Tag Archives: sobriety

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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Ramblings

I needed to psych myself up for my appointment today, so I thought I would come on here and write a little.  I had good intentions.  Then I decided drinking, pills, and generous doses of daytime & nighttime cold medicine (always an interesting variable to any buzz) might be more effective, so I tried that out.  It worked reasonably well, but once again, I went through my counseling session a little foggy.  Holy shit, it was a nightmare.  It didn’t go well at all.  I think we were on completely different pages.

Now I’m home, and I’m so down.  I’m not sure why.  A lot of things were brought up during the meeting that I never wanted brought up.  So maybe I’m weak, and unable to keep secrets, and vulnerable to things that are so far removed from my daily life that they might as well belong to someone living in an alternate universe.  I don’t maintain boundaries very well, and I violated a boundary within myself that I’ve viewed as sacrosanct for the majority of my life.  No one touches it.  I don’t even touch it.  But I breached it today, and now I’m waiting for something along the lines of a lightning bolt from heaven to knock me over.  What does this mean for the future?  Maybe nothing as far as the whole therapy thing, but maybe everything in my own life.  How many times when we were kids did adults tell us…don’t pick old scabs.  Let them heal.  They can scar.  Leave them alone.  My kindergarten teacher must have said that to kids twice a day.  The lesson hasn’t changed.

I realized today that there is a word I have never said.  I’ve never even typed it.  Does anyone else have a word like that?  I figure everyone must.  I knew its meaning even before I knew the word, but it has been off-limits.  Say it to my face, and I will say, “Fuck you.”  Well, probably not, but I might think it.  The counselor said it in passing, and I wasn’t going to say that to him, obviously.  But I wasn’t prepared.  Couldn’t we have just talked about Christmas for an hour?

Then there’s the issue of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination today.  Grr.  Nothing like an opposition leader being assassinated to put piddley things into perspective.  Ah, yes, her government warned her against gathering publicly after she complained about their insufficient attempts at security…but maybe those insufficient attempts were more deliberate than they seemed…okay, I’m trailing.  Time to sign off, as I don’t want my blog to turn into a drunken rambling.

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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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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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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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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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Semester Woes

This semester has been a bit tumultuous.  I slunk back to school after a long break (it’s been over two years with one failed attempt in between).  I jumped into the endeavor without any sensible precautions as to what I could reasonably take on.  It seemed like a breeze.  I was riding high on the fact that I had aced every test and paper, and it seemed perfectly manageable for a while.  To my shy embarrassment, I was the student my teachers were making exemplary examples of (although I was unintentionally acing some of their tests while on cocaine, for which I meekly apologize now).  I thought that if I could just keep going a little longer, I would have the semester successfully bagged.  I lost control a couple of weeks ago, and now I’m scrambling to keep my head afloat.  I hope I prove to be more bouyant than I feel.

I almost forgot to show up for a test when I was high.  Still moderately high, I walked in thirty minutes late and felt pressure to catch up so the rest of the class wouldn’t be waiting on me before all the tests were in and the lecture could begin.  I almost certainly set a new record for speed writing while on heroin.  [A word to the wise: if you find yourself taking a test while mentally compromised, use a pencil.  I did not.]  As it turned out, I flew through the damn thing and turned it in before half the class did.  I get that test back tomorrow.  It goes without saying that my hopes are gloomy.  I should rightfully be failed based simply on the number of times I scratched out my tell-all, ink-etched sentences and started over.

Tuesday is Judgment Day.  I have an hour-long presentation to give on a project that was assigned in early October, but that I’ve conveniently adjourned from my thoughts until this week.  Hmm.  It should be a disaster of colossal proportions, but in light of the worst case scenario, I’m game for offering my classmates an hour of spirited entertainment.

I seem to be at least the second generation in my family to embody this trend.  Well…I’ve dipped to new lows, but I’m not the first to dabble in scholastic debauchery.  My dad was the first that I know of.  He survived high school, college, and law school with perhaps the highest grades and lowest median average of sobriety of any student.  He was voted most outstanding senior by the junior class.  He was elected the head of a straight-laced and straight-faced pre-med fraternity that promptly became suspended after it rapidly deteriorated to the most scandalous party fraternity on campus.  To be fair, he put his nose to the grindstone in law school by working daily and attending classes nightly, but his weekends never lent themselves entirely to studying. 

The fundamental difference between my dad and I is that he was drinking then, and I’m doing drugs now.  However much I laugh at my situation, I cannot possibly continue for long like this.  Heroin and education are fundamentally opposed, not least because of the fact that I hardly remember portions of my life for the last two years.  Even if I continue to grasp course material, memorization is impossible, and I am therefore doomed to fail if I can’t quit.  I don’t think I will fail any classes this semester, which I consider that a bona fide miracle, but I can’t ask to get by on another semester of lucky breaks.  The question now is whether to enroll for any classes next semester or forget about school once again.

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