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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Spinning

Truly dedicated alcoholics lead very exciting lives.  We drink, drink, drink, drink and drink.  Because we love adventure, some of us use drugs.  As a result, we get terribly thirsty.  So we drink even more.  Drinking, using, drinking, drinking and using.  It's a labor intensive existence.

I drank all the time and got crazy high.  Chronic daily drinking and amphetamines. Sometimes, I'd feel nervous and sick, so I'd throw up a little.  Then, back to the drinking.  And the drugs.  Another drink.  One more hit.

I couldn't go to that first appointment with Dr. Korman.  My calendar was booked solid with these two very important pursuits.  I couldn't go anywhere at 6:30 in the evening that didn't involve drinking.  And I knew better than to show up drunk.  So, I left a cowardly message to cancel.  "What a relief," I thought.  But it wasn't.

Maybe you're an alcoholic.
"Be quiet."
I'm just saying, you drink a lot.
"You'd drink too if you had my life."
Uhm, I do have your life.  I'm your conscience, remember?

A shift was occurring in my chemical dependency.  The tolerance I'd built up over the years was starting to break down.  I was using just to feel normal.  And nothing was working like it used to.  I was sad and paranoid and exhausted.  My behavior was making life unmanageable.  For so many years, I drank and got loaded without thinking. I'd accumulated a host of problems, but I never once considered these difficulties to be the direct result of the habits I'd developed.  I wanted to appreciate my drinking as if it were an enjoyable leisurely pastime.  The way it was for everybody else.  Recreational, like all the speed and cocaine I did.

For me, drinking and drugs were habits that became compulsions.  It is difficult for folks who are not alcoholics or junkies to understand what this means.  "You could stop. You just don't want to."  These words are usually the beginning of an unfortunate conversation that goes nowhere.

Drunks cannot control the desire to drink.  This is gonna sound gross, but alcoholism is like diarrhea in that regard.  It is an uncontrollable urge.  When a person has diarrhea, activities are chosen based on their proximity to the bathroom.  It's exactly the same with addiction, only we stay close to the booze and whatever else we need to keep going. Just in case.  We have to be ready for every emergency.  Especially those that require us to be extraordinarily high.

When the therapist called back to reschedule, I was already spun out.  Doing my thing, which amounted to a whole lot of nothing.  I hid from the phone for several hours, but eventually listened to his voice on the machine.  "Hi, Mary.  This is Dr. Korman.  I have an opening at 4:30 on Thursday, if you'd like to come by.  I look forward to meeting you."

I did not believe him.

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