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THE INSIDIOUS MADNESS OF ADDICTION

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“The solitude and secrecy of self annihilation demands eternal vigilance”

Gary Williams

I…don’t know…just where I’m going
But I’m….gonna try for the kingdom, if I can
‘Cause it makes me feel like I’m a man
When I put a spike into my vein
And I’ll tell ya, things aren’t quite the same
When I’m rushing on my run
And I feel just like Jesus’ son
And I guess that I just don’t know
And I guess that I just don’t know

I…have made the big decision
I’m gonna try to nullify my life
‘Cause when the blood begins to flow
When it shoots up the dropper’s neck
When I’m closing in on death
And you can’t help me not, you guys
And all you sweet girls with all your sweet talk
You can all go take a walk
And I guess that I just don’t know
And I guess that I just don’t know

I wish that I was born a thousand years ago
I wish that I’d sail the darkened seas
On a great big clipper ship
Going from this land here to that
In a sailor’s suit and cap
Away from the big city
Where a man can not be free
Of all of the evils of this town
And of himself, and those around
Oh, and I guess that I just don’t know
Oh, and I guess that I just don’t know

Heroin, be the death of me
Heroin, it’s my wife and it’s my life
Because a mainline to my vein
Leads to a center in my head
And then I’m better off than dead
Because when the smack begins to flow
I really don’t care anymore
About all the Jim-Jim’s in this town
And all the politicians makin’ busy sounds
And everybody puttin’ everybody else down
And all the dead bodies piled up in mounds

‘Cause when the smack begins to flow
Then I really don’t care anymore
Ah, when that heroin is in my blood
And that blood is in my head
Then thank God that I’m as good as dead
Then thank your God that I’m not aware
And thank God that I just don’t care
And I guess I just don’t know
And I guess I just don’t know

“Heroin”

Lou Reed

In the life of a recovering addict, there are what I call the occasional “drive-by” thoughts of using. From time to time they creep in at the most inopportune times. No biggie. It happens. Any clean day is a miracle to begin with. Thinking of opiates is as natural as thinking about eating…at least it is for me. Having fought a losing battle with the white witch since 1970, one might think it would have abated by now. It hasn’t.

Aside from the occasional “fly by”, there’s a whole other category of compulsive thought relative to opiates. I call them “Mac Truck Compulsions” because they slam you like an 18 wheeler on I-75. One of those bitches hit earlier this evening.

Shoulda’ saw it coming.  Didn’t. Blind-sided like a rookie. After all the crap God’s grace has pulled a wretch like me through, I feel like a dick. But…as soon as that last line was typed, I don’t feel like a dick anymore. The compulsion has, in fact, abated–or I’d not be blogging about it now. Whew…it was a real blaster–the strongest temptation to hit since Halloween of 2009. That was the day Father made a visit to cell 117B at the “Gus”–Adrian Regional Facility. He made His presence known. It was as real as anything ever experienced in my 57 years on the planet.

God found me on my knees in the cell, crying & wailing like a little bitch….cuz’ that’s what I’d become…neutered by the insidious madness of addiction…tore up from the floor up…king baby crying out to the King…with nowhere else to turn…suicide had become an option…drunk on self-pity, despair and self-loathing…I stunk like the biggest piece of human shit imaginable.

It’s a sad man my friend who’s living in his own skin and can’t stand the company”  Bruce Springsteen

Crying out to God, I didn’t give a rat’s ass who saw me. If a C/O wanted to take me to the hole…so be it. I’d like to share it was some kind of spiritual prayer of sincerity, but it really wasn’t. I’d simply come to the end of myself and wanted out…by any means necessary. So there I was…crying real hard, yelling, screaming & calling for the “Wambulance”. “O’ GOD!  I’VE SHIT ON MORE GRACE THAN MOST EVER GET IN A LIFETIME! WHY DON’T YOU JUST PULL THE PLUG? I’LL NEVER GET THIS THING! I DON’T KNOW HOW TO LIVE! I’M SUCH A LOW-LIFE LOSER! And so it went…for what seemed like an eternity. Typical self-pity party. It was probably only 10 minutes or so in length. I was calling for Dad…and He showed up…Big Time. A peace that surpasses all our puny, finite understanding hit cell 117B like a quiet tsunami. Then it pierced my soul. Then Father spoke. This is what He said;

“Yes Tim, some may call you a loser…but you’re MY loser. You’re my son and I love you with an everlasting love. Now what are WE going to do about it?” 

God spoke in my heart clearer than these fractured words are conveying to the reader right now. It was quite sovereign. That’s our Abba. He calls us by name, does not mince words and always provides an out. That’s the thing about grace and the Father Heart of God. He lavishes mad love on the most undeserving folks imaginable.

By contrast, my best thinking and use of opiates have resulted in;

1 divorce

3 lost blue-chip jobs

2 prison stints

12 jails

5 car wrecks (those are just the totals)

9 inpatient treatments

4 outpatient treatments

5 near-death overdoses

12 counselors/therapists

2 lost homes

3 cults

2 wounded sons

…and a variety of health maladies as the result of a life of debauchery and self-will run riot.

