Saturday, September 14, 2013

Utterly powerless over addiction

 Update: After beginning work on this blog post I found out that my good friend from back east, T, killed himself earlier this month.  T was a very close friend who I have always considered my family and we have lived together and gone through alot of shit together.  I miss him terribly and wish I could have done something to prevent his suicide.  In light of his tragic death I would like to dedicate this post to T and to his family who is now grieving his loss.  I will always love you my brother, I pray that your pain is over now and that you are in a better place.  The people whose lives you touched will never forget you. <3 Rest in Peace.
T and myself in a squat in Portland, Maine 2011

Recently, it's interesting, I have started re-evaluating how I remember certain events.  My perception at the time of these events really shaped the way I had remembered them until recently, now it's like scales of bullshit have fallen from my eyes and I am starting to see things as they actually were.  I remember one of the last times I went to New York City before moving out west, I left from Portland Maine with two female friends, let's call them Nick and Jack.  Jack is a very close friend of mine.  She is one of those rare people who has the ability to drink or use drugs with moderation.  When she says she can quit something any time she wants to it is actually the truth and not one of those lies addicts tell themselves, this is because Jack is not an addict.  I have always envied and admired this quality in her, sadly I myself clearly do not possess this same strength of character, as history has shown me time and time again.  Nick does not use hard drugs.  I was experiencing a brief period of abstinence from heroin though I was still binge drinking, doing the occasional hallucinagen, and smoking weed like it was crack.   I promised my friends before we left Maine that I would not do any heroin when I got to New York.  In all reality, though I may not have fully realized it at the time, the only real reason I ever went to New York was to shoot dope.  Therefore promising not to was an impossible promise for me to make, to me, NYC is the Disneyland of heroin.  The very first night we got to New York after spending a day in Boston, we were invited back to a squat some friends of mine were staying in.  We all got really drunk, I noticed that one of the guys in the squat was shooting up in the bathroom.  Despite direct pleas from my friends not to use, I bought two bags of heroin and shot them up right in front of them.  Jack was very upset and disappointed with me, I had lied to her and betrayed her trust.  At the time I was angry at them for holding me to my promise, I thought they should understand that I was a dope fiend and I was just doing what dope fiends do, how could they get pissed off at me for doing my thing?  I rationalized the whole thing to myself, I didn't really care how they felt.  Over the next few days I continued to get high, picking up where I had left off with my habit, and stopped hanging out with Nick and Jack.  They found their own people to hang out with while I ran around with my junkie friends. After a week I had basically ditched them in New York City after promising I would not do that exact thing.  This was the THIRD time I had done this same fucking thing to Jack.  She ended up leaving New York and going home by herself, I spent a month or two there following around the boy I started doing dope with 8 years ago who I was sadly (as in pathetic) and desperately in love with for many years even though he would never feel the same way about me, running around shooting mass amounts of heroin, and sleeping in squats or on the street. Nick stayed in New York but would not talk to me, she was clearly disgusted by my lack of resolve.  I have never apologized to Jack for this incident or the two other times I ditched her in New York.  Jack has always been an amazing, immensely patient, and kind friend to me.  I am lucky to have her in my life even still.  I can't imagine how it must have felt for her being on the receiving end of my callous junkie bullshit over and over again.  This incident, for me, really illustrates the nature of my disease.  I am completely and utterly POWERLESS over my addiction.  No matter how much I want to abstain, my will and resolve completely collapses when the opportunity to get high presents itself.  Even if it doesn't, I will seek it out.  That is why seeking out a spiritual path to recovery is my only hope of ever conquering my addiction, I have shown myself time and time and time again that I cannot do it on my own no matter how much I want to.  That is the epitome of powerlessness, my life while using was the epitome of an unmanageable existence.

