Confidence – 6/25/17

How does one obtain confidence if there has never been any to speak of?

Seriously.  How the fuck?  I grew up in a family and household where no one had confidence.  I didn’t even know what it was, just like I didn’t know what love was until I was fifteen.  I imagine some people gain confidence from their achievements, accomplishments, and the praise that comes from those things—but how does one feel good about themselves?  How does one KNOW, or at least BELIEVE, that they are good enough, smart enough, brave enough, beautiful enough to go after the things in life that they want?

I know from a lifetime of experience that without confidence, it seems as though everything in life becomes a nearly impossible challenge.  It feels, sometimes, like everybody—or most everybody, can do things that I just…simply…can’t.  I don’t believe that I can; why would I?  If it’s something that I’ve never done before, or have tried, but failed at in the past, then why would I believe in myself?  “You have to learn to love yourself.”  people say.  What the fuck?  Love myself?  I don’t even like myself.  I used to hate myself.  I’m a loser in my eyes.  For example:

-I don’t like myself, so how could I expect anyone else to like or even love me?  I’ve figured that part out so far…if you don’t like yourself, it eventually makes you become almost unlikeable.
-I’m afraid to talk to attractive women because I don’t feel like I have anything to offer in a relationship or otherwise.  What’s the point in starting something that I have no clue as to how I’ll finish?  I know I’ll come up short one way or another.
-I see myself as being “less than.”  It’s a severe inferiority complex.  I don’t even like to look at my reflection in the mirror or see myself in pictures unless it’s supposed to be a joke.  I see a frightened little boy, not a man who’s about to turn thirty-five years old in two weeks.  Women don’t want to date a boy; they want a man.
-I’m afraid of commitment.  I don’t like responsibility because it involves doing something that someone else wants me to do, not something I want to do.  I’ve gone years without intimacy (of any kind, sexual or otherwise) because I don’t know how to have that without being willing to commit to something or someone long-term.  I know how to have sex, but I don’t even know where to begin with initiating it.  So, I don’t try.
-I’m afraid of failure.  I feel like I’ve fucked up so much in the past, that I’m bound to do it again, especially when it comes to relationships and women.  I’m scared of screwing up with sex, I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing, dressing the wrong way, smelling the wrong way, talking the wrong way with my annoying voice, or simply NOT doing something that I was expected to do, but didn’t have the confidence for.  The list could go on like that . . . I’ll come back to some of these later on.  The point I’m trying to make is this: I would undoubtedly view someone else as a loser for having these traits, so how can I be alright with them when they are my own?

 

– 1 –

 

I was teased, harassed, bullied, and otherwise tormented all throughout school.  As far back as I can remember, school was a nightmare for me.  I vaguely recall being punched in the stomach while walking home with my sister.  I couldn’t have been older than seven.  I don’t remember the reason, so maybe I had it coming.  Who knows these things?  Then there were playgrounds at recess that were a little too similar to the exercise yards in prison movies.  There was one playground episode that stands out from the rest.  At around the same age, I was riding my bike after school and I came to the elementary school playground.  There were two older kids who called me over.  They offered a prize of ten dollars if I could make it through their mapped out, Double Dare-like “obstacle course” involving playground equipment and the race against the clock.  If I made it according their rules, I would win ten bucks.  Naturally, I was pumped up and ready to go.  After all, ten dollars at the age of seven in the late 1980’s was more than my annual salary!  When I got about half-way through the course, I came upon a new plastic spiral slide that had been added to the original playground.  With heart pumping adrenaline and my eyes on the glory of money and victory, I swung myself into the slide at full speed and was met with a swirling mess of ketchup and mustard.  I lost the game.  At that point, I realized they were fucking with me and I didn’t complete the course.  They laughed, I probably cried, and I went home with a stained shirt and the absence of ten dollars in my pocket.

In school, as in prison, someone always seems to get attacked before an adult or guard shows up.  From third grade on through my junior year in high school, I rode the school bus.  A prison on wheels with no supervision by anyone with any real authority.  The only adult among fifty cruel children was driving a bus full of fifty cruel children.  You can use your imagination.

