Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Soundtrack: Nina Simone / Here comes the sun

There is an edge that some of us will come to in our lives. It is like looking into an endless mouth of madness future where the cycle that we live in will never end. You see only a haze of drink and escapism and partners and pain both your own and of others around you. It stretches into forever and it feeds upon itself like a snake eating its own tail. It, as any self-respecting abyss of madness does, has voices and blackness and a strong, strong allure. Its winds, a siren’s call to those sailors who have drifted too close to its edge. And into its blackness, many have been lost. Forever.

I stood on the lip of my own personal Hell. I could have blamed those around me, I could have covered it in lies both mine and other’s, drowned it in alcohol, pushed it from my mind, hidden from the world when the pull was too strong. It has crouched deep, deep within me. But it has never truly left me. Insidious, wicked and dangerous it lurks. Poised for that moment of weakness, then sinking its fangs into me when I am unaware or flailing.

I stood on the lip of my own personal Hell, one foot hanging over, ears prickled by the cacophony of frenzied madness it spewed forth at me, wind at my back, eyes closed tight, arms wide open, scared and ready to fall, fall, fall, sweet, easy, short term release. Not to death, this is no death, more a surrender, but neither is it truly a life worth living. It is the end of reason, the end of truth and wholeness and caring and honesty, strength and love.

I stood on the lip of my own personal Hell and I don’t know what it was, determination or blind luck, but I opened my eyes. I opened my eyes and the only voice I heard in that split second was my own. Stop. You are more than this. MORE. THAN. THIS.

My foot hit the ground. The wind eased. And the light, the LIGHT!

No God this light, my voice is my god. My soul, my guide. I stopped on the edge. Me. Behind me I could hear the voices of those close, but in the end it was I who was ready to tumble. I. You.

I stopped on the edge of my own personal Hell and though it has yet to recede far less disappear I have its number for I screamed its name at it, identified it for what it really is. My Hell. You are mine. I do not belong to you. These are my demons that inhabit your world. I have the power to control them. I have the weaknesses that release them. And as I cried their name and stared them straight in the eye they swirled and smoked and as wisps, ghosts, curled into my open hand.

I clenched my fist, and there they remain.

My demons are not Alcohol. But it is a key to the door that imprisons them, an expressway to memories and fears that live down deep. It is a wrecking ball that smashes through every defense I build and exposes the hatred and anger and pain within. But I am so much more than my demons.

My demons are not Alcohol but in its grasp they take flight and if I am not wary, they can spit venom and sink their talons into me until I am but a carcass, a shell of the man I am. Hunted and preyed upon by vicious and dark thoughts.

No, not alcohol but it gives these creatures form and shape. I unclench my fist and these are no ghosts that rise up, these are living, breathing, roaring bodies of pain and hate and sadness.

Though I am strong, strong enough to stand, strong enough to face them, I do not need to empower them lest they extinguish my good spirit by destroying those who stand close. I have seen the demon alcohol. I have seen it smash my mother in the face with its bullish strength, I have seen it take her will to live, I have seen her wrap herself in its poisonous embrace. My demons are not physically violent, my demons live in my mind. My demons eat at me with honeyed tongues and flawed logic. But they are as destructive as any I have witnessed. But I could never destroy another, so I point them at myself and collapse under their weight.

But my strength has been awakened. Giants. Giants of patience and self-worth. Tall they stand and from a vantage on their back I can see for miles and miles and miles. I can see light ahead, and green, and I can feel the sun on my face. These giants and demons do battle day by day and the giants win until I slip, and lubricated underfoot the giants tumble and are devoured by gnashing teeth and black thoughts.

Recognizing this has taken so much time. So much hurt. It has taken finally reaching a point on the edge of the abyss where the baggage you keep is exposed and you scream and scream in anguish not at the world or those around you but at yourself. I no longer sleep. I am here once more as the sun rises after a long lonely night, exorcising through these words.

But I did it. I found my courage, naked though I am left here before you. I did it because truly, I want to be naked. For the light to shine in every corner of my soul and finally lay bare my secrets, my burdens, my baggage. I can’t take it any more. I am ready to be happy. And I have laid it here for all to see and I don’t give a fuck because in life you need courage, and in honesty there is courage in endless supply.

What you have witnessed in the last few posts is a man’s battle with his brain as alcohol consumed him in times of trouble. I have done it all my life, drunk to hide the pain, drunk to escape, to justify, drunk to forget. You have seen this man, this me, collapsing under the weight of exaggerated emotion as each day brought new pain and struggle and I turned to the wrong source of comfort. The false escape. There is no escape. That is the lesson. Escape brings but more baggage, more demons, and I’m fucking full enough, begging your pardon.

So, shivering and bare, empty and afraid I am not. My actions have given me strength, my memories have given me wisdom, my friends have given me love and these times have given me the experience I needed to finally begin the long upward journey.

Bartender, just a glass of water please.

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