So I’m the family drug addict. I’m sure this is somewhat in jest. Stuart, the family loony? at least the family radical. Lisa, the predictable one. I wonder sometimes, when I’m feeling down about myself whether my parents ever stop and order us like that? I mean, my sister, now 30-ish, a doctor, a parent, a wife, a house owner, a two-car owner – a success. My brother, the struggling idealist, now making good on those ‘ideals’, finally doing something real and understandable teaching at Berkeley. And me, yes, I work. I finished university, didn’t I? And since when did a university degree seem somehow something of let down (and yes, I project)?
So I’m the family drug addict. I haven’t used any drugs (excepting alcohol) in months. And it’s been years since I used any regularly. I’ve been having all sorts of financial troubles lately, and have had to ask my parents for help. Which sucks. I caused myself all sorts of trouble by trying a million different ways of making ends meet before asking my parents. Nothing makes me feel like a frightened 5-year-old faster than asking my parents for anything. And now, whenever I talk to them, I have this owed money hovering over us, threatening to spill over into something real, something tangible. Which it won’t, because as I’ve said before, we don’t talk about things.
So I’m the family drug addict. Which is in a sense true. I think more than anyone else in my family, I have what is politely called ‘an addictive personality’. I’m easily obsessed with particular pastimes, be they chemical, or otherwise. Just ask Leah when I get a new computer game – I’m lost to her for weeks at a time, until I’ve worked out the obsession. And I don’t buy games that I’m not already obsessed about. This is also true in that I’ve been thinking more and more about using, like I haven’t in a long time. Nothing more than pot smoking, but as I’ve been stressed about things, I recall that sweet oblivion I could put myself into. The nights of smoking until I’m paralyzed. The rush of emotion, the swirl of thoughts that always accompanied a pull from the bong. It seems so easy. Lately, I’ve become addicted to television. I find myself using the same managing techniques that I’ve used for other things, rewarding myself for small tasks done with long bouts of staring at the screen. In opposition, creating archaic rules for when and how I can and cannot watch television. Which is a useful coping mechanism. If past practice holds true, I’ll fabricate so many rules that I will tire of the entire game, and television will no longer be an easy out – it’ll be the hard way, and I’ll move on to something else.
So I’m the family drug addict. And it hits close to the bone when I hear it. And it feeds my ingrained self-doubt and self-worth when relating to my family. And now it’s christmas and my Dad wants us to exchange presents, because ‘it is also important to try and put ourselves in Nanny’s shoes for whom gift-giving has been part of 86 Christmases, with many of the earlier ones by necessity involving token
presents because there was no money’, which I don’t buy, but won’t get into, because of well, we don’t talk about things. And you know what, Dad? I don’t feel christian – so christmas means nothing spiritually. I dislike this forced exchange of presents that has grown out of christmas, so that means nothing to me. I loved what we did last year, meeting up in Tahoe, not exchanging presents, just hanging out and being together. Do I like receiving presents? You bet! but would I be sad to not get any this christmas? Nope, not in the slightest. Although I really do like getting them for my birthday. But again, I’d take spending my birthday with family & friends over presents bought any day.
So I’m the family drug addict. Maybe I should buy my family some ecstasy, and then we can sit around all night and talk like we never do.