A Day in the Life


drug-addict

This is my life. There is no rationality, no planning, scant expectation of success. An ego the size of this planet argues with a weakly protesting child, and the outcome is so basic that it bears minimal mention. Joy in one, anger and loathing in the other.

Note: written in 2014 following essentially a normal day with a relapse before my marriage collapsed. Not surprising I suppose considering the state that I was in.

You can be aware of it with a sense of resignation knowing that the inevitable outcome will be yet another failure of your will and the joy of just another day wiled away in discontent. There is an internal battle, naturally – who really wants to fight themselves mentally trying to prove that it’s wrong to do the thing the other part of you demands, regardless of the consequences. 1:30pm is about when it kicked in, and the fight was short, I had already been snorting buproprion despite all the fears brought on from yesterday’s clear overdose and seeming serotonin syndrome. Hallucinations, confusion, twitching, staggering, blind terror….certainly seems like something that you would want to do over and over again. I had been safely knocking off items from my to-do list, planned to tackle so much more for the day, when the fluttery thought of a cold beer dusted across my determination to continue the 48hr. streak of happiness and health I had been maintaining. So what if it was an hour walk to the liquor store and I had a pocket half filled with change.

Cut forward 8-hrs to my wheedling, intimidating, and self-righteous anger with my wife because she won’t give me the grocery money so I can get a pack of cigarettes.

This is my life. There is no rationality, no planning, scant expectation of success. An ego the size of this planet argues with a weakly protesting child, and the outcome is so basic that it bears minimal mention. Joy in one, anger and loathing in the other.

I’ve always questioned whether or not the majority of most other individuals at AA or NA meetings have experienced that same flat out smothering weakness. Non-committal and breaking at the slightest touch. I’m not sure. The “Big Book” speaks on “incomprehensible demoralization,” but there is always a touch of glamorization around each escapade that denotes in the back of my head some control. To be truly out of it, with only the smallest hint of coherency or willingness to fight against the thing destroying you – probably just my arrogant inner self bleating for sympathy because I must be just that damn bad. If the world had more people like me, I’m sure they would have popped up on my radar some time. Then again, AA preaches terminal uniqueness and loss of control as some of the basic precepts to their program. Depending on the time of day I’ll feel one way or the other about it.

To put it in perspective on a physical level, imagine yourself preparing to make dinner, say a tasty salad or some such other vegetablish item. Now picture that about halfway through, a casual thought about how tasty some meat would be in addition to the salad, but sadly you lack the funds. Before you finish, you’ve discussed the variables, the outcome, the possibilities, the pain – and you’ve come to a conclusion – your finger would make the perfect accoutrement. Down with the knife, up to the lips, and in a heartbeat, you’ve maimed yourself over a passing thought. Now that the moment is over, you can embrace the pain and relish the understanding of how sick you must be, provide yourself that information for an ongoing reference to continue justifying your actions.

But this disease sustains, it offers glimmers of hope, of optimism among the shroud of misery that you wear over your daily interactions with the world. This last time, that was absolutely the last time. Tomorrow you’ll feel better, and you’ll be stronger for having survived another ordeal. Until the day comes that you bitterly and pathetically weep that there won’t be a tomorrow with longing and hope for your expiration. Choking on tears and gasping prayers to any god or devil that will listen to remove the pain once and for all. Prayers so rarely answered it seems.

I told my wife at counseling that I had given up, but was balancing the need to see her, my son and my unborn child set-up someplace where I would know them to be safe and housed comfortably with a cushion in front of them. Seconds earlier, our counselor, Paula, who had initially been working one on one with me, had announced that she would no longer be working with me as she felt that there was nothing she could do to help and had become discouraged.

“Well, then why haven’t you gone out full tilt?”

At my core, I’m still a coward. I know where that will take me. Not where I hope it will, but likely to an institution or a jail where that one prized aspect to my existence that I have ever embraced as the key to masking the inner turmoil; independence. I don’t want to lose my family, and I would to delude myself for a few moments longer that all is not lost. I want to feel like I did one good thing as I crashed to Earth. Even if that single action was a mere minor amelioration of the damage so unjustly caused by me on way down.

