One person's journey surviving mental illness and recovering from substance abuse.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Romancing the Stone
One of my friends, who has truly been there "throughout the ages" found some writing recently that I did back in the day - in particular, it was a swanky poem about smoking weed and taking the persciption drug sonata (zaleplon). At the time, I used to love the idea that sonata was called a "hypnotic." I remember the first night I used it, I woke the next morning feeling better rested than I can remember. But I couldn't hold the tiger by the tail and sonata is really addictive. I started partying with it and sharing it with friends. This is why I won't post the poem. It romanticises drug abuse and I'm trying to keep this blog about my new stuff anyway.
It's a little tough for me to start to write about my problems with addiction now, partly because I've been sober for more than 10 years now and it seems like another lifetime. And partially, I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a lot of fond memories. I was into hallucinogens and they just fueled all my creative imaginings. I mean, there's a reason they call it "getting high." I try not to ruminate on that point. My buddies and I used to joke about killing brain cells, but now that's scary. I'm pretty sure I needed them for something. But the first drug of any kind I ever did was acid, which basically tells you that I didn't know how to swim and I jumped in at the deep end of the pool. Over time came pot, hash, opium, shrooms and ecstacy. Not to mention some truly stupid ideas about what to do with nitrous oxide and dextromethorphan, both of which are legal depending on how you go about it. I tried weird, off stuff, too, like salvia divinorum and GHB. I thank my lucky stars and angels that I never got into narcotics. But I drank way, way, way too much. I smoked cigarettes off and on. And "PRN" on a perscription drug label meant "party right now."
In the end, it was the acid that got me, though. I remember going through all kinds of withdrawl symptoms during my first six months sober (I quit all at once, using 30 days in a mental hospital to detox). It became clear to me, before the end of my first year sober that the effects of the acid weren't going away. I mean, they warn you that the stuff stays in your spinal fluid. But I did my fair share of it. Then one time, I made a wish. I was at a W.O.M.A.D. concert, tripping, and I made a decision not to come down. In hindsight, I think this may have been more of an observation that I was "one toke over the line." I was never the same after that. I still see trails and have moments of flashbacks. I can still imagine that strange taste that blotter leaves on your tongue.
Now, my challenge is not to be proud that I "melted my mind." I wanted so badly to live in my imaginery world instead of the real one for a long time. But I had enough problems, without self-medicating, and I suppose that that's what the term "dual diagnosis" is for, after all. So, as much as I still enjoy "trippy" stuff I've gone way further into the recesses of my mind with plain, old meditation. And there is such a thing as a sober Deadhead. We call ourselves "wharf rats." It gets said often enough, but coming from a recovering addict, you really don't ever get over addiction. There's always a glamorous draw, a nagging appeal for the ride. If you're struggling with addiction, know that you're not alone and that you always have to take it one moment at a time.
So, I'll write new swanky poems and I'll stay dry.