Posted in Addiction, beauty, family, Goals, Life, People, random

As Promised, Part 2

Hello again…So, this morning I was sharing the first part of something I wrote a few years ago about the end of my drug addiction (hahaha, some of us know that there is REALLY no end to drug addiction, but what I mean is, the end of that very loooong and grueling phase. I call it my twenties.), what it was like and how I felt. I think a lot of times we picture (and I include myself in this as well) drug addicts as unloved junkies and street people, low-life’s and thieves, “bad” people. A lot of times, they are those things. I certainly was. I knew how to behave myself when necessary, but it was hard to pull off a lot of the time. And anyone close to me at all could tell you that I was selfish, mean, manipulative and out for myself, period. I didn’t start out that way, and neither do most of the people that end up in the places addicts end up. We are somebody’s children. We have brothers, sisters, mom’s & dad’s. Friends who miss us, people who worry themselves sick over us, people we haven’t talked to in weeks, months, years. We have children who we lost or ruined or we can’t face. We are people who, in our sickness, walk around with a terrible loathing of ourselves because the only thing wrong with us is a thing we do to ourselves, a thing that is killing us, and we STILL can’t stop. We gave up our dreams, our lives, our health, our futures and we can feel our own lives slipping away, and we can’t just put it down. That’s all that I needed to do-just stop. But I couldn’t seem to do it. Here is the rest.

10/10

You cry for two months solid before you finally give up the fight, before you know with every cell in your body that you just cannot bear one more second of this perverse existence. You no longer even care what is on the other side of where you’re jumping, because it has to be better. Nothing could be worse than this. And so, you jump.

You expect to be bored, and to be boring. You expect to lose your edge, to feel uncool, to never have fun again. You expect to meet nerdy, boring men, get fat and live a mundane and unmentionable life. You believe you have had your fun. But you are so broken that you think that might be okay,  and so you go.

What you don’t expect is for your heart to break open like a flower that has finally found the sun. You have no way to prepare yourself for all the feelings that rush over you like friends who were desperately afraid you would never arrive. You feel full to the brim with hope and ripped in half by guilt, in turns, but you don’t use. It doesn’t even occur to you, for some miraculous reason. You have gotten a taste of something new, something heady, and mysterious, & beautiful, something that lets you rest for the first time in a million years. And you want more. Of course you want MORE!  You are you, after all, but still- this is something altogether different than anything you could have conceived.

The taste of food is like magic all of the sudden. The sun on your skin is to be relished, not escaped from. Your cheeks ache from laughing, your skin becomes rosy, your eyes are blue, and they sparkle. At night, you wrap your child as close as your arms will allow, and you are there with her through the night. You can’t believe how much you love sleeping, and you can’t believe how you fought against it for years, as if it were the enemy. When you wake up in the morning, you are excited about what the day will bring, and when this occurs to you, you press your face into your pillow and you cry. You cry because you forgot what it was like to feel excited about your life, to be glad to be alive, to have hope.  You forgot what it was like to be free, except that all along you had tricked yourself into thinking you were doing what you wanted, partying it up. Funny, not one memory from the past eleven years could match, could even come close, to this eager, happy, hopeful, brand-new feeling you had now. And all you did today so far was open your eyes.

Without realizing it, you have resumed your conversation with God, one that you had put on hold many years ago. It seems reasonable to you that God has been around the whole time, keeping his eye on you, and that it was your shame that kept you from facing Him. You knew what God had blessed you with, how much you were given, the ease with which you could have moved through life if you had chosen too. You had never really believed in sin, but if you did, then throwing away the gifts that God had bestowed on you at birth, that would be one.

God is cool, though. He understands more than he is given credit for, and he certainly has a better perspective. Maybe you were supposed to go through this, maybe it was a lesson. Maybe it was just a choice. Either way, it’s good to have God around again. So good, actually, that you make it a habit to talk to him daily.

Oh, but there’s more. You meet a guy, and he’s not really nerdy or boring, but he does treat you with respect and consideration. You do something totally out of character, and like him despite all of that.

He helps you navigate this new life, and he is exactly the right person at exactly the right time. There seems to be a lot of that going on lately. You get a real job, and keep it, and keep on keeping it, and you never once call in sick because you can’t bear the thought of facing another human being. You open a bank account- this simple act, nothing at all to most people, has you bursting with pride for days. You are surprised to find that people LIKE you, the REAL you,  almost everywhere you go. What’s more, you find yourself understanding why they do. You laugh easily and often, you are engaging and funny and confident. Why wouldn’t you be confident?If you could overcome THAT, well…the rest is just cake, right?

