Day 5. Apple Jolly Ranchers.

April 18, 2011

I’m sucking on sour-apple Jolly Ranchers to wash down my Extreme Moosetracks (as an aside, when alcohol is removed from the diet of someone who is accustomed to drinking every day, that person craves refined sugars because alcohol is a refined sugar) when it occurred to my that I hate the flavor sour-apple. Then it occurred to me that I loved that flavor as a kid, but – I suppose – grew out of it. I wonder out loud why I never outgrew drugs and alcohol. 

Not a fan.

I would guess that at least half of all people experiment with some form of mind-altering substance while they are growing up. Yet only a fraction of us get addicted. I can remember so many kids – friends of mine – in highschool and college who it seemed at the time used a lot of drugs. And people who used hard drugs long before I did. The vast majority of these people – the ones that didn’t die or go to prison – just grew out of it. They lacked committment to their craft.

But that didn’t happen for me of course, and I don’t know why. I had a happy childhood and parents who loved me and supported me, so the obvious suspects in this case can be eliminated. Hell, I’m detoxing from alcohol and drugs at my parents’ house, with their full support. Seriously, my mom puts out cinnamon cakes and coffee for the nurse that comes and checks my vitals three times a day; I’m not making this up, this is actually happening.

To be honest, this idea – addiction – fascinates me on an academic level: that there are chemicals we can put in our bodies that make us feel good. I liked reading about drugs long before I did them. It’s like I have the most unhealthy hobby of all time; I walked right past the snakehandlers and bomb-defusers and plopped myself down amongst the drug addicts and said: I want to know everything. How many different ways we kills ourselves! Overdose is the fastest, yet it seems so…banal. Suicide, quick and slow, murder, hepatitis, bacterial endocarditis , AIDS, liver disease, I could go on. But we do it anyway. This makes addiction or – more precisely – this yearning for a higher plane, for the sublime, a very compelling actor in the human drama.

And I suspect that somewhere buried in here, I’ll find the reason I feel compelled to use. If C.S. Lewis was right, the world is but an imperfect glimpse of what waits on the other side. We see enough of it to know the sublime exists, but all we get here is a glimpse. Like a far away mountainscape that up close somehow seems ordinary. When it was unattainable, it was sublime. Well I can tell you from experience, drugs are absolutely a glimpse of the sublime. But it is ephemeral: the best highs are the shortest.

I’ll be honest: I’ve run from God the better part of my life. I’ve run for a lot of reasons: because it’s the family business, because I hate some of the things I see people do who claim to love him. And if I can be real frank, I hate some things that God has done to some people who are very important to me. Really really unfair things. Like hate on a level I can’t even describe. But I still can’t bring myself to say I hate God because I don’t know him very well. And I am finite. He knows things I don’t.

I’m not going to be preachy in this place, and judgmental-ism is not welcome here. But I fully intend to investigate the possibility that I’ve been using drugs to fill a void in my life that was intended for God. Or, put in C.S. Lewis’ terms, I intend to investigate the possibility that I have substituted glimpses of the sublime for the real thing. Like I said from the beginning, this has an uncertain outcome, and I expect this to be the central drama.

One Response to “Day 5. Apple Jolly Ranchers.”

  1. Me143 said

    I like this post. And I love your mom! How cute is she-making cinnamon rolls for your nurse? I’d totally do that too. 😉

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