How to Destroy Yourself Part 1

It just dawned on me that my current WordPress plan is about to expire. That does not really mean so much as a puff of rat flatulence to the world at large, but for me I think it means my already dwindling audience will dwindle even further. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe I will no longer be able to receive donations either whilst using the free version of WordPress. Again, this doesn’t really amount to a fraction of an atom’s quiver on the webz’s Richter scale, but it will give me even less of an incentive to spew my garbled thought processes unto this “blog” for your amusement. Not that I’ve really received a single donation anyways during the past year, but then again I can’t complain, given the irrelevant content I’ve provided the WordPress community. What I’m getting at here folks, is that Breakaway’s days are numbered. So unless any one of the half a dozen or so kind souls that read this can find it in his or her (or they, is that PC?) heart to dig deep into those pockets and help out one of society’s downtrodden, then I’ll most likely jump this flaming pile of excrement and leave it for the vultures. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up yet, though! I would like to part with some words of wisdom- well maybe not wisdom so much as common sense.

Mr. Mackey was onto something with his simplistic outlook on psychoactive substances; drugs, as it turns out are in fact bad, mmkay? Paradoxically, drugs are the most wonderful experience allowed by the limits of human pleasure. But that’s what makes them so bad- you get it!? What I’m saying is that this portal to Nirvana is so amazing that it comes at a price. Remember that anti-drug campaign in the late 80’s/early nineties with the frying pan? The sequel to the original “this is your brain on drugs” schtick was a bit more comprehensive, and we’ll say intense. Part two featured a girl with the same opening lines, but this time…. oh Nelly, does she rattle off some things and what happens to them on drugs. She enthusiastically starts smashing all manor of plates, dishes, and other things within her reach, and well… I can’t really do it justice, check it out, and take a stroll down memory lane- or take heed of this time capsule sent from an archaic age, when land lines ruled telecommunications, and people would speak to each other at the dinner table: https://youtu.be/dAHoxaphbEs

Delightfully well done, yes? However, this young lady’s performance was so completely over the top crazy, that it really distracts from the underlying message that government officials were futilely trying to pump into the skulls of our youth of America. That message is that drugs- and I like how she specifically names heroin in this one, I can’t think of a more suitable substance- really do take everything from you. Every one of those things she angrily screams to the audience will eventually be taken from you. Foremost, when you are on a good dose of H, your ability to do anything aside from nod off into a coma is severely handicapped. Have you ever had a conversation with someone on H? It’s about as gratifying as masterbating to a JCPenney’s full-page advertisement in the Sunday paper- frustrating to say the least. So yeah the whole brain-on-heroin-being-mush-frying-pan analogy rings completely true in my eyes, I’ve experienced it both first and second hand. Check.

What else does she list- money? If that shit grew on trees, and everyone could just walk around all fucked up on H and whatever else they so desired, well then none of this shit would be a problem now would it? But because life, and the universe in general operates on the principal of tradeoffs, making heroin is a somewhat complex process that not everyone can do and the people that can do it charge a handsome price for their service. Adding to the monetary value of this substance the extreme demand held by this product, and the fact that it is considered contraband by 99% of the world’s government entities- and you’ve got yourself a drug that is thankfully somewhat hard to come by for the average Joe or Jane. Can you imagine if that shit was like caffeine, and everybody and their mother was hooked on the horse…? Complete and utter pandemonium, I say.

I think during this striking young woman’s performance – admit it, her fervent passion for expressing her thoughts through violence with kitchen utensils was arousing on a level you’ve never considered until now- she blurts out friends and family or some shit. This is one of the more tragic prices paid to have heroin as a companion. Because of the previously mentioned debilitating financial situation many find themselves in because of this demon, relationships will assuredly be tested, strained, and eventually broken given enough time. There comes a point in every junkie’s existence that they will presented with that metaphorical fork in the road with a loved one on one side, and the big H, or whatever on the other. Unless the addict gets help, the demon will make the choice for the junkie, putting a gun to the addict’s temple, and saying, “You’re coming with me, buddy, I’m the only thing in your life that matters now!” Sad but true.

