"If it's provable we can kill it."
Published on October 21, 2007 By EmperorofIceCream In Misc
Renaissance - when not referring to a revival of the arts and learning the word means, generally:

a renewal of life, vigor, interest, etc.; rebirth.

A major factor in my recent rejuvenation has to do with the fact that I'm no longer addicted to Vicodin, as I have been for the last several months. This isn't the first time I've come close to losing myself to that wonderful, pernicious drug. This is my second go-round with it. And I'm now completely certain that taking even one pill, ever again, will immediately re-addict me.

Even one pill. Ever again. Because I could with tremendous ease become involved in a prolonged and fatal love affaire with opiates, something I've flirted with twice now. And the third time would pay for all.

In case my unflappable insouciance and exquisite elegance in language may deceive you, Dear Reader, let me tell you that I have suffered the agonies of hell. Quitting Vicodin is never less than horrible. Persistent nausea. Merciless, stabbing stomach cramps. Foul Sweats and icy skin. And a cough that's like a feather made of razor wire constantly scraping the back of your throat.

In my own case I'd long since ceased to get high. I could only acquire enough of the drug to feel not-quite-well; to be able, at a very low and miserable ebb, to keep on going. And when that amount stopped being enough to make me feel not-quite-well, I began to be actively unwell, even taking the drug. And I realised I was already feeling pretty much as bad as I would if I was actively quitting it anyway. So I actively quit it. And everything got rather worse for awhile. However, I was spared the worst manifestations of what I consider the very worst symptom of all, the Foul Sweats. I still got them, but not to anything like the same degree. And for small blessings let us give praises.

And now? The carnage in my guts is over, even without taking the pill I was recently prescribed to curb the symptoms I was experiencing. I slept for thirteen hours yesterday, where I've tossed and turned and twisted, sleeping only intermittently, for months.
Recently I watched American Beauty again, and realised as I did so that I was as benumbed, as half-alive, as lethargic and miserable, as that wonderful movie's main character, Lester.

I was Lester - but it was going to take rather more than some good weed, resigning from my job, and almost-bedding a blonde sixteen year old virgin, to turn my life around. Lester changed his circumstances, which were toxic. The toxicity in my own case lay within myself. It still does, because while I'm no longer addicted to Vicodin I will always be an addict.

So far, this little narrative describes a heroic act of self-will meant to grasp hold of and tame a fundamental quality of my character - my fondness for opiates. And so it was, but one such act is never enough: it has to be an on-going act, or an on-going series of acts, telling yourself that you only have to get through the next day, or the next hour, or the next breath if need be, and then you'll take a pill, or five, or ten - but not doing. The key lies in believing yourself when you say that you will, and believing at the same time that you won't.

A form of mental Jujutsu practiced on yourself. Yield to the force of the addiction - and then dodge it. And keep dodging, as many times as you have to.

And then there's the role that Ritual played. I am a Ritual Magickian - which means that I interact with the forces loose in the universe in ways that you, Dear Reader, do not. If you did, you too would be a Ritual Magickian. Magick isn't what you believe; Magick is what you do with your beliefs. Faith is a tool, not an end in itself.

I arrive at work each morning at or just before 6.00am. There's access to an alley that runs between the building I work in and two restaurants, while most of the alley is bordered on one side by an abandoned building and on the other by a warehouse. It's almost always completely deserted between 6.00am and 6.45am - and it's in that alley that I work my Ritual. And to anyone observing me I'd appear to be doing nothing more significant than smoking two cigarettes in quick succession - because I conduct the Ritual using the Great Voice - which is entirely silent, and I draw the gestures and make the signs not in this world (so that I have no need to move other than to smoke) but in the world of Spirit, in a place in that world that I have made my own and call, simply, The Temple.

Ritual is ritual and never varies. But the mental and Spiritual States experienced during its performance frequently do - at least in my case. I frequently gain new insight into those behaviours which are a hindrance to the fullness of my living - and I frequently invoke (invoke, please notice - not pray - prayer is a form of begging, an invocation is a summoning and a command) those Powers that I know of (know in the old Biblical use of the word) to transform those things in me which require transformation but which I have no power to transform myself.

And as an illustration of the point I will tell you a story. It's a true story.

When I had my first encounter with that Spiritual entity that I now most often know, and in the aftermath of that experience became a 'Christian', I had a honeymoon period in which, as I described it to myself, my bones had become feathers. Which was succeeded by one of the most horrible, most utterly and abysmally miserable periods I've ever known. Out of nowhere, literally in an instant, all-consuming fear swallowed me up and ate me whole. And I had not the least idea why. I had only one clue; that the thought immediately prior to the beginning of this horrible experience had related to my father.

Looking back the origin of my terror now seems completely apparent. I was convinced my new-found 'Father in Heaven' would abandon me as completely and utterly as my human father had, and for the same reason. Because I'm marked as something flawed, deficient, unworthy. I'm a gimp (if you refer to me as disabled I will, even now, experience a momentary urge to kill you).

I can imagine no word more condescending.

That was it, the sum of all my terrors. In consequence I suffered six weeks of exquisite mental anguish. I had, just prior to this episode of mental meltdown, in which the idea of suicide was a constant companion, received the Gift of Tongues. And I prayed (I begged) mightily, because it seemed to me that it was only while speaking this incomprehensible utterance that I gained any relief at all. What I wanted to do was understand my terror. What I had to do was face it - whether I understood it or not. But I couldn't, because I was the slave of my fear and it ruled my life.

Finally, in utter desperation, I went to a friend and we talked. During that conversation he told me that the best advice he could give was to get as drunk as humanly possible and stop worrying. Which isn't what I wanted to hear becuse I knew, somehow, that to do so would have been to step straight into the jaws of another, all-consuming, Master: alcohol. I couldn't have put it that way then, but I knew it to be true nonetheless. Because it would have worked - but only for awhile.

