Borderline Affairs Sample – “Rush”


This is a second poem included in my book “Borderline Affairs.” I will continue to release occasional samples, although I am restricted from releasing the full manuscript. If you like what you see, please consider a purchase of the paperback or ebook format on Amazon, just search for “Borderline Affairs: A Memoir.” I hope you enjoy!

———

Feel the rush
Feel the blush, of happiness
Feel spun
Feel one, with nature, with your body, with your fellow man
Feel damned

Salvation lies, it would appear, in the bottom of a bottle of pills
Feel the chill
Fed to Hell
But that Salvation was not mine to have

Where do I turn for a savior?
Where is my god?

Flicker of flame, shadows in the dark
Rolling, bowling, watching shit arc
In the glass pipe, crystal clear,
Smoking, slowly, now faster, now breathe, inhale, take in the rush
Don’t let go til you’re full
Let your mind wander, crazy, tripping
Tweaking
Poring over every detail, every line, every lie

My god, my salvation, is not in pills
It is in these rocks of glass, shattered, before me, ice, blue, chill,
These are my poison pills

And when they go down, they go down easy
Feel the rush
Just a crush
That takes me to a whole new world, spinning, soaring, up above the clouds,
So high
So fine
All that, is mine

But when the time comes, I fall,crashing, slamming my head against the rocks below, racing towards the cascading water, ready to suck me in
This is my sin

But I’ll take it, anyday, over that other life you promise, over that other God you worship, over those verses selling sin, not salvation
I’ll take my chances, thanks

I’ll take my baggie and my pipe
And the clouds surrounding me, embracing me, comforting me

Up high, there is no lie, everything is fine, and we go higher, and higher, reaching towards the sun, breathing deeply, exhaling and exalting at the bliss, oh what I wish, it all would stay forever

Keep me, I pray, in the clouds above
Feel the rush
Feel the happiness
Feel spun, at one, at peace, with yourself
This, you see, is my new love

No poison pills
Elixir of life instead
This time, better off in my head, than dead
And I sit, spinning, waiting for my rocket to come
With all this, be done
Rejoice in the sun
Where we all are becoming one

Borderline Affairs – Sample


For those of you who have not kept up with my blog over the years, I am going to repost a select few entries. Due to licensing restrictions, I am unable to repost my entire blog, but I encourage you, if you are interested, to go to Amazon and look up “Border Affairs: A Memoir,” as I have collected the posted entries and put them into book format. I would be honored by your purchase. I believe anyone suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, or those whom are affected by it, need to know they’re not alone, that others have gone down their path, and others, such as I, have survived. The stories are traumatic, but they were my reality, and this blog was my escape. Below, I am reposting “Gone Boy,” which captures the agony of my affair both with love and drugs. Life hurts, sometimes, and sometimes it kills. I’m here to show you that no after how bad your problems, you are not alone, and there is hope. I hope you find that hope before it’s too late.

Gone Boy

Hello, are you there?
Cause I see in your eyes that you don’t care
All I’m asking is that you treat me fair
Do you dare?

Because,
I came to you in my hour of need
Looking, longing for a love between
I had to have you, don’t you see?
Abandoned, I threw myself at your mercy, made it your choice to take me or leave me
But I couldn’t just let myself be
There was no choice, no other way
I needed you that day

But – I see this now – there was something you needed too
There was something that you needed me to do
You needed a warm body by your side
You needed a person to put yourself inside
You needed to own me, even if I would die
Even better if you could make me cry
You knew I wasn’t strong enough to say goodbye

So when I asked for your love, you said yes
Let me guess
Was it because you knew all along? Did you need to make yourself feel strong?
What was it that you felt, in those days long gone?
What did you want from me, to sing you a fucking lullaby song?
Or just be a body that you could piss on

My beating heart I gave to you
My body I gave up for you
But you cursed it all
You saw me as nothing but a rag doll, while I was curled up into a ball, for you to give your all, please just let me fall, so I can heed the call, break down the wall, walk that long hall to heaven, or am I now doomed to hell?
My loving heart, you mangled
My virgin soul, you strangled
I felt betrayed, my innocence destroyed
Because while I lay there crying, lay there dying, you were with some other boy
To you I was nothing but a toy, molded by your hands into a puppet with which you could play
That was my bleeding heart you mangled that day
This toy is a real boy, but you’ll never care, you’ll never dare, to see me as a man, as an equal, oh that’s rich
You just see me as your bitch
You’d rather see me dead, hitched to a hearse that drags me into a ditch

