Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies,
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife.
Offer me that deathless death,
good God, let me give you my life. ~ Hozier
As part of my therapy when I got sober I was told to write a letter to someone who I was angry with or held a resentment against. At that point in my life there was only one person that I literally despised, that caused me unthinkable pain and filled me with extraordinary anger.
Myself, as an addict.
After writing the letter, it was suggested that I either mail the letter to the intended recipient or tear it to pieces and bury or burn it.
I kept it. Somewhere inside me the addict still lives. So I guess, in a sense, I mailed it.
This is the letter I wrote almost 18 years ago…with an addendum.
I need to tell you something. I can’t live this way any longer.
I am consumed every moment of every day, every thought I have is a plan for my next drink, my next high. The smell is in my hair, on my skin. The taste is always in my mouth. My head, my stomach, my limbs are forever on fire.
This has become my religion.
I have turned into someone I no longer recognize when I look in the mirror. I realize this is because it’s not my own reflection staring back at me. At least I don’t think so. I am unrecognizable.
I have turned into someone and something I do not wish to be.
I am exhausted from laughing on the outside while all the time I’m dying on the inside. I have no recollection of what happiness looks or feels like, if I ever really knew at all. Anyway, I stopped searching for it a very long time ago. The pain that I feel, and am no longer able to anesthetize, is all too real and it is killing me.
I have nothing. I have no one. All of my hostages have freed themselves.
I’ve lost hours. I’ve lost days.
I’ve lost years.
What is left of me, this sick monster, is all that remains.
In my lucid moments I can remember wanting nothing more than to feel normal when the truth is I have absolutely no idea what normal is. I do know it is something I have never been and will never be.
It is time for me to stand up and be accountable for my mistakes, each and every one. If I can’t take responsibility for those then how can I take credit for my successes when they come.
And they will come.
I will use what I have learned from you. One day I will inspire others to break down the walls and let in the light.
Today I am saying,
I know you are still here. I know you have been patient. I know you will wait for the tiniest crack in my foundation and, like a poisonous weed, take root, winding your way into my heart, my brain, and finally down my throat, seizing every system and squeezing, crushing, wringing me out, until my breath is taken, bones broken, and my soul ceases to exist.
I am sure you would gladly take over right where you left off and with no remorse take everything I love, everything I have, and everything I am.
There were days, long ago now, when I would have let you. There have been days when I could feel the glass in my hand and my lips would pucker like a kiss, feeling the heat of the drink as it rolled over my pleading tongue and down my throat, warming my belly and adding fuel to the embers that will burn as long as I live.
Every once in a while I would feel the satisfying burn of the powder and could actually smell the cut used to step on it, taste it as I remembered my numbed gums.
I could forget what came next. The damage, the lies, the loss, the self -loathing.
The desire to die just to end the new and ever extraordinary pain.
But that was then.
This is now.
You can lie in wait for a moment that will not come. Watch and burn in anguish as you stare in wide eyed wonder at the life I have built from the ashes you left behind. You can live in the Hell you created but I won’t.
I don’t need to spend my days chasing the perfect high any longer. That happened once, and only once.
I can’t cry over time lost and people left behind. That life is over. Those people don’t even know who I am.
How could they when not even I knew?
Do you want to know who I am?
I am an alcoholic and an addict. I have made so many mistakes in this lifetime, some of which I can never make right. I have caused emotional and spiritual damage to myself and others that cannot be undone. I worshipped a devil and in the process a part of me is forever lost.
For years I walked a path of self-destruction and could never quite succeed in dying, the only thing I thought could bring me peace.
I was wrong.
I am a recovering alcoholic and addict that wakes up every morning knowing peace. I know where I am. I know who I’m with. I remember what I’ve done and I don’t have to hide in the dark with the phone unplugged, ignoring the insistent knock at the front door.
I love and am loved.
I can hold out my hand to a person in pain and tell them in truth that I know how much it hurts and that, perhaps not this day, but one day it will stop.
I can look in the mirror today and smile and most days I know exactly who is looking back.
When I laugh it is from the inside out and I do it as often and as hard as I can. I laugh until it hurts because that is the kind of pain I wish to endure.
I still know that I am not normal but I do know I’m as close as I will ever get.
What is normal anyway?
And I know I don’t have to stay sober forever.
Just one day.