March 29 2018 was my last day, and, knock on wood, I will reach two years free from Demon Opium.I am going to share these ‘prior to quitting’ writings off and on for this month. The depths of addiction is a strange place to live. You do and say things you, cross lines that you swore you would never cross.
You are owned by the Demon, and you are deep in a tunnel of despair. Physically nonfunctional your brain drifts and you have a lot time contemplate the universe and scribble down the words of a mad man. Insights? Maybe, though I prefer to call it a look into a place worth looking at. If just to look back in fear, those words from the botton of the well are frozen memories.
(photo: Medicated; by jr white)
I remember a day similar to this one. The snow was melting and about sixty milligrams were kicking in. The world was unusually bright that morning as I stood on the porch. That, there, was exactly why I was addicted. I am sure I hadn’t been high in a while.
By 2016, I was mostly just getting back to not being sick. So you chase that feeling that the Demon Opium first gave you. At first, you feel great. Relatively pain free, your outlook smooths out.
In the early days, I was in pain. Pain is depressing. Feeling like you are walking in and on a cloud isn’t. That was the Demon’s trap. That is what the Demon Opium offered. Feel good. Feel better.
You know, I did always know that a price must be paid to the Demon. Each day, I loaded up and kicked the can down the road. On that March day in 2016, I fought the Demon to a draw.
Yes, I get it, why dwell on the good highs? I don’t dwell, it’s usually a drifting memory. Both warning and emotion, that moment meant something.
For me, it says, I wasn’t weak, because in that exact moment I felt perfect. I challenge anyone to not obsessively chase those moments. It also tells me I can achieve that feeling without opiates. Since I have quit I have achieved them. I have felt that same emotion and it feels just as great.
I struggle with chronic migraine which has only become worse since my last day. Do I miss the physical relief, however temporary, the Demon Opiate can offer? I am not willing to pay the toll today.
I have emotional relief today. Yes, I am much more debilitated now. I consider that part of the toll some days. Not in a ‘THE UNIVERSE WANTS SUFFERING FOR YOUR ATONEMENT’ sense (sub note; Fuck guilt). In the sense that no amount of masking will take the pain away. There is no temporary relief anymore.
Or as I joke, I took my pain pills as prescribed. It’s just that I took everybody else’s as prescribed, too (btw, if you were short a dose, yeah, it was probably me, but we will get to that in a later post).
Addiction is not just physical. Addiction is an emotion. One tiny moment, in a sea of the chaos that the Demon is stirring up. One tiny moment to keep you chasing that emotion. A toll, possibly requiring payment at any moment, willingly paid every time.
That’s the point there would never be enough pills that I wouldn’t pay. I took all of mine. I took all of yours. I got that perfect feeling for maybe ten minutes. For that feeling, I would willingly pay the fee. Now I deal with my pain the way everybody else with my condition does. If they can do it without the Demon Opium, so can I.
I once wrote, if misery loves company, why am I so lonely? The cause of my misery is gone. Today, I am not lonely. More miraculously, I can be there for people. There is a reason to be around me.
I may be in pain, but I am not a sad sack, half asleep (or fully asleep), and droopy person anymore. For heavens sake, I fell asleep with food in my mouth. That doesn’t happen anymore. Watching a person half asleep with a chimichanga in their mouth isn’t something people want to hang out for. No wonder I was lonely.
So on that March morning two years ago, I had ten minutes. This March morning, I have enjoyed it all. The perfect light through our southeastern windows in the morning. The birds coming out and singing, winter no longer sending them huddling into the pine trees.
The melting snow after a typical Wyoming winter, giving the deer the first grazing they have had since December. That smell of decay and renewal, unique to early spring days. On mornings like this, I feel like I didn’t pay a price at all.