There is a picture of me, somewhere out there, probably still on my dad’s phone unless they’ve turned into Christmas Card people, in which case, the picture is most definitely out there in the world for all to see.
I hope it is not.
I didn’t see the picture until I was 5 months sober, staying in the unfinished basement at my parents house, grateful that I was no longer homeless, while I hunted for a job. Before this, I’d been staying there after a stint at a ramshackle, rundown motel, the kind of place you probably could dismantle a dead body, leave the head on the pillow, and no one would think anything of it. But it was my room, and despite the lice they gifted me, I loved it. Until money dried up and suddenly I was, once again, homeless. I’d moved in there after I was discharged from the inpatient psych ward, in which I was able to successfully detox after a suicide attempt. Got some free ECT to boot.
Despite what you see on the After School Special’s of our childhood, I didn’t take a single Vicodin, fall into a stupor, and become insta-addict – just add narcotics! No, my entry into addiction was a slow and steady downward spiral of which I am deeply ashamed. It’s left my brain full of wreckage and ruin, fragmented bits of my life that don’t follow a single pattern. Between the opiates, the Ketamine, and the ECT, I cannot even be certain that what I am telling you is the truth; what I’ve gathered are bits and pieces of the addict I so desperately hate from other people who are around, fuzzy recollections, and my own social media posts.
About a year and a half before I moved from my yellow house to the apartments by the river, Dave and I had separated; he’d told me that while he cared for me, he no longer loved me. While we lived in the same house, we’d had completely separate lives for years, so he moved to the basement while I stayed upstairs. I’d been miserable before his confession and after? I was nearly broken. Using the Vicodin, then Norco, I was able to numb my pain and get out of my head, which, while remarkably stupid, was effective. For awhile.
Let me stop you, Dear Reader, and ask you to keep what I am about to say in mind as you read through this massive tome. I’m simply trying to make certain that you understand several key things about my addiction and subsequent recovery. I alone was the one who chose to take the drugs. No one forced me to abuse opiates, and even later, (SPOILER ALERT) Ketamine. This isn’t a post about blaming others for my misdoings, rejecting any accountability, nor making any excuses for the stupid, awful things I’ve done. I alone fucked up. My addiction was my own fault. However, in the same vein, no one “saved” me but myself. There was no cheeky interventionist. No room full of people who loved me weeping stoically, telling me how my addiction hurt them. No letters. Nothing. It was just me. I was alone, and I chose to get – and remain – sober.
The delusions started when I moved out, sitting in my empty apartment alone, paralyzed by the thought of getting off the couch to go to the bathroom. Always a night-owl, I’d wake at some ungodly hour of the morning, shaking. It wasn’t withdrawal, no, it was pure unfettered anxiety.
It was the aftermath of using so many pills, all the fun you think you’re having comes back to bite you with crippling anxiety and depression.
Which is why I’d do more.
Yes, opiates are powerful, and yes, I abused them, but things really didn’t become dire until I added Ketamine to my life.
Ketamine, if you’re unaware, is a club drug, a horse tranquilizer, and a date rape drug. You use too much? You may wake up at some hipster coffee bar, trying to sing “You’re Having My Baby” to the dude in the front row who may or may not actually exist. In other words, it’s the best way to forget how fucked you are.
The delusions worsen as time passed. I could see into the future. I could read your mind. I was going to be famous. I was super fucking rich. In this fucked-up world, I could even forget about me, and the life that I’d so carelessly shattered. I remember sitting in Divorce Class at the courthouse, something required of all divorces in Kane County, weeping at all that I’d thrown away – using a total of three boxes of the low-quality, government tissues. I left with a shiny pink face and completely chapped nose and eyes that appeared to be making a break from their sockets. I went home, took some pills, took some Ketamine, and passed out.
I retreated ever-inward. I didn’t talk to many people. I didn’t share my struggles. I was alone, and it was my fault.
The hallucinations started soon after Divorce Class ended and my ex and I split up. He’d left my house in a rage after a fight and went to live with his sister. I got scared. His temper, magnified by the drugs, the hallucinations, and the delusions, grew increasingly frightening. Once he’d moved out, the attacks began. I’d wake up naked in my bedroom, my body sore and bruised, and my brain put the two unrelated events together as one – he was attacking me. It happened every few days, these “attacks,” until I found myself at the police station, reporting them. I was dangerously sick and I had no idea.
My friends on the Internet (those whom I had left), sent me money for surveillance cameras. I bought them, installed them – trying to capture the culprit – and when I saw what I saw, I immediately called the police and told them the culprit.
