I am in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur (yeah, life sucks….) with friends, one who has known me for decades. She reads this blog and says it shocked her. Not the outrageous behavior; she’s used to that. No, she says “I just can’t imagine you ever curled up in the fetal position over some guy.”
It just goes to show how good some of us are at covering up our addictions. “I had no idea you were doing coke.” “You? Alcoholic? Never!” “You mean you you’re leaving the table to go upchuck your meal? Ew.” It’s the anticipation of that inevitable “ew” that makes us keep our real life under wraps. Even if that ew was never going to come. It’s why addicts don’t seek help until they hit the proverbial rock bottom. Because if there’s any alternative to admitting what we’ve been doing, God knows we’ll grab it. Aversion therapy? I’m in. Transfuse my blood? Sure, why not. Moderation management? I love it. Admit to you that I read your journal? No freaking way.
There’s a sad by-product of this double life for most addicts, be they substance abusers or romance junkies. We lose track of the demarcation between the person we are and the person we want you to think we are. Even today, with all my years of recovery, I sometimes have to stop myself mid-anecdote and think, did that really happen? Or is one of those amusing, hyperbolic (read: not true) stories I have told so often even I believe them to be true. The facade, the superealistic marionette I dangle between us, uses up a lot of energy I could better devote to other things.
Luckily — or unluckily — I have energy to spare, a collection of directionless sparks and twitches. I am that person striding up and down the airplane aisle convinced that there’s somewhere else I should be and it has to be better than where I am at the moment. I was recently told I suffer from Anxiety Disorder, which comforted me. Some people hate the idea of being diagnosed with a mental disorder or any kind. I love it. I would much rather have people feel sorry for sick little me than constantly chide me to chill the fuck out.
So I aspire to relax. It’s a modest aspiration by most standards, but I find it anything but. I am, after all, at a 15th century chateau in Provence and updating my blog. If that doesn’t give you an idea of the real me, I don’t know what will.