Tag Archives: addiction

My Drug: Indifference

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My apartment sits above a restaurant with a tacky fake fire pit outside.  Every night, the light flickers and bounces off the tree by my window, and I think there’s a fire.  This routine started when the building next to me burned down and I developed a fear of crazy, irresponsible neighbors who play with fire.  The night it burned down, I was away, but I received several calls from people who saw the fire on TV and informed me with complete certainty that it was my building that had burned.  I learned that when faced with the possibility of losing all my stuff, I didn’t really give a shit.  I knew everything would be okay, and that as long as no one was hurt, I was thankful and at ease with it.  But at the same time, I really didn’t care.  I was crushed at the thought of losing my treasured copy of Anna Karenina, but nothing else seemed to matter.  Well, that’s not entirely true…terrible prospects flashed through my mind of firefighters investigating the rubble and finding signs of drug use.  I wasn’t sure what the protocol on that would be.  But I found myself putting on an act for the friends who called me in order to feign concerned about losing everything in my apartment.  I had reached the perfect level of detachment I had been seeking. 

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I had a tidal wave dream last night.  Those are the worst.  I don’t know much about dreams, but something in the meaning of those dreams seems inherently obvious.  The few times I’ve managed it, quitting drugs has opened the door to things I don’t want to face.  It’s daunting.  I crawl out of my skin with thoughts and emotions and memories, and it’s like I’ve forgotten how to be human.  Even good emotions are hard to accept, because I don’t quite know how to regulate them.  During those sporadic periods of sobriety, I reflect on how badly I occasionally let my addiction get out of hand, and I wonder how I could become so indifferent.  It’s more of a removed and temperate curiosity though, because the indifference hasn’t actually left.  Now that I’ve done such a good job of perfecting it, I want to let it go a little, test what happens if I let out some slack.  How to begin the process of unlearning detachment? 

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“Doubt is not a pleasant condition…

…but certainty is absurd.”  ~ Voltaire 

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I’m in this honeymoon phase where I’m off heroin, trying to appreciate that fact in all its simplicity, and adjusting to the immediate changes it’s brought.  I’m settling in.  I’m still gliding on the fact that I’ve done it…I did what I told everyone I was going to do, and…now I’m waiting for something along the lines of the hand of God to swoop down and let me sit upon it for awhile to sustain me.  Just for a bit.

Everyone tells me the hardest part comes once you’re clean.  I can cruise for a short time on the newness of it all.  I can find reward in getting to this point and pleasure in simple things once again (like eating without having to be reminded and coaxed by someone…hmm).  I’ve been through this all before, and it’s never lasted more than a couple of months.  The honeymoon ends; then I find I’m pissed off and scared (and must therefore avoid psychedelic drugs); I get tired of drinking myself into an emotionally anesthetized state; and I panic and go right back to the customary panacea for my troubles…or at least what allows me to ignore them with grand indifference.

I’m headed to an NA meeting tonight.  I’m not very excited, but I’m keeping an open mind.  Maybe that will be the difference this time, or at least a small piece of the puzzle.  I figure I need to change a lot of things.  I’m hoping for the best tonight. 

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Filed under Drinking, Drugs

Hanging In

I’m still holding out, but it’s getting so much harder.  Some moments bring reprieve, but most seem to amplify the frustration of trying to hang on to sobriety.  Grr.  It’s out of my system, but I have a long way to go before it’s out of my mind.  If I could take on sobriety with none of the associated shit, like stirred up emotions and physical paroxysms, I’d be completely gung-ho for it.  But therein lies the challenge.  How does anyone do it?  It’s a mystery.  Nothing is tiding me over adequately.  I mostly just think I’m cracking up, and the pain from every bump and bruise is excessively amplified.  I keep coming back to the obvious answer…duh, legalize smack…but maybe that’s asking for trouble. 