There were a couple of years that really stood out for me as being the worst.  Sixth and seventh grade were bad ones, also ninth and tenth grade.  I was always a target due to my small size, big, pointy ears that stuck out like the handles of a trophy cup (hence the moniker, “Trophy Head”, as well as Dumbo, Elf, etc.) and lack of confidence to stand up for myself.  My parents moved every four years as well, so I was a perpetual new kid in school.  I never defended myself when kids made fun of me or pushed me around.  To me, there was nothing worth defending.  Often times, I would just give up and agree with them about the insults they threw at me.  A severe lack of confidence and self-esteem.  It was humiliating, terrifying, embarrassing, and many times I would have to use every ounce of will-power I had left to keep from crying in public.  That would have made it so much worse.

I remember times in the lunch line where some kid behind me would use me as a sort of doll or dummy to mess with while he waited for the line to reach the counter.  He would try to lift me up by my ears until it hurt so bad that I thought he was going to tear them off.  My face and ears would turn so red, that other kids would then tease me because of my red face.  They’d flick my ears.  They didn’t know.  Then there were the classics: “kick me” signs, permanent marker on my neck or face from the bully sitting behind me in class, the name calling, the repetitive twisting and mispronunciation of my last name to the point of me swearing that I’d change it as soon as I was eighteen.

Possibly the most degrading part of all of this was the fact that many times, I would help those same kids with tests or allow them to cheat from me because let’s face it, as long as I was helping them, they weren’t attacking me.  I thought that maybe if I helped them enough and pretended that I wasn’t bothered by their harassment, they would ease up on me.  But they didn’t.  I was a target, remember?  I was a tool for them to use, a sponge that would absorb all the runny shit that would spill from their ignorant mouths.  I was an easy target because I stood there and took it all up the ass without hardly a word or action in my defense.  I didn’t know what masochists were back then, but I was a budding masochist.

Before the hatred grew and blacked out my vision and numbed my emotions, I was just sad and fearful.  I was angry too, but I was afraid to let my anger turn to hate because I was also afraid that God would punish me if I hated the kids who picked on me.  Isn’t that funny?  Ironic?  In addition to learning to love myself, I was expected to love my neighbor and my enemy.  I began to hate God as well.

So how in the royal fuck does a kid gain confidence?  Don’t people have to be good at something first?  I had no talents, I wasn’t handsome or athletic, I was short, skinny, and painfully self-conscious.  A big part of being painfully self-conscious is acting a particular way as if to avoid people seeing me a certain way.  But of course, they saw that, and it did nothing but fan the flames.  I was afraid of wearing the wrong shirt to school because the kids would find anything to use against me, so I tried to dress “cool” but also neutral enough to avoid attention.  I didn’t dress the way I wanted to dress, I didn’t comb my hair the way I wanted to look, and I had parents who couldn’t afford to buy me the expensive clothes and shoes to help me gain some approval.  Most of my clothes came from thrift stores or K-Mart and my mom and I couldn’t really tell the difference between the pants or shoes that cost $40 (or more) and the ones that cost $20 (or less).  I wore sweat pants to school until I was eleven.  I put my mom’s hairspray in my hair.  Hindsight is often 20/20.

One day, either after or before tennis practice in eighth grade, I was in the locker room changing clothes.  There were two baseball player kids who were seventh graders, but because they were jocks, they were both bigger and tougher than I was.  Plus, of course, they had each other.  They very rarely work alone.  The two of them teased me, called me things I no longer remember, and proceeded to whip me with their long, black baseball socks.  I didn’t know if the socks were dirty or clean, but it didn’t really matter.  It was one of the most humiliating experiences of my entire life.  I’ll never forget it.  I was by myself and there were two of them.  I sat there on the bench and allowed it to happen.  They knew I wasn’t going to fight back.  I couldn’t tell anyone either because it was in the locker room. . . any coach or teacher around would have made it worse by either confronting the boys and myself (probably all three of us together) or doing nothing because I didn’t get hurt (physically) and when it comes to gym class, sports, or the locker room in general, the jocks win.  Everybody knows that.  It was MY fault for being in tennis.  I was too geeky and weak for football, basketball, or baseball.  I wasn’t even cool enough or fast enough—or get this, confident enough—for the track team.  Being the smallest kid on the junior high tennis team was just as bad as being the smallest kid on the chess team or the debate club.

