Today…was a great day.
Today, I can stand here and actually feel some pride, and not feel immediate shame afterwards for feeling that pride.
Today, I went to my first Narcotics Anonymous meeting.
Today I met a group pf amazing survivors, not of trauma or natural disasters or of genocide – but of life, at their own hand.
I went there, scared to tell my tale, yet exhilarated that mine might be the horror story of horror stories…but it was nothing so big, or frightening, it was just a story, like everyone else’s story. We shared a common bond – we’d had enough of destroying our lives. We shared a common goal – to stop hurting ourselves and our families, and to heal. We shared a common truth: we are in this together, and cannot do it alone.
Part of how I make my living is by coining the ubiquitous ‘jargon jargon buzzword‘ – the slogan, the epithet, the tagline, the mantra – to life, to products, to motivations. Words are my tools, and Cris told me, to my horror, that without actions, my words are empty, meaningless. I have long railed against rehab and the mantras they teach, because any mantra you can do, I can do better!
And better to justify the continued habit of taking drugs, the continued addiction to destroying myself. But tonight, I sat back, gave those slogans a chance, and almost the first words I heard were “Tonight is about action – if you sit here, just listening without changing your life, you are wasting your eternity!” Man, that struck like a sucker punch, caught my breath – I had to look away, I could not meet an eye in the room. I know I can construct the most provocative, evocative, emotive and touching paeans, poetry and prose. My two-word summations are arch in their curt accuracy, my single-syllabled retorts a story contained in a word. Yet, all these years, spinning the tales that paid, and the tales that hid, me, from the world, the actions have been missing.
So, continuity, then, between what Cris warned, and what the support leader (anonymity guaranteed – take the lessons but leave the names!) preaches. Continuity in the slogans of Narcotics Anonymous and the DNA of Mxit: ‘KEEP IT SIMPLE!’ – this is both mantra to addicts and the first step of undertaking any project, meeting, task or engagement, at my new job. Continuity in the slogan of ‘BEING HERE IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD, IT’S THE START OF A NEW WORLD!’ – though at times I’ve felt like my whole world came crashing down (it did, and it didn’t…you get that, or you don’t!) it’s been a necessary crash and burn to allow the Phoenix of my new life to arise from the ashes of the old. Continuity in the love and support of family, and friends, and you, that is reading this now – because one thing that is also a stark reminder of the continuity, is that I got myself into this mess, and I have to get myself out, and but for the will to do it, I cannot do it without you, and the group.
Today, I talked to Cris, and assured myself of the continuity of friendship, free from drugs. That is a victory I’ll cherish to the bitter end.
One story that came out tonight is the concept of the afterlife and its much-vaunted rewards. If there is nothing, then all you’ve done, on death, is waste a few score years, and then some of belief; yet if there is something higher-powered and watchful, in attendance, then if you are not mindful and aligned, then you will waste your future, and all eternity.
That thought really moves me: though I am not a practicing Christian, or even one who truly believes, I am one of those bet-hedgers, proclaiming myself spiritual. Oh I know that’s the safe bet for one who wants more proof, but knows there is something unexplainable out there – but whether it’s God, or soul energy, or whatever your particular flavour, this is key to understanding that waste your time on drugs, or alcohol, or wallowing in self-pity, and you waste eternity, and your future.
Whatever your story, gentle reader, we’re in this together.
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