*Disclaimer: of anything I've written - good and bad - this is probably that piece that deserves the most editing. But I can't bring myself to do it, so...so be it!* There are far worse deaths to experience than the big death, the end of your physical life as a human. Addiction is a path straight into the far worse deaths: the death of hope, the death of possibility, the death of the bright, shining light that is your human spirit - that which is your gift and your responsibility to bring forth so that we can bask in that light. The death of your connection to God. The death of your ability to remember the things about you that are whole, holy, untouchable and unshakable. They exist, no amount of booze or drugs or food or wrong choices can take those things out of you, but addiction will cut your connection to them so that you can no longer remember what it is about you that is beautiful. There are small, almost imperceivable deaths: the 10th time you were late picking up your daughter from school; the moment you lost patience because she wouldn’t just go to bed and leave you to your wine; the book you did not read at bedtime; the tiny, frequent, papercut-sized choices you made when you chose your addiction over life that equal death by a thousand tiny cuts.
This is the insanity of addiction: someone could come to you and hold out both hands. In one hand, here is your life without this thing you think you need so much, this thing you think you cannot live without. It is gorgeous and shimmering and full of love, compassion, dreams so big you could never have imagined even having them, relationships built on honesty and laughter and very tough times and difficult but important conversations. It is a life of the full spectrum of possibility - the full rainbow. All of the things: the beauty, the terror, the pain, the struggle, the brightest, most beautiful light. Death and loss and fear and betrayal, but also the patience and most sacred knowing that you are bigger and stronger than any of the things that can possibly happen to you. Unshakable peace. Indomitable spirit. A place where it is perfectly, 100%, absolutely ok with you that you are alone, because in this skin you will find your home. This is what I hold in one hand.
And in the other: a safe place, a place you know as dark as it can be. One thousand tiny deaths, so many you cannot remember because they have all just blacked out into one singular ache. Incomprehensible demoralization. Insanity with the actual belief that you cannot choose otherwise. You will lose yourself and many or all of the people you love most, and who love you to the end of the earth but cannot stand to see you kill yourself any longer. There will also be a lot of times that do not seem dangerous. Times that you feel part of the whole, not separate from or different. Times when booze brings you closer to people and laughter and silly, crazy times when the edges have worn off and you can access parts of yourself that are too afraid to come out without the booze. In this place, you will do things that terrify you to your core in the light of day. Things that are not who you are, but yet you - only you - did them and said them and they cannot be unwritten. You will run out of excuses, you will no longer know when you’re lying, and you will absolutely hate yourself in certain moments so much that you would simply rather die. Dying would be a fair and logical alternative. You will laugh, yes, but it won’t be the laughs that come from your belly. It’ll always have a dark overcast looming in the distance. You will get to a place where you can no longer separate the beauty from the terror. It becomes just terror. There are many, many shades of grey. You will do your best to deny that this is an actual problem that cannot be solved by sheer will to try harder, to take in less. You will believe you are powerless and this is the great lie. You are NOT. You will just have chipped away at the core essence of yourself for so long that it can actually be lost on you. You will say, there is always tomorrow. But that will be a lie, also. Because while you are living - perhaps with poor choices - your outsides will remain in tact because you are a fighter, a liar, and an amazing magician. People will say, but you are so together, and you will believe them. Your disease will believe them and say, yes, it cannot actually be all that bad - here is my evidence. You may never actually lose all your evidence. But you will - I can promise you - live in a hell far worse than you can imagine because that gift? The one that you were given, which is your duty and your great privilege to carry? That great, shining, bright fucking light that beats like a second heartbeat inside you? It cannot exist in this hand. It will be given to another life or soul who can carry it out. Because the universe is always moving in the direction of healing. You are given a gift, but nobody - nothing, no one, not even God - can make sure you use it. Feeling the death of that will be the ultimate hell; and you will not be able to un-know it. You will not.
These are the two choices. These are the two lives. I offer you my hands: one life in one hand, one life in the other. It’s a decision you can postpone but not evade.
And the grand mindfuck of it all? You will struggle to choose. Presented with these two options, it is an actual struggle to choose. This is the power you have given to this thing you think you cannot live without. When people say, “this will kill you,” they mean the physical body kind of death. But the other deaths are the real risk.
You get to choose. Choose wisely, dear one.