I’m in the middle of a silent temper tantrum, by which I mean I’m not talking and have dedicated myself to staying miserable until I exhaust myself. I used to do this almost every day, but they’ve been pretty few and far between since the day that I consider my “emotional sobriety date.” So – of course – I’m angry and now I’m even angrier with myself for this than I am about the stupid incident that sparked this episode.
Here’s the other of my two 9×12″ learning to draw with charcoal sketches from January.
In February 2012, I was kicked out of my second rehab in as many months. I found myself running around Delray Beach with the girl I had been kicked out with. I’m not going to try and diagnose her state back then but – if I did something that bothered her – she could flip a switch and go from being totally in love with me to telling me what an ugly, worthless, pathetic, despicable piece of shit I was. On one occasion in our first week out on our own, we were staying in some little shitbox motel. (If you’re familiar with Delray, I’m sure you know it). I don’t remember exactly what went wrong, but it had something to do with heroin or getting more heroin. And – in case I didn’t already hate myself enough (I did) – she was really piling on as much hatred and vitriol as she could manage, to ensure that there wasn’t so much as a shred of self-esteem left in me.
I went into the bathroom. I was crying. I looked at myself in the mirror and couldn’t fucking stand the sight. It made me angry that I was the person looking back at me. So I started punching myself in the face. I don’t remember how many times. Enough that, for a good while after, I looked like someone had kicked the shit out of me pretty well.
Which I’ve always been good at. I’ve always been good at beating myself up. But that was the one time when it was most literal.
I’ve had thoughts like these today. I have had these impulses today.
I’ve been to three different rehabs and – at each – I got involved with a girl. Though it only (directly) got me kicked out of treatment once, it was never not a serious problem. If I include life outside of rehab, in times when I was trying to stay clean, I’ve relapsed with six different girls (and, each time, while upset about something that happened with me and the girl). That number doesn’t include times I’ve relapsed without [the] girl but while upset about something with her. Heroin is dangerous for me, but girls are probably more dangerous. I first started trying to get clean in November 2010 and – in all the time since – there have been plenty of occasions when I’ve been in dangerous situations where drugs were available through someone I was with (and/or someone was actually using around me). When that person’s been male, I’ve never once caved and gotten high, but when it’s been a girl that I’m even slightly interested in (i.e. most girls), I’ve found myself with a needle in my arm just about every time.
At Tranquil Shores, this was one of the issues that we spent the most time on. In my fifth month as an inpatient, Alexis, the girl with whom I was the most mixed up, moved out. She was signed up to come in three times a week for outpatient treatment but, two weeks later, stopped showing up. We were talking regularly by phone even after she left, but it wasn’t long before I lost touch with her too. She fell off – back into drugs – and lives behind bars now. I could have easily been right there with her when it all went down.
So now there were exactly zero girls in my age range at Tranquil Shores but I had others in the area that I had met at AA or NA meetings that I was constantly texting and meeting up with. (And I was doing that long before I lost touch with Alexis). Nothing serious happened between (any of) us, but I came pretty close to making some bad decisions on more than a few occasions. And that I even came close is insane. How many times did I need to put my life at risk just ‘cause I liked the way some girl smiled at me? But I couldn’t help it. It was the definition of compulsive behavior. I felt like I needed it.
A year prior, at the Wellness Resource Center, after getting caught with a girl (somewhere that we shouldn’t have been, doing something we shouldn’t have been doing), I was sitting in my room, contemplating the trouble I was about to be in. I didn’t want to get kicked out because I knew that I wasn’t “better” yet. I knew I’d get fucked up again and fuck everything up. I remember sitting there and thinking, “I don’t care if they never let me anywhere near her again. I don’t care if they basically lock me in my room. So long as I know that she’s also locked up in her room, sitting there pining for me, still in love with me, that’s all I need. I don’t ever need to see her again.”
I think that’s all it’s really about for me. I just want someone to love me or – more specifically – to be in love with me. I needed for someone to think that I was the most important person in their world. The best person. Their favorite. Once I’d get that, it never really changed anything. I never actually felt any better or less insecure. It seemed so at times, in short little moments, but if that had really been the case, then I wouldn’t have been constantly pursuing multiple girls, even when I already had one “on the hook.” [That term sounds shitty but it conveys the idea I’m trying to get across. Also, it is shitty].
Sitting in group in December 2012, I did some math. I had six girls that I was trying to juggle to varying degrees. While I’d like to write it all of as inauthentic codependent bullshit – to be honest – with half of them I wasn’t even sure [and I’m still not]. I thought there might be (at least some spark of) authentic love. Yet I was still leading on the three girls with whom I knew it was just bullshit.
What was I really after? What was the point? A thought occurred to me; it was really silly but it was also totally dead on, which just made it that much funnier…
Girls are not pokemon – I do not “gotta catch ’em all…”
If you know me personally you might be looking at the date on this cartoon and thinking, “What the fuck? You were already dating Heather by then – that’s fucked up.” [I decided to turn the idea into a cartoon back when I thought of it, but it wasn’t ’til two or three months later that I actually drew it].
Originally, I set out to write this entry about a different piece but I kind of had to throw all of this stuff about my codependent traits and behaviors out there as background info first. I’ll get to the other one tomorrow. [Update: That one’s online now too].
Anyway, I really love this cartoon. I love how superficially cute / innocuous it is but how the truth to it is kind of dark, sad, and pathetic. So often, I’ve let myself to sink to the greatest depths of hell because of something a girl said (or didn’t say) to me. I’ve dwelled in shit and misery for days, on account of facial expressions that I’d later discover I had completely misread. I’ve let my emotions, as triggered by girls, run and ruin my life.
But I’m getting better, you guys! For serious this time!
The original drawing already sold but hit me up to buy a 6×8″ print.
For more on my relationships at this point in my life, check out “Autobiography.”