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What the Hell Is Wrong with Me?

March 17, 2013

The Sun or the Fall of Icarus, 1819, Merry-Joseph Blondel (1781-1853), Photo: Wikimedia Commons user Jastrow. Click to go.

The Sun or the Fall of Icarus, 1819, Merry-Joseph Blondel (1781-1853), Photo: Wikimedia Commons user Jastrow. Click to go.

I feel a taste of success and go flying out to remedy it. It’s not something I allow myself. It’s not something I appreciate. It’s not something I feel I will ever have. This is more than alcoholism. It’s a denial of independence.

A friend of mine died recently. He died because his body couldn’t handle alcohol, but he kept on drinking. He kept on thinking he was invincible. Or else he saw that he was killing himself. I know it’s possible to see both things at the same time. Maybe he did.

I thought the lesson of his death was that we need to treat people with mental problems with more kindness. I thought that it meant that we need to show support and love in any way we can, even when it hurts, because the person I knew him to be was someone who accepted people, who showed love in a way that was profound to the ones he gave it to. I thought that if someone could have been there in the right way at the right time with the right word, or that if a thousand someones were in little ways across time, that it might not have ended this way.

But each decision he made that pushed people away sealed him tighter in the drum he was in and the chaos was a bacteria in there with him that grew and pushed at the borders of himself. For right or for wrong.

I see now that he didn’t accept himself. He was out there. There was a touch of immortal about the way he saw things and did things and because there was a divinity mixed in with the breakdowns, the upsets, the losses, the addictions, the broken friendships, the arrests, and the assaults, because of this, there was no talking to him. There was right in the same place where the wrong was and no one could square that, least of all him. There was inspiration in the self-abuse. There was strength in the veneer of denial. There was growth in the loss — a crooked, lateral growth that expanded something that seemed important and was hard or impossible to let go of.

In this last year, since I started to drink again, I thought that the hurdles alcohol took away were worth the consequences. It’s really hard for me to contemplate letting go of that ease in access to my strongest thoughts, to the shackled person inside.

When I went back to my hometown, I saw the behaviors that hurt me. They came from outside me and became part of me. I will, forever, in my mind, be an idiot, a moron, hysterical, and ashamed of my emotions. My abuse was shone in my face like a spotlight and set off a Rube Goldberg machine inside me. “This is where it comes from!” my mind shouted. I was angry and tried so hard not to show it. I am angry. Maybe it’s all I am. And all this time, I thought the recognition of what it was and where it came from made me immune from the pain. But I’m tucked right back into that cycle. I need, selfishly, to live it large to illustrate to myself what it is. It starts small: a humiliation I can pick at and chew on until I do something worse, then worse, then worse. It’s an echo that becomes a hurricane and wipes out everything good I ever do. I do it so I can be comfortable in my worthlessness. So I can be the problem that everyone can focus on and solve, so I can be the bad guy, so I can nullify myself again and again and again. Back to 0. And when I think I’m over it, I do it again. I’m the symptom exhibitor. And in the midst of a proud hour, I have to chop myself apart no matter who’s in proximity to the hatchet.

Knowing this doesn’t change anything. It’s the same as it ever was. I have always known. I will always know. The lesson has always been the same. Without alcohol, with alcohol, I manage it anyway. Drinking is the brick on the accelerator, but the car’s already pointed toward the lake and the kids are in the trunk. It’s only the destruction of my hubris that makes me who I am, and makes me hate who I have the potential be more than who I am. It’s the only thing that saves me. It kills me.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 18, 2013 12:15 am

    Nice piece. Sorry to hear about your friend Kate. Perhaps he got off easy. Living on this dense earth sober, fully aware, is most difficult. As a bad alcoholic, the only way I could ever stay stopped, personally, was after the consequences far outweighed the potential relief of the hurdles the alcohol removed. What preceded that moment in time was my soul projecting me into the next evolutionary state, despite my attempted slow suicide when swallowing-the very catalyst for that needed evolutionary jolt. The lead, my hubris, was then spun into gold as I stumbled, twisted, and turned into that next plane of existence, which for me, happened to be my segway in original visual art.

    • March 18, 2013 3:27 pm

      Thanks, Forest. I’m never really a regular drinker, but I had a binge recently. It’s shaken up my world again, and I have to really analyze my relationship with substances again. But what’s underneath that’s driving the destruction isn’t the alcohol. That doesn’t mean I need to keep drinking, just that I see there’s more than that going on. I will slow-fail without alcohol or fast-fail with it, but it’s the sabotage that never goes away.

  2. Sarah Loving permalink
    March 18, 2013 4:52 am

    I relate so, so much to this. It’s frustrating and heartbreaking and I hope there’s a way out. For me, for you, for anyone who understands this and suffers the cycle. Because yes, even without drugs or alcohol we find ourselves in the box and pointing at it at the same time, seeing both and just raging.

    • March 18, 2013 3:29 pm

      I’ve decided that every action I’m unhappy with needs to be analyzed, remedied, and that I need to forgive myself for these transgressions with my understanding of them. I don’t see any other way to move past it.

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