All around the world there are places of delusion
Corners of the universe filled with confusion
A ribbon tying us in misery and despair
The human condition of thought takes us there
Then, when you clear the smoky haze
Turning your back on those places and days
You begin to see the new corners in the world
Hope and possibility begins to unfurl
You realize there is another thread
A different way for your story to be read
Spirit takes over and to faith you surrender
A place in the world that is each ours to render
As we waiver from each fold in our own time
We perceive the world as a place more kind
Seeking compassion instead of despair
Finding in people what was always there
A ribbon that binds us in understanding and then
We feel more as one, united to defend;
Against falling into the chasm of misery and despair
It is easier now, though fear’s always there;
To feel that others can identify
Not just on the surface, but deep and allied
All around the world we ebb and we flow
Like rivers, lakes and oceans on and on we will go
Natural and beautiful connected by the earth
Together bonded, making priceless our worth.
My spirit diluted by the chemical toxifying my brain
My heart becomes deluded, feeling so raw to pain
I close my eyes to picture the voices telling me I am not alone
Reluctant to reach for tools that feel like they’re on loan
Walking through a journey so adverse to what I dreamt
Knowing life is encouraging me toward a happiness attempt
Insanity is, that there is familiarity in escape
Then I am reminded to play out the tape
Picture darkness and loss
Alienation and shame
The chemical path is merely a game
Played against me,
To kill my spirit, quietly cruel
But guess what? I can make my own rules
For my spirit is stronger and I more clever
Just for today and on to forever.
This is a poem written on the day I allowed escape back into drug use. I am so grateful my disconnect was short and that I was able to take lessons from the dark place I went. Grateful for the recovery seeds planted that very quickly that brought me back to a positive place filled with hope and discovery, leading to faith and possibility. Narcotics Anonymous brings me so much due to the spiritual energy so freely shared. So grateful the experience was left behind me, allowing me back on my path with stronger resolve.
Bring down the curtains
Drown out the light
I am responsible for ending my fight;
For now I stir the cauldron of pain
Move toward darkness, knowing no gain
Familiar discomfort, simple escape
The only place I do not complicate
Setting up a battle harder to win
Moving to the outside, losing within
The blackness will be heavier when I lift it again
Insanity this length to prove that end
I need protection in the place where I run
Please allow me back on my path when I’m done
Cream cheese and crackers,
And candy from Halloween,
Orange juice and arrowroots,
To fill the time in between.
A place to feel safe,
A place to come down,
Conversations with women,
Who wear the same crown.
Distraction in movies,
All the way back to 1939,
Hiding from the world,
Until feeling closer to fine.
Talking of strategy,
Like fighting a war,
You relapse could happen,
Right at the door.
So many worries
spinning in my head,
But the movie is over,
‘Ladies, time for bed.’
Clear the smoke to find my path again.
This time the boulders are here to climb.
Turning back is a journey downhill,
And at the bottom there is a reservoir of pain.
Escape so attractive,
Feeling energy drain,
Giving in to the pain,
The smoke begins to rise,
Giving way to landslide,
To the bottom I slide, again.
Back on the road in the right direction,
Following where the compass will guide,
Allowing truth to lead, and faith to push,
Moving with ego set aside.
A crack in the sidewalk has swallowed me whole,
Taken me to darkness and drown out my soul,
I knew I might trip and prepared for the fall,
Expecting more cushion when I hit the wall,
I keep getting up, pretending I am okay,
Hiding the bruises, putting tears away,
When a hand reaches out to me I almost take hold,
Then I pull back, the persona of bold,
I brush away the debris and smile through the pain,
Hope things fall into place, and it won’t happen again.
Written in 2006 (one of many times of transition)
Can she stop over thinking?
She just wants to stay real.
Is her intensity too much?
Too deeply she feels?
Who is the girl on the dance floor?
I knew her when she walked in the door.
Confident and convicted,
Well on her way,
While still confused,
Black, white; then grey.
Directions to choose,
Afraid to take the wrong step,
Afraid to lose.
She had to let it all go
And just take the chance,
It’s okay to misstep,
If you’re enjoying the dance.
Who’s the girl on the dance floor?
I’ll get to know her as she walks through the door.