And I’m human.

I’m scared.

 

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A Boy Named Wolf


EDIT 12/12/16: Was asked to remove the picture of my son as part of my ongoing dispute with the ex-wife. Image has been replaced with “Fort Taber” which is the location this interaction originally took place in the short story by the same name as this excerpt. Thank you for reading.

A Boy Named Wolf

Drugs/Alcohol: “I am not an individual, yet each singular person has the capacity to carry my spirit into the world. I am multiplied with each additional user, yet the core of what I am remains the same. I am not contained within powders or bottles or needles. Merely vehicles by which I extend myself physically into the world. On the plane of thoughts, I am a gateway to dreams, goals, opportunity, capacity, capabilities and opportunity. Emotionally, I am happiness, relief, dependable joy, relaxation, inspiration, and intensity unleashed. For your spirit, I provide for comfortable faith in a tactile form which offers succor to all who kneel and bring me inside their life.

I am a God who responds. Who ensures your prayers will be answered immediately. I am gratification instantly without the annoyance of patience. Why would you not want me? I an the perfect answer to your questions not even asked.”


Wolf:  “I’ve seen your work in my life, in the sickness of a father, the loss of my home, tears from mother, and a sister who doesn’t know “DADDY” as anything other than a voice on the phone. There are no dreams with any substance you truly provide. No lasting materialization of each temporary respite from reality. Each fades to an increasingly nightmarish awareness as you strip health, dignity, and passion from those penitent before your strength of persuasion.

Smiles only mask tears as, boldfaced, your flock sells such sweet lies to the innocent children begging for the love of time lost.

                “Physically, regardless of form, you corrode the natural state of each being. You disregard the value of life, diminishing the ability to explore the world we inhabit. Your demands for attention outweigh the critical needs of food, water, and shelter. You let your acolytes freeze, burn, and starve for your favor. Their dependence on you grows until your absence inflicts pain while your presence soothes the body and places the agony on their mind and soul. You are rust on a cog in the machine that is our body. Our one indispensable and limited currency to share and create precious moments with – time. You cut our lives short, and we can never regain that. Each moment so brief that we are hardly aware of its passing until it has gone. Even having escaped you, the damning repercussions of your presence will haunt the body with ailments and injury well past when you have departed.

You are the plea for death, to cut life short in mercy, for in desperation you trick our bodies to betray us.

                “In mind, you cause your lovers thinking to be so distorted as it must be to fit existence into conforming with your view of the world. It must warp to escape the horror that has become life. Defenses of the mind are erected, devolving willpower in lieu of rationalization, justification and denial. Barriers to the truth that they are not intellectually inferior, but infected by a sickness of the mind that cripples the capacity to confront, honestly, personal shortcoming in order to improve upon them. You delude, misguide, frustrate, reshape, and manipulate the mind until your followers rely on you to lead and direct every choice and belief.

You weaken the gift of thought, voiding the opportunity to mentally defeat you. No answer do you offer, only the question, why?

                “Emotionally, you shatter confidence, replace hope with fear, pride with arrogance, love with hate. You contaminate innocence with misery, motivation with desperation, joy with despair, excitement with impulse. Regret begets guilt, guilt begets shame, and shame erodes the experience of the present and the internal support of conviction and commitment to construct a fulfilling future – much less belief in an ability to do so. Satisfaction and acceptance with hollowness and insecurity. You are the complete removal of optimism and hope.

You are the ultimate resentment in self. You are obsession, self-loathing, and self-destruction.”

                “You are bankruptcy of the soul, there is no spirituality to be sound in you. Where faith should increase as blessings are counted, gratitude succumbs to grandiose beliefs about our place in the spectrum of control. The dilution of the spirit by artificial inflation of ego. Eyes are cast down instead of up when your supplicants seek nurturing. All values are destroyed to make way for your replaced design of integrity.

