loaded gun....these are only peripherally choices. Any of that, any number of things that would have me rotting for years could have happened to me.

Those things did not happen to me. I lucked out in places where random placings at random times have killed so many others. Bad luck may claim my life someday. I got off relatively scott-free with my using. That's no magic talisman against car wrecks, cancer, or any of the billions of ways humans manage to die.

But dying from drugs...I side stepped that. I escaped that where so many of my friends did not. There is a song that I like that says "Everyone's choices are half-chance. So are yours."

Half choice. That cannot be denied. But as well as choice, also chance. I've outlived more than a few of the friends I made in early recovery. I made different choices.

I also had different chances. If I could unwind that thread and see where it would have gone differently with those dead, I would. I cannot. All I can do is speak their names so that I don't forget them - and know that so long as I remember their names, so then I remember myself.

Choice or chance, that is important.
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Every addict has that moment. We have lots of moments, lots of little ones that we mistake for being "that" moment, that wind up doing nothing but shaming us when we inevitably use again.

But in the end, there is a moment. There is a moment when all is still and if the heavens cracked open, you would not be surprised. There is a moment where you know that there are only two ways to go, and that if you go down, you will die.

That moment for me was staring at a needle in my bathroom, having been awake for a week straight, not having showered in at least two weeks, and thinking "I know how much to put in this needle as to where I will never wake up." The thought didn't scare me. What scared me was how casual that thought was.

Thoughts of suicide are supposed to scare you. I wasn't scared. I felt relieved.

I began to cry. I picked up the needle, filled it just below what I knew would have killed me, and jammed it into my vein. I did not die.

But I knew, from that shot on forward, that I would. That if I did not find a way to keep the needle away from my arm I would honest-to-god fucking DIE.

I am not dead. I am almost 15 years past that last needle. Next month it will be officially 15 years. I've had lots of moments since then. Lots of clean moments, lots of sober moments. Lots of beautiful moments and lots of scary moments.

I've never had another moment like I had in the bathroom that night. God willing, life willing, I never, ever will.

Wish

Nov. 9th, 2015 05:01 am
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I talked to them - and am relieved that they both know and believe it wasn't me. Big weight off my soul. I didn't know what else to offer except to say that myself and any friends I bring over will only do so under supervision. They said that wasn't necessary, but just in case, I will do so. I KNOW they believe me, but as an ex-addict, I will forever still be about covering my bases.

Which sounds guilty and bad, I know. But I told Jesse...it took years, YEARS, until someone handing me a 20 dollar bill didn't reduce me to tears. Why? Because it meant that they trusted me that much to take the money and NOT spend it on dope, to which 20 dollars (at least back in those days) would get you a reasonable, daily amount of.

(Okay, for me at the time, a survivable amount of meth. Near the end, I was going through 100 dollars a day of the stuff. And that's STILL cheaper than what some of my contemporaries were doing at the time.)

I feel so bad for Shan (Pat's aunt). Thanks to the controlled substance nature of Oxy, she can't get another prescription and is now two weeks without pain medication. And considering she's got internal organs that are still healing....I told her, if I did bump into anyone who had any pain medication, I'd see if I could get her some.

But I don't run with those people anymore and I don't have any money to buy her some anyways. I wish I knew better how to help.

And Michael, yeah, maybe that does help a little. Downers never were my thing. On the rare day when I couldn't get anything else, I'd take downers if they were proffered. But even then, I avoided opiate anything, because even in the height of my addiction, it still made me sick. And not even "sick-while-being-high." It just made me straight-up sick.

It's funny and sorta sad - once another NA member and I were talking about the nature of our preferences. He told me the first time he did speed, all that wound up happening was that he threw up. I told him the first time I did heroin (or at least heroin laced things), all that wound up happening that was **I** threw up. Neither of us had gotten very high, despite the nature of both drugs being something that SHOULD fuck your brain up sky-high. Both of us then respectively stayed away from the other's drugs.

It amazes me, the way different bodies handle different substances.

At least I always managed to stay away from crack. It was offered to me tons of times, but always when meth was also on the table. Cassie once told me that crack is a stupid high - all it does is make you want to smoke MORE crack. Thank god for small blessings - and for addict preferences.

