Dangit, Relapse

There's a few things I've done or been a part of in life that I really could have lived just fine without experiencing. One of those things I mentioned a bit ago, in the post Where I've Been. I speak of alcoholism or, in broader terms, addiction. I myself am not an addict.

My biggest vice was cigar smoking, which I kicked days before the neck cutting got under way, because it'll supposedly make my healing chances increase. So no problem, I stopped buying cigars. Kind of solved that problem, for the most part. And I've always been that way, really. I realize now, I'm lucky: I don't have an "addictive" personality.

For instance, I once bet my dad, upon turning 21, I wouldn't drink again -- for no good reason either, we had just been trash talking to each other in a casino, and that prompted the whole thing. And for the next four years or so, I didn't touch a drop of alcohol -- I told him I wouldn't, and I didn't. I just decided not to imbibe, it really didn't change anything for me. (And I was still more fun than you.) When my mom asked me to take a shot with her on her something-th birthday down in Tijuana, I said "why not" and went with it -- that ended the "bet." Even then, I didn't become a big drinker thereafter or anything.

So you can perhaps see how little I have cared about alcohol or drugs in general. Which really set up the divine irony that played fun-times with my Fate as an apparent consequence: I met someone once who unbeknownst to me was an alcoholic. How could I have not known?, you might ask. Well, that's easy: how could I? I didn't live with this person, didn't see her every moment of the day, wasn't privy to her innermost thoughts -- no, not at that point. And having never known someone with a true addiction, I was unaware of what signs to even look for.

I learned of her disease a couple months after we moved in together. The first "relapse" was a big one, a bad one, because she had spent the first couple months really trying not to drink to hide it from me. I had no idea, so she was pretty successful up to a point. Then it all came together for me. And here's the kicker: instead of running as far as I could, as fast I could, I thought I could make a difference. She had a disease, and I know how that goes (read Why I Am So Colorful) -- so I thought to stand by her, help her fight her disease, like I'd want someone standing next to me for mine. And hell, hers could be controlled. (Or so I thought.)

It worked for a while. But then it stopped working. That sort of speaks for itself, and I'd say adequately sums up how I ended up reacting -- when she stopped trying, I stopped being there. That sort of thing brings its own "issues" and considerations with it and isn't the point today. Moving on.

While I didn't want to know this aspect of life, the depths of human depravity and addiction or obsession, I ended up living with it for a time. It was something I wasn't prepared for and, in hindsight, because of who I am and how I am, not something I could have ever been prepared for. I witnessed things I really wish I didn't -- I saw the ugly, horribly obscene side of human nature. That sort of thing kind of plays havoc with your mind a bit. And that's really what I wanted to put out here, for people to understand.

Those of us who are lucky as hell not to have this addictive side, this obsessive craving for a substance (or a thing) that overrides logic and can take over someone's body -- seizures, cravings, DTs aren't myths or something in the mind, as is commonly projected by those of us who don't "get it" -- we can maintain a distant ignorance of the topic. And then there's those of us who have experienced it too closely, in whatever form...and it never really goes away. Whether it is alcoholism, or clinical narcissism, or narcotics abuse, or what have you: addiction is destructive. "Escaping" from it, for those indirectly involved, is certainly the best way to cope, but the ugliness in humanity, once revealed, can never be ignored or forgotten entirely.

We deal the best we can. For families and friends of alcoholics, there's groups like Al-Anon. It wasn't for me -- I'm not good at being a professional victim -- but I can see it being necessary for, say, children of alcoholics, or the parents of alcoholics. For other folks there's therapy. And for others still, there are even more, different ways to go about  dealing with it. But these types of groups exist precisely because it is impossible to ignore or forget. And that's normal. The passage of time helps take away the intensity, but the memories of the terrible things seen never fades entirely -- you just have to be smart, you have to want to learn from it the same way you learn from your own mistakes.

I want to encourage anyone who has lived with something like this to seek out positive ways to heal. Go to a group, or see a therapist, or whatever you need -- life is way too short to waste holding on to the negative, the painful.

