Dear Brother

Abuse, Addiction, Anxiety, Assault, Life, Love, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Love, Sex

Leaving you to die was the hardest decision of my life. The night you called to tell me I broke your heart was the night I knew I could never keep you again. It was no easy feat, hurting you while you were already hurting, but you hadn’t cared about my pain in so long, how could I still carry yours? I chose you and you chose me, most days. Sometimes I wonder if we were family, or if you just needed someone to walk in the Underworld with you. For years I defended you, your heart was my own and no one dared cross you while I stood to your left. But how far we’ve fallen from the crowns we carried in the kingdom of our own creation, no longer rulers of the night.

We found ourselves before each other one morning that grew from the early hours, in the apartment of an older man gripping his youth by the neck. Although I had never been there before, it was a place I was no stranger to. Four years of living my life dancing with my favourite drug felt like an eternity from the sleep I ran from. I stood on one half of the island, demanding my respect from a man who had none for even himself, and from the other you rushed to my side. Arms raised, it was in that moment we felt a commonality, a kinship. We revered ourselves as holier than the demons we ran with. We were the angels, who sought to play in purgatory but we weren’t of it. Or so we thought.

As we grew together, so did the fire surrounding us. But we didn’t mind, we didn’t even notice. Convincing ourselves and each other that this inferno was our home, we lit the night alive. Melting every evening into the sun of the morning, and sometimes into the next. People from all around our lands came to revel in our glory. Your home became mine, and every line given was a handful of seeds ushering in the winter of my soul. We were the place where souls came to surrender, festivities and proclivities enjoyed that would make Dionysus flush. I eagerly burned beside you, brother, my brother. You held my hand in ways that no one had before, you never led me anywhere I didn’t want to go.

And when we fell in love, the other did too. Always welcoming in the new additions to our realm, cheshire grins wider than the open arms we held to receive our latest acolytes. Every foot set on our grounds was a prayer, a worship, a sacrifice to you and I and the life we had chosen. The life we had made, together. Sovereign side-by-side, we granted passage only to those who knelt before us both. Two Kings, never to be crossed, every war you fought was mine too. Whatever harm came to our hearts, the other was waiting and able to salve any wound. Even when you named her Queen, it wasn’t long before a long night found us packing up her belongings once we named her traitor. Over the years together I tried to fall in love as hard as I was falling for the drugs. My admirers who came to play only found the same ways to fail me as others did. They were never meant to last. I recall lying down in my room while you stayed up all night with the man of my heart. I awoke, choking on my own vomit, facedown on the floor. He had placed me back in bed and returned to you. We called the mutual demons within us love, but there was none there. No one could love each other in that place. And yet, I never had someone like you, someone who held me as their most prized possession. I needed you as much as you needed me. Only now can I see, maybe I used you as much as you used me.

My greatest cross from an old life appeared one night, the only being who could falter me, and I struggled to lift my sword. The soulless blue-eyes that haunted me from the year before. The being who drew down my shorts while I laid in a prescription-induced sleep, and took whatever he saw fit. But where I fell, there you were to lift me. Your arms clasped around mine, protecting me, guiding me, swinging and clashing where I failed to. Brother, my brother, at times you were my sole saviour. When I tried to retreat, you swore no harm to pass my gates. You would fall before you allowed me to. I was the only thing you ever loved, and you mine. I loved you because I could never love myself, and you allowed me to. My Knight of nights, both of us too afraid to lay in it alone, so we wrapped each other in the sapphire dark and called it home.

But the stars soon left our skies. Tried as I might to remain in the black, you would soon find me choking on mouthfuls of darkness. Convulsing, contorting, crooking my spine, the place I called home and hurtless began spitting me out. I could no longer stay there with you. There was a war in my bones, and you had no more allies to rescue me from it. I had to do it alone.

It was not without great resistance and pain that I let our life slip away. I tried to return to the kingdom, many a night, but the dark was no longer home to me. It was as if I had grown too tall for its ceilings and skies; there was no room for me there. You reached up for me many a time, never wanting to join me in the clouds – the inferno would always be of you. But then I fell. The fire will always grow if you stoke it. The scent of flames and brimstone called out to me, and the demons I caged beneath my ribs scratch their way from my skin. You welcomed me backed with open arms, the prodigal King had returned, and our world would once again turn. I think I ached to belong to something, someone, so much that when you started feeding me the things that made me sick, I eagerly ate them. You welcomed my downfall, if only to return me to you, brother. You ached the way I did. But I never wanted to stay. I tried to move between the skies and the pit, but the smoke that filled my lungs threatened to weigh me down. I was no pyre, my embers were fading fast, and instead I was searching for the tide that would pull me to shore.

