Is my glass half full because I’ve been drinking from it, or is the emptiness finally being replenished with the refreshment of life?
Last year I decided to return to school and take creative writing classes. One of the first things I learned was that the best stories can always start closer to the action. No matter how you look at it I am smack in the middle of my past and whatever happens next.
It’s a peaceful moment, where many of my old pains have stopped throbbing and I’ve been given the chance to redesign who I am. That’s not an opportunity that comes along every day.
One thing that will never change though – I am an addict.
I’m not using anything right now but the devil that I was dancing with never stops whispering in your ear.
I have no regrets about what happened. If anything, I believe it has given me a perspective on this world and an appreciation for the joy of living that I might otherwise have lost long ago.
I know that shadows exist because of the light, but where does the darkness inside of me come from?
Today I went bike riding with some friends. There was a time not so long ago when I barely had the strength to walk to the corner grocery store. It was easy to be confident and convince myself that I was successful because I could always get more drugs.
And that’s what I was living for. More.
I stopped reading books. People were just distractions in my process to get to my dealers house. I would disappear for hours and think that only minutes had passed. I lied about so many things my reality became a twisted jungle of situations that I could only keep track of by writing down everything I said in a notebook that I had to carry at all times.
Then one day as I sat in my house I heard someone outside of my window repeat over and over:
“Help me, somebody please help me.”
I opened and closed doors. Pulled the drapes across windows and crawled on the floor so the voice could not reach me.
I hid in the bathroom and when I looked in the mirror I saw my own mouth moving. I was the one asking for help.
When I finally stopped using I was somewhere else completely. My friends were all dead or gone. There was a gap of many years in which what I thought I enjoyed no longer existed and my experiences were all about holding myself back from enjoying the world around me.
I no longer had opinions about what I enjoyed doing. Things that had brought me pleasure while under the influence were now suspect in their origin. I had stopped growing, but kept getting older.
Today after the bike ride I took a good look in the bathroom mirror. I see myself returning.