Ghost of Addiction

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The title in itself will suffice as a summary. If you'd like to know more then read it.

Submitted: January 14, 2010

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Submitted: January 14, 2010



I linger in the void between life and death: the impassive between worlds, the dappled, dying light of twilight denoting my position with a silent chorus of reciprocation. I imagine my self as a desperate correlation of floating mist, but truly I have no form. Not anymore. I stare down at my vacant mortal body as a frenzy of anxious strangers in white apparel rush about it. Everyone who ever loved me sits in the adjacent waiting room, distraught with the inevitability of grief and stirring with the relentless motion of anxiety as they impatiently note the “tick, tick, tick” of transient time. There are not enough tissues on the quaint glass coffee table to soak up their erratic font of flowing tears.

It all started with one word; as meaningless and inconsequential as any other.

20-“Get a doctor in here now, patient has stopped breathing”

Addiction. It is a simply word. It’s triplet of timed syllables roll fluidly off the uninformed tongue with graceless ease. Ad-dic-tion. It rises and falls in your mouth with an even three beat rhythm, exhaled with a single breath of polluted air, as if it were nothing. Just another lie conjoining with the indifferent static of a thousand voices speaking at once.

16 -“Nurse, five milligrams of adrenaline intravenous”

But I was an addict and when I said it it left a hollowness in my mouth: an emptiness in my soul. For an eternal static minute it echoed off the corrosive surface of my disdainful tongue and lingered on my lips, congealing to their curves as if it were a squirming infant desperately clinging to the distorted mess that birth it. And then it was said and I was fated to damnation, the thirteen circle of hell: rehabilitation.

12 -“Get the re-sus kit now”

My preferred poison came in the form of pharmaceutically produced painless white pills: Prescription speed. When I was on them I could be anything and everything. I was useful, I was brilliant, a fluent practitioner of this sacred art; this correlation of imagery ink on a glaring white screen. There were no limits, no boundaries to inhibit me, no carefully constructed walls to disassemble.

I look down at my ex-girl friend and note that she fiercely struggles to bind her emotional state; erratically shifting between the gritted teeth of seething anger and tearful grief. I can see it in her face; in the rigid contours of a hard frown and the drops of moisture forming in the corners of her eyes. I see the way she occasionally glances over to the exit door, as if contemplating a hasty escape, as if wondering what she is doing here in the first place. I love her and probably always will, but love has never been an obstacle to my addiction.

8 -“He’s still not breathing, we’ll have to intubate”

When I was strung out nothing else mattered but obtaining one last dose, just one, and one, and one, eternally reoccurring. It morphed into an infinite procession without the possibility of end.

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. Just one more dose. Everything else was dispelled, ignored, and deplored. Morality, my conscience, my very soul, all of it became just an accrued list of meaningless material assets to be traded for just one more dose. Everything I once valued, everything I thought I knew about myself, every stable concept of “self”, became instantly irrelevant. Just one more dose. Just one more abated hour.

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

I glance down at one of the two friends I have failed to push away in the long procession of years since I've suffered this particular affliction. She paces back and forth across the waiting room literally shaking with anxiety. The depth of her confliction borders on complete delirium as she struggles to pull her self together, ineffectively hiding beneath a veil of composure that has always been slightly transparent. Then I see it sparkle in the glint of her eyes like a dying star in the night sky: deeply set disappointment. She believed in me, she had faith in me when almost everyone else had given up. In one fellow swoop I have torn down all her hopes for a promising future; all her lavish fantasies of my stable sobriety.

4 -“No heart beat, ready the defibrillator. All clear on my count, one, two…”

I was the most detestable kind of addict: one that did not truly want to be redeemed, even when I knew I had to seek redemption. Without the drugs I was nothing, just a useless mortal body fated to no effect except its own eventual expiry. But of course there was nothing quietly submissive about it. I stood on the outside a disembodied voice, much like I am now, watching helplessly as this monster that mimicked me perfectly tore apart everything I ever loved. This monster was known as my un-medicated self; a shameless figure that felt no remorse for the vast array of tasteless destruction it left in my wake. There was no beauty in my sobriety, it registered on no aesthetic gauge, there was nothing artful to it what so ever.

“Just one more dosage to keep this horrendous monster that brews within me chained in its raiment of pale human skin”

I watch my mother for a few moments: my dearly devoted and always beloved mum. She hunches over in her seat, her posture arched while my step father affectionately rubs her back, feeling inadequate for his inability to provide any more comfort than this. I can envision her face with stark clarity, though my elevated perspective should disallow for this. It is devoid of all anger, all contempt, all bitterness and all hate. These things have long since passed. All judgment, accusation and disappointment have vacated her features and the intricate lines of her face express only two things at this flickering moment of static time: utter, inconsolable grief and love. Boundless, unconditional, irrevocable, beautiful love. Love that the most revered artists sought and failed to distill in their chosen medium; love that cannot be captured in the pastel colors of a painter or the complex, interwoven melodies of a tortured violin. Love that I am in no way deserving of.


Now as I look back to my emaciated, anemic body sprawled out on a clinical white hospital bed, with its odor of bleach covered death, and they attempt to restart my heart with violent jolts of electricity I wonder… I wonder was it all worth it? Was every hour that I diverted the inevitable meaningful? And the answer is: yes, and I’d do it again. Just one more…

-“There’s still no pulse. Alright that’s it, call it in. Time of death thirteen hundred hours”-

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