It is so strange to go back and read my old posts about each year and how I felt then. I always feel elated, but there is more reflection as the years go on, I think. You can read my old sobriety entries here - 6 months, 1 year, 18 months, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, 5 years, 6 years.
I don’t know if I have ever shared with anyone the whole story of the day I had my moment of clarity. I will tell you that I used up my Oxy fast, always. And towards the end, to make it stretch, I would make cocktails of skittles - muscle relaxes, benadryl, xanax, cold pills, sleeping pills, anything I could get my hands on. And I was taking way too much Oxy, even with the cocktails. I once took 100mg in a four hour period. I once took 60mg and 2 shots of fire whiskey in a 3 hour period. I was a mess, to say the least.
But the day of clarity came after several failed attempts to wean myself off the Oxy, three months of try and fail. And when I failed, when I couldn’t handle it, I would take five or six pills at once, falling right back into it. So here I was, more or less given up on getting sober and taking as much Oxy and everything else that I wanted. And I looked at what I had - ten Oxys left to last me two weeks - and I thought to myself, “This will never last. I take this much in a day. How did I take so many that I wound up here so far before my new script date? Even if I mix and match, I’ll never make it.”
And then I thought, “Unless I snort it. It’ll last longer if I crush it into powder. A half a pill will last me hours. Yeah, that’ll make it last.” And so I got up from the edge of the toilet, where I was sitting, where I'd poured out my few remaiming pills onto the sink and contemplated my options. I stood up and started out of the bathroom, thinking, “The little brown knife will do a good job. It can cut them in threes and then I’ll turn it to the flat side and crush. That knife will work well.” And I was picturing it in my mind, how to do it - crush, wet finger, dip and snort. I remembered how my cousin got terrible nose bleeds for years because he snorted coke. I wondered briefly if I would get nose bleeds too.
And then a voice in my head came through and said, “What are you doing? Snorting Oxy? That’ll kill you. Remember when your friend kept trying to get you to take Ecstasy and you were like, doesn’t he know how small you are and how strongly you react to pills? Remember that? What are you doing now? This is basically cocaine you’re about to ingest like this.”
And I stopped walking. And I looked at the pills I had left and tried to imagine getting through the next two weeks with only ten. And I thought about snorting it. I pictured it in my head. And the voice said, “If you do this, do it knowing that it means your death. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. But soon. This will kill you. Do it, but do it knowing that.”
“Or what?” I thought.
“Or stop,” the voice said. “Stop right now.”
And before I could think, I was scooping the pills into the bottle and throwing it into the back of my closet. I wasn’t ready to throw them out. I don’t know if I was scared of detoxing or if I was scared of failing. I don’t know if I thought I would fail, or I hoped I would fail, or I just couldn’t quite bring myself to flush them. But I threw them into the back of the closet and they stayed there for the rest of the day. And the rest of the week. And for six months after that, until I fished them out and dumped them.
I was sober. I was detoxing, but I was sober. That day. And the next. And the next. I was given a choice and chose Life.
Today I am seven years out from that moment. I have lived seven years longer than I should have. And did you know as a kid all the doctors, parents and naysayers told me I probably wouldn’t live to 30? I am eight and a half years out from that. Some days I get frustrated with myself for not doing enough, for not doing anything, for not beating down the fatigue and getting up. But then I remember that every day is just icing on a very big cake. That as long as I keep breathing, I am defying the odds.
So today I celebrate and eat cake. I don’t actually have cake, but I still have Christmas candy, so I’ll probably eat that. Thank you, all of you, for being on this journey with me. Here’s to tomorrow and the day after that!