The last major conquest left before one’s addiction is the addict’s self-respect. Having already been beaten into submission financially and taking precedence above all other interpersonal relationships, there really is no other purpose to exist other than to act as a vessel for consuming the drug. When this milestone occurs, there is nothing that the addict would not do- no actions too shameful- to acquire the drug. You can kiss self respect goodbye when this happens.

Sure, I get to escape into a state of bliss when it suits me, but it has taken so much from me in exchange. To the outsider, it looks completely insane. Even as I write this, it’s painfully obvious how selfish and idiotic I’ve become. Hopefully someone in need finds these words and decides to take back his or her life.

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Optimizing my Freedom

So as many addicts do, I have been fighting sobriety tooth and nail at great length much to everyone’s bewilderment. I know there are like a billion articles on the benefits of sobriety, and they serve a purpose for those who wish live that type of normal lifestyle. By any logical sentiment, I cannot argue against living a clean, psychoactive substance-free lifestyle. That is the natural way to travel this journey- which is inherently difficult without adding layers of complexity that most reasonable people deem unnecessary. Many even assign the notion of immorality to the use of mind altering substances. Honestly, I can’t fault those who think that way because for years in the US we’ve been propagandized to adhere to that line of thinking. Also, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t a host of addicts out there who wouldn’t hesitate to step on your well-being to get their next fix. I would argue that there are just as many addicts that respect others and maintain a code of morality such that they don’t try to make their addiction anyone else’s problem. Conversely, I think it’s safe to say that there is a proportionally similar size of the population who do not use any substances, who would just as soon disregard others’ rights to benefit themselves. I have witnessed such actions time and time again throughout my career supporting that case by observing ass-kissers and pyschopaths excel in the workplace at the expense of others. That’s people doing what they do, unfortunately; often we don’t need any outside motivation other than those incentives which manifest naturally to inflict damage on one another.

My purpose here isn’t to justify the use of drugs, but to explain one facet of the addict’s rationale. What am I, some sort of an expert? You might say that, rabbit, you might.

First of all, I just don’t like being told what to do. Have I sacrificed nearly all of my financial success to live by that principle? Yes… but what is money anyways? A carrot that is dangled before us in portion-controlled doses, ultimately used by those in power to manipulate us peons into building their legacy while we act as an expendable resource? I am a pretty accommodating dude, willing to help my fellow man (and even woman) to a reasonable extent within my capabilities; but when other humans are deliberately trying to manipulate my values, or believe they “own” me because of some wack precedent established with no input nor agreement from me, that’s where I start to fall out of line. Maybe some person or group of people a thousand miles away from me think I shouldn’t be allowed to poison myself in a very specific way- yet allow other arguably worse and more socially problematic methods to plague society- but I never agreed to those ludicrous conditions. I think it unjust that one would charge other humans with enforcing their beliefs and declare that they have imaginary powers over those who disagree with their will. What makes those powers “official”? Can I form a gang and start making declarations of law pertaining to personal life decisions of all the people living within the abstract borders of a geographical area? Does anyone else understand how absolutely fucking asinine that sounds!?

Yes, I know that’s an over-simplification of the issue, but at its core, that is the heart of the issue, and why I oppose the precedent that’s been status quo for too long. One person can’t make a change when the argument is for getting high; but when the argument is to quit wasting our nation’s pooled taxes on imprisoning a large portion of the population who made a choice not in adherence with “officially prescribed” bullshit guidelines- then that argument starts to make sense.

Then again I could just be some asshole trying to justify his own use.