Your capital is misery, spreading like a plague to crush out the glow we each are born with – the blessing from beyond. You become the reason for prayers unanswered.


Drugs/Alcohol: “Child, you have not tasted the wealth of my love yet. There is fire here to prime you to any task filled at your slightest whim. Oceans of milky light cast from the fullest of moons to soothe you into peaceful waking slumber to dream and adventure as only the imagination can let you.

Courage at the waiting lips of a bottle wanting to embrace yours as only a lover could….”


Wolf“No. Lies. Stories. Manipulations and deceit. No. Not now. Not ever. You have stripped away the love that once beat loudly in the heart of the man I knew as father. I’ve seen his broken eyes, and watched the crippling frustration of a young man dying as an old one.

No. You have claimed enough from me and my family. You CANNOT and WILL NOT have any more. Leave, you are not welcome here.

I love you more than words can ever tell and am so proud of you Wolfie. You are always on my mind.

~End~

Please excuse grammatical errors (proofreading at 4am is tough). This is an excerpt from a story I’ve been working on to try and process my absence and loss of family owing to drugs and alcohol. Wolf is actually the name of my son, and I am so proud of him. He knows (I hope) that he is still my sunshine, now and always, even if I can’t be there. Format was played with a little. Please comment, email me – I am truly interested to know what the larger world thinks of this kind of writing.

Is BiPolar Mania a Drug to an Addict?


From a general standpoint, every mental illness (at least in my experience) offers it’s afflicted a slightly varied experience from the next in line. The numbers rattle off to “BiPolar Disorder Type I – Last Manic Episode Severe w/o Psychosis.” Next up is the well beloved Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) rounding out with Borderline Personality Disorder for good measure.

In a world of “medicated everyone” not many people blink an eye when the sack of pills comes out. Though in a strangely uncomfortable way it occasionally strikes me to explain what they’re all for and watch them adjust their demeanor in that so common and anxiously polite manner I’ve come to expect.

Here’s the kicker. When I was running a sales organization with a 150 reps, and quotas, plane travel 5 days a week – outside of the unchecked alcoholism at the time – you would never have known. The counselor that has finally found a checkmark next to his name for me continuously tries to reinforce that the mania can be used as an asset, a tool.

That’s where the differentiations come in for all of us.

In the early stages, mania feels like the beginning of fearless adrenaline rush without any edge. Endless possibilities are all within easy reach potentially. The stacks of chaotic problems encroaching all around are not only solvable but nearly laughable in their simplicity. With a blossoming confidence that transcends arrogance to simply become conviction that ANYTHING that I want to do right now I could do. Usually, I start walking, headphones in, my face will become unable to hold onto anything but a ear splitting toothed smile as I laugh out loud looking at the oncoming traffic. Air crisps or whistles across my skin. It’s the first moment you meet a new woman, it’s the first cigarette in the morning, it’s a tank of gas in the car and a world to explore, and it’s far to exquisitely perfect to be sustainable.

For me, this is where it starts. To the reader, if you felt as though there was nothing you couldn’t accomplish, the world was your oyster for a day – would you find it tempting to hold onto that?

Challenge #1 with comorbidity and dually diagnosed:

  • Regardless of consequences, addiction says “If it feels good, do it. Do it again….”
  • Mania can feel equally as potent as the strongest narcotics, with the same hazing of rational cause/effect evaluation.

The logical outcome is the circular pattern of up, down, feel bad, look for other options. Recovering from addiction is reliant almost entirely on the willingness to simply hand in the weapons and stop fighting. Surrender to the reality it is a losing fight, and if you stay away from using, you are on your way to brighter things.

Mania is deceitful though. Sure, it’s easy to throw an ungodly sum of anti-psychotics down someone’s throat until the pattern may well be nearly impossible to repeat. It could be argued on some level, that while a Thorazine shuffle isn’t a high quality of life, if it’s sufficient to overcome the initial hurdles of early sobriety without a high flying manic swing knocking you off the tracks, I don’t know how hard I’d argue against it.

