Two years sober and counting.
Two years without gambling... okay - so I relapsed a couple of times but I'm doing fine.
Two years without a hangup, sexual, social, political or otherwise.
The problem about living post-addiction is that there always seem to be a tempting aftertaste of the drug of choice taken.
I miss the sharp sweetness of a double vodka and diet coke, the way it would hit the back of the throat and burn its way down the esophagus to the stomach. I miss the eventual buzz that it would induce, and the loosening of inhibitions and morals at any given party.
I miss the rush obtained by rolling two dice at the craps table at Casino Nova Scotia. The noise, the chaos, the anticipation that the right number would come up at the right time - would it be a deuce, double deuce or midnight? I miss the ritual and suspense involved with the roll, the many eyes of fellow desperate beings staring at me, praying that I wouldn't seven-out them of whatever hard-earned money that they would put on the table.
I miss all the orgasms that I have obtained, regardless of means, both legit and illicit. The adventure, the danger, the thrill of witnessing, ravishing and obtaining human flesh so that for one fleeting moment, the pain of reality would go away.
It takes but one taste to get you hooked. And that taste will never leave you.
The taste can redefine the way you look at the world, treat the people, spend the money and even read these worlds.
People would lie, cheat, steal and kill for its effects, its rush, its power and the illusion of empowerment.
I lived for the taste. I wanted more of it. I wanted to re-live the feeling of the initial rush every time I took it.
I spent a lot of money pursuing that first rush. I wanted that high to be more intense, more empowering.
Yet with every high, there is a crash, each one being worse, bloodier and more costly than the last.
In pursuit of the taste I had dug a hole so deep that the only way to get out is to keep digging in the faint hope that I could see light at the other end.
Even though I am enjoying sobriety, the reality of my life and the things surrounding it is no less easier. All the things that I had put off due to my drinking, gambling and whoring ways have returned to haunt me. Negligence has its price. Looking back becomes a habit, a sick perverse obsession. A part of me wants to reinvent the wheel when it comes to taking stock of what led me to my current situation.
I thought I could save the world. I thought I could change it. I thought I could be king in a short time.
But after years of living like a god, I started to realise that soon, I'll die like a man and be buried like everyone else, because I am no longer the wild and crazy kid that I thought I was - at least in my own fevered mind. With all the excesses and the resulting mayhem, in the wake of what seemed to be an endless storm fueled by want of immediate gratification, I emerged battered, bloodied, naked and in pain.
But I am not dead.
Not that I really wanted to live forever - I'm just too scared to die before achieving my full potential. There are too many things to do and accomplish for me to toss in the proverbial towel and cash out of this mortal coil.
Life is full of unexpected experiences, both good and bad. No matter what could happen on any given day, I am still standing.
Because of my sobriety and my willingness to pursue and healthier, more fulfilling life, I consider every day to be a birthday.
I don't miss the stupidity, silliness and hangovers.
I don't miss the losses and disappointments.
I don't miss the guilt and embarrassment and shame of the morning-after and the ensuing ruination of lives.
But most of all, I don't miss the taste, even though it will in my body, mind and soul until I take my final breath.
I have done enough sinning in my life. I have gorged enough forbidden fruit to make the vilest of men sick. I have bitten off more that I could chew and burnt so many bridges that I might as well take a deep breath and move forward.
My name is Jacques. I was, I am and always will be an addict, pervert, scoundrel, jealous bastard, wanton lover and romantic hater.
And I am still alive.
And these days, I never could have felt this great.
Thank G-d for the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.
Oh... and by the way - I still love to create.