The direction of my life is completely out of my control. I cannot prevent my gut, or my intention. My own desire to write the thing I wish I could read. I’ve found myself contemplating ideas of purpose. Ideas of success. Analyzing and interpreting what these words mean to me. What I want and how to achieve it.
The thing is, I have a dream. I want to be an author.
Over the last 6 months, I’ve been working on my first novel. A memoir of sorts that begins with the removal of drugs and alcohol from my life. The day I received the idea to draft a novel, I began to write with purpose. I knew the ending as well. It would end with me succeeding in my goal of becoming a published author.
I wanted to document my own experience of pursuing life after recovery. The novel I have drafted is a physical manifestation of the book I wish I could read. A book that tells the story of recovery in scrupulous detail. A book that describes the real feelings associated with a person who is writing a novel for the first time. A look into the thoughts of a man who is struggling to understand why we think, why we feel, and why it is important to live a life of honesty. A life of the recovered alcoholic.
I am no different than any other drug addict or alcoholic. I’ve spent days, months, and years powerless over my need to drink and drug. Powerless to stop desire, an obsession that used everyone and everything as a tool for acquiring a manufactured release into a constant state of consumption. Snorting, inhaling, injecting, and drinking myself into a realm of bliss. A state of selfish motive and intent. A state of insanity. A seemingly infinite daily grind of maintaining a high I felt I needed. Felt I deserved.
“What’s the point of living if we can’t feel good, can’t feel happy or high all the time?”
That’s a real thought. A thought that had plagued me for years. The last time I received that thought, I was lying in my room detoxing from heroin…
I shuddered atop my bed as my body began to deteriorate. I gritted my teeth as cold sweats bled through bedsheet. I gripped my fists as my stomach began to churn and muscles fought to claw through the confines of my own skin. Blood boiled as I tossed and turned, my thoughts racing as I accepted each and every moment of pain. Moments that seemed they would last forever.
I had resorted to slamming my own fist into my skull. (The physical blows and ringing in my ears distracted my thoughts from the toil of withdrawal.) I had begun to relocate from my room to the cold damp basement couch. (The change in temperature eased some discomfort).
The pressure of pain provided by the removal of substances thrust my body, and my mental, into a state of delirium. Around the third day of my detox, I began to look for a way out…
Lying atop my bed, daylight creeping in through window blinds, I began to consider ending my life. The thought of instantly allowing myself to feel nothing eased my pain. I played what-if scenarios in my head. I wanted a quick release, an end to my suffering.
“I could go into my roommates room, grab one of his rifles, and end it all. I can pull the trigger and blast myself into a state of nothingness. I can end everything for the relief of nothing.”
I fantasized. I played the scenario through. I thought of how my family would feel, how traumatic it would be to leave my friends and my loved ones behind. Honestly, in that moment, I could deal. The future, dead me, would not have to worry about how other people felt. I wouldn’t even have to worry about me.
As I write this, I must admit that the reason for not committing a final act of self-sabotage is because I don’t believe I would ever have the guts. I don’t want to take a stance on the morality of suicide. I’m not qualified to input my own opinion. I can’t divulge to you what the impact of suicide has on a family, or on an individual, because I have not experienced it. I’ve never lost a loved one to suicide.
I’ve lost loved ones to addiction. I’ve seen families struggle to help those that don’t want to be helped. I’ve shed tears as mournful emotion projected itself outwards towards me, lost in the story of another’s grief. I plan on addressing some of these issues on a later post, but for now, I’d like to share the thought that ended my suicidal fantasy. A thought that began a shift towards hope…
“If I do this, if I pull the trigger on my own existence. If I end it all today and catapult myself into nothingness, I won’t be able to see the new Star Wars movie.”
Yes. JJ Abrams and Star Wars helped save my life.
I used this thought and began to direct my mind towards hope… A New Hope. (Authors note, “Nailed it”.)
I began to remember how other people felt as they picked up year chips in 12-step meetings. I re-focused on how I used to feel when I could wake up in the morning and not need anything to feel OK, to feel normal.
I redirected my mental state towards the possibility of living without the crutch of drugs and alcohol. If I could just get through the detox, if I could just stay stoic as the heroin removed itself from my body, I would be happy again.
I stayed sick for another couple of days. I watched every single Police Academy movie for the first time and didn’t laugh. Not even once.
On the 7th day of my detox, I woke up and felt well enough to eat. I met my father for lunch and told him that I had been relapsing. He asked me what I was going to do. (I had already been through two treatment centers and a halfway house on my family’s dime and he did not know how to help me anymore.) I told him I was going to go to a meeting to get sober.
That evening, I went to a meeting and shared,
“My name is Adam and I’m an Alcoholic.”
The group responded in unison,
I began to speak, “I just spent the last 7 days detoxing in my room. I’ve been sober before and I think I know how this thing works…thanks for letting me share.”
I raised my hand, shared what I felt, and the world began to take care of me. After the meeting, a gentleman approached and asked if I needed a sponsor.
