A nightly journey into the madness of sobriety
It’s well after midnight, again, and the constant torturer that is my consciousness cracks its knuckles as it prepares another night of unrelenting, unwavering wakefulness.
The pattern is the same: twitching nerves or an itch that can’t be scratched annoy and aggravate until I am fully awake, and in the silence, my past stalks across my inner vision on legs of shame and regret. The harsh voice of memory recalls at random the sins of my selfish chemical seductions – a litany of cruelty, of lies, of betrayal; treating friends and strangers alike like objects to manipulate and coerce into a rush of heady, careless drug highs and bodies to be used for depraved and emotionless interludes.
My memory, often so fallible when I need it in the mundane daylight hours, pulls from the past with searing clarity the cruel words I’ve thrown at friends; clamouring to get a laugh, a joke – the spotlight on me at any cost. Just so long as I could get a laugh, I didn’t give a damn about how these words would cut and sting and drive people away. Just so long as in that moment, everyone else would smile and laugh.
These words ring out in the midnight silence to accuse me over and over again; to cut me down like I did those friends and lovers. If you’re reading this and knew me then, you could be forgiven for thinking I deserve this self-induced torture. Your own sense of vengeance may mask itself as a sense of justice, and curse me to far more pain than I already inflict on myself. But that is your demon to wrestle – we’re already full, round here…
I truly understand the appeal of drinking to forget; to drown out the judge who delivers a nightly dose of guilt to weigh me down, and drag me away from the light of recovery, and the new life I have fought so hard to maintain.
How long can I hold out? How many nights of self-imposed anguish and pain before I feel…before I realise retribution is not the way to heal? How many nights before I crack, and fall…into madness; off the wagon, or worse?
Surely this is not the reward for living clean, for an honest life? Is this just a trick – a sick game – my mind plays on me? I was once a vengeful, angry person – am I turning that angry vengeance on myself?
I can’t endure these tortuous inner thoughts for ever but I will never allow them to drive me back to drugs – so something has to give: me or my sanity; a true battle of wills and both are my own.
Until then, I am clean… and anything but serene.
© Dave Luis 2014. All Rights Reserved.