Here I am again. The countdown has begun. I always start at the Magic number Eight. Then I start subtracting. Since it is 10:30 PM, that means the number has dwindled to Six and a half hours left to sleep, before I have to get up and do it all over again.
Lately, I have frittered away this number until it has reached Five, which really means 4:45 or even 4:30, since I doubt that these racing thoughts, these burning desires, delusions paranoid, or otherwise will quiet themselves in a mere 15-20 minutes.
I doubt that I will ease into the abyss of nothingness so quickly that once again, I may escape into that wonderful world of unconsciousness.
I used to live on the steppes of that Mountainous terrain known as unconsciousness. I existed in the Flats. That lonesome prairie between the foothills leading up to the jagged cliffs and rocks, and the life breeding lush and fertile valley down below.
These Flats, unlike that Utopian locale Muskrat Flats, where Friendship, Love and Truth, the links in the chain which bind the so many members of the Odd Fellows to each other and their community, are a barren place. A place void of feelings and emotions. I used to relish the notion of idly spending my time in this zone lamenting the labors and pains associated with life with the likes of Kerouac, Burroughs and Bukowski. Living like a zombie as I nodded and swayed through my halcyon heroin induced stupor, occasionally rousing myself enough to attend to that errant itch on my nose or behind my neck.
It doesn't seem to me to be a coincidence that the higher you get when you have a "good nod going on" is much like climbing a mountain. You get less oxygen, the cliffs are a little more jagged and dangerous. If you get too high, you will suffocate. If you fall, it is a long an painful fall. Every twitch and every tumble brings another unpleasant sensation. Some think that if you are lucky, you will get impaled on some sedentary shale protruding like a spire out of the side of the mountain.
If you are really lucky you will tumble all of the way down and land on the banks of the river, underneath the lush canopy of a weeping willow protecting you from the sun and the rain as you begin to breathe again. Perhaps you'll even have a drink of fresh water. If you are lucky.
It has been an alarming week, for me. I have had many ups. Fellowship and fun with those who matter to me most, generous gifts from friends and family - nothing flashy or gaudy just utilitarian items which make a difference in your life or just simple pampering. A shave and a hair cut, the luxury of being wrapped in a cocoon while getting my face exfoliated, moisturized and massaged, then bathed in a misty cloud of warm steam, before the process is repeated once again. Things I never would have thought would make a damn bit of difference when I was using. But they do.
I have written before that I have tasted the nectar of the forbidden flower, not in a Roman Polanski kind of way, mind you. I have lingered at the fence surrounding that crimson dotted poppy field. I have felt the daggers pierce my skin again and again, holding onto me for dear life. As if I were the necessary component for some morbid brand of symbiosis. Like that flower needed me to exist. The daggers have left scars and discolorations both physical and psychological, which remain hard to explain away.
Now, I have tasted the nectar of the flower of Freedom. Freedom from active addiction, The Freedom to ask for help; to listen for inspiration: to understand that a power greater than myself has been guiding me ... all along. It is just more apparent these days as I begin to notice where I fit into the grand scheme of things - how I can make a difference. I'm sure it was his will not mine that I lay in that chair for an hour loving life and all it has to offer as soft fingers danced across my face and around my eye sockets. The ladies running the show even told me how smooth my skin is ... I know, it is their job to tell me that, Just like the awe the Gypsy tailor down the street demonstrated as she assessed a new suit my friend brought in to be altered. "that's a nice-a suit." she said. Of course it was.
In spite of all of these good things. I felt like using this morning. I could smell it, I could taste it. It was fresh in my mind as I awoke from a vivid technicolor dream where I found a stash and didn't hesitate to inject it. When I have those dreams, I do get high, trust me. And it fucks me up when I awake.
So, needles to say I had a bitch of a day. I burned the gravy and had to make a new batch. When dealing with the fallout and triage from the previously seared pot I spilled a little on the floor. Between the color, and the finely chopped veggies contained within, it looked like a puddle of vomit.
Thank God, for the little things in life, because seeing that puddle of gravy on the floor made me laugh my ass off.
I didn't get high. I didn't obsess about the feeling. I said a prayer and took five minutes to meditate. The laughter helped. And the feeling passed.
When they say Jails, Institutions and Death, it is no joke. I have been feeling funky since I found out that an addict I know, overdosed on Thanksgiving. He hadn't had enough and had to try to climb that mountain one more time. He didn't end up on the banks of the river. He got so high that he ran out of oxygen. Now he is free. Sad, but True.
In spite of knowing all of this, the idea, the tought that I may be able to use and get away with it, still presents itself as an option.
I've been writing for an hour. The magic number is 5 hours and 30 minutes of sleep available to me before I have to get up and do a massive catering order on top of my usual duties.
Perhaps I keep doing this to myself so I can make it until Midnight where I can tell myself, once again, I made it, another day clean.
Now that, my friends, is some Freedom I can get on board with.
I'm going to go and change my profile heading right now, because nobody should be feeling sad and discontent when they are ...
Running Hard out of Muskrat Flats.