And hell, if you have some kind of addiction and are reading this, please for the love of God get some professional help. Nobody around you, unless they share your disease, will understand it properly -- don't take it out on them. There are professionals for this, most of whom are recovered addicts anyway! I've lived in a situation in which an addict held my life hostage for attention, for support, for help -- in short, for stability. I was afraid to go for a good while there because I was made to fear her reactions. The bottom line was: I wasn't professional help, I couldn't affect the change I wished I could. And you know what happened? Read my post from August 13th.

*     *     *
I don't want to end this post with that kind of negativity or whatever. So instead, I want to leave you with a song. A little back-story: my cousin and I have an ongoing debate as to which band features Joe Strummer's best music. He votes for the Clash, one of my top five bands, and I side with the Mescaleros. Both of us, however, are highly critical of Joe Strummer cover songs, because let's face it...they were done right the first time.

But this one was less a cover and more a tribute, so to speak. Performed live on a radio program, the Loved Ones just kind of throw this one out and rock to it. And it's one of my favorite Joe Strummer songs thanks, in large part, to my best friend and brother (known here as P) putting it on a compilation for me years ago. It's the emotional attachments we form...

Without further ado:


  1. As a person who has witnessed, and lived, the ugliness of this disease I know of only four ways out...jail, institutions for the insane, death, or recovery. I feel very fortunate to have discovered a 12 step program which has enabled me live amongst the normal. I am sorry for your loss and my heart sinks every time someone chooses to or unintentionally checks out of this world…it is a wonderful place.
    “Every day is like Christmas.-Keith G."

    Forrest S.

  2. I've never personally been addicted to any substance, hell, I barely drink girly drinks, and I can't even stand to be around anyone smoking, but as you well know, drugs and alcohol have been more a part of my life than I'd care to mention at this point, so while I do not physically understand the addiction fully, I totally understand it from the same point of view you're coming across.
    I've watched my mom snort and sniff and get trashed only to get nailed by some random guy every few days.
    I've seen my dad wasted more than I can count, and I've watched him stick a needle into his arm as he shooed me away as to not scar me for life.
    It's always the people you care for the most that tend to do the most destruction to you.
    With that said, I will agree with you 100 percent on the kind of help required to kick the demons out of you.
    Any asshole who thinks someone who is addicted is only addicted because they're weak is sorely mistaken.
    There's so much more to it, and only someone who's REALLY "been there" and has for the most part fully recovered and now offers professional help can understand the possession of your soul that takes place in these situations.
    Perfect example, my mom tried to stop on her own, she does OK , but she still drinks and abuses meds every now and then, my dad, he recovered via a substance abuse program run by people who've done it all.
    He relapsed once after an injury, and began using pain meds and then started having a drink here and there, then kicked the habit after that, with Pro counseling an maintained a clean life, until he passed away.
    So you know the deal my brother, anyone who doesn't heed your experienced advice is just in for a world of trouble.
    It's best to join something like AA, or similar programs, surrounded by positive kindred spirits who know exactly what you're saying and going through.
    There's no shame in going some place to try and better yourself, the only shame is in doing nothing at all.

    I am sorry for what you had to go through, but you're a solid, strong dude, and these are the journeys guys like us always embark upon because we know we can use our strength to help others.
    But like any hero, we can't save them all and casualties will be met, hearts will be broken, lives will be lost, this is the way it is.
    That's why we run websites where we can tell the world , warn people, inform people, and just cheer people up, because guys like us , we've seen some shit in our time and while we may not have always been in the pilot's seat at times, we definitely were the motherfucking copilots during those voyages.