How does one recover from that?  I knew a friend who supposedly was peed on in the high school locker room by some jocks.  That is worse than being beaten with socks, but I know how he must’ve felt.  Really, I do.  It makes me feel like I’m somehow worse than everybody else.  I’m slightly greater than, or equal to a large bug on the floor that people play with before squashing.  Not because they are necessarily “evil” people, but because they don’t consider the object of their harassment to have any thoughts or feelings on the matter.  Insects don’t talk back or put up much of a fight.  They are disposable.  Another one will come along to replace the dead one.  No one will miss them when they are gone.  That was the kind of guy I was.  I fit in with the guy who was pissed on by the fucking wrestling team!  Urinated on while on the floor.  Like a piece of trash.  Confidence?

Speaking of debate clubs and chess, I was also the kind of dweeb who got made fun of by other dorks.  Imagine that!  They had something I didn’t . . . confidence.  How did they get this confidence?  They were intelligent, they had something going for themselves and they had their team of other nerds.  Their Nerd Posse, if you will.  Even if they got picked on during school, they would go on to college, get jobs, put their Dungeons and Dragons skills to work in the real world, and probably marry beautiful women; I’ve seen it!  But me?  I’m still scouring the ground for some pieces of self-worth I may have dropped and stepped on along the road.

Self-worth?  What?  How does a guy obtain self-worth when he’s been told he’s nothing for most of his life?  A loser, a nerd, geek, pussy, pansy, wuss, putz, dirty, faggot, “little guy” . . . the guy who gets called on or picked last, or second to last, for sports teams or groups for projects.  I’ve been spat on, had sawdust dumped down the back of my shirt, written on with marker, flicked, punched, kicked, poked, whipped, tripped, pushed, and have had a multitude of objects thrown at me while other people were watching.  After a while, I stopped crying and started visualizing how I’d kill them.

I pictured the torture, the sick and demoralized treatment I’d deliver to them if I had the chance.  The things I had in mind were both psychological and physical.  I wanted to concentrate ALL of what was done to me and visit it upon every one of them.  I wanted them to know what I went through, but it was more than that.  I wanted to be there.  I wanted to be the one to hurt them, to listen to their screams, to calmly walk around while they cry out in agony and I watch their eyes recognize the reasons why it is happening.  I wanted fucking JUSTICE.  It’s all too easy for me to sympathize with Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.  I understand how murderers are created.  I came very close to walking that line . . . and a fine line it is.

 

– 2 –

 

I didn’t discover relief until my senior year after an entire summer of partying with real friends and doing drugs for the first time in my life.  I was still the same loser kid, but I was a loser kid who passed a joint to the bully at the bonfire over the weekend.  I got my first car over the summer between junior and senior year, smoked Winstons in the school parking lot within sight range of other kids.  Plus, I didn’t care as much because I was beginning to discover something else; my identity independent from the influences of self-preservation.  I didn’t care about clothes, shoes, or grades.  I came to my first day of twelfth grade wearing a plain black t-shirt that I probably wore the previous day, old jeans, and the same shoes I had the year before.  I had the beginnings of a wispy, gossamer, and white/blonde goatee.  I smelled like cigarettes regularly and had a job.

Some of my friends were really smart.  Some were genius level.  I wasn’t even above average.  I got average grades, was horrible in math and science, had reading problems, and had no ambition to ever go on to college.  The last thing I wanted was to endure four more years of torture.  I had friends who were brilliant artists and musicians who also got picked on and teased, but they had confidence.  It wasn’t as bad for them.  They saw their self-worth in their intelligence, their talents, and abilities.  It gave them power.  Right?  It gave them a connection to one another.  I had none of that and I wanted it.  All of my friends were smarter than me and every one of them could do something that I couldn’t.  But what could I do that they couldn’t?  I was a follower.  Safety in numbers, right?  Somehow, I fit into the group.  It was probably what saved my life.  Those years between age fifteen and nineteen were perhaps the best of my entire.  I’ve never had friends like that since.

But can you imagine playing second fiddle to your best friend?  Then sometimes even third or fourth fiddle when there were other guys around who were more artistic, older, smarter, cooler, and funnier than I was.  He had what I did not . . . drumroll . . . Confidence!  I copied him and others that I admired.  For a while, we were really close, like brothers.  I became more like him and he became more like me, but I was still lost and drifting.  I attached myself to him and his confidence like a barnacle on a whale.  As long as I had that whale to carry me, I have nothing to worry about.  I put almost all of my eggs into that basket.

