I could have spent hours and hours trying to figure out how the freak to import my old blog into my new blog but after an hour of trying I realized, I would rather just go take a nice walk in the woods and see if I can spot that big-ass deer again. My old blog was at: http://datinggod.blogspot.com. What follows is about 35 different posts that are from April 2003 to January 2, 2004. I welcome your comments . . . :) Katherine
Friday, December 26, 2003
I first got drunk when I was fourteen. I was with my best friend and her father who told us that as long as we could keep our glasses vertical, he would keep pouring. Bourbon and coke it was. I still can’t stand the smell of it.
I first smoked pot and took speed soon after, and in the next few years I did coke, ecstasy, and acid. I did a fair amount, as much as I could get my hands on, really, and was lucky (unlucky?) enough to have friends who gave me drugs, bought me drinks, so I didn't fall into a life of crime or funky career choices in order to get myself high. I also wasn’t a wake and bake sort of person, was never big on drinking before sundown, but once night time came, the vampire demanded satiation, one way or another. And of course I smoked cigarettes, sometimes three or four packs a day, though usually just one or two. I didn't eat much, just drank a pot of coffee in the daytime and double cappuchinos in the evening. There was also advil, tylenol, theraflu, and robitussin, though always when I was ill or not
feeling well, not for the recreation of it.
It all started to fall away about seven years ago.
First to go were the illegal drugs. It was partly because I was dating a NYC cop and didn’t want to put him in a weird situation – he took his job very seriously – but mostly it was because the party was genuinely over for me. The only thing that pot, X, and acid seemed to do for me anymore was turn me either pant-breathing paranoid or crazed with longing for the depth of expansion and lusciousness I used to feel when I first started doing them.
A few years after the illegal drugs vamoosed, booze began to lose its appeal. First, it was just the hard liquor that made me feel sick and unsettled, then beer, finally culminating in even the last two holdouts, red wine and Bailey’s with coffee, making my stomach roll a the simple act of lifting the glass to my lips. Within weeks of having no alcohol, cigarettes started feeling more and more poisonous until one day I just set them down with the knowledge: I don’t smoke anymore. Sure, I cried tears of rage and frustration for two solid weeks from the pain of the nicotine withdrawal, and hacked up scary things for several months more, but I was done with cigarettes, so I dosed myself with kava kava and valerian and let the detox run its course.
Next came over the counter medications. Advil and the like began to cause me to speed in a really awful, consciousness-stuttering way, my jaw locked and tight, my eyes bugged out from the energetic tension. Theraflu and other things with codeine caused skin rashes that lasted for days and a hazy sort of hangover that left me stupid and emotionally flat.
Then came the reactions to caffeine and sugar, both producing such intense anxiety that my heart would pound and I would feel like utter shit about my life, panicked that I wasn’t doing enough, freaked that what I was doing wasn’t what I should be doing. All of this subsided and then disappeared once I kicked my daily caffeine and sugar intake.
I also developed food allergies, first to wheat and tomatoes, followed within a few years by peanuts, strawberries, corn, chilis, and as of last year, soy. Food with chemicals, preservatives, processed sorts of junk, dulls me to the point where I’m sleepy, disinterested, and feel slimed with metallic toxicity. In the course of studying nutrition and diet, I discovered that food allergies and sensitivities cause something that is called the allergy/addiction response, which is the body’s attempt to reject a food/substance that is causing it harm, with the addiction response locking in the craving for the food as the withdrawal/detox kicks in. Back and forth a person goes until they bite the detox bullet and ride out the shitstorm that lasts for a week or two, but sends back reverb for a few months as the levels of detox move to deeper levels.
A teacher once told me that I should write about addiction, partly because of the process that I went through in letting go of the deluxe assortment of drugs that were such a part of my living for so long, but also because of how I choose to remain relaxed around these substances. Rather than seeing them as an evil, fixed source of horror, something that I am powerless around, I see them as things that make me feel like shit that I’d rather opt out of.
