(photo credit - that1960schick.com via google images)
When you look back, after getting sober, it makes very little sense that you could have been so addicted, inflicted. You wonder who that was, while you were gone. You try to trace the steps to that darkest place, where you were, with that need that took over you and your life. You just can’t. You can’t see how it could have happened, any of it. I can’t, anyway. I have no idea how it came to be, but there I was.
There will always be people who say that it’s a moral decision, a very simple and obvious choice. They will always scoff, roll eyes and stand firm in self-righteous indignation. After all, that kind of behavior is also addiction. Ironically, it seems to me it is an addiction involving choice more-so than the addiction to substances.
I did not choose alcoholism.
Philip Seymour Hoffman did not choose to die a humiliating death by syringe on his bathroom floor.
The homeless man under the bridge with the brown paper bag stands the poster boy and he didn’t do it either.
Had I known that alcohol would become a monster in my life, I would not have started drinking. You see, I was the goody-two-shoes-nice-Christian-girl-opposite-of-the-stereotypical-addict, and still, there I was four years ago, drunk and crawling around in the snow, trying to unchain my dog from her potty break and myself from the booze. I couldn’t do it. Not either of those things. I couldn’t even stand up.
When I took the first drink of my life it was a choice I had no idea would become a series of nights in years where I felt like there was no choice. The only other choice I ever had in the matter was a choice to get help. To just give up. To end it or die never ending it. And still, getting sober was far beyond me and even today, four years into never drinking since the day I quit, I am bound to Help or I will drink. Sobriety honestly happened to me, and yes it took courage but I felt terribly small and weak and tired all at once.
I am so sad about Philip Seymour Hoffman, oh what a brilliantly gifted human, and the response to his death? Yes, there is so much support and love, but there is also this awful intrusion of judgment and hate. It’s as if Dr Laura herself has possessed the high and mighty social media masses. They are calling him names and saying who cares, just another wasted junkie good riddance. And I realize that this is often ignorance and I can forgive that, but it riles me up when people should know better and they don’t. Maybe they haven’t heard that there are 20-something genes appearing only in addicts. That this disease (oh yes, I said it) waits for the unsuspecting to dabble and then it pounces and it is a cobra and we can’t breathe or shake it off. Someone else has to do that for us and we don’t know.
People who drink too much and do drugs are seen as the “bad” ones and the weak ones and the ones who don’t care about the people that love them. It’s true, there’s a selfishness that takes over and it begs to become more of you every single day and it wins so much of the time because it rides along the chemicals that your body pulses to find. And then this selfishness seeps in to every cell and starts coming out your eyes and your mouth because it is seeking seeking seeking Self always first. Despite your true heart’s intentions, it bites down hard and shakes everyone all around. Ripping. Tearing. Leaving a carcass.
Every day I think about drinking, in one way or another. Like, GOD, I could really use a drink. Take the edge off. I miss it. Or, Thank GOD I don’t drink anymore, it would only make everything harder. It carries me back and forth on waves of life, and while I learn to surrender and let go and all of those mantras and I beg the Lord’s Prayer and the Serenity Prayer to just work.already, I am floating. I cannot steer and I have no choice but to see I have no choice. I have no choice but to just keep leaning into the side of a life raft built for those like me. Without it, I would be drinking, drowning, and then dead.
Sometimes we addicts get up and out of the safest places without even knowing what we’re doing. Sometimes it’s like the beginning, how you can’t look back and make sense of how you ever become a junkie. You get a little too confident maybe, feel too invincible. You’re just normal old you, right? But there it is, It is back and it’s a perfect storm of circumstances and maybe it’s a hormonal day and a full moon and God knows what else, but GULP, it has you again, and that is relapse and it is what took the life of Philip Seymour Hoffman and could take mine tomorrow if it tries and I’m not aware.
So I duck down a little in the raft when these things happen and I hold on tight. Because if I don’t, I will have no choice, again.
(photo credit - guardianlv via google images)
May he rest in peace.