I’ve cried all my tears
You’ve ruined so many years
Never to be lived again
Why did you beat me?
Why did you need me?
You needed a priest, to confess all your sins
All that evil you held within
Even an exorcism couldn’t rob you of the devil you possessed
You were a monster, to me and all the rest
So many souls wounded, scattered to the dark, far corners of the earth, not that it matters
No one left to show them mercy
No one left to show them love
Like me, the only solace can come from above
Where there is no God
The battle between good and evil is done, so it was said
It must have been, because you left me for dead
All those nights that I shared your bed
All for naught, just when I thought that we would be wed
Oh you played vicious games with my head

I was such a fool, late to come around
You let me down
In a high stakes game of risk
All you wanted was my dick
But I gave to you my all
My mind, my soul, my body, those things you treated like a doll
Barren, battered and abused
Because of you I was completely subdued

And I was dead inside
You lacked the decency to even bury me alive, wide eyed, watching the world pass me by
I was dying, didn’t you see?
You fucked with my head, kept me chained to that bed
Words of contempt were all I was fed
I loved you, but I couldn’t get through to you,
I was a stranger to you
You, who fucked around with so many men,
You, who beat me nightly, calling me the whore
Oh, no more
I gave you my all
I’ve paid my damn fee
Just let me be

I wasn’t the whore you said I was
No it was you who was the whore, renting me out like a pimp does
to the girls he sees as flesh, not human, just a name upon which he could claim his fame (and his fee)
As long as the clients came
As long as his girls came (oh honey, they could play that game)
He would mark his name
On each breast, sealing his ownership
Of those pieces of filth upon which he exists
Worse than him, though, you weren’t content until I was writhing in pain
Suffering the agony of the cross in silence, my body being maimed
Fuck you, oh so righteous
Putting me in my place
Throwing salt on my wounds and in my face
Cutting me open, just to see my blood
Just to enjoy that agony, just to release those black doves
To know that you made me, you saved me, you loved me, you cursed me
Oh couldn’t you see?
I just wanted to live a life that was ours
Carefree, having fun, making love under the moon and the light of the stars

I let you fuck me anytime
Because I thought you were mine
I didn’t know you had so many others
I didn’t know you’d whore me out, just like you did your mother
All the times that I felt pain
All the blood and tears shed in my name
All the times I cried out for help, just a little whelp
Suffering
Suffocating
You said I’d be fine
You used me like a whore at a five-and-dime
But, oh God, even if I could take back time, I’d still make you mine, I’d still like to dine, enjoy fine wine, pretend that our love still exists, just for a bit

But now I’m not fine, no, I’m not
But fuck it, I’m all that I’ve got
I know you don’t care whether I make it or not
But I survived without you, so go to hell
I clawed my way out from under your spell
My dignity had long ago died
But my spirit always survived
I knew I could, and I knew I would, escape you somehow, someday, some way
Your brutal fists, even in the light of day
Your cruel words, tossed out like you were pitching hay
What were you thinking,
All those times that we fought?
What were you doing with that flesh that you got?
But you couldn’t put out the fire on my heart, it burns red hot
Burning me, burning you, burning the mirage of an image that we’re not
We’re not a model couple, God help me if we are
You’re nothing but a drunk, stumbling home from the bar
This time, you’ve gone too far

How could love be so cruel?, I want to know
How come black ravens ravished the garden where red roses were supposed to grow?
You never wanted me, no, you needed me
Like a sock puppet you could play with at will
Like a whore you could abuse without regret, never paying the bill
You became a monster, not the man that I met
Back in the day, when our lives were gay, and I had my heart set

And so I gave myself
And now I’m running to save myself
Life goes on, they say, even when you’re gone
Oh I hope you’re gone
There’s room in that ditch for you too
Now you know what it’s like to kill yourself, don’t you
I hope you enjoy being six feet under, I’m not jealous of the view
See you in the life hereafter, my boo

So I will go on
And I will be strong
I don’t know if life is worth living
But I wasn’t going to die for you
I’ll find out for myself what life is all about, of that I have no doubt
I’ll think of you, but I won’t pray for you
In my heart, you’re already gone

Borderline Affairs


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My book, Borderline Affairs, is now available on Amazon. I’d love to see it in stores – please ask your local independent bookseller to stock it!

This book, a self-published diary composed of a series of vignettes, takes the reader down an emotional, turbulent path through three years of my struggle with my diagnosis. Multiple suicide attempts, multiple overdoses, multiple doctors, multiple hospitals, multiple lives – these are the mathematics that comprised my life as a person with borderline personality disorder. The diagnosis evades definition, it can only be understood through the lens of time. That is why I offer up my diary for public consumption, so that the time line can be seen, and, perhaps, better understood.

