Thirty-nine days have passed. Thirty-nine days in which so much has happened: good days, bad days, days where I have felt that I really have this monster beat, and other days, like last night, where I had to distract myself because my mind kept turning to thoughts of meth – the silky, smoky vapours giving rise to that monstrous sexual appetite and wide-eyed, bat-shit crazy paranoia.
My brother George visited, for the Argus cycle race. We spent a lot of time together, and at the end of that time, his parting words to me were “You haven’t irritated me once, while I’ve been down here – you’re calm, I can understand you…good!” Might be a funny thing anywhere else, but these words are the confirmation I’ve been seeking that the serenity and calm that I so desperately want are starting to make themselves felt. Normally I’m a hyped up bundle of frenetic energy – I grate and offend and seek attention with such an aggressive bent that all I do is attract the wrong kind. That usually gives me the justification to go off and hide in a fug of druggy haze.
This past month, I also fell in love. Jono is a sweet guy, and it was as close to love at first sight as you can find, in the real world. We threw ourselves headlong into a relationship – but – sadly – it was not to be. My step five brought me to be able to say the words “I was raped” and to talk about what happened, nineteen years ago. I am now ready to face what happened, but this gets in the way of having a relationship. I can’t put the weight of all that on the relationship and expect it to survive, and Jono himself has a bit of a journey of his own at the moment; we need to heal ourselves first, before exploring being a couple. I feel good though, that I CAN love, again, and that I can start to think about things like relationships. It’s proof I am slowly clawing back a real, worthwhile life.
At work, we were part of the premiere of a locally-produced movie, ‘A Lucky Man’, about local gangster Ernie ‘Lastig’ Solomon, who was part of South Africa’s drug and gang culture for 37 years. He managed to pull himself out of the prisons, out of the gang life, and rebuild his life, and at the premiere I got to meet him. He’s a man I can really hold up as an inspiration: to make such a turn-around, after so many years at the edge of life, selfishly following a path of of crime and self-destruction – and then rehabilitating himself. I have a lot of respect for this man. A lot.
Fitness and health have also become a focus, and I have started jogging, with a mate, early in the morning. Nothing major to begin with – less than 5km so far, but the bug has bitten me. I have bought proper running shoes, so I don’t mess up my knees, and crave the endorphin rush like it’s a drug. Which it is. For me. But I also forget that I am not superhuman – so one morning, a run that pushed me too far resulted in flu, lung infection and a viral infection in my throat – and my hatred for visits to the doctor mean that this has carried on for two weeks, and eventually I’ve had to give in, and be prodded and poked – all at exorbitant sums I can’t afford. It’s a solid reminder that you don’t do drugs for 18 years, and attempt a suicide, and get off scot-free. There are consequences, beyond your confession and your keeping clean, like a good boy. Your body and mind bear the scars, and every now and then remind you that you don’t juts walk away from drugs. Ever.
I’m just nine days away from my first-year milestone, and despite being as sick as dog as I write this, I feel good – I feel hopeful. I feel alive, and like there’s a future, that’s mine.
© Dave Luis 2013. All Rights Reserved.