R.E.M. is not a group I’m particularly fond of, but Michael Stipe has an emotive voice, and the lyrics of a number of their songs are evocative, and resonate deeply. Well, that’s stating the obvious, and maybe titling this entry with a line from one of their songs is be a cheap trick – but that’s exactly how I feel, right now: like a cheap trick, played by a cheap trick, the manipulator manipulated.
The details are too fresh and painful, to reveal in exquisite detail* just yet. But there is a fight, taking place, a battle, a war, raging – me, against myself. Not as dramatic as my history against my future, but certainly as singular as the object of my love and desire, against my self-worth and ability to heal further.
But as unique as I’d like to feel, in my pain, as individual, as unique, as special and as misunderstood as I’d like the spotlight to single me out as, the truth is, I am not. This journey, in the last two weeks has been elevated so much, been made so much more important by the revelation that this story is NOT unique. It is not original, it is not even original sin. It is FAR from rare or uncommon – MY story is YOUR story.
Twice this week, on Monday and again last night in a conversation with a man whose few words a few weeks ago gave me the key to the quantum leap I needed to make in the thought process about my healing, and who I owe so much to, as a result, I was reminded that although the symptoms of our distress and pain may be different, the causes are the same.
It is not the cigarette in your hand, that hurts; it is not the line of powder on the mirror in front of me, that kills. Your glass of wine, your mistress – these are not the murderers of your soul. Circumstance is not the perpetrator, it is merely background noise. Deviation from the path is not the failure, nor is a life of plenty, lived amorally, or, in reverse, a life of poverty, lived in pious bitterness. My crystal meth, the cocaine I breathed in, in the thousands of grams, the heroin that killed me, all the other drugs – the ecstasy, the ketamine and the cat, the LSD and the diet pills, these were not my failures. They were my co-conspirators, my complicit abandons, accessories after the fact.
My failure was, quite simply, trust. That’s it. One word, eighteen years. One trait, one hundred and fifty-seven thousand hours. One choice, a billion tears, wasted in a trust-deviant non-life.You can bring this all down to the abuse of, the disregard for and the taking for granted of trust, my story. And the story of every single one of the men, women and children that were in Monday’s Narcotics Anonymous support group meeting. And the story I listened to with such painful sympathy, and tangible empathy, last night.Trust, and how we react to it, when it’s broken, or when our trust is questioned, undermined and devalued.
Trust that the man you had fallen so deeply in love with isn’t out fucking complete strangers, in an orgy of unprotected sex.
Trust that the woman who is the mother of your child, and the one to whom you promised undying devotion and partnership isn’t going to try and stab you, or have you arrested for theft, physical abuse or worse, because of a chemical phantasmagoria she’s been chasing in the hunt for the perfect figure.
Trust that the friend you help out will be grateful, and not discard you, like last week’s trash, as soon as they’re on their feet again, thanks to you.
Trust that the one you seek a soulful collective with is not some emotional whore, smiling more, loving you more, faking friendship more for each handful of cash you give them, each gift, each material accessory.
Trusting yourself to make the right decision. Every time. Trusting that tomorrow, the sun will come up, and life will go on. Trusting that the person who looks you in the eye, in the mirror, is human, and worth loving, a soul, worth investing in, but believing that the revolting freak who stares back is some just some emotional savage.
In recent weeks, I’ve been told how my story is helping so many people going through their own break with trust. People are being inspired by my tale – it ensnares them with its horror, and when death and incarceration are not the outcome; when humility and confession bring a change in fortune and remorse leads the way up, from out of the darkness, and into the light – when I choose to live instead of wither and die, people give me back their trust, as they give me their support, their goodwill, their love. They trust that there is only one way this story can end, and that is in success. They are trusting I will make it out OK, that I have beaten the addiction and that I will speak out and reach out when I find I have not beaten it, but am not yet beaten by it.
James asked me if I trust myself. I did, before. I trusted myself to make the wrong decision, to be at fault, to be unworthy, a failure, not good enough, so I trusted the drugs to kill those thoughts and emotions, and I trusted no one would find out. I trusted that I was in control. I lost the definition of trust, sold its meaning, betrayed its sacrosanct purity.
But now, when I have destroyed trust, completely, you all come back, and hand me more trust: trust to heal, trust to remain honest, trust to care enough to want to live.
I’m scared. I’m so, so scared, that I break that trust, again. And it hurts, to know that that is a very real possibility. While you all trust me, I do not yet trust myself.
Trust? It’s a bitch.
© healing.me. 2012 All Rights Reserved.
*I DO think it’s time to consider a blog post on the topic of all the clichés that crop up in the healing process, later this weekend.