Exhibit: Addiction

I am broken. All humans are, but I sometimes feel more fractured than most.

These past couple days I have found myself beaten and downtrodden. With all the things that are happening in the world (the cruelty, the callousness, the secrecy), to the death of my “bear cub,” to the stress of my impending licensing exam, I have found it hard to see the “bright side.” As a result, my addiction has reared its ugly head and shown me, without a doubt, that I am a sex addict.

For many, it’s not a real addiction. Supposed “sex therapists” have denounced it because there isn’t a substance in which one abuses. However, fun fact, the rush one feels during orgasm is just as powerful as a shot of heroine. So, there’s that. Regardless of the few naysayers, there is a program out there (I am apart of) and rehab centers that deal with the addiction.

I’ve been in the program since the summer of 2009. I should have been in a lot earlier because my addiction started with pornography when I was around 12. Back in the old dial-up days, I use to peruse galleries of images and would not stop until I had viewed every image. (In a gallery of 400+ pictures, that is quite the task.)

At the time, I was also a “devout” Christian and the images I viewed (and have only ever searched) were gay. So the addiction cycle of shame and guilt came all too easy to me.

Over the years it has progressed to insane levels and taken me into directions and places I never thought I could or would go. But that’s the nature of the beast.

The notion most people have is that “it’s all about sex.” And, speaking for myself, I know that to not be the case. There is something else attached to the whole situation to where I have tricked myself into thinking that it makes me feel better. It likes to make me think that it is some temporary band-aid in times of distress or sadness. When I was younger I used it to soothe my conflicting feelings about my sexuality. In the waning months of 17, I wielded it to cope with the break-up I didn’t see coming and subsequently never dealt with.

Where it becomes crystal clear, is that I have a husband and a boyfriend and my mind immediately goes to wanting to hook-up (or what we call in the program as “acting out.”) If it was about sex the need would be met, but it is still there as an “answer” to what ails me.

Some may be surprised to know that there is more to sex than just the act. There is the chase of finding someone physically attractive, the provocative and alluring conversation heightening the excitement and anticipation, the ritual of saying certain phrases or doing things in a particular order, and then there’s the ultimate goal of meeting with this person who one has deified… All of it is consuming. Yet, what follows (for me especially) is the shame and guilt, making one feel worse than they did before and thus perpetuating the cycle.

The piece I find bizarre, is the act of not doing something destructive makes me feel sick.

I attempted to break my sobriety. I reached out to someone, made a plan, and then, when I fought hard against the want and desire to do that, I found myself feeling physically ill. I sounded like a mad man, repeating the same line over and over again, “just don’t download the app.” Yet, what did I do? I did exactly that, disappointing myself. My immediate act though, was to flake on the person I had spoken to and thus ending any chance of doing something that would have hurt my husband and boyfriend, and, primarily, myself.

So, I live to fight another day!

Everyone that needed to know of what was transpiring knows.  Now comes the task of trying to find something healthy and productive to pull me out of this goddamn funk.

One of them is writing.

Advertisements

A Bookmark of Life and Loss

When I first met the man that I would refer to as my “bear cub” I hated him. I thought he was a narcissistic douche bag that I did not find the least bit funny. He thought he was hilarious. He came into my high school theater class making off-color jokes and being generally obnoxious just as I was getting out of it, and I would not see him again until we participated in a show down in LA called “You Make Me Physically Ill.”

For whatever reason when we reconnected I fell in love with Jacob, in a very non-sexual way. I felt this intense need to protect him and would defend him with my life if it came to that. I jokingly told him that my husband and I were going to adopt him, even though he’s only a couple years younger than me. (We have a habit of taking in strays.) Because I felt like a mama grizzly whenever anything pertained to him I would henceforth refer to him as my “bear cub.”

Yesterday I found out that he took his own life. The moment I got the text my eye caught sight of just his name and I already knew. If there was anyone who would commit suicide it would be Jacob. He dealt with the darkest of demons that I could not fathom what it must have been like to reside in his head. I think that’s why I found this need to protect and care for him. He, in many ways, reminded me of my father.

