100 Proof: A Poem about Addiction and Avoidance

I found this one in my files today, and I don't remember writing it, but it stung me with its authenticity and I decided it was the one I was meant to share tonight. It's very much in line with my thoughts lately too... This poem is not literally about drug addiction or alcohol addiction, though you could certainly look at it that way if you wanted to... It's really about compulsive behaviors that we indulge in order to avoid dealing with the real issues (and often the real joys) in our lives.  I hope someone out there can relate to this and maybe find some meaning in it.

100 Proof

Each grab of this substance,
each inhalation, injection,
each sip, each taste,
each take is a cry for help.

It's a pitiful attempt to numb the pain,
or to placate the whiny bitch inside
that won't stop berating me
for neglecting her dreams.

I'm throwing quarters and nickels
at someone to whom I owe
several million dollars.

The more I indulge,
the more I feed the problem
that I'm trying to run from.
Large, looming, it chases me in waking hours.

The only respite I achieve is in dreams.
I can take a breath and exist freely there,
glancing in the mirror to see
that I'm exactly who I ought to be.

Then I wake. I always wake.
And the addiction strangles me.

The naive speck of yesterday;
the child I used to be--
believed she held the reins.
I'd have bet it all
on the fact (in my mind)
that I was the conductor
gripping that baton.

I controlled nothing.
I still control nothing.
I am profoundly out of control.

If becoming an adult
means making those tough decisions
and following through even when it's painful,
what does that say of my avoidance?
What does the avoidance say about me?

Some truths are lies I tell myself.
Others have always been 100 proof reality
and could never be interpreted otherwise.
The fear is where they meet.
The addiction is what they breed.

Today I understand and accept
that the longer I drug myself,
the longer I will hate myself.
The longer I try to disappear into this night,
the longer the sun will try to shine.
It won't go away. I won't die even if I want to.

And if I do die, my guilts and regret
will only spread to those around me.
And I would never, never
want them to become
as damaged, as destroyed,
as I am inside.

Rock bottom has become too comfortable.
I'm pushing off and chasing the pain;
my atrophied muscles burning as I swim,
bloodshot eyes squinting in unfiltered sun.

You'll be there when I break the surface.
You'll tell me I've taken too long.
You'll tell me you can't afford to believe in me again.
But you'll tell me those things whether I stay intoxicated
or whether I straighten out and stay that way.

I still don't hold the reins.
I'll never hold the reins.
But I choose to be lucid.
I choose the pain;
I choose to wake.

Rainy Saturday Love

Happy Valentine's Day!