Addiction · Mental Health · Personal Development


Hummingbird” © AnnCam, 2010. CC BY 2.0.
“You’re running to stand still,” he said as he mimed the motion. “The way you describe it is like the way a junkie describes shooting up just to stay level, you know. You know. Just to keep from getting sick. It sounds exhausting.”

I glanced out the window, then back to him, and pulled one foot underneath me. “I guess I hadn’t thought about it like that. I mean, I guess I just figured I kind of have to do this stuff because…” I trailed off in a light giggle. “This sounds so fucking ridiculous.”

“It sounds dangerous, is what it sounds like. It sounds unachievable. It’s just another way your perfectionism is coming into play.”

He doesn’t usually get preachy. Usually he lets me get there on my own, so I can tell it’s important when he doesn’t. My religious avoidance of things that might be addictive or may cause unhealthy habitual behavior has become just that.

Taking care of myself is getting closer and closer to becoming just another avoidance tactic. Just another thing I do to not deal with what is happening. Focusing on my health slips from being a good idea to a dangerous obsession with just a few additions.

There’s got to be balance somewhere. An understanding of the things I need to do to take care of myself and the way I need to do them. Room for the just sitting, space for doing things just because I like them. There’s has to be a way to have a cup of coffee without thinking, “This is addictive. Caffeine is addictive. Everything is going straight to shit. I’m going to start drinking again.”

Flexibility has never been my strong suit. But I like to think I can learn to stretch. Learn to believe I have the capacity to live somewhere between the perfection that doesn’t exist and passed out drunk in a ditch.

Mental Health


"Drongo bird in the rain" © uditha wickramanayaka, 2014. CC BY 2.0.
Drongo bird in the rain” © uditha wickramanayaka, 2014. CC BY 2.0.
I haven’t written much of anything this month. Haven’t gone to the gym a whole lot. I’ve been sick for the last week, yes. But it was a problem before that. It’s not motivation or self-discipline. Well, it might be a lot of that. But there’s something else in there. Something sitting beneath the surface that has more to do with my brain than anything. With running over the same damn things over and over and over again. With getting all caught up in all sorts of catastrophes that haven’t happened and probably never will. It’s the closing in, the shutting down. That’s what gets me. That’s what battling February was supposed to be all about.

I don’t know where it went. What happened to it. The month. All the plans that I had to make it through it. All that shit. It slips through your fingers like one of those frogs we caught as kids. Constantly leaping away from you and there isn’t anything you can do about it.

No. I don’t think that’s true. Not really. I don’t think true helplessness exists. Not in the way I’m trying to make it. There is always an ability. A promise I can cling to. There is always a way to get the things I want to get done done. There is just that part of me that is terrified of it, isn’t there?

That doesn’t know what to do with success. With getting clean. With relationships that last. People that stay. There is that part of me that doesn’t know how to believe that what they’re all saying is true. It’s not even just a part by this point, is it? That’s the default state. On edge and wrapped in disbelief. Untrusting and apprehensive. Positive that this is all just daydreaming and planning. That none of this is going to last and none of it is worth anything anyway.

And I start to wonder if the reason I don’t see any success in these ventures is because I’m always doing it for someone else. Not even really for them. Doing it for the memory of them. So that if I run into a person from my past I will look like someone they never knew. Is that really the driving force behind most of my ambition?

So I can say this version of myself didn’t do the things the old versions did. That this version is clean and fit and well-dressed and has gorgeous flowing hair you can stick your hands into. That this version is the better version. The version you don’t get to be a part of. The version that’s not for you.

I’m trying to balance that with the idea that I’m proud of where I came from and I’m not ashamed of who I am. That I made poor choices, but that they made sense for the life I was living in. I say I don’t have any regrets and at the same time I say I want to do it completely different.

And these things are not meshing well for me. This thought process does not get me to the place I want to be. Another one of those things that pulls strings behind the curtains and forces me into positions I’d rather not be. This is not the type of life I want to be living. The one that is always suffering from some past heartbreak. That’s not the type of shit I want to deal with anymore. Constantly living in shadow. Explain to me how that is any fucking fun at all. How you can ever feel like you’re actually improving.

The mileposts are always moving. You’re not going to realize one day that you’re no longer hurting from the things that you did, from the things that happened to you. Accomplishing things now is not going to undo any of it. You’re trying to put back together a broken plate with glue that doesn’t adhere. This is an impossible task. A waste of time. This is not how you move forward.

It’s interesting, though, isn’t it? That you could do the same things, but change the reasoning and it will change everything. They say that, don’t they? That it doesn’t matter so much what you do, but why you’re doing it. And I’m sure there is something to that. And something that helps explains how if the reasons aren’t right then you’re going to have a really rough time.

My motivations are all wrong.

No. Not wrong. Just not conducive to progress. Not the kind that I want. I’m trying to build something gold out of rebar. No matter how good it turns out to be, it’s not going to be the thing I’m trying for.