Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Man in the Mirror

Lately I feel like an addict. It's a sucky feeling.

I find myself dancing on the cliff's edge, where there is neither serenity nor escape. I'm looking for something I can't have. Linsey was right: you can't have an ass-kicking experience every single day of your life that's better than the day before. For example, you only get one virgin viewing of Fight Club. Every time after that you're just re-watching it.

My addict is moving in, rearranging my furniture and hanging posters on my walls. He has the tactical advantage of knowing my weaknesses. He can match my debating skills and my powers of persuasion. His will is as great as mine. He has at his disposal my finely tuned ability to nonchalantly lie, and my tendency to passive-aggressively avoid healthy habits. He's got my charm and wit. Like the addicts we meet in real life, he's not a one-dimensional storybook bad guy, but a complex and confused human being, who will fight and deceive and cajole to get his needs met. He is all these things because he is me.

It's like those childless people who give you parenting advice: “You just take away the pacifier and hide it, and don't give it back no matter how much they cry.” Well shoot-howdy, if only I'd known this sooner! I must admit: I take far too much perverse pleasure in watching know-it-all couples get broken by their first baby. Children don't gradually learn to manipulate and control their parents, they shock you from day one with their infinitely varied bag of tricks. If you're a Star Trek fan, they're like the Borg: your shields only work once or twice before the rotating harmonics of their phasers find a new way to penetrate your defenses. By the time you've become an effective parent to today's child, it's tomorrow.

And so it is with my addict. I feel like I'm playing chess against myself. Or poker. In The Man Who Folded Himself, a time traveler repeatedly visits an ongoing poker game where he plays against multiple copies of himself, from different time lines and points in his life. How can you bluff someone who lives inside your own mind? I guess that's why I can't stay sober by myself. I need my Higher Power and the people in my program. Armed with the combined wisdom and literature of past addicts, we work together to outwit my opponent.

So I turn today to those who walk beside me, and to my God, because I am afraid. When I look in the mirror at the man who would so thoughtlessly murder me, I see a formidable and subtle enemy. He's cunning, baffling, and powerful. He's too much for me.


  1. Get thee to a meeting.

    But for the record your bad guy sounds like my alter ego...

  2. I think it's kinda fun to watch the addict move in a decorate. It's just a bitch when you finally get around to kicking him out - breaking up is hard to do

  3. I hope you will go to a meeting and get rid of the b**tard.

  4. Eli. I think it is important to realise, as you have done, wht the disease is up to. It always tries to destroy by stealth as it knows a frontal assult will very quickly be repelled. At times like these, meetings and higher power are my prtection. I hope you make it through ok.

  5. This post makes quite an impression. I hope you do whatever it takes to not let the addict take over. My best wishes are with you.

  6. KICK HIM OUT!! He doesn't belong there anymore. There is no room for him there. Call your sponsor please...and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    There how's that for not giving advice! lol

  7. Cat- Aren't most of our bad guys kind of the same?
    Mantra- Of course it's fun- that's the problem. When I'm honest I can admit that I miss that guy sometimes.
    Mary- He is indeed a bastard!
    Findon- Exactly-always sneaky, stealthy, slowly.
    VR-Thanks - I'll try...
    Annette- Advice is fine. And that's right- my life is too crowded, too good, for both of us, right?