I wasn’t going to write about this but given recent events, it seems like a good time.
I’m an addict.
I’ve been clean for going on 8 years now. That’s 2959 days since the last time I used any kind of illicit substance. 2959 days and counting. When addicts talk about their demons, they use the word “demon” because it’s the only word in English that conveys how insidious addiction is. We all have our little voices, the things our conscious minds tell us during our day. Sometimes, it’s innocuous things like “stand up straight”, “suck in your gut”, and “you should call that person”. For an addict like me, it’s like constantly standing at the top of a skyscraper looking over the edge. The voice says “Jump because you can fly”. For 2959 days, another voice chimes in immediately, “No, you can’t”. So far, the second voice has won out.
My greatest fear as an addict is that one day the voice encouraging me to fly will win out. Imagine standing at attention every day for a week straight. No sleep, no rest, just on your feet and fully aware every single day. That’s what life is like every day for an addict. Add in a depressive disorder that rears its ugly head up at least 3 or 4 times a year and you’ve got a recipe for interesting times. Some days are easier to handle than others. And there are some days, like the entire month of September of 2013, which test my resolve to stay clean.
Occasionally, I’ll drink, just to take the edge off. By occasionally I mean once every three or four months and even then it’s maybe three drinks over the course of seven or eight hours. Alcohol was once my drug of choice when it became the cheaper demon to purchase. Now, I can have alcohol in my home and not feel the immediate need to get hammered. Having a drink is a luxury I afford myself in order to give my demon a little taste, a little something to shut the fucker up long enough to get through the next few weeks. For some, total abstinence is needed to survive. I find those people to be among the most courageous. Russell Brand is someone I admire for his recovery and his campaigning for abstinence drug treatment plans.
There’s no cure for my demon. The only methods I know of to deal with it are to placate it or to lock it away. The only other option is to listen to it, take the jump, and let it convince you that when you hit the pavement below, you’ll bounce right off like Looney Tunes. But I won’t bounce. I’ll break and it won’t be me picking up the pieces. It’ll be my friends, my family by choice and my family by blood, which will have to pick up the pieces. That’s the reality my everyday life.