Another Day… No Dollar Though

That’s right, another day of existence is added to the growing collection of days which will be forgotten and meaningless. I have nearly lost my “Mojo”, or if it isn’t gone already, it’s on life support in the ICU, being cared for by Dr. Kevorkian. I’m having a hard time seeing the glass as being half full lately, because I’m seriously struggling with doing anything more than existing. I have been on/off with maintaining sobriety- which considering my circumstances, is pretty fucking commendable, I’d say. To elaborate, my significant other has kinda picked up one of my nasty habits, and fucking took off with it on her own, at a speed that has more or less surpassed my usage. So there’s one thing that I can etch into my legacy’s stone tablet of significant life accomplishments: pusher of addictive and dangerous substances, and sharer of misery. My point is that it’s damn near impossible to quit anything addictive, if the person you’re living with has the same habit. So I suppose it’s the circle of life, or poetic justice, or fucking whatever that I would afflict that curse on a loved one, only to have it come back and gingerly goose me while I’m trying to get my ish together! If I had a nickel for every time karma shot me with its painfully righteous darts, I’d still only have about a half dozen nickels. Yeah, I’m not a bad guy who goes around screwing people over, but when I fuck somebody without the lube, it will most assuredly come back later to fuck me unmercifully, harder, and with even less lube.

All metaphorical sex acts aside, I am fighting with the vigor comparable to Ben Stein’s voice to get my life back on track. Sure there isn’t much enthusiasm there, but I am droning through at a flat, continuous pace, slowly and painfully making it through the day and looking back to say “at least I didn’t off myself”. For some that may not seem worth writing in a blog that few will even read, but these days I try to celebrate even the most pitiful of deeds (or ‘non-deeds’ as it were), because what else do I really have?

I would like to believe that my worst years are behind me- but honestly I would probably being doing myself a disservice, as they could be much worse. I’m kind of hoping to at least keep this streak sub-mediocrity, anti-accomplishment behavior going just a bit longer. As long as nobody expects anything of me, I will not disappoint!

Commitment Issues

I will resume that whole developmental psychology thing eventually- it’s just I’ve been coping with some personal problems that have really wreaked havoc on my relationships, career as an IT professional, my educational goals, my reputation, my health, my looks, my marriage, and last but certainly not least- my finances. I wake up every morning, not recognizing the person in the mirror- if I can even bring myself to see my reflection. My eyes are sunken, my complexion muddled. If ever there was a poster child for the “drugs are bad, mmm’kay” campaign, I could be a contender, I’m sure. Perhaps I haven’t hit the absolute rock bottom, but I’ve come within a stone’s throw of it, no doubt. I’m on the cusp of losing everything, but I am fortunate enough to have people in my life who care enough to fucking slap me in the face enough so that I can look up and meet my own gaze in the mirror long enough to see how far I’ve fallen.

Some say addiction is a disease. I’m on the fence about that one, since this is a disease I welcomed into my life with open arms and with sound cognitive ability. It wasn’t too long however, that it took over my willpower and demanded I make it the one and only relationship I would sacrifice all others for. Of that aspect of addiction, I do see how it is a disease. I’ve heard that free will in general is an illusion that everyone mistakenly views as their’s to control. Perhaps I’ll explore that topic further another time, but this much is true for everyone whether they’d admit it or not: we are all slaves to our vices. Whether that be booze, gambling, running, self-mutilation, gluttony, starvation, plastic surgery, tattoos, or what have you. Most people are haunted by an insatiable need for something. Whether that something would benefit us or destroy us seems to me to be a roll of the dice. I, like many others, was and still am drawn to that artificial bliss on tap. Instant relief from all my worries, and the ultimate cheat code for nearly any dilemna, the right combination of hardcore drugs will get anyone hooked. I believe that’s why the US has taken the antiquated- yet effective on a very basic level- stance on treating these psychoactive substances.

Substances like the ones that I’ve allowed to poison my mind alter the brain in such a way that it will eventually take priority above all else. Those drugs that have a well deserved stigma associated with them. While under its influence, you will make any excuse or tell any lie to make sure that shit finds a way into your bloodstream. To a non-addict, the lengths to which an addict will go seem absurd, selfish, even downright sadistically evil; but for the addict, those actions become second nature, and are just par for the course of a lifestyle that typically means living fast and dying young. Some are fortunate enough to escape its iron grip; many are not, and struggle for years like a fly in the web, only to eventually get consumed by a predator with no face, no body, no weapons, and no weaknesses.

