Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Pen Is Mightier...

I have been keeping a journal of some sort on and off since I was about 10 or 11, so about 34 or 35 years now. I kept one religiously all thru high school and university because it seemed like so much was happening with things changing so quickly, I was afraid that I would forget stuff and at that time in my life, I wanted to remember everything, good or bad. As I settled down into married life in my twenties and then motherhood in my thirties, keeping a journal was but a faint and distant memory. It was the farthest thing from my mind. At that time, there seemed to be no time left to undertake this sometimes time consuming task, plus, for better or worse, my life had seemed to have settled into something of a routine. Excitement and change seemed to be memories of the past. Not that this was necessarily a bad thing, just different.

Seven years ago this past June, my father was diagnosed with cancer and he passed away the following March. For the first time in over a decade, I picked up pen and put it back to paper. Towards the end of his life, I found myself in a long since forgotten place, but suddenly it became extremely important that I remembered everything that was happening around me these last seven or eight months of his life. Now more than any other time, I did not want to lose so much as a single memory from what was happening. I was so very afraid that I might forget something about his last days. For all of us, it was definitely a time of change.

I carried my journal with me everywhere. I filled up dozens of blank ones over this period of time, and every time I started to feel restless, I would write, and write, and write. Many days, I had a lot of time to do this. For twenty plus weeks, I spent each and every week day waiting in various rooms at the hospital for my father to complete whatever appointment he had that day. Every day he had his radiation treatment, plus there were a multitude of other types of appointments related to his cancer. To top everything else off, he was also getting chemo at the exact same time as his radiation, although the chemo finished about a month after the radiation. For just over five months, I drove him to the hospital five days a week for his treatments. Most days we would be at the hospital the entire day, but there were others where we were lucky enough to get out of there within the hour.

Regardless of the length of each visit, there was plenty of time for me to reflect and write. It was also a time for me to really get to know my dad all over again, as well as he had a chance to reacquaint himself with me. Bittersweet is an apt description I should imagine. After he passed, I continued to write as an outlet for my emotions. To this day, I carry a journal with me everywhere I go, and any time I feel the need, I write something in it. An entry can be one word to endless pages. I have found that whenever I am restless, upset, bored, impatient, irritated, you name it, the moment that I start writing I am immediately calmed. My recent journals follow no set form. They range from neat and tidy to tremendously disorganized and messy. I paste pictures in them sometimes. I doodle in them. I make sure that each one is different from the next. I haunt stores looking for unique and different books to use as journals. I have become quite creative in my quest to make each somewhat unique in its own way.

Now, I also keep an on line journal, although it is nowhere near as current or updated as my written - I am hindered somewhat by my complete inability to type as well and as fast as I would like. It was about five years ago that I was told about . This became my first foray into on line journaling. It seemed to take me an exceptionally long time to feel comfortable expressing myself publicly, although once I more or less got the hang of it, it became easier and easier. For the most part, I have liked using livejournal, and in fact, initially, I ended up having a number of separate accounts there. In the beginning, I mostly used them to display and store my art work. But these earlier attempts were dishonest at best, half truths at the most. They in no way reflected my actual life, although they did allow brief glimpses of it from time to time.

As I became more familiar and comfortable with this method of journaling, it became increasingly important that they start to actually reflect what was really going on in my life at that time. Initially though this caused me momentary paralysis as I certainly had no desire to lay bare those portions of my life I had spent years pretty much hiding from the general populous. My "alternate" life needed to continue being exactly that - one face for the majority and another for the precious few that were familiar with my drug use/abuse. That face was not yet ready for public consumption.

With the identity that I had been using, I found that this was going to be impossible to be completely frank and open about my lifestyle. Finally one day, I created an alternate online identity to reflect my alternate life. This is the one that I continue to use today. Over the past four and a half years there has been a blurring of my real and of my alternate world. This has become possible because my comfort level continually increases allowing me the luxury of honesty. For the most part, my mask is still there. I try to keep my name and my families and those that are important to me as anonymous as possible in an effort to ensure that their privacy is respected, as there is no certainty that they may feel as relaxed as I.

The majority of my drug use/abuse years are currently not available to read anymore online as the site that I had been using for this particular period of my life, literally disappeared overnight about two years ago. I used to be part of a group of addicts and recovering addicts that all had their personal journals at JUNKLIFE. At any given time, there were about twenty to twenty five of us sharing our stories with each other and anyone else who was interested. Sadly, it is now gone. After a number of frantic months attempting to contact the web master, I finally was able to get all of my writings from my time spent there. Until I received them, I was utterly gutted, as I had well over two hundred separate entries just from the two years I had been writing there. More importantly, I needed these writings available to me as an aid in my current recovery. I had only just started MMT when my site disappeared, so the lion's share of what was happening to me during this period reflected my very active addiction, as well as documenting how I allowed it to get so out of control. With each passing month, you could see where I was inevitably heading - the proverbial, or cliched, rock bottom.

Now, while I have all of these entries stored on my computer's hard drive, I have utterly no clue how to get them uploaded once again to the INTERNET. They were sent to me as one .sql file - whatever the heck this means cus I've so got no clue! Ideally, I'd like to add them to this site, or even if I had to, start a new site for my archived writings from my addiction period. I can go through this very large file and enter one entry at a time by copying and pasting it, and then back dating said entry with its original publishing date and time. I've manually entered a few, but it is just too time consuming, and honestly tres boring to have to do it this way. This site was actually started approx May 2007 when I first started having trouble accessing my previous site. Any writings from that point on are all original to this site, any before this time, were culled from my previous two sites, and are sadly not remotely enough to really paint the complete picture of my severe addiction years. If nothing else though, they are a start. Perhaps I'll suddenly feel energized enough to enter a few more of my old entries! LATER...

1 comment:

Drew said...

I can relate to your story. I had been on methadone for two years, but the whole thing was destroying my life. I actually felt like I had another drug addiction in the end.