One early morning you summoned me to the empire for aid. You were under attack and you knew I would save you, as I always did. As I always would. But when I arrived, I knew it was the beginning of the end and that your downfall would soon follow. The sun had set on your reign. I saw what living in the twilight had done to you, to your eyes, there was no life there, only despair. And as you held another’s in your hands, with no remorse in sight, eyes darker than the country we grew from, I knew this was nothing to fight. But save you I did, and her too. I never told you that part. What I saw that night tore me open, centrefold. I made the choice to save her life, but I always carried the guilt of the call placed to do so. I thought you would kill her. I knew you wouldn’t care. I tried to convince myself otherwise, and I moved you anyway I could. Not only for her, but for you. It was always for you.

It was only a few days later that another warning bell rang – you were no longer a king, but a prisoner of your own making. I tried to bring you home, to a new dynasty I had made, but you could not live there, I don’t think you knew how. And just as quickly as you arrived, you soon set your life in the shadows of the dusk. Brother, my brother, I searched and searched, but you were nowhere to be found. You knew we no longer spoke the same tongue. I think you were ashamed. I was too. Eventually, I had to close the door to our world, I could not keep it open for you any longer. My arms were tired, knees broken, and you could not find it in you to care. For the first time, I felt our love fade.

You were entrusted to me by the powers we seldom honoured in our life together. I pledged myself for you and you took it for granted. I finally saw a darkness I couldn’t breathe in. The drugs had consumed you completely, the person I promised everyone around us you never were came to surface. You showed up at my bar, and assaulted a girl I had known for years. You spun a different story before she had a chance to speak to me, and then you asked if I could pay for your beers while you ran out. Brother, my brother. You were no family of mine from that night. I made her wait until I finished work and took her home. I don’t even think you knew her name.

It took all of my tears, and all of my fears, to release you from my heart. You said you understood, but I knew that meant you would never forgive me. And I, you. Pulling your bail was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. Everyone who loved you told me I had to, for me. They all knew you didn’t love me more than yourself anymore, it makes me wonder if you ever did. While I thought you were protecting me all these years, I now think that perhaps I was a different type of prey to you. I gave you all my love, affection, and protection. I was your family, the one you never left. You feasted on everything I laid out for you, as did every man I had ever loved. But maybe I was too eager for a home to see, or care. I didn’t mind where we ran, as long as we ran there hand-in-hand.

Now you outrun everything. Now there is no fire in you, only night. If I could chase every sun from you, I would. But in truth, I pray it sets on you, if only to give you rest.

I’d rather see your nightfall, than your burnout.

The Worst Night of My Life

Addiction, Assault, Recovery

Before we get into this, just know, none of this is pretty. Nothing about this story is kind, or gentle, because they weren’t. And I’m working on the forgiving part.

My roommate and I threw a housewarming party. It was a fucking rager. We had easily over eighty people in our 1000+ square foot condo, complete with a stripper pole in the living room. Our new white shag rug, which we thought was a good idea, was destroyed within the hour, and we had dozens of bottles of alcohol in the house. Good thing I was sober, right? Wrong. My idea of sobriety then was not drinking, I thought it helped me control the amount of cocaine I was consuming – it didn’t. In theory, that may have worked when I first started using, but it did not last long. I hadn’t touched alcohol in a year, but it is no coincidence that the night I broke my perception of sobriety, I truly started spiralling.

Someone I believed to be a friend, which is akin to most of the people I used to surround myself with, was there that evening. Alleged-Friend we’ll call him, offered me some Xanax at one point in the party. I had never done it before, but like a good little addict, I was down for the high. He said it was really good with cocaine, and I should drink with it too. He was laying down on our once-white carpet, in his bright orange sweater, telling me it’ll be fun. I took it. I fell. At some point in the night, I vaguely remember walking into my kitchen, grabbing a bottle of champagne, and chugging it. My roommate was surprised to see that I was drinking since I was always so adamant about not.  I put my finger to my lips and gave her the “shh” sign. I was so out of my mind that seemed inconspicuous, right? Idiot.

When the party finally started winding down, at a casual 7am, I was standing around with Alleged-Friend, and a small group of people. Included in this group was an individual that would soon change my life. This person was (still is) a graffiti-artist-ex-con-wanna-be-tattoo-artist-piece-of shit. Alleged-Friend and the group decided they wanted to go to Piece-of-Shit’s house. He told me I needed to come, that we’d all hang out, there was more drugs, and he would make sure I made it home safely afterwards. So I went.

After that, the events leading up to my attack are blurred. I didn’t tell anyone about what happened to me that morning for almost a year after it happened. I felt responsible for what he did to me. I know I didn’t lead anyone on, but I went, I did their drugs, I learned – I should have stayed home.

I remember Alleged-Friend telling me he was leaving. I remember trying to reason with him to take me with him. I remember him telling me all the reasons why he couldn’t and how I needed to stay there and rest. I was so high. I was so confused. I knew he would be going past my area, and I still stayed. I don’t know why.

I remember telling Piece-of-Shit that if I stayed, nothing was happening. I remember him saying that was fine. I remember the feeling in my stomach that it wasn’t.

I remember waking up with my pants down being assaulted. I remember being terrified. I remember that I was told he had an unlicensed firearm under his bed. I remember thinking that if I didn’t stop him it could be worse, and even though I regretted everything up until that moment, maybe I could stop regretting the next.