It bothers Jesse - it bothered David, too - how I can talk about drugs in both a disgusted way AND in a good, almost nostalgic way. Pat, having been there from start to finish with me, is indifferent to the ways I speak about it. But human beings don't repeat behaviors the way addicts do unless it DOES feel good.

People often feel as if the horror of drugs should completely overshadow the ways drugs made us feel good. And it makes them WORRY if you don't forever after speak of drugs in a tone of finality and revulsion.

But that'd be painting an incomplete picture of drugs - and a fatal one, at that. If you can't come to grips with what makes a person use (that it feels good), you will have no tools to combat what happens when you DO want to feel good. And being an addict, wanting to feel good will come A LOT, especially in the early days of sobriety.

Non-addicts don't really get that. In the end, they don't HAVE to get it, as frustrating as it might be. I have to be the one to "get it", as it is my recovery on the line, not theirs.

Still, I sometimes wish there were a way to make them "get it". I sometimes wish there was some kind of other, real-world equivalent I could use as an analogy. Some kind of example I could relay that covers both the eternal, if only miniscule, ways you remember drugs being good AND the eternal, always looming, ways you know drugs to be BAD.

I have not yet found anything that accurately describes this juxtaposition. It is a contradiction that, outside of being an addict yourself, defies all explanation. But it is one that an addict MUST come to live with if they want to live at all.

I wish there were easier ways to explain this. I wish there were a way to make my history never be a pop-up in someone's mind when things go missing.

There is not. This is the price I pay for having gone down that road of addiction 15 years ago. It is one that I will always pay, in increments, in small doses and loose change. It is an emotional tax I levied on myself.

I understand this. I wish I could make others understand this, too. I can't. All I can do is be honest with them and myself, be open minded to hearing others, and be willing to work with others when they are speaking about what IS on their minds.

Honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness. Steps One through Three in every 12 step program in existence. Those are the basics.

Those I do not wish to change at all.
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Y'know, Eileen, Dani, I hadn't thought of the phrase "special needs" like that. Like, how each child just needs what they needs, and that the extra attention shouldn't need to be labeled quite so harshly. Do you use another word for Arionna's attention? Or is there a NEED to at all? I mean, it's pretty obvious that Julien's not normal.

I hate it when people go "There is no such thing as normal." Yeah, yeah. But there's DAMN sure a such thing as abnormal, and treating people like they are all the same and no one is REALLY different is a horrible way to go about things.

(Not that I think that's what you guys are saying, Dani and Eileen! That's my own personal ranty rant.) There's also the rant of how the most boring people on earth claim to be the craziest (because we all know 'crazy' is a party accessory and can be worn like a cool coat to liven up a party) and how they spout "There's no such thing as normal!" like a goddamn broken spigot, but that's a whole other rant for a whole other time.

And ahahaha Bart! I've never had Ambien sex, but I imagine it's pretty similar. I don't have Seroquel sex often, as Seroquel really knocks me on my ass. We tried a light bondage session on it one time, but I literally fell asleep in my bonds. It was giggles all around as we were undoing the clips.

Some points on drugs, and being a Newb At Life at 22. I think my coworkers are kinda dumb. And deaf neighbors. )
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I know you're not trying to give me shit, Bart. That you're trying to help. But remember, a few months ago, when I got that hellaciously strong contact high and it freaked me out? What did I do? I told the people around me immediately. I came here and I wrote about it. I hauled my ass off to the single emergency meeting I seem to have a year. When I hit a danger zone - or even something that FELT dangerous - I did what I was supposed to. I was accountable, I got help, and I let Jesse AND the people whose house we'd been at that I will not put myself into that position again.

And that's exactly what I did )
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There is a young woman who lives in this hallway. Eighteen years old. Seven months pregnant. In an abusive relationship where she lets him hurt her so that she has someone she can hurt back. Insane in all of the ways 18 year olds are, with the added bonus of being wildly violent and dysfunctional herself. A newly released ward of the state, she has no ties to her foster parents and only to her mother, who was the entire reason she was put into foster care as it was. She struggles with cutting. She rages and breaks furniture, glasses, plates, and once her boyfriend's nose.