I sincerely admire anyone who’s kicked an addiction or bad habit of any sort and lived to tell about it.  So much of what life throws at us isn’t a choice, but addiction is a road that’s littered with choices along the way.  Those choices become increasingly entangled with desire, then compulsion, then force, until you risk losing yourself to the chink in your armor completely.  God give me the tools and know-how to repair this hole in myself.

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Fuuuck

Ha!  I blew it.  I debated about whether to post this, but I figure why not.  I won’t get it off my mind until I do.

Today was not a good day.  I was through withdrawals, and today was a counseling session, so I thought I was in like flint.  However, I got messed up beforehand on a brew of booze and substances…no heroin though.  No opiates of any kind.  Therefore, I thought I was doing quite well.  Never mind the fact that mentally, I was in a really dark place.  I was drowning, actually.  But I hadn’t relapsed, so I thought I was coasting on some grand path to realization.  I did, however, have a fantastic stash just sitting in the apartment tempting me with all of hell’s wrath.  I couldn’t bring myself to just get rid of it.  No way.  I might need it.

Round two: I got a ride to the counselor, feeling airy and blithe and indifferent to everything.  The counselor asked questions, and wouldn’t you know, I’m an easy target for straightforwardness when I get loopy.  I was candid and maybe a little frank, or maybe not.  It’s a little blurry.  I didn’t really care because I couldn’t be touched.  I was far removed from the earth, in a celestial realm called who-the-fuck-cares. 

Round three: I guess I could be touched.  Moments passed; my counselor was out of the room, then back with another counselor…both really sweet, genuine guys…and I nodded and agreed with everything they said.  I wasn’t just agreeing to be agreeable…I really saw things the same way.  At least, I think I did.  I had a hard time keeping my train of thought.  I watched their lips move to assist my brain in processing words and deciphering sentences.  Wait…did the second one just say he called the authorities?  Hmm.  Yep, my counselor’s expression seemed to verify what I had heard.  They were speaking quite clearly, but whether due to chemicals or shock (my guess is chemicals), it just wasn’t registering…I would have to go with them when they came?  Like now??  Surely they would give me an hour or two, maybe let me run home to take a shower and down a few beers and grab a six-pack for the journey.  I mean, that’s logical.

The Man came to escort me to the ER.  One of them explained standard procedure: handcuffs go on before departing the building, unless he could talk his partner into waiting until after we were out of the building.  Luckily, his partner was more benevolent, and perhaps after sizing up my 100 lbs, she said no handcuffs today.  I even sweet-talked them into letting me have a cigarette (a vice I succumb to during times of withdrawal), and I could tell their decision to indulge me was a begruding one.  That gave me some satisfaction.  I was still traveling in style through who-the-fuck-cares land, and I was feeling tremendous indifference to the whole situation.  I was being called a danger to myself, and I couldn’t disagree, but my more pressing concern was how I would succeed in maintaining my buzz for 72 hours.  Impossible.  Come on, how could they be so unfair as to deny me such a sacrosanct entitlement?

The ‘KO’ [thanks to Kevin Olsen for that one] came a few hours later, when I crashed.  I was in the guarded section of the ER, shivering and shaking, desperately trying to figure out how I could ask the guard to let me sneak out for a cigarette if I promised not to run.  I would even wear the breezy hospital gown as surety.  Maybe I could order a beer from the cafeteria.  I needed alcohol.  Surely between the two younger guards who were flirting with me, one of them would be willing to slip me some potent drugs.  There had to be a way around this…the reality of the situation grew beyond unsettling as it was compounded by increasing sobriety.  I tried various tactics on the nurses.  First I tried charm.  Then I tried reason.  Then I tried arguing my rights, which were apparently none at the moment.  These nurses were hardened veterans.

