December 4th, 2008

poetry, exceptindreams

353: Recovery

Sharon Preiss

You must convince yourself, over and
over, it is all for the best, it is better
than the life you had before, before you got
hit by the brick of your predicament:
not being able to live with or without
the booze. You will be asked to give up
your friend, the bottle that has been with you
through every victory and defeat, every major
or small event of your life. Every
lover, party, baseball game or
innocent backyard toss of the frisbee.
It will be like someone pulling your
guts out. It will be like being crushed
into a ball and thrown into the trash.
It will be like dying. You will get through it.
You will see things about yourself
you never imagined. You will see yourself
for the drunk you were, how you never
missed a chance for the buzz. You will be
shocked because never in your wildest dreams
did you expect to grow-up a drunk. Never in your
thousands of cocktails did you think you were anything
but civilized. You will see through all these things
as clear as ice melting. You will never be able
to fool yourself again.
                                           In a few months you will be
happy. Glad to have it out of your system. Surprised
at how easy it's been after that initial shock.
Then you must give up the others. The ones you thought
surely were "recreational," the ones you thought you could
take or leave you now must leave: the pot,
the valium, the quick blast of blow to get you through
a long night. They must go because a drug is a drug
and you're beginning to see the value of living
clear headed. You're beginning to wonder at the
complicated figuring you've done
just to get you to base-line: too much booze,
have a blast; too much pot, take some speed;
can't fall asleep, how about a pill; can't get going,
there must be a drug to fix it. All these computations
just to feel normal. You're making a choice
to do without it now, to see what normal
really feels like on its own.
                                              Now you are clean.
After a year or two of coming-to, waking-up
from that deep sleep you realize you have
been in all your life, you see the cigarettes,
the coffee. The illusions rise up like soap bubbles,
holding the thing you cherished in clear relief
They have to be smashed. You can't hide
behind them any longer: "Not now, honey,
I'm smoking." "Can't do a thing without my
morning joe." These must go. Hard to believe
you've become such a purist, but there is no
fooling yourself anymore: they are devices
that keep you killing yourself. It's what you
really want: to kill yourself. But something
keeps you going, tells you no, believes
in you. It's not you. You don't know what
it is. But it is. And so you get out of bed
another day, and breathe air and pretend
you want to live, and go on living.
                                                            And sex.
Soon you will find that sex has been
a drug, how you have used it to feel
good, to feel anything but you, which now
you are seeing doesn't feel good most
of the time. Human touch of any kind
has been better than listening
to your own voice in your head, the voice
that calls you "Loser," tells you you don't know
the first thing about living, about loving another
human being. So you sought touch, someone to tell you
it's not true through their hands, their mouth,
their cum. Sex must go, until a time
when you can refuse your need
for a lover to fill you bed and your soul.
                                                                Finally food.
Or is it the last? Now will be food. How many
chocolate doughnuts does it take to fill-up
a yearning. How much sugar will equal the old high.
The quote you read was "Loneliness is not
a longing for company, it's a longing for kind."
And soon you will see that second helpings
and midnight snacks to help you sleep are not
kind. And you will go through that same
terrible loss again. The same emptiness, the same
fear, the same collapsing of yourself into
yourself. Your friend the bottle, your friend
the food, your friend the fuck. All gone. Just
you. You are left with just you. And you
realize now, you better start praying, or else
you're going to be dead. There's nowhere to turn:
the booze has betrayed you, your thoughts have
betrayed you, even you have betrayed you.
You've got to make a friend somewhere
because your friend has not been
any of these things you sought for comfort
and is sure not inside your head. And you think,
It's come to this. Now I must pray. And you do.
As a last resort you do. And you cry. You cry
because it is so empty inside and you
realize it always has been empty inside.
So you ask God, some god, any god,
to fill you back up, to help you become
whole, to help you become the person you always
thought you were and wanted to be.
                                                                         And now,
you're at the beginning.