She is a constant, never-ending storm at sea.

In other words, I completely relate to her. I keep it beat back with a tight rein. I am no one's mother, nor am I willing to be anyone's active role model. Not with ones so young and certainly not ones so crazy. I've earned my peace and quiet. I'll take it, thankyouverymuch.

But sometimes there will be an argument with her boyfriend and sometimes there will be a knock at my door. She will ask for a cigarette or to use my phone. Sometimes she just needs an hour in a safe place to cry.

I never turn her away.

When she leaves, I am always utterly grateful that I am no longer in that time of my life. But when she departed at 11 o'clock last night, I felt something different. I felt...sorrow.

She is an addict. An addict just beginning the road to ruin. It is here that she could, having the ease of youth on her side, put down the cocaine. It is here that she could, with reaching out to the right social services, find help to raise her unborn son. It is here that she stands at a crossroad. One path is hard work, maybe harder work than she's ever done, but will lead to a better life.

The other is being stuck in a self-perpetuating hell.

But see, she doesn't know this. She doesn't know what dark road the drugs will take her down. She doesn't know where she is going will take years, if not decades to claw out of. She doesn't know that she will lose everything, up to and including her son. She doesn't know....and I can't describe the path in enough detail as to ward her from total destruction.

She has a chance here. She will get more chances, as we all do. But here, now, she has a chance to stave off years of trauma and misery. A chance to cut off the worst of the trouble at the pass. A chance to save her son from further damage, as much as has already been done with the coke.

But she doesn't know this. I talked to her. Shared parts of my story and then inwardly cringed when she said "I know I have to quit. That's why me and my boyfriend did all the coke we had last night, so it would be gone and we could get off it."

I remember, on one of my false-starts at sobriety, declaring that I was going to get clean. I was at Patrick's parent's house. And I, too, remember finishing off the drugs in my backpack so I could "get clean." It did not occur to me to flush the drugs.

It did not occur to me that getting high in order to get clean was a wild contradiction in terms. It did not occur to me that declaring sobriety while high was an empty, futile gesture. In my grandiose little mind, it made perfect sense. Looking back, I shake my head. I'm awed by how wrong I was.

But I didn't know that. Not yet.

I was young then. Eighteen years old, completely unwilling to cast a critical eye at my own behaviors. Eighteen years old, a newly released ward from the state as a foster child, struggling with cutting and prone to rages. Hell, at one point in there, I was even pregnant.

I was just beginning the path to my own ruin, the one that left me with life-long consequences. Here, there, to this side and to that side, the opportunities to get help, to get clean, to get better were littered all around me. And while I did get clean at a young age, only a year and a half later, I spent the next several years trying to piece back the puzzle I'd smashed. Time that could have been spent far, far more productively, had I only curbed the behaviors sooner.

She has that chance. Right here, right now. She has a chance to save herself from the storyline I walked through. She has a chance to save her son by not becoming the sort of mother that Cassie is. She has a chance to save herself.

But she doesn't know that. Not yet. Nothing I say will sway her from where she is walking. I know I am helpless. Even aside from the inability to change someone, it is not a thing I could do in health or sanity. She must to do so on her own, tripping over rocks, cutting her feet on the pavement that is the Road To Hell.

I wish so much to wrench her away from these things. My heart ached when she left last night. But as heartache is inevitable when watching someone destroy themselves, so is remembering that you can only do so much for a person. They have to walk their own path.

I know that now.

Get help

Jul. 6th, 2015 04:02 pm
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"I'm struggling. I'm...struggling."

The brush in my hand stops moving. My heart nearly does, too. I'm struggling. I don't know what it is about mundane activities that so often bring us to dramatic revelations, but there I was, blue scrub brush in hand, arguing with dog hair on Elizabeth's couch, and I knew I was struggling.

....Am. Am struggling. Have been for a while. Didn't notice it until I posted this morning. Until I had a perfect moment of absolute resignation to a couch that is, at this point, probably more dog than upholstery.

