Thursday, 27 February 2014
Hello, and thanks for dropping by. You might know, the first 22 posts of this blog are the text of my book, 'How To Become A Crack Addict', which you can read here, or buy as an ebook or kindle on amazon, if you're into that kind of thing. From then on, this blog is the frequent musings of myself, Benjamin of Turnham Green, with pictures and songs thrown in, as a free treat. So, here is today's treat...
Even a year free from the tawdry presence of crack in my life, I am still eminently capable of cornering myself into desperate states that leave me exposed to the old preoccupations and temptations. I don't mean this to be a doom-laden prophesy for those still enmeshed, because I wouldn't exchange now for then; but I guess it's worth noting, for myself, and maybe others, that things come and go in waves, and lack of focus can lead one blurrily into dangerous places. And here is an example...
Yesterday, being Tuesday, I received my four-weekly allowance for being 'disabled', for which thanks. Time was when I couldn't get through a 'money-day' without scoring within minutes of the money going into my account, even if this was at two in the morning. Somehow, as I hope my book shows, this pattern of instant compulsion fractured, slowed, and eventually broke, with a lot of effort, help, and luck. And the last year or so has been the best I've had in a decade or more...far from painless or perfect, but better...I'm still alive, which is more than a lot of people can say who've fallen prey to dangerous compulsions. However, yesterday, Tuesday, I found myself in one of my tussles, in which I, the protagonist in recovery, wrestle and squirm in a sack of my own making, blindly fumbling and flailing for the knotted top, and a means of escape. How did I get into this sack? Did I not notice myself climbing in?
It's a slow and subtle sack, living like a beanbag in the corner of the room, which, with the slow calculation of an hour-hand, slides across the floor towards me, seeming not to move at all, but, within a week or two, is at my side, and ready to engulf. Its perfidious progress is punctuated by little markers in the days and weeks before the disastrous denouement. One day I might desperately want to start writing a song, but, come teatime, when I've done nothing, I'm virtually paralysed with self-loathing and a sense of wasted years, heaped upon me like so much twisted landfill, stinking, stolid, and never to be recycled. This feeling, which I had fifteen years ago, even before the crack came along to stall things further, has been my constant keeper, sighing and wagging its finger every time I fall short of my perhaps unrealistic aspirations. And it's not just artistic pursuits, like music or writing, that can heckle me as I stand unrehearsed before them. It's the mounting pressure of days unspent in anyone's company, rendering rusty the cogs that used to turn so fluidly within, the nights spent resentfully in a ragged bed, still dwelling on the fantasies I used to harbour twenty years ago, which then still had a grain of potential, but twenty years on seem cobweb-clad...I, a fly upon them.
Even success can be a deceiver, suggesting that I've achieved so much in the last year, bought that chair, those clothes, even a new keyboard, and can now afford a little holiday...after all, I've got a few blank days ahead, no particular commitments, and my overdraft's nowhere near as bad as it was. Ah yes, success, like Iago, can whisper you to death. And it's usually after such lapses that someone rings the next morning, a friend, wanting some assistance with something, just when you've broken the bank, and your head feels like it's been steamrollered.
So there's a thought or two as to why I don't think I'll take that holiday today. Perhaps I can think of it like this...using all the time was like bobbing along the seabed, crawling like an urchin, catching the occasional morsel of rotten tuna flesh, and believing this, at least in the moment of consumption, to be fair compensation for a month of sand and darkness. Now, I swim with the dolphins, socially, intelligently, smilingly, nearer the light, with plankton-aplenty to feast on. To fall from here would be a dark and sinister descent. I've had a glimpse of the light, a taste of that plankton, and even joined a shoal. Is it worth sacrificing all that, just for a taste of that rotten tuna flesh, and a flash from a bioluminescent squid as it hovers nearby, preying, waiting? Would I ever rise again?
No tuna were harmed in the writing of this post.
Here is a link to a song of mine on youtube, which also has an aquatic theme...I'd love it to get up to a hundred listens... Revenge Of The Sirens
And that's pretty much all I've got to say today. Thanks for reading. Back tomorrow, promise.