The videos in my bedroom captured an incredibly stoned, dead-eyed, version of myself, violently attacking myself, brutally tearing at my flesh. In particular, THAT me liked to beat my face with one of my prized possessions – a candlestick set from our wedding, take another pill or hit up some Ketamine, then violating myself with the candlestick. It lasted hours. I’d wake up with no memory of events, sore and tired and unsure of how I’d gotten there.
I’d never engaged in self-injury before – not once – so the very idea that I’d hurt myself was unbelievable, but right there, on my grainy old laptop, was proof of how unhinged I’d become. Charged with filing a false report, I plead guilty.
In early September of 2015, I decided to get fixed, and made arrangements with work to take a few weeks off to do an inpatient detox, and, for the first time in a long time, I woke up happily, rather than cursing the gods that I was still alive.
It was to be short-lived.
Several days later, sober, I was idly chatting with my neighbor about her upcoming vacation (funny the things your brain remembers and what it does not), standing by my screen door, when karma came calling. It sounded like the shucking noise of an ear of corn, or maybe the sound that a huge thing of broccoli makes when you rip it apart – hard. It felt like a bullet to the femur. I crumpled on top of my neighbor and began screaming wildly about calling an ambulance, yelling over and over like some perverse, yet truthful, Chicken Little: “my leg is broken, my LEG is broken!”
I don’t remember much after that. I woke up in (physical rehab) and learned that my femur (hereafter to be called my “Blasfemur,”) had broken, fairly high up on the bone, where the biggest, strongest bone in your body is at its peak of strength. Whaaaa?
The doctors and nurses shrugged it off my questions, with a flippant “It just happens” and sent me home, armed with a Norco prescription, in November, to heal. I added the Ketamine, just to make sure.
A couple of weeks later at the end of November, I was putting up the Christmas tree with the kids and my mother. It was all merry and fucking bright until I sat down on the couch and felt that familiar crunch. Screams came out of me I didn’t know were possible, but I’d lost my actual words. My mother stood over me yelling “what’s wrong? what’s wrong?” and I couldn’t find the words. I overheard her telling my babies that I was “probably just faking it” as she walked out the door, my screams fading into an ice cold silence. They left me alone in that apartment where I screamed and cried and screamed. Finally, I managed to call 911 and when they asked me questions, all I could scream was my address.
I woke up in January in a nursing home. When I woke up, I found myself sitting at a table in a vast dining room, full of old people. For weeks to come, I thought that I’d died and gone…wherever it is that you go.
This time, I learned, my (blas)femur and it’s associated hardware had become infected after the first surgery, which weakened the bone, causing it to snap like a tree. They put me all back together like the bionic woman, but the surgery had introduced the wee colony of Strep D in the bone into my bloodstream, creating an infection on meth. I’d been in a coma for weeks. Once again, I learned to walk, and once again, I was sent home in late January with another Norco prescription. The nursing home really wanted me to have someone stay with me to help out, but I insisted that I was fine alone. In truth, I had nobody to help me out, but was far too ashamed to tell them.
The picture I referenced above was taken some time in May, as far as my fuzzy memory allows me to remember, after my third femur fracture in March. This time, I’d been so high that I fell asleep on the toilet and rolled off. Glamorous, no? Just like Fat Elvis. Luckily, my eldest son was there and he called 911 and my parents to whisk him away. I remember my father on the phone, telling Ben that I was a liar and I was faking it. I was swept away in the ambulance for even more hardware, and finally? A diagnosis:
It’s an autoimmune disease that leaches calcium from the bones, resulting in brittle bones. It is managed, not treated. There is no cure.
But, I had the answer. Finally.
After my third fracture, I once again was sent to the nursing home, and quickly discharged with even higher doses of Norco, when my insurance balked, I’d used up all my rehab days for the year. By this time, I’d lost my apartment, my stuff was in storage (except the things that we’re thrown away, which my father gloated about while I was flat on my back) and my parents let me stay with them, which was about the only option I had. They couldn’t really kick me out if my leg was only freshly attached. I feel deeper into a depression, self-loathing, and drug abuse as I realized what a mess I’d made with my life. How many bad choices I’d made. How many people I’d hurt. How much I’d hurt myself. How much I loathed myself. How I once had a life that in no way resembled sleeping in my parents dining room. How I’d been a home owner. How I’d been married. How lucky I’d been. How I threw it all away. My life turned into a series of “once did” and “used to.”
The only one who hated me more was my father.
