Saturday, August 6, 2011
Milestones in Crackheadedness -- Part One
I didn't realize when I decided to write every day in August that doing so would take me right smack into my 100th post. It probably doesn't seem all that significant since it's taken me almost two years to get here but it's a fairly big deal to me. I haven't been exactly prolific, but at the same time I haven't bloated my post numbers with a bunch of posts that were just pictures or video clips. In all but a few (fewer than a half dozen I'm pretty sure) I wrote at least 500 words. So, I feel compelled to mark this occasion. And of course to thank you all for reading. I get a lot of joy out of knowing that I've made a few of you laugh (and cry) over the past 99 posts.
So, you know how people use the word crazy as an adjective meaning immeasurable. Some examples:
Ryan Reynolds is crazy sexy (my opinion).
Bill Gates is crazy rich (pretty much everyone but Steve Jobs holds that opinion).
The Dalai Lama is crazy spiritual (no, really – he tweeted last week, “feeling one with the universe. #crazyspiritual”).
You get my drift. Well, the last year I was using crystal meth, I was crazy crazy. I once pointed my webcam at the window where the fire escape was and sat watching it for three hours from my computer in the other room. You may ask yourself*, “Why didn't he just sit in the room where the window was and watch from there?” Crazy crazy.
The reason I'm thinking about the crazy crazy me right now is that, in addition to the 100th post milestone, I have a more personal milestone approaching – my fourth sober birthday. And around anniversary time it's hard not to think about what it used to be like. But also around this time each year, my brain goes haywire. In 2008, 2009 and 2010 I couldn't put it together that this bout of insanity always begins right before my father's birthday and ends usually the morning of August 27. And it started two days ago when I started thinking how much I don't feel like meeting my 12-step commitments right now and that if I just told everyone I relapsed, I'd be off the hook. Yeah, you read that right. I didn't think I should relapse, just that I should lie and tell everyone I did. Crazy crazy.
So in the spirit of crazy crazy and to commemorate my 100th post, here is a list of the most memorable moments from my meth-induced psychosis. Some are pulled from my old blog, but since I've already written way over 100 words today, I'm not going to consider it cheating.
There's the time that I decided I had been endowed with a Charmed power, albeit a pretty shitty one. Here's the description I wrote of it while I was still in the process of detoxing.
As the craziness of the drug really dug in, I began to get very self-conscious. But, of course because it’s me, it didn’t happen in a way that was simply crazy. For me, it was magical. Suddenly, my previous sensitivity to other people’s feelings expanded so that I now was certain that in all situations, I knew exactly what people were thinking and feeling … but only what they were thinking and feeling ABOUT ME. As I was walking through the east village lamenting the fact that if I only had a Charmed power I would almost certainly be able to deal with all this crazy, I realized that I did have one. Only it wasn’t really a Charmed power because it had no real upside to it. So not only did I get a Phoebe-level power when I wanted a Prue-level power, but it was twisted and bent and basically useless. And that’s when I became, in my own mind at least, The Cracked One, Narcissist Empath.
I don't know why I left this out of that passage from 2007 (maybe I thought it made me sound insane) but I also remember that I co-opted the “power of three spell” from the Charmed Ones and changed it to (Oh God I hope I remember this accurately): The power of me and you cease to be. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's it. Walked around Manhattan saying that for weeks.
I’ve talked about this next thing but I don’t think I’ve ever put it down in writing before. So I’ve said before that there were seven distinct voices in my head regularly – five of which I could identify and two that I never could. In addition to those, however, there were voices that stopped by occasionally (like a recurring character on a sitcom), there were voices that would show up temporarily but then vanish (like a character with a very short story arc) and there were – my favorites – very special guest stars. These were celebrities of varying degree of fame, usually ones that I had a particular affinity for (which makes sense since they were my delusions). When I talked about this when I first got sober, a friend asked regularly if I’d spoken to Oprah lately. That’s just ridiculous. Why on earth would Oprah visit me? I never even watched her show. Stop talking nonsense.
I’m pretty sure there were several over the course of the year, but there were three that stood out because of who they are and what we chatted about:
Shannen Doherty – During that year of living crazily, I was completely obsessed with Charmed (see above). I watched every episode about 10 times. I could describe my favorite scenes with such detail and clarity you’d have thought I was the director. To this day, when I approach an automatic door I wave my hand at it and imagine that I have Prue’s power of telekinesis. Crazy crazy.
I’ve loved Shannen Doherty since Heathers so it’s not a big surprise she was my favorite. I’ve since come to love Alyssa Milano as well, but back then I blamed her for Shannen’s departure from Charmed. That’s really neither here nor there, but I felt like mentioning it. Anyway, Shannen was the first voice to ever stop by. She was nothing like the bitch she has a reputation for being. Not only was she very friendly, but she confided that she also likes to pretend that she has Prue’s power.
A couple years later when I “liked” her on Facebook, she actually made mention that she sure wished she “could astral project right now”. It was like she reached out to tell me we really had spoken telepathically way back when.
Kirstie Alley – I’d love to say I have loved Kirstie Alley since Cheers, but that wouldn’t be exactly true. I didn’t dislike her character, but it didn’t make a huge impression on me either. Drop Dead Gorgeous however, now that’s when I fell in love with Kirstie. I could watch that movie over and over. And then when she did Fat Actress she won me over forever. I can’t imagine being so brave as to put myself out there the way she did. I watched every episode, but usually had to leave the room at least once every episode because her honesty made me uncomfortable.
Anyway, there was an episode where her crackhead brother came to visit and every time he called her fatso, she called him crackso. It was ridiculous but I laughed like an idiot. So, it’s really not surprising that she stopped by fairly frequently to lift my spirits. She was being maligned and persecuted by the tabloids for her weight and I was being maligned and persecuted by the voices. I know exactly how crazy this sounds when I’m saying it, but Kirstie was unconditionally kind and supportive every time she visited and I’ll always be one of her biggest fans and supporters because of it.
Jennifer Hudson – I was already obsessed with Jennifer Hudson before Dreamgirls. I followed her every move from the time she left American Idol. I downloaded the tracks from her first website. I watched every youtube clip I could find. She’d have probably gotten restraining order if she knew how closely I was watching her.
So when I found out she was going to co-star with Beyoncé in Dreamgirls I was out of my mind (pun intended). Now, Jennifer’s Twitter screenname is IAMJHUD, but back then she wasn’t really famous enough for people to be nicknaming her. But I did. I called her J-Hud almost from the get-go. I don’t even know why. I also called Jennifer Capriati J-Cap, again for no good reason. The reason this is important is because when she stopped by to chat I asked her if she liked being called J-Hud. She told me she’d never given it much thought but it was fine with her. I’d like to think I’m the one that planted the seed in her head to call herself that.
Wow. I have so many more anecdotes, but here we are already over 1500 words. Let’s call this Part One and I’ll post Part Two on my actual anniversary (August 27).
*I love the phrase “you may ask yourself” because it reminds me of an snl sketch that Rich Hall did in 1984. It was a parody of the Talking Heads' song Once in a Lifetime. He comes out wearing that big suit and starts singing, “You may ask yourself, why such a big suit? You may ask yourself, didn't the store have any mirrors?” 25 years later I still think of that every single time I hear that phrase. I couldn't find the actual video clip so the jpg will have to do.