Friday, November 4, 2016

The Darkness of Drug Addiction

I could still feel it inside me. It had been pumping through my veins on the drive. The drive had been beautiful. It had been like a painting. I had felt like I was sitting in a painting. The music was part of the painting. Mew was playing. Beautiful riffs. Words about reaching down to touch sorrows. Now that was gone.

I sat there perplexed like an ant on an empty hill of sand. It was Spring, I sat in the grass outside the facility, as did many others. They were fellow junkies, other patients. I watched them. I watched the red cement. The sky was blue. The sun shined glossy on the wax grass landscape.

Where am I? I thought. This is desolation. This is where society tosses us. The forgotten. The losers. The failures. The ones who had sucked too hard on the nook that is the American dream. They had become addicted to it. Now they fiend for it. And so did I.

I hated them. Yet at the same time, I loved them. They were good people you see. They wore smiles on their faces. Somehow I knew they were good people. Cast out of a society that did not understand their pain. Some felt too much. Some felt too little. Some had been through hell and now could not speak. They were pariahs, lost souls, damaged and broken, sent away by society, as society said, “ We cannot deal with you anymore. You are too sad. You are too broken. “ 

Addiction, well, it's like a river of extremes.  For those who ache for something more, it's a rather sinister entanglement.  It seems so harmless at first.  And it's such a wonderful feeling, the first few times especially.  You begin walking down this road and eventually you realize that your lost.  You realize you've become addicted.  And there isn't enough left of you to fight it.  In fact it becomes impossible to fight.  It's bizarre.  It takes you, all of you.  Addiction, well, it's just a word.  But for me, it was nearly the end of my life.  It was nearly the destruction of my soul.  

No one, fully no one can really understand the extent of addiction but the addict.  It goes far beyond extreme.  All of life rotates around the drug.  All of reality bends to the drug.  Logic changes in the mind.  The material world slows down, speeds up, and my very experience of space-time is altered.  The mind is fundamentally changed by drug addiction, especially over many years.  The entire mindset is shifted to function around the drug.  It is particularly demented.  It is quite extensive.  

Grope for it if you can, it's like being unable to want something else.  So an onlooker says "just quit."  But how can I just quit?  Because I see it destroying my life, yet I can hide from that, and I love it so much, yet I hate it so much, yet I've become accustomed to it.  And I'm afraid, so afraid.  And the addiction has learned to protect itself within my mind with defense mechanisms to perpetuate the lies and self deception.  

The sad thing is you see it happen to such wonderful people.  The majority of people I encountered were not evil, or manipulative or gang bangers or murderers.  No, they were just people.  Very lost people.  Much like myself then.  They did things that were wrong.  But you could tell, at least many of them were particularly beautiful souls.  You know, like artists, painters, writers, philosophers, and political activists.  Fascinating people really!  They were people seeking something more.  Much like myself. 

For many of us, the drug was the most awful bait and switch.  The drug masqueraded as a new dimension, a new experience, a new spirituality, as an adventure.  And at first it was just that.  But suddenly it would change, switch gears, and you'd realize that while you were dreaming, seeing colors, feeling euphoria, the drug had driven a stake into your heart and made itself at home in your soul.  And soon you found yourself doing things you'd never do before.

The tunnel would grow darker and darker.  And eventually it's like your life has become so about the drug, it's become so integrated that it's impossible to imagine life without it.  That point cannot be overly emphasized. 

It would be like me or you trying to live without running water.  Or to live without any electronics.  Or without a car.  It's completely alien.  And oddly terrifying.  

When someone is truly addicted, it is quite rare for recovery to occur.  For every one addict or alcoholic who recovers long term, there are at least one hundred that die addicted.  And 1 in 100 is definitely a generous ratio.  Drug addiction is evil.  It is a plot of evil.  There is something particularly evil about it.   

People are afraid to share about it I'm sure.  The darker experiences of drug addiction are so over the top, it seems impossible that someone else could understand.  Like a prostitute or someone who is sex trafficked, they sometimes testify that it seemed spiritual, as if they were being raped by demons.  Annie Lobert shared that experience, she told her story via "I am Second."  Click here to view that on Youtube

In the darker periods of addiction, and boy does it get dark, one experiences an evil that is not simply random, but calculated and embodying personality.  Even before I realized that a good God existed, in 2011, before that, I believed in angels, because I had experienced demons.  

It's a personal testimony, and quite provocative.  But also quite reasonable.  And if you go down the dark path far enough, you'll encounter these entities.  It's that little something extra about life that doesn't quite fit the standard routine that prompts serious inquiry, don't you think?

Cut beneath the strands of drug addiction, the fuzzy colors, bizarre experiences, and late nights that feel like a dream, like trouble is somehow baked into the air itself, like there is a grim twinge to reality and life seems painted with maroons and blues, beneath the beauty and mystery something more basic is taking place, something at the base of all the chaos: Destruction.  Destruction is at the core of this saga.  It's the story and ongoing process of slow, chronic self annihilation.  It is the ultimate act of rebellion against all things, even self, to destroy, not just the world or others, but yourself.  It's based on sorrow, confusion, and the sick pleasure of it all. 

That at it's core, is a spiritual tug of war within the soul.  

Part of me to this day, a small part of me still wants that and craves it.  Through the help of Christ and recovery, I've locked that part of a me in a cage, shackled and half starved, but never dying.  

I've heard it told that the struggle within me is the story of a man who had two wolves, one was good and one was evil and they were caught in a pitch battle for dominance of his soul.  This man told his son of this truth, and his son asked him: "Which wolf wins?"  And the man replied, "The one you feed."  

Isn't that certainly true?  If I spend my time in God's word, if I spend my time working my job, and trying to the right thing, that evil within me becomes weaker and weaker over time.  If I spend my time using drugs, womanizing, bar hopping, and screwing people over money and dope, well, then the evil within gets stronger and the goodness becomes weaker.  

I can feed my flesh, or I can live by the Spirit.  That's what Paul wrote.  

The journey to the bottom, to end of one's wits is dark and excessive.  There is a state of enjoyment in self destruction that long passes, and it is only torturous, all the time.  The sorrow is permanent and hope begins to die.  Finally when the last whiffs of hope die within the addict, they accept their fate as the perpetual junkie.  All hope is lost, one wishes for death, yet death will not come, and life itself is an unbearable agony.  

Beauty had ultimately led me to the realization that God existed.  The late night walks, six days a week, two hours a night, walking at two AM among the stars, the street lights, and the silence and calm.  It was all too much for me to withstand.  It gave rise to the realization that this great designer had put things together.  Beauty, the moon, the stars and the night assured me of that.  Though the demons prodded me in the day, at night I walked alone with the stars, though not alone, for the Spirit of God went with me, not over months, but over years, slowly leading me to the place where I would cry out in infinite despair to the one who I believed could really set me free, Jesus Christ. Just one name, Jesus Christ.  

It's been four years now, and what a journey it has been, but the greatest truth is that there are far greater things ahead than any I've left behind. 

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