I’ve seen documentaries on the subject, and one concept sticks out in my memory which makes perfect sense (apologies,I can’t recall specifics for a citation). Doing drugs like opiates, meth, coke, or MDMA for long periods of time eventually rewires the brain so that acquisition of the drug is equally, if not more important than other survival instincts. Over time, getting your fix becomes more important than material possessions, money, shelter, relationships, and even food. I’ve encountered several different women who ended up losing their children to drugs, yet that loss was not their ‘rock bottom’. They continued to use, despite losing what many mothers consider to be their most precious gift in life. That should speak volumes as to how insidious this trap can be. My wife- who has stuck with me through the worst challenges I’ve had in life so far- put it brilliantly by saying “you didn’t make that choice, the drugs chose for you“.

Of course all of this is subjective. There are those who say addicts chose their lifestyle, and they have no one to blame but themselves for their problems. To a certain extent that is true. I would think it inconceivable (like Vizzini) to throw away the things I hold dearest to me… had you asked me a year ago. Now I find it impossible to live for anything else besides my next fix. It has consumed my life.

I started writing this like a week ago, but like everything else in my life, it’s sat and festered with nothing to show for it. I guess I’ll post this now, I don’t even remember what my original point was…

Damned if I Do, Damned if I Don’t

At one point I decided that it would be in my best interests to have my freedom restricted, so I am not tempted by the evils constantly lurking the shadows of this Valley. This puts me in somewhat of a pickle for a few reasons. First of all, few things are so quick to throw me into a rage as being told I can or can’t do something that I am legally within my rights to do. It is like being grounded as an adult. That shit was irritating when I was a kid, but now that I’ve paid taxes, been married, had a child of my own, been deployed to a combat zone two times, witnessed things that no one should ever have to see, done things that will leave mental scars I’m unsure will ever completely heal, then yeah I would say a little bit of resentment is creeping through my soul so deeply that I can taste the anger on the back of my tongue like fuckin hot, bitter, battery acid. Rage would be a bit of an understatement in this scenario- let’s just say it upsets me to the point of me needing to walk away before I do or say something I’ll regret.

Nevertheless, I did invite this kind of restriction upon myself- sort of. I thought it would be nice to take a little break from everything and everyone so that I could take another shot at this whole sobriety thing which has become somewhat of a distant memory which haunts me from time to time in a way that I can only describe as terrifying. The symbiot that has sunk its roots deep into my being has become as natural as breathing, but is frowned upon by all my loved ones unfortunately. Society itself has even put a metaphorical pistol up to my temple, telling me I need to let this thing go, and let it go now, or there are going to be some very unpleasant consequences. Consequences which ironically enough, are often worse than those which would come about as a result of my addiction. You see how that works? Our society has deemed something unacceptable, so it devises a punishment which all but labels you a pariah and sweeps you into the gutter.

The war on drugs, right? Sure, but who uses the drugs? They aren’t really using themselves, so shouldn’t it really be called the ‘War on people who use drugs’. That’s right, if you are affiliated with or use drugs not approved by pharmaceutical companies, you are an enemy of the state and will be treated as a war criminal.

Kinda sucks that a country would declare war on its own people like that. What a great place to live.

Swing and a Miss

Nothing more gratifying than spending an inordinant amount of time and effort on a project that will ultimately crumble through no one else’s fault but your own. It … And by it, I mean everything, is so much easier when there is a scapegoat within earshot. Pointing your finger at someone unsuspecting is all the more satisfying. I challenge you to do it, if you haven’t already. I’m willing to bet you’ve already tasted that bitter, low-hanging fruit, yeah? What am I even talking about? If I heard myself talking like that, I think I would feel obligated to beat the shit out of myself.

I fuckin fell off the horse. Or did I get back on the horse? Or is it a wagon? Do those terms only apply to AA? Is my ignorance showing?

