Huntress of the Lens


Thursday, October 8, 2009


I write publicly, so I'm always careful what I write about, or who I allude to, knowing that they might themselves read what I say. When it's a glowing review I have no problem putting it out there, but when it's problematic I sometimes hesitate or my fingers become shy on the keyboard. There are a group of young people in my life, my kids, other kids that I gather to myself, and they are acting normal. My troubles are that "normal" for some people is a danger zone for me. 

Molly's not staying with me at all right now, my house is "annoying" and she can't stand "some people" which could be a whole separate blog. For the most part our relationship these days revolves around money, how I might have some and how she wants it. I'll leave it at that, and when it's not too raw I may write about it sometime. When I say "people" I won't be talking about her, she's the absentee tenant of a still-messy room. I'm having some issues with people all around me though, and in the interest of anonymity I'll just lump them all together and call them that.

There are people in my house who are old enough to drink, and go to bars. They come home smelling like alcohol or a little bumbly, and being in their early twenties this is totally age-appropriate behavior. Completely legal behavior, they don't drive to get here after drinking. I'm an alcoholic. It's sometimes torturous to think that I too want to have just a couple of drinks, but in the 2,133 days I've been sober I have learned to follow that thought all the way to its disastrous conclusions and I don't have the first one. There was a beer in my refrigerator the other night, a yucky brand I never would have even wasted my time on, but a tall-can none the less. I stood there with the ghost of old thinking tapping me on the shoulder; that pasty-white eyeless creature that whispers "do it, do it, doitdoitdoit!" and wondered how that would have worked for me if I had opened that door in an alternate frame of mind. It got poured out, I melded my life forever with someone who is also free of all drugs. I really had no urge to crack the seal and drink it, but I was able to see an alternate future spin out before me.

That took an instant of contemplation, much longer to type it than to experience it. What followed was rage and resentment. How dare any of the people who live here, who love me, leave a time bomb ticking where I could inadvertently stumble over it? In text that would read "OMG WTF SRSLY?" 

Other people are super into smoking pot, my oldest and best loved mind-altering friend. There are medical cards that can be obtained in California that make this totally legal as well, and it's also completely age-appropriate. In my refuge, my cave, my cone of silence from the World I smell it, I know it's here. I sometimes imagine what would happen if the pasty cave-dweller morphed into full-fledged addictive Relapse mode. I would throw respect and privacy to the wind and toss this place like a seasoned burglar until I found it. The "normal" who walk the planet have no idea what kind of monster an addict in full force is capable of. I wear a magic crown that, for today, keeps me safe from that. Knowing that it's here and only nominally hidden (or hidden well, I have no idea, I haven't ever looked) torments me in certain moments. Good marijuana is the one thing that will tell you where it's hidden simply by the smell. It smells like the skunk that Michael rendered homeless by ripping out all those blackberries. It wanders my yard looking for a new home and occasionally I catch a whiff of it through my window. Those two things smell the same. Inviting and intoxicating.

Now I have new information from a baby, new to recovery that others are doing LSD. Ah, I broke up with that lover twenty years ago, it holds no appeal for me now. I have enough stored in the fatty cells of my body to experience flashes of that past at the least opportune moments, it took this many years to find out what the long-term effects of a drug that was invented just before I was born might be. I could look at sheets of it, and vials of it in liquid form, or enough sugar cubes to build a California Mission (which only California natives will recognize as a standard fourth-grade school assignment) and suffer no urges at all. But it's here. It's in my house, whether in it's actual form or riding in the bloodstream of people who walk through the door.

The sweet baby-addict-in-recovery is coming clean, both physically and with stories. Having been one of a small group of people some of the stories are about people I know. Words like "Acid" and "Oxycontin" are in tales of true confession. The circle widens and I just hear "chemicals, chemicals, chemicals" and I realize that the razor-wire fence I've built to protect myself from the behavior of the outside world may only be three-sided. I'm inviting the vampire right in the door. A group is closing ranks and now disclosing that our baby addict is a compulsive liar, and "the one who always wanted to do all the drugs, we tried to stop it but we couldn't." All of a sudden the baby is left out in the cold and the others are in a panic that tales may be believed. 

It's easy to write it all off as the drama of the young, but in every myth there is usually a kernel of truth. I stood and looked some people in the eye yesterday and listened to them steadfastly deny, "We're here to tell you that none of that is true." yet one was angry and defensive and one couldn't stop crying. The tears were a symbol of the betrayal that such wicked lies represent. I think I saw the tears of the desperate who couldn't find a way out of the bramble patch that has its thorns firmly embedded in young flesh. One was cool as ice behind glass, and to be true is most probably the only one who was speaking nearest the truth. None of it stilled the whispers of "chemicals, chemicals, chemicals."

It hit me the other day that any time I walk over the borderline of my own small room I am entering territory that may or may not contain some drug, including alcohol. Almost six years clean and here is where I find myself. These people don't share residence with me because we all want to be one big happy group, it's the economic times that have created this grouping. One room. I'm safe because of my magic crown, I can actually go anywhere and not fall prey to a disease that is cunning, baffling and powerful. It's not the intoxicants that pose danger, it's the state of my own recovery. But still. I may as well be living in a mine field, with all the danger hidden beneath a thin layer of earth. I am not happy about this.

One person is moving out at the end of the month. One rarely stirs at all. One works so much that I rarely catch sight of them. All plant their mines in my field. Add to that the supporting cast-members who circle my home like a flock of birds and there is danger everywhere, if I choose to see it like that. Before you tell me to just take my broom and make a clean sweep, know that I have a million reasons that it's just not that easy. 

I want to live with my husband in a safe and sane refuge, I'll just start there.

1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to take time to tell you that this piece was quite moving for me. At different times in my life, I have dealt with the aftereffects of drugs and alcohol, whether in myself or others around me.
    When it came to myself, I dare say I was pretty strong and resolute each time I made the decision to quit. In saying this though, I must admit that the various habits (alcoholism, marijuana- also my fave, and what ever else) have come back a couple of times. Every one of the times I fell off the wagon, it was because I was in the constant company of others who did not want any restraint on their lives. Leaving my habits has taken leaving many people I love, but also let me be here( in one piece) for those I love the most- my kids. Leaving those behind- It came with a strength unknown to me that keeps me from going back.
    I applaud you for your strength Laura, especially under your present circumstances. I hope you are able to come to a place of greater comfort soon, but in the meantime,
    "More power to ya sister"


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