Tell the World I’m Awake: A Memoir of Recovery


“I think a spiritual journey is not so much a journey of discovery. It’s a journey of recovery. It’s a journey of uncovering your own inner nature. It’s already there.”

-Billy Corgan

Woke up chasing feelings as fleeting as my dreams. Like a well running dry, my spirit is broken. All the while I’m counting the scars on my knuckles contemplating if I could last another round against myself. You see it’s funny how I thought the world was my enemy, when in reality it was me. But I already knew that. Isn’t that why I’m here in the first place? Because something isn’t right in my head. Self-medicating led to self-depricating trying to deal with the self-mutilation that was already put in place before my disease clawed its footholds into my soul. As a child, breaking, but as a man, broken.

By now, I’ve gotten used to painting myself ugly. I thought it was a redeeming quality to have stitched to the back of my eager heart. It wasn’t on the front so you couldn’t see it right from the start. But it doesn’t take long for a person to figure it out: what’s really going on. I’ve spoken of bones poking through my skin, demons floating around in my space. I’ve spoken of that itching, gnawing, aching feeling in my heart and in my mind. I’ve spoken of pins and needles and not just the figurative sort. But what I rarely speak of is the real moment.

And in that moment, my march towards death stopped and walk towards life began.  Even if I didn’t know it, I just kept walking. Not running, not racing. But walking carefully. I found a new way to spend my time. Picking up the pieces, chasing a love I never knew existed: a love for myself. I found a new way to live. A new way to breathe. A new way to feel and deal with me. Sometimes I have to re-teach it to myself in the mornings. Reading a meditative passage to get me through the oncoming onslaught of emotion and feeling. Or at night, having a group of others teach it to me. Every day doesn’t start or end the same. Some days I got it and some days it’s hanging by a thread. But I’ll be damned if that thread hasn’t grown since the first time I surrendered. The real surrender. The surrender of not giving up but giving in. The fight was over and love started to lay the foundation of life.

Looking back on it now, I found a place to lay my head. Where sleep didn’t mean death, it just meant getting some rest. I found a place I belonged to. A home I didn’t grow up in as a child but a home that made me into a man. To face what really is bothering me head on. I went through all this turmoil to find myself right back where I started. Staring into the mirror, wondering who this person is. Who am I going to be today? I now know that I wasn’t chiseled from marble but carved from stone. My edges are rough, my fault lines are defined. And it takes time to learn how to stop digging that hole. To ask for the helping hand to pull you up and out. Time, time is all I have for this. My will, my life is devoted to the time it takes to learn how to be a better, stronger man. My time before was wasted on meaningless ends that all landed me back where I needed to be: that moment. My time today is devoted to loving myself and loving you. Thank you.

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