Tuesday, June 30, 2009
A Change is Gonna Come
Living in my house, right now, is like living in a constant state of spiritual warfare. And, today, I almost lost a big battle.
I am a recovering addict. I spent several years using crystal meth fairly heavily, and I hid it quite successfully from the people that love me. I was a binge user, and I used on a clockwork schedule: every two weeks for two to three days at a time, almost always over the weekend.
After having a near complete breakdown and spending a week as a guest of the mental health ward of Fairview Riverside hospital and then spending another almost six months in various structured recovery programs at the Pride Institute in Eden Praire, MN, I was able to get to a place where I had the skills to fight back against my own biology. Addiction is a physical and mental illness and it takes physical and mental therapy to keep it in check.
I have had, what is called in 12-Step lingo, slips. But I haven't slipped for a long time now, and I am aiming to keep it that way. But, to do so, I have constantly to find ways not to internalize difficult emotions and emotional situations, I have to eat well and exercise, and I need to be engaged with a life and a world that is spiritually uplifting.
In general, my life is centered around all of those things. I have a great partner that is extremely supportive, I am a Christian that believes in the universal and healing power of love embodied through Christ (one of many Sons of God and prophets sent to teach us), I have recently begun chanting in the Nichiren Buddhist tradition (nam-myoho-renge-kyo), I use this blog as a vehicle to draw out lessons from my daily experiences that I need to learn or look at more closely, I write and perform poetry as a way to externalize my feelings, and I try to find small ways, each day, to experience God, the Divine, and love.
Unfortunately, with the love of my partner and a desire to build a home with him, has come his ex partner (of whom I have written plenty before) who lives in our living room on our couch. I am not overstating or exaggerating when I say his presence is an actively hostile and malevolent force that is actually palpable. His energy is destructive and hurtful, his words and actions are negative and damaging, and I, as the new boyfriend of his ex, am the direct and active target of his hate. When something goes wrong or amiss in the house, I am to blame. When David and I had our first threesome, which was a beautiful and spiritually uplfiting experience with an amazing human being, he didn't speak to me for almost a week yet did not treat David the same way, he stares at me with such undisguised loathing that it feels like a punch to the stomach. To be the object of revile for anyone, particularly someone with whom you live, is a constant burden and pressure.
I quite literally choose whether going to the bathroom is sometimes worth the walk to the living room, and I tell you that on more than one occassion a bottle has looked more appealing than a porcelain bowl on the other end of the house through the spectral landmine field I have to cross to get there.
The economy sucks, and David, as a freelancer, has had a great reduction in the amount of work he has been able to do. Yesterday, he left for a two day gig in the Hamptons. We can use the money, but, more importantly, David needed to work, for himself, on a fundamental level. For several days leading up to his leaving, I felt the weight of his absence. David is a buffer of sorts between the ex and me. His ex feels required to constrain himself when David is around. When David leaves, he feels no such constraint. I wrote before about the ex and the ex's current boyfriend and their ambush and attack of me. This time, there was no screaming...just a heightening of his already hateful presence. And, frankly, I reached the end of my spiritual reservoir.
Thank God that God had my back.
Quite literally, yesterday, I was on the fast track to relapse. I began looking for a connection. In this interconnected Internet ready world, finding drugs is as easy as logging into Craig's List or any number of cruising sites. I know all the code words and key phrases. Luckily, just as I was on the edge of the relapse cliff, my phone rang. I had just come home from a work event, and my best friend called. We have been trying to see each other, unsuccessfully, for weeks. The one sure way to get me out of and away from myself is for someone else in need to ask for my help. He sent a text saying that he could use some friend time. I packed a bag, jumped in a cab, and I headed to Harlem and spent the night. This morning, we got up and chanted together, which fed my spiritual well just enough to keep sober, though I didn't know I was going to need to use it so soon.
Today, the ex did one of his favorite hate tactics. He played on my fears and vulnerabilities around David. He enjoys telling me stories about the few times, over their ten year relationship, when David did not adhere to their relationship rules. And though I know in the moment that exactly what that hateful man wants is for me to start questioning David and myself, there are times when fears slip through cracks. They did, and I was again speeding down the path to relapse.
Except this time, as I started to leave the house to look for drugs, I stopped myself. I looked up at the rapidly darkening sky. The clouds were rolling in thick and black and ugly from Jersey...and I began to ask myself what the hell I was doing. I had gotten up from the computer where I was doing work for my amazing job. I was walking away from the committments I made to my partner. I was walking towards hurting myself deeply and fundamentally. So I turned around and walked home. I ordered some terrible MSG filled food from the Chinese spot downstairs, and I ate myself into a near catatonic state, all the while composing donor renewal letters for work (I may be crazy, but I am definitely productive).
I am done with letting another human being impact my life and spirit to the point that I am willing to do myself harm and, in doing so, hurt the people that love me. The ex is moving out of our home at the end of July. I am not sure if I can find enough ways to sustain myself until then, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I may have to spend many more blog entries between now and then speaking to you all about this situation.
Also, my insurance kicks in tomorrow and you best believe that me and therapy are about to get real cozy like again.
The minute that man exits the building for the last time, I am going to have a shaman, a priest, a Vooduin, a medecine man, a rabbi, and any other holy person I can find to come over and deep clean his ugliness and hurt and hate and pain and darkness out of this place. I wonder if they got some sage flavored Febreeze at the Target.
Thanks for reading ya'll.