Oh, the naivete of youth.  All things must pass.  The harder I held on, the more brutal the rip when we were torn apart.  I honestly believed, at the time, that we were working towards something great.  Something powerful that had never been done before.  I had finally found someone who could give me a purpose, a reason to carry on with life, but while I watched and mimicked him and dreamed of a grandiose future, I was missing something.  I watched and soaked up as much as I possibly could, but I was missing my personality, my individual identity.  I was lost and didn’t even know it.

I also got to watch while he attracted the girls that I liked.  I enjoyed and experienced my first kiss when I was seventeen and less than two weeks later, my best friend was fucking her.  But we were still best friends, right?  I was jealous, but I needed him.  It would be two and a half years later before I would lose my virginity at the age of twenty.  By then, I was already a budding alcoholic.  By then, I had no best friend.  By the age of twenty, one life had come to an end and another was already being born from its ashes.

 

– 3 –

 

Alcohol was like another kind of best friend for me.  Once the first best friend left and we stopped talking, calling or even writing, Jose Cuervo showed up and put a sympathetic arm around my aching shoulders.  I found out how to escape from the depression and emptiness I felt and be comfortable with myself, my torn up and ripped apart self.  My fear was all but nonexistent and the encouraging whisper of tequila in my inner ear helped to sooth me into acceptance of who I was inside.  It also gave me the ability (or courage to realize a buried ability) to imagine who I wanted to be and run wild with it. . .  If only in my mind.

I believe now that I needed that encouragement to run.  To fade into a more transparent version of myself that would be easier to color over.  It sort of started to feel like self-destruction, but in a way, it felt “right,” almost like a slow, coasting slide down to a place where—from the top anyway—I knew that I wasn’t going to find my way back up for a long, long time.  It was somehow necessary to put right all that had gone wrong.  I would begin to drink away memories, drink away friends, jobs, interests, relationships, drink away the trail of breadcrumbs that could even possibly lead me back and drink to cut loose the rope from the already weakened mooring which held my vessel from drifting out to sea.  At one point, around the age of twenty-three, it was a conscious decision.  Cutting the rope, that is.  Then I forgot.

In a few short years, I had shed inhibitions that had prevented me from experiencing life to a particular degree up until that time.  Of course I became addicted to getting high and drunk!  I was hooked on the freedom and the release I felt while intoxicated.  I felt like someone or something had given me permission to open up and let loose.  Yes, I needed permission!  I couldn’t grant that to myself.  I didn’t believe that I was worthy.  I had lost track of my identity because I was scared of showing it to anyone.  People see parts of it, the watered-down version, but to shed the insecurity, and self-consciousness, has always required drugs or alcohol and I can’t do that anymore.  I’ve relinquished that privilege.  But in the beginning of my “using career”, as they say, drugs and alcohol were what saved me from being a prisoner in the infinitely deep, spiraling hole of SELF.

Sometimes, it was too much and I had to learn to hold back a little, but for the most part, I didn’t care what people thought about me anymore.  Some people actually liked it when I stopped holding everything in.  It was enough to keep me going and to continue breaking boundaries.  I still didn’t have confidence with girls though.  I can’t seem to wrap my brain around that conundrum.  How is it that people can believe that they are good enough for someone they are attracted to?  I don’t like to use the infamous “1-10 Scale”, but for the purposes of clarity, I will.

For example:

If I meet a girl and I see her as being an 8, 9, or even a 10, I wouldn’t even tease myself with the concept of becoming her boyfriend for the simple fact that her rank—in my eyes—would place her “out of my league.”  Herein lies the paradox.  I might view a woman who is a 6 or 7 as being “in my league”, but I wouldn’t be attracted to her enough for my own standards.  I’m not actually that petty and superficial, but women want to be told they are beautiful.  They like being assured that they are more beautiful or prettier than others who might take their place.  Right?  No one wants to be told they are merely a “7.”  I don’t get laid because I want the eights, nines, and the tens and I don’t have the confidence to go for it.

Most folks can understand what I mean using the rudimentary scale of 1-10.  You don’t have to agree with it, or like it, but it gets a point across.  I see guys all the time that I might view as being as low as a 5 or 6 either married to, or dating a woman who is up in that 8-10 range.  What do they have that I don’t?  Confidence?  Do they actually believe they are good enough for a beautiful woman?  If it’s not about looks and body type, then there must be something that makes them attractive AND overrides the fact that they aren’t physically good looking.  I run the risk of remaining single for the rest of my days due to this very problematic formula.  How does one like who they are?  How does a guy actually love himself?

