Reflections on Addiction, and Thoughts on the Ever-Apocalyptic Now

When I was using, literally all I did was use — substances as well as people and anything else. I didn’t realize that this was all I was actually doing, at the time, but it totally was all I was actually doing, in real life. I feel that this is common to the addict/alcoholic experience. It’s what we all wind up turning into, when we let addiction have its way with us.

I never would have been able to really see this truth about how bad I had become, if my ex wife hadn’t made the decision to leave. I probably never would have been able to change, if that hadn’t happened.

Addiction takes over, once indulged, and it only ever uses. It uses us, and it uses everything in our environment. It doesn’t give anything. It only takes.

I used substances to pursue a particular psychedelic experience. I used food to pursue comfort. I used pornography to pursue sexual satisfaction.

I used people to pursue a sense of social comfort, as well as for economic stability.

I rarely gave anything of myself for the benefit of others. When I did, it was usually done simply out of necessity, in order to keep on functioning in my little personal empire of artificial comfort.

Perhaps this evaluation is too scathing, but I don’t think it really is.

When my ex left, it shocked me into drastic and immediate change. We’d been married 15 years, and built a whole life together, such as it was. We’d survived cult abuse together, and chased dreams together, and raised kids together. Even in my hobbled state, I had been genuinely been doing those things with her, until the addiction really took over…and then I began simply using.

I remember that feeling of shock, once she’d left…so absolute, and jarring, to an extent I don’t think I can describe. I can’t describe it offhand, anyway. It’s just too much.

I’d fall asleep every night and be free of it for a little while…only to startle awake every morning to the sense of it all coming back, that realization like a flood of cold water, and like I suddenly couldn’t breathe. Like the air was just gone. Then, all day long, that haunting torment of uncertainty — the social patterns off marriage I’d been using all those years for that sense of security, would I ever get them back? I needed to, or I’d die. It felt so real, that certainty of absolute need. The pain of it motivated me into really, truly striving for that change, though.

And that was a good thing, even if I’d never really have things back the way they were, in the end. Something had to happen for me to jump the rails, or it all would have wound up just the same old motion blur, forever.

As far as the Apocalypse goes, I think I’ve decided I don’t want to talk about that today, after all, just like usual. It’s all a part of the process, I suppose.

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