I had one of those horrible dreams about getting high. I don’t remember the specifics, but I woke up two hours later than I usually do, all sweaty and disoriented. I’m still trying to shake it off. Even when I was 3–4 years clean, I would have dreams like that and have trouble separating them from reality when I woke up. It’s very unsettling. I would think about how I had to tell everyone that I had messed up and how disappointed they would be, until I realized it was only a dream.
Obviously, someone isn’t going to use drugs their whole life, stop, and the subconscious is just going to get over it. There’s a whole visceral connection to drug use because drugs are really powerful. When I was a kid, smoking pot out of a Mountain Dew can, I had no idea the monster I was waking up would be so powerful, that it would become this force that encompassed my whole existence eventually.
When I was out there in the later years, it felt like someone else had hijacked my brain’s steering wheel and was driving my body around. I can’t figure out another way to describe it. I have used drugs and alcohol in a way that felt like it was against my will. All it takes is the ingestion of the first one to hand the keys over to some demon that is hell-bent on my total destruction. That part made sense to me around age 28 when I read the Big Book of AA for the first time, and it detailed a phenomenon of craving that I had felt in me for as long as I can remember.
If I know it’s true, it’s hard for me to make sense of whatever drives me to take that first one. If I logically know that it relinquishes all my control to some force that will send me to the worst places I’ve ever been, I guess this is the mind-boggling thing to everyone with any proximity to an addict. What would possess someone to poke the monster again, after periods of vast improvement and all things going way better?
I typed myself into a corner with this one because I don’t have an answer. I don’t know why someone who could plainly see literal scars on his flesh from active addiction would think to themselves, “Ahh, maybe I can make it work this time,” despite there being zero evidence that he could ever make it work. I hear people talk about a moment that they realized they had lost control and think to myself that I never lost control because I never really had any. If I knew about addiction, what I know now, I would have recognized it in myself, probably before I even used any drugs. I played DOOM alcoholically. I did everything like that. I still do everything like that. If it isn’t drugs, it’s something else.
If I have anything, it’s self-awareness. I am aware of so much of who I am and what I do. If I wasn’t, there wouldn’t be over 550 posts on a blog examining all of it. As I come to the seeming end of being in the controlled environment I’m in, I’ve really been thinking about how I can prevent putting myself back into a place like this ever again, because I’m really very over it. There are a lot of things in life to distract me from the fact that I absolutely need to make sure I don’t get into the thoughts that I could manage drug use this time, if only X or Y.
I am not as afraid of anything in this whole life as I am of my own mind. There is nothing that has, or will, or could subject me to more harm. I have gone to the kind of extreme lengths that have placed me at the brink of death to try to avoid my own thoughts. I am not at all unique in this, luckily, which brings me to something I’ve been thinking of doing, and I mentioned I was on the fence about in my last post. I was thinking I’d download the “Meeting Finder” app and go to a 12-step meeting in Queens when I’m out in the world again. I was thinking I might try to forget all of the things I think about what that is and where I’ve been with it. Maybe if I am going to think about it all, I could remember the positive things that happened when I was really deep into it, the community.
I’ve done a lot of examination of my thinking. Discounting the positive is a recurring theme. It would serve me very well to not believe in all of my thoughts as fact and conduct myself based on what I think to be true. I can easily isolate myself from any voices other than the one in my head, which is the worst one for me to listen to. The more I sit and think about it, the better the whole “go to a meeting” thing sounds.
I’ll be reminded, I have people that will remind me. I have to actually shut the fuck up and listen to them, which is the real challenge.