Sober With No Identity.

Yesterdays article started to dive into the who, the what, the where, and the how, in regards to my struggles for many years with many different inner demons.

But, against popular opinion, Sobriety is not all peaches and roses, no pink cloud, no 24/7 Natural Highs. You still need something else. And it’s something that’s gotta be all empowering. Something bigger than NA, bigger than AA, bigger then some medications from a Shrink. You need a certain kind of Identity. That Identity I had which as you read last night, was yanked away from me.

A blindside so heartbreaking, that It involved an attempted suicide. It opened a doorway to a hell that not me, nor anybody could have been prepared for. I sold my soul, and went looking for a new type of fast life.

There were 2 types of fast life in these Forks in the road at this time. There was the Volunteer Fire Department, volunteering as a Captain, and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, a true workaholic kind of fast life, making sure every spare moment was spent involved there.

Even when I wasn’t fighting fires, I was in someway, engaged in that life. Now, there is a second type of fast life. Most of us probably know where I’m going with this.

I just was fighting multiple battles inside. I needed an Identity. Now. Instant Gratification. I was filled with so much inside. Especially such a large amount of resentment. I was just robbed of a passion. I loved like no other.

Instantly, i no longer knew who I was. Or what my point was.

Not to sound silly, but it felt like I was a living version of one of those people you see on episodes of Twilight Zone. It was unreal. It didn’t happen. I had a strong sense of denial. The Attempted Suicide brought to light my first stint at actual medical diagnosis & care for this condition.

Officially diagnosed with Clinical Depression with Anxiety Component.

I got help. Some of it great. Got on some great medications, little to no side effects, still had that dream State Job. And all that didn’t help. I was so ill in the mind, that even with what I still had, i was still playing the sob story in my head, fighting with myself. So I began to look at it in a destructive way. It was now, cockiness, and arrogance that started to show.

Now my thinking started to be like this- “hey i have this great cushy job, a Union as powerful as God, I can do whatever I want. I ain't getting fired. Lets party even harder then ever, ill just take a vacation day, fake sick if need be, and blow almost my entire paycheck on party favors.

I fell into such a black hole.

Looking back, I’m ashamed of myself. I was no dummy. I was intelligent, I should had known better. But, the risk, was just too tempting. Used none of my internal strength to do the right thing.

I fucked up;

I began using Cocaine & Heroin. Knowing what I know now, sometimes, the quality wasn’t the best, which is probably why I am still alive, God willing. I did it everyday. Lunch breaks, bedtime, wake up time,

It was a vicious cycle of UP DOWN UP DOWN UP DOWN. Because scientifically, Cocaine is an upper, and Heroin is a downer. That equation also was Russian Roulette every single day, when it comes to my Heart, Brain, Respiratory System, etc etc. I guess I was just being me, the risk taker. I took risks fighting fires, riding on speeding firetrucks, so I was just taking risks the wrong way. This time, the risks I chose were reckless, and literally suicidal; in such a casual

Most experts will agree with me, when I say the drugs were just a way to numb feelings. But, I still do not believe I can pinpoint some type of reason why I was doing this. I had a wonderful childhood, raised by 2 great parents, great neighborhood, no abuse of any sorts.

At first, I did it for one reason, I loved the way it made me feel. I would say that around the 16th, 17th day in a row of using is when I began to wake up in the morning, a little sick, physically. But mentally, it was tenfold.

So damn strong. I would wake up, with alarms going off in my brain screaming “you need it you need it you need it.” Needed coke to wake up, with a dash of heroin to avoid shakes, nervousness, it was used to sort of stabilize very powerful cocaine. The quality began to get better. Therefore the danger potential multiplied.

Being in the city i lived in, it was easier to buy heroin or cocaine, then it was to buy a case of beer. For a while it was easy, I had money coming in, had a little bit set aside, so, I was Chasing death. Each morning I would wake up, and say to myself, and sometimes out loud- “oh my God, how am i waking up after last night/early this morning.”

I was a thief….. each day that I was able to awake, or“come to” was another day I had stolen from God. A runaway train, racing out of control, down a hill, at a mph immeasurable. All the train saw was darkness black as night.

Knowing that somewhere unknown, along the route was a Brick Wall a mile wide.

For God’s sake,

Where could I had possibly gone from there?



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Michael Patanella

Michael Patanella

Author, Publisher, and Editor. I cover mindfulness, mental health, addiction, sobriety, life, and spirituality among other things.