The Thing About Temptation

We were waiting for someone to come so we could straighten out. Mike had an idea to find a place to hide, which was fine for me because I wanted to get away too.
It was raining; cold, late at night, and the residual grinding teeth from the cocaine high had become desperate as usual.
We were in our hometown, which meant we knew where to go but the paranoia was always too intense for me. I always had a fear of some jackass coming out from the shadows. I was afraid the cops would find me. I heard things. Every nerve in my body was frayed like the end of a frazzled rope and all I wanted to do was to be right again. I just wanted to soften the edges and placate the fears with some kind of offering to exchange me for them or them for me.

The conversations went on though. Mike and I talked about everything and anything. I’m sure none of what we said made sense. Then again, everything made sense at the time.
I was swirling trough a strange plane of existence—always in search of something; in search to find the real me, to find freedom, to find a way out of my own mind, which was always moving faster than I could plea for it to “Stop!”
Sometimes, I swear, I wished someone would have put a bullet through my head. Yet, in all honesty, all I wanted to do was live.
But to live, I had to die (if that makes sense.)
To live, I had to euthanize myself one piece at a time. I had to slowly kill the little demons in my mind. I had to find a way to pacify the thoughts and settle the nerves, which inevitably turned wrong against me .

I wanted something. . .
I wanted to feel fine. I wanted to be happily unattached and happy to involve myself in whichever way I chose.
And sure, I was a kid, I was mad. I was uncomfortable. I was unsure why life happens the way it does. I was unsure why I felt the way I did and unaware that other people felt equally as lost. I thought I was on my own. I thought I was the only one that felt the constant threat of impending doom. I was diseased in some way.

But the drugs helped. The drugs helped soften the fears. The cocaine helped my mind orchestrate a new sense of weightlessness. I was caught up in the quick brightness of an ultimate high, which only lasted a short while.
But God, it was beautiful.
I like the quick frenzy. I took my hit from a glass pipe and for the minute, I was untouchable. I was anesthetized and numb. The back of my mind exploded to a new atmosphere. My breathing picked up. My heart sped up to a thousand beats per minute.
And ahh, I exhaled the smoke like the release of a great exhaust. My ears clogged and rang in the sound of a steady, high-pitched bell.
Jaw tightened. Body flushed with an overwhelming sense of anti-gravity—and yes, this is the flashy part. This is the hook. This is what keeps millions coming back and more importantly; this is why the first hit is always free.

Eventually, Mike and I found our way. We had our usual spots where we’d hide. But no matter where I’d hide, I could never seem to get away from me. No matter where I went, there I was, always following, always thinking, and always scared someone would come out from the shadows, looking to pick me off and take me away from the only way I thought I could find salvation.

It was always the same thing. Nothing was every any different. Everything was a grind. Everything was done to get high or to fund the methods of getting high. I was all about the ritual. I was all about the routine. There was romance to this, which was glorified in my mind and given up like tiny sacrifices to the narcotic gods.

I’m not sure when I began to lose my ability to choose. Everything was forfeited; my money, my freedom, my family’s jewels, my neighbor’s home, an old lady’s purse, broken-in cars, tiny burglaries, petty thefts, and little scores were all sacrifices. I gave away my young life. I lost my teenage rites of passage. I lost the basics, like a high school graduation. I never had driver’s education or experienced that feeling of going to a prom.
Meanwhile, as most at this age were gearing up to figure out which college they were going to; I was finding myself in abandoned buildings or hiding in places like old sewer tunnels, sacrificing myself to a lesser god which turned evil.

I always say the devil tempts us more when he warns us to stay away. But then he smiles when we come anyway as if to tell us, “It’s okay. I knew you’d be back.”

I had a million lives to live and if I had never been physically removed from my environment, I would have willingly sacrificed every single one of them.
But the truth is I wanted to kick. I wanted to walk away. I wanted to break free from my own personal chains.
I wanted to walk away from my so-called friends. I wanted to move somewhere and be new. I wanted to go somewhere else and be an entirely different person.
I figured I could start over. I could start fresh. I could walk away right now, I thought. But I just need one more hit. Just one more hit and then I’d be fine. Just let me get right. Just let me balance the scales and get out from under the weight. Just let me get away from me for a second and then I’ll come back fresh and new. But I never came back. Even if I wanted to come back, I had lost my way. Eventually, I just accepted the fact that this is who I was. This is where I was meant to be.

They say life moves in cycles, right?
Well, in my thoughts of unworthiness and in the hateful regard for my own self-worth and in my low self-esteem that drilled lower because of my anti-esteemable acts, I believed my part in the cycle of life was at the bottom. I believed I was in the underbelly of the beast because this is where I belonged. I took on the motto that what goes around comes around, which I used to justify my actions because if what goes around comes around; obviously, you must have done something to deserve what I did to you.

People say personal is personal and business is business. It was always personal to me. Everything was personal. I felt raw to the touch, pained and uncomfortable.
But the drugs helped. This helped me navigate through the tumultuousness of life on life’s terms and numb he guilt and the shame of what I became. I swore I was like a machine and nothing could stop me. Even if I wanted to stop, I knew I would never do this on my own. Someone would have to pull the plug.

I swear the sickness is incredible—and as haunting as this may seem or as sad as this feels to report; there is someone out this that will only identify with the romance and the ritual like a sick pornographic film with its own crazy fetish.

Man, thank God I got out when I did.

A parent asked me what they could say to their kids that would be a deterrent. To be honest, I was hell-bent to kill myself so nothing would have stopped me. Then again, I never had anyone to speak with. I never had anyone break down the world to me in a step by step way, to explain to me that feelings are okay, that I am more than fine to be who I am. I never had anyone expose the benefits of empowerment. Instead, I was just warned to stay away from the “Bad kids.”
But no one fucks with the bad kids. They don’t have to be afraid. (Or so I thought.) So let me be like them because deep down, truth is I was petrified of everything.

One day, I found myself in a jail cell waiting to see a judge. I was locked up with real men that did real crimes. I was in the worst place possible and smelling the worst, ungodly smells anyone could possibly imagine. I was cuffed to a chain of men. I was in a small room, trapped, and for some strange reason; I felt free because I knew (finally) I was about to be removed from myself.

I just wish I knew then what I know now; that I was okay the entire time, that I was fine, that I was smart, that I was worthwhile, that thing crimes against me were not my fault, that I never asked to be touched a certain way, that I never asked to be hurt in a certain way, that none of this was my fault, that I was good, that I was meaningful, that I had purpose, and more importantly, that I could be helped and lived a better clean life—that all of this was possible.

I found my first taste of freedom when locked up in jail because I realized it was always me that kept me prisoner; therefore it was only me that could grant my freedom.

Find a way to communicate with your kids. Find a common ground. Do not come at this with a sense of authority. Do not degrade them by saying, “You’re just a kid.” They feel no differently from adults. It’s just newer to them.
Validation is helpful. Encouragement is key. And empowerment is everything, which is why I choose to empower my life’s changes one day at a time.

Trust me. It works.

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