The last few weeks have gone quickly. Not each day, some days individually have drug on the way some days do, most though- especially the week or two right after my birthday, seemed to go lighting fast. Hmm, just as I read those two words back, it reminds me of something else that I know goes lighting fast, emotions.
So what has really changed in the last two years. As whole, then til now. Well, two years ago I was at the top of my life. The last year with my youngest son at home and an involved civic leader, I had finally achieved a goal and had begun to shutdown my two decade long computer consulting company in favor of working full time as a local instructor teaching people how to skydive safely.
Then, I was two decades past deep issues with alcohol, issues that also included cocaine and meth. The last two just at the peak of that era, a near decade of single life after I was emancipated from my parents. I’ve often said in person, yet may never have typed, is that at a point when a person needs the most parental supervision, I had the least.
Almost three decades of adult life and I think no matter who you are, by then you’ve started to get used to yourself. Whoever you are, you’ve gotten to know who that is. You’ve banged your head on enough wrong doors that you’ve learned how to knock, wait, and move on. Far enough down the path you’re on, if you ever forget what is next, a quick glance over your shoulder is enough to keep you moving forward.
The last five years were perhaps the most valuable. The conversations engaged as I parented a high schooler compared to the conversations with constituents and political leaders yielded an onslaught of data in the ways that people think and argue. Perhaps it was my upbringing, all the years before my emancipation or maybe just the more direct events before I filed my first petition, yet I have always allowed myself to feel under qualified, under prepared, and under deserving of an equal share of proper attention.
In part, as I was most certainly a child that had issues with my emotional intelligence. How and when to bite my lip, how slowly to release a sound if someone dares ask “Tell me how you really feel?” Myself, internal regulation has been the issue, so I’ve had to build myself an on off switch and then try to train myself how to use it. I suppose it worked well enough to keep myself functional for four decades. The last ten were hard, I pierced my lip, a reminder to bite it.
So what changed eighteen months ago? I hit my head. They took my lip ring and shot me full of drugs. The good drugs, legal heroin. Three months later undiagnosed issues caused chronic pain, the prescription doubled. Happiness in a bottle is easier than any cure, a cost effective solution when doctors cannot be attentive to borderline cases. Corporate efficiency demands resources be spent to best serve the mean population.
I am glad I was trained for this. A two decades old immunization, coupled with five years of exposure to the herion epidemic, homeless crisis, GAR training, business ethics, knowledge of a news cycle, and my many common experiences of politics: family, social, business, Church, government, skydiving, and the coup de grâce, the politics of politics: self-identity.
Eight months ago I stopped misusing Oxycodone (when my self-directed misuse cured my primary ailment at the time.) I knew that just because I had the will to stop misusing did not mean that it had not effected my body. For ten more months my brain will continue to be impaired in the way it produces happiness for myself. Because, it doesn’t matter what makes you happy in the world, happiness occurs in the brain.
Additionally, at the same time I asked my doctor for Vyvanse. I had been diagnosed with ADHD as a child and was medicated for five months until my mother did not have the time to keep up with regular doctors appointments to keep adjusting my medications. From then, well I suppose things were more interesting after that. Could also be my age at the time, yet I remember more distinct things in fifth grade and after rather than fourth grade and before.
I think the only reason that I’m not addicted to heroin right now is that I knew what was coming for me. In the past I’ve talked about the voices inside of my head and those voices are not only my past Instructors. There have been many voices that I have listened to over my lifetime and only recently (and whether I’m speaking in months or decades, I do not know,) have I learned to control them. First though and hard for me, I had to learn to stop ignoring them. They are me.
I have friend that got out of jail today. He is thirty some days sober and he looks good. He sold his shoes in jail and was released with a brand new pair of socks. They were worn through my time he arrived at my house from Chanter Road. I was so happy to see him, that last time had been just few days before Thanksgiving. The day I fell in love with both him and me. I didn’t have to bite my lip when I told him that then, I was three weeks sober and already on Vyvance.
As soon as he came inside today he explained his issue and just as quickly he now owns my last pair, my lawn mowing shoes. I won’t go into details and I did let him know again that I would do anything to help keep him sober, my place could be his, a spare bedroom upstairs. He said he was hungry and I showed him into the kitchen to help himself, here he can sleep and eat. We talked about jail, now two decades past my own ten day stay (back then in the Annex, on top of the courthouse.)
This friend is also a friend of my older son and my son does love this friend, that’s how I know him. Being the father I am (whatever that means at this point in my life!) I could not help but love his friend the same. With that love, to treat him as well as I would both my children. As of yet neither of them have most directly needed the most valuable thing I own, my sobriety. Yet this friend, oh I want to give it to him so badly.
The last time I’d seen him, he was high. He was on a bad bender and had crossed his own lines. I invited him over as I declared I knew how to defeat that demon and I do and I still haven’t successfully shared it with him. Rather, that day I tried- twenty four hours of prayer about sobriety- talking him down, talking him sober, preserving my strength for attacks to come. Every rationalization, every excuse to say in a life he knew, a plain explanation of why he didn’t deserve the gift I wanted to share.
Every detail he gave described me as well as him and to each, by then in my life, I knew the answer: it’s okay, I love you, you can stay, stay just one more hour. I have tried to be a good influence I suppose, yet never have I had the opportunity to directly intervene. I was so glad to see him today as the last time he looked at me, he looked with hate in his eye and I still loved him as he left.
I loved him so much that somehow, I wasn’t sure if I had that conversation with him or my own mirror. I knew the one thing for sure, he’d get over it and not until he knew he was worth it. He is worth it. I am worth it. I love me.
That was milestone of my life, how did I make it this far without knowing that? Sure it was easy to say when I ignored my demons, forgot my past and just hoped it would blow over. Yet it’s different story when you meet a younger version of yourself. The voices in my head that I’ve pushed so far down, duplicated in the man in front of me, animatedly screaming them out loud.
When he’d exhausted his own ammunition, he started to attack the shadows that stood behind me. Have you ever wondered how much your kids might whisper to their friends? Have you every argued with a friend that knows most of your family? Shooting blanks still makes a loud pop and I stayed calm that day and I prayed and I loved him and for the first time, I think I learned how to love me too.
Since then, it’s been a whole new journey.
I hadn’t mown my lawn in several weeks (check the blog,) with everything going on in the social word it just hasn’t made the top of my list, yet the lawn was well past the eight inch allowed height (and lets just not talk about my backyard right now.) With the heat I wanted to mow one day early and this morning I checked the weather- rain and clouds all weekend and I decided today was the day to get it done.
Glad I got to use my lawn mowing shoes one last time.
Time to rest.