He tells me things are going to be alright. He invites me to play.
Do you remember the old Bugs Bunny cartoon when Bugs had an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other? The cartoon centered around the epic battle of two voices, each wishing to be heard.
You’ve seen movies where the star has an evil side, a dark voiced alter ego that is always ready to tell you what he wants you to know.
There is a voice in my ear, a friend deep inside.
Anyone who has had an addiction can tell you about that voice, that stranger, that friend.
Miss a meal, and he shows up. Stop smoking. Quit the Percocets. Stop playing with yourself. Delete your video game. Stop letting yourself get angry.
When people find I work part-time in the addictions field, people who haven’t struggled with a public addiction, they ask me, “Why doesn’t he/she just quit?” They have never felt the pull of that addictive voice. It’s palpable. It’s consuming. It has a personality. It is alive.
I have worked very hard to recognize that voice inside my head. He speaks to me, more often than I would like to admit; telling me to get high, or take a shortcut, or do something cheap and immediate. He sounds a lot like me, but he’s quieter, and sleezier, and looks like a cross between Rumpulstilskin and that dude who played Satan on Constantine. He dresses better than me, has better hair, and is evil.
I have personified that part of my personality because it helps me to call upon religious and cinematic symbols to put a face and a feeling on that part of myself I am not proud of. I know what it is like to stop using drugs and have that bastard tell me all day long that there is a simple solution to my pain and the sweat and the tears. I know the sound of his voice like I know my own.
Chances are you have a voice inside of you as well. We all have that part of us which wants to take the easy route, eat all the candy, see naked bodies, and do whatever feels right at the time. I’m coming to realize that learning how to recognize this old friend is perhaps the meaning of life.
We are friends, my little Scott and I. We have been together for far too long to just go our separate ways. Besides, I still need him. He tells me to leap when I want to crawl. He’s the one who got me to skydive all those times. He reminds me to still be alive, in a world of deadness. I still need him, though I am learning to understand what he says. He still scares me, but he no longer always wins.