While we were once close confidants, in the years after my marriage to Dave, his disdain had become palpable. My uncle had to intervene one Christmas, after my father mocked me incessantly for taking a temp job filling out gift cards while I was pregnant with Alex. It may seem normal to some of you, this behavior, but in THEIR house, NO ONE was EVER SAD and NOTHING was EVER WRONG. WASPs to the core, my family is.
When I moved back in, broken, dejected, and high, our fights became epic. For the first time in my life, I stood UP to one of my parents. Then, I was promptly kicked out.
Guess I’m not so WASPy after all.
I want to say that the picture was taken around May of 2016, but my estimate may be thoroughly skewed, so if you’re counting on dates being correct and cohesive, you’ve got the wrong girl.
This is a picture of me, though you probably wouldn’t recognize me. I am wearing the blue scrubs that you associate with a hospital: not exactly sky blue, not teal, not navy, just generic blue hospital scrubs. These are, I remember, the only clothes I have to my name. I was given them in both the hospital and the nursing home, a gift, I suppose, of being a frequent flier, tinged with a bit of pity – this girl has no clothes, we can help. Whomever gave them to me, know that you gave me a bit of dignity, which I will never forget. Thank you.
I am wearing scrubs, the light of the refrigerator is slowly bleaching out half of my now-enormous body, as opposed to the darkness outside. There is a tube of fat around my neck, nearly destroying any evidence of my face, but if you look closely, you can make out my glasses, my nostrils, my hair cascading down. My neck is stretched back at nearly a 90 degree angle from my body, my head listlessly resting on the back of my wheelchair. My mouth gaped wide, which, should I been engaging in fly catching, would have netted far more than the average Venus flytrap. I am clearly, unmistakably, and without a single shred of doubt, passed the fuck out.
It is both me and not me.
High as i was, I don’t remember a thing about the photo being taken. But there I was, in all my pixelated glory.
By the time I saw the photo, I was once again in my “will do” and “can do” space. I’d kicked drugs in September 2016 and had found a job that I enjoyed. I stayed with my parents while I began to sort out my medical debt and save toward a new car and an apartment of my own. My spirits were high, my depression finally abated to the background, and I was tentatively happy. I’d apologized until my throat was sore, but my fragmented memory saved me from the worst of it, but I was not forgiven. I don’t think I ever expected to be. And now, I never will.
It’s okay. I can’t expect this. I know I fucked up.
My father, who’d actually grown increasingly disdainful of me, the more sober and well I became, confronted me when I came home one day after work, preparing to do my AFTER work, work.
My mother shuffled along behind him, Ben, the caboose. All three of them were in hysterics, tears rolling down their cheeks as I sat down in my normal spot on the couch. After showing them a video of two turtles humping a couple of days before, I eagerly waited to see what they were showing me.
What it was was that picture. Of the not me, me.
They could hardly contain their laughter, my father happier than ever, braying, “Isn’t this the best picture of you?” and “You PASSED OUT, (heave, heave) IN FRONT OF THE FRIDGE!” punctuated, with “I’m going to frame this picture!” The tears welled in my eyes while my teeth clenched, they laughed even harder at my reaction.
Like I said, if they’ve become Christmas Card sending people, this will be the picture of me they show, expecting others to laugh uproariously. Before I moved out, in fact, my father made certain to show the picture to anyone who came over. “Wanna see something hilarious?” he’d ask. Expecting memes or a funny cat playing the piano, they’d agree. I could see it when they saw it, my dad chortling with laughter, nearly choking on his giggles, the looks on their faces: a mixture of confusion and pity. Even in my drug-hazed “glory,” I’d never felt so low.
Maybe that picture is splashed all over the internet, in the dark recesses I don’t explore, and maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s hung on their wall, replacing all of the other pictures. Maybe it’s not.
Maybe we’ll meet again.
What is an addictive/dependent personality?
I don’t mean someone who really grows on you, I’m talking about someone who is easily influenced and can become readily addicted to or dependent on mind-altering substances. It can be drugs like cocaine, meth, and heroin. It can be prescription drugs like Oxycontin, Xanax, or a plethora of pain killers and muscle relaxers. Maybe it’s alcohol that interferes with or has to be part of everyday life. Now take that person and throw in the occasional, and now more frequent, anxiety and panic attack. What do you get?
You get the hell scared out of you!
Let me tell you first hand because dependency has been in my family for as far back as most of us can trace, and we are now finding out that the anxiety and panic issues have been in the family for quite awhile as well.
Have you ever been there?