I turned around, hit him in the face, and got out of the bed, shakily. I don’t remember if I grabbed all of my clothes that had somehow left my body. I don’t remember running down the stairs of this old apartment. I don’t even remember where it was.

I made it into a cab and called my roommate to let her know I was alive and coming home. I don’t remember much else.

Fast forward through a year of partying, I was at an art show with my best friend, and Steven (remember him? If not, better read that first blog post). I was making another failed attempt to be sober. I had made it one week and that’s when I saw him. Piece-of-Shit was there, smiling at me from across the room. I almost passed out when we locked eyes. My chest closed up, my legs gave out, and I was fighting the sickness in my stomach rapidly making its way to my throat. I ran outside. I was shaking, my voice trembling. I was fighting for any bit of air I could breathe into my newly collapsed lungs. I swear I could feel him on top of me again. So I did what I always did when I couldn’t stand the pain – I numbed. I started chugging wine at the bar, I started railing lines faster than they could be broken up. I didn’t want to do any of that but I knew I had to stop the pain.

Later on in the evening, I was speaking to a curator. That’s when Piece-of-Shit came up to me, grin and all, and had the disturbing confidence to ask me how I was. He called me babe, and said it’s been awhile. I looked him dead in the face, not wanting him to know I had stopped breathing half an hour ago, and told him to get the fuck away from me. I calmly turned back to the curator, who had an astounded look on her face, and I told her he had sexually assaulted me the previous year. She commended me on how well I handled it. Meanwhile, I had to end the conversation before I passed out.

My friends and I left, went to another party at APT 200, and of course, there he was. My bestie tried to confront him, but he denied everything. In fact, he said he had been texting with me the next day, and that I was reaching out to him. I could feel the sickness rising again. A fight broke out between one of his friends and me, and soon enough, everyone outside of the bar had been privy to the worst night of my life. Well, one of.

The next day, Piece-of-Shit had spoken with Alleged-Friend (I’m assuming), and they weren’t happy with my accusations. I soon found out that there were several photos taken of me from that night, photos I had no recollection of, and they were quickly posted on Instagram for the world to see. I felt assaulted all over again. I was so angry, sick, and hurt. I just could’t get away from this. I felt as if I was back in that room, I swear I could feel his breath on the back of my neck. My skin turned so cold I thought my neck would snap. I was horrified at how much worse it could get.

So I did what I did best – I numbed.

I got so high, I started reaching out to people on the wrong side of this life. Soon enough, I found someone willing to bring me a gun. I wanted to shoot him, and I didn’t care who knew or saw. I just knew I needed him dead by my own hands. Even writing this now, not killing him still feels like a great regret of my life. And I can’t believe that individual has changed me into this person. I was fortunate enough to have someone talk me down from a life-changing moment. A friend of mine came over, told me the choice was mine, but to speak to him about what happened, to give it an hour. If in an hour that’s what I still wanted, it would be done.

I backed down. They talked me off the ledge I was about to throw myself off of. Ruining my life would only give him more power over me. He wasn’t worth it. He still isn’t.

I’ve run into this individual a handful of times over the past two years. Normally, I have him removed from wherever I am. Just the other day however, I made the mistake of walking into his workplace. I didn’t know he was there, and when he turned to face me, there it was again. The grin. His face. The sickness. He said five words to me and I turned and ran. I had a panic attacked outside the shop. This entire post was sparked by this moment. I have never dealt with this sober. I had nothing to numb me, I had nowhere to hide. I had to go through it, and overcome the sickness, with just me. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a recovering addict. I went to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting that same evening, and when I decided I wanted to share about my experience that day, I couldn’t. I completely broke down, I started shaking, and crying. I couldn’t handle my feelings towards the situation that was so far behind me, and I hated that this nothing of a person still had this power over me. I spent days in depression over this. It took all my strength not to step in front of a streetcar that night, or turn my arm into mincemeat. I felt like I was a kid again, going through my first depressive episode. All I wanted to do was hurt myself more, or end it all.

I showed someone the first half of this post, and they asked me, where is this going now? To be honest, I think I needed the therapy of writing and sharing this. This is how I heal myself, or at least try to. The hard part is over, the nightmare is done; the trauma, and the re-traumatizing. Where I think this is going, is a platform to share and show you, that bad things can happen, and you can talk about them. You can share them, and most importantly, you can come back from those dark places.

I was attacked, and when I confronted my attacker I was targeted by the same people who caused me harm. I could have killed someone. Worse off, I wanted to kill someone.

Being sober now, and working on shining the light onto the parts of myself I hate to look at, allows me to see how far I’ve come. Working through all those emotions without drugs was (and continues to be) incredibly difficult, but it is the worst of it and it too shall pass. I have to believe that the darkness from others isn’t my own, that their actions are not mine. That maybe I am better than that.

I guess these moments are the “oh no’s” that have shaped me.
And in my grave mistakes, I only hope there is a lesson for you and for me.

Thank you for letting me share.