When I was first diagnosed, and for a long period after, perhaps even to this day, I felt alone, isolated and scared. No one understood. Why would I try to kill myself? It scared people. I lost most of my friends, and making and maintaining friendships is a challenge to this day. I love too easily, but I lose too easily. There is nothing but fleeting affairs. There is no wizard behind this curtain, just a blank page on which I’m trying to write a new life.

If you or someone you know struggles with borderline personality disorder, please buy this book for yourself or for them. I struggled alone, but you don’t have to face this by yourself as well. I don’t offer hope, inspiration or cures; instead, I provide you with an element of solidarity, of compassion and of understanding. To feel alone is one of the worst feelings a person may feel. To believe you are alone is one of the scariest beliefs. But to hear from a fellow sufferer, to know you’re not alone, that can be the relief that is so desperately needed. Just knowing may be enough. I hope it can help. It would have helped me. Maybe it can help you.

If you have a copy of my book, please leave a short review on Amazon. I would sincerely appreciate the feedback. You may, of course, also contact me directly at rehn.kirk@gmail.com or by replying to this post. I take all comments very seriously and am open to any discussions.

Borderline Affairs is free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. A portion of the book has also been made available free of charge through the “preview” option on Amazon. Book pricing is, I believe, quite reasonable, and the book is available in ebook or paperback format to fit your needs and/or your budget. Please consider a purchase if you enjoy the material. Your purchase helps me reach out to local groups and therapists that could benefit. I would be honored if you would also share this with your local support groups.

I strive always to be a better version of who I am. For so long I struggled to be someone else, someone that others would like. I lost myself in the process. I still don’t know who I am, but I know it’s time to find me, for me, and not be the person that changes in each situation, but that is stable, respectable and likeable for me, for who I truly am and for the values I truly hold.

It is with great humility and gratitude that I present my diary to the public. My only hope is that someone, somewhere, at some point in time, will find this book and decide that suicide isn’t necessary, that others have felt what they feel and that survival is an option. It is for that person that this book was published. May you find happiness and joy as you stumble through this journey we call life.

Cheers,

Kirk Rehn

Funding, Pt II


I need your assistance in making this project a reality. I have sold a small number of books already, which is good news. I also have been shown over 12k times on Google’s AdWords network, with several hundred clicks. These clicks cost me money, and they’re not necessarily translating into immediate sales. I’ve done marketing before, and I know it takes money to make money. I’m not here to make money. I’m here to reach an audience that needs to hear they’re not alone, that their struggles aren’t in vain, that suicide isn’t the only way out. It, apparently, takes money for this purpose too. So, unfortunately, I’m going to keep asking for donations until I decide that I have enough to proceed or I give up and realize that no one cares. Please tell me this has not all been in vain. Remember, there’s prizes attached to the donations, so check them out! You can donate here or you can purchase the book here. Every dollar goes a long way. Do the right thing, not just for me, but for the mental health community, and help provide a valuable resource to the neediest of patients.

With love and gratitude,

Kirk

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Book cover

Funding

Status


Guys, I need your help to make this project a reality. I have started a gofundme account to help offset marketing costs. In particular, this money will be used to buy Google AdWords impressions, postage and printing foresters to booksellers, flyers, business cards and the upfront costs of supplying consignment copies. I strongly believe that thirty is a niche market of borderline sufferers desperate for inspiration and hope from fellow sufferers, not just a clinical perspective. I especially believe that many mental health practitioners could benefit from the inside knowledge. Too many borderline cases go undiagnosed, and those that are often go under treated, often due to stigma and lack of knowledge. I can help stem that problem, with your assistance. Please donate today at gofundme with any amount you can afford. Lives depend on it. With a donation at or above $35.00 I am supplying a complimentary signed paperback copy of my book as a token of appreciation.

Please consider a donation in any amount today so I can continue marketing my book and come ever closer to reaching my target market. I know you and I, together, can save lives. Let’s make that a reality.

http://www.gofund.me/borderline

GoFundMe


Hey guys, I need some help in marketing my work. I strongly believe there is a niche market for books on borderline personality disorder – in fact, up to 8% of the US population has the disorder, although most go undiagnosed. I want to reach this market and let my fellow sufferers know they are not alone. My story is that of survival, despite all odds.

Please consider contributing any amount at gofundme. I am using this money to promote my work using Google AdWords, to send consignment copies to local retailers and booksellers, to pay for flyers and other promotional material and to pay for postage. It is critically important that you help at this early stage in order to make this dream a reality!

As a bonus, anyone who contributes $35.00 or more will receive a free, signed copy of my paperback version of the book.

Once again, you can donate at gofund.me/borderline. Save a life today with the help of your contributions!