In the recent past I have been quick to judge my drug taking years, as well as the drugs themselves, and me when I was taking them. But the truth is that I loved taking drugs. I loved getting high. I loved watching my everyday existence peel back to reveal an amazing world that existed right behind the more mundane one. I loved getting high and making love, I loved dropping X with my friends and taking bubble baths, dancing with them naked in a room filled with candles and and music and other naked people. I loved getting high and hanging out with my friends, talking about what was occurring for us, watching the rest of the world go about their busyness, their 9 to 5s, their everdarkening greyness. I loved that the substances I did and the lifestyle that went along with it kept me from entering the world that seemed to suck people’s vibrancy and freedom and aliveness never to return. But at a certain point, I saw that a slave is a slave, whether it’s to a lifestyle of riding sidecar with the Joneses or with the Stoneses. I would be a female Keith Richards right now if something hadn’t made it finally impossible for me to continue on the way that I was.
What was that something? How did I do it? And was it hard?
It was really freaking hard. There was an initial level of effortless to it, as in I rarely had to force myself to take the first step to quit any of it, but each following step was usually like attempting to dig out a tumor without the benefit of anesthesia. There was a lot of crying, a lot of rage, a lot of days of: fuck this, followed by rounds of binging. I even picked up cigarettes again for a while two years ago in a desperate attempt to lose the fifty pounds I'd gained from mainlining doughnuts and french fries when I'd first kicked alcohol and cigarettes and over-the-counter stuff. I lost ten pounds in two weeks, but I felt utterly poisoned and lost my ability to be in a place of enough balance to be able to clearly do session and energy work on my clients. It took me two months to quit again.
How I did it was through awareness. It worked like this: I allowed myself to be as fully aware as I could of what I was doing, how I felt, what the whole experience was like. When I smoked, there was no giving myself grief for smoking, only the experience of smoking, the emotional relief and satisfaction - a feeling not unlike succeeding at something - at finally getting the cigarette to my lips and inhaling, how the cigarette felt in my hand – the hot, slight acrid burning of the skin of my fingers – how the smoke felt entering my lungs – like a chemical burn, with my lungs seizing up for a millisecond as the cilia were paralyzed from the toxins. The awareness also opened me enough to see that each drag presented a promise of feeling better, a deal it was never able to deliver on beyond a brief nicotine rush. And with more and more awareness, this rush turned from a feeling of lift and loft to something akin to a death rush where my body energetically, physically shuddered as the poisons hit the bloodstream.
After several months of watching all this, smoking simply became intolerable. And there was no going back. Once the illusion of fabulousness and coolness and comfort was broken, the only thing left was the nastiness, the smell, and the pain.
I went through a rough patch a while back and although I thought about going out and getting rat-assed drunk, and spent a fair amount of time picturing myself sliding off that cellophane wrapper and lighting up one of those white tubes, I didn’t do it. I wanted to, but I didn’t, and after some time passed, so did the urge.
Every few months or so, I’ll have a half glass (or on the occasion of this past Thanksgiving night six, seven, eight glasses - I lost count - of wine). And depending on what’s going on in my life, I’ll very occasionally take Advil, or have a coffee for a quick energy boost. The last two weeks before my move, my body and mind hurt so badly that nothing I did naturally could even touch it and I began popping Advil like tictacs. I was very grateful for them, as I was for the coffee that helped me stay awake for the six hour drive to Ohio after five hours of sleep the night before and a late start that didn’t get me to my friend’s til well after dark.
Sugar is the real bitch, but I’m down to having some small form of it once every week or two, though being snowed in and miles from the nearest Zippy Mart makes it a bit more challenging to go for an Almond Joy run, and I refuse to keep any of it in the house. I have even written at the top of my grocery lists: No Sweet Things, though when I returned from the health food store I was shocked to take a bottle of yini syrup out of the bag. Yini syrup is essentially sugar made from rice, and while it’s natural and endorsed by fans of macrobiotics the world over, it is still sugar and will kick my butt. I’m waiting for the courage to take it back to the store where I can trade it in for a half dozen ripe organic pears or some delicious mitsu apples.
And so it goes. And goes. And goes. . .
posted by Katherine at 12/26/2003 02:33:32 PM