So, I was sitting at my desk trying to figure out what to do next and it hit me like a baseball in the sun. Write about my journey through addiction and recovery. Not the whole thing mind you, parts are pretty boring, but some aren’t. The last year of my addiction and pieces of my recovery are insane, funny and downright heartbreaking.
I mean, I wrote most of my story once, but the whole thing in itself really isn’t fit for human consumption, so this time, on a second go around, I decided to share some of the gritty parts.
People love gritty parts.
Yes, it is called Poetry Through Recovery, but it won’t be all poetry. There will be some personal essays and some funny anecdotes. Just real shit that could maybe help a trainwrecked soul like myself. I did a survey a while back and most people seemed to want to hear about a piece of my life that revolved around living at a place called The Wagon Wheel when I was an eighteen-year-old pregnant mother of two with a crackhead husband.
Trust me, that story is coming. But for some reason, I feel like I need to write this other one first. There is kind of a parallel there, so to speak. When I lived at the Wagon Wheel, I was sober, but living among drunks, addicts, and absolute chaos. Fast forward ten years and it was the same old story, except now I was the drunk asshole. Stories like this – like my story – help people. Maybe I’ll lace Poetry Through Recovery with pieces of the Wagon Wheel. At this point, I feel like I have to.
It’s the only way it’ll all make sense. And sometimes, we need shit to make sense.
We use that term when we speak of good deed doers, animal rescuers and people who keep their cool in Wal-Mart. But what about the saintly sinner? You know, humans that want to beat the ever living shit out of that asshole in Wal-Mart or impale the driver doing 35 in a 55 (this happened to me on my way to work today). Then maybe played the scenario out in vivid detail, and thought, “Is this jerk really worth ten years in prison with a seven-foot cellmate named Tiny?”
Saintly sinners are people just like you and me. They are not good deed doers per say, but they aren’t rotten bastards either. Saintly sinners are average people who go about their day not necessarily keeping tabs of all the good and bad shit they have done, but know that being a decent human – or at least trying like hell – can be a full-time job all its own in this day and age.
Saintly sinners are anti-heroes.
You know, those ten-dimensional characters like John McClaine in Die Hard or Snake Plissken in Escape From New York. Sure they’re mouthy, dirty bad boys who ventured onto the left-hand path, but we love them despite their sinner ways; they’re our angels of redemption.
On the flip side of that, some people pretend to be saintly but are really demon spawn at a sickening level. The technical term for that person is the sociopathic narcissist, and though I have dealt with one version or the other in my life, the evilest combination of the two was my ex-mother-in-law. She would gorge herself on the pain of others. Some people call them emotional vampires, others call them toxic, but I just wound up calling her a crazy b***h. The woman wasn’t happy unless she was witnessing/talking about/causing someone’s pain.
I won’t go into it because she isn’t worth the weight of her memory, but she is included in my memoir. Sometimes we need to speak the devil’s name so we can put her in her proper place.
I got sober in 2006 and was court mandated to go to outpatient treatment despite my self-propelled thrust into the world of clean and sober living. At the time I had no job, was living in someone’s basement and has just had my kids taken from me. My choices were either get clean or put a bullet in my head.
I learned a while ago that suicide is not an option for me. I had three failed attempts previously so I took that as a sign that I am needed on this planet for something.
I still haven’t figured out what.
So, while going to this outpatient group, the topic one night was an odd one and I wound up arguing with the group leader about it. “If you could get high without consequences, would you?’ and I delivered a stern “NO.”
“But there are no consequences,” he said.
“Um, yeah there are.”
“But I am telling you there aren’t any in this scenario.”
“There is no scenario without consequences. I can’t think like that. I can’t pretend there won’t be addiction peril if I get high.”
Anyway, he let it go, but I think a few other people caught on to what I was saying. While there are some things we can pretend and day dream about, using drugs and drinking recreationally is not one of them for an alcoholic addict. There will always be consequences. Trying to imagine a life without them is deadly.
So, next door to this treatment center was a Pep Boys warehouse and there was a sign in the window:
NOW HIRING DELIVERY DRIVERS
I walked in, spoke with the manager for a few minutes, and was hired on the spot. 🙂
The highlight of that entire experience was that they wanted me to take a drug test. It may seem odd that I would be excited over something like that, but I hadn’t passed a drug test for three years prior to then for any job I went for except for a potential position at the IRS. Despite passing that drug test, I had used immediately following it and overslept for my first day of orientation for that keen IRS position that could have changed my life when I still lived in Philly.
So I got my job as an auto parts delivery person and my excitement was palpable. I got to drive for a living and even though I was only making two dollars over minimum wage at the time, it was liberating to work again and earn my own money.
That job led me to where I work now as an administrative assistant at an accounting firm. I have been here for ten years, and still get to deliver packages (paperwork) to clients. Still, I am eyeballing bigger ventures. I have been here eight years too long and it is time for me to take a leap of faith.