April 14, 2013
Tomorrow, I will have been clean for 365 days. This is the longest time I have been off drugs, and every successive day is a new record in clean time.
No one event resulted in my addiction. Rather, it was a series of events, much like that show ‘Seconds From Disaster’, that conspired to leave me in a chemical haze, leading a double life, numb, but faking happiness and smiles, for 18 years.
But one event has struck me down, kept me in the addiction, for all those years, though I didn’t realise it: I was raped. I was violated – by the man I loved, and a friend of his.
That night, as a young, fresh-out-the-closet gay man, I was initiated into the cold, brutal reality of real life, and it took me 18 years to be able to say the words “I was raped”. During those years, I killed all emotion, shame, and guilt, all sadness, pain and anger, with as many drugs as I could afford. But I could never kill the memory, could never wipe it out, and make it un-happen.
Oh, the years weren’t all bad. I could go for whole months without actively thinking about that, and in those months, the drugs were fun, and I partied, and partied hard. But all that time, I was not living, I was just pushing down all the emotions, in the hopes they would dissolve.
They did not. They just dammed up, until I was busy doing my step 5 of the Narcotics Anonymous programme, when that dam burst.
It released so much anger, and hatred, and an overwhelming sense of vengeance, it threatened to consume me…but then I realised it HAD been consuming me, subconsciously, for all those years. The actions of ONE night rolled out their impact over 18 years. And THAT thought made me even angrier…to think I had chosen to live with that pain, and that burden, for all that time.
The weeks that followed are a blur of powerful emotions, and raw, reactive vulnerability – but through careful guidance by the friends and family who have supported me on this journey, and through the wisdom and counselling of my sponsor, tonight, I faced down my ex, in an email, and I took him through the horror of that night – how it happened, for me, and how violated I felt. I took him to the edge of my emotional state that night, and all the subsequent years since, and then, I gave him that most precious gift I had denied myself all those years: forgiveness. Forgiveness, and the wish that he will find the serenity I have found in this past year.
I am finally free of that burden, one I carried by choice, and now, by choice, I can start to live…
© Dave Luis 2013. All Rights Reserved.