I can’t be in a relationship anymore because I know how I am when I get involved intimately with another.  Even with close friends, I’m afraid of being “the real me.”  It brings out the worst in me.  I sabotage it before it can get too real and I get too vulnerable.  I don’t want to be an asshole, but I end up hurting people I get close to.  I don’t even have to be a chauvinistic jerk, I’ll hurt women by virtue of being who I am.  That’s probably why I don’t have close friends anymore.  I lost track of how to be close friends.

 

– 4 –

 

I don’t really remember a time in life when I wanted to live.  I’ve thought about ending it ever since I knew that it was possible to end it.  “Death is the great adventure. . .” said someone, one time.  Maybe.  It seemed like an adventure to me.  The one thing that no one alive knows anything about with any degree of certainty.  Of course, I was curious.  I KNEW life was hard and painful and lonely, but I knew nothing of my death.  Life and death.  Dark and light.  Drinking, for me, was a way to exist between the two without committing to either one.  I drank liquor like some people shoot junk, the way some people pop pills.  I drank to escape the world I didn’t belong to and to peer teasingly into the world from which I might have come from.  I knew I wasn’t making any progress, but I didn’t care.  When the tequila covered me like a heavy quilt, I could look inward, backward, upward (anywhere but forward) and dream of an existence that I knew must be possible if only because I could dream it.

Nowadays, almost fifteen years later, I don’t have that luxury.  I can’t just come home from work, crash in a recliner chair with a pack of smokes, stack of CDs, a bottle of Cuervo, and the sort of artificial and internal View-Master that I would look through behind my closed eyelids.  That part of my life is over.  I no longer have the luxury of watching the nostalgia-tinted movie of my past edited to contain all the best parts.  No.  Now I have to write the damn script, do the proof-reading, the editing, the re-writes, produce AND direct it. . . and I probably won’t even get to watch it until I’m dead!—Maybe not even then.  There is very little reward for doing this, but I know what the alternative is for me.

It’s not that I’m “suicidal,” it’s just that I don’t want to live anymore.  There’s a difference, believe me.  I’m tired of the old roller coaster, the peaks and valleys of bi-polar existence.  I’m exhausted from feeling like I’ve tried as hard as I could but have still failed . . . am still failing.

Maybe it’s different for everyone, but for me, there is no Hell that is the bottom.  There’s no maximum sentence.  There’s no death that is the end.  There’s no relief.  For me, as far as I understand while living here in the flesh, there are only more levels, more Hell, more “versions” of this “place.”  From what I’ve experienced and witnessed, both during psychedelic exploration and “ordinary life,” existence seems to be a closed loop, so to speak—an Ouroboros with no definite beginning and no absolute end.  So, either I stay focused and write the fucking screenplay to the best of my ability, write it the way I BELIEVE it should be, or I wind up living the version of my movie that I wouldn’t write for ANYONE.

It’s been said that Hell is repetition, the absence or impossibility of reason, (in other words, it’s a realm, not a place.  A dimension of consciousness made up of what needs to be solved within yourself, on repeat, without the parameters of time.  Outside of time, “Eternity” is what we make it.)  Life shouldn’t get that bad for anyone.

What about the version of life that I would write for myself? (Always assuming that I could.)  There is a side of me that remains hidden to most of the people I meet.  They don’t see it because I don’t allow myself to express it to the fullest.  I’m not all-the-way honest about my views and beliefs and outlooks.  I don’t usually lie outright, but I definitely don’t tell the full truth and there are plenty of benign white lies to, you know . . . keep things on the surface.  It all comes back to CONFIDENCE, doesn’t it?  I don’t have the confidence to be who I feel like I am—when I am alone—around others.  Why not?

I don’t like who I am.  That’s the answer I always tell myself anyway.  I get embarrassed when I take off the mask and shackles.  I’m afraid of people seeing me for who I really am.  So, who the fuck am I?  THAT’S the aforementioned version of life I would write for myself.  I would create a reality out of the parts of me that no one sees.  The guy unshackled and unmasked and unlimited by shells, or societal boundaries, or limits created by other people’s idea of what’s TABOO!  I would create a character for me to play that could do all of the things that I dream of doing.  That’s what I would do if I wasn’t afraid.