That said, I’m a stubborn and foolish individual who continues to bolster the thought that, “If we just edge down the manic swings a touch so that I don’t feel like me I bet it would work…”

The reality is that I’m trying to stay high without thinking of it that way directly. My brain will pull magnificently orchestrated rationalizations out of the neurons they were stuffed for a rainy day until I’m willing to concede, that maybe, just maybe, this time everything will balance out. This is where the big kicker comes into play.

Challenge #2 deals with facts:

  • Not only do I know that I can do anything while manic, I’ve proved it to myself so many times over that it feels like I’m reliant on the mania to accomplish anything. Without tipping off into psychosis (which I’m blessed to not endure), in full blown mania, I truly will be the bizarrely entertaining, wildly offensive yet endearing, crazy charismatic and charmingly maniacal life of any party. FYI – sales is both a great and terrible place to put this to use.
  • Factually, I know that I only will have about 1-2 days of the enjoyable mania before it starts to turn me into something wildly unpredictable, sleep deprived, and consumed with a NEED for more – which inevitably leads into the cycle all over again.

 

I had written something try and put it in perspective for my poor parents who have watched this for 15+ years. Mania tried to capture all the blended excitement and frustration attendant with the feeling.

In essence, as everything builds up further and further, I force myself into a corner where the only outcome is going to be using my own self prescribed medication, or face another hospital which in the throes of mania seems completely ludicrous.

I recognize that the world looks at the series of insane adventures that have certainly occurred, the days without sleep, the spontaneous flights of fancy and even actual flights as something only a “crazy” person would do. Certainly, there is an element out of the norm, that’s why I’m taking medication and working on counseling in the first place. But for all the oddness, I delude myself with imagining that there is an element of jealousy beneath the demeaning words tossed around.

When things fade down, I’m always certain to get right back into the cycle with meds, visits, check-ups, retrospection. Invariably when the cycle completes I’ve lost my job, money is gone, probably overdosed once, and I’m homeless and coming back to family with my hand out. There is an absolutely bittersweet element to everything related to the upswings in BPD (much as I’m sure there are to the down as well).

This is not a life that I want to lead. I am working to follow the directions and accept the help of those still willing to offer it. So often though – just like with drugs and alcohol – all the progress fades away when the world takes on that special hue, sharpens up, and the rush comes on. I’ve lost homes, my wife, family, my life 6x (god bless Narcan), and even access to see my children for fear I’ll disappear again and leave them devastated. In the same breath, I left my pregnant wife nearly bankrupt and verging on foreclosure before she divorced me, and since, there are wide oceans of wreckage that spill against the happy homes of those that dared to care.

If you happen to see someone else having the time of their life while they pour gasoline on everything they’ve worked so hard for – speaking from experience – the smile is masking a far greater pain and frustration then is easily seen.

Tears from laughter and tears from misery both look the same.

This was originally written as an awareness building essay for another site that didn’t use it, so I’ll feed myself (and anyone who cares to listen to me prattle) the leftovers. Thank you for reading, and I really would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. ~S

The Rules


 

ADULT:

“Thanks for the signpost there world,

Good to know where the cliffs and hot stoves are,

I’m not sure I totally understand all the reasons why,

But that’s okay – keeps me from getting hurt.”

“TEEN”

“Your rules suck,

You don’t understand me or what I need at all,

I know enough to know I’ll be fine which means you just don’t get it.

I’m absolutely going to get away with it, maybe, if I know I won’t get caught.”

CHILD:

“Why?

What will happen?

I’m probably going to be upset even if you tell me,

But eventually I’ll trust why you say no,

Be patient because I’m still learning.”

ADDICTS:

“You put up a something in front of me and now it’s in my way,

There are a million reasons that I need to be over that obstacle and you don’t understand or really appreciate them anyways,

I’m different from you in so many ways that I can barely imagine what that rule is about,

Doesn’t really matter much because I’m going to do what has to be done anyways,

If that means I have to explain why i did it afterwards,

The rules are there to be broken anyways,

Loosen up and just let me do what I want to,

This is happening one way or another so help me or just move aside,

Fuck it.”

