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  • Writer's pictureeschaden

Rearranging Chairs on the Titanic...

Does life ever feel this way to you?  I mean we all have a death sentence, and in the cruelest and most blessed way, we never know when exactly we shall be hauled off to the other side.


I have been struck lately, and it does in fact, feel like a striking, with this idea that I my actions are pretty futile.  I mean, like everything I do is really just an outgrowth of addictive pallor.  That I think I am making progress, but really, I am just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.  I am going down, for sure, but I have enough time to take completely useless action to make me feel like I am doing something productive...


And I think this just might be how life with addiction works.  I mean, I don’t know any addicts, not a single one that doesn’t engage with life still in an addictive manner.  I mean, we all like to tell ourselves that we are better, different, managing our shit but in reality we are all just rearranging the fucking chairs and deluding ourselves into believing we are taking productive action.


And sometimes this is what life feels like to me...a whole bunch of futile strategies and actions to distract me from the reality that we all want to escape which is that life is fleeting...and just by writing that I almost convinced myself that it would be ok for me to order some new clothes from that high end designer in Germany...I mean, it is like I use death’s ultimate reality as some sort of excuse to make me re-engage in thoughts, feelings and behaviors I put down, even momentarily.


Death’s pending acts as some sort of catalyst for addiction.  Like we are always running against it, like we believe in some way we can out run it, like somehow we can rearrange life to suit us so that we can cheat death.  When in reality, all of our addictiveness only pushes us closer to the metaphorical death as well as the literal one.


I am not saying that all action taken in this life is unproductive and worthless...I am saying that I am getting a new lesson in the pathetic and useless efforts I seem to deploy to do a better job at living. I mean, so much of what I do feels meaningless right now.  And I can’t even really tell you why. I keep doing the things, but there is a level of pointlessness to everything I do or say.


And sometimes, my addictions are all that feel like they have a point.  They are the things that light me up and make me feel alive.  And I have noticed that I when I stop doing a couple, new ones sprout up where the old ones ceased.  Last night I sat on the couch for hours listening to my book and playing mindless games on my phone.  For HOURS!  I mean, it is a really good book, but the mindless game playing?  Where did that fucking come from? I even went to a meeting...but there I was fully engaged in addictive behavior once more.


Now, I can see, that reading and playing mindless internet games that do not cost me any money, is relatively low on the self destructive scale. But there are so many other things I could have been doing.  Talking to my daughter, going to bed earlier, yoga.  But that was not what I wanted to do, it was like I wanted to collapse into things that made me feel better and last night it was reading and internet games.


I wish it would be yoga, or sleep but nope, not last night anyway.

And that is how addiction feels to me now, inevitable.  And even with this demanding and stressful addictive filter over everything I do, think or say, it still feels like I will never get out from under them, but I still feel like I have to continue to try. 


I realized that perhaps I will just be the crazed person rearranging the deck chairs while all of the humanity that surrounds me is going down with the ship, but that is all I can do to make myself feel better as it is happening.  Like perhaps somehow addiction is the way that I check out of a life that I just do not know how to live.  Addictive behavior is all I have to offer.  Sometimes it is productive, you should see how much heavy shit I can lift at the gym but other times, I am just madly moving furniture around in the hopes that all this manic and wildly addictive behavior will save me, mostly from myself.


I am not sure whoever thought I should be in charge of my life.  Really, I should have constant adult supervision.  Wait, I am an adult, but I can tell you that every single day of my life, I feel 13.  I cannot for the life of me, wake up and feel like a grown ass woman with a mortgage, kids, a career and cars.  I wake up every day and feel like a petulant teen who doesn’t want to do shit but lie in bed, sleep and have someone else cater to my needs and take care of me.


So while I may feel like a teen, I live a very adult life (no, not that kind of adult life...dammit!  Kidding, sort of).  I mean, I pay my bills, I clean the shit, I take care of all the beings that depend upon me not staying bed all day, every day.  I do the work, because I want to continue to get paid and I do not want to let my co-workers and clients down.  I do the adult stuff (the un-fun adult stuff) daily and somehow overcome this truculent teen that continues to possess my body, mind and spirit.


Perhaps this whole new line of thought will lead me to life with new meaning and purpose.  Perhaps it won’t.  Regardless, I can feel things changing inside me, being able and willing to deal with and alter the way I show up for all this life of mine.  And the older I get, the more I see and feel like I understand those who out live everyone important to them: all their contemporaries and family and friends.  And begin to see that sometimes having so much life is not really a blessing.  And this is something that we, who are privilege to still be here, healthy and able to show up, must grapple with how much of this whole life thing we waste in pursuit of things and people that do nothing to really enrich our lives or the lives of others, but instead just take up all this space and time that we do not know what to do with...perhaps that is the addict’s real dilemma...we just don’t know how to live.  And so we invent all these distractive pathologies in order to soak up time that we just cannot seem to fill.


Time has always seemed in short supply to me, and at the very same time, sometimes I feel like I have way too much of it.  And my everyday is just chalked to the brim with trying to figure how to keep myself busy enough to not go mad, and not so busy that I am mad without my knowledge or permission.


Maybe none of this makes any sense...if you are not an addict.  Perhaps what normal people experience is just something that I can and never will be able to understand.  Perhaps my lot in life is to try to describe how life feels to someone who is afflicted with the constant and unremitting need for MORE.


Well, so it would appear, I am doing my best to chronicle this, to share what it is like, what it feels like, what it is to live with a mind that tells you all kinds of things that are not completely true.  And that you can go decades in it and not see it.  And then one day, without warning or sometimes even a dramatic cause, you see yourself and all your addictive behavior in a new light and a greater and more life affirming truth is able to land in places where there was no surface that could support that landing just prior.


I don’t know if I am making progress or if I am just revisiting my own dysfunction in real time.  Perhaps all my days really are just me rearranging shit while the ship goes down, but maybe, fuck perhaps it might be possible that in all this frantic energy that I spend attempting to organize and control the unorganizable and uncontrollable, I learn more about what it is to be human, and present and here...again, still.




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