Monday, March 21, 2011

Le sigh...

     I leave for Texas soon to stay with my sweet heart. I miss him intensely. Rocky and I will UPS our belongings, mainly art supplies and clothes, then race the boxes south.  This will be good motivation for us to hustle because it would be  embarrassing to loose a race to a box.
     I am writing my life story.  So far I have 6 pages, single spaced. Not much, but a good start.  Writing about my past has  brought up a lot of memories. 

     Here are some thoughts associated with the writing and life in general: 

      I had an interaction with a good friend in New Orleans that made me think in depth about my history as an addict. We were talking about the lack of  control involved in addiction.  While we spoke it became clear to me that she was hurt and angry still from a recent break up. She took a man into her home knowing he was actively using. I could tell by her tone that she had loved him. Along with her affections she gave him the opportunity to get clean by letting him stay at her place and  supporting him for a month or so.  It became obvious during our conversation that she believed drug addicts really do have control, but fail to exercise it by choice because of a moral failing, some desire to be a miserable victim, or for attention. 
     This made me sad. I feel very connected to this woman and to hear her talk this way about something that has afflicted me for most of my life hurt me deeply. I  understand  there are many degrees of addictive personalities, some worse than others, but I tried to explain to her the helplessness involved with my experience. As silly as it sounds, it was like being possessed. I would drive around for weeks on end sleeping in the car, but only for hours at a time, waking up sick. I wouldn't  eat or drink water for days on end. My survival instincts abandoned me. I told her of the dangerous people I surrounded myself with. I told her the truth: that I look back on those memories and KNOW that I  truly could not stop.  It was like watching a movie projector of my life. 
    Mental obsessions are no joke. Many times I sat behind the wheel of my driver’s seat, key in the ignition, crying, desperately trying to will myself out of scoring.  I wanted to stop, but I didn't know how. I read every piece of literature, practiced the advice rehabs gave me,  went to NA meetings,  prayed  and  meditated. These things helped calm my nerves, but nothing really worked until I revisited my past with an open mind and a therapist.  Together we searched my past for resentments to heal with talk, art and writing.
      Most people don’t know what it’s like to habitually use narcotics and that is a very good thing.  People who have addict family members, friends, or lovers will tell you that the addict is like a tornado raging through the lives' of the people around them.  Relationships with addicts will often hit a wall where trust is impossible and with good reason. In active addiction I began to realize that I could not trust myself.  This feeling had a ripple effect in my life where the logical part of me started to rationalize with the addict half, pleading with it not to kill us. I was split in half; one  wanted me dead, the other was crying for it all to stop. At its worst, the experience could be described as an all-consuming, self-centered, black hole of misery. Contrary to popular belief, the intelligent addict is not having fun avoiding life, relationship and responsibility; they are in a state of agonizing mental obsession with no logical way out in sight.
     I had developed an inability to deal with life and my emotions. Rage would visit me every morning. I would wake in such a fit of anger that I would slam doors hard enough to break glass and  throw coffee cups trough windows. I would scream like a banshee,  terrifying the people and animals around me. This rage  masked  intense pain. It led me to use for long periods of time, cumulatively wasting years of my life. I needed to escape reality because my mind was a hostile place. I wanted to die before I figured out how to shed my compulsions by dealing with my pain. Something, be it my will to live, a Great Spirit, my Saturn Return, or whatever, gently nudged me to climb out of the wreckage and change the way I live and think. 
     In order to heal I had to dig up those old, painful memories to make sense of them. I needed to apply today’s wisdom to yesterday’s pain. I needed to find out what my inner child was frightened of and screaming over. I read that the process of revisiting past trauma actually changes the neurological pathways imprinted by behavior. I had to not just speak of the past either, but re-feel each trauma with an adult head space in order to overcome the effects of those repressed emotions and recover. 
     This topic always makes me think of the alcoholic monkeys from the Caribbean : )  This short and funny clip explains the genetic factors of alcoholism in moneys compared to humans (after some trippy lemur action that is):

    I wonder if monkeys have their own therapists.

    Off topic entirely,  I am learning how to draw in Adobe Photoshop. Here is a trial composition.  I think I am getting the hang of it.  I downloaded a bunch of fun brushes and am in the process of getting interested enough in digital art to make my own brushes. I am by no means comfortable with the Wacom tablet yet, but I am learning and having fun.  I  only play with it when I know that I have six hours to devote because it is highly addictive. It is essentially painting with light, not like traditional painting at all. I must navigate through this alternate universe.  I am hoping I'll get the hang of it.