I needed something far more fundamental to change than just my state of mind, brought about by something internal to myself rather than something external, such as alcohol. So I went home, just as miserably as I'd arrived. I went to my bed, knowing I wouldn't sleep. I remember a moment of complete despair, in which I thought I'd live out the rest of my days in this abject misery.

And then some tiny flicker of will sprang up, and with it the determination that, whatever its cause I wouldn't suffer this fear as I had, and I began to pray in tongues once more, no longer expecting or requiring or pleading, but willing. And what followed was the real, distinct, concrete sensation of something being broken within me. I had no strength to break it, despite my determination. I hadn't strength to bring it about myself - but I had the strength to will it, and in the willing of it to invoke those Powers that can break such things with ease.

I was instantly asleep. And woke the next morning free of fear. And I have never been afraid in the same way since. That doesn't mean I won't be assailed by fear when there's actually something to fear. It does mean that never again will I be the slave of fear. It's Mastery is gone.

As is the mastery of Vicodin, and opiates generally. Because, as a consequence of the Ritual, my psychological dependence is broken. Gone forever. There can only ever be one Master in a house, and I will have nothing so unworthy as a chemical compound exercising dominion over me.

I will not.

Even if it gets me high, and God knows, I like to get high.

on Oct 21, 2007

The Foul Sweats.  I hate those.  I've detoxed more times than I care to admit, and I find that particular symptom to be the absolute worst part of the whole ordeal.  Freezing cold with goosepimple-y skin, but drenched in sweat.  Not nice.  Not at all.  I used to try to make myself suffer through them as a kind of punishment for being stupid enough to let my addictions run free, but that rarely worked and I always ended up taking enough Benadryl to make me sleep it off.  Life is just so much easier when you're slightly stoned, you know? Everything's fuzzy; your emotions are dulled and easier to deal with.

 Nowadays I like to grasp my feelings, particularly the sharp ones, and hold them tight so's I can watch myself bleed. 

Your wife suggested a book for me to read a couple of years ago, and I've had some pretty interesting results from using the rituals it suggests - especially lately.  I think that the older I get the more I can relate and understand it, and I'm really getting into it now.

on Oct 22, 2007
My bouts with booze are a similar experience. I'll quit for a few years, think everything is fine, and start again. Months - maybe a year later - I notice that it isn't "working" anymore. Most recently, I just woke up one day and said "Ok, I'm done." No fanfare. No hitting bottom. No drama. No fight with the wife. Nothing caused it but an undeniable thought. "This doesn't really help - in fact, now I feel worse." And that was that. For me, the simpler the reasoning, the easier it is to embrace daily.

Good for you, Simon. And at the risk of sounding like one of those people that gives up addiction to a substance so that they can then become addicted to a 12-step group - thanks for sharing your story.
on Oct 22, 2007

I am so glad to read you are feeling better Simon.

Here is my age old question.  If, having the experience you described above when first coming to Christ, and then moving on to Magickian, and following your morning ritual, how was it you came to be addicted at all?  Did you will yourself to be addicted?  Then will yourself not to be?  Did you feel the desire to get high when you first came to Christ?  Were you getting high then?

I wonder these questions in relation to my own faith, so please don't take them personally, just conversationally.  I know when I am walking and communicating close with God, I don't desire anything that might make life fuzzy..that might even for a moment take my focus from Him.  I don't want to miss anything!  When I am not walking as closely, then I tend to fall into fuzzy things and desire things which while are mortally pleasant, do nothing for my eternity.

These may seem like stupid questions in light of what you practice.  I can't wrap my head around Magickian and won't pretend I understand it when I don't.  If these questions don't apply, just ignore them.  heh



on Oct 22, 2007
I often wondered how people fall into addiction. I can certainly see how pain would be the vehicle of motivation.

I am glad Simon went cold turkey.

Current project ends Oct 31st. Check.
on Oct 24, 2007
It's 2.00am and my bowels have determined that I shall not be sleeping for awhile. Which sucks as the alarm goes off at 4.30am

First of all, let me tell Simon how proud I am of Him

No more than I am of you, my little carbuncle of malice. And there's much truth in your description of my motivation in relation to the Vicodin. Yes, it did for a long while do an extraordinary thing and allowed me to live a completely pain free life, while introducing me to a kind of 'high' I hadn't known before. But that isn't why I became addicted. I became addicted because I'm an addict, and because opiates love me, and I love them. Love them.

Did you will yourself to be addicted?

I suppose the simplest answer to that is 'Yes'. And 'No'. Yes, because addiction is Want, or Craving, that seeks satisfaction (for whatever reason) in a physical attribute of life that for a time eases pain. And it can appear to the addict that he is entirely the prisoner of that Want, as if it's an external will compelling him to obey. It's nothing of the sort, but it can appear that way. And No, because it was will that broke the addiction, and will that wills against itself is a contradiction in terms. I wanted to feed the addiction. I willed to be free of it.

Did you feel the desire to get high when you first came to Christ?

I've always wanted to get high. Always. In my youth I used alcohol, and I drank to excess whenever I could - which wasn't often because I was always broke. And in my thirties I discovered first weed, and then hashish, and access to an interior world I was barely aware of. Both dope and hash allow me to hallucinate, which then allowed me to develop what I call 'body-scrying'. You can think of that as a kind lucid hallucinating, or as 'determinate dreaming', perhaps.

And a part of my magickal work is to get to a place where I don't need any other hallucinogen than those produced in the brain to be able to do that.
on Oct 24, 2007
It's 2.00am and my bowels have determined that I shall not be sleeping for awhile.

Dear God I hear that.