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Gifts of Sobriety: Friendships & Connections...
Gifts in Sobriety: Connections & Friendships through Sobriety...
Colleen & Justin
Connection is defined as “a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.” The word connection is also informally defined as “a supplier of narcotics”. Two completely different definitions and meanings, yet for this story we are about to tell both definitions have an interesting way of swirling together, like blood as it draws back into a syringe.
I’ve come to realize life has a funny way of connecting people, putting people into our lives for all types of reasons. Sometimes randomly, and sometimes it seems, not so random at all. J and I had a connection long before we ever spoke a word to each other. Our connection was drugs, addiction, and dumb shit. Both of us listened to the same podcast week after week submerging ourselves into a world filled with others who spoke our language, and spoke it well. The Dopey Podcast was our common ground. But while J listened in Chichester, Europe...I was 3,514 miles away, just an hour away from the little town of Chichester Pennsylvania. Thousands of miles away, but connected by the insanity of addiction....
Before I found Dopey I was getting clean. After countless attempts, nodding off a roof, smoking crack in the back of a van, ‘accidentally’ hoovering a gram of ‘Nose Bag’ because the straw in the bag wasn’t pinched enough, feeding my ‘junk’ cells so much I had a full on rose bush rapidly growing inside my body… Let me explain that, if you look at tolerance as a ‘blossoming flower’ as it was once explained to me… “Think of tolerance as a Rose Bush, the more you feed it the bigger and fiercer it becomes and you then stop feeding and tending to that rose bush and it slowly, very slowly & painfully, withers and starts to die.” Nicely put, doc. Where was I? Oh yeah, before I discovered Dopey I was at my parents’ house on the sofa, fetal position, broken glass under your skin as a layer of scalding hot, freezing sheet of ice crawls down your back which twists your stomach wincing it dry like a sponge as your eyes are too delicate to take in any light scratching your brain and let us not forget the involuntarily ‘leg kicking out’ thinking “If I had something to just stop this insanity!?” But, at the same time this was it. This was my final ‘Hoorah’. I was officially done! This, feeling this? Throwing up cotton balls and becoming best friends with the toilet, I was over it all. Just a few days, a few more days and I’ll be ‘OK’… I wasn’t yet aware of how long it would take to get my Dopamine & Serotonin levels back up and running but that was probably for the better. For years I had taught myself how to feel with substances. But I’ve gone on enough in this section, right? That’s how I’d describe August of 2016, the beginning of my Recovery. But out there, somewhere, a friend I’d yet to meet was still on her travels through addiction…
Another day begins. Another day of waking up sick, anxious, depressed, desperate for some peace but with only one idea of how to find it. Drives to the city to cop always started the same way. Hours of resisting, feelings of being restless, irritable and discontented. The mind fuck of “should we go?” Or “should we not?” 99% of the time that decision seemed to be made without consciously making it. Auto pilot. We’re now in the car, heading south playing the same ten songs we always do. Layne Staley’s voice coos in the background “slow suicides no way to go...” followed by Janes addiction screaming out “I’ll try again tomorrow. I’m gonna kick tomorrow!” Most days the music eventually ends and Dopey Podcast ends up playing as we drive the same streets, making the same turns, eventually ending up on the corner of any number of run down blocks in North Philadelphia. I can still feel the feeling in my stomach as we would get closer. Relief and excitement mixed with fear and dread. I’d push the bad feelings away, knowing that soon they would be numbed out anyways. Then finally sweet relief as the drugs entered my blood, slowly and then all at once. I can hear Dopey’s host Dave in the background. Dave always finds a way to mix stories of debauchery with a little bit of recovery. I want recovery more than anything else and now that I’m high again that prospect doesn’t seem so far off. Isn’t it funny how so many things seem achievable when your mind and body are altered beyond recognition? I soak in the podcast, making plans to “quit” and finally experience some of that good life that Dave talks about. The podcast ends and I slowly nod off into oblivion singing along “I wanna be good, so bad so bad....I wanna be good so bad...”
The word connection has a new meaning today for both of us. Gone are the days when “connection” ties into drugs and using. As we continue to grow in our sobriety, connection keeps us grounded. With 1,066 days sober for J, and 36 days for C, connection now comes with peace of mind and a new way of life. We connect with loved ones, friends, strangers, the entire Dopey Nation, and everyday we get to see that these connections are a gift of sobriety, one we don’t plan on giving up.
We hope you enjoyed our piece, we certainly enjoyed writing it and thinking about this little collaboration! We'll be continuing in the up coming week or two. Until the next one;
Stay Strong & Toodles!
C & J!
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