Now it's real. No more mid July workouts and crackling sun reflecting off bicycle handlebars, on the way to the gym. And on those rides, the thoughts and visions of the year to come, and what I would do. And visualizing it completely, seeing every crisp pass, every rocket shot, every bruising body check, and every missile fist. Riding that bike every day through Sail Boat City, while vacationers bask and bellow jolly sangria laughs all along the beach. I was always cruising by, on a mission, with one thought on my head. "I can make it to the NHL. I will make it to the NHL." Daydreaming about the masochistic routines I was about to perform at the squat rack. Riding, and training, and repeating that mantra, until I believe it and know it.
Ok, day 1 of your quit. Now what? No doubt you have been introduced to your very own Demon. Did you see what he looks like? Have you smelled him? He smelled you. He smelled your fears and insecurities. He captures these emotions and tucks them away into some hollow cavern. He will use these later, in your most desperate hour.
Or maybe you haven't been introduced yet. After all, it's only day one. Maybe it has been a breeze so far. Maybe you have been busy, and haven't noticed. Just wait it out. He will emerge.
But know, too, that behind the Demon is a path to your true calling and destiny. Ask yourself how long he has blocked that path. How many times have you been forced to maneuver your way around his and tread through lizard-filled bogs, of mist and hanging vines, that creep and wander like spider legs across the mossy ground, scratching and feeling for a vulnerable addict, in constant wait to offer shelter and a warm, tangled embrace.
Two and a half years clean, cold turkey. I can honestly say that I don't even think about it anymore. And if at some odd, random time I do think of the Worm Shit I used to stuff into my mouth all day, I acknowledge how much of an idiot I was for spending those thousands of dollars. From age 17 to age 28, eleven years of living as a drug addict. How many years have you been dipping? How many times have to tried to quit? How many times have you told yourself that you'll quit tomorrow, or after you graduate, or after you write your final paper, or after the baby is born, or after the hockey season, or next week, or next year, or never "cuz we all die someday, and I'm gonna die with a big ol wad of the Grizz in my lip."
I've heard it all before. I've said it all before. I can honestly tell you, that it will be worth it. I know what it is like. You can't even begin to imagine yourself as a non-dipper. You can't even see that version of yourself. You are blinded by the Dip Demon. He is real. He devours souls. He lives in every addict, in every can. I have seen him. I have looked him in the eyes. I drove a stake through his heart over two years ago, and haven't looked back.
I was dreaming of a frog. It was green and plump and lived under a patch of moss, deep inside the stump of an old birch tree in some ancient forest. Somehow I was inside of the stump and I spoke to the frog in deep gurgled groans and burps. The frog nodded as the sounds came out of my mouth and when it was his turn to reply, he slowly morphed into a vibrant green neon grasshopper with saw-toothed legs that twitched and vibrated and made the strangest high-pitched sound. I leaned my ear close to the massive insect to try and understand, but couldn't. It's leg twitched again and made the noise. The grasshopper's hinged leg now morphed into a golden water pump at a campground that I had been to once before, perhaps as a child. As the hinge pumped faster, so too, that sound became more and more intense, emanating as a screeching wail from mysterious depths of soil and shale.