My brain went to some strange places as I lay in bed last night.
It took over two hours for me to get to sleep… my mind raced thanks to a combination of strong coffee and fasting.
I thought mainly about my drug of choice (DXM) and how much I loved it. That drug filled me with joy, enhanced my appreciation of music and conjured up enjoyable hallucinations. Best of all, it made my life feel worth living.
I fantasised about being able to “use successfully” in the future. In other words, in moderation and without any damaging consequences.
Before I knew it, last night I was making plans for when I’d next take DXM. The main complication: I’d have to convince my wife to agree to me taking drugs.
Here’s a quick recap on some of my low points with drugs:
- A few years ago, my wife and I separated temporarily, partly due to me hiding my drug problem.
- The comedown from multi-day drug binges has brought me close to suicide several times.
- I’ve been hospitalised due to drug misadventures 3 or 4 times.
- After the last time I took DXM in mid-August, I was diagnosed with drug-induced psychosis which lasted for several weeks.
- A few years ago, after one particularly heavy multi-day drug binge, my cognitive functioning was significantly impaired for several weeks. I could barely hold conversations. Even playing videogames felt too overwhelming. We weren’t sure if the damaging effects would be permanent – luckily they weren’t. My wife and mother in law slowly nursed me back to health.
- My drug use has directly led to the destruction of several close friendships. Most of them still refuse to talk to me.
- Oh and my mum was an alcoholic. She was in denial right up until she died… in her 50s, way too young. I don’t particularly want to follow in her footsteps.
After all that trouble, you’d be forgiven for finding it difficult to understand why I still wanted to take drugs.
People in a 12 Steps fellowship might say that my disease wants me dead. A more scientific explanation might be that in certain situations, I exhibit poor judgement and decision-making abilities… an inability to correctly weigh up pros and cons.
Last night, I realised my wife was unlikely to agree to me taking DXM again.
“That’s OK,” I thought to myself, “Just don’t tell her. In fact, you can buy some DXM tomorrow morning and get wasted. She’ll never know.”
For a few moments, that seemed like a truly brilliant idea.
And then, reality hit. What the fuck was I thinking?
Suddenly, it made perfect sense why some people anthropomorphise the disease of addiction. What sane person would possibly think this way? It must be the result of a demon, some conscious supernatural entity disguised in the shape of a disease.
Several months ago, inspired by Dr Jordan Peterson, I decided I wanted to “tell the truth, or at least don’t lie.” I could see the virtue in being as honest and truthful as possible.
I have committed to my wife that I will always tell her the truth. I won’t hide things from her, especially anything related to drugs.
Last night, I “played the tape forward” in my mind. What would happen if I got wasted on DXM?
Well, I’d tell my wife afterwards. She’d be extremely disappointed. I’d ruin the trust I’ve been working hard to rebuild. There’s a good chance she’d leave me and kick me out of our house.
My marriage: ruined.
My self-respect: in tatters.
Worth it? Well, you might find this hard to believe, but last night my brain was still trying to convince me that taking DXM again would be worth these costs.
What. The. Actual. Fuck.
Until this point, I’d been feeling giddy with excitement and anticipation at the thought of getting wasted again. Now, that feeling faded and was replaced with a deep sadness.
I get it now. Finally.
For a few brief moments, I’d been willing to put drugs ahead of my health and my marriage. Thankfully sanity prevailed.
I was reminded of the stages of grief, one of which is “bargaining”. I’d been trying to negotiate with myself to allow me to keep on taking drugs. But that new sense of sadness… that was “acceptance”.
I can’t take drugs again. Ever.
Even if I occasionally get the urge, my wife won’t agree to it. And I’m simply not going to betray her trust again.
I’m a cat who used up his nine lives many years ago. I don’t quite know how I’m still here. I have so many good things in my life, which I’m not sure I deserve after how I’ve behaved in the past.
Many other people in my situation would be divorced, homeless or even dead.
I’m fucking lucky.
Maybe this is what 12 Steps fellowships mean by “surrender” and “powerlessness”. I can’t take drugs any more. I accept that.
I’m guessing that every now and then I may need reminding of that fact. That’s why I have a sponsor. And it’s a good job I’ve committed myself to being honest too.
So, this has been a narrow escape, again. But at least I feel proud that I’ve made the right choice.
Today marks exactly 90 Days of me being clean from drugs. What a day!