I don’t need you.
This was my mantra. This was my warrior code. This was the mortar in my wall that I used to block you out. I didn’t need you – never did before, so why would I now? I liked to be the macho guy, to be the martyr who suffered, <sniff!>, so that you could see that I was strong. I resented getting assistance in any way, shape or form. I was beyond what you other weaklings did for one another. Every man for themselves, I would say, beating my chest. And yet, deep down, I felt weak, pathetic, and less of a man. I was worthless, yet I could still save myself. I had the wherewithal to show everyone that I was made of sandpaper, that I was the anchor of the S.S Lone Wolf. And still…I felt that I couldn’t do right by me or anyone else. Failure followed me at every turn. I drank.
Leave me alone.
This was the coat I wore, the mask I painted on, the kryptonite I put into my veins to keep you at bay and away from me. My eyes, deadened already from pain and drink, seared into others the need for me to be left-the-hell-alone. And if that wasn’t successful, my words would impale and deflect like a viking in battle. I was afraid that if you got to know me in any way, you would run from me. So I sent you packing before you could hurt me. Game, set and match…and yet, I was the only one playing. I only defeated myself. And I isolated to finish the deal. I drank.
I don’t need help.
I was a legend in my own mind and didn’t need someone to come in an play the stud when the lead role was already taken by me. Take a hike, pal. I had full control of everything, including my drinking. Oh sure, there were some rough patches, and who doesn’t have a bad day now and then? We go through phases don’t we? I mean, even the hero gets sissy slapped around now and then. Nothing that a few drinks couldn’t fix. Or a few more. I didn’t need anyone to tell me what the deal was with on anything in my life, because I had it all figured out. I just needed time to figure it out, is all. I needed just some space to unlock the truth, to crack open my own true self, to hot wire my heart to beat a little stronger. I drank.
I need help.
Please help me…I’m dying…and I don’t want to die like this.
Where did it all go wrong? The pain, the suffering, the hurt, the lashes and gashes at my soul and spirit buckled my knees, fears flapped around me like gulls on the pier and the idea of living with the drink and living without the drink had brought me to the point of insanity. I was crazed and defeated…and dying. My alcoholism was suicide by installment plan. It was a matter of time. I couldn’t do it any more. I was done. I couldn’t drink.
I want to help you.
Is that really me thinking this now?
If there is something that I have learned in my short time in recovery is that I need to work with others. I need to help other alcoholics, I need to carry the message of hope , I need to allow my past hurts and heals help someone else turn their own hurts to heals. I am only a drunk, just someone who’s light-from-dark can perhaps illuminate someone else’s dwelling of pain and sorrow.
Many men and women have done things for me that I can never repay. They have spent countless time, energy and/or money trying to help me, or hung right by me and watched as I burned my life to the ground yet one more time, but never left. There are so many who have stood by me, who have picked me up when I wanted anything else but that, who actually gave a damn about me when I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. There aren’t enough dollars or days in me to pay back what has been bestowed upon me from those who would and want help me.
But what I can do is pay it forward. I can give to the next person who needs a jump start, I can give to the next person who feels that they are alone, I can give to the next person who just requires someone to tell them that things do indeed get better. Can I be the one to do that?
Of course I can.
And want to be.
The thing is this – when I help someone else, especially an alcoholic, I get out of myself. Plain and simple. I am not spinning, thinking of myself and ingesting copious amounts of Vitamin “I”. I am being useful – something I never felt before. I can actually contribute and not take. I can show love and compassion, not bare my teeth and growl when asked to be near some one and take in their humanness. I can be of service to someone who was once like me. And if you’re like me – not wanting help, not needing anyone, not feeling deserving of love and attention…that’s ok. I will still be here, arms waiting to close tightly around you, as I whisper to you, “You are needed”.
I need you.