"Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I built my life." J.K. Rowling
The moment the coffee pot ignored the grip of my fingers and defiantly threw itself into a million pieces against the ceramic floor, I knew it was going to be a shit day. Clearly this shortsighted glass object was put in my path to further suggest that November is not a month worth getting out of bed for. It's implausible this was sent my way during a year in which I've lost more than could ever be reconciled in my brain. And in this, the decade I realized my parents never loved me.
My plans for the day have been demolished by one "Mr. Coffee," who so brazenly felt it necessary to remind me of the brutal, miserable life I've had to endure. My new agenda for the day includes leaving the fragments of this cursed matter on the floor, calling in sick to work, grabbing two large bottles of Yellow Tail Shiraz from the nearest liquor store, and snorting a whole shit ton of cocaine. Screw you, Mr. Coffee.
I know what you're thinking. How exactly does one make the jump from an inconvenient accident to an incredibly self-destructive, pity party linked to an inanimate object? Well, although I've never used the words shortsighted or implausible in a sentence, nor am I one hundred percent certain I've used them correctly now - this is the foundation for my story of addiction.
From this space, I wrote The Bitter Season - a song that represents a time spent controlled by drugs and alcohol. "Give me tears, I need a reason. To be released from the bitter season." When I recite this story now, I recognize the extreme insanity of a brain that used to process in this way. In the moment, I was nothing more than a victim of the world around me.
Over the years, a shoddy infrastructure had been built, and it held a mind that exceeded at compartmentalizing trauma. My subconscious was a long hallway of rooms inhabited by some not so fun house guests: abuse, death, abandonment, rejection, and more fear than could ever be contained. Throughout my life as I met with each traumatic event, I found a vacancy, shoved some pain in, and slammed the door.
If I were to face the collective trauma of the past, I might have to get therapy, ask for help, journal, or maybe take a nap. I certainly could not be bothered with that because I found a way to lock those doors but tight. The Disconnect - Vodka. Powder. Pills. (Maybe in that order.) My life centered around any combination of substances that delayed confronting the pain until they didn't work anymore, nearly killed me, or sent me into a space where I believed a coffee pot had done me wrong.
I've said that Absolution isn't about the traumas of my past, it's about what I did with them. It's about the transformation that occurred when I finally let it all go. Stuff happened to me that wasn't my fault - that I had every right to feel hurt and angry about. But letting those moments define me, and pursuing a constant state of numbness was my fault. The thing is, life is difficult for everyone and my story is no more tragic than the next. The only difference is I had to live it.
It was a cold day in February when I hit rock bottom and began to rebuild my life. On that Sunday night, I laid frozen and depleted in bed filled with the substances that would leave me empty once again. My eyes were wide open, glued to the ceiling as my mind raced and my body began to pulse with anxiety knowing Monday morning would soon creep in. Two choices became clear. Either I'd find a way to quietly slip away from the unfair life given me, or choose to make it to morning trusting eventually I might just be okay.
Enough. I'm done. The words came out, and I asked for help. I got sober, and started down the hallway to unlock the doors and face each trauma, feel the pain, and learn the lessons. I discovered that a foundation built on an unpredictable, abusive childhood could be cleared with the realization that everyone in my life, including me, did the best they could. "Forgiveness is not about condoning what happened, it’s about your freedom." (Christine Hassler)
Today I can't imagine not being here was ever a choice. I'm grateful I stuck around, there's a beauty unfolding in my life each day. Just to be safe though, I own a Kuerig machine.
What's you story of addiction? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.