Now I walk the path every person who has lost someone to suicide travels: I am thinking of how I let him down and how I could have done more to keep this from happening. I feel shame in that I never spoke much with him after he moved to a different state, even though I did think about him often. Most recently he’s been in my thoughts because the upcoming Pokemon game is a remake of yellow and that was his favorite of the games; because you could get all three starters. I meant to reach out but I didn’t. I don’t know what stopped me. And I don’t even know that if I had, if that would have made any kind of difference. The thing about mental illness is that it is unpredictable and the best of intentions can sometimes be fruitless. Yet, we still have to try.

I can’t lend any new perspective or advice to the situation. In the end, it is what it is and nothing can be undone.

I will miss him.

Withdrawal Rants, Step Up and See the Spectacle of Insanity

It has officially been 72 hours without a cigarette or any nicotine product to speak of and I believe I have reached a crescendo of withdrawals.

It all began with, for whatever reason (sometimes I’m an enigma even unto myself), searching for my husband’s boyfriend on Instagram. And I happen to find it and see my husband is following him. Of course. I can’t say anything because I follow my boyfriend. That’s to be expected. Finding his account though opened up this pandora’s box of rage, which more than likely is fueled by my desire to have a cigarette. But let’s travel down this track together and see if that’s really the case.

When the whole situation came out that he was seeing this guy, the husband told me the thing he liked about Derek is that he didn’t do social media. It wasn’t his thing. That to me was a jab at me because not only do I blog, I tweet, I Instagram, and I have a facebook. The husband hates this because, in the past, he thought these were ways in which I could meet other gentlemen. I can see where he got that conclusion but it was not true. Telling me this dude didn’t do that was one thing, like, good for him. But then when I discovered he uses Instagram all I could think is, “this bitch does social media.” He can’t tell me he doesn’t when, in fact, he does. So telling me that brings into question what was he trying to get at by telling me that?

I would also like it noted for the court that the only times I have EVER been propositioned for sex on social media has been through Instagram and that has been in the past couple weeks, because this one dude who annoyed the fuck out of me on grindr found my account and has proceeded to message, and then this other dude I knew from way back when hit me up again to see if I was still interested. No and no, my good sirs. Move along.

Then my train of thoughts took me into Speculationville, where I began to wonder, well my husband does social media, was he using it to meet dudes? And before typing that sentence it was unknown, however, my mind reminded mid-type that I have since learned of an incident where he did stuff with this dude he obsessively talked to on Facebook, so yes. He has used it to meet dudes. So, it was just a guilty conscious that transferred into assuming I was doing the same. (Jesus our relationship is fucked up.)

Look, I don’t fault him for the stuff that happened in the past. Trust me, I have done much worse. So, I have moved passed it (a little). (I’m still coping.) What I don’t take kindly to is being compared to some dude when the thing he was using to compare him to me (saying he was better) he does! Like, fuck me for reaching out and trying to make friends or have a voice. I didn’t know that he was supposed to be my “everything” when I know he wouldn’t do the same.

(God, I want a cigarette.)

And all of this is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. Oh, the bitch has an Instagram? “Gasp.” You don’t say. I guess I just don’t like being compared to someone or told that what I’m doing is wrong when someone is doing the same thing. And that leads me to a larger resentment that I don’t even know if I have voiced, I’m super pissed that I was made to feel like shit about my past discretions when my husband was doing the same thing. When I straight-up asked him if he had done anything his answer was always an indignant “no.” My heart would sink because he “proved” once and for all that I was the biggest piece of shit. But as it turns out, I’m not! He is! For lying right to my face. And he can hide it under the guise of “Oh, well, I didn’t want to give you more reason to do it.” That’s bull shit. He just didn’t want to fess up to the fact that he did do those things. He didn’t want to see himself as being the same. (Which I can get.) Then there is the fact that I don’t think he’s apologized. Maybe he has and I just have forgotten because all of the information given to me has flooded my mind. I went ahead and just forgave him, but…

Ugh… I got to let this go. I did forgive him. By doing that I don’t need an apology. I took that out of the equation.

What does all this mean? Nothing. Absolutely nada. It’s just fun to chronicle and casually rewatch this train wreck.

Oh, I had another thought.

So, he wants me to meet this dude. I don’t know if I am ready for that. Maybe I am. Who fucking knows. Everything is totally new. But I am open to do it. He says because he wants to get rid of the “secrecy” (whatever that fucking means.) Yet, last night he told me he just pretends that things with me and Josh don’t exist. Like it’s not happening. Yet… He has said he would meet him. Fuck. I don’t know. I haven’t the slightest clue where I was going with this.

