Pecan Pie

Social Anxiety from the South

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All I Want for Christmas

Friday night I went out.   I went to the Blue Frog Cantina in East Atlanta Village to hear my old college roomie’s fiancé spin some dub-step.  The music was killer and seeing my friend was fantastic.  I haven’t seen her in years.  I have avoided anything remotely related to my old stomping grounds since I got clean in January of 2006.

I used to be a tweaker.  I started experimenting with street drugs when I was 19, starting with ecstasy.  I began going to raves and listening to EDM (electronic dance music, for the rest of you) and as most people know drugs are a huge part of that counter-culture.  I did crystal for the first time when I was 20 and by the end of 2001, I was using most every day.  I kicked cold turkey after 5 years of constant drug use.

The only way to get clean is to remove yourself from the social framework that enabled your drug use.  The only way. You don’t need 12 steps, you certainly don’t need god and therapy is great for healing the cause of the desire to self-medicate, but none of those things will get you clean.  Only a complete rejection of the life you lived before will work.  It is the only way.

So, after almost 5 years clean, I finally allowed myself to go hear the music I love so I can dance the way I enjoy and see some (also clean) friends that I have desperately missed.

While I was there, I saw a friend that I have been trying to get in touch with most of the time I have been clean, but even through the wonders of the interwebz had been unable to connect with.  We finally made contact through Facebook recently, but my last message has been unanswered for a couple of weeks.  This is a person that was very dear to me when I was using.   He’s smart and really sweet, just a kind soul.  I guess I just assumed he cleaned up when everyone else began to leave the scene.

When I saw him walk in, I just hugged him so tight.  I was so happy to see my friend.

He asked if we could go somewhere quieter to talk.  Outside of the loud music, smoke machine fog and dark lighting it was clear he was high.  I tried to be calm and non-reactive.  I did not want him to think I was judging him, because I’m not.  I love him regardless.  He told me he had two years clean…but relapsed.

It was surreal.

All of the sudden I realized how difficult it must have been for my family to try and converse with me.  All that time I thought I was hiding the indicators so well.  Now, I realize I have a nose for users.  I can spot them a mile away.  Walk with me through a Wal-Mart Supercenter at 3 am any day of the week and I can peruse the aisles pointing them out to you.  Even the ones who really do project little to indicate they’re hanging out with Tina.  However, there are some things you just can’t hide.  Even if my family, hell even the general public, couldn’t quite figure out why I was acting so weird…the weirdness must have been so obvious to them.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a wash of shame in that moment.

In the end, I gave him my number and made sure to get his from my girlfriend in case he forgot to text me with it and I let him know that if he wanted some straight friends who love good food, good music and good conversation to hang out with, Jim and I are here.  I won’t judge or pressure him.  Those things don’t work.

He said, “You know what’s ironic?  I feel so much better when I’m sober.”

Yah.  It used to be fun.  That’s why we all started.  It was fun.  Anyone who tells you drugs aren’t fun is an idiot.  Then it makes you scared.  Mean.  Depressed.  Then you think about all you have to give up to get clean.  Friends.  Family, even.  I gave up the music I love.  I retreated from online life in many ways that first year.  I couldn’t drive into the city without getting physically ill.  I felt guilty for abandoning my friends, some of whom were in jail and I knew I should have visited them or written to them…something.

Getting clean isn’t hard.  Giving up your whole world is what the difficult part is. I really hope my friend gives that another shot.  He’s so worth it.  I really hope he realizes that one day…one day soon.

I told him it was so much better on the other side.  For Christmas, I want him to believe that can be true.

Happy Holidays, Y’all.

Written by thelittlepecan

December 18, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Posted in addiction, atheism

Tagged with , ,