I got a text this morning that has me in a contemplative place. Thanks to this website and working on some of the projects featured here, I kind of reconnected with one of my cousins. We weren’t in constant contact or anything, just a few texts back and forth. He liked some of the Mario Bros stuff I had been working on and after not having talked or seen each other for almost 25 years he asked for a sticker. I sent a bunch of stickers and some other stuff I’d been working on and we texted a little more. I sent a few more things in the mail but they came back “Return to Sender.” He wasn’t returning my messages so I reached out to my Aunt. He had checked himself into an in-patient rehab center. I got the address and sent him one of the cactus buildables as well as some little stuff. I think I sent him a nerd pad too. A couple months later he messaged me saying he was checking himself out and that he really appreciated the package. He had assembled the cactus and it sat by his bed the whole time he was there. This morning my Aunt texted that he is no longer with us.
Addiction is something that I grapple with. Every January I stop drinking and take a moment to re-evaluate. It’s not really something I like to talk about. Even when it comes up in conversation I gloss over or crack a joke about it. I do it for myself so I don’t like to talk about it with others. Some years are easier than others. I spend alot of time thinking and drawing. Meditating in my own way. Putting on some good music and just zoning out with some pen and ink. I let my mind wander and pick at those random thoughts. Sometimes things click and I realize things about myself that help sort the good from the bad or even pull good from the bad but usually I’m just alone with myself. When I was in college I had a job as a janitor. It paid well and I liked it for a while but I eventually had to quit because I couldn’t stand all that time alone. I wasn’t comfortable with myself and the more time I spent with my own thoughts, the more I disliked and even resented myself. I don’t feel that way anymore. I have changed some and I’ve come to accept other things. My Januarys aren’t really about drinking or not. Not really. But sometimes drinking can be the proverbial canary in a coal mine. Surprisingly, this January hasn’t been one of the bad ones. After…well…everything, I was expecting it to be a bit rough. And then I got that text. I wasn’t going to write about my January. I was going to keep it to myself and just keep on as usual but then I got that text. I don’t know if it really matters at the end of the day or if anyone will even read this but we all have something that we struggle with. That isn’t meant to diminish your struggles. It means there is someone out there that can relate. Someone to be with when you can’t stand being with yourself. My Januarys are really about looking at myself in the hope of recognizing when I will need help from someone else.
SAMHSA National Helpline
Recovery.org or 1-888-988-2650