I’m still not ready to share my painting from yesterday so here’s one of my earliest drawings. It’s almost a year old now.
Since I don’t have anything worthwhile to say about it, here’s an excerpt from my life story project, written right around the time that I drew this.
Speaking of my stupid smirk – my stupid crooked smile – it’s not natural. It was practiced. I used to smile like a human being. At sixteen though, I trained my face to smile with just one side of my mouth. I think I thought it made me look more devious. I remember it was really hard at first but I practiced it for so long – consciously forced myself to smile that that way for so long – that I can’t help it now. That says something about me, I think. About how concerned I was with making a certain kind of impression – and not a good one. It also suggests that I’m tremendously fake. Honest people don’t think about smiling as they do it and, thus, wouldn’t have a moment to decide what kind of smile to display. But me: every time I smiled, I chose to go with that one. My smiles were premeditated. They were very conscious responses. With me, it’s all planned; it’s all pretend.
This was an assignment at the end of group one day. I forget the specifics, but I think it pretty much amounted to “here’s the outline of your brain – fill it in.”
While everything here is rooted in truth, there’s obviously a self-deprecating humor underlying it all.
I started to write up a statement but so much felt redundant when taken in conjunction with a lot of my other writing that’s already online here. Since it’s really sort of an index of my brain anyway though, I decided to use this entry as a sort of directory. In the course of compiling it, however, I came to realize a few things…
First, I’m great at pointing out those weaknesses of mine that make me sympathetic (lovable), but am significantly less inclined to open up and and shine a spotlight on my more deplorable faults and flaws. Especially when it comes to dishonesty, manipulation, or anytime I’ve caused another person harm.
Second, when it comes to the things that have really hurt me: same problem. Hurts that I’ve conquered, I’ll talk about all day long because it feels like victory – but the things that really left a scar: not so much. I’m embarrassed by them and they make me feel weak. (This is especially true of events from childhood that now seem petty or trivial).
Third, for a recovering heroin addict that still thinks about heroin on a daily (if not hourly) basis, I don’t seem to ever write about heroin, except in the past tense, like when I’m telling a story.
Fourth, while I’ve shared more of my thoughts on it than a lot of people ever will, I’m still pretty meek when it comes to writing about sex – at least relative to my approach to lots of other socially taboo subjects.
Anyway, here’s the little directory I put together with regard to each “segment” of my brain, as depicted in this drawing from December, although a few are either curiously thin or entirely absent…
Lovesickness (girls, relationships, and associated consequences)
This… what you’re reading right now… the fact that I’m still making this fucking list when I know that I really ought to stop, elaborate on the things that warrant elaboration and not just keep thinking up pieces that fall under each of these headings. But I’ve made it this far and I don’t want to feel like this was all for nothing….
It was at this point that I paused and rewrote the introduction to this entry so as to include the things I learned about myself in the course of “curating” this directory. Although, remember – you can always use the search box at the bottom of every page to find content related to whatever you might be interested in. The tags just below the title of each entry can be useful too, although I haven’t always done a great job of using them as well as I really should. (I know of at least one tag that’s never been misapplied to an unrelated entry though)…
This entry is TOTALLY two to three hours past due but I was locked out of the site for a few hours on account of all the super 1337 h4x0r5 that have been fucking up my shit (and my webhost’s server) these last few days. I’m just glad they weren’t able to do any serious damage, so I’m not gonna bum out over the little stuff.
On October 2, 2012, I was kicked out of Tranquil Shores. It was my third time being kicked out of rehab that year. This time was different though. I knew what I needed to do and, on October 19th, I was welcomed back.
When I had been kicked out of Hazelden and the Wellness Resource Center, a lot of what was going wrong with me had to do with girls. At both facilities, I got “involved” with another patient. That hadn’t been the case this time but, when I was readmitted, I started doing it again. This time, I was determined enough to succeed that I didn’t let it control me the way it had before. We had more than a few conversations about how we were just friends (even once in the presence of the treatment staff when they began to worry about what might be developing). But I held on, I didn’t give in and do anything that would have been automatic grounds for my being kicked out again. Still, it eventually got to a point where we had resolved to be together after we got out of treatment and that’s the kind of emotional attachment that’s not good for anyone early in recovery, let alone a basket case like myself.
