In the context of relating to one’s former self – the selves of childhood or teenage angst, the self that gave birth to one’s grown children, the self that used to care about one’s make-up, car or outfit, etc. For me, it often comes back to the self of mine that spent over ten years as a strung-out, hopeless heroin addict; the self that ruined my hopes and dreams and left me perpetually feeling without. This is my most regrettable self. This is my most destructive and negatively effective self; this is the self that I have the hardest time relating to when I remember myself. this is the self who was too high to be a mother to my daughter for almost an entire year of her life - the first year of her life - the most important one in the context of mother/child bonding. This is the self that is guilty of the guilt that I harbor all this time later; the self that can not look in the mirror or look others in the eye...
I don't know why this specific past self remains so vivid and intact in my recollection; but suspect it might be because this particular self single-handedly created avalanches of chaos an inconsideration that deeply impacted upon the lives and selves of many people around me, especially my daughter. It’s challenging to accurately describe the profound differences between living as a practicing addict and a recovering addict, as the entirety of your existence as a practicing addict revolves around only one thing, in essence. Many of us lied to ourselves daily about what kind of addict we were, likely as a coping mechanism to deal with our self-loathing or whatever. Either way, I can literally recall with clarity (somehow), the notion that I was different from most heroin addicts because I was strong enough to stop if I chose to, or so I always used to tell people, including myself.
Of course, time proved a different truth, and my final kick was near-fatal; it kept me confined to detox center for almost 8 entire months. It's residual, even now – 12 years later…I think I finally learned my lesson with that one; it scared the hell out of me to clean up, but it scared me even worse to seriously consider the prospect of surviving the detox. I have never felt worse in life than during the physical detoxification of that drug, or even the first few breaths of a day in which I was going to without a fix. I remember being 110% certain that I was vomiting gnats up, and being angry as hell when the nurse’s laughed when I told them. My brain was fried so badly, I remember being sure that I could never again be “normal” without heroin, without getting high, without being “well”.
But here I am…
One less crutch to lean on, one less escape method to use…and sometimes I am mad about it because I feel like I deserve an escape after everything that I continue to struggle against from one day to the next. Don't get me wrong, I am not feeling sorry for myself by any means - I know that every nano-second is miraculous and a gift of sorts - but I get tired of being sick; I get bored with being in mourning over my daughter. Sometimes I suppose that getting high crosses my mind when I have too much time on my hands; but that's why I read to kids and stuff like that...idle hands do the devil's work, right?
Perhaps the sunshine will breach the darkness again someday for me, in my life...I am not capable of giving in completely or I'd be dead already, but I'm not always up to match against a fresh and energized opponent when I feel drained and only semi-conscious. That's where my most-hated self from my heroin addiction used to come in so handy...she felt no pain, no time.