I set the brush down and made the call. The only one I know how to make. The only thing I know how to do. If I know nothing else - not joy or or loss or even for the love of writing - I know how to do one thing.

Get help. I know how to get help. I know the numbers and I know where to find them if I do not know them. I know what to do when I'm sinking, when I know nothing around me may stand as buoyant enough to keep from drowning. I know one fucking thing in this goddamn life and that is how to GET HELP.

I'll be getting a call from the clinic's therapeutic side here shortly. I'm setting up talk therapy again. Something's wrong. Something's very wrong and I need help to figure out what it is and what to do about it.

JESSE: "At least you got what you needed back."

ME:"No, Jesse, it's about what SHE got back. I was the one who wronged her."

Amanda. My best friend from high school, who was quite possible the literal reason I did not commit suicide. Amanda, my friend in early adulthood, both of us trying to navigate what it meant to hold jobs instead of classes. Amanda....my friend that I stole hundreds of dollars from, Amanda, my friend whose car I broke into in the dead of the night to steal her purse, Amanda, my friend whose purse I threw into dumpster and then went on the most bile-wrenching drug binge I had ever been on.

I remember at the time wishing it would kill me. I also remember laughing at myself. As if my body found cold from the drugs I got by breaking into her car and her heart would serve as any apology. I knew how full of shit that was. I could only cackle at myself, rolling over my own pretentious bullshit, all the while hating myself even more.

ME: "Well, I did get what I needed. I got my sobriety. I didn't get clean right then, but that was where the seed, the one that finally grew, was planted. I got my life back...."

Was it worth the cost? Yes. I'd be dead otherwise. I know this with the silence and depths that prove glaciers and mountains. Was it worth the cost, when it was I who paid nothing, and she who bled both money and years of love?

Somedays I think I've paid nothing for my sobriety, for my survival, and the cost that others have paid is always, always far too great. My life is not mine, it is an apology. And god save me - and god save the fool - who would try to convince me otherwise.

.....get help. I'm getting help. I'm struggling and I'm getting help.
quirkytizzy: (Default)
6/25/2015

You know what I'm sick of? Underboob sweat. My tits sweat in a bra. My tits sweat out of a bra. My tits sweat when I'm sitting. My tits sweat when I'm walking around. My tits sweat when it's hot. My tits sweat when it's cold. My tits sweat when I take a shower, when I don't take a shower, when I put deodorant on them, when I don't put deodorant on them, when I wear silk, when I wear cotton, when I don't wear anything at all...

In other words, my boobs are always, regardless of temperature, activity, or dress, sweating. It is so gross and I am so sick of it. But outside of 1) taking my very dull butcher knife to them or 2) knocking off a bank to pay for a breast reduction, I am stuck.

Fuck you, tits.

Tagging this shit's gonna be a bitch )
quirkytizzy: (Default)
PART TWO:

6/20/2015
5 AM

The problem with having a work schedule that gets you up at 2:30 AM is that 5:00 AM constitutes "sleeping in." I would have liked to sleep longer, but that's still hours of extra sleep. It works. I also wake up with a monster case of heartburn. Thanks, body-that-is-in-its-mid-30's. It often amazes me, the small but extremely noticeable differences between your 20's and 30's. I often tell people that I feel young (and generally I do, because I am relatively young) but I can feel the slow, ticking hand of mortality wrapping its fingers around my spine. It hasn't got but a loose grip, but I can feel it. I know it's there.

And my own reactions are often surprising to me - in at least as I thought I'd react more casually to it.Aging, Computer Shit, Chorizo and MOTHERFUKING WATER )

Add it up

May. 12th, 2015 11:51 am
quirkytizzy: (Default)
I decided to deal with the lingering unease this morning by attending an AA meeting. I don't do those often. In the beginning, the first two years, I attended three meetings A DAY. Of course, as the issue becomes less of a "how to stay sober" and a "how to live" thing, many of us find daily or weekly meetings unnecessary. This is fine.

I'm often also embarrassed to be the person with the most clean time in any room. It's rare that I'm not that person. I don't know why I get so embarrassed, but I do.