Alcohol was a way to forget all of that “hocus pocus.”  When I’m drunk, it all seems too far out, too insane, too “unreal” to be something that is ever actually achievable.  Drinking made me feel normal.  If I worked a blue-collar job and got drunk every night after work, then I could wake up with next to no memory of the previous night and be “lowered” mentally and vibrationally to the level of other blue-collar boys.  It made it easier to fit in.  A square peg in that dern square hole!  That, my friends and readers, is a lie I lived for many years.  I drank so much that I actually began to forget about who I used to be.  (That was the plan)  My life reached a low that I never thought I’d reach.  A bad relationship, dead-end jobs, no close friends, no ambitions, severe depression, the physical ailments that come from the alcoholism—insomnia, nausea, loss of appetite, irritability and of course, the sexual defects.  Those things made me look forward to getting shit-faced day in and day out because at that point, more hard liquor was the only thing that made me feel better.

In my mind, while mind-blowingly drunk, I had courage, imagination, libido, dreams, desires, goals . . . and confidence.  But what about the rest of the time?  I was trapped in another hellish closed loop.  The Ouroboros of addiction.  Even though I had planned out what I wanted to happen, it rarely works out that way for us.  Especially considering the fact that in order to adequately forget where I had been, I had to wander down the drunken hole far enough to where I couldn’t crawl back up on my own.  After all, a controlled fall doesn’t have the same jarring effect as legitimately losing one’s balance.  I had to make a sacrifice of myself.  I had to risk losing everything with no guarantee of ever getting it back.  I had very little faith and even less hope.  Alcohol will take everything, eventually.

Every time I lost something in my life, it reinforced my own growing belief that my life was sliding downhill and it was going to continue getting worse until I genuinely surrendered.  There was a period of time between my first alcohol-related hospital experience, (72 hour hold at the Psychiatric Ward) and the next major loss and subsequent crash and burn that would follow it, where I was almost happy.  I had a girl and things were looking up.  I started to kind of like my job again due to the increased physical stamina and strength I had reacquired during sobriety.  I was more sexually satisfied than ever before and I spent most of the year 2012 enjoying the sober life.  But it would end.  Those months were like the calm before a storm, a pleasant respite on a mid-life plateau.  Karma, however, always comes a’knockin’ for its debts to be paid.  That’s simply a universal law or principle of cause and effect.  The “effect” came for me in the way of a painful heartbreak, followed by the loss of my job, followed by one of the scariest binges I’d ever been on.  I was never sure if I believed that the world was going to end on December 21, 2012, but for me, a large part of it did.  That was the last day of my career as a beer distributor, the end of my stability, and if I had my heart broken earlier that year, December 21st was the night that the pieces of that heart were stomped on and scattered.  I broke.  I drank.  I began a chain reaction that would bring me to two more Emergency rooms, two more detoxes, and my second and third ambulance ride due to alcohol abuse.  I drank two jobs away back to back.  I wanted to die.

The confidence that I had found and enjoyed throughout 2012 was shriveled up and gone.  This time I had fucked up worse than ever before and all of my old tricks and lies to myself had been used.  I couldn’t see a way out.  I felt like a used up former Super Hero.  Powers gone, integrity lost, the respect and faith of the people in me was a thing of the past.  I picked myself up and kept on keeping on, but it wasn’t the same.

Throughout the twenty-two-month-long stretch of sobriety that followed (a new personal record) I experience another rock-bottom from a different addiction that had been dormant during my drinking years . . . gambling.  I stayed sober, but was brought to my knees in the tears of surrender and agony.  From October 2013 through Thanksgiving of that same year, I lost just over thirteen thousand dollars.  I discovered bankruptcy and the humiliation that comes from admitting defeat.  I couldn’t drink, I couldn’t gamble, I hadn’t had sex in almost two years and I was working a new job that I hated.  But I stayed sober until April 15, 2015.

I’d given up on dating and by July of 2014, I reached another personal record—twenty-six months without sex.  (To this day, that abstinence record still beats any length of record sobriety.)  I got into one more relationship that same summer which ended five months later.  This time, there was a pregnancy scare, a possible abortion farce, and to add insult to injury, there were traumatic emotional losses and wounds that still haven’t healed properly.

