When people tell me how amazing and brave and strong it is that I quit drinking and using drugs after more than 25 years of abuse, I feel quite uncomfortable.
Although I was there when it happened, and although I was the one suffering through a year of agony and confusion and boredom, it doesn’t feel like a personal victory.
And it never has.
Maybe it sounds strange, but it wasn’t me, Marnix, who was doing the changing, although it totally felt like it wás me living through the consequences of my decision to finally quit.
It was me waking up each morning, staring at the same pale, tired an defeated face.
It was me trying to read myself out of the darkness.
It was me who wanted to give up a million times, yet life just didn’t let me.
The stubborn and deeply loving, utterly insisting drive to go on, that wasn’t me.
The soft voice that told me to hang in there, ‘just for today’, wasn’t me.
It was life showing kindness after many years of physical and mental neglect.
This is probably why I don’t get along very well with people who say that other people are lazy, or weak, for not being able to kick their destructive habits and change into ‘better versions of themselves’.
It just doesn’t work that way.
For many users it’s truly confusing to keep doing the stuff that fucks them up, and in a way we are ALL users, addicted to thinking our way through life, hoping for the next batch of sweet thoughts.
But we’re not doing it.
When I tell people how I see this, I often hear that it’s dangerous, that it takes away responsibility from the addict and will give him or her an excuse to give up, that it disempowers people and brings life back to a random stream of experiences with no personal interference whatsoever.
So what if we are somewhere in between?
Life itself AND this struggling bag of bones?
Endless possibilities AND the capacity to trip over our own misconceptions and fears?
The universe, lost in the eye of a needle?
(Photo by Bobby Stevenson, for Unsplash)