Climbing out of the rabbit hole
By Charlie G
I drove by my old house last Sunday. Jessica and I's first, and only, home that we actually owned.
The one I sold to go into treatment.
It isn't much. Two bedrooms, 1 bathroom, about 900 sq. ft..
But she is strong. Built in the 40's, it's stood face to face with Florida's hurricanes and the only time she blinked was when the roof's shingles came off.
Not the roof mind you, just the shingles.
And her yard! A little over 1/3 acre, huge in Miami. In fact she used to have a private tennis court on the side. It's been sodded over, but the posts, with the crank for the net, are still there. Jessica and I actually bought the house for her yard, not for the house itself. We had 6 dogs!
The people I sold it to have fixed her up.
A new brick driveway replaces our old scratched and patched. Trees have been trimmed, thinned and even removed. New shingles on the roof, of a new color. And,
They moved the DOOR!
From the side to its new position, front and center. It looks like the doorway to a dollhouse.
It's actually like the doorway to the rabbit hole in that movie where machines have won and we are living in dreams (take the blue pill Neo and it will lead you down the rabbit hole).
THE MATRIX!! (My memory is climbing out of its own rabbit hole).
The house is for sale.
I sold it to this nice couple who were going to fix her up and live there. Or maybe give it to their kids.
I sold her cheaply. I needed to get into treatment.
Had they seen my desperation? Told me what I needed to hear?
Now they're flipping her.
Nine months later, they're flipping her.
And there's a OPEN HOUSE sign in front of that new driveway.
I get out of my car and approach that new door.
Take the blue pill and it will lead you down the rabbit hole.
I open the door and step inside.
There's a couple sitting there.
But it's not my couple.
The lady gets up and introduces herself. She is the realtor.
I say hello and tell her I used to live there, as I look around a Dali landscape (I believe it's Dali, he painted items that were familiar, but seemed from a different reality?) .
Walking through my old house.
The air conditioner comes on. Is she glad to see me? Is she remembering and welcoming?
Everything is new. From the tile on the floor to the granite on the kitchen counter top. The bathroom has been completely redone. Why would they change that? Jessica and her brother and I had done a pretty good job of it, I thought. We had torn out the old 50's pink and red tiny square tiles and put in big slabs of marble. Floor and walls. We had built a huge, custom bathtub, out of the marble, deep enough that when you sat in it the water came up to your chest.
They've torn it out and put a shower in.
And the mirror was gone.
The mirror where I first, finally, saw myself as I really was.
I looked at myself in the new mirror, and it was like stepping into one of those Dali paintings.
I seeing something familiar, but it's from a different reality.
I'm looking at myself in the new mirror looking at myself in the old mirror.
And I see.
My eyes are as big as saucers. My face is pale. White.
My lips are blistered from smoking so much crack, I'm not letting the pipe cool off.
I've put petroleum jelly on them so I can smoke some more.
Blood is running down my arm in a thin line from where I'd just shot up.
I'd just gotten sick from all the alcohol I'd been drinking.
And I'm reaching for the bottle of pain killers that are in reach, wherever I am in that house.
And I glance at myself and I see.
Behind the mask I had on for everybody, including myself.
The mask of denial.
I see the pain. The guilt. The misery.
And I'm afraid.
That moment in front of that mirror was my moment of clarity.
I saw what I'd become.
I thought of Joy gone.
I thought of my brother gone.
I thought of my wife, Jessica, leaving me.
And I thought, 'I can't do this anymore.'
'I can't take/survive/endure, this anymore.
I don't want this life anymore!
A moment of clarity.
And I see myself in that new mirror, leaving the old mirror, heading for my phone.
To call for help.
The run is over. I give up.
I come back to reality. Back to that new/old bathroom.
And I marvel.
How far I have come in 8 months.
Feb.17th will be nine months.
I went into treatment and met myself.
And I didn't hate him.
I forgave him.
I got a sponsor and worked the steps of AA.
I met God again.
This time running to Him, not from Him.
Went to work in the detox center I'd gone through 6 times.
Bringing an AA meeting, every other Monday, into the first rehab I'd went to, and walked out of.
Speaking at meetings and treatment centers whenever I am asked.
And I am going to enroll in college, going for an Associate in Science, then hopefully a B.A., so I can be a counselor.
Maybe for the girls in Joy's House; a recovery house I plan on opening in Joy's memory.
(My first course will be Addiction Psychology. I told the Prof. "You can give me the finals now. This one is a cakewalk!).
And now? Editor of this recovery magazine. Reaching tens of thousands of people with the message that it works.
If you work it.
Realizing that I CAN help other people who are suffering and without hope.
As I was.
And most important of all?
I'm making Joy proud.
I've climbed out of the rabbit hole.
As I'm leaving, I hear the air conditioning unit turns off.