I just have this need to overthink things until I have mutilated them beyond recognition.

Or, I just want a fucking cigarette and am taking umbrage with the fact that I cannot.

Looking Out/In

I can’t stop myself. My new normal has become reading into situations, scenarios, and responses like they’re a New York Times bestseller and the secret to life’s happiness is between those lines. I truly don’t want to, but it is default. So, fuck me.

Today I took three separate events and combined them into one that sent me into a depression spiral I fought hard against. I only pulled out of this nosedive when I finally spoke to my husband about it and got something I didn’t even know I needed. For once he told me I was right. Granted it was because we have somehow switched roles and he is the one not reading into things and I am, and he finds it irritating. To that end, he told me I was correct when I had previously told him the same, it is annoying. So, there’s that.

I even try to read into what is me “reading into” things actually means. There is no end to it! What I have concluded is that it’s me trying to gain some sort of sanity in the chaos (granted a self-perceived chaos) and taking the power into my own hands. However, that is not at all what it does. Doing it actually makes me crazy-er. Almost like I’m trying to force something that isn’t there because of a perceived threat. To that I say, that is insane.

My goal going forward is to try and be calm about all of this. It is what it is. There is no deeper meaning. There is no smoke from a fire. It just exists in this neutral land. A world between worlds.

I think a large part of it is public perception. I’m looking through a lens of social “norms” to what all of this means. It’s silly. Usually I don’t give a fuck what others think and feel. Their opinions don’t dictate my life. Yet, here I am backtracking on my own character. For what? A fear of loss?

What seems to exacerbate my overthinking is taking my “Ethics of Living and Dying” class at the local community college. It’s definitely forcing my own introspection. I guess that means it’s a good one, seeing as how it compels me to look and learn. The only byproduct from all of it, is my self-inflicted pain.

Speaking of that class, I had an essay to write and I found myself at a complete stand-still because I was OVERTHINKING the entire thing. I was attempting to do it in a collegiate prose which went against the whole point of the assignment. What I have gathered is that he wanted us to look at our own mortality when faced with a terminal illness. What does it mean to have it, the effects on one’s life, and how would we respond. I could be wrong, but the way in which the assignment was to be written appeared to press that own self-analysis.

The ultimate conclusion is I just need to chill the fuck out. The “answer” I’m seeking, for whatever reason, will not be found in me analyzing every minute detail. It will come in living through the experience. That is life.

UPDATE:

In the course of writing this I got a call from my sponsee who shed some light onto my fears that I didn’t even take into consideration.

Basically I was laying all of this out to him over the phone and he said it was brought about by my husband’s disclosures of past events. The light clicked on in my head and I was so relieved. He’s right. It’s me stressing about all of it and coupled with the events of the day it just brings about a whole other set of problems. Goddamn his perceptiveness. I’m such a proud sponsor-papa.

 

Lost at Sea, a Letter of Confusion and Mental Health

I am almost certain I am going through a mid-life crisis. At least, I hope it’s not “mid life” because I would like to think I’d live past 64. One side of the family has early death rates and the other lived into their 90’s. So, who fucking knows?

When I was 25 I thought I was having a quarter-life crisis but I quickly discovered it in fact was due to the Prozac I was taking. In my own trials, I discovered that when it doesn’t work it has the opposite effect. Instead of making me not-depressed it made me erratic and I made broad sweeping decisions about my employment that made me look like a fool. In the end I survived my irrational choices without damage.

Having that memory in the back of my mind, I worry that this is just another one of those moments, however I am currently not on meds and that may play a part in it. All I am certain of, is right now I am in a very weird place.

It all began at Christmas time. I had lost all desire to shop, sure I put up the decorations but my usual Christmas cheer was AWOL. The only reason I ended up purchasing gifts at all is because I would have looked like an asshole come Christmas day and everyone I care about had gotten me something but I had not returned the favor. Social decorum kept me in check, but deep down I wanted no part of the holiday.

I sought the help of my psychiatrist and he came to the conclusion that I might be bipolar type II. The diagnosis angered me, as if I was somehow “broken” but I thought I would humor him at least. (He is the professional after all.) My doctor prescribed me a medication that made me very, very uncomfortable physically and emotionally. The most significant side effect was during that time period it made me really question my relationship and where it was going. I volleyed between staying together and splitting up. Although no side had more power over the other. They were equally matched in every way. It was almost as if it was making me bipolar. For the second time in my life, I felt truly insane.

