Friday, August 28, 2009

Restore Me To Sanity

What is your definition of “sanity”?

Last night's step study ended before we got to this question in our Celebrate Recovery workbooks. I didn't get to share my answer. So here ya go...

Sanity is stopping this relapse before the demon in my head possessed me again. Thank God I'm not in my addiction today.

Sanity is having friends like you, that I've never met, who encourage me and pour out heartfelt empathy and solid advice when I'm at my worst. I appreciated every one of your comments last week.

Sanity is leaving the most uncomfortable counseling appointment I've ever had, and knowing what to do next. I talked about it with people I trust. He's a therapist, but he's also a human. Some of his advice was good, some of it wasn't.

Sanity is looking at my depression and seeing it for what it is. I don't have to decide whether an upswing in my depression contributed to (not excused!) my relapse, or my relapse agitated my depression. There's a false dichotomy in that chicken-and-egg question. I'll keep working with my (wonderful) rehab psychiatrist on the depression, and I'll keep working my program for my addiction. It's all for the same goal.

Lots and lots of stuff in the last week. My head is spinning. I thought it couldn't get much worse, but yesterday the shit hit the fan at work. We're going through some growing pains, and the pastor and I have hit a pretty fundamental disagreement. But again, here's sanity: I have been (mostly) calm and appropriate, and I know that things will be okay. We respect each other. He's the boss, and while I'm here, I'll work within that framework. Heck, give it a couple days to settle, and I'll work with that framework and whistle while I do it. I just know in my heart that it's time to start looking around. There's probably something else on the horizon for me. Again, that's okay. I find good friends and good advice in the program and in my family, and I haven't really felt tempted to use over this.

I'm beginning to know who I am, and what I have to offer. As I face this dissonance at work, I'm discovering new boundaries that I didn't even know were there. I think that's sanity.

[Photo by Mark Grealish under C.C.License]

Monday, August 17, 2009

One Stupid Night

I lost my way.

I used last night. I don't know why. I'm still coming down so I'm not thinking very clearly.

During the darkest hours of the night, I thought about how my brain works. I knew that if I waited for morning, I would try to hide my mistake, and would find myself caught up in the machinery of addiction. I would think that I could stop it all through prayer and willpower and work, sidestepping disclosure. I've been there with embarrassing frequency, in that cycle of swearing off, planning, acting out, then starting over again and again.

So I woke up Linsey at 4:00 and told her what I'd done. I don't want to get caught in a week or a month, wandering the house while the world is sleeping. I need to stop now, I said. I'll reset my sobriety date (I had seven months) and get back to living. And I knew that whatever shame I felt today or tomorrow wouldn't be worse than the nightmare of living in my addictions.

My addictions. I've been a little vague because, frankly, I'm kind of embarrassed. But what the hell, here ya go: I'm addicted to DXM and internet porn. DXM is dextromethorphan, or cough syrup. Yes, over-the-counter cough syrup in “recreational” quantities. The reason I feel stupid is that being addicted to Robitussin is very high-schoolish, and a real sex addict is supposed to be visiting massage parlors, right? I'm such a fucking teenager when it comes to my vices. I throw in abusive doses of a couple other prescriptions as well, and I find nirvana. My rehab psychiatrist once said, “we become chemists.”

I am the luckiest man in the world. I have beautiful, intriguing children. I get to sing and make music for a living. My wife is generous and kind and diligent in her own recovery, and we are finding the way together. I have been reading through your past comments and I am humbled to be here with you. I ask that you forgive my selfishness. I'm getting back to work.

Image credit: nervousgravity @