On Saturday night, Sarah, Pete, Charlie and I went to Elise and her husband’s for dinner. We had an amazing time–laughing, talking, just enjoying each other. After dessert, we ended up just sitting around the table talking for hours. Something I haven’t done since the days I was drinking and drugging…
Maybe that’s why I found myself talking about my using days. Elise asked a question, and Sarah and I found ourselves talking about those last few months out there in the drinking world. I’ve been thinking a lot about my own using insanity lately, so it felt good to just talk about it, to bring it back out into the light and look again with the eyes of someone who’s been sober over ten years.
What strikes me the most is how fucking insane it was. I was crazy! When I look at it now, the things I did back then–almost all of them–seem like something only a suicidal lunatic would do. But back then, they seemed completely fucking rational. Really.
Lots of people accuse us infertiles of being obsessed with wanting a child; but honestly, they have no idea what the fuck obsession is.
Obsession is using water from a toilet to mix up the drugs you are going to put into your veins because you cannot go one. more. minute. without it. Yes, TOILET WATER. In my VEINS.
Obsession is climbing your neighbor’s fence to break into your other neighbor’s house because you know he has some really bad cocaine hidden in there and you don’t have any money and bad coke is better than nothing. And doing it more than once, even after you get caught.
Obsession is when your dealer tells you there are "things you can do" to keep getting the drugs when you run out of cash and you think, yeah, OK, that makes sense. You feel relieved that there is a way to keep the flow of drugs coming, regardless of how much it will hurt you or the ones you love to do those "things."
Obsession is sneaking into your place of employment to use the copy of the key you secretly had made earlier in the day for the petty cash drawer to get more money so you can go back to the bar and keep partying with that cute boy that will go home with you and never call.
Obsession is hanging out in an alley behind a bar stealing the empty liquor bottles and draining the last drops out of them with a group of friends thinking this is hilarious.
Obsession is going from bar to bar to bar seeking the best place, the best party, the best time.
Obsession is thinking "It’s fine that he doesn’t have all his teeth and works in a gay bar. And he won’t give me his phone number. I can sleep with him without risk." And then that guy dies of AIDS two years later.
Obsession is draping all the lamps in the house with scarves so that your track marks can remain hidden from your boyfriend.
Obsession is using an elaborate makeup process to hide the damage to your arms; first, white clown face makeup; then foundation; then powder. And thinking no one notices at work.
Obsession is stealing a muscle relaxant from your employer, dissolving it into a liquid, shooting it up, and then discovering that you no longer have the muscle control to remove the tourniquet or needle from your arm and you have to sit there bleeding for twenty minutes until you can finally get it off.
I think you get my point. There is no comparison; the "obsession" with having a child that we infertiles may or may not have involves things like doctors and paperwork. Not toilet water and drug dealers and doing "things."
And, yes, I did every single thing I listed above (except the "things;" the overdose that led me to sobriety came a few days after that offer). My story is not unusual or rare or odd; in fact, my alcoholism is shockingly average, and my drug use pretty lame (my entire drug history fits into a six-month span).
When I first met Elise and I’d tell her these stories she’s open her eyes so wide her contact lenses would fall out. It actually became a goal for me and Charlie; what story can we dig up to make Elise lose a lens? Sadly, that phase passed. Heh.
On Saturday night Elise and her husband were talking about what they’ll tell their daughter about drinking and drugs when she gets older. They joked about using us as a cautionary tale.
But the truth is, I was an alcoholic and addict before I ever touched a drink. A story like mine when I was young would have sounded romantic and fun and adventureous–not stupid, dangerous, illegal, and life-threatening.
I’m not saying there was no hope for me; that I was destined to take the path I took. I can look back and see several times in my life when I would have been open to the idea of recovery, if a chance had presented itself.
But I walked the path I did, and have come here to this place. To a place where I can sit in a circle of good friends and eat and laugh without a hint of drugs or alcohol around me. To a place where my skin feels, for the most part, comfortable and easy.
I wouldn’t want it any other way. And I thank James Frey for reminding me that I don’t need to lie; my truth is scary enough.