My addiction counsellor suggested in one of our early meetings that I write a letter to my addiction. I put if off for a few weeks having a problem knowing where to start and experiencing such conflicting feelings. Then I began to sort through it and wrote 2 letters, 3 days apart. The second is a bit disjointed and contains some run on, but these are the thoughts that came out in writing to unedited except for names:
I love the high you give me, but the complications you have brought to my life and that you could continue to bring to my life are not worth it. You are very powerful and at first it was easy to set aside the dangers of that power. You are actually very helpful with that because you make it easy to turn thoughts off and make the pleasure and euphoria you bring my focus. It is easy to become obsessed with you having you on my mind when I wake up and as I fall asleep. As much as you made a mess of my life I still wish I could find a way to make you part of it. I hate you for that. 3 days later
You have given me a better understanding of addiction. I know now I have felt dependent on pot to cope with stress and to wind down. I sometimes also use alcohol in this way. I have never felt either having control of me or interfering in my life the way you do. You are different for me in so many ways. You leave me seeking your high in a desperation I have never felt before and I find myself obsessing in anticipation of that high. I may have used to cope recently, but before that the feeling you gave me was my only motivation and I loved you for that. Despite the risk to health and finance the high I felt was like a positive focus; you have a way of being that provocative. I don’t like a substance having that kind of control over me. You make it easy to give in to desperate measures to obtain you. Now I see my relationship terrible damaged and at risk. I don’t know where he holds himself responsible or if he even sees the damage that has been done. I see his stress and understand how unhappy he can become due to his job. He deals with alcohol. Alcohol creates his weakness toward you in turn creates my opportunity to use. He gets to a point he has no resistance to you and he compromises too much to chase your high. You have power over me too and I try to set limits; he will agree until you take over. This is when it can become very hard for me to resist you. It is easy to give in to the initial temptation when he suggests it and it is was easy to give in when he insisted on getting more, but with the lines that have been crossed I need to be in more control and have attempted to use more logically. Your power over my husband, however, makes this impossible for him and therefore, for me. I hate the power you have over me, but more than that I hate your ability to turn my husband into another person. You have the ability to make me cross lines I never would in any other circumstance, but the effect you have on my husband is even more dramatic.
I just don’t know how I will accept the lines you have allowed my husband to cross. I don’t know how we will build back trust while we are both fighting addiction. Right now you are the one thing that takes me away from my thoughts and gives the high I crave. I know the consequences and yet I miss you in a way. I feel like I did not get my chance to say goodbye. I knew when I let you into my life; I was having a temporary lapse in reason that would have to end. I thought I would be able to do this logically, have the experience and get you out of my system. I did not foresee the damage that would be out of my control and although I know you have to be out of my life I intended to have an opportunity to say goodbye, so to speak, but my husband has been in control and he has decided it is time to quit. He is right and as powerful as you are, I do not want to lie or make the contacts I would have to, to get you without him. I resent sometimes that he has controlled when we use and even more when we quit. I have had a plan for 2 months, but I have not been able to follow through because of my husband being in control of obtaining you.
This feeling of lack of closure makes the commitment to put you behind me more difficult, but I will focus on the risk you have brought into our lives not being worth the pleasure of the high. I’m afraid of how powerful the craving I have for you is sometimes. I know it will become less frequent and that I can change my mindset to keep you out of my life. I just wanted to feel more ready to make this commitment and stronger against temptation. I had a plan that led to that commitment, but now I am feeling forced to skip some steps. Regardless, I hate being here and I hate the doubt you have given me in myself, my marriage and my strength. I feel much more ready to change my attitude toward you and to build my resistance, but I don’t feel the confidence I wanted to ensure you are behind me and out of my system. So much in me hates you, but there is still a strong pull that wants me to give into the desire I have for your high. I know this is a choice I have to make and I see all the reasons to commit to it, but I still feel my resistance. Please let me go! I want better things for my daughter and for my family’s future. I want to be in love with my husband, working toward positive goals, not in love with a high that you make so easy and attractive. Having anything to do with you allows you to create the illusion I don’t want controlling my life anymore. I can find the strength RIGHT NOW to put you in the past and take what you have taught me about addiction to help myself and eventually help other people do the same.
Last LETTER TO MY ADDICTION
This letter was written March 7, 2013 after the fourth week in House of Sophrosyne addiction treatment. As I type it I can see and feel the emotion illustrated in my handwriting. I remember sitting down thinking I had no idea what to write, but I had put the letter off and it needed to be done so I cleared my mind and the words hit the page in a fury…
I HATE YOU! Fuck off and leave me alone forever. I refuse to love you anymore. i won’t miss you or long for you because you don’t deserve an ‘ounce’ of my attention. You took my kids and convinced me to compromise my values and myself. My thoughts are changed and I have to work to exhaustion to drown out your voice. SHUT UP! I HATE YOU! Go far away and never come back. Just try to whisper with your provocative voice. Try to entice me with your glamour. The risk is no longer exciting to me, it is terrifying. Don’t dare take that sentiment and use it against me. Fear is no longer an excuse. Nor is sadness, grief, insecurity, hurt or any of those things you will try to exploit. Watch me celebrate without you, the high that is life. The career you convinced me to put on hold is about to flourish. STOP TALKING!! I am not listening and when I choose to ignore you, be highly offended, because I am doing it intentionally to beat you down like you did me.
My spirit here to extinguish you. My vital spark will see you burn in hell!
FUCK YOU! I WIN!!!
If you know me, you know I am rarely an angry person. I recall the rage that was building as I wrote this and then immediate relief when I finished. I wrote a quote on the page at the end. ‘Achievement without struggle isn’t rewarding’ Heather Fuher
This is a poem I wrote months ago. I’m sharing it now mostly to remind myself to keep treading water until I find more strength to swim on.
I jumped into dark waters, to try to grab your hand,
I wanted to pull you and I, both safely back to land,
Now I am drowning, while begging you to swim,
Continually pulled under, deep down below the rim,
I want to return with you, to the comfort of the shore,
My fear of turning away without you, is what may hurt me more.