But this morning I desperately needed the company of other addicts. Other sober addicts. Other addicts who were trying to do the right thing, no matter how insane any of it - good or bad - might seem. I needed that.

So I went and found it. Despite my current misgivings about the program (and believe me, I have MANY), it is still home. I could go to a meeting at 3 AM in Germany where no one speaks English and I know I'd still be HOME.

So, for an hour today, I went home.

It was much needed. Much comforting. And above all, much a reminder of my roots. The woman who had 4 months sober, crying because she couldn't make her head shut up. The man who just celebrated two years clean, beaming because he'd managed to beat his own death now for years. The young man with 7 days sober, beating himself up because he did not yet feel better, because he still wanted to drink.

These people are my own. I may not wish to get to know them anymore (loving addicts often leads to heartbreak, as most of us don't make it), but they are still my family.

It felt good to be around family. I feel good to be back in my residence now.

One day at a time. One day at a time has gotten me over 14 years clean. Today will be another day that helps add it up to 15 years.
quirkytizzy: (Default)
So yesterday, I got high.

Accidentally high. A contact high. The mother of all contact highs. Note to self: Do not hang out with potheads in an enclosed area.

(Remember what Kat Williams said? "Shit's getting stronger every two weeks!"? It's TRUE. I've NEVER been around pot that fucking potent before, even 15 years ago when I was smoking it myself.)

Jesse and I were hanging with some folks we know. Nice people. A little whacky, but nice people. I thought the room we were all in was big enough and the window was open some of the time. I didn't think much of it.

By the time we trundled home, I realized I was stoned.

There was some internal panicking. And by "some" I mean "a great deal." I am a recovering addict. I have pinned the last 14 years of my life on not being under the influence. It is not simply a thing I'm proud of, or a thing I do, it is the linchpin of life and death for me. I nearly killed myself with drugs. And while I know weed - and especially a contact high - will not kill me, it is still enough to make me remember, to make me play the tape all the way forward.

The tape ends in degradation, losing everything I have worked for, and an eventual, nasty death. The tape ends in me having giving up something that I worked so hard for. The tape ends in me being a hypocrite, compromising, going back on my word.

It is extremely difficult to explain this to a non-addict. Jesse is not an addict. I think to him, this sort of reaction feels like overkill, especially since it's a substance as innocuous as marijuana. He smokes weed for his fibromayalgia. I do not mind. Hell, I think weed should be legalized, even if I don't smoke it. Weed is hella safer than alcohol. Even I understand that.

But that doesn't mean I want to get stoned.

It was not enough to set off any cravings or obsessions. That's the real danger with this. It's also something else I can't quite explain to non-addicts, who can't understand why someone would take something such as getting stoned and run it all the way to putting a needle in their arm. That's an addict thing, through and through.

But that's what I was envisioning in my head last night. Not so much a WANT to pierce my veins, but knowing that if I had voluntarily partaken in smoking weed, that's where it would end up. Even worse, that's where it would end up and Jesse would not be able to understand.

So I took my meds early and went to bed. I had to shower, too, as I'd forgotten how strong weed smell is. Even after I'd showered, I could still smell it on me.

Psychosomatic symptoms suuuuuck.

I also told Pat immediately when I got home. I felt I had to tell someone. Stay accountable, even if it was an accident. Staying accountable is one of the biggest pieces of sobriety. Tell someone. That someone is always Pat. He's no addict, but he's been with me through my addiction, from start to finish. He told me not to feel bad, that it was an accident, and to just take this as a lesson.

Lesson learned.

I feel better this morning, having slept it off. Knowing that it didn't set off any cravings. It was, in fact, extremely uncomfortable. I think the worst of it is not being able to accurately explain it to Jesse, who enjoys weed. But it's an addict thing.

And I'm an addict. I'm not using, and I know the world doesn't really see weed as a drug, but to an addict, it is. And I don't want to play chicken with my addiction, even if it's merely getting a contact high.

Aside from all that, my net provider has throttled my net until I pay my bill, of which I can't, since it's three months late. At least there is the net center. That's probably where I'll post this. There will be need of food pantries and a way to get a carton of cigarettes.

