I am terrified and yet in awe of my dark side, of that girl I see in the mirrored glass of the bottle, in my image as I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror shockingly horrified as I hold a loaded syringe with one hand with a shot glass in the other. The girl in those pictures defined as my addict self; she is determined at self-destruction and will stop at nothing less, acts dangerously reckless unafraid of consequence, is hasty, ferocious even in the face of horrible circumstance and yet always despite many critically life-threatening behaviors holds traits that always surprises me again and again. I am drawn in her passionate spark of creative energy, fervent curiosity for learning, kindheartedness and concern for others all the while confused I am a part of this seeming dichotomy of an alternate personality inside of me. I don’t know what to make of her sometimes, my addiction, a beast my parents hold in so much contempt for landing me up nearly dead in the ICU three times from an overdose that trampled and nearly destroyed my relationships, health and every speckle of joy in my life, desecrating all that stood in its path. Bu she is now only a becoming a seemingly distant memory, a remnant of my past, a statue in my mind becoming ever more tiny in the rear-view mirror as I move forward in my sobriety and to be honest, sometimes I almost miss her company. I long to be similar in the way she feared no ones opinion and walked with a strut of such bravado so astonishingly “cool” there was no one that could make her feel it was not okay to be an individual and while sometimes finding myself intimidated by the intensity she provokes within me, can not help but miss her ambitious spirit for trying new things, the unbreakable enthusiasm for life she holds instead of my crippling self-doubt, fear of people and future and of all the unknowns I experience in the wake of her absence. Through this longing, somewhere between shaming her for all the reasons many would expect and embracing her wholly and completely, I have come to integrate certain aspects within myself but have yet discovered the delicate balance between demonstrating and withholding these features in vacillation to one another. As I gain more time and experience as a sober woman that girl and myself I am starting to realize are much more similar than I ever would have anticipated when first putting the alcohol and drugs down. The addiction, or rather other self, pretended to act as a martyr first through starving her body in vain as a mockery against and protest of cultural stereotypes and then through shooting heroin as an afterward, “fuck you” to up the anti when that didn’t work while really she too was afraid, those actions stemming an outer fury masking as a defense to cover all those inherent feeling of shameful inadequacy, a painful hollowness of the soul no amount of stuff could fill. Now that I have grown in my understanding of the intentions behind her behavior and no longer see it as purified indignant furor aimed at the total annihilation of all that matters in my life I have reached a truce in our relationship. I validate her need for self-expression and instead of squandering all visionary outlets for what I perceive through my very rigid one-dimensional way of thinking to be seemingly extravagant ways of releasing her spirits in my own attempt to appear contained and have it together, I am taking new risks, small leaps of faith; I modernized the pallet of one could say a very boring shade of purple I grew very accustomed with inhabiting the walls of my bedroom with just a splash of flare. Reluctantly, but driven the need to make some very real changes, enhanced the old average color with a splash of zestful flair, shimmering a youthful hue somewhere between periwinkle-magenta over old creating an amethyst glow that just so slightly sparkles with an iridescent pearl-like quality in light of the sun. (I know all seemingly inconsequential in the scheme of things but exceedingly sizable enough from my comfort zone to be noteworthy). As I walk this path through sobriety I allow myself the liberty of embodying some of her good, her beautiful and outrageously wild free-spirited traits alongside me while am careful at the same, remaining vigilant for the oppressive nature of her self-destructive nature to take over again. She is inside of me and I am inside of her, we are next to one another, in front of and behind. The possibilities boundless for the process of interweaving the threads that keep us separated, disconnected and stuck at opposite ends of the dialectal pole long as we both remain cognizant of each our own tendencies to on one hand overwhelm, squash and overpower thoughts and feelings and on the other hand, fearfully retreat, isolate and run away from all that’s scary and unfamiliar. As I gain strength in my sobriety and become better able to tolerate emotional discomfort believe she will cease to appear as threatening and soon thereafter hope the distinction of where intersecting line between us cuts across no longer remains noticeable in conscious thought. Completely integrated and whole, at one with all parts of myself and for the first time no longer fragmented into conflicting forces.