I had a problem with pain-pills that only got worse after I broke my legs and they started giving me the really good stuff. I was going to go into it even more than that, but I think I’ll save that for next year. /knock on virtual wood/
On the bad days, when I think it would be better/easier/less stressful just to be stoned again, I pull up a mental image in my head of the list of all the things I got from getting clean. This is a few of them.
Besides the obvious ‘not being dead’…
1. My health. I can’t honestly say if I was in better health then than I am now, because I can’t remember but I know I am more active in my own health care now. I wasn’t proactive about anything when I was stoned, especially my health. I wasn’t even aware when I was having any health issues because I was too stoned to notice. Since I stopped doing the drugs, I have really taken charge of my own body again.
2. Being a help, not a hindrance. In particular, this one rings true when it comes to my sister. I live with her and I do not work, which means she is the breadwinner here. I tried to make it my job to do all the other things; field phone calls from our parents, keep up-to-date on my brothers and their kids, do the social scheduling (re: family obligations, friends having parties), scheduling vet appointments, etc. I also always tried to keep the clutter picked up, my room clean, laundry put away, etc. All of that fell off when I was stoned. On top of not doing things to help, I also demanded more from my sister after the broken legs, when I got used to waking her up at night if I needed things and making her bring me things, even when I reached a point I didn’t really need her to anymore. Nowadays, I try to do more helping.
3. Being there for my friends. I had a few friends who were going through hard times and I was too out of it to notice. I know I lost touch with a some people, but I can’t imagine if my good friends had wandered off because I didn’t even know what was going on with them. The BFF was going through a very rough time and I couldn’t even see how bad it was. I still feel bad that I wasn’t there for her more. It might be easier for me to be stoned, but it certainly wasn’t easier for my friends. They have always been there for me, I want to make sure I can always be there for them.
4. Writing. On the pills, I was putting out 2 stories a year, roughly 10,000 words. The first six months after I detoxed, I wrote 80,000 words. I had forgotten, much like I had forgotten so many things, how much I need to write. I can’t imagine losing my voice like that again.
5. Probably TMI, but my sex drive. It was almost totally gone after my broken legs. The doctors had told me to expect some behavior and personality change after such a huge trauma. It was the kind of thing that causes dementia in elderly people but in younger people can make them actually change personality traits. The only one I noticed was my lack of sex drive. You wouldn’t think I would miss it, but I did. I didn’t feel like myself. Once I finished detoxing from all the pills, it came back with a force. The docs were wrong, it wasn’t from the trauma, it was from the drugs. I felt like a piece of myself was back.
6. Adulthood. That’s what I’m calling this one. It is actually about the chance to get to know people as an adult. If you count when I started doing pot, I was twenty years old. I never felt like I progressed from age twenty, honestly. At the top of this is Kevin, which makes me feel sappier than I like to be but I knew him in my teenage years, and though we had a good relationship in comparison to my other relationships in my life at that time, it wasn’t an adult relationship or an equal one. (it probably still isn’t equal because he’ll never stop thinking he’s my big brother but that’s not the point…) If I hadn’t gotten clean, I never would have gotten proactive in my medical care, picked up the phone and asked him for help. And then I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to know him as an adult, where we are both grown-ups this time. And in a way, I feel like that about everyone in my life - I finally know them as an adult.
7. And because it’s bad luck to end on an even number, and because I love you guys - LJ friends like you. The Sister and The BFF had been telling me for years to get an LJ, but I was too lazy and then too stoned to do it. When she realized that I was writing again, that I was reading fanfic by the pound again, and that I was desperately seeking things to occupy my time, my ever-amazing-BFF set up this LJ for me. Not only did it give me something else to focus on, a place for my creative outlet, a place for my daily whinings and squeeing, but it gave me people to talk to. I think I was so full of cabin-fever and I didn’t even realize it. This place, you people, gave me something positive to do with myself, And I am so very grateful.
Wow, that was a lot of emotions. I just wanted to take a moment for myself and remember why I do it everyday.