I have and it scares me.
Have you ever felt your temperature begin to slowly rise for no apparent reason?
I have and it freaks me out.
Have you felt your breathing begin to get a bit shallower, each breath becoming more of a gasp than a serious breath?
I have and I just want it to go away.
Have you felt your throat dry and then begin to close, slowly sending you into panic mode?
I have and will hate it when it happens again.
Have you had to wonder what the hell this was all about when life really is not to bad?
I always wonder. And really, what the hell is this all about?
The medication prescribed to combat such issues to me are often very addictive.
Now you have me.
I freak out for no apparent reason, then think about the little pill I am about to take. If I continue to have to take them, it’s very likely I will be dependent on them. Not taking them wreaks havoc.
I don’t mind the occasional sleepless night. But when it happens, I pace around the house, then into the yard and then in the car with no where to go because it is 2 in the morning. Then I go back in the house. I don’t want to wake others up because I feel it’s wrong. I don’t want the medication, but without it sleep, and a productive day, will be out of the question.
Shouldn’t I feel positive about the fact that there is a medication to help me through such time? I don’t want to become dependent on the medication, but I really do want to sleep and enjoy my sanity.
One is just feeding off the other and it is just wrong.
Have you ever been there?
Are you there now?
Where do we go from here?
I wish I could write like our favorite Aunt Becky, but I can’t. My words will be misspelled, my commas will be out of place, and there will definitely be run on sentences, but I swear like a trucker so somehow I think I will fit right in.
So back story: BAD shit happened to me when I was a kid.
You know, my dad was an alcoholic, show me on the doll where the bad man touched you, which I never told my parents. My sister got pregnant when she was 14 and eventually my Mom could no longer deal with it all so I had to pick up the slack. That kind of bad shit.
There were days when I didn’t know if I would make it. Days that I wasn’t able to deal. I would burn myself or punch a wall just to feel… something. I made it through bruised but not broken.
I just wish I could tell the young girl that dealt with all of that what I know now.
I’ve been talking to a young friend who is going through so much in her life right now. She reminds me so much of my younger self. She, like me, puts up a strong front, but just beneath the surface you can see the hurt and self-doubt. When asked we will both say we are “fine.”
Every time she says it to me, my heart cracks just a little. See I know that when she says, “I’m fine” what she really means is “This hurts like hell! My heart is breaking. Somebody please just take away the pain.” I just want to give her hug and tell her it will all be okay. I won’t, mind you, because that would make me seem weak or soft or whatever my fucked-up mind thinks.
Still, through talking to her, I’ve been thinking, what would I tell my younger self?
So I wrote myself a letter today. Maybe it will help her or some other young girl who needs to know it WILL BE OK.
I know it’s hard right now, but experience brings knowledge, adversity brings strength. None of that makes a damn bit of difference when you’re hurting but faith, faith gives you hope. The hope that there is something greater out there brings a small amount of peace even in the darkest times.
When you find love, it calms. Love doesn’t hurt; it heals, it comforts, it expands. Love gives. It should not take away.
If life seems to be spiraling out of control, find solace in the small things. Family, friends, music, words. These are your armor against all that will stand against you.
Remember that the lessons learned from the mistakes we make and the paths we choose make us who we are. Never regret them. To do so would mean you doubt yourself. Nothing and no one should make you doubt your worth.
Though it’s sometimes easier to forgive others than yourself, YOU ARE ONLY HUMAN.
Be as kind and love yourself as much as you do those others.
Stand tall without being cocky and be proud of who you become.
I know I am.
PS. If none of that shit works there is always vodka.
Adult Children of Addicts are at a far greater risk to develop addiction to substance abuse.
This is the story of three brave men:
My father was the son of an alcoholic. He had a brother and 3 sisters who all would partake in the ocassional alcoholic beverage but never let it interfere with the normal every day functions of their lives. My father, on the other hand carried on the family tradition/trait/ illness, or whatever you wish to call it. He was not an abusive drunk, although I do remember he and his best friend trashing our house fighting each other when I was a pre-teen. He was very much involved in my life and that of my brother and sister, but he was still an alcoholic.
As years passed, his drinking became more and more severe. It wasn’t until my teen years that I really started paying attention and noticing that he was consuming a case or so of beer by himself, everyday, along with as much as a pint of liquor. He became more pissed off at the world and everything about it. The world was out to get him and so was everyone on the planet. It was getting to the point where nothing we did was right.
