365 days times 4 equals 1460. 1460 days divided by 7 equals 208. 208 weeks of my life have been spent getting high, coming down, desperately waiting for my next fix.
There have been times in my life where I have complained of a bad week. I never imagined I would one day admit to having survived 208 self-inflicted bad weeks in a row.
It took 1 hit, 10 seconds, for me to become an addict.
One year holds over 315,000 opportunities for me to become an addict anew. Over the past year, I have let pass 315,000 opportunities to indulge in my frenzied high.
Did I look around and see how I was harming my daughter – either showing up in her life lost in the bowels of addiction & mostly not showing up at all? No.
Did I finally decide to never be in the position again where my daughter stops by to visit only to find me high, crazed and paranoid? No.
Did I finally acknowledge the absence of my son in my life? No.
What happened? The woman I obsessively loved got in too deep. Over the years, I watched as my addiction tore her apart. As I was slipping off the cliff of addiction, I periodically found foothold. At these times, I would leave my lover in the clutches of my crazed dealers choking grip. I found myself in various 12 step programs, staying just long enough to find a new way to try to manipulate the situation. Then I would go back to my lover with intent of fixing the situation, only to find my own NEXT FIX. This becomes the cycle. Every time I left, I left a bigger mess.
The last time I went back, it was obvious that my lover had lost herself in heavy addiction. Coming home from work, knowing by the way she carried herself that she was high hurt like hell. Greeted by full black moons floating in her eyes enraged me. Seeing how she damaged her body broke my heart. Never again was I to be delighted by her beautiful blue eyes.
I lost my lover to addiction – I found my sobriety while watching her slip forever away.
There were so many reasons to get clean. It burns that it took me seeing MORE sickness to bring me to a point of clarity, to a point where I saw drugs to no longer be an option worth pursuing.
365 days, 1 year. Over the course of this single year of being clean, I have come to find my initial reason for sobriety does not hold up. The weight of losing a lover lightens. All the reasons I became an addict are still in play – isolation, shame, hopelessness, regret, self-hatred and self-pity.
Now also mixed into the concoction of misery is a desire to use, the most intriguing deception of escape that results only in deeper misery. Sobriety is a difficult path for an addict. The once solid wall separating self from life has become enforced with rocks.
What is the solution? As it unfolds before me, I see it as multi-faceted. Beginning the work of the 12 Steps has given me direction. Working with my therapist in individual therapy has given me the opportunity to look at my current state of affairs without judgement. Group therapy has provided the platform where the parts of self can be observed as separate and unique. The experience in group has given me an image to apply to the “big picture” of being me. Being part of a 12 Step group has provided an environment where I can practice being authentic. Allowing my story into my awareness, sharing my story in countless choppy emails, learning to call my story my truth has allowed me to validate my own existence. Although I still may choose it from time to time, no longer do I NEED to be invisible.
The solution is a rare and precious jewel. It has been expertly cut and I am left with the opportunity to polish it, to make it shine.
How do I do this? By reading recovery literature, sharing my truth, working in recovery workbooks, participating in group, sharing hope of recovery, making amends, paying attention to when I stop paying attention, noticing what I do when I stop paying attention, recalling the consequences of addiction when I stop paying attention, finding my way back to reading recovery literature and starting the process of recovery again.
How do I do this? One day at a time. One breath at a time. One second at a time.
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