The exhaustion is consuming me, as the deep water I tread,
Losing myself to the waves that are crashing in my head,
I know it is only ourselves we can save in the end,
And I should not feel like it is against you I am forced to defend,
I want you to come to the surface with me for air,
To see my drowning spirit and show you truly care,
Grab onto my strength and use it to float,
Just don’t pull me back under where there is no hope,
The current is strong and we have to fight,
Break through the surface, swim back to the light,
Breathe in the oxygen we cannot live without,
Hold onto family and love, and let go of doubt,
Support each other when angry waters rage,
Find patience and understanding to continue to change,
The edge of the water we can safely reach,
Where we can stand together, in the warmth of the sun on the beach.
My husband had used cocaine before he met me and knowing my attitude toward hard drugs hid from me that he still sometimes used. His use is related to poor judgment when under the influence of alcohol. It is often socially related and quite different from my experience. His addiction is to alcohol. We have history involving broken trust with his drug use and hiding it. I have taken on the role of investigator at different times in our relationship.
At the time of his most recent relapse, I saw a behaviour change that was related to friends he had made at a new job. This and other evidence made me suspect he was using again. More terrifying this time was that I had found evidence he was smoking something (and he has an aversion to marijuana). When I was convinced I was right, I confronted him with a friend and having the expectation he would hear the positive support and understanding I was offering and agree to get help. I was heartbroken when he insisted I was wrong despite the obvious evidence. He was angry and cruel, barely letting me finish what I needed to say. He swore it was just alcohol he had a problem with, but was unwilling to change at that time due to stressors at work. I was not prepared for that response and it sent me reeling because I knew I could no longer stay in a relationship without trust. I had made it really safe for him to tell me the truth. I felt like the addiction was more important to him than his family, but at the same time I desperately wanted to understand.
I had been researching crack and meth as I sought proof he was using and had realized it was more than cocaine this time. Before the confrontation I was sure I was right, but he was successful in creating doubt and I wanted to be wrong. As I continued to seek information on harder drugs my curiosity began heightening. As I read about dopamine and the chemical science behind cocaine, something I had been terrified of became attractive. I made a conscious choice to satisfy my curiosity and prove my husband was using if the opportunity ever came up.
One night after partying with his friends from work and the intake of a great deal of alcohol, we were left outside our home with one of his friends. My husband asked if it was okay with me if his friend smoked some hash (like I said something my husband would never do because it affects him negatively, while I openly smoked marijuana and occasionally hash). I knew what was being put into the pipe was not hash, but this was my opportunity and I approached it with an ‘if you can’t beat him, join him’ attitude. Aware of the risks, the power of hard drugs and that I was chemical changing my brain; I ignored the fear and took my first inhalation of crack cocaine. Part of my fear about trying hard drugs was in regard to liking the high and I was correct to have that fear.
The next day it was surreal to me that I had followed through. I am a wife, a mom, a business woman and a volunteer respected in my community of friends, colleagues and acquaintances. People have told me I am a role model and inspiration. Now who was I?
I will continue posting some history and share some poetry if you would like to hear more of my story and if you are inspired to share your thoughts or your own experience I will value your insight and respond as soon as I can.
I have truly veered from my path and although I take steps to move back toward it, I have to work every day not to lose direction and hope. I brought this upon myself the day I tried cocaine. I have tried to remain honest with myself about my addiction. I knew when I first took the risk (in my 40s – as insane as that sounds to me) that I may be on a path to a place where I would need help to stop. I have been in complete codependence with my husband. After taking this risk to understand more about his addiction, and to in one way join him because I felt powerless to his addiction, I am left feeling defeated by a substance and tired to the core of my being.
I have experienced much loss and challenge in my life and have learned to feel pain and then use it to learn. I have a great deal of strength, but addiction has taking my ability to harness it. I continually fight a battle with brain chemistry and the power of the drug. I had considered myself someone who does not have the typical addictive gene. Throughout my adult life I have found myself using alcohol or marijuana to cope and celebrate but remained aware of how it could interfere in my life. I never had a problem taking these substances out of my life when I felt it appropriate. Cocaine, however, is different. I now have a true understanding of addiction.
Right now I am having trouble getting past judging myself and returning my focus to the best of myself. I want to have all my power back. I need my strength to support my husband through his addiction. He is motivated to keep this from our lives as well, but I am not confident he will follow through with the help he needs to make the commitment. (His addiction does not have the same patterns as mine and I feel he falls into much more denial than I do). This affects my commitment to quitting, both because we used together and because one of my biggest fears is losing our marriage if I make the commitment and he relapses.
I am afraid to share my story like this due to being judged. At the same time, I have learned so much about not judging others with addiction. No one can know what another person experiences if they have not been in that place themselves. Even then each of us is different, but we always have the power to choose our attitude towards ourselves and others. I want to focus on making myself better. Part of that for me is sharing the dark and the light of this experience, hoping to support and inspire others who have addiction recovery as part of their lives.
Have patience with me as I am sure I will bounce from past to present and from negative to positive. Share your thoughts and experiences with me and I will make every attempt to respond to you in a timely fashion.