I have an addictive personality. In both the chemical and compulsive behavior categories, I like to get fucked up. Fuuuuucked up. I wrote an essay about it this semester: about why I drink or smoke weed. I like to feel OK as I am and it seems I can only achieve that when I’m drunk or high or in the heat of sex. That is the only time I can ditch my self-loathing narrative, the one that runs on a loop saying I’m not good enough, I’m a fuck up, I won’t amount to anything, I’m a piece of shit.
Instead of feeling like I’m spinning when I’m under an influence, that is the only time I feel calm. I have it all backward and it’s when I’m sober that I feel like I’m spinning out of control.
But this year. Oh this year has been such a redemptive one for me. Blessed 2017.
I have this group of friends I met at school. We actually call ourselves a fraternity. These are friends who write, who laugh into the wee hours of the night with me, friends who road trip with me, who workshop writing with me. Friends who send me letters, friends who invite me to Thanksgiving dinner, friends who group text horoscopes, friends who eat Gandolfo’s sandwiches, friends who moved me into my apartment, brought me housewarming gifts, FaceTime me. Friends who sustain me.
Yes, I have been known to get drunk or high with these friends. Most my friendships, really, have revolved around getting drunk together, getting stoned together. But other than my siblings, these friends might be the only ones whose friendships I sustain in the absence of drugs. When I was sick last week, my friends brought over teas and Werther’s originals and Alka Seltzer and we played Sequence and laughed so hard snot poured from my nose.
I am going weeks on end between drinks now. One of my friends is sober and she inspires me to enjoy life as it is, without altering my mind to it. Some days I walk to the mailbox and see a brightly colored envelope from a frat member and I rip it open and read it right there in the cold, getting a high off our correspondence. These people have helped me realize my own strength, have listened to me cry when I didn’t have any strength left. These friends are satiating my hunger for companionship, teaching me another way to live.
Friendship is my new drug of choice.