In the spirit of full disclosure (which I have tried to infuse in each entry) I must add that as I approach "Day three hundred and sixty five," a few notes should be made.
1. This blog was not started on the first day of my abstinence from drugs and alcohol (12/27/07). It was started on the first day of 2008, and will continue forward in daily increments until I have exhausted my gray matter (or gone completely crazy--whichever comes first).
2. For one week, from Sep. 9th until Sep. 16th of this year, I fell into a routine of taking pills which were not prescribed to me. I did not drink, nor did I ingest any of the other myriad substances I have had problems with. I stopped on my own accord and I have not picked up since. This was made very public in a number of my posts from that period in my blog. I hide nothing, and in doing so I move on with a clean conscience and the proclivity to grow and evolve in ways I could never have previously imagined.
In saying that, when Sep. 16, 2009 rolls around I will hopefully be able to claim 100% sobriety from any and all substances. Until then I can only regret the lapse.
3. In the spirit of simplicity I will refer to the time I have spent dissecting and inspecting the reasons why I do what I do, and have done what I have done, as my period of sobriety (insert boos here).
Here is why:
Not everyone becomes involved in drugs and alcohol for the same reasons. Some do it due to a genetic predisposition. Some do it to distract from even larger problems. Some do it because they fear they won't like what lies inside of themselves behind the opaque mask of addiction. Some do it because, from the first time they twirled around in a circle, felt dizzy and light in their stomach, and fell down on the grass in a laughing fit, they fell in love with a physical condition and have been searching for the ability to add that feeling of bliss and euphoria to their everyday existence.
I do it for all of the above.
Correction: I did it for all of the above.
I have learned quite a lot about myself in the last ten months. I have discovered why I have felt like self destruction was tantamount to enlightenment and why that is, in essence, lunacy. I have learned that life is an enjoyable process without any added ingredients; its complex makeup of growth, love, compassion, confusion, understanding, jealousy, perseverance, malaise, passion, frustration, contentment, and the seemingly endless bombardment of new and unexpected discoveries is enough to keep me sated.
And I have learned that part of the reason that I fell on my face during that week was the curiosity to revisit the experience of temporary escape I had been denying myself for eight months. I couldn't just rely on my own admission of depravity and self-loathing as being residuals as well as catalysts for its existence. I couldn't just trust that the reasons I didn't do what I thought I could never stop doing superseded the need to imbibe in the forbidden.
And as soon as I realized that I had hopped the fence into the yard full of snarling dogs, broken glass, and razor wire, I clawed and climbed back over to the other side. I landed safely on my knees in the soft grass--hands bloody and clothes ripped--with a gash in my pride that, without as much perspective as I had gained in the previous months, might have led me right back over with every intent to never return.
But that's not what happened.
And sobriety, to me, is all about doing the right thing, and not giving in to the never ending urges to fail.
Put it this way. You can lock yourself away for ten months and keep yourself occupied with innocuous and unfulfilling behavior, ignoring and running away from the things that hurt you. And you can count each day on the wall of your cave and finally come out and say to the world "I've been completely sober for ten months ... isn't that great?" when you really haven't learned a damn thing about why you are sober; you just are.
Or you can grow and develop and change your motivation, building a support network and cultivating new skills which help foster strength and power to tackle all the problems which will inadvertently arise during however many more revolutions of the earth you will be part of, albeit a bit banged up from an extraneous mishap.
I could tell you which one I think is better in the long run, but I probably don't have to.
You can call it what you want. You can stop reading and call me a fool if you like. Or you can give me the benefit of the doubt.
I'm going to keep doing what I do like I always have, regardless. And I would encourage all of you to do the same.
But like I have said, every day is a test. And each day will be averaged in with the next for a final score. And each day that goes by that I stay sober my composite score improves. Will I end up with a 4.0? Only time will tell. But as I live and breathe the air around me, and the spirit of my mother and aunt continue to guide me through this amazingly horrific and beautiful condition called living, I will be continually tested. The pencil will never run out of lead--not for lack of sharpening--and the bell in the hallway will remain silent, holding only the potential for alarm.
That is, until I leave this world.
On that day I will hear the sharp midrange machine gun volley of hammer against steel and I'll know it's time to go. I'll hear the sound of chairs squeaking against the linoleum floors, and the shuffle of feet in the hallway, the turn of the combination locks, and the sounds of the doors of an infinite number of lockers swinging open for a moment ...