I find that the search for a new meaningful life comes with the implementation of alcoholism and the search for diabetes (thank you peanut m&m’s and Reese’s Pieces). The devil that may maintain a permanent residence upon my right shoulder is constantly beating the shit out of the angel that is attempting to reside on my left. Do I know that I should not be puffing on my e-cigarette 24/7, sure, are there warning labels telling me of my imminent death, no, and thank god for that. This way when I get laid belly up in the earth I can always use the excuse that I didn’t know. “Innovation led to the death of this man”, they will say, he was ignorant to the cost of his “hipster” addictions.
There are many addictions inhaling and exhaling, consuming and, the wife that resides with her new boyfriend. There aren’t enough A’s in the world to cover the needs I have for being an addict and for the amount of anonymity I seek. Do I truly consider myself an addict, no, not at all actually. There are way too many days where I do not consume a single item that can be considered bad for me. Now, do I fantasize about going out the way my hero’s (as fucked up as they may be) did? Sure, I mean I would love to take a huge hit of something then a bullet the way Kurt did, or fall asleep smiling in a bath tub the way Jim did with a bottle near by, or maybe it will be less romantic and I will end up in my bed with my own vomit suffocating me like Jimi. I know that they are not really someone who you should call “hero” but to a young man who wanted to be liked or remembered, they all got that. Years after their own deaths they still have remembrance. I feel that less than a year after my wife, of almost 20 years left me, the memory of “US” is gone for her, for me it lingers. I find the simple resolution of falling asleep and not waking almost comforting. Does this mean I am suicidal, no I have so much to live for, I know that. Does it make every day a struggle to get up and do the things that you know you have to do but cannot seem to find even a sliver of motivation, does everything seem so much more difficult, yeah, yeah, it does. In the end though I just do them, hoping that the struggle lessens.
Was I addicted to my wife? I cannot deny the possibility, I loved everything about her including her faults, like a junkie loves their next hit or injection. What addiction does, however, is it takes away the reality of what things truly are. I never felt that things were askew in our relationship but my addiction to her could have masked all of that. Maybe I was the unhappy one but it was masked by years of taking care of her and concentrating on how she was, how she felt, and how could I make her happier. Maybe like the junkie, I lost my ability to even look inside and say, am I happy? I will tell you I was, like every addict. I will tell you that I was fine, I can handle this, like every addict, and I still believe it to my core. When I step outside of myself and look at it though, was I? Or was I in love with the idea that I thought we were in love. I will never be able to answer that question because she met another, fell in love with him, and left me. This only affords me the opportunity to look back and question but never the ability for me to answer.
Those words haunt me, “I don’t think I love you anymore” and “I am in love with him”. They have every night for 548 days exactly tomorrow. They have filled my poetry and lyrics books during the course of this time. “I Don’t think…” does that mean she isn’t sure? Do you end something of 20 years if you aren’t sure? I cannot answer that. You see, I still dream of her, even though I cannot remember what she looks like. I remember how she feels but I don’t remember her touch. This reminds me of articles I read about addicts who stated that they remembered what it felt like to stick that needle in their arm but not necessarily what the high felt like. The pain or process outweighed the outcome in their own physical addictions. Am I an addict? Does the fact that I know that it has been 548 days since she tore my heart into pieces and left me begging for air on the floor like an overdosing junkie, mean that I deserve a button for going this long without her? Where do I display that button and is it one that I should be proud of? The fact is that I am not 100% positive that if she knocked on my door tomorrow that I wouldn’t let her back into my life, does that mean that I am relapsing. I would like to believe after the angry emails, making up stories about how our relationship was that I wouldn’t, but I cannot say that for sure. Addiction is a difficult beast to slay.
As I sit here writing this, dragging on my e-cigarette (healthier because they cannot say it isn’t unhealthy) and sipping my wine (from the bottle because glasses are for pussies) I read this back and know that I am staring down the devil on my right shoulder while knowing who sits on my left shoulder. Like, when my kids are around or I get to be with the friend, the only friend I feel I have sometimes, makes me place that bottle down or click the button on my e-cigarette 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 times to shut it off and go on a random bike ride through the outskirts of town. I have had enough time in the detox of my addiction to realize that I love the small things enough to look for the big things once in a while. Though I have not had a big thing happen that would strengthen the haloed one that sits upon my left shoulder, I try to feed him or her enough small things so that their resolve won’t fail me when the devil on my right tries to take over. Now until that angel can crush that devil, I can only think of the joy I get in opening that bag of peanut M&M’s, that next exhale of vapor from my cigarette, or simply that swig from the bottle of wine that some days awards me the ability to sleep through the night.
To my fellow addicts, recovering or amidst the throws, there are no meetings for us. There are no buttons for us. There is a world of bad advice (which I will soon discuss) and people who want to live through you as if you becoming single after this long makes you a cock strong rock star. It isn’t like that, for me at least. It is pain, it is masking for those who think enough is enough and it is time you should be over it, it is waking up every day and providing the motions that the world expects of you until those motions prove to become your new life. It is one day waking up and realizing that you forgot what her face looks like, what that high felt like, or what sound the bottle made when you opened it. It is breathing, the way healthy people breath, who have never smoked a day in their lives, and running, sometimes away and sometimes towards, your addictions. For now, I will not run in either direction, but take my time to access the road that will lead to the button I am still searching for…….Peace.