Lee wrote this after getting out of an inpatient facility, Van Dyke.

My Goals- What is my real goal?

So I again find myself in a heap of legal trouble. My parents don’t trust me as far as they can throw me, and as slippery as I have learned to become, they couldn’t get a hold of me to try. Meaghan doesn’t trust me, but what else is new? I have driven myself to the edge. I find that I am in a state of disbelief with it all. In fact, I do not truly know what my thoughts and feelings on this really are. Do I want to stop using drugs? Do I want to commit to a program of sober living? Or do I just want to beat the system? Do I really care to stay out of prison? I certainly do not like the idea, but a part of me would be alright with it. No, that is not accurate either. I WOULD be alright with it, if it weren’t for how it will affect my sweet kyleigh. No. I cannot go to prison, for far more reasons than that alone.

So the question is, what does truly matter to me? Does kyleigh’s life, her opinion of her daddy, her lasting memory of childhood… is it all worth it? Well, the obvious answer is a resounding YES! But to utter a word, even if one means it wholeheartedly, and to drastically alter one’s self… to change everything, down to the very core driving force of their entire adult life… those are two very different things.

I love my daughter more than words could possibly express, so I will not make an attempt at describing it. And it seems deeply ingrained in our culture for parents to loudly state that they value their children’s well-being over their own. That they would “take a bullet” any day, for their child. Well, sure. I would take a bullet for kyleigh any day. What a heroic legacy to leave behind, as you exit gracefully stage left! But again, a word is but a word. And when is the last time you heard of anyone in the real world being put into a circumstance where they are forced to choose a bullet’s landing point? My point is not that I wouldn’t choose my daughter’s well-being over my own. My point is that that argument, that wildly overused phrase, is shit. It means nothing. And it is not comparable to the situation I find myself in. This situation I have no doubt put myself in.

So where does this all leave us? Do I kill the boy, and let the man be born? Do I take whatever steps necessary to alleviate myself of all the mistrust? Or do I accept my position as the result of my poor choices? Do I accept who I am, as a concrete pillar of pride, regretting my mistakes, but decidedly banishing all who try to change me? Or do I submit? Do I allow loved ones and strangers alike to break my spirit, however misguided my spirit has become? Do I take on a mentor, and let a stranger mould me into their opinion of an acceptable member of society?

I do not defend my actions. I do not defend the way I have lived. I have not made a decision which I thought wise in a very long time. I have loved, and I have lost. I have gained, and I have given away. The person I have become is a calloused one. I am able to efficiently ignore my own regrets. But what does that gain me? Where is the product of my effort? In my life, I have not known mental exhaustion equal to that which I have endured as the result of the tireless calculating, planning, and scheming which was my everyday life as an addict. My efforts were almost never at the expense of others. They were simply necessary for me to exist. And it was fulfilling. I cannot put to words the relief that I felt when I knew that I would be able to stay off sick another week. The chase of the next high, that is what I lived for. How can I hold my life together, AND juggle my steadily growing habit? That question was my entire existence. And it was tiring, yes, but it was all so fulfilling, in a way that no one could ever understand, who has not lived the same. It gave me a purpose. And the purpose was selfish, yes. But it was also self-destructive. It was a give and take game. Work like hell, pay my taxes, pay my bills, be a good father, and then treat myself to some pure bliss. But undoubtedly, that bliss always becomes a literal hell to maintain. When the game grows tiresome, and I long for respite, what then? There is no rest for the wicked. The toiling on just continues, day in and day out. Week after week, month after month, I have strained myself, mentally and physically, only to keep my mind at ease. To keep the sickness at bay, that dire sickness which loomed closer and closer in the rearview. I knew I ought never to look back, even for a moment, for I was well aware that the sickness, that sickness which was ever gaining ground, was always right on my heels. Just one step behind me. Always there, just a few hours away, unless I do something about it.

Do I want out of that life? Yes, I do. But it is not a life easily left. In the days of real-life organized crime families, maybe they still exist, it was known that one does not simply step out of a life with the mafia. And that is the general consensus on drug addiction as well. It is generally accepted that a drug addict will continually relapse unless that addict prescribes himself or herself to an established program of recovery. But I have been in the rooms of AA and NA. I have participated in hundreds and hundreds of their meetings. I have read every word of their “holy text”, and I have wholeheartedly worked my way through their steps. And I cannot say that I have any faith in their program whatsoever.

The programs of AA and NA are based on the assumption that

Do I love my daughter? Yes. Do I love my family? Yes. Do I value my job, my parents, my freedom, my financial security? Of course, I do. But this is not a question of my love for my family, this is a question of my love for myself. Who I have become, through this dilemma, is a person whom I do consider strong in many ways (strength of willpower NOT being one of them).

Do I want to be a better person? Yes, I do. I want to be someone who people can be proud to know. I want to become financially stable, and more. I want to be wildly successful. Do I need to change my ways to accomplish these things? Absolutely yes. I simply can no longer maintain that juggle. Am I tired? Did I get lazy? I guess so. As my addict life went on, I now realize that I was slowly letting go of my willpower in exchange for the ability to keep the juggle going.

When it began, I was mentally strong. Maybe. I was smoking a lot of weed, I suppose. Was I drinking? Probably, I guess. I think I was doing DXM occasionally. It’s hard to remember. I know that I had a drawer full of it, that I had done it at least a handful of times, but I think that it was something I found I could not comfortably do regularly. Then the pills. Goddamn, those pills. Those were the goddamn start of it all. I knew when I felt that first Vicodin or was it codeine? Doesn’t matter now I guess. But I think it was just a Vicodin, for my cough. Did “this friend” give me it? Or “that friend”? Who knows? I don’t. It was over 17 months ago now. And what does it matter anyway? I wanted to take it. I remember honestly wanting it to reduce my cough, but also wanting that opiate feeling. I didn’t expect to feel it though. Not with that first pill. I remember planning on just swallowing it. But as soon as I saw it in my hand I knew I was going to bite it to crush it, so that it would all get absorbed quickly, my best chance of me feeling the effects. But I still didn’t think that it would really hit me. I didn’t think that I would be able to feel it.

But when I started using boy again, it was a conscious choice.