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A hook, a chain, a gasp for air

It had been there for a long while now, a year or so. I do not know why I kept it. I just did. Like I was saving it for a special occasion. Or, maybe, I was just curious too about it. I had tried it once ever in my life, many years before, and had feared the curious thoughts and emotions it had left me with. Perhaps it was how it felt like everything it had been slighted to be. How much of a danger to life it had always been portrayed. Yet still, I allowed it to sit in a dark corner of my space, well hidden from prying eyes. Then, even had a misplaced audacity to forget it was even there in the first place. There it sat, patiently, as if waiting for a moment when!

Choices, perhaps the hardest things to make in this life especially when there can be so many options, I find. I was hurt, stressed, desperate. Couldn’t eat, food became work taking it, a good night’s sleep was slowly growing into a rumor. At the end of my ropes, I felt.  So, when the call came, “Come, let’s go and burn you.” I did not hesitate, I was desperate for company and if I was to burn for it, I didn’t feel left with much of a life now anyways. Anything gave. Afterwards, I couldn’t believe how much I craved for food, all of a sudden, oh, and when I lay my head down for a nap, I couldn’t remember a day I slept like so!

Habit, said to take twenty-one days to form. Of course, it was the first of many, that I thought about. It must have jubilated for having managed maintaining to the day it became of use, when finally, I had reached out for it from its corner and lit it up. Maybe it sighed in relief, feeling purposeful with how it sparked from my hold to when the smoke danced and wafted, slowly darkening the air, down to my very breath. Mali safi iende chain, no? Sixty. The number of days it is said to get that habit into a lifestyle, therein becoming…

Automatic. Sober days became less and less. An indifference to life grew. All that mattered and gave, was euphoria. With time, it was probably all there was, every response to anything really. Happy? Puff. Sad? Maybe two puffs. Stressed? Maybe hold it in an extra second to make sure it hits just right. Anxious? Dwell on that much and you won’t believe the paranoia! I hated this the most, I have a fear of being afraid you see. Eventually, it started looking like all I was, high. In the end, I would start to wonder how people managed to do life sober.

Identity, the fact of being. Did I have to follow the introduction of me with, “… and I am an addict,” in those Narcotic Anonymous meetings? I mean, I no longer wanted to do anything with it, my mind was now struggling, mostly sleepy and going on go-slows when I needed it to be in full gear. Ah! The damned memory lapses! Also, what happened to things that mattered? Where were they? I had stressed it, pressed it, oh, my poor mind! Now felt so suffocated by smoke, its desperate gasps for air became more and more pitiful to bear. I could now almost feel it shrinking, in my minds eye, I saw it. Yet, for the life of me, I couldn’t stop! Instead of owning the habit, it now seemed to own me. I never thought I could lose control this much, yet, I’d be lying to say I did not quite see it coming. That infuriated me, I love having control, if of nothing, then myself, my life, after all, it IS mine. Even if I didn’t want it anymore, my life that is, did there really not exist another way to it? I was desperate. I could now feel the skin on my face literally burn from within, I feared that soon it’d beat valley dry bones in a contest. I desired to stand on my own two feet, reach my neck up above the smokey clouds, stretch it as the trees, to where the crispy air was. I wanted to be healed, out of this dark cold hole. I wanted to fly with eagles but felt pressed, suppressed down to chicken, a misfit in the coup. I wanted to be free. So, would it be okay if I chose to change the statement to, “I am healed,” instead, please? You know, a desperate attempt to redefine myself, just to give the narrative a nice twist.

Nature has a way with itself. One that ever seems to astound, is the human nature. The heights one man’s drive and self-will can propel his very life. The fight in a suffocating man, whether drowning, hanging or any other such crude method to get that job done. Probably tops the list of my worst way to die, how painful it must be to gasp and fight for one more breath. Breath that you once, at some point, took for granted.

A deconstruction;

Therapist: Say, you are not the problem. The problem is the problem. What is the name you would give this your addiction?

Me: The Red Eyed Demon.

Therapist: Assuming it is in this room, where would you place it?

Me: Just here, a bit beside me.

Therapist: Is it standing or seated?

Me: Standing, of course. There is no rest for the wicked.

Therapist: If you could throw it away, have it anywhere else but here, where would you send it?

Me: Down the bottomless pit of despair and destruction it pulled me towards. To ever keep falling, until the ends of time.

“Ah! Sometimes, I see, addiction must be a demon,” I once react, in a session with a client fighting addiction. “Girl! Do you know what withdrawal symptoms are? How they be?” He opens his eyes wide at me as he responds. I shake my head and say, “No. Tell me, how are they?” “Nightmares! Pretty serious nightmares. They start when you are really hooked and get really bad and scary when fighting to come out of it all. You dream with scary things, monsters coming to get you. They want you to either stay to die or just die.” “Wow,” is all I can say.

Healing is never linear in this arena where the battle with addiction takes place. It is bumpy and can get rough. Sometimes a test to your very faith, a serious tease on one’s limits.  Requires a lot of fight for self-will so as to avoid a murderous relapse and resilience, strong belief in the eagle you are so as to be freed from that chicken mindset- it is the only way you soar. The secret is to take it day by day, step by step, breath by breath.

Starts with choosing; to stop, to want something new, to reach for everything you know you were created to be and can be.

A stretch a day to reach the blue skies and in twenty-one it will be a habit and soon a lifestyle. Automatically, your life starts changing, resulting to a re-defined identity. Eventually, your true nature embraces you and from then on, becomes a fight to keep it steady. Thus, building up to a brand-new chain hooked to wellness, fresh breaths, crispy filling air and beautiful heights. It is okay, truly, to desire a balanced life. Nothing is out of reach. Don’t forget to breathe!


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