I’ve been sober and in recovery ever since.
Since that afternoon, I’ve worked to remove myself from the misfortunes of my past. The mistakes I had made, the people I had hurt, and the only broken heart I had ever experienced…everything held weight on the way I felt, the way I interacted with the world.
The therapy provided by a 12-step program allowed me to understand that the man I was no longer exists. The only thing real is the man that is typing right now…
A dude sitting at his desk, leg propped up on a chair, shirtless, typing in pace as sunlight peeks through the blinds of his yellow-tinted living room…
The only thing real is this moment. A moment that can be shared with whoever is reading these words.
As I write, I understand that there is power in words. A single line or phrase can direct a mind to see, feel, and project what a person is trying to portray. In this moment, however it reaches you, I want to describe to you the catalyst of my own insistence of living the life of a creative. An idea that has taken shape because of the transparent honesty I have given to those I am with, to those I have encountered. A grand theme that shakes the foundation of any bro that is worth his weight in protein and fist pumps…YOLO.
Or, unabbreviated, “You Only Live Once”.
A very elegant abbreviation for a way of life that begs the question,
“If I’m not pursuing my passion, what I love, what is the point in being?
Recovery had aimed a magnifying glass at the voice in my head. A voice that wants to live a life of creativity. A voice that wants to be heard, wants to be understood.
I’ve been vocal with my thoughts and my ideas. I’ve shared honestly in 12-step meetings, connected and engaged with others who have lived their lives feeling the same as me. People who have seen the lowest lows and unburdened themselves with rigorous honesty. In the process, I’ve been provided with principles and beliefs shared amongst a generalized group of addicts and alcoholics. A group I am a part of.
The foundation of principles I discovered within the rooms of 12-step meetings provided me with the gifts of purpose, spirituality, self-esteem, confidence, and self-awareness. Gifts that I have been able to apply in my life as I pursue the things I want.
I’ve been given the tools and the mindset to see my dreams unfold in front of me as I pursue what I believe in. What I feel.
This website will be another part plotted towards realizing a waking life of dreams. To write, teach, live, and learn. To exist within the minds of those who feel the same as me. Who want the same things as me. To live, create, and be: Honesty.
A life lived within the realm of the arts.
My writing is an attempt to form a prescription to provide content. Reaching out through wireless and written word to the person that has felt the same as me. The person who wonders if it is really possible to achieve something. To do the “impossible”: to live and create for a career.
“What is success? What makes me feel like I need to share, need to write?”
Success is fleeting. Each completed essay, piece of poetry, or new idea provides me with a taste of success. Never permanent, I am always looking towards my next objective, or goal. I have a goal today, and that goal can only be completed by writing, one day at a time.
I look to great thinkers to understand my own sense of purpose. I place myself in situations where I am able to learn by proxy.
In sobriety, I placed myself around people who wanted recovery as fervently as I did. By doing this, I found relief from my thoughts and I found serenity quickly. I discovered that everything I have learned about human interaction and recovery could be translated into the real world.
When I was an athlete, I would work out with men in my gym who were lifting more than I was. A few months after working out with a regular gaggle of beefcake bros, my body had emulated their physical strength. I challenged myself to succeed, and I found myself living a dream. Performing in front of thousands as a collegiate athlete.
As a musician, I played music with everyone I could. The more I played, the more proficient I got. I learned how to be a performer by surrounding myself with people who wanted to perform on stage, people that wanted to chase the dream of being a recording artist. By the end of my run, I found myself living a dream.
My band had been invited into a multi-million dollar studio to record an EP. We tracked our songs through the same soundboard that The Police used to record “Synchronicity” and I had access to a limitless supply of Red Bull and Ice. YOLO right?
I hold on to the memories of my success as I trudge towards unknown territory. The path of a writer. I look to those who have done it for inspiration, yet I find myself feeling isolated. I’m used to being surrounded by a team of like-minded individuals. A solid group of people holding each other up as we chase what we want.
Now, I have a goal that can only be achieved by me. I cannot rely on anyone to put in the effort. Its a disparate duality. There is no one I trust more than myself, yet a lot of the time I feel that I am incapable of being great. Incapable of finding the true support of someone as passionate as I am about succeeding as a writer.
I know one thing, I have found success in things I didn’t think were possible. It took seeing others achieve incredible things to show me that anything we want in life is attainable. As I move forward, I will hold on to my past experiences of achieving. I will use my memory and my mindset to keep myself afloat.
I mention great thinkers and I always find myself thinking of the philosopher, Socrates…
“All I know, is that I know nothing”…
I hold on to these words daily, but I won’t sell myself short.
I know me better than anyone. I know what I love to see, hear, and feel: artists and the creativity they project into the world.
With this blog, a platform for my thoughts, I will throw my voice into the mix and share creativity the way I hope it will be shared with me.
A true form of self: the thoughts given in each moment of my existence. From my minds eye, to yours… ©