Category: Featured

Supremely Extreme: A Mid-Detox Dream

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“This isn’t real…this isn’t real…this isn’t real.” – walls ripple like waves of the sea; bends and twists; maneuvers that defy laws of physics.  “This isn’t real…this isn’t real.” – distorted figments of my imagination emerge; balloons conceal an ivory white ceiling and confetti spills out; at first a jubilant blizzard, followed swiftly by vibrant, assorted shreds of celebration drifting softly through the air prior to final descent, reconstructing the floor into a resounding work of art.  “This isn’t real…this isn’t real.” – a phantom silhouette develops in the window; moonlight launching life into its shadowy, dark form; catlike eyes shoot sinister shots striving to slaughter in every direction; an impetuous endeavor to claim itself a new victim. 

“This isn’t real…this isn’t real” – there are crowns on the clowns slipping in and out of the walls; little green men running loose through the halls; a mermaid lies resting at the foot of the bed; kittens wearing mittens of green, blue, and red.  “This isn’t real…this isn’t real.” – a paralyzed body shelters this lively, vigilant mind; bathing in sweat, permeating through stiff motel sheets, irrepressible shivering stays steady despite this interminable excretion of moisture.  “This isn’t real.” – desperate now for this ostensible nightmare to end…a battle of eyes to stay opened or closed. “This isn’t real!” A sudden, silent spine-chilling void in the room; the phantom is gone, the moonlight shines free – no more balloons or little green men, no more confetti or kittens in red; the clowns wearing crowns have retreated back home, I’m finally left in this room all alone.

Delirium Tremens: commonly referred to as DT’s – a psychotic condition typical of withdrawal in chronic alcoholics, involving tremors, hallucinations, anxiety, and disorientation. 

This “fun” new feature added to my personal history of detox symptoms has just started to occur while sobering up during each of my last two consecutive relapses; the disease progresses, and as I have recently experienced, trailing right on its coattails are the effects of withdrawal.  Unwillingly it has hurled me orbiting into the next realm of my life which has been lived primarily for the extremes; where law and order cease to exist; balance is non-existent – readings from my scale of viability cannot be perceived as anything other than an eternal enigma; I’ll invite fellow drunk, Billy Joel, to break it down for us:

“Sometimes I’m tired, sometimes I’m shot, Sometimes I don’t know how much more I’ve got, Maybe I’m headed over the hill, Maybe I’ve set myself up for the kill, Tell me how much do you think you can take, Until the heart in you is starting to break? Sometimes it feels like it will,

Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes,  Too high or too low there ain’t no in-betweens,  And if I stand or I fall,  It’s all or nothing at all,  Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes”

-Thanks Billy, you’re truly an inspiration.

It haunts me at night and plagues me by day, this battle between extremes – diving deeper down daily; making myself lost within the manipulative maze of my mind; I get sent spinning off course, analyzing and dissecting how much my circumstances digress every time I unleash the active disease to showcase and prove its persistent progression.  I consistently collide with these disheartening dead ends; retreating and rerouting in hopes to discover an innocuous way out, knowing full well there is no exit at all, safe or otherwise – not in the maze of this mind at least.

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How do I restore a balance, or probably more accurately, establish one for the first time?  I feel faced with a question that may never birth an answer.  How do I embody a genuine value in my life while I flounder at rock bottom, when I couldn’t even see a value in it when I had risen to the peak?  I begin to believe my life is merely living at each radical end of the spectrum; a human ping-pong ball; a bunch of drivel adjoining time and space in the superfluous intervals; pounded back and forth by the paddles of life.  I physically fight; I mentally fight; I spiritually fight; I become drained and discouraged; critically and cruelly cast down – up to date my record corroborates a uniformed overpowering – but lucky for me, all it may take is that one crucial win to be set on the right course.   

Here Comes the Reaper

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Radiant beams burst through the windows reviving me from my mystic and dreamy condition.  Rubbing my eyes, I gaze around the room and submit to the comforting realization that I’m still snuggly embedded in the residence of my treatment center, ideally placed amidst the extensively sought after climate of sunny Southern California.  As a northeast native, palm trees alone give me the distinct feeling that I’m now living in a tropical paradise, although the streets of this town can contradict that Eden-like environment some days.  The circumstances of our community this morning also contradict this netherworld disguised as a promise land.  When I arrive at the main facility, utopia is greeted by tragedy.  My ravishing surroundings don’t match a disheartened energy emanating from the unusual presence of management outside and immediately, I sense something is wrong; which is further supported when we are hoarded into the cafeteria and a majority of the room is now beside themselves, tears flowing and heads down, buried in rugged hands.  Mournfully, the inevitable announcement is made by the head director confirming that our disease won again; claiming another life in the relentless, diabolical fashion its grown so accustomed to.  It’s the sad reality of this journey to recover.  The longer I stick around, the more this becomes commonplace; almost routine; an adverse side effect of the cards I was dealt being predisposed to a daily fight for survival.  Death is always in the mix.

Not all of us can successfully elude the mighty hand of this malady that enslaves us; it’s comforting lure; the mastery of its deception and ultimate goal to cease the beating of our once spirited hearts.  Just as we can never quench our thirstiness to please this uninvited beast, it’s undoubtedly not entirely satisfied itself, fallaciously tempting us until we draw our final breath – far before our lifespan would and should allow.  Some of us have reached the point where we have fully conceded to the enemy and started to learn a new way of life; living free and keeping our demons at bay through seeking a power greater than ourselves and working with others; incorporating personal devotion and daily awareness into our routines.  Some of us continually bounce back and forth between active addiction and recovery, which inevitably gets consistently worse each and every time we go back out; as well as becomes increasingly more difficult to pursue recovery when we come to terms with the unavoidable collapse of our lives once again.  Some of us have permanently lost the battle altogether which, much to our dismay, is a painful truth ever reminding those of us that carry on how we are not immortal creatures; that life is fragile, this disease is deadly, and we are not invincible like we incessantly love to misinform ourselves.  Those that have fallen victim are a substantial testament to this truth.

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As much as these tragic occasions go so often misunderstood by society at large and the loved ones directly affected, I comprehend the inner workings of a mind that succumbs to that draconian disconnect; the mediocre march of merely existing in time and space feeling no other purpose than to be absent of self and numb to everything else.  After all, our minds are virtually identical when it comes to the use of mind altering substances.  Every time I hear of a new loss within our community, I experience a range of emotions anywhere from sadness and frustration to jealousy and envy.  I think about how they are finally in a better place; serene at last and free from the fight – a place I so often dream of being.  On the contrary, I enjoy the experiences of life and to this day I haven’t met anybody in the world of addiction that doesn’t have the potential to live a life free from the constant turmoil, wreckage, and negative consequences that come with remaining active.  It’s essentially a race against time.  We have to be open and willing to change before the reaper comes to town.  If we’re not, it’s game over – no more binges; no more runs; no more chances to get it right – that finality is permanent and we no longer have any credits left.  Today, I pray that the sick and suffering will soon see the light and embrace this potential once in a lifetime opportunity for recovery.