Taking down my blog :(


Sadly, as part of my publishing experience, Amazon requires that content I make available for purchase cannot be freely given away anywhere else, including my own blog or website. I’ve left as many posts as possible online, but I’ve had to make “private” anything that’s in my book. I wish I was able to offer discounts to my blog followers, because you’ve meant so much to me over these years (if I figure out a way to do so, you’ll be the first to know!) Many of you are also struggling with mental health issues, or drug abuse issues. Many of you know someone who is, even if you yourself don’t have these issues. Either way, I hope I’ve been able and will be able to provide a much-needed perspective – the perspective of the person living and struggling with these diseases. There’s a lot of clinical books out on how to “handle” and “deal with” people like me. I don’t want to be “handled.” I want to be loved. I hope my works show the suffering that takes place daily in the the lives of people living with these diseases. But, I also want my works to show that there is hope. Yes, I still suffer from borderline personality. Yes, I’m still an active drug user. But you know what? I’m alive. I have to repeat that. I’m alive. You have no idea how important that is, how unlikely that is, and how precious that is. I attempted suicide 14 times. I lived on the streets for years. I’ve struggled so hard to end this life that I forgot to struggle to see the beauty of life instead. No, my book doesn’t provide much hope, because I don’t see a lot of hope. But, I’m alive. That’s more than I’ve been able to say before. And maybe, with each passing day, I’ll come to appreciate life more, and find more reasons to go on. And that’s why I write. To show that I’m not alone and you’re not alone, that there is a shared human experience, that that experience may be awful sometimes, but that others have endured, and so can you, and so can I. That’s my message.

Until Amazon lets me re-enable my blog, you can find my book “Borderline Affairs: A Memoir” on Amazon by searching for the title or under the topic of borderline personality and self-help/mood disorders category. I’m not trying this out make a ton of money off this. I just want to spread to a wider audience and maybe reach someone that really needs to be reached. That said, the book is only $3.49 on Kindle, or $9.99 in print. And you get to see my beautiful photoshop cover art! I appreciate any interest, and I remain available on my blog. I want to hear from you. And I’ll keep posting updated entries.

Much love,

Kirk Rehn

Amazon Kindle book link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PE7QMNI

Now available!


Hey loyal readers (and some not-so-loyal ones), I did it! I published my blog, revised, edited and updated, in ebook format and print edition. The ebook format is available NOW at Amazon. The print edition will be linked up shortly, check back if you’re interested. While I realize much of the book is drawn from my free blog entries, there is new and revised content, and for a couple bucks you can show your support, not just for me, but for people everywhere suffering from borderline personality, depression, addiction, and those actively suicidal. These are the people that need to see they’re not alone. If your loved ones, family, relatives or friends, or just that strange girl in class, are suffering from similar problems, please take the opportunity to read my book. I don’t offer any advice, I don’t even offer any hope.. But I do offer a much needed perspective: a first-person account. Too many people struggle alone. Too many think suicide is the only option. Too many turn to drugs to drown out their problems. I know, because when I searched for support when I was first diagnosed, there was none to be had. Borderline personality may well be the ultimate silent killer…. Not all signs are visible, until suicide occurs, and everyone wonders why that happened. When I was diagnosed, at 25, I was told most people with borderline personality don’t live past 30. It’s not because the disease is terminal. It’s because the suicide rate is so high, and the proportion of attempts that result in actual death are higher than for any other recognized disease. Worse, many more suicides are committed out of anger, to “get back” at someone, to “make them hurt.” I should know. Some of my most lethal attempts were not when I actually wanted to end my life; instead, they occurred when I was angry at how someone treated me, and I wanted revenge. What better way to get back at someone than to say their actions caused death? What better way than to force them to live their lives knowing they’ve effectively committed murder? The allure of suicidality is strong, and it remains strong in me to this day. If you suffer with borderline personality, I know your pain. Doctors, as much as they care, don’t really know. And certainly no one seems understands. So you need to know that, despite your differences from those around you, there are others living your life, sharing your struggles, and they actually understand you, your thoughts and why you do what you do. It’s no surprise that drug use is rampant in the community. It’s no surprise that the suicide rate is so high. People in pain will do anything to alleviate it. This isn’t the kind of pain for which painkillers work. What’s needed is to cauterize a few emotions and excise a few demons. Only drugs and death can do that.

But I’ve survived, despite all odds. I’m 31 now. I made it farther than anyone thought I would. And I’m still going. I still suffer, I still fear abandonment, I still lash out at others who are simply trying to help, I still abuse drugs and I’m still actively suicidal…. But I’m alive, and some days, that’s a real blessing, to have suffered so much but lived on to see the beauty in some of the simolest things, breathe the fresh air, and know that the struggle is not in vain. Someday, I hope to actually want to live,  not just be propelled along like a piece of broken down machinery. Until then, I find joy in small things, little reasons to be alive, and I hope and know that list will keep on growing until I see beauty everywhere. Borderline see only black and white. I’m learning to see shades of grey. Someday, I hope I can see color. I know it will be beautiful.