My primary goal was to convince the doctor and social worker that all was well, and I was safe to leave.  Unbelievably, I talked my way out of the 72-hour hold.  It took a healthy amount of deception and dishonesty.  However, I didn’t realize the social worker would call my counselor.  For this, I feel genuinely guilty.  I have no hard feelings, and it didn’t affect my trust.  However, I’ve worked hard to be honest with him, and now I’ve broken that.  I value honesty, but more importantly, my release from the hold was an implication that he either made a miscalculation or had the wrong idea.  It doesn’t sit well with me that I put him in a bad light.  If I could just be honest, I would tell him he did the right thing.  I’ll have to ponder that one.  However…for now, I’m just happy to be home.

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The Big Plunge

I’ve been navigating the last several weeks with the attitude that my using has to come to an end.  I keep gearing myself up to feeling more and more ready, and each time, I tell myself that I’ve had enough and it’s not going to bring me any more satisfaction.  While I’m not in love with the idea of quitting, I do feel more ready than I think I ever have.  In the past, I’ve tended to quit impulsively, and then I feel cheated and pissed off because I didn’t have long enough to say my goodbyes.  There’s no promise that quitting will work this time, but I’m giving it my best shot.

I’m trying to pilot this crack at sobriety logically rather than emotionally.  I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting, writing (especially here), and weighing the benefits and drawbacks to a future without heroin.  This morning, my body was causing me a lot of grief.  I’ve consistently trashed it, and I’m worn out.  I’ve been warned about the damage I’ve done to my brain and heart.  I’ve damaged my bones, because unless I have someone looking out for me, I don’t eat.  How can I contribute meaningfully to the world when I can’t take care of myself?  My period stopped a long time ago.  I’m tired all the time to the point where I feel like I move about in a twilight world, but my sleeping habits are deplorable, and I can’t sleep more than an hour at a time.  I used to run 50 miles a week, and now I get tired just walking.  I’m embarrassed writing this, but that’s the ugly side of drugs.  I’ve overdosed in public and by myself, and it’s terrifying.  On Halloween I got to play up the heroin chic look :-) but most of the time,  I don’t like getting looks from people.  I miss wearing short sleeves.

Socially, I’ve dropped out of anything meaningful.  I don’t contribute to causes or volunteer my time.  I’ve quite playing music, which I ache to have back.  I’m past the point where I have to make excuses to friends, because most of them have stopped calling, and they get tired of me always getting fall-down trashed when we go out or having to leave two hours into the evening.  The ones who know get offended when I use in public.  I’ve gotten myself into a lot of dangerous and stupid situations, because I forfeit all control when I’m high.  I never feel lonely with drugs, but sometimes I realize how much I miss what I used to have.  I survived this semester, but I didn’t learn very much, because it was a blur.  I’ve screwed up so badly at work that I don’t know where to begin fixing things.

Reasons to keep using…?  Fuck dependence and withdrawal.  I want to be free of that cycle.  It’s Sunday.  I’m going to finish up the rest of my schoolwork today so that I just have to show up to turn my work in, and by Tuesday I’ll be done with school.  By Thursday when I go to counseling, I will hopefully be on the tail end of being sick.  I can generally get clean on my own if I really try, but I can never maintain it.  I hope counseling will help.  I’m resolved to get on methadone if I relapse, but for now, I’m going to try to save the $70 per week and put it toward counseling and groceries.

Anyway…thanks to all who have been such a support here.  Your encouragement has made all the difference in helping me to feel ready.

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Filed under Drugs, My Life

Hostility Among Friends

Today a friend caught me using.  In a general attempt to avoid presumptuous conclusions, I strive to keep an open mind to how people react to anything in life, but there are a few reactions that I can generally expect to bank on.  My everyday life is dichotomized into two distinct worlds…one with drugs, and one without.  I have logged a lot of hours trying to keep them separate and tie up loose ends, but lately, I feel them converging.  It scares me.  So far, my using has been accompanied by a degree of predictability in both realms.  In the world with drugs, standards of behavior are low enough that nothing is shocking anymore.  People are violent, aggressive, indifferent, and caustic.  In the sober world, such destructiveness is not tolerated, and would certainly elicit strong condemnation.  Loyalty is paramount.