Still on this medication, and grappling with these emotions, I asked my husband for a temporary separation. Well, I didn’t ask for it. He offered it up in the moment and I took it. For a week (probably less) we lived apart. Eventually, he came back home and we haven’t really discussed anything since then. Which the fault lies on both of us, but probably more-so on myself.

Yet, I am still in this peculiar area of where I have no idea where I’m going or what I’m doing. Most importantly, what I want. I have this type of personality that I fear and hesitate to make the “wrong” choice. I sit there and suffer, contemplating everything down to a fine point, until I expect everything to make sense. What unfortunately ends up happening is I gain no clarity. I see the merits on both sides and still sit in the middle; undecided.

When I returned to my doctor for my trial period follow-up, he told me he had fallen into a “conundrum.” He had no diagnosis for me that seemed to stick. We had tried the depression and the bipolar type II and found no success. His final suggestion to solve our medical quandary was for me to have psychiatric evaluation. The prescription pad leaflet for it still sits in my center console of my car. No appointment date set. I fear what the conclusion will be.

My biggest concern is that I will come back with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder or something equally as drastic. I worry daily that it would show me that I don’t know what love is and don’t have the capacity to return the emotion. Like I’m some kind of sociopath. Such results I would see as a death sentence, that I am fundamentally, at my core, fucked up beyond repair. However, I would NEVER view such results for someone else in that manner. I would be supportive and try to be there for them. (I think.) I just don’t have that kind of kindness for myself.

Currently, I loathe to say it, I am lost. I am in uncharted waters of which I have no map and see no land on the horizon. Yet I am still captain of this ship and it will inevitably keep moving regardless of my choices.

Unforeseen Feelings

Today I encountered an emotion I didn’t quite expect. After I registered for the next semester it occurred to me (after reviewing my “requirement grid”) that I only have one class left and I will be eligible to graduate with my AA. This is something I have been working toward for four years, ever so slowly chipping away at my necessary classes. When I began it seemed so daunting like I could and would never get there. And it became exceptionally exhausting when I found out that I couldn’t just jump into the math class I needed, but instead start at the very, very basic math course and work my way up. And even with that detour, here I stand near completion.

The feeling I felt was not one of accomplishment for having reached my goal but one of panic and terror. It struck me as odd because that isn’t the array of emotions I SHOULD be feeling. When it began I just accepted it and let the feelings run cold through me and well in the pit of my gut, but then I began to question them. Why? Why do I feel this way? It took me some time but I realized that I feel them because it means I will cross another threshold in adulthood. No more will I be the boy that pissed away his first attempts at college. Instead I will be the man that finished his task and with high marks (the second part was not foreseen or planned.)

Growing up sucks. I don’t think we ever really do to some extent. It’s strange, however, when one sits back and sees it happening. I suppose that’s why I fear it.

Now, in typical josh fashion I could fuck this up for myself and do a shit job at the next few classes to prolong this journey. In the end though, who would that serve? The child in me that doesn’t want to let go.

The Night I Met My Husband

On this November the first, I celebrate my husband’s and my 4 year wedding anniversary and 14 years as a couple. It’s weird to think about how much time we’ve been together, yet here we are. And what’s most peculiar is how we were introduced purely by accident.

I have told the story numerous times on my blog, but I will do so yet again because it is one of those tales that intrigues me for the utter random happenstance of the whole thing.

Picture it, it was the height of AOL days, 2004. I would spend my late-teen evenings chatting with my friends online through IM or through a typical chatroom known as BakersfieldM4M. My friends and I would log on and broadcast one large conversation in the room, while simultaneously having our own individual private chats. This is where my now husband, then unknown, logged into the room and happen to see my username: MelancholysChaos. (Yeah, I’m rolling my eyes too.) He then confused me with someone else and decided to message and inform me that indeed he and Diego were still together. Being the sarcastic almost-eighteen-year-old I was, I acted as though I knew what he was referring to and carried on a conversation until I got bored and flat out asked him who he was. He told me his name, Charlie, and I added him to my buddylist after I learned that my very recent ex, Travis, had been a big fan of his. However, Charlie had not been attracted to my ex in the slightest, which brought me joy. (And when I say recent here, I mean a week to a couple days.)

