We missed you for a while…..
It seems you were lost again in the lies of a beautiful plague. You went to a place where no one could help. The most anyone could do is wait for you at the gate of no return and hope you come back in one piece.
And here you are, broken, but still in one piece.

I do not envy your position.
I was in it too and the hardest part was raising my hand to say, “Hello, my name is Ben and I have one day back.”

Like you, I closed my eyes to the warning signs. I stopped talking to the people that knew better because I knew they would stand in the way of my excuses.
This is how my relapse began….
My relapse began small, like a tiny contamination, or like a grain of sand to an oyster. And like the oyster, I built layers over the grain to soften its irritation, which caused a chain of events, or emotional reaction.

After my trip to a corner on Rockaway parkway, and after the 24 hours of scrounging to keep my binge alive, I was faced with the painful reality of what I had done. I was faced with the loss of what I gave away.
The sunrise came and I saw my reflection in the mirror. My eyes were wide-opened and my lips were pale and pasty white. I saw the madness, and it came back as though it never left.

I relapsed, or “slipped,” as they say. Only, this was no slip.
A slip is an accident and what I did was far from accidental.

Upon reaching my destination, I pulled up to a corner and the transaction was familiar. I knew what to say and how to behave. After the buy, I felt a stir inside my head.
“Don’t do this,” I told myself.
But I gave in.

My first hit was exactly as I remembered. After the inhale, I held the smoke inside my lungs until it numbed my chest.
My ears began to ring, which signaled the beginning of a cool thrust into a different atmosphere. And when I exhaled, the smoke left my body, but my blood absorbed the sin.

In truth, the first minutes are the only true moments of gentle speed. This is before the mad glitches of paranoia; this is before the downward spiral, or the crazed obsession turns desperate.
In the first minutes I fell into a soft moment of weightlessness. I was not thinking about the trust I regained. I was not thinking about the achievement I lost, or the guilt that was waiting for me at the end of my binge. I was thinking about an emotional orgasm, or synthetic freedom.
The first few minutes were the only enjoyable ones. Each minute after was to chase the initial high, except, nothing comes close to it. In the end, there was nothing left. My glass pipe was cracked and blackened. My lips were blistered….and more than one year sobriety was flushed away in a matter of seconds.

Then came the hard part (this is where you are now)
I had to stand up and say, “Hello, my name is Ben and I have one day back.”
This was humbling, but the worst are the lies that continue to whisper.
“You can’t do this…so why try?”
“No one expects you to stay sober.”
“Everyone expects you to fail.”
“You can’t do it. It’s too hard,” which leads to, “It’s just easier to give in.”

This April makes 23 years for me.
I did it….

I think you can too.

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