In this book, as in my blog, I offer no judgment for any life choices. Many of you may have been judged for who you are and what you do. Take comfort in this book, knowing that I won’t judge. I hope you write to me, I’m keeping this blog active, I want to know if anyone finds comfort in hearing their story told by another, in hearing their unique problems aren’t so unique. I don’t support twelve step groups, but I can’t understate the importance of knowing there are others like you. I remember when I first found that out, at a Crystal Meth Anonymous meeting. Like I said, I don’t support the AA group of programs, but, for the first time in my entire life, I heard someone, and then someone else, and then yet another, tell a story that matched mine so exactly, it really creeped me out. I broke down and cried in that meeting. There’s nothing more isolating and terrifying than feeling like your experiences are unique. While we are all unique people, we share certain common experiences, and respond in similar ways to similar stressors. I was ready to die because no one understood. Then, I found people that did, and suddenly I didn’t need to die anymore. It’s not so simple as that, but it is as simple as sharing your story and hoping it falls on the ears of someone in desperate need of support, someone so isolated, someone so abandoned, that drugs and death are the only way out. Like I said, I’m not offering much hope in this book,  but there is underlying hope, that despite my suicide attempts, despite my drug addictions, despite my homelessness, I survived. And you can too. Please, for my sake, please do survive. Only time will tell whether survival is worth it, but if you die you’ve cut short the opportunity to discover life’s beauty. I know it exists. Together, we can find it.

Please support me and my fellow sufferers, family and caretakers of sufferers, and their friends… Discover for yourself what it’s like inside the mind of borderline personality, and maybe you’ll find some nugget of hope, or wisdom, or understanding, that just may save a life.

The ebook is priced at $3.49, the paperback print version will be priced at $9.99. I did my own cover art, that alone is worth the price!

I need to know that my sacrifices, my efforts over the years have not gone in vain. I appreciate your purchase and I welcome your comments or questions. I’m here for you. I believe in you. You’re worth it.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PE7QMNI

City by the Bay


Put on my game face, say hello to another day
Plaster on a smile, say hey
To the man on the street, pissing his life away
Wait, that’s me, I’ve fallen a long way
All I’ve got to say
Is
Just make it another day, in the City by the Bay

Cause I’m not ok, no
Forlorn and alone
Supplicate myself to the one who knows
Cause on the other side, the grass grows
Greener
So I’ve been told

Am I too old?

Life passed me by, a train in the dark
Fuck that, I live my life on a lark
On pins and needles, dodging dogs that bark
But the one thing hurting is my heart

Where is the kid I once was?
Covered in blood

What happened to my youth?
Taken away, in a coup
My darkness overtaking my life
Dooming me to nothing but a life of strife
Of bloodshed, of dying, yeah, that’s right

I am greater than death, so it seems
To my body, I’m nothing but mean
Reflecting the world, reckless in greed
And bloodlust
Ravaging my soul, digging a hole
To throw my body in
Just another day on the dole

Death, please take me! I pray in suffering
But vengeful Death wants more suffering
Throwing myself on the floor, outside his door, supplicating
Please, end the suffering!

I’ve seen too much
Seen the secrets of death and such
Is not meant to be known to mere mortals,
I’ve seen the darkness of hell
Right where I fell
Comatose, at the place I dwell

What can I say? It’s just another fucking day
Plaster on my smile, say hey
To myself, on the streets, pissing my life away
No one left to inveigh for a better today
No one to care at all
So I fall
Drifting down to hell, I whisper the secrets that I’m not meant to tell

The grass is greener on the other side

Come with me, throw all your cares away
Far, far away
Jump, leap, dash, run, hurry the hole to hell is closing up
Don’t be a sitting duck
We are the survivors of this mortal earth
Take us down into the dirt
And cover us with green, green grass

Cause I’m not ok, no
But no one’s left to care
No one gives a damn to dare
To wish on a young boy, let his life be shared
Let his life be saved
So that you may
Count him among your blessings
One saved, today

Sweet hell
Here I come
Riding the crystal fairy down the abyss
There’s not a thing that I’ll miss
Forgive me dear world,
But you’ve done this to me
Depression, drugs, now death
What’s left?
Have you no pity, no sorrow, no fear or knowledge of what’s best?
Condemn me while waltzing away to the door
That smile plastered on my face, covering up a sophisticated whore
Dance with me
Just once more