A lot of what I have been reading in AA with M or in groups from the Big Book lately has correlated to this concept of being powerless.  We have read several stories about people who, even though they wanted to quit drinking and made promises and resolutions to that affect, would suddenly find themselves in a bar close to blacking out or waking up from one days later and wondering what the fuck had just happened.  Bill Ws' story is full of such instances.  Every time we addicts and alcoholics have told ourselves "this time is the last time" without actually doing anything besides relying on our will power, our wills have failed us and we have gone right back to our addictive behaviors.   This has happened to me way more times than I can list, and it is really infuriating and demoralizing, I have learned that I really can't trust myself, and that I have no actual will power to speak of when it comes to drugs and alcohol.  To put it bluntly, that fucking sucks dicks, but unfortunately it is the reality of the situation.  What then can I do to put my life of active drug use behind me?  Like the 2nd step says, I need to "[come] to believe that a power greater than [myself] can restore [me] to sanity" and step 3 "Make a decision to turn [my] will and my life over to the care of God as I under[stand] him."  It's that simple, I cannot do it myself, no one can do it for me, therefor nothing short of DIVINE INTERVENTION can heal me from my insane and hopeless addiction.  I am not going to talk or debate about God right now.  No, I am not a religious person, but like I have said before I am willing to try anything right now that will help me change my life, and I am certainly not going to close the door on God and spirituality just because I harbor some negative opinions about organized religion.  There is a huge difference between religion and faith, or religion and spirituality.  I will not engage in a debate about this right now as it is besides the point.  I'm sure the discussion will be had at some point in the future.

At the conclusion of my two lists about how my life had become unmanageable I wrote the following...
Most of all my day to day life had become exhausting, repetitive, and completely devoid of any joy or hope.  I lived in horrible environments surrounded by (in San Francisco at least) fucked up people and I was turning into a bad person myself.  The brief respites of cheap happiness my drug use allowed me paled in comparison to the overall horror of my life.  Over the years I had lowered every one of my standards and morals and I had given up everything I loved to further my addiction.  I was seriously considering suicide as I felt it was the only escape from the pain of my existence.  I was too exhausted even to continue the daily cycle of my addiction.  I was powerless over drugs and alcohol and my life had become completely unmanageable.

I posted before in 'Scars on my Soul - Past Sex Work and Recovery' about my shame concerning my past actions and how I degraded myself sexually through prostitution, among other things.  (I have to qualify this at this point with the fact that I absolutely DO NOT consider sex work in general to be a shameful occupation.  I just feel that my motivations and the way it manifested through my addictions were harmful to me.  I thoroughly support sex worker rights and its' further legalization to support sex workers and make to it safer for those who practice it.)  I felt as if no one would be able to relate to me and like I had crossed a line and done things I could never take back or make amends for.  I spoke to another mentor I have met recently, let's call her S for the purposes of this blog.  She went through very similar shit as me when she was still using, she was a junkie as well and also sold her body to support her habit, though you would never guess any of that shit from seeing her now.  She is a very strong and respectable woman who is  very successful in life, she radiates confidence and self acceptance, S is an inspiration to me.  Talking to her really helped me gain some perspective and allowed me to hope a little bit for my future.  If someone like S can move on from that kind of depravity and hopelessness there is no reason why I can't as well.  I can only hope that in the future I can provide other women (or men) with the same kind of hope by telling my story.

My dad sent me an awesome package in the mail which I received the other day.  Along with a nice card and some much needed spending money, he went to an art store and bought me a huge oil painting kit, four packs of fancy brushes, another set of oil paints, and an art pad.  I was ecstatic, I really need a creative outlet, and it was such a thoughtful gift.  I love my dad.  He is very sick with cancer and I am trying to spend as much time with him as possible.  I will be going to visit him in the beginning of October, and though being around that side of my family will present a lot of challenges to my newfound sobriety, I am really looking forward to hanging out with my dad.  My father is also a recovered heroin addict, he has over 20 years clean off dope and is another source of hope and inspiration for me.  He does however smoke a shit ton of weed, and I have always enjoyed smoking with him and my siblings in the past.  Now that I am in AA I have quit smoking pot, and it is a point of contention for me because I honestly love marijuana and do not consider it to be a harmful or addictive drug.  It is going to be difficult for me to abstain from it while visiting my dad since I see it as an important bonding experience between us, and since he is dying, I do not want to miss out on any bonding opportunities that may be our last.  More on that subject later.

I am going to Ms house in a little while to finish my step one work, which i have been procrastinating on like a total douchebag.  Once I have finished it I will post it here.  Thank you for reading.  As always please comment or contact me if you need any help or support with anything, and I wish you all the best of luck and strength in your individual journeys. <3

PS - Today is my 30 day sobriety birthday!

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