I drank to not feel the panic I didn’t know what to do with. I drank to numb the fears I could not name. Laying down the bottle. Smashing it against the pavement. Ending it. Ending the battle not by winning or losing but by sitting down and stopping. Just stop. I just wanted everything, for one fucking heavenly second, to stop. Stop moving on as though nothing inside was screaming. Stop walking past me as if my life doesn’t matter. Stop slugging down the wine to try to silence what only came back louder, more menacing, more debilitating the next time. I felt like a fool. Do you know that? I thought I was handling my shit. I thought it was just what we do, how we do. The mind numbing days and evenings that would slice the edges right the fuck off so it all felt smooth as silk but fuzzy.
Fuzzy and dull until somehow that dumbness grew fangs and claws which I’d swipe at everything in the kind of sad rage that misses and misses and misses every single time. I could never get at the thing. I could never name it. That thing that made me drink. That thing that hated and loved me for not having feelings of my own. I lived by it, stood by it, hid alongside of it for so long. And I was ready to let it go on, fucking around with that nameless, faceless, useless, endless, relentless thing. Go on and on forever. I did not see it ever stopping, not ever.
And that still haunts me because that thing knows I’m still very new at this. I am still learning the ropes of recovery which is to say I am still learning myself, how I am made, how I am built. Sometimes I wonder, and forgive me for saying this but it chokes me with tears to be honest, I wonder what ever happened to that girl I used to be or would have been if I didn’t keep choosing to snuff her out over and over and over every single night. Did she just disappear? Like I kept telling her to?
There is a pressure in me, a pulsing underneath my skin, and it wants me to run.
I think about the lot of us – addicts and the ones who love addicts the best they know how. The ones who judge and the ones who try to help. The ones at the beginning of their addictions, the ones still denying them. The ones at the end of all the brutality, trauma, and abuse a substance inevitably causes. And I think how we are all victims of the same culture which silences the discussion of any of it. But the ones who have helped save me are the ones who shared their stories. The honest and the grimy and the extreme. And the seemingly harmless. They helped set me straight, too.
There is a spectrum. There is a continuum. We are present or we are disconnected to various degrees. A sliding scale of truth tellers and lying thieves. As I type this, the sun sinks down low enough to pierce my right eye through the blinds. I kind of hate how high the sun still hangs up there in the sky at 5:32pm. If it were still winter, I wouldn’t have all this goddamn light to have to contend with for too many hours before I can just go to sleep. I had this thought earlier today while sitting at my computer sipping stale coffee in a gray office on a gray swivel chair with gray on gray streaks: Addiction is the crippling and desperate desire to replace what is with what can never be.