#mylifematters Part VIII


Three little words changed my life, forever. You’d think that, just coming off a suicide spree, as I’ve affectionately named the preceding portion of my life, one would naturally turn to larger questions: What is life? What is the meaning of life? Why have I been chosen to live life, instead of succumbing to death? Any of these questions would be perfectly rational. Prisoners have converted for lesser sins. But I’m a proud atheist. Decoding that, actually, was the first moment of freedom I’d ever felt in my entire life. I was no longer in bondage, no longer a slave, no longer subordinate, no longer living in fear, no longer praying so many unanswered prayers, no more religion, with all its trappings that just cover up what it’s all about: profiting off fear, easing the masses, making social policy the role of the church, not the government. All of these churches have successfully done for millenia. The Catholic Church, especially, so enduring an institution, one wonders at times if they should be Catholic just to see what the fuss was about. Fuss is an appropriate word for catholicism. I was raised in a simple church with simple beliefs, closer to Quakers than Catholicism. Our church wasn’t even called a church, it was known as a “meeting hall.” This, supposedly, ensured that there was no single preacher to dominate the congregation, but rather that each member would contribute their share to enrich the general welfare, the general spirit, the general knowledge. It worked, to an extent, like one would expect any focus group to work. And, undoubtedly, the award of salvation is a strong motivation to exert oneself and exhort oneself to praising God. If that wasn’t sufficient, the punitive measures taken against congregation members who stepped out of line effectively beat us into submission. We saw that earlier with my mother. No, we were far removed from catholicism, with its Idol worship, its trapping, its preaching, its exhortations against sin, its removal of the gospel from the trust of the laity into the hands of an omniscient priest. That last part, particularly, stuck in the craw of my church. We had such a heavily footnoted Bible that it seemed like it was our duty to interpret and understand the Word of God. That was no matter to be left to be interpreted for us. No matter that the footnotes and copious extraneous works were, in fact, our Gospel, treated with more respect and reverence than the Bible itself. We were blindfolded, tricked into believing that we held the power of knowledge, but really, we were powerless. We could be talked into anything so long as there was a de minimus justification. I can’t stress enough the power of brainwashing. The catholics had tried it, during the dark ages, but we’re ultimately unsuccessful. Ironic, really, that our church praised Luther and Guttenberg for bringing the Word to the masses, when, ultimately, we took over the interpretation, so that access to the text was a prerequisite for understanding but not sufficient for understanding. In fact, it was heretical to make up our own interpretation of verse. Those matters were done for us. I love to relate the story, not that I know much detail, about how a young couple entered the flock, as it were, and were so surrounded with doctrine and preaching and worship and lifestyles that they, smartly, fled, and in the process, sued the church for brainwashing. I envy them. They saw, so much earlier than I, what a fraud the church was, what a fraud the concept of God was, what an abomination that hierarchical structures could breed such dependence and obedience, in the name of enlightenment! Well, anyways, the church quite handily had a fund available to settle such lawsuits, and the matter was dropped. I have no idea how many other people were paid off to keep quiet. How revolting. So, yes, the day I realized that God didn’t exist was a moment of true freedom, and would profoundly affect my life by allowing the choice and power to determine my own values and standards, with great deference to philosophical giants, to the power of Logic, but, ultimately, it was my choice and my decision alone. There are, I strongly believe, certain Hobbesian rules and principles that no man can run afoul of, such as murdered, without bring society back into a stats of nature, which was so “nasty, brutish and short” that no man could desire it, in fact, that every effort would be made to maintain a society in order to avoid devolution into the state of nature. Religion, for many, handily played the role of organizing mankind and providing a common enemy, the devil, which is always effective for holding disparate groups together. Like a nation losing its grip on its populace, the mere invocation of an enemy that would destroy us all gives rise to a sudden, strong sense of nationality, of civic pride. Hitler knew this, and the Nazis were one of the finest examples of how any group of people can be held together by banding them against other groups: Jews, gays, communists. Simply declare those an abomination, and you suddenly held the power to take over the world. Anyways, religion, as it were, is simply the opiate of the masses, the drug we’re fed to keep us subservient. I’m not a radical,  not recommending overthrow of government, in fact, I love government. Strong government is the best antidote to religion, by providing a sense of belonging and community without invoking unnatural spirits and ghostly beings. Government is truly an atheist institution; it is the refutation of this principle that causes so much strife and warfare. Our own forefathers saw this, that there must be separation of church and state. But we never learn, and those who don’t learn are doomed to repeat the mistakes of their past. So it is.

Rambling as that may have sounded, I intended it to highlight how important this next event was, so important that even God had no power to intervene.

