There are two voices inside of me. One that talks about the omnipresent hope and love in the world and the other that talks about bleak despair and loneliness. Over the past 5 and a half months the former voice has been much louder. This was the voice of “recovery”, the creative, progressive force. I had forgotten that the other destructive, “addict” voice was hiding and lifting weights, waiting for a triumphant return to take a shot at the title. This is the story of my last week and how I am wrestling to make sure “Captain Destruction” does not emerge victorious.
It was Friday afternoon, I was really looking forward to New Years. I am typically alone and couldn’t care less that a Gregorian Calendar Man decided that the last 4 digits of the date would change at midnight for the next 365 days, 5 hours, and 49 minutes. This year, I am sober, I am around friends, and I am in the midst of a celebration. As the party started at 9pm, I was still in good spirits.
A dance? Me having fun at a dance? Impossible; I was the fat, awkward kid who sat alone at the 3 Bar Mitzvahs I was invited to. I was terrified to get up and make a fool of myself. Now I am confident; I do not care who looks at me or how ridiculous I look. Ah, the lies we tell ourselves! In walks the girl that I have feelings for (though I sometimes despise myself for these feelings).
I immediately revert back to a jealous, awkward preteen. I sulk around the corner, wanting to be alone, yet hoping that someone will approach me and ask me how I am doing. If actually approached, I can play the pity game. When they say that they love me, I tell them that if I could love, I would love them back. When they say happy New Year, I bemoan the fact that it is not yet the year of the Mayan Apocalypse. What has gotten into me? I was happy a minute ago. Why is this anxiety consuming me, originating in the pit of my stomach and spreading throughout my body until it freezes my mind and heart into a dark depression?
I feel alone in a sea of happy people. It is one in the morning and I have retreated to the office, less than 100 feet from the make-shift dance floor. I can hear the music reverberating through the sanctuary, finding its way through the door to this office. I have my headphones on with no music playing. I want to be tortured by the happy dance in the background. Nobody will find me here. Nobody will look for me. For fear of getting rejected, I have put myself in a place where rejection is impossible. Nobody can get in, so how will they help me? A fleeting ridiculous image passes through my head of the girl banging on the door needing to talk to me.
This is about the time that a single word pops into my head: NO. No, I will not let this depression consume me, I will not be pitied, I will not feel inadequate, I will not use over this. It has been 72 hours since 2011 began and my mind is still battling against itself. I am fighting for myself against myself. I have talked to friends, counselors, therapists, I have kept busy, I went to a movie, a birthday party, and a friend’s house; I saw my family. I was not necessarily happy, but I have convinced myself that I will live through it and I will get through it.
It was easy to hold on (until it became difficult). The difficulty of overcoming my addiction is real, much more real than the relatively simple past half year. But I am the most sober I have ever been because I am feeling. Increasingly aware of the ongoing battle between creation and destruction, life and death, I am better prepared than ever to go into the next round and knock “Captain Destruction” to the floor. The better I know my opponent, the more likely I am to beat him.