When April 2015 rolled around, I was lost, tired, hurt and wandering the dark, empty existence of a third shift trucking job.  I got thirsty.  I had never been sober for twenty-two months, and I wanted to see what happened if I did what I called a “Controlled Burn” of my clean time.  Unspeakable horrors followed.  As it turns out, relapsing for me after that length of time, was everything BUT controlled.  Just like back in 2011 prior to my stint in the psych ward, I stopped sleeping, hardly ate anything, and continued drinking around the clock with a total loss of, and break from reality.  The hallucinations could be compared with descriptions of “The Inferno” from Dante’s Divine Comedy.  Demons, fire, insects, blood, the mocking and beckoning faces of people outside of my second story windows.  At one point, as I laid in bed, black creatures crept around my room hanging from the light fixture, crawling up the walls and only I could see them.  They resembled squirrels crossed with rats with the hands and face of something else . . . something familiar.  They had MY face.  These black Imps were dangling over my bed and the terror I felt was like nothing from this world.  Visions of a gray-brown dusty Hell existed behind my closed eyes.  Monsters raping monsters, Minotaurs, double-headed hermaphrodites sucking each other off and the deformed dead all writhing and fucking hopelessly and hungrily in the dust.  That world was beyond old.  It was Medieval, archaic, and as timeless as the tales of gladiators and serpents and evil itself.  Was this the Biblical Hell?  What kind of world had I ventured into?

It no longer mattered if my eyes were open or closed.  Terrible sights materialized before me like a movie created from the worst things imaginable.  Creatures that shouldn’t be, sights I had never seen.  I was brought through this Godless Hell with my eyes shut and teased by the black rat squirrel Imps above me laughing and gesturing with my own face when my eyes were open.  Fountains of blood poured from my stairwell, ancient ruins and the ghosts of lost guardians of old fires extinguished long ago sat motionless in my back yard.  I saw the executions of naked volunteers saving their souls for the return of Christ, the violent brawls of humanity starting and stopping and starting again.  I saw my life gone wrong.  I saw the cyclical torment we cause each other.  I saw the greed, lust, wrath, envy, the pride of man, and the downfalls of each over and over and over again.

I wanted to die and stay dead.

The decision to drink again brought me back to three more detoxes, another ambulance, another job gone and eventually I ended up living for seven weeks in the care of others away from my world.  From August to October, I healed.  I was asked to revisit my faults and mistakes.  I felt pain and a loneliness so empty, I never thought it could be real, and I surrendered yet again.  I’ve been sober ever since and a week ago I passed the twenty-two month mark that was my previous record.

 

– 5 –

 

Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines Confidence as:

  1. an assurance of mind or firm belief in the trustworthiness of another, or in the truth and reality of a fact; trust; reliance.
  2. reliance on one’s own abilities, fortune, or circumstances; belief in one’s own competency; self-reliance; assurance.
  3. someone or something in which trust is placed.

My self-confidence is higher than it once was and yet I still struggle.  I struggle to find meaning in life, purpose for myself, a continued will to live and survive for some unknown something.  I still fantasize about death and the imagined relief that will be felt.  I have a hard time believing that my existence has any real value in the grand scheme of things.  In a world as complex as this, a universe as infinite as this, and a diversity of individuality that extends beyond the comprehension of our minds, how is it that a single person can have a “belief in one’s own competency?”  I ask myself questions like this regularly, and regularly, I wait for an answer.

               I keep dying all these miniature deaths                                                                                                                          wrapped up in one large intestine of a world                                                                                                                 brought down by no one                                                                                                                                                 What is right and wrong?                                                                                                                                               Who decides?  I’ve got my whole life to figure it out,                                                                                                     But who am I?                                                                                                                                                               Delivered from You, oh mighty God                                                                                                                               Help me, HELP ME                                                                                                                                                       Caught up in ego, lost in pride. . .                                                                                                                                 That’s why I’ve been searching and why I’ve died.                                                                                                       How long have I been lost for? 

That was a drunken poem written by myself during one of my last benders.  I don’t know what I was trying to communicate, but perhaps simplicity can sum up the complications of life better than a detailed article.  Even at my lowest, darkest levels, I am able to understand that with confidence, anything within reason can be achieved.  I’ve come to understand that the world we live in isn’t a hard, fixed and mortared structure.  It is more like an oil painting that hasn’t dried yet, like steering a ship slowly through the swampy soup of all that makes up reality.  Things happen if we believe that they can happen.  Plain and simple.  If we have reliance on our own abilities and trust in another or in the truth and reality of a fact, then there is no substantial reason why a reality dreamed of, and built out of, and harmonized with the truth, laws, and principles of this universe we exist in, can’t be lived and enjoyed and shared.

Those with confidence create, so that others without it can find.

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