 

My friend broke that streak of predictability today when he discovered my skeleton in the closet.  I quickly conjured up a host of responses that I’ve mentally rehearsed for just such a moment, but he beat me to it.  After stating his surprise, he told me drugs are stupid and people who use them are stupid.  I defensively retorted, “Yeah, well, I’m trying to get a handle on it,” and he fucking laughed at me.  His laugh was insulting, prolonged, and in my face.  He expressed no concern or curiosity.  He was bold and unabashed and doubled up in laughter.  It left me stunned.  My friendship with this person meant the world.

 

His response troubles me.  More and more “sober” friends are finding out about my substance abuse, but for every one that knows the full extent, there are probably two who don’t.  I’ve woven an intricate web of concealment, and when that fails, I remove myself from the group.  I’ve come up with more excuses than I thought humanly possible to explain my absence from everything.  Addiction is a lonely way of life, and it doesn’t take people long to forget.  In that sense, the drug world has routinely offered a relaxed and tolerant respite, because excuses and justifications are never demanded (except in the form of currency, of course).  Now that I’m trying to rebuild healthy contact with people, I’m questioning my next move.  If my friend’s response speaks for others, I might be making a mistake.  Maybe I should let sleeping dogs lie and start over completely…?  It’s frustrating that I managed a half-assed balancing act for a long time, and now that I’m trying to do the right thing, it’s all unraveling.  Adversaries seem to be increasing on both fronts.  Members of my “deviant” circle are lashing out at my attempts to clean up to the point of being aggressive and threatening.  It seems every effort to mobilize toward sobriety is a boomerang right back in my face.  If it’s this hard now, how much harder is it going to get?

 

 

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Filed under Drugs, My Life

Moving Toward Treatment

Yesterday I went to a counseling session.  It felt so good to do something positive for myself.  It lends a new perspective to have things evaluated through the eyes of another person, especially someone who is so clear-headed and objective.  It was quite sobering, and I left feeling both relieved and scared.  We worked on a plan to start moving toward sobriety, although our goals are different…I want to get back to where I’m in control of my using again; he wants me completely clean.  I know I’m deceiving myself if I think I can contain my habit, but the idea of living a chemical-free life for more than a week is alien and nerve-racking.   I have zero capacity for controlled use.

He talked about enabling.  He defined it as people who allow me to use without imposing any negative consequences.  When I think about it in those terms, I guess I know a lot of enablers.  He talked about building a support system of about four people to be a safety net when I’m feeling tempted to use.  I couldn’t give him four names.  We came up with two, but it was a stretch.  My habit has given me the courage and motive to burn bridges, sabotage healthy relationships, and withdraw from the world.  Two years ago I would have been able to name a host of people that I felt close enough to trust and reach out to for help.  Addiction is most efficient when it is safeguarded by isolation.  Over the last couple of years, I’ve consistently chosen addiction over relationships with family and friends.

He talked about methadone.  I’m not sure what to think.  I asked about potential for abuse, and he said there is potential, but distribution is regulated.  I didn’t ask what happens if you crush it up and shoot it with smack, because if it is another way to get fucked up, then I’m all for it.  I will have to learn more about it.  Therein lies my vice…I tend to abuse anything I can get my hands on.  I thought of asking about buprenorphine, since it supposedly has a lower potential for abuse, but I stopped myself because why on earth would I choose a treatment that can’t be milked for another high over one that can?  He did say it’s dangerous to be on heroin and methadone at the same time. 

I don’t know whether it’s wise to voluntarily consent to a government drug test (I assume it would be accessible to the government if it’s through a clinic) and have it become a part of my permanent medical history.  The thought of having my name next to a positive check is profoundly disconcerting.  It may never make a difference, but once I commit, I can’t undo it.  I would hate to clean up, put my life back together, try to get a job in the courts someday, and be denied because the information surfaces. Maybe I should stick to short-term goals and worry more about surviving now than about the far-off future, but I don’t want to dig a hole for myself that I can’t undo.

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Filed under Drinking, Drugs, My Life