Counter Arts
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Counter Arts

RECOVERY

Enjoy the Ride

The death of the self— First Draft: Ch#?

Montage created by author with thanks for the Photo by Jaanus Jagomägi on Unsplash

2020

Exhilarating.

That is what this part of the journey is for Sarah, despite the solo walk and loneliness.

Just a bit over two years and some time ago, there had been a banal, mediocre semblance of what she had thought might be peace. A bit of what she had thought may be genuine connection and happiness in between that, as well. But beneath it all… pushed down deep but always rising up again to choke the light, lay the ever present barely muted voice of anxiety and depression.

Nobody would have guessed it though. Nobody ever did. Even when she began to share openly about where her journey and the choices that she had made because of it, or despite it, had taken her. It’s all the same animal. Why not simply call it what it is and save us all some fucking time. It’s avoidance, denial and, ultimately, voluntary and calculated dissociation from whatever it is that is causing enough pain or discomfort to make you want to opt out of being here now. All of it.

Sex. Gambling. Booze, Drugs. Eating. Social media. Netflix. Exercise and even spirituality, if you go down that road too far. It goes on. When she hears experts separating these behaviours into different “diagnosis” nowadays, she rolls her eyes slightly heavenward and she doesn’t even believe in heaven anymore either.

It is 2020 for fuck’s sake. There are a ton of new kids on the block, with new theories and ideas that make infinitely more sense. Sarah is in this group’s thinking after reaching a stage in her recovery where the literature she has been fed just no longer rings entirely true. It doesn’t quite fit. It doesn’t make sense. She isn’t interested in remaining an alcoholic for the rest of her life. Or an addict. Or mentally ill. Or whatever label it is in whatever particular group she tries, to find some peace for the next bit. The groups aren’t working anymore. Nor are the programs. She has tried it all.

She hasn’t always needed alcohol. She hasn’t always been anxious and depressed. She has had patches of healthy living and sobriety. She has been high functioning. So Sarah has begun to ask some questions and she has begun to do some of her own research.

It’s almost five years, now, since Sarah first asked that question in that godforsaken lounge, in that godforsaken house. “Why?” Before this… a lifetime of looking the other way. Keeping eyes firmly fixed on the horizon to quell the motion sickness. Avoiding what was right in front of her all the while. There in parts and pieces. Only bits of the full picture. On and on we go, until the roundabout grinds to a halt and we are able to sit quietly still, for long enough, to see and hear the truth.

It’s in the feelings. That is where the fucking truth resides. That is what is real. But a certain truth may not be acceptable in a world bent on rewarding dishonesty in its ongoing search for perfection. Manufactured ideals of success and what is admirable, designed to keep up with the Joneses and to keep you compulsively consuming.

You are not enough.

Pretty. Thin. Rich. Well muscled. Successful. Popular. Are you winning the game yet? Stepford humans. Is this evolution? Fuck. How sad. No wonder the world is “anxious” and “depressed”. So much denial. So much dishonesty. So much pretence. So much effort to be respected, accepted and “loved.” And with this endless seeking— a fervent fear of rocking the boat, to be merely human or to struggle in any way. The fear to disagree with the status quo and, possibly, suffer its judgment. Or rejection.

Immediate family becomes inner circle which extends to society at large. Or the other way around, is probably more correct. Thou shalt not feel those pesky feelings. Be positive. Be functional. Be productive. Be happy. Smile, goddammit! And if thou do not feel okay, thou shalt not share. Okay? So much for genuine, honest connection. It’s just uncomfortable and awkward for everyone involved.

Sarah has heard somewhere that we are supposed to connect — a survival thing. Herd animals. Pack animals more likely, considering how we turn on each other. Still, connecting with each other is good for a whole host of health related issues. No wonder the addiction and mental health industries are booming. If you’re able to drug yourself with socially acceptable options and not cause too much of a ruckus, why not just fill the gap and avoid the uncomfortable silences.

We can blame the people who don’t use socially acceptable behaviours instead; deny there is a problem at all; and call the rest of the people honest enough to not be able to lie about how scary the world we have created can be crazy, to top it all off. Accountability avoided. Neat! Also, we can medicate them and make some money out of all of this. Smart!

Or.

Just get off the fucking merry go round and allow the feelings and get real.

In short. Yes. Recovery is possible. Her anxiety is all but gone. Sarah is doing it. Although, at this point of the journey, her recovery is kind of more a kind of grieving. Moving between the stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance… letting go. She has wondered if it is depression. But it isn’t. It’s grief. And it is valid, considering what she is having to lose to get well.

She is in a back and forward, forward and backward dance that is slowly gaining momentum. Her occasional exhilaration is the beginning of both the understanding and the accepting of the process unfolding, despite how fucking painful it is at times. In between the going back to sleep. Her well programmed denial. Then her outrage at the dishonesty. The hypocrisy. The fear. Her fear. Still. It’s familiar being uncomfortable and she could submit and sink back into the game, but she has already come too far to go back.

She has begun to walk her truth. She has begun to get fucking real and real-ly honest. At last. Not that kind of honest. Not the one where you tell everybody how messed up and sorry you are. Not the one where you take all of the blame for everything, even if it is partly everybody else’s stuff too.

She has begun to get the kind of honest where you say, “Fuck no!” with a bit of actual authenticity. The kind of honest where you do cause a ruckus. The one where you do fucking disagree. The one where people tell you to shut it and that they won’t be your friend anymore if you don’t. The one that makes you get excluded from the group. The one where you begin to voice, out loud, the questions in your head that have made you doubt your sanity and place in the world. That kind of honest. The socially unacceptable honest. The “I’m not okay with this” honest. The kind of honest that rocks the fucking boat.

Her disillusionment is in full swing. It’s a necessary death. The death of her illusion. It’s bringing her into the actual light now. Into real understanding. She is losing her carefully created, artificially manufactured, entirely unsatisfactory life. Her family. Her friends. Her clients. Her social contacts. Her business. Her reputation. Her social standing and financial security. Her fucking identity. All of it. She is losing all of it, but she can’t turn back, because to turn back would be to have to lie again. And Sarah is finally beginning to see some truth. The big picture kind of truth.

Sarah is dying because of it her truth. She is becoming unseen. She is becoming untouchable. She is losing herself. She is losing her place. Who she thought that she was. Who she thought that she had to be. She is walking through each fear. Each judgment. Each rejection. Each unknown. Every fucking fear that she has avoided. Every fear that has held her back. Shedding it all. Shedding them all. One by one. And she is becoming…

It is exhilarating. And it is also terrifying. Thing is… you can’t un-see what has been seen, unless you use things to avoid your own mind. Sarah has lost all interest in drugs and alcohol in full. There is no way out now, but to keep on walking through.

This has been entered into the Medium Writer’s Challenge Contest under the death category. I will be linking the three other categories of the challenge together, as chapter drafts of The Accidental Theory, and the possibility that this book is trying to share.

The Accidental Theory

A story about a journey of self-discovery, into true freedom. A question that became an Accidental Theory, through a fortunate series of events that seemed like the worst thing that could happen at the time. Because stories both teach and connect us!

Thanks for giving me some of your time to read some of this story.

If you enjoyed this, you can read more first drafts on this list.

Thanks to Carlos Garbiras for his encouragement and his Counter Arts!

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