I haven’t really even started treatment yet, so I guess none of that shit applies to my situation quite yet. Maybe if I publicly admit to my incompetence as a normal human being, I can shame myself into sobriety. That’s a legitimate method to living a normal, healthy lifestyle, right? I mean, it seems to be working out pretty well for Scientology- and we all know how prestigious and credible their dogma is. If some 19 year old kid can show me the path to enlightenment by having me put my hands on his magical thetan detector, and he throws in a convincing sales pitch to buy L. Ron Hub’s impressive library of choose your own adventure books; well I’d be a fool not to fork over all my earnings! That’s like one step from being a Jedi! Paying taxes? That’s for mere mortals. If you ask me, I think the word “cult” is thrown out there with a little too much prejudice. I think of them as a club that is perpetually engaged in a LARP session that never ends, but without any of the magic, or medieval weapons, or smiling… and you aren’t allowed to quit. Ever. If you break character there will be some helpful rehabilitation sessions to assist with maintaining the proper thetan levels. All hail Zenu.

Yeah so I guess my counter resets to zero now. FML.

Confession v1.0

So now that I’ve whipped up a mysterious pseudonym that many people with even a cursory knowledge of how to operate a computer and the internet would be able to see right through, I feel comfortable enough to not show up in most major search engines. If I’m able to avoid being Googled by prospective clients and/or employers, my inhibitions are about to drop faster than the consciousness of Cosby’s date after getting one cocktail deep. That’s right, it’s about to get weird.

Thanks for sticking around after that first paragraph, I was afraid I’d lose some of you there. Since you’ve been gracious enough to stick around while I try string together some type of cohesive dialogue by clumsily spewing these words into the eternity of the web, I thought I’d share some personal information about myself, as well as my opinion on the matter, as it relates to society.

I’m an addict. Not just like hey I’m addicted to caffeine, or nail-biting, or sniffing my fingers after shaking someone’s hand- like, I’m addicted to substances which in certain official circles, they are legally frowned upon. What’s the worst thing you can think of? Yep. Ah-ah-ah… shhhh, yep. Just stop- yes. Get my drift? I’m not proud of it, if you were to confront me on it, I would flat out deny this conversation ever took place. Have I ever stolen or taken advantage of others to fuel my habit? I’d probably be bullshitting you if I said I never have, but I try to live by the golden rule, so I can say that I don’t live this lifestyle without a moral code guided by a compass that is pointing true 99% of the time. Has my health suffered because of my personal choices? Yes. Have I run into problems because of the poor choices I’ve made? You bet your sweet ass I have. I’ve got 99 problems, and a bitch is probably in there somewhere. I mean, 99 is a lot of problems to keep track of, if I were to say a bitch doesn’t make an appearance in there at least once, I’d be lying to myself and all of my fan out there.

My point is this- which I think the public at large is starting to become aware of- as it becomes a glaring problem for the United States: the drug policy and this antiquated war on drugs has been a complete failure, and caused more  problems than it was intended to fix in the first place. So check this out from the Bureau of Justice Statistics:

BJP Recidivism Link

Although this link is pretty dated- 2005 to be precise- it isn’t so old that one couldn’t reasonably surmise that these statistics could be similar today. Sorry, but that was the most recent report I could find on the BJS site with regards to drug use and recidivism. The gist of it is that eventually, somewhere in the neighborhood of 79% of drug offenders will get busted again. To use the BJS’s own words in a 2014 press release:

3 IN 4 FORMER PRISONERS IN 30 STATES ARRESTED WITHIN 5 YEARS OF RELEASE

http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=4987

With statistics like that, one might call into question the intent of our war on drugs. Surely it couldn’t be to deter drug use? If so, it’s obviously not deterring anyone. What about to rehabilitate? Anyone who’s been through the system would find that question laughably asinine. So is the answer neither then? Are we punishing people for having a drug problem? Well that certainly seems to benefit private prisons, much to the detriment of society. Lock those junkies up, they don’t need to be running around doing junkie things! Well said, but consider the cost expended each year at taxpayers’ expense on housing these junkies. Shit, I am one, and I don’t want to pay for it. Couldn’t that money be spent more wisely on a realistic rehabilitation program?

I know, I’m not really saying anything new here, this has all been said before. I guess I’m saying what do we do about it?