I first put pen to paper around the time Cruel Intentions came out. I guess that’s kind of where I first got the idea. I imagine my thought process was along the lines of:
- Write explosive shit.
- Die in tragic accident.
- Have journal surface shortly after death.
- ‘Explosive shit’ gets out - changes world.
- Bittersweet Symphony plays at my funeral.
- Be celebrated forever.
- Have face on t-shirts a la Kurt Kobain.
Despite my efforts, my journal looks nothing like this. Never got round to adding the pictures.
But that’s probably the most honest journal I kept. I write about video games, movies, and wait for it… girls. Girls, girls, girls. Because that’s all I had to worry about at the time. The occasional friendship drama, getting in trouble at school, all that found its way in at some point but the real meat in that journal was around my relationships with girls. Falling in love for the first time. Getting my heart broken for the first time. Breaking someone’s heart for the first time. It’s juicy shit, and it’s painful to re-read it.
But it’s honest. And that is, for me, what a journal is about. It’s about reflecting on what’s been happening in your life and how that has made you feel. That’s the dilemma I’ve pondered over these past two days, how can I write honestly about some of the things I’ve done? Will people judge me? Will people understand?
More importantly, I ask myself, why do I care? Pride is a killer.
For me, I am finding out that it is simply therapeutic to write these ‘feelings’ down and ignore the consequences. That whole, “when you’re angry, count to 10” crap. But seriously, if you’re angry, write it down, or count to 10. Maybe you’ll be angrier afterwards, but I doubt it. Humans are animals and as such the way we instinctively react to certain events is completely uncontrollable.
For example: dude punches me, I fight back. Or maybe he’s one of those “how much can you bench” bros and being twice my size I decide to run. Either way, I am not making that decision consciously. That fight or flight decision is pure survival instinct. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say this guy punches me, and instead of fighting back, or running away, I ask politely if he will wait one moment while I produce my journal, quill and begin analysing the situation for a few moments before deciding how to react.
Now what are my options here? This guy is huge, (think Arnie in Pumping Iron, not Jersey Shore Guidos) and so if I decide to fight, I will probably get hurt. So, I guess my only option is to run, right? Or, as this guy is Arnie ‘The Governator’ and not Mike ‘The Situation’, perhaps he could be reasoned with? How about a fourth option, now that I’ve had time to sit down and think about this, why did this guy punch me in the first place? Was this an unprovoked attacked? Some kind of macho man mating ritual to impress a girl? Or did I step on his broken toe by accident, not realise nor apologise and obtain a black eye as a result?
The nature of what happened prior to the punch is irrelevant, the point I’m making is, I find it valuable to give myself extra time to think before acting on instinct. As much as I hate to admit it, very occasionally, I might be in the wrong. Maybe I deserved to get sparked (way too classic slang - had to throw that in there), and my best bet is to apologise and walk away.
Relate it to addiction. The punch, the trigger, the craving, that just happens. Sure, you can avoid people, places and things to keep triggers to a minimum, but you can never eliminate them entirely. How about a using dream? Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you can’t control ‘em. Unless you’re into lucid dreaming, in which case, restecp.
Ali G speaks the troof
So why do people stay clean who follow the basic suggestions they hear in the rooms? Because those basic suggestions work. When I allow myself to go from trigger to reaction without any gap in between, I engage my auto-pilot. It typically takes me at least an hour to score, get needles and use. Longer even if I need to get money together first. Surely that’s enough time for the craving to pass and dis-engage the automatic process taking place whereby I find myself running around London looking for drugs? But for me it doesn’t work like that. Once auto-pilot has been switched on, there is no switching it off without a strong conscious effort to do so.
Phone a friend. Talk to someone about how your feeling. Get out your journal and write it down.
Three great suggestions, none of which I ever do. To me they’re a cop out. Once I pick up that phone, I’ve already made my decision not to use. Don’t get me wrong, every time I’ve called someone when I’ve been craving, every single time I have spoken to someone about what I’m planning to do, I have not used on the back of that craving.
60% of the time – it works every time. But seriously, it has worked every time.
But for me it’s not the ‘phone a friend’ that is getting me out of trouble. It is me who is getting me out of trouble. I put distance in between trigger and reaction. I think about the consequences - I mean really think about the consequences, no sugar coating it. No “oh well it’ll just be this one time” horse shit. And if I still want to use then I say fuck it and I use.
But if I decide to pick up the phone, or turn around and go to a meeting, I pat myself on the fucking back. I did that. I mindfucked the shit outa myself. And to me that’s all addiction is. It’s my mind, mindfucking the shit out of me, all day, every day.
Sergio knows where it's at.
When I get one day clean in London I am over the moon. I treat myself. It is such hard work just getting through one day that when I manage to do it I want everyone in the city to know about it. I call my sober friends, they’re genuinely as happy as I am to hear the good news. Of course, it never lasts, but we must all start from somewhere and build on our experiences.
I am proud of every single sober day I get. Quietly, I worked my ass off for those 24 hours. Life goes on, and typically we struggle in silence. Hard work deserves reward. In work, that might be financial. In the gym, that might be my six pack. In recovery, my reward is freedom. And freedom is a kick ass reward worth fighting for.
More often than not, I overlook the true value of my freedom, and need a little reminder of why I fight for sobriety. Yes I’m an addict and yes I want a reward for every goddamn thing I do against my will, sue me.
But if I’m having a down day, stayed clean or maybe just did something outside of my comfort zone that I didn’t want to do, I treat myself to an Oreo milkshake, or some Churros. Because damn do I deserve it. And you do too.
Just try not to be a dick, like me, and treat yourself to drugs.