Welcome back to Endor. It’s been a few months since my last entry, proffered up to the fates for neither love nor money, and it’s good to be back. The decision to take my blog offline was tempered by shifting moods and an accoutrement of manic states. I left Facebook for the same reason. It was not a reactionist statement as some people have ventured; I just got tired of it. Social networking has its merit and I’d be a hypocrite to negate its virtues, but I think it takes a certain personality to do it without the uric acid reaching your head or antagonising somebody about something and getting into a tailspin about it. I opt out. Writing a blog is different; it feels more sincere. It’s like flowing with the sinuous cascade of an expression that is as natural to me as breathing is to you. Weaving words on a spindle is not unlike a song of larks carried softly over salt seas, until it reaches the summerlands beyond our guile or recollection. But I need no recollection of how good this feels, it is imbibed in my blood.
So what have I been up to? Well, in October I became the editor of a quarterly magazine about nature-based spirituality, cultural history and esoterica. It is taking up a lot of my time but I’ve been enjoying it tremendously. Other than that I’ve been busy with my job and a host of other personal engagements. One of them is finally letting go of a fifteen year old habit. I don’t wish to share the exact nature of the addiction, but suffice it to say that it is not an illegal narcotic, nor is it alcohol or nicotine. I have been able to function normally without displaying any outwardly perturbing symptoms but the damage it has done to my physical and mental wellbeing over the years has been serious. I have been abusing this “drug” to varying degrees of severity and consequence since 1998 and have never discussed it with anyone. Does it actually matter what it is? I don’t think so, a habit is a habit is a habit. The bottom line is that I have managed to kick it, and this has given me insurmountable strength.
I cannot tell you how empowering it feels to stare down an addition and realise that it no longer holds sway over your life. That you can chart your own journey without fuelling a gaping scream that only sophistry and ritual can end. Like an object devouring a subject until all light is extinguished, this is what addiction feels like. It doesn’t matter, truly, whether you are addicted to pills, booze, sex, food or gambling; the hold it has over you is tantamount to a death grip. So, how did I manage to triumph over the indomitable? I wish I could cite an epiphany, book or guru for this, because then at least I would have something tangible to refer back to when the void beckons and the urge to medicate overtakes; but the truth is rather wraithlike and uninspiring in its simplicity. I noticed that some of the physical effects of my addiction were probably irreparable and this scared the hell out of me. I did some research, realised that I was teetering close to the brink of medical intervention, and that was it. It was enough to break the spell.
I told you it was uninspiring.
But then life isn’t a Hollywood film. Sometimes all it takes is a few quiet moments of introspection and worlds collide. The fates intercede, decisions are made and lives are changed, forever. It has been a few weeks since my last “fix”, and while I’ve had a few moments of vacillation where I peered the great divide between victory and purgatory, I haven’t crossed it. I am—please allow me this cliché—a new person. Not changed. Do people ever really change? Like really change? I’m not convinced of that (in spite of what I say here). But stuff happens to us that sharpens our perspective and provides a monocle through which new horizons are glimpsed. And that’s when realisation hits; it is never too late to be what you might have been.
Meanwhile, back at the farm, life’s good. I’ve discovered French and German realism to balance my obsessive affinity with all things Dostoyevsky. I’m listening to a lot of 80s rock which is always a surefire sign that things are going well in my life. I’ve rekindled old friendships and made new ones. I’ve a brand new leather sofa and it kicks ass. I found my signature fragrance after years of two-timing Christian Dior with another Frenchman. I could regale you with plenty of other anecdotes, some commonplace and some less so, but the bottom line is that I’m back. And I’m here to stay.