There is a job fair tomorrow. I'll be there with bells on.

Power

Jan. 7th, 2015 06:18 pm
quirkytizzy: (Default)
Fitting, that Piper's death would come on the day that I singularly celebrate my own commitment to life. January 7th is my clean day. Today, I have 14 years clean.

I don't really want to go back to those journals. They are either tiresome or else remind me of places that hurt. This is why I must do so.

I have to remember how much I hated myself if I am to remember to love myself. I've been clean for 14 years but I am not immune. Today did not make me feel like using. It does remind me, though, of where I would have gone in those days.

I don't want to go there now.

9.4.00.

And why is the guilt not enough for me to stop? And I actually have the fucking ego to wonder why I can't stomach looking at myself in the mirror.

And I want to believe my miraculous recovery is twenty minutes and half a box popcorn away. I WANTED them to think, so now they are convinced....trouble is, I'm not convinced anymore. It's not like I want to DIE, as in suicide, ending my existence, stop breathing. I just want to make it stop.

Part of me wishes that this will be the bottom and the only way is up from here.

The rest of me knows better.

The needle represents what I feel I am inside. Ugliness pierced with toxins. Fucking soups of death, the stings. All because of my fucking phobia of mirrors.

Needles are lies. It's what I feel I've become...what maybe I've always been. I don't care about the image. I don't care about getting into the right crowd or getting cast out of another.

I just want to get it over with.




That last line is what is most striking to me now. Humans know our own stories and addicts are no different. We feign confusion - we may very well BE confused - but we know when our ending is coming.

I knew mine was knocking softly on the door, already having climbed over the gate. She got close enough to break the windows of my life, of my psyche, but she didn't kill me.

And if I'm honest, she - as in addiction - wouldn't have been what would have killed me. That would have been me. ***I*** would have killed me.

I almost did. I think, at the time, I might have welcomed it. Certainly, I felt powerless at the time to stop it.

I'm glad I have the power now.

I always did.

Obessions

Oct. 16th, 2014 06:40 am
quirkytizzy: (Default)
It's not as if you ever forget what active addiction looks like, not really. Singular obsessions make an impression. It creates a literal dent in the brain, and even as time and repaired brain cells smooth it over, it's always there.

But eventually the burn does fade. It slowly recedes over the years. One day, you wake up and realize that your addiction - and even your recovery - no longer holds your life hostage. It no longer stampedes to the front your morning and it no longer sings lullabies to you as you fall sleep.

That was the part I didn't believe. How could it EVER be possible that addiction would not haunt my every waking moment? How could it EVER be possible that my veins would ever let me sleep comfortably? In countless 12 step meetings, cold rooms littered with bent styrofoam cups, I told them they were lying.

They told me to take it on faith. I still told them they were lying, but at that point, I had no choice but to trust them. It was either believing that someday I would believe or else suffering an utterly cliche death at the wrong end of a needle.

So I decided to believe that someday I would believe. I decided to act as if they were right, even though deep in my heart, I knew they never would be.

Twelve step programs come prepackaged with a lot of bad advice. After all, you're sitting in a room stuffed to the rafters of people who are sick in the exact same ways you are. And sick people aren't always the wisest folks.

But on this one, they were right.

I always say it took me about two years of sobriety for the obsession to fade. It took about two years before my life resembled anything normal. It took two years of sobriety, of being utterly consumed by my addiction for it to fade, even as I was no longer using.

That's a long time to wait for things to settle down. That's a long time to be doing the right things, every damn day, in order to see this miraculous state of release. To a freshly sober addict, that's an excruciatingly long time to sit through a recovery that's often just as painful as your active addiction was.

But since they didn't tell when the obsession would lift, I had no timetable to throw back in their faces. There was nothing I could use to stand up in a meeting and triumphantly cackle "You were wrong!" and then, in what would have been a fatal smugness, dash back to the streets and get high.

I'm grateful they didn't enforce a time limit. For some addicts, that sanity arrives much faster. For others, it takes years more.

But for me, it took about two years.

