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.

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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.

Starting back at 1

How does one just throw away 27 years of sobriety? I keep asking myself that question as I think of my father who did exactly that. 

For whatever reason my father, that takes anti-psychotics to treat paranoid schizophrenia, decided it was a good idea to buy a fucking 30 pack of Coors Light and drink 19 of them in quick succession. 

The result is just as one may expect, he blacked the fuck out on his driveway, landing face first in his attempt to get the mail. 

One of the neighbors saw him and called 911 and he was rushed to the hospital. 

Then at 8:30 I get four calls from both my mother and father, one after the other. My heart starts to race thinking my aunt from my previous post has passed. 

I listen to my father’s voicemail and he non-chalantly informs me that he’s in the ER and needs me to pick him up because he fell after having a beer. 

I just don’t understand. Why ruin something you built so hard to build? He put so much distance between him and his past that for whatever reason he risked it all, including his life. 

What I hate the most is that I get it. Being an addict myself (not with alcohol) I know what it’s like to use something to ice the pain. He’s icing the pain and he was willing to destroy everything for a momentary solution. 

I asked him if he was on antidepressants and his big box of pills seems to contain everything but those. He laughed at me when I asked him. Clearly he doesn’t see the problem. 

My husband was furious with my father when he got to the ER. I’ve never seen him that angry before. Honestly it was weird. At one point I asked him to bring it down a couple notches because while it was deserved and justified it wasn’t helping the situation. No matter how angry one is with someone fucking up with their vice getting angry and making him feeling like shit is 100% counterproductive. 

After dropping my dad off and discovering his 6 beers was really 19, I went home to recoup. I had had enough and listening to him lie and tell me what he thinks I want to hear was frustrating me. There was nothing else I could have done. He was an adult man acting like a child. At least with a child you could have it committed to rehab or a psyche ward but someone that is coherent and present (most of the time) there is absolutely nothing one can do. My husband and I racked our brains trying to come up with some kind of solution. What it boiled down to was leaving him to make his own fucked up choices. 

The next morning (today) I went over to see how he was doing and if he had gotten more booze after we left. I didn’t find any in my quick search, but with my dad that doesn’t mean shit. He tends to hide his poisons. 

I found him wrapped in a blanket on the couch, staring blankly at the TV. I know how he feels, if he does feel any shade of remorse. I really understand. So, with a fresh perspective I tried to tell him what it is I would want to hear after I fucked up. I basically told him to keep calm and carry on. I let him know that we are all so angry because we love him so much and don’t want to see him do this shit to himself. 

He just stared at me. 

In the end I took his car key, cash, and credit cards. There is money hidden somewhere in the house but I don’t know the location and he is only aware of one of them, I guess. (So my mother thinks.) 

I really looked up to my dad. I never realized that I did until he disappointed me. I took his positive change for granted and without it I feel lost. It’s almost as if my whole childhood is a lie. He is lie. He is a fallible human being. 

He was my hope that I could get over my own demons. 

Today I remind myself that I don’t want to be him. I don’t want to let my past transgressions dictate how I handle situations which baffle me. 

Two skipped heartbeats

A new month is upon is and for me it feels like it’s brought more change than should be allowed, mainly heartache.

I’ve been in a twelve step program for the past five years. I won’t tell you what because we’re not there yet in our relationship. Just know that in this group has been someone who through this time has become very close to me. I’ve thought about him becoming my sponsor once or twice but I can’t deal with any sort of rejection so I always dropped subject. Whether or not, the man has has a profound affect on me.

He’s an older gentleman and as most do he has retired from his job. But what prompted this change wasn’t his desire to spend his days golfing, it’s his grandchildren. They live in the middle America and with his retirement has come a new location to call home. While I am happy for him at the same time I will miss him terribly.

As it turned out his last meeting was yesterday and I missed it because I instead chose to sleep. So I missed my chance to say goodbye. But there is some worth in social networks, he won’t be truly gone. Just the regularity of our visits and his imparted wisdom.

After waking late in the afternoon I had two voicemails on my phone. One of them was my mother calling to inform me of my cousins recent doctors visit. They found a tumor on her colon. As of this moment she has no idea if it’s cancer or not, that will be defined on Wednesday. What we do know is that a month ago she lost her mother, my aunt, to the same thing.

My aunt fought hard for four years, exceeding the doctor’s predicted life expectancy. But right on the heels of her family dealing with that constant agony comes my cousins diagnosis.

This year has this far contained the most gut wrenching, earth splitting, changes that sometimes I wonder if I will make it through unscathed.