  3. (My whole post was too big)

    One quick relevant story before I close for anyone currently addicted to anything out there.
    I remember going to a meeting with my dad where he was a guest speaker (something like AA, but more of a mixed bag) showing up as someone who beat the evils of being addicted to both drugs and alcohol and now had something to show for it for a group of people who were like him a few years prior that were losing hope and were about to give up.
    My dad showed up and explained to them what a little hard work and effort can do. I mean, shit, he bragged a bit about his brand new car and newly installed pool in the back of his long Island home that he got from working at his well paying government job, haha, but damn it, he deserved to!
    Anyway, in that room, you see all of these people that you'd normally pass off as junkies and bums and losers, but these guys were from all walks of life, white, black, Latin.
    Some were drivers, construction workers, businessmen, people who weren't just on the streets using anymore, people really trying to move forward in life.
    They had asked me to speak from the point of view of a person who watched his dad rise and fall and re-rise, and I remember this one older white guy, looked like the kind of white dude who works with his hands for a living, big guy, raspy voice, one you can tell was created by smoking damage to his throat over the years, gentle natured fellow, and he talked about how his old lady gives him shit, and his kids are losing more and more love for him because he goes to visit, but they smell the booze on him, they see him all messed up, etc and he asked me something along the lines of "how can they love me again?" then I stood up and said "love your kids".
    Everyone just began staring at me with wide eyes.
    I told them to love their kids, always, and let them know that you love them, all the time, but make sure you take care of yourself at the same time , meaning, regardless of the addiction, always show your kids that dad (or mom) is working hard to recover to be a part of their lives, but also to make sure he can fully function in society and provide for you as a father should, but you need not impose on them while you're not able bodied, just be consistent in telling them how much you love them and your progress in putting the pieces of all of your lives back together for good.
    Seeing that I wasn't bullshitting, the man had tears in his eyes, put his arm on me and said "thanks".
    I just hope whoever has a problem that they're going through, reads this and feels the same effect as that man, because it would mean the world to me and to my buddy Ish, I'm sure.

    Shit, I rambled man, feel free to delete this if needed, it's really long, sorry.

    - Bronx

  4. ...so you didn't like the song? Goddammit. Nah, man, thanks for sharing. You could turn your comment into your own post even, it's a good story and would be good to share.

  5. Thanks man, but it only makes sense here I think.
    Besides, out of my addicted friends and family, 2 are dead, and the rest won't read this.

  6. I'm hoping I have no more of those...addicts, that is.

    Anyone reading this an addict? Keep hiding it from me, if so. Thanks.

  7. Oh, and I liked the song, eat me.

  8. haha, don't hide it. Any addicts not sharing your addicton, we'll find out, and we'll find you, then fill your life with hugs and candy and tears and stream crossing.
    So come clean.

  9. Oh this is fantastic. Stream crossing? I hope this has nothing to do with that rake you guys are so fond of. Anyway, I'm making us all shirts. Something like, "An Addict Was My Co-Pilot" or "I'm the Hug-Doctor".

    Wait, I really had that hug-doctor shirt in college, it was great. Then I went and married an addict. (Teach me to give out hugs so freely, dammit.) After five years, a child, a Lifetime-movie worthy custody battle, I can tell you...we heal. An addict in your life leaves a ^%$# mark that never goes away, but they can heal and those that love(d) them can heal too. Hope is not lost. And yes, I love Unicorns so bite me.

    People like us are around for a reason, and our huggy-awesomeness is why we're allowed to be so weird.

  10. It has nothing to do with that rake, I assure you.
    But I do take solace in the fact that we were all touched by an addict at some point, we're like an elite cool club of people who are a lot cooler than everyone else.

    I'd like a shirt that is similar to the "I'm with stupid" shirts, where it says addict, then points to the guy on my right, hopefully the addict.

    We're not taking this serious people, god damn it.

  11. We're dicks. But really good looking, humorous dicks. How can you be angry at these faces!?

    Now, Sassy: you'll join the Bronx-Ish level of awesome when your addict dies. If you need help with that, let us know -- we know someone who does that sort of thing.

  12. Yeah, even though we're all in the same club, we're like the higher echelon members with all the perks.


The space below is where you try to be funnier than us. Ok, go.