Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dry

.. is the name of the book I'm currently reading, written by Augusten Burroughs, author of "Running with Scissors." It is a humorous yet powerfully real memoir of the author's life, but more specifically, his path to sobriety from alcoholism. I received this book as a Secret Santa gift from my co-worker and was paired with, ironically, a bottle of Pinot Noir (the symbolism of the gift is surprisingly accurate considering how little she knows me).

It's a great book, but seriously don't take my word for it. I can tell a good book from another as well as i can taste the difference between a $50 bottle of Cabernet and 2-buck chuck when I'm intoxicated. But considering that, this book strangely enough hits home to me. Throughout the course of the book (or what I've read so far), Augusten slowly realizes the source of his uncontrollable drinking habit: his inability to cope with his feelings. Whenever he is forced to confront them, he throws up both fists... but clenched in each hand are bottles of Dewar's, followed by many more bottles. But this got me thinking about my own sobriety.

When I was about 19, my already semi-self-destructive behavior hit a new low (or "high" depending on how you look at it). I started smoking meth. God knows how much i smoked; I couldn't begin to estimate, not even with a tally of financial consequence because it was, for the most part, free. This continued on for years (about 3-4), until one day, after getting about 10 hours of sleep for the whole week, i frightened myself by what i saw in the mirror. The bags under my eyes looked heavier than ever, and as pale as my skin already was, my complexion had turned a nice, healthy hue of macabre. I decided at that moment that it had to stop. And stop i did.

But reading this book had got me thinking about that dark but un-regrettable part of my life, mainly why and how my excessive behavior started. And the answer seemed easy to find, cause it was right there written on the pages in my hand. It was the same reason why Augusten found solace bathing in a pool of whiskey. I found it hard to cope with the myriad feelings i was confronted with at the time. I didn't want to confront them at all. In fact, I don't like confrontation. I thought I could confuse my feelings by blowing a dense milky cloud in it's face. And it worked (for the time being). The speed kept me focused, but on things other than my feelings; It felt great (that irresponsibility to my feelings, not that cracked out feeling from getting no sleep for days on end).

I don't really know what I'm getting at, but i guess this is a small way of confronting those feelings now. To be honest, i still struggle with those feelings today. It gets really tough sometimes, but at least i'm doing it un-destructively. And what i guess i really want to say is how grateful i am to having at least enough willpower to stop that behavior and keep it under control... grateful for still being alive and strong... and thank you to all my friends who have been there for me unconditionally. Thanks for believing in me.

P.S. - I hate when you think about something earlier.. and you have a lot of great thoughts and insights at that time... but when it comes time to express them, it feels like not all of your points are surfacing?.. I'm king at that. And it's happening right now about this subject.. *shrugs*.. oh well.

1 comment:

Connie said...

I heart you! Even though we don't talk like we used to, you're still like family to me. Btw, I read Running With Scissors and liked it. He's lived quite a strange yet interesting life. :)