I am, and always have been, fascinated by old stuff. Anyone with a copy of the memoir knows my obvious affinity for antique typewriters. I can’t help but wonder what person used it before it came into my possession, what words they click-clacked onto paper that has long ago decayed. Buildings are another fascinating thing, one we all share when we are somewhere historic, imagining what it must have been like when Angkor Wat was new, or when Tulum was in its heyday before the Spanish spread disease and greed. These things endure, through centuries, and have seen countless changes.
Change for me is frightening, is thrilling. The unknown forces feelings of worry and exhilaration, sometimes in the same thought. It is something necessary, closing a chapter in my life that at times I am hesitant to shut. Other times I want to pack up and get the hell out of dodge. There is nothing left here for me. “Friends” choose sides, proving the title should never have been bestowed in the first place, and had they just taken a minute to listen to the other side, they’d see I bear the brunt of the blame. There is no forgiveness and it’s got to be ok with me.
Certain sayings I have carried with me, essential things I have to draw on if I am to have any sanity. One vital phrase is “faith is the absence of fear.” Tied to that one is “faith without works is dead.” For a month I allowed fear to simply paralyze me, back in June when everything in my life changed with such rapid speed, not knowing what to do, just walking seemed to be a challenge. I just couldn’t function. At 38, was I really going to have to start over? Yes indeed my friend, that is exactly the path you are on. One other thing I have kept close to my heart is something Ann said to me, “If you put the effort into your book that you did into getting drugs, you’ll succeed.”
I laugh about that, my favorite defense mechanism so I don’t have to really delve into what that means. How when I am hooked and on a run, I am a polar opposite of my true self. When I am Dr. Jekyll, you could not ask for a more loyal friend, I’d give you my last nickel if it would help, but Mr.Hyde, not only will he take every single ounce of kindness, he will use up pieces of your soul you never even knew you had.
That is who I was. Fighting a battle against myself, not giving fear a chance to gain a foothold on my sanity, lest I have to hear deep buried voices murmurs become audible words. Faith. It keeps it all quiet. The bigger mission in my life, the one that makes the 38 years worthwhile, is chief in my mind. My PR man lost a dear friend a few days ago. I never met her, and I didn’t need to. Her name was April. Addicts share a common pain, a deep seeded hurt we can’t seem to let go. That much I know I shared with her, I just wish she could have held on a bit longer, could have learned a lesson I had to, however hard it was to accept. Letting go of the past is freeing, not carrying around that sack of other people’s burdens they piled onto our backs, that is just one key to life.
So, change, here I come. A new address, another new beginning. How can I have fear when I have survived death countless times? Dumped in front of a hospital instead of being allowed to slip away, or my dad’s intuition calling 911 just in time, or the numerous times guardian angels took turns slapping the shit out of me, blue-lipped prayers heeded. I have my purpose, I am ready and willing to use the gifts so many have told me I possess. Book smart and street smart, there isn’t much I haven’t seen and lived. I used to struggle with the idea of why I was spared when all I craved was to not see tomorrow. I was never outright suicidal, just apathetic when it came to living. As my addiction grew, I’d have these thoughts of mixing up my days supply and just seeing what would happen, and decide all that would happen is I’d wake up and have to find more money, wasting a days worth of dope in stupidity.
That was my brain. When I think about people like my friend Chuck, whose “friends” did leave him to die in a bathroom in Jersey, I know I have so much work to do. To tear down stigmas, to force people to see past Mr.Hyde. None of us think we’ll become that person, we just want to quiet the pain because we have no idea how to shut it up. We can’t let it go.
With this, I close out a chapter of my life that was full of happiness and self-destruction. I have made all the apologies I can make, and I am welcoming the new life in front of me. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to help a family out who has an addict in its midst. Very recently I had a chance, what will hopefully be the first of many, to talk to Mr.Hyde and Dr. Jekyll. While I know it is up to him to take the right steps from this day forward, he is back home, clean, and has a chance to never have to see the junky again. For that, I say thank you. One of my favorite quotes, life is about the journey, not the destination, sums it all up nicely. Have faith everyone, where you are is exactly where you need to be.
Peace — MFJ.