BI-POLAR (Type 1) FULL MANIA:

“Interesting that you feel that way,

However because you don’t understand that this is connected to the three things I’m working on here which are actually very important to you it must be a mistake that this obstacle is here and I will have to just go around it or through it or maybe change how I see it so that its not actually there at all,

That first push didn’t really work and now I’m really quite angry at this entire arrangement and the ways that is is keeping me from doing what I should actually be doing right now so I’ll have to do this again and more clearly figure out how to get this done like only I can do,

Alright, I’m way more clever then you and this is total bullshit that you’re still in my way despite this fascinating understanding I have of what the other side of this looks like and how good its going to be,

Fuck, I kind of forgot why I wanted to do this in the first place, but there’s a lot of pressure around me getting it done and I made a decision to do it originally for some reason that will surely become clear since nothing bad will be able to happen to me after I take the steps that I’ll figure out when I get to that point and anyways this is way more important then the reasons why you think I shouldn’t especially since I could do anything damn near perfectly right now and that looks like a lot of fun,

Get out of my way or I’m going to snap and that’s not going to be pretty.

I’m just going to do this now.

Wow, that was interesting, but look, another wall, I bet there’s something pretty cool behind it….”

#bruteforceandignorance = happy rock climber


Leap Frog, V7, Lincoln Woods – DYNO

This might truly be the only surviving video of me participating in the one activity that used to hold my mind firmly in place. Rock climbing is an obsession over which I used to fiend, dream, and bathe in.

You earn the sore hands and muscles.

There is something satisfying beyond all reckoning when you finally complete a problem that has been stumping you for days, months, or hell, years. It’s a competition against yourself.

Maybe something I’ll be able to restart as the past fades deeper into, well, the past.

Exhausted by my Lizard Brain


Totally burned out from my own stupidity.

 I’m a bundle of rubber bands soaked in gas and shot from the pointer finger of a child into a hornets nest occupied recently and hanging ominously over the heads of the “citizens” I interact with and think I care about.

Marbles on the floor.

Bloated pig boy climbing a greased pole with a pit of leaches for incentive.

A wobbling top hatted cat man sans tail inviting strangers and catastrophe into other strangers homes.

I’m Murphy’s Law made flesh and bone. When Murph cuts me slack, I hack the rope.

A failed sexual attempt and that moment when you know it just ain’t going to happen. Suspended in that moment where a million statements collide with shame, curiosity, frustration, resignation, and humiliation is the tug boat that hauls my mental shipwreck offshore to sink.

I’m birds glued to a windshield.

I’m an emotional, meat bodied Golem running on a baseline lizard brain and no directive.

It’s exhausting…shouldn’t be…doesn’t have to be. No one need get hurt emotionally. I think the drunken assembly team floating out in the ether had an apprentice on shift for when the wiring went in. Fuck. 

In The Yard


Blistering heat from a liquid sun,

That has burned up thoughts,

My eyes, their soul and my fun.

What brought on this sanguine approach?

Lost crouching and encroaching on sad joys and lost hope,

I’ve spun out my wheels into newly made glass,

Sand heated to molten,

Razing a shimmering patch.

Skidded to halt over stones constructed as ruts,

My misery shines through soaked in blood, tears, and guts.

Systematic breakdown of holy while high,

Head snapping, throat shaking, body trembling, while I –

Stagger to golden notes,

Choke quietly on the last strand of hope,

Chase goals through my screams,

Praying each daymare fades to a dream,

Balance desperately on life’s beam.

Stable for now,

Scared to say how.

Each breath shoves me closer to the edge,

Welling up my sweet desperate pledge,

To my kids and myself –

“I’ll change this life to a road followed out of hell.”

My mind and spirit can shatter,

Leave me mad as Alice’s hatter –

And though clouds block her burn,

To touch that blistering heat of our liquid hot sun,

Is to what I aspire and yearn.