Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An Open Letter To My Vices (Past and Present)

This is the time of year that Jews take stock of their lives. As I am Jewish, I thought I would take part in this ancient custom. 

Dear Vices:

When I was trying to straighten out my life, I would lay awake at night thinking of all of you, counting you all off in my head like Arya Stark - The Tickler, Polliver, Raff the Sweetling, Prince Joffrey, Queen Cersei, The Hound, The Mountain.....(yes I'm well aware none of you know what I'm talking about)

So I have a few words for the lot of you.  Come and hear my messages to you:

Drugs:  I do not hate you, don't worry.  I used you as much as you used me.  I used you to escape and to dull the pain of my life.

I used you so I wouldn't feel.  I escaped my life with you as my guide. 

But when I no longer wanted to run away, I dropped you quicker than a man drops a hot pot.  In fact, at that point in my life, you were the single greatest achievement of my life.  Dropping you with not a single fall back.  While maybe it's not something I brag about with my friends, I'm sure you know very well how hard it was to ignore you those first few weeks/months. 

I'm sorry to say, while I don't mean to hurt your feelings, now I don't even miss you at all.

Alcohol:  Our relationship is more complicated.  I used you too.  Not for escape, like my ol' pal Druggie, but for courage.  I needed you to commit all those terrible acts, to help me push past my silly inhibitions and do Bad Things.

Now you and I have a solid truce.  I don't abuse you, but I'm not against a nice cold (light) beer or the occasional martini (what can I say, I LOVE the taste of vodka soaked olives - sue me).  You are proof that I can do things in moderation.  Even my therapist agrees with this point.

Rebellion:  Oh yes, I count you a vice.  I count you and I am ashamed by what I did in your name.  You are heartless and cruel.  I wish I could say you tricked me, but that's not the case at all.  I rebelled because I was alone and unloved and a little bit wicked myself.  I rebelled to punish my mother and my teachers and everyone else.  But that's the cruel jape no?  All I was doing was punishing myself.

So yes, rebellion, well played.  I think back upon you and I flush with shame every time.

Sex:  No, not the act itself which I have no problems with.  Rather the way I used it, the things I did.  The way I used myself the way I did.  Again, I am embarrassed and shamed. 

The individual acts float through my mind - they point and laugh at me.  "Look at you, miss perfect," they say, "we know what you really are.  We know what you did.  Would you like us to remind you?"  Um, no.  But they do anyway, in gross detail.  Every act, every abuse, until I beg for them to stop.

But then I stopped abusing myself.  I stopped giving myself away.  I learned that a man's desire does not equal his affection and certainly not his love and acceptance.

No, sex, I did not abandon you.  My current (NINE MONTH!!!) dry spell isn't repentance.  It's not an attempt to purify myself or revert back to purity  Rather, it's a resolve to make sure my current relationship is as successful as can possibly be.

Miscellaneous Bad Things:  I'm going to catch-all you into one category because, truthfully, you are unworthy.  The whole lot of you.  I don't even have words for you - except these:  Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish.  Blah.

So there we have it vices.  You had your good times with me for sure.  Lord knows.  But I'm trying.  I'm working.  Not towards perfection - oh no.  I'm not that silly.  I'll settle for plain old....regular.

So now, at night when I lay awake in Arya-ness, counting my list of evils - my list is at least a whole lot shorter.


  1. Your courage is amazing. Maybe by doing this your sleep will improve. Who knows.

  2. Nah - my sleep is in the dumps. Has been all week. i'm running on fumes and coffee.

  3. Maybe include coffee in your vices? :)
    Very well said, good for yoU! wow ...
    ps; my new post made me think abt you

  4. A girl needs her vices i thought :P
    Well speaking as a girl who does not have vices (according to you anwyays) I cannot imagine what its been like. Must've been some crazy journey. We're proud of you girl! Hope you get some sleep tonight!

  5. Excellent job, keep up the good work! Now as for Arya, wouldn’t it be cool to just cross three off the list with just a whisper? ;-) While I don’t know what the real life analogy would be, I suppose it would be to do acts of kindness?

  6. yay! there's another ice and fire reader! (i hope....please tell me you READ it and didn't WATCH it...please please please)
    BTW - arya's list is a prayer, gives it a different sort of perspective....
    the nesivos shalom talks about how to maximize past bad deeds and use them as a mitzvah. he gives the example of buying an esrog. all the efforts you put in towards buying one, and the hardships that may come your way because of the cost, the time and energy it takes, is counted in the schar for the mitzvah. so, he says that doing teshuva is a mitzvah, same as any other, and all the bad that you may have done, when you do teshuva, is counted as difficulties in doing the mitzvah of teshuva and becomes schar....all those vices end up rooting for you on judgment day.

    the other day the word rebellion came up, and i decided to change it. from now on, all things called rebellious will be called revolutionary. a revolution creates a change, most of the time, and usually a better one. i will stand by my revolution proudly. it is why i am here today.

  7. Stupid blogger just ate all my responses - here again in shorthand

    Yedid - coffee isn't a vice. it's an addiction. Which, in turn, is a vice. Oh forget it!!

    AM - the journey was tough but I hope the end of the journey will make it all worthwhile

    SIBAW - I'd rather have a faceless man than acts of kindness :)

    Colloq - I watched the show, then found the books. I'm halfway through the 4th. i am entrances.

    Revolution - I like that - Viva La Revolution