After graduating high school, it was time to marry my high school sweetheart. A day I had dreamt of for a long time. I was never one for dating and the whole girlfriend issue, but this girl was for me and I was so looking forward to that special night and our first dance as husband and wife. In the middle of the most special dance of my life, my father interrupted and said, “why don’t you play something we all like?” Our wedding song was “All Of My Love” by Led Zeppelin.
I was stunned, flabbergasted, ashamed, and yet I let it slide.
I vowed my entire life that I would not be like him, and to that I stayed pretty true. Sure, I had the occasional drink as a teenager. Yes, I got drunk from time to time but never really cared enough for it to become a regular thing. Never would I be like him. I would not put my children through that, even if he was not mean, it was not a childhood I would not want any kid to have to live. Little did I realize at the time that I was just like him.
Although I was not a drinker, I had no problem smoking pot, tripping on acid and mescaline, doing ‘shrooms, or just about any mind-altering substance that I could get my hands on. But hey, I was not a drunk.
It wasn’t until my mid twenties, deep into a cocaine free basing addiction that my wonderful wife, the high school sweetheart, told me ”I don’t know what you are doing, but you either quit or I leave.”
Wow, a brick in the face that one was.
I finally looked at myself in the mirror, literally, and saw a pasty grey skinned man, skinny and sick looking he was just one step away from death or an institution.
I quit. I vowed to myself and my wife that I would never touch the stuff again. I spent several years going to narcotics anonymous, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day and I am proud to say I am free, clean, and sober. I am a fairly healthy 45 year old man still married to my high school sweet heart, and I have 3 wonderful sons and 2 grandsons.
I have felt their joys and sorrows. I have seen their smiles and frowns. I have been there for them. And I was there to help my oldest son through his addiction.
He chose to follow me and go the drug route. I have always been open with my children about drugs hoping that it would steer them away since I was speaking from personal experience; not quoting something I read in a book. He saw it like, hey you’re still alive, it couldn’t have been THAT bad.
On his 17th birthday, I did something that even I could not believe.
On the way home from picking him up at school one evening, he was so wasted that he was actually hallucinating in my car, asking me questions about how we were going to get the car through all those trees, and what were we going to do when we got to the end of the road where it turns red. I was so scared for him; it was time for another search of his room. I found pot growing in his closet, for the second time, so I figured I had no choice. I turned in my own son and he spent his 17th birthday in the county jail, and several others months following. It opened his eyes a bit. He stumbled a few times since but is now a wonderful 21 year old man with 2 sons.
One night, not to long ago, he finally told me that he hated me for quite a while for turning him in, but he then said he could not thank me enough for what he did and that he loved me.
I am constantly worried about him. Will the stress of the children lead him back to the drugs? Will he make it through as I have? Will any of his children follow the familiar path?
One good thing that has come of my sons addiction is that his younger brothers want absolutely nothing to do with any of it. So for now I just let him, and his brothers know, that I will always be there for them, and that life might not always be wonderful but it could always be worse.
And of course, I must thank my wonderful wife.
She stayed with me.
She saw the problems and instead of bailing out she stuck by my side.
She spent several weeks with very little sleep as my mind and body fought each other she was there to calm me.
She saved my life.
There are only so many things a person can take before they break. Sometimes, there’s only so much a person can take.
This is her story:
When our son was a baby and you went through that rehab program, they sat me down for Family Day and made me come up with an ultimatum to “help” you with your sobriety.
“If you go back to drinking and X happens, I’ll leave.”
I hated it. I didn’t want to say anything like that. I believed there was nothing you and I couldn’t get through together. We love each other very much, and I could never picture a scenario where I would need to leave you.
Since then, you’ve had several medical scares, three suicide attempts, and a second, more intense rehab. You had that spell last winter, where for three days you had no idea who or where you were. Then, after a year of sobriety, you went back to drinking again. I’ve been there for the hospitalizations, your treatments, the roller coaster of your mental illness, and the nightmares caused by the traumas of the things you have seen and done in your past.
I stood by you and loved you through all of it.
I can’t do it anymore.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve been able to really confide in you anything going on with me. You can’t handle it. I had a major emotional upheaval last summer and I can’t even tell you about it because you would never be able to deal with it. It’s still continuing, and it is gaining in intensity.
It’s causing me constant distress, and you have no idea. Because of that, I had a nervous breakdown last winter. I was even having panic attacks. I’m taking antidepressants and seeing a counselor every week to deal with what’s going on with me. You know about my counseling and medication, but you don’t know the real reason why I need them.