It started so simply. I was up in Seattle, after my parents had hauled me home, and was living with a friend, Frank, in a wooden boat moored at Lake Union. It wasn’t a houseboat, those were sneered upon, nor one of those flimsy plastic shells people so love to revere, but rather an original wooden boat, two cabins, two bath, galley, living room and dining area, all below deck, and a large and spacious upper deck that proved quite sufficient to hold even the largest parties. Frank was, frankly, conservative and religious, but the  topics of homosexuality and religion never came up, so we were able to forge a relationship anyways. So it was that I was up in Seattle, having hauled my laundry by bike from the dock to the laundromat a mile away, and I was just sitting there in the lobby waiting for my laundry to buzz. It was a beautiful summer day in Seattle, the kind of warm, sunny day, with rays of light glistening and sparkling in the water, with green, soft grass and just a hint of a breeze, the kind of day that makes Seattle worth living in the rest of the dreary, rainy, gray year. I was, like I said, doing my laundry, playing on my phone, killing time. Well, not “playing” exactly, more like cruising. I was on the mobile version of Adam4Adam, which I think I mentioned before as being the new gay.com, although that still existed. This new site allowed you to choose individual pictures of guys in the same neighborhood as you, and strike up a conversation. Their profile would already list their age, height, weight, body build, hair color, and, conveniently, sexual preferences, including whether they wore protection. Despite all the trappings of providing a “social forum” for gay men, it was, in all respects, a sec site, a hook up site, a site where sex was the first and last thing on every mind of every guy in every profile picture. This predated Grindr, which took the same concept but made it location based by GPS. Phones capable of that weren’t ubiquitous back in the day (Oh how I’m dating myself), so the best we had was what the person listed as their neighborhood. This worked until everyone realized you could only seen other members in the same neighborhood; it wasn’t long before every profile listed “Capital Hill,” the gay part of town, whether that person lived within striking range or not. So it wasn’t always easy to find someone that was literally in the same neighborhood. I suppose that’s asking a lot, to have a cute guy in the same neighborhood, online at the same time as you, looking for all the things you’re looking for and having all the qualities that you find attractive and, conveniently, lived right next door. Straight people don’t expect so much. In fact, there’s a comic expression of “s/he was the One for me,” as if the location didn’t matter. So convenient that most people found their “One” often within the same area code, and looking a lot like them (racially, at least). I find myself sidetracked again. Because the point of this was to say that I was cruising for sex online, on my phone, while I was waiting for the mundane task of laundry to finish so I could go have some fun and enjoy this very pleasant day.

Generally, I was fairly successful online, meaning that I usually was able to find a guy I liked, nearby, that liked me too and wanted to meet. Well, fuck, actually, but once in a while there was coffee involved. So, at this time, there was  certain guy I was talking to, trading innuendos back and forth, hunting without saying that we found each other attractive. Finally, it came right down to it. He invited me over. I said yes. Now, here come the three little, innocuous, innocent even, words that changed my life forever. His next message: “do u party?” Aside from the glaring observation that he couldn’t be bothered to type out the word “you” was the equally glaring observation that this wasn’t a well formed sentence of the English language. “Party” was being used as a verb, not an adverb or pronoun, not a “party” like an event that people attend, not a “party” like being a “party boy” that lived for the gay clubs. Not, just the word “party,” as an action in itself. It didn’t actually catch my attention as much as I just made it seem; there was just enough unusual about it, though, that I followed up with something like “I like parties.” It’s true, I did love a good party. His response: “do you know what party means?” Well, let’s not drag it out here, just tell me! My response: “obviously not in the same sense as you’re using,” or something to that extent. The response came a few minutes later, as if he was formulating just the right definition, just the right choice of words, to explain his intentions. Finally, the reply came back: “it means Tina.”

Let break for a second to process. Some of you may be street savvy and quite familiar with this term. Others, like me, had never heard it before. I mean, I knew Tina Turner, and Christina Aguilera, if you wanted to stretch the usage of the word, but I’d never heard of something called “Tina,” as an object, a thing, maybe even an event but certainly not referring to a person or place. Vaguely, truthfully I knew what was up. I knew, without knowing, that he was offering me the chance, for the first time, to experience drugs. There, I said it. He wanted to do drugs with me. I didn’t know what “tina” was, but I understood what he was proposing.