For whatever reason, I would message this stranger whenever he came online, which wasn’t that often. Almost a week after letting me know he and Diego were still a thing, he let me know they weren’t. To which he proceeded to ask me out on a late night date to Denny’s.

It should be noted that I was still living at home and attending high school, in my senior year. So, for me to do a late night date I had to sneak out of my bedroom window and “borrow” the station wagon. To give the illusion that I was still in my bedroom, and not out galavanting around town, I put a coat hanger on my door-knob to where it slid in between the crack of my dresser and the wall. It was the most white-trash lock I could concoct but it served its purpose. To add to the illusion of my presence, I put on one of my favorite Disney movies, Sleeping Beauty. I quietly backed out of the driveway, started my car on the street, and made my way across town to Denny’s.

Again, for whatever reason, that night I chose to wear a pair of kahki’s and a red polo shirt with blue stripes. I tell you this because it was VERY out of character for me at this stage in my life. I was very much “goth” at the time. I wore nothing but black t-shirts, black dickie’s, black converse, and black eye-liner. I even dyed my hair black to match how I felt on the inside. (I was going through a phase.) Like I said, for some reason I did not wear any of that. As I later learned, if I had our relationship would very much have ended that evening. My husband liked him some preppy boys. Anything that remotely deviated from that path was shunned.

I pulled into a spot facing the empty street and as I got out of my shaggin-wagon I saw this white mustang drive by and turn into the same shopping center. Somehow I knew that was this dude. He hadn’t even told me what kind of car he drove but I was certain of it. (Those are the kind of thoughts one has when they encounter fate.) And I turned out to be correct.

For the next hour we sat in a booth having lame conversation as we attempted to get to know each other. He had a silver Motorola flip-phone that he kept spinning nervously in between his other facial tics. He kept rubbing the middle knuckle of his index finger along the side of mouth, like someone does when they have a goatee. Later I found out that he had briefly had one and developed the habit. My husband also has a tendency to twitch his nose in the most adorable way when he’s nervous and that night it didn’t stop.

As the evening wore on, neither of us having eaten anything at Denny’s, (I imagine he got a diet soda, his drug of choice) we decided to go back to his place.

I don’t remember if I messaged a friend to say I was going over to a stranger’s house in the wee hours of the morning. I want to think that I did, but more than likely not because I was (and still am) an idiot that thinks nothing of potential dangers.

He lived in this old brick face building downtown that had once been an elder care facility back in the day. It was also located across the street from a former morgue-funeral home (which is where we would later hold our wedding reception.) He lived on the second floor, at the front of the building with a beautiful view of downtown. Bakersfield isn’t much, but the view he had was wonderful.

He fancied himself a collector of DVDs at the time and was showing me the small tower he had amassed. The film he chose that night for us to watch had been decided at Denny’s when I told him that I had never seen “Philadelphia.” Now, he claims he had never seen it too, but I distinctly remember him saying that it was one of Hanks’s best roles. He popped the disc into the tray and we watched the 2 hour long movie about a man dying of AIDS. How romantic.

A remnant of my former relationship with Travis, some thin rubber wrist bands, chose that evening to break and I ended up throwing them away. I think they split when he discovered that I was ticklish and I was wrestling to get away. What a surreal picture to make a romantic connection with someone as we watched a man waste away from a deadly disease at the height of its terror.

When the movie ended he walked me to my car, like a gentleman, and I kissed him. I was annoyed that, that was all we ended up doing, but he wanted to wait until I turned 18, which was only a few weeks away.

I drove away that night thinking I would probably never hear from him again. Oh, how wrong I was. The dude blew up my phone. He was an over-the-road trucker at the time and had looooong hours of nothing to do, so he would call me and keep me on the phone late into the evening.

Looking back, I was so young and stupid. I had no idea what I wanted or who I was. Yet, we seemed to work. It is true that our lives have gone up and down over the past fourteen years. Nothing is ever perfect. For a brief year we ended our relationship yet continued to live together and sleep in the same bed. We were crazy and confused. But, there is truly no one else I would want to go through this with than Charlie. He is perfect in the strangest ways and we compliment each other like a broken window pane. Apart we are two jagged pieces of glass, but together we make the other whole. It’s sappy, but it’s true.