Survival Mode Vs. Living

Yesterday was hard. It was hard on a lot of different levels and in many different ways. First, I returned to work. I was looking forward to it until I got there, and my hands began shaking badly. I sat in my office and gathered paperwork and rosters for my class. A co-worker to whom I’d confided over the Christmas break came by my office to see how I was doing. I showed her my hands.

“Oh, man,” she said. “DTs?”

“No,” I replied. “Just nerves.”

Once I stepped into the classroom, things were fine, as I suspected they would be. The rest of my classes went well, too, but when I had time alone in my office and I wasn’t actively busy, things got dark. The got darker and then darker still, and I had to snap my mind back into place. It worked for the most part, but i barely kept the beast at bay.

I had to take care of something yesterday with someone I’d hurt deeply. I’m not talking step nine stuff where I make amends; this had to happen now. And I did, and it was painful for both of us. After I left this person’s company, I began to feel a terrible ache inside that threatened to tear me apart, and rather than let the feeling run its course–and remembering Linda’s words about how thoughts and feelings can’t kill me–I grabbed the sadness by the throat, shoved it in a room, and slammed the door shut. Old habits die hard. Just because I haven’t had a drink in fifteen days doesn’t mean I don’t still think I run the fucking show.

When I went to my night class tonight at the treatment center, I listened to what the counselor said about healthy communication. I took notes, but my head wasn’t in the game. No, let me correct that: my head was in the game, as always, but my heart said, “Adios, man, this is getting too real. Catch you later, maybe.” I neglected the rest of the talk and began writing to myself instead, hatching plans to get through the remaining six weeks, meetings with my sponsor, AA and and the 12 steps, but doing it alone. I continued writing when I got home. Here’s part of it:

So dig this, man. This here’s the plan: re-build your own interior room. Inside your fucking self, you get it? Do the program that you’re already fucking paying for, okay, and talk to your sponsor and shit, and go to AA meetings, and stay sober. It’s going to be hard, but look, you gotta do this for yourself.  I’m not saying go back to drinking, by any means. Wear that fucking sobriety as a badge of quiet honor, man. Go sober and get back into your book and your music and do it for the person who loves it the most: you. Shit, who are we kidding here? I believe you’ll finish the book, but promote? Please. And you write your music for yourself, anyway. Who cares if some guy in Ukraine listens to it? Or anybody? Fuck ’em.

Obviously, this isn’t how I normally speak, but I can slip into and out of roles when writing a story, so it’s easy for me to get my thinking on the page, even if I don’t want to hear it or read it. But I wanted to read this. I was starving for the words. Continuing briefly:

So here’s the deal: Your counselor says be open-minded, so just fucking lie to her to get through all this shit and get on with your life. After-care? You got that. AA meetings. Sure, why not? 12 Steps and all this fucking Higher Power nonsense? Play the game, man. You got the lingo down-pat, so just roll with in. You can play the part just as you’ve played other parts in your life.

I didn’t say a lot last night during group, but I hinted at some of my feelings, and my counselor’s eyes got huge. “That’s a big red flag for me,” she said. I thought, Good. You can have all my red flags. I got plenty more.

Before bed, I made this blog private. Why? Because I felt completely powerless over what’s happening–six more weeks of night treatment, AA meetings, talking with my sponsor, reading the Big Book, and so forth–and I wanted some power. Like I said earlier, I felt like I was starving for it. So, like always, I thought about King Robert first, and made this blog private. Then I made my other blog private. Then I suspended my Facebook account, scrubbed my soundcloud from all songs, modified my Spotify settings, and sat back. Take that, world, I thought. I can do this by myself. You don’t think so? Fucking watch me.

I went to bed angry with the world, and I woke up and thought, Huh. That was a bunch of compulsive nonsense. Let’s correct that. Plain and simple, it’s addict behavior. Alcoholics and addicts tend to be perfectionists and live in extremes; it’s either the best thing ever or it’s not worth doing.  It’s also the behavior of a man trying to figure himself out and why he started drinking in the first place, but I know I can’t do this alone. I could try, but I would fail. Even if I maintained sobriety for the rest of my days, I’d still fail because I wouldn’t be living like a real, live, functioning human being. 

When I say I don’t know how to do that, I mean it. My best thinking landed me in recovery and hurt a lot of people, and my best thinking won’t get me on the road to being a fully whole person. That’s what I mean when I tell people I don’t trust myself right now. I don’t feel the urge to drink at this moment, but the urge to block everyone out and hide myself is strong and, perhaps, could lead to a different addiction. An addiction to self. Some would say I already have that in spades. I probably do.

So here I am, and the blog isn’t private anymore. Neither is the other one. I’m back on Facebook (though in a limited capacity) and my soundcloud page has two songs related to addiction and alcoholism. I’ve been meaning to de-clutter my soundcloud page anyway, and I’m glad to have posted only songs related to what I’m going through right now. Plus, since I have a free account, I have plenty of space to post more tracks.

I can still write stories, poems, books, and music…and have support. I can have friends, even though just typing those words stirs up resentment in me. I can eventually move out of survival mode and actually live.

I got work to do on myself, people, and today I’m up to the task. Tomorrow? I don’t know. But I do know that this blog keeps me accountable, my treatment team, sponsor, and members of AA keep me accountable, and one day, my friends will keep me accountable. I just need some helping getting there.


About Robert Crisp

Just a lad who likes to create.
This entry was posted in addiction, alcoholism, recovery, treatment and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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