a :being a symptom of a disease

b :having the characteristics of a particular disease but arising from another cause

characteristic, indicative <his behavior was symptomatic of his character

A few weeks ago I contacted an old friend about writing again. I have a bunch of false starts and a laundry list of ideas and chapter titles but nothing with real structure. Dr. Hunter S Thompson once said that there is no drug on earth that can give you the same high as sitting down in writing. There is a lot of truth to that in more ways than one. It would explain why I felt so lousy for so long. (Over four and a half years ago.) There was not much joy, satisfaction, or emotional drive every time I would sit down to put pen to paper in those days. The sad part is that there was more than enough to talk/write about. But there was no fun to it at all. It could have also been the fact that I was having very little to no fun at all personally. It was like swimming in the emotional cement…There was a ton of frantic movement in one spot but when it would settle I would still be laying in the same place as when I started. There is a thick slice of irony when it comes to the more complicated aspects of life as an addict. Five years ago I would lie through my teeth constantly and instantly get defensive as to why so many people didn’t want to believe a word that came out of my mouth. Of course they were right not to believe me because most of what came out of my mouth during the drug-fueled follies we’re complete lies..Doing everything possible to make sure I covered all tracks and gotten every story straight before anyone knew any better. I was so good at it that I could have sold water to the ocean. But that was a ton of work! And as much as I wanted to blame almost everyone else, there was no one to blame but myself. My excuses were my own. I was treating the symptom, but not the cause!

Those days are indeed over. It’s no longer the old battle days of yesteryear. Those times were epic. Extreme behavior on all sides, constant war, and endless paranoia. But Dr. Thompson also taught the right people that, sometimes, paranoia is just another word for ignorance. Eventually, some of your worst thoughts may come true. There’s nothing wrong withe being prepared. If you see the storm clouds coming, don’t just hope it goes away…Make it go away! Get rid of it as fast as you can and make sure that it stays that way. Flush it out, find a solution, and execute the plan in the best and most legitimate way possible. Some rules are indeed made to me broken, but hurting anyone else in the process will get you nothing but seriously wounded yourself. Bend, but don’t break. Ya hear? That’s when it’s time to dig deep into your soul and mind to unearth many buried secrets with the hopes of making sense and getting answers to a lifetime worth of questions. Sometimes not much searching is necessary. Some days the answers can just fall into your lap. It’s Loch Ness monster rare, but once in awhile everyone gets a beacon like that … A distant lighthouse guiding you in the right directions. All you have to do is get there at any cost and with no excuses. That is a trip always worth taking… The journey where you answer your own questions and let the answers point you towards the shore and the light.

Four and a half years ago I changed every rotten filthy habit that I was addicted to and quit cold turkey. One year later it was time to get rid of the hardest drug to kick… And for me it was the psychiatric meds. While I suffered no withdrawals whatsoever with cocaine and alcohol, it took several months before I could remember what it was like to live in a non synthetic reality thanks to antidepressants and mood stabilizers. 12 years on the meds… Two years and a bit for the booze and the blow. My big fat lie of a life was finally over. And not in some cheap, “Well, its ok to take it if I need /can’t resist it” kind of way. I was finished and there was nowhere to go but up. Unstoppable. But the journey was just leading into the next phase…Where the hurdles were now sky high, circumstances became stranger than fiction, and the simplicity and ease I swore off the old life with would not go untested to great lengths for the following two years. This was no longer a fantasy. This was a big reality that I knew I would have to face sooner than later. You can’t buy a “How-To” book on a subject like this. You face all of your fears with your feet planted firmly on the ground, head held high on your shoulders and a “don’t let the bastards grind you down” attitude. Of course, there is no way of seeing the storm clouds that surround you along the way. Anything can happen, and usually does.

But then there’s the goodness… Music, love, inspiration, joy, ecstasy. When that does enter into it you grab on as hard as you can and run with it! You never know when your goodness will come again. Even if it is literally stopping to smell the roses. I happen to be a believer that you will always regret the things you don’t do more than the things you’ve done. The goodness… Cherish it to let it lead your mind and body to your own heavenly reality. The goodness is always better than bad . Sometimes, but not necessarily always, that’s when it all goes black. But as a great lady once said, “That’s the way it goes. But just remember, it goes the other way too!”

– Sean Hampson