[Copied from my Adams County Drug Court Column]

Title: Bricks

Drug Addiction is my enemy, and my enemy hates me. More than hate, my enemy desires to strip everything from me, torture me to the edge of death, allow me to recover slightly, and then torture me once more. This is the cycle of addiction that is waiting for me beneath the surface of a pond, a pond rippled with everything that I’ve spoken into existence. Careful what you wish for.

This time around, I was prepared for my enemy to strike. For the past year, I’ve channeled all of my pain and tragedy into bricks, building blocks for which I’ve used to create my defenses, a walled castle capable of withstanding the relentless onslaught of my enemy—an enemy with limitless resources that I’ve supplied both willingly, and purposely.

For months I watched my enemy setting the stage, one chess piece at a time, day by day, and week by week. With the pandemic came the temporary absence of drug testing, face to face meetings, and court dockets. Last month I gave a business card with my cellphone number to the daughter of an old friend of 25 years, someone I have a history of using drugs with. I knew with complete absolution what I was doing that day, and what course I was setting in motion. My old buddy called me last week, informing me that he’d been furloughed from his half-way house to his mother’s house for 30 days. He didn’t need to tell me. I already knew that his mother lived a few blocks away from my home. We talked for a few minutes, during which he told me what I already knew, he’d relapsed and was currently using. My old friend did not need to invite me. I know from experience that I’m welcome to stop by 24/7. You see, throughout the past 25 years, our friendship has always been my downfall. He has always been the devil on my shoulder, but I don’t hold this against him, and I’m not angry for my friend being who he is. This time around, what he didn’t know, what he couldn’t possibly have known, was that I had pulled the trigger myself. With all consequences temporarily paused, money in my pocket, my roommate was gone for the weekend, and drugs just a few blocks away, I have officially passed the test, a test that was both inevitable, and necessary if I’m to move forward with my new fantastic life.

Fortunately, I passed the test. After weeks off from testing, I was required to test this morning. Of course, this is how it works. If I would not have passed this test, I would not only have failed the drug test, but I would have failed myself. I’ve even glimpsed what it would have looked like if I’d failed the UA. Picture this if you will.

“Yes, I used. It’s okay . . . I’m glad it happened. I learned a lot from my relapse!”

I’m sure it would have gone something like that. After all, that is what we do. We used our pain and tragedy to create bricks. Fortunately, my eyes have remained open, watching for the sign of the moment and guarding the walls of the castle. This time around, I won’t need to transform my pain into another pile of bricks.

The meaning of the Chapstick will only be understood by one person. Someone from my past.

May 19, 2020

One thought on “Bricks [From My Column]

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