“Beware the Ides of March” the soothsayer warned. For that was the day that Caesar was to meet his end. He fell upon death with the aid of 23 stab wounds vengefully inflicted by his closest compatriots. “ ‘Et tu, Brute?” He explained as he took his last breath. (Just in case you didn’t, that means “and you Brutus?” Or in current terms, “really man, wtf?”)
With all the adventures that I’ve been developing to craft a better future for myself and my family these last few weeks/months/year, I’d nearly forgotten to look back and be thankful for how far things have come. My wife and I have cultivated a business that helps people to become healthier, happier, more successful selfs using essential oils (let me know if you want those things and we can make it that way for you too), my career as a hairdresser is struggling but is still filling my heart with joy every day, my kids are growing up to be amazing little humans and my writing is taking off again. This is the reality I know now and it covers the last up very well.
You see, the death of Caesar on March 15th may have been a Shakespearean tragedy but it was the death of something else entirely for me. In the last years predating the turn of the century I was not the man you see today. I was a shell of a person with very little conscience and very little future. The 23 stab wounds that closed Caesar’s door paled in comparison to the hundred, perhaps thousands of metaphorical wounds from the drugs I abused and alcohol I’d been using to stay hydrated.
And contrary to Caesar’s friends killing him, my friends were killing themselves. Falling on the same sword I was slowing lowering myself towards. As each one was polished off by the universal truth, the reality train that is coming right towards you, the always-the-case knowledge that drugs and alcohol can and often are fatal, I found myself calling the drugs my friends instead of calling people friends. It was just easier that way for me when people died. The drugs were reliable. They never left.
My beautiful wife reminded me this morning that today is March 15th, the day that 18 years ago I decided to stop doing drugs and turn my life around. I wouldn’t be who I am, in fact I’d probably be dead, if I hadn’t come to the choice to get clean. Early on it was hard and I spent a lot of time alone, constantly reminding myself that it had to be this way and the solitude was better than kicking the bucket. I struggled to find friends that didn’t have a habit and even after moving hours away from them I remained alone. It was years still before anyone really knew the truth about my addiction.
After writing Blooming Where Planted and showing my vulnerability to the world I felt a huge weight lifted. And even more so now with the inception of BecomingAdamSculnick.com (are you following this project of mine or just passively reading this post? Please consider a follow. I’d be honored) Still though I struggle to keep the thoughts of going back to my addiction at bay. It gets easier each year and having the support of my incredible bride, my closest friends and family has been indispensable to my healing. 18 years is a long time and I’ll have plenty more to celebrate. If you are struggling with addiction, you are not alone. I’m here for you, as are many more if you just make the choice to reach out.
It could very reasonably have been that I passed on from this world on the Ides of March, 2000. And perhaps part of me did. That shell of a person, that boy with no conscience, that vagrant, that addict who felt like and seemed predestined for failure left this world. Held in a shoebox, placed gently beside a small bag of weed, 25 pills or so, another little bag of cocaine and at least a dozen tabs of LSD, then dropped into the deepest edge of the C-14 canal across from my house.
Could that shoebox have killed a multitude of animal passerby’s who sampled its contents? Absolutely. Would their death have been an even greater symbolism of the loss I’d just experienced. Absolutely. Did this feel amazing and liberating. Absolutely not. I felt devastated. I felt a void. I felt like jumping into the alligator infested waters and swimming desperately to catch the sinking treasure.
In the end, the sun set on the 15th day of the 3rd month of the 2000th year AD and I was dead. And I was alive. I was both. I couldn’t explain the feeling then and 18 full rotations of the earth around the sun later, almost 2 decades of experience in literature later and I still don’t have words to properly explain that feeling that I still feel.
All I can think of is to look at the compatriots that tried to end my life on the ides of March and say with a voice struggling to find any remaining breath…
‘Et tu, addiction?