Hmm…so that is all I am going to share for now.  There is more, but that feels like a really good place to stop. I will decide later if I want to put the rest of it out there or not. Anyway, I hope you got something out of reading this, or at the very least, enjoyed it. I’ll be back soon!

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Posted in Addiction, Goals, Life, People, random, Uncategorized, writing

Memory Lane in a BAD Neighborhood

Well, hello, strangers. I haven’t had a lot of time (or the inclination) to write much lately- life has been busy, and filled with a lot of stuff I don’t feel qualified to handle. Unfortunately, there IS no one else, so I don’t have a lot of choice. Work has been insanely busy and I’ve been trying to put in as much overtime as I can (as it turns out, that’s not a whole lot in my case), the little daughter has made it her mission in life to see how many times per day she can come perilously close to killing herself via a multitude of dangerous activities. The big daughter is also trying to get herself killed, only she, it is obvious, wants the old “suicide-by-mom” thing. She is the winner, this week, of the crazy making award. And also, my car is in the shop for a repair that is exorbitantly expensive for a thing that isn’t even freaking broken (timing belt). So I have been reliant on others to taxi me about since Tuesday. In other words, I’ve left my house ONCE.  So, because I’ve been sticking close to home and trying not to kill my children, I’ve had time to dive into the piles of crap I have squirreled away in boxes and bags in every nook and cranny of my home. I went through a small crate and large drawer that were crammed full of notebooks-everything I had written from 1993 forward.  I put my notebooks in chronological order, reading through each one, something I had never done before. What emerged, when taken altogether like that, was a really sad, really clear life story of a troubled, unhappy, desperate girl who has TERRIBLE taste in men. But there was some really great, hopeful stuff in there, too. That’s where I found what I’m posting today, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I stumbled across it the other day. It’s the story of how I felt when I finally got clean and got my life back. (written three years later around the time I relapsed…again…I must have been trying to remind myself of the truth). I am transcribing it word for word, so bear with the structure and the jumping of tenses-I never dreamed it would ever be seen by anyone but me.

10/2008

Today, it dawned on me that this mental beating I give myself every time I make this choice, it is exactly how I felt almost constantly for the 11 solid years I sacrificed to my addiction. Now, I say “almost constantly” because I do clearly recall having SOME fun, albeit bizarre, times in there. But I knew, I knew, I KNEW, as surely as I knew my own face, that I was doing myself a terrible disservice. The way that I kept on and kept on and kept on living that way, until finally it had been YEARS- I knew I was cheating myself, my mom, and my daughter. Just about every one who loved me, or who got sucked into the abyss that was my life, got the short end of the stick.

At some point, you realize you are using now JUST to stay two steps ahead of your own terrible reality sinking in. When you are already so weakened, so compromised, so ghostly, it is terrifying to entertain the thought of actually turning around & seeing the path of destruction you left in your wake. It’s just too, too much.

What I didn’t know then that I do know now, is that continuing to claw your way blindly and frantically ahead is not the answer. It is familiar, and how you do it, and strangely comfortable despite how it looks from the outside. When you are in the middle of  addiction, and it is YOUR horrible, bleak life, you are totally in your element. You know many other creatures just like you, in varying degrees, you have a language, a culture, a kind of code all your own, and you have lived in the shadows for so long that venturing outside of your tiny world causes you extreme discomfort. You no longer know how to interact properly with normal folks, you are too loud or too silent, too nervous, too shifty, too angry, too flippant, too self-involved to even notice how out of sync you are half the time. You get irrationally angry and immediately defensive when the slightest threat is even perceived. This is how you keep folks at bay, being short fused. People don’t press when they are afraid of what might set you off. You are moody and unhappy and you hate every single thing that there is, especially yourself. Except for your daughter. When you look at her, you hate yourself more than you even thought possible, but you love her in the deepest, most tender way. That love is like a weight on your back, only you can’t tell if it is making everything even harder, or if it is the sole thing keeping you planted on earth, or both. Maybe it’s both. But you look at that girl and your throat closes, and your eyes burn, and you can no longer escape the cloak of your despair.

Oh, I am so sorry, but I have to start work right now! There is more, and I will just make it a separate post later today. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed this so far…it truly is that way when you are strung out for so long. It’s a nightmare, and you can’t even figure out what is wrong with you while it is happening to you. In case you ever wondered why “those people” are the way they are and do what they do. It’ s very sad. But it CAN get better, and if you check me out later, you can read the rest.