You’d think that list of empirical data would come to mind when the compulsion to use hits. But Nooooo TellyTubbies, it doesn’t even touch it. Euphoric recall obliterates any forethought of consequences and slaps on blinders preventing peripheral vision. Listen gang, please don’t read this as any attempt to invoke the violin section. I never asked to be born with a genetic propensity for drugs & alcohol, but knowing that my name is Tim and I happen to be an addict & alcoholic means the onus is on me to use the tools of recovery God has provided to keep that sonovabitch arrested. Contrary to what some of my evangelical buds want to believe, there is no known cure for addiction. The part of addiction with its hooks in the flesh never get’s “born again“. It can however be arrested and kept in remission…only then is recovery possible.  Recovery is a process, not an event. What happened in 117B was very real, but only served to get my attention where getting locked up failed. Go figure. Yeah…I know much if this makes no sense to my square readers. God bless your befuddled hearts. We’re dealing with alcohol & drugs…cunning and baffling. The seductive nature of this is bigger than any individual. It’s an equal opportunity disease and does not give a rat’s ass how dumb or smart one may be. It has nothing to do with that. It just is.

Listen up kids, I sure don’t claim to be an expert or having all the answers. A few things, however…have been made clear over the years. There’s a real strong component of spiritual warfare involved in the recovery from addictive disease. What will fester in the dark and grows like rotten mold MUST be exposed to the light.  There are no short-cuts on that tip. Sending willpower against a physiological mechanism of this magnitude is like hunting elephants with a BB-Gun. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to report that it’s been all “glory hallelujah” since that day in 2009, but you know I’d be lying through this keyboard. It hasn’t. But it has been the cat’s pajama’s. Father has been real good to the Hurls. Life is rich beyond anything I could ever imagine. I just got a little sloppy and let my guard down.

There’s a lot of practical stuff to this as well. Victory is achieved in the mundane. Character is formed when no one is looking.  So much of this is about the basics and the maintenance thereof. When those are neglected, a foothold for the enemy is created providing  resurrection for something unholy. It’s given fertile turf to grow in strength. Staying clean is not about being strong. That’s a crock of cow-pies. It’s about allowing God’s perfect strength to be made manifest in my imperfect weakness, unencumbered by the schemes and hustles of my active addiction. It takes balls, intentional vision, purpose, surrender, grace, prayer, a network of support and washing my dishes on a daily basis. This is not for sissies. He makes us “tougher than the rest” for His glory. It’s not about me. But I kinda’ tend to forget that truth from time to time. My disease does not care if Obama or Romney wins the election. It loves when I get all worked up about some Muslim baboons rioting all over the world.

To that end, accountability is a good thing.  A couple of bros called today to check my butt. Had dinner with a nice couple from AC who I’ve known for 25 years. This is a season that calls for utmost vigilance. There’s an old saying; “When the going gets tough…hit a meeting. When things are good…hit two“. While there is always another relapse in the life of every recovering person…there’s a  deep sense there will not be another recovery for the Hurls. This is it. Though compulsions may still slam from time-to-time, using is not an option today. It never was, but I’ve been blind to see that fact of for the majority of my life. Not today baby.

Oh God…thank you.

Thanks for reading this edited rant.
You guys are the best.
The Lie is dead.  We do recover.

Here’s a jam that’s a little more uplifting than the opening by Lou. This one is from Joe Walsh.

“No one quite knows the flame like the fool badly burned”

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6 Comments

  1. Tom R says:

    You have a real way with words. Keep up the good work and encouragement.

  2. Rick says:

    You never could have written this with such truth and clarity while under the influence. I hope this blog acts as an additional venue to vent, share, grow and inform so you can continue on your recovery road.

  3. Gregory Beeman says:

    Tim I gave this a overview read and nowhere did I see what drug had you by the balls or was it booze….Im just curious, Ive seen it all , in fact i forgot more stories then you would ever experience in a thousand life times….But I do have to say one thing ….Your the only person I have ever know that was that far gone and is still alive …..Im tellin ya ….every single person I knew when I was living on the strip in Hollywood 82′-90’…every waitress/bartender/security guy/musician/artist/bar owner/ roadie for the stones(61 individuals ) Roadies for Pink Floyd(34)/ all the promotion people in Radio/ disc Jocks/ managers for every band/all the A&R guys for every label (couple hundred) Tom Pettys entire crew/Jimmy Buffets crew …and I do mean everybody /all my artist friends in the D…- Bobby Wyland who i fuckin saved and i should of let die ….but thats another story / All the guys – one from my stint at Paramount Pictures…Brookhimer/Simpson ..Riley.boys
    DEAD, DEAD, FUCKIN DEAD…..I dont know why i never got caught up in it….i always had this little red light go off in the corner of my eye when things were not going right….and i would find the door and leave…..
    just thought you would like to know this ….You are alive , such a freak …..
    Everybody i know from those days is dead and Im alive ….tells me that we best get busy doing what were suppose to be doing…..And if you ever call me a dick again im bringing a fifth and a bindle over to your house …….

    • Tim Hurley says:

      Hahaha…O’ Greg, yeah man…you hit the nail on the head. Freaks. A miracle is when a law of God interrupts and natural law of nature. So, you are right. By any standard of measurement, I really ought to be another statistic in the voluminous list your shared of those who are now deceased.

      Fair question about my drug of choice…thought I gave it away with the opening song. Heroin. Nothing on this green earth has ever provided what a shot of smack does. The flip-side is that nothing else takes like my involvement with that substance has.

      That we stand after the deluge is all about grace. So glad you’re doing well my friend. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to this one. When the time is right, I’ll dust this one of, update it and re-post…if for no other reason than how it seems to resonate with my road-dogs…and my disease. Coming up on 3 years clean & sober. could not have done it without all you guys & gals. god bless your heart.

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