I, like many others, have a thinking problem and it is rooted in denial. This ill thinking manifested itself through my addiction with the use of alcohol and drugs.
Altough everyones denial is different, it is such a cunning, baffling and powerful mindset as it reinforces that everything’s ok when its not and misleads us into a habit of thinking that robs lives…some quickly, others slowly.
With the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, social media erupts with comments about the evils of drugs, and the glorification of the celebrity. Although the drugs contributed to his death it was his denial that killed him. If someone acknowledged the reality that the dose they were about to take would kill them, would they do it?
Alcohol is just another drug. Addicts with a needle may kill themselves, but a drunk with a car will cause more harm to others…and usually lives to drink again.
The first time I took a hit of meth, I drew a hard hit and held it in, as I did with my weed, so I could get a nice dosage into my blood stream to carry to my brain. The guy I was getting high with hit me on the back, causing me to cough out the smoke, then said to me: This isn’t weed, dude. You can’t hold it in, it will crystallize in your lungs and you will suffocate. By this time the rush began to surge through my brain and I wanted another hit.
And about that “rush.” It’s not the drug, it’s the feeling at that split second that all is well and whatever is your denial is, at that moment is non-existent.
For some this rush comes quickly in a split second as the needle is pulled from the vein, for others a little slower as smoke fills the lungs; or as the pill or drink absorbs through the stomach. The only difference is the delivery method of the substance into the bloodstream onto the brain.
In the beginning my time using was filled with much fun…but from my first drink, it made me feel comfortable in my own skin. It was just as time went on, the dosage needed to be greater to quiet the denial. Towards the end of my use, I would fall to the floor into convulsions. I would always be so freaked out when this happened, thinking: “death is here” A cigarette would be “needed” to clam my nerves. For the years the drugs and alcohol really weren’t working, but I kept using, thinking that something would be different this next time. Once I reached the point where the intoxicants would not ease the pain of my denial, I was faced with the only option I hadn’t tried to deal with my denial: face it.
Stints in rehab, 12 steps, meetings and therapy, living clean and sober things get better; it’s about progress, not perfection.
Just recently I experienced an emotional relapse…I turned back to one I used as an emotional crutch, thinking that things would be different this time. However, the dysfunction we shared then is still strong today. The worst part of all this is how the two of us fell into our old roles of the dysfunction we once played. So I get a chance to learn… to let go and move forward.
It’s unfortunate when addicts succumb to death at the result of their own ill thinking without learning a new way to live. When that person is a celebrity, it’s sometimes over-looked that they are just another person suffering from mental illness.
Instead of glorifying the dead to RIP, maybe it’s time to throw some energy out into the universe that the ones still suffering receive some grace to face their demons and learn a new way to live.