Posted in Uncategorized

Cadillac Problems

This has been a tough week for me. I don’t know how to explain myself without sounding like a total asshole, so let’s just say…you know how some people, when asked to do something that they really don’t want to do, sort of rise to the occasion, buckle down, and just do it? Well, that would not be me. I am the one who whines, bitches, pouts and expects the world to understand that I am different. Special. Exempt.

I am not proud of this, and most of the time I can conceal it in the outside world. At home, of course, my family and some of my friends (those lucky suckers) get to see the real me. The Courtney who yells and complains and…well, you catch my drift. I’m sure I can’t be alone in this, that there are other people, at least one or two, who behave differently behind closed doors. Right? Anyway, this is usually not so bad, it doesn’t last long before I am my cheerful old self again. Once in a while though, I can’t shake it.

This has been one of those times. Work is really challenging for me right now…I just deleted the whole paragraph I wrote here, it was so whiny. Here’s the deal. I am tired, I’ve been sick, and there are lots of other things I would rather be doing than working ten hours a day. These are my feelings. At work, we are short handed, on a deadline, and way behind. These are the facts. And here I sit, making a big old fuss over the fact that they need me a little bit extra right now.

What I need to remember is this ( and I am going to be very honest about some shit you may not know about me ) : There have been great lengths of time in my life where I was too much of a mess to do anything at all for anybody. The problems I have today are so beautiful compared to the problems I have struggled with in years past, I am actually smiling right now thinking about it. Not because it is funny, but because, (Thank God) I am finally remembering and feeling how blessed I really am.

You see, I was one of those girls you might meet and later think “Wow…that chick was a hot mess.” Or, if it was a good day, “What a nice girl…what a waste, eh?”. There was a time in my life when my addiction to drugs was so crippling, I could no longer participate in life like a normal person, and I existed in that alternate universe of a drug addict- a world that is going on all around all of us, right now, twenty four hours a day. I am not that girl today, but there was a time when I was afraid that was all I would ever be. I did not know how to change, and fear kept me frozen for many years.

I was talking to some girls recently about the blessing of keys- sounds weird, right? But for me, the keys on my key ring mean something. One of them goes to the front door of my house, one goes to my car, (the rest of them, I have no clue where they go anymore, and I don’t know why I still have them) I used to have one to my old office. When I was using still, I didn’t have keys to anything. At different times, I had no home of my own, no car of my own, no hope in the foreseeable future of getting those things. I had lost the privilege of access to my own mothers house, for Pete’s sake. Today, those keys are something I take for granted most of the time, but when I think about it, it’s pretty amazing.

This is not easy for me to write about- not because I am ashamed of it (although I am certainly not proud), I am not. It’s part of who I am, and there’s no point in shying away from that. But it does make me feel sad, a little bit, to think about those years I could have spent doing so many wonderful things. And it makes me feel uncomfortable as hell to see me, as I was then, through clear eyes. The important thing is, I DID change. One day, I was just too beaten up to go one step further on that path, and I gave in. In the circles I run in, we call that surrender…and it is good.

When I look back on the things that happened in my life after that, it’s sort of unreal. I was so thrilled to be living my life finally, I never once got hung up on how far behind everyone else I was. I never even thought that way. I was thirty when I finally opened my first bank account. My daughter was seven the first time she had her own bedroom. I was thirty three when I rented that apartment with it’s two bedrooms, and I was never more proud. It was actually a dumpy little place in a pretty bad area of Sparks, Nevada, but I was happy as hell. I had a full time job that I never missed and I went to school at night, full time, and I was exhausted. But I was clean, I was happy, and I was free. Nothing mattered more to me than that.

When I moved back here to the coast, it wasn’t without a bit of hesitation- I was leaving behind a life that was pretty good to return to a place where I’d caused a lot of turmoil and heartache. But I had this amazing job opportunity, and I was homesick, and I thought it could be better, this time. When I got the job I still have today, I walked through the parking lot every day for a year pinching myself. No way, this could not be my life, they were going to find out who I was and ask me to leave. But that never happened, and in the last four years, they have learned ALL about me, and they love me anyway.

Today, I have a house I love, right up the road from the beach. It has a claw foot tub in the bathroom, a nook off the kitchen with sky-lights where I sit now to write this. It has a cool little hidden courtyard in the back full of jasmine and ivy and flowers I can’t name. My two beautiful daughters each have their own room. The bills that arrive here are addressed to me, and most of the time, I pay them. What I am saying is, it seems pretty ridiculous to complain about where I am when you think about where I was, and where I could have wound up.

If no one else gets anything out of that, it sure helped me. I’ll talk to you guys later. I have to get to work. And I’m going to do it without complaining.