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New Year, Same Me

Once the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, people wipe clean their slates and start fresh. New year, new me, they’ll proclaim. Of course, it’s all hyperbole, but with good intentions. And I suppose I’m not one to judge. I’m guilty of it as well. This year, in fact.

You see, I’m an addict. My resolution was to break my addiction and clean up my act. I’m tired of living my life with these controlling urges for a fix. I see others living a clean and healthy life and I want that for myself. A simple resolution was all it would take. A promise to myself to cut free from the shackles of addiction. I could do it. I would do it.

The first week went well. No urges, no relapse, no thoughts of addiction. For the first time in my life, I believed in the new year, new me mantra. And it felt good. Liberating, in fact. If I could break my addiction cold turkey, I could do anything.

The second week got harder. Urges would come and go. I had to concentrate hard to keep from relapsing. Proud of my self-control, I went about my life. But things weren’t as easy as they had been the week before. Little things upset me and I found myself with less patience than before. But even this was manageable.

When the nightmares started, I really started to come undone. Waking up every night in a cold sweat was enough to drive anyone crazy. But I knew this was just part of the withdrawals. “This too shall pass,” I told myself. Only it didn’t pass. It got worse.

Soon, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t focus, and I couldn’t sleep. I would hallucinate in the middle of the day. Even though I had no food in me, I would vomit every morning. Mostly painful dry heaves for fifteen minutes. Tremors set in, my teeth began to chatter, and my feet started to tingle. I tried to fight through it all. I was going to beat my addiction. This was a new year and things would be different.

“But we both know how this story ends,” I say aloud to my audience of one. “In the end, I caved. I gave in to my addiction.” I sit up in my chair and smile. “After all, that’s why you’re here,” I say and stare down at the crying woman chained to the floor. She thrashes and moans through the gag. God, how I missed this. “New year, same me,” I say as I pick up the knife and twirl it through my fingers.

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