Possessed by drugs

If you get caught with drugs, you are charged with possession. But I believe it would be more accurate to say that you should be diagnosed with possession. You are possessed.

You don’t do drugs. Drugs do you. They act upon you quietly and insidiously. They end up taking over your life. They don’t enhance it – they take away from it.

Perhaps if we saw drug use as possession we would be able to actually treat it for a change. We would no longer see it as a lack of willpower but as a dangerous force that takes up residence inside you and makes you do things that you wouldn’t normally do.

It is important to understand that this doesn’t start off as a passive action. You, sober, make the first move. You, sober, are the one who first starts using drugs. They don’t have a hold of you at that point. So you have control at the beginning.

This is the same as with possession.  You have to allow that demon into your soul for it to harm you.  Once you do, you are in big trouble.  Just like with drugs, you’re in over your head very fast.

Alone again

Until very recently I used to make sure that I had plans for a day or a weekend off. I always had to be doing something outside of the house. Errands to run, people to meet – something needed to occupy my time. I just realized yesterday how excited I was to not have any plans to go anywhere for today. I thought this was a good sign.

But then I realized that I still had plans. Make hummus and pesto. Work on the condensed Gospel (still an active project). Make jewelry. Paint my toenails. Write. Cook supper. Organize the fridge.

I realized that I was still packing my day full of stuff. The only difference was that I wasn’t going anywhere.

I know some of my need to stay busy has to do with my awareness of time, and how little of it there is available to us in our lives. I know some of it is my realization that if I don’t keep up some level of activity then depression will sneak in and set up camp. But this need to stay busy busy busy is in itself a symptom of a deeper problem.

Being still is, at the heart of it all, being alone. Deep down, I don’t like to be alone. Thus, deep down, I’m not comfortable with myself.

This is hard to admit, and hard to live with.

It, in itself, isn’t a bad thing. Different ways of living are just as valid as having different hair colors or textures. Different isn’t bad or good. It is just different.

What matters is that I am conscious of it, and aware. Do I let this way of being rule my actions? Do I let it decide for me what I am going to do? Do I live my life by reflex, on autopilot? To unconsciously act, whether directed by a crowd or an unnoticed impulse, is the same. It is, at the heart, to not be fully alive but to have your actions taken out of your control.

My need to stay busy is a need to fill up my time and my head with stuff. It is a need to get away from myself, even if I am the only person in the room.

There is strength in being independent. I’ve gained a real sense of power from preparing food for myself and my husband. I’ve also learned valuable lessons about myself and about life from doing this.

But still, even in this lesson, I’ve not really been awake. It is still a method to stay busy, and thus ultimately stay distracted.

I’ve heard “Hell is other people.” Perhaps for me, right now, hell is myself.

I don’t hate myself, not at all. That isn’t it. I have a good life and I’m grateful for my many blessings. But if I still feel empty in the midst of busyness, then something is wrong. My plan for this past year or so has been to uncover, and recover. It has been to dig up and dig out. Simultaneously I have been reforming and recreating myself by becoming more aware and awake.

Some of this is teaching me to be more conscious, while some of this is teaching me to let go. Some of it is about living in the moment as completely as possible. Some of it is about seeing the path ahead and planning wisely. And some of it is just simply about learning to be me.

You’d think I’d know how to do this by now. I’ve had 45 years to practice. But not really. For many of those years I wasn’t really awake, and that isn’t even including the years I spent in a pot-cloud. Or grieving. Or both. I’ve spent a long time running away from myself. Now that I’m conscious, I feel I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

And that is part of it too. Being patient with myself, in the middle, in the mess. Being patient, and knowing that this is where I need to be, and who I need to be right now.

10 o’clock on a Tuesday

We get a lot of people who are drunk at the library. Back when we opened at 9:30, it was very common that we’d see them at 10 on a Tuesday morning. Now that we open at ten there isn’t a set time. They come whenever. Early morning, late afternoon, evening. Any day. Why it was 10 on a Tuesday before is anybody’s guess.

They are so far into their cups that they smell of alcohol all the time. Even if they aren’t currently inebriated, they have been enough so over the course of the last month (or year) that the poison is coming out of their pores. You can smell it in their sweat. You can smell it when they exhale.

It is one reason why I dislike summer at the library. You can smell it more. In the summer, people sweat more. In the winter, even if they sweat they will often wear a coat and that provides a shield of sorts.

It is a reason I like the fact that the counter is as deep as it is. I’ve got a good 2 feet of Corian between me and them. But then I’d rather smell body odor than smell most perfumes. Body odor doesn’t trigger my asthma.

People who smell of alcohol almost always get videos. They will get the maximum number of videos as often as possible. Some come in every few days, turn in ten videos, and then get ten more. Just movies and TV shows – no documentaries. Nothing educational. I’ve only noticed one person get books who is inebriated.

I don’t know what any of this means. I just know that it is so common that it is cliché now.

I suspect there are many other people who have substance abuse issues who come into the library. I suspect they are better at hiding it. There is something about alcohol that it really smells when it comes out of the body. Sure, I can smell the people who smoke really cheap cigarettes, and those who reek of pot.

Alcohol and DVDS seem to go hand in hand. It is so cliché that if I see someone who only gets movies, and gets the maximum allowed several times a week, I wait to see if they come in with any signs of drinking.

What causes what? Is the drinking first, or the excessive movie watching? Are both symptoms of the same thing?