And now I have nearly seven of those two years stacked together. Now my addiction only rears its head when someone else's addiction comes crashing into my life. It becomes a major theme again, yes, but the obsession to use is no longer there. It waits, as it always will, in some dark and chained up part of me.

But it's not the same obsession it was 14 years ago. So long as I continue to make the day, every day, right in those basic first Three Steps of those dingy Twelve Step rooms, it will remain what it should be -

A ghost. A memory of years in which I could never believe that anything, anything at all, would be more important than drugs.
quirkytizzy: (Default)
Yesterday I was to pick Cassie up and do some errand running with her.

But Cassie...it's just...like, wow. Initially I was annoyed because she was dicking around in getting together with me, as I had to go do a bunch of running around to get the storage shed my father paid for ready for her. She's being evicted (again) and needs some place for all her stuff. But when I saw her...just confounded. And shocked. Really SHOCKED.

I haven't seen her in about two weeks. I knew, as she'd told me, she had been using for some time, but seeing her yesterday, my god.

Have you ever seen someone spun? Like, been-up-for-six-days, crack-skinny, just-snorted-half-a-gram spun? It's an awing sight. And I mean awing in the most unbelievably dismaying way. I've seen plenty of fucked up meth heads, but this was different. I've even seen CASSIE seriously fucked up, but this time was really different. It was so much more horrifying.

Addiction is a disease that progress. Meaning, if I were to pick up a bag and shove it into my veins today, it would be as if I never stopped. This is also physically true as well - the body kind of goes "Oh hey, I remember this" and double times on its attempts to adjust for being on drugs. Teeth rotting, skin and organ deterioration, all of that, it comes on quicker than ever.

And that's happened with Cassie. She's looking like those Faces of Meth pictures. And she was just utterly incomprehensible. I mean, I understood what she was saying, it was all words put together in relatively decent English. But it was so fast and just leapt around so much. Which is normal on meth. But it had just been SO LONG since I'd seen it.

Even Pat (we met up for dinner and it was just easier to bring Cassie with me), who usually has a hard time telling when someone is high, was shocked at how much she'd degraded. It was so obvious.

She did admit it to me right off the bat, which was good. 1) It's undeniably obvious even at one glance and 2) if she'd tried to lie about it, I would have dropped her ass right on the street right there. Her honesty is what saved her ass with me.

She admitted all the times before when she was using and then was surprised when I said "I know." It's like she forgets that I'm an addict, too, whose drug of choice was also meth. You never forget what that looks like, not really. She's also nowhere near as good a liar as she likes to think she is.

The really weird thing was that I wasn't angry. I was sad, very very sad, but there was this disconnect going on. Self protection, I suppose. I was able to take her as she was and just let her be nuts. Getting mad would not have changed the situation and she was in an agreeable state. She cried quite a bit, of course, but she wasn't hostile.

It wasn't particularly dangerous for me to be around. People always worry about that. But I've got almost 14 years clean and the reality of how awful drugs are is all that I see when I see her. She's extremely respectful and does not carry when she's with me, home or car, which is good. THAT would be an automatic and likely permanent eject from my life.

And she knows that. I've told her outright. It's strange but I believe her when she says she doesn't.

So relapse isn't a worry. And I'm on constant self-care checks to make sure it doesn't become a worry. It's like, when you've got a life like this, built from the work I've done, seeing people in the grips of their addiction doesn't make you want to go back to it.

It makes drugs the most ugly thing you've ever seen.

It turns out the whole dragging her feet thing was because she did not want me to come over (I was to pick her up) and be in house with a bunch of tweakers. I told her I appreciated that, which I did. She's smart enough to keep me away from all that, which is good.

There's all this drama bullshit that is in her life, most of it related to drugs and bad men. My eyes sort of glaze over when she's talking about that because it's the sort of "duh" that comes with drugs. She is so amazed that I don't have that in my life. I'm amazed she puts up with it in hers.

But hey, drugs make you do the whacky. So that's that. Today we have more running around to do. And I've got shopping I need to do, too - though most of it without Cassie. My loan came in and I don't want to spend it down on her. I picked her up a carton of cigarettes yesterday.

God knows we all need that, spun or not.

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