While I was still fragile from my nervous breakdown, another horrible incident happened. We were constantly being taken advantage of by your friend. At one point, I was sick with the flu, but you still couldn’t say no to his request. But due to your drinking and your mental illness, you were unable to deal with the responsibility you had taken on that night.
Still very sick, I had to go take care of it and I got stuck in a blizzard. Between my emotional stuff, the flu, all the constant worry about you, and the terror of the white-out blizzard, I had a mini-stroke the next day.
You couldn’t even handle calling for paramedics even though I was incapacitated.
What if it had been something worse? What if it had been a full-blown stroke, or a heart attack, and being able to know you have to call 911 for me could literally mean the difference between my life and my death? What would you do if I died? You can’t even take care of yourself, how are you going to take care of the kids and make sure the bills get paid?
You’ve admitted that you have no hope of being able to quit drinking. You’ve written off rehab, calling it a “temporary fix.” You won’t go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and you won’t take any steps to try to stop drinking on your own. Then there was that one night last spring when you were drunk and admitted to me that you still think about suicide all the time.
You promptly denied it once you were sober, but considering that you listed all the ways you had thought about doing it, I’m pretty sure your confession was the truth.
Without you finding a way to stop drinking, it’s only going to continue to get worse and worse. It’s to the point now where we live inside the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde because you’re a totally different person when you’ve been drinking all day on the weekends.
I know your brain is a scary mess. I know I couldn’t handle five minutes inside your head. You have been through things so horrible that I can’t even process them. It’s no wonder the worst horror movie doesn’t bother you – you’ve been through worse.
It feels like the Grim Reaper has been following you around as long as I’ve known you. On top of all your mental and medical issues, you’re so accident prone. I’ve lost track of all the times I felt like I was looking at the last months, weeks, or even hours of your life.
It has all led to me having to think about your death constantly. I’ve had to plan for the worst. If you were to die in your sleep tonight, I know exactly what to do. I know what to do in regards to your funeral and burial. I know where the kids and I will go to mourn, lick our wounds, and then regroup. I have a plan for what will happen once I get back on my feet. I have hope for a beautiful future.
That future no longer has you in it.
Our kids need at least one stable parent. If things keep going the way they are, I won’t be mentally or physically healthy enough to take care of them. I can’t keep worrying about you. I can’t keep taking care of you.
You and I both believe in an afterlife. I believe that once you have died, you will finally have the peace you’ve never had. I hate that I think about your death all the time. It makes me sick that I have to admit to myself that your death is what’s best for all of us – you, so you can have peace, me, so I can become healthy again, and the kids, so they don’t have to watch you destroy yourself.
I’m purging the house because I don’t want to move all that crap in the basement again. I’ve started a list of the things I will sell when you’re gone. I’ve made my arrangements for where the kids and I will go. I’ve looked into schools there for them. I’ve even figured out places I’m going to apply for jobs. And meanwhile, I pray that God will be merciful and let you die peacefully in your sleep.
Because I know there is only so much more I can take. If I have to break down and just leave, it will break your heart.
And that will definitely lead to you killing yourself.
Addiction is a beast that spins yarns of lies that we often believe.
These are the struggles an addict faces:
Encased in a swishing bell jar of beer, my brain screams at me. Hungover. Again.
I am a professional. It would astonish my co-workers to know that I am holding back vomit while they talk to me, that I was awake mere hours ago, drinking, drinking, drinking.
My body is almost used to this dull feeling of the next day. I used to take a day off when I felt this shitty, but now it’s more often than not, so I am accustomed to this silver fish headache razoring my head.
Addiction is the root of my family tree, and I tell myself, I am no where near as bad as most everyone else in my family. I justify the excess even though I know this is not healthy.
Healthy should be my goal… But, I poison myself.
When it’s not alcohol, it’s food. Consumption is key for me, it seems.
My beautiful friend has been working on her dissertation for years. She explained to me once that her inner voice tells her only smart people deserve a Ph.D., so she doesn’t deserve this distinction. She is brilliant, but her mind lies to her.
I feel like I don’t deserve to be healthy. To be sober. To be thin.
If I wanted those things, wouldn’t I just achieve them? I have always achieved everything I have set my sights on.
Instead, it seems, I’m content to wallow in the murky bottle, to deny myself nutrients and instead eat processed garbage.
I have worked so hard on so many areas of my life that I feel like I just need a break. My breaks include booze and fried food. Why?
Comfort food makes me feel very uncomfortable. And yet, I choose to eat this way every day.
I want to be my best self, and yet, maybe this is it.
Maybe this is who I always will be.