It’s happening again; the routine hostile takeover that seizes rationality and aspires to exile me back down, flailing into the abyss. I sense being singled-out and alone – that I’ll always be alone; the redundant ride on this merry-go-round is starting to throw me for a loop, planting seeds of doubt that this is ever going to get any easier; questions of whether or not I can endure resisting its unreal refuge, day in and day out, until I draw my final breath; questioning if I even want to – it can seem at times like I’m fighting an already decided war. I want for “normal” folks to understand what it’s like; what I go through; how addicts and alcoholics don’t want to be trapped in this fight that can feel unwinnable, that I didn’t ask for this anymore than a diabetic asked for unbalanced blood sugar; how there is no intention to hurt the people I love; how to explain something that most people don’t want an explanation for. The stigma is already in place; the idea that I can just “use some self-control” and “stop being weak” is a widely believed theory amongst the general population – that theory is wrong.
Taking a leap of faith to surrender, seek help, and regain the power of choice to live a fulfilled life, however, is my responsibility as an alcoholic; just as any other ailing person would seek a remedy – that’s where the real strength actually lives; it’s why using the disease concept as a scapegoat not to get better is no excuse; it’s not an acceptable reason to keep falling down the same rabbit hole over and over again – help is out there, but it must be sought, and I can’t do it alone. It takes hard work and willingness; there are no shortcuts; shortcuts inevitably pave the way right back to active use – no way around it – the addicts in recovery that go back out tried to beat the system – I know because I’ve been there; a multiple time offender in fact. Active addiction demands my undivided attention, it doesn’t donate towards a luxurious life; it strips the lovability and integrity that used to support a foundation of character; of responsibility and motivation and that internal drive to attain greatness – all that can be restored, but again, it must be sought – and it’s not at all easy.
I envision my average morning routine; the tantalizing aroma of fresh brewed coffee spilling over me, rejuvenated and renewed from a healthy night’s sleep. As I stretch out and open my eyes to a new day, I take in a deep breath of the cool breeze filtering from an open window; fresh, crisp air mixed with the smell of coffee is heavenly; I can immediately sense a great day is in store. Tropical tempered water collaborates with the pleasant scent of mountain springs body wash and runs down my body producing a cleansing, muscle relaxing massage; everything I have to accomplish during the day ahead temporarily disappears as the surge of hot water cascades over me; sending me into a meditative trance that soothes mind, body, and soul – time is no longer of the essence.
I enter into in a staring contest with myself; the image in the mirror looks and feels confident; everything fits – pants, shirt, and shoes mesh together like they were designed solely for each other – every hair on my head shaped and in place; it’s all coming together perfectly this particular morning – reminds me that life can be enjoyed. Stimulating music streams into my ears from stereo speakers as I turn the ignition. Throwing on my shades, I open the sun roof and allow beams of daylight from another gorgeous SoCal morning splash over me – I’m ready to go. I hit the main drag; cruising along now; everybody else parading around and starting their day as well – this town is alive. Intersection after intersection, green lights glimmer in my favor, like I timed the drive accordingly. I look to my left; children play in the park before school; their innocence; their lack of total understanding for this world; I think back to when I was sheltered inside that comfortable bubble; I think about my own kids and what they’re doing right at this moment – I think of how happy it makes me that they can just be kids; worry free to enjoy the simplicity of their world – I envy them for that same reason.
Glancing ahead of me, the road is wide open; a rarity opposed to the normal bumper to bumper traffic, so I lay on the gas a little more as I come up on the next intersection; green light; the exhilaration of freedom anesthetizes my consciousness, I feel light, unconquerable; nothing could take me down from this natural high – the daydream image of this fantasyland where seas part in my presence and I am “ruler of all” is mesmerizing, but swiftly met by the sound of screeching tires, shards of broken glass, bent and twisted metal, sirens echoing with flashing lights dancing around the surrounding area…feeling weak…fade to black…darkness.
Blindsided; another driver runs a red light, turning my seemingly perfect morning into a life-halting catastrophe – in a split second. That’s what it’s like; that’s the hostile takeover that occurs when the desire to indulge in a drink floods over me – just like that; out of nowhere and virtually impossible to defend unless premeasures are taken daily; essentially constructing a force field against random and unrelenting attacks from any and every direction. To clarify, this car accident scenario has not actually happened to me, but it’s a way in which I can portray the devious and ever-surprising nature of addiction in its rawest form; that maybe a person who does not understand the addicted mind could possibly place themselves in my shoes and see things from an inside perspective – of course, there will always be the folks, like I stated earlier, that don’t want an explanation and no matter what the evidence suggests, will never buy into the disease concept of it anyway. For that, I practice acceptance and understand that what other people think; the opinions floating around out there are just that: opinions – everybody is entitled to have them, and it doesn’t change anything in regards to what I have to do on a daily basis to get and stay sober, recovered, and free.