Let’s back up another step. I was a good kid, followed all the rules, made good friends, made smart choices, excelled at academics, yes, even we to church, for a while at least. I wore khakis, not jeans, polos and button-downs, not t-shirts, parted my hair to the side, not up in a Mohawk or messed up in a bowl cut, both of which were popular. No, I defied style and expectations and dressed my own way. Actually, I dressed the way the church wanted me to dress. And if I didn’t dress that way, not only would my parents find out, but one of various “monitors” might discover and report me. You see, the church kept certain people at certain schools and provided oversight to those students by strategically placed members of the congregation. In fact, there was very little you could do that was not under the watchful eye of the church. One guy, young adult I suppose, had an affair in Mexico, and the church found out and disciplined or expelled him. How they discovered that information  is completely beyond me, but it did mean that I’d better watch my back around town. So, I was a good kid. Even when I left the flock, so it was called, I still performed well academically and socially, proof enough, for me, that religion wasn’t  necessary to the proper function of every day life. Even down in San Francisco, although my morals tipped a little, I was still a good kid, at least in comparison to the lifestyles I encountered. So, when  a good kid is offered drugs, by a stranger, that good kid should be mindful of his upbringing and resist the offer, maybe even calling the police in the process to arrest this drug dealer. That’s what  good kid should have done. That’s not what I did.

Remember, I was fresh off my suicide spree. I still wasn’t happy in life. I had tried, at this point, potentially every single combination of antidepressants, anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety agents and God knows what else. Point is, I’d tried it, and it failed me. Why do I say that? Well, someone who is not depressed does not attempt, thirteen times, to kill themselves. Obviously, I was not happy, and the medication wasn’t helping. So here I was, in pain, depressed, anxious, unhappy and miserable, not knowing what to do or where to go to find relief. I just knew that salvation did not lie at the bottom of a bottle of pills. I’d tried that. So where did it lie? Well, I was being given an opportunity to find out, at least rule out drugs, and I was going to seize the chance. Nothing could possibly make my life any worse, so there was no harm, no foul. And if things improved for me, praise be Jesus, or drugs, as it were. So, I said yes, I’d come party. I finished my laundry, hopped on my bike, huffed and puffed up the backside of Capital Hill, and made my way to his place. You know, I can’t remember his name. What I do remember was what happened.

pop more pills
feel the chill
live the rush
die 
just a crush

an addiction, all my own; a lifestyle, one I chose
may I get another? 
life, I mean
this one doesn’t go down easy

a flicker, flame, beacon in the dark
a spoon, a pipe, doing it on a lark
who hurts when I fall? 
not I
not I at all

a bottle in front of me
a decision to be made
do I take the medicine? 
or swallow the poison pill? 
isn’t that really what I’ve been doing all along?

alice
see through the looking glass
can you still fit through that door? 
has life become just a chore?

drink the potion, my sweet
lie down beneath these sheets
when it’s over it’ll all be over
when it’s done your time has come

hanging on, not letting go
I want to feel the thrill
again
of life
beyond the pipe

I want to feel the rush
of waking, flush
with life

it cuts like a knife

slit your wrists
smoke a bowl
live or die, who’s to care?
who’s to hurt? 
not you, not I

alice fits through the door again
I am ready to embrace this sin
falling out, falling in
sodomy between me
and my pipe
outrage
pathetic

poetic

like a pill about to crush
like the damned who live for the rush
I take my pills
and live the thrill

and
I die
alone
needle in my arm
pills strewn around
who’s to care? who’s to know?
I just wanted to go
through the looking glass, again

-Alice Falls, personal writings, 2014

In this part we see, aside from my deep antipathy towards the church and religion, the first moments, indeed, the critical moment, when I said yes to drugs. I’ll flesh that out in the next chapter. This is getting harder to write as the memories become fresher yet more cloudy. Pun intended. You’ll see.

Before we go forward, I want to be absolutely clear. This is an essay on my life, which includes drug addiction. I neither condemn nor condone drug use. These are individual choices. I won’t sugarcoat the truth, but neither will I pretend that some of the highs, as well as lows, didn’t exist. Love, they say, is a many splendored thing. I aim to show, in a brutally honest fashion, why I made the choice to continue to use, what the effects were – physically, mentally and socially – and what it did to my life, and, for some of you, your lives. Some of you had no idea I was high, there was just something not quite right. Others of you knew, and judged, and ostracized. I’m not upset about that. Drugs are scary and sometimes the only proper reaction is to place some distance between yourself and the situation. What I hope to get across, though, is that I changed, I let the drug change me, but maybe, just maybe, there’s some recognizable part of me left inside this machinery of death. I want to know whether that’s true. I don’t have any answers. I’m going to let you read and see what happened and reach your own conclusions. I’m not looking for sympathy, though I’m certainly not hoping for antipathy; I want, to the extent that one who has never done drugs can, go give insight and provide a platform for understanding. No one lightly chooses drugs, especially, most particularly, not this one. There’s a reason, a good reason, why I chose to subject myself to hell. You see, there’s a little slice of heaven inside hell, and sometimes, sometimes you’re lucky enough to see it, touch it, feel it, caress it, before it’s all taken away again, leaving you in an abyss of emptiness, but never giving up hope that you’ll one day, once again find that slice of heaven.