(Sally: Don’t read this. You will be sorely disappointed with the language, even though i already told you this story.)
(For those of you aren’t into reading, I recorded an audio version embedded at the bottom)
A month and a half ago my life was pretty good. It wasn’t at any point the greatest in my memory, nor was it at any point truly worth complaining about. I had a large group of friends, a great job and was starting something with a beautiful, if not eclectic, woman. From an outsider’s perspective, it would have appeared that Matt had the perfect life and, in all honesty, I would have seen the same thing. In the words of my favorite artist, Frank Turner, “just give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can fuck up anything.”
A lot of the issues that arose in what would become the darkest days of my life were from a very long tradition of me pushing my thoughts and emotions down into the depths of my soul until they were swallowed by the darkness inside. I’ve always been told this is not the most healthy way of handling things, and that I am supposed to talk about these things but that’s not my style. I use my anger, hatred, mistrust and fears to dictate my actions and sometimes, that goes against me and I lose all the control I once possessed.
Since I stopped drinking three years ago things have gotten a little worse. Alcohol, much like drugs have been in my life, was my release. Again, not the healthiest way to live, but no-one has ever accused me of being healthy (hell, half my diet is cheeseburgers and pizza. The other half is coffee and kava). When you live so much of your life filling the void that exists within each of us with drugs or alcohol, and then suddenly that filler is ripped away from you in the hopes of being a better person, it causes quite the confusion on the psyche. Many people go to meetings, seek counseling, find healthy outlets for their emotions but again, I’m not all that healthy. So I jumped into relationships, as misguided as they were, to fill that void.
My first relationship after I quit drinking was a train wreck. In hindsight, I am able to see that the only reason I involved myself in that hellacious experiment as long as I had, was because I was completely unable to admit to myself that I would be okay on my own. After spending way too long in self-suffering, I ended that relationship because having to deal with the darkness of my emotions was better than that relationship. Much to the relief of Sally, the rest of my family, and my friends I was free (and so were they).
In my past I would get out of a relationship and stay single for years. This wasn’t completely by choice, a lot of this was because when I was out of a relationship I was in such a fog of drugs and alcohol that there was no possible way I would be able to comprehend the true emotion and loyalty the sanctity of a relationship deserves. After a one, two, or three-year bender would come to a close I would realize I was lonely and I would find the next lovely woman I would date. All of these women were essentially the same. They all had some sort of chemical imbalance, or were emotionally stunted in similar ways. I’m not saying that all my exes are crazy because they’re women and all women are crazy; I’m saying all these women are crazy because I would seek out the same chaos in my relationships that I was dealing with in myself. Now, for any of you who read my stuff regularly, imagine that same scenario, but with me sober.
I drank and did drugs to lie to myself, in feeble attempts to convince myself that I didn’t hate myself. But here’s the dirty secret, folks: nobody who finds themselves in the unfortunate situation of battling drugs and alcohol doesn’t hate themselves, no matter what they say. It didn’t matter how much I told people I was great, or how often I talked about my narcissism or my sociopathic nature, the truth was these were all façades I put forth to cover the fact that whenever I looked in the mirror I saw a failure who didn’t deserve the love or respect people wanted to give me. The cocaine, the heroin, the ecstasy, the beer, the whiskey…all of them were just silencers on the voices in my head that were telling me that I was shit. Because deep down, way down at the bottom of the blackness that is my soul, I believed that more than I believed anything else. There’s a line in the new book I’m writing (insert shameless plug here) that says, “however much I hated that thing, or that person, it was only a fraction of how much I hate myself,” and that was probably the most honest sentence I had ever written.
It didn’t take long after the relationship that made my mom drink more ended that I realized I still hated myself, but I couldn’t lean back on my old crutches now. I had to find a new drug. I needed something that made me feel good, was a little risqué, and could possibly be frowned upon by a large swath of society (you know, much like cocaine or abusing alcohol like Kevin Spacey abused boys). Then walked in my new drug. Sure, she had been around for longer than my sobriety had existed, but I never even thought of her as someone I would possibly ever be interested in dating.
Our relationship was volatile from the beginning. Her ability to both ease my suffering while simultaneously perpetuating it