I don’t mean it as an excuse because I don’t see it that way but my thoughts, emotional responses, and consequent behaviors are not like most people’s. I “have” borderline personality disorder.
Something happened. It doesn’t matter what. She and I weren’t getting along and it was fucking ruining me. And because I wasn’t supposed to be involved with anyone (let alone a girl I was in treatment with) I couldn’t be honest with my counselor or anyone else about what was eating at me. It occurred to me that – if I wasn’t willing to talk about my issues – there was no longer any reason to be in treatment. Things got worse until one night, alone in my room, I lost it. [Since that’s a whole story of its own though, I won’t go into the details here].
The next morning I woke up feeling thoroughly empty, thoroughly hopeless. In my head, I had convinced myself that I wasn’t really doing anything wrong because I hadn’t actually slept with the girl. But I was fucking destroying any shot I had at ever getting better. I was already contemplating leaving and I knew, if I went down that path, I’d be shooting heroin again in no time. I was keeping my mouth shut for the sake of my relationship with this girl, but if I didn’t start talking and sort this shit out [if I left Tranquil Shores] the relationship was over anyway; I’d lose everything. I talked to a friend and realized that I had no choice. So I told the truth about everything that had gone on between us.
And she denied everything. She told them that it was all in my head – that I was even sicker and more confused than I seemed. I couldn’t believe it. I thought this was going to be the best thing for us. We weren’t supposed to get mixed up with each other in the first place but… it happened (nothing could change that) and now we’d be able to deal with it. And get better. It was going to be awesome. The greatest relief ever. But she wasn’t interested. She stuck to her story: that I was out of my fucking mind. I had an encyclopedia’s worth of Facebook and text messages to prove otherwise, but when my counselor said I could show them to her if I wanted to it felt petty. I realized that the truth didn’t matter. It was a big epistemological lesson for me. Emotions are stronger than facts. If I held that this relationship had happened, my treatment was going to progress as if that were the truth. If she held that it hadn’t, her treatment would address the issue as if that were the truth. [Weeks later, she did come clean and acknowledge that everything I said was true, but that’s not relevant to this piece].
After the dust settled from the shit storm that had been that afternoon, I went back to my room and wrote.
Pretty bummed out right now. Sad about the person I’ve let myself become. Not feeling totally lost though. I’m grateful for the lesson I was able to learn today and for the opportunity to use that knowledge to make my future better than my past. It hurts now, but this will be a good thing so long as I’m willing to utilize it, grow, and change.
I needed to get out of my self for a little while so I started to draw. Three hours later, I was flooded with feelings that I didn’t know what to do with. I stopped drawing. I scrambled around my room looking for something to write on. I found a piece of paper that I had traced my arms onto three weeks prior [for a project I hadn’t finished; I still needed to draw a knife into my right hand, for starters]. A few days prior I had that intention, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. Now, I didn’t care about that. I just needed something to write on. What spilled onto the paper was very stream-of-conscious. Just before I touched my pencil to the page, I decided to put it in my left hand since (it’s said that) writing with your non-dominant hand helps with honesty and hinders pretension.
i didn’t know who i was or what i was doing
i’m not whole yet but I’m closer than ever
i realized I could choose to not be an obnoxious, negative problem
november ended, i forgot
today is 12-12-12 and i just remembered
and i learned something new today
i can choose more
i don’t have to be confused
i don’t have to send mixed messages or be inauthentic
i can be whoever i want to be
I KNOW WHO I AM TODAY
i am honest sincere loving compassionate kind intelligent fun dedicated loyal creative talented doing my best sorry for the harm and hurt i’ve caused proud of my achievements and sam NICE TO MEET YOU
I’m embarrassed of this piece sometimes. The old, guarded me would call this the dumbest shit ever. But – as I commented when I first made it – it’s the most positive, productive thing I’ve ever produced. In recovery, there’s lot of talk about a “spiritual awakening.” This is the unintentional document of mine. I’m sograteful that I have it to remind me of exactly how I felt in that moment. I only wish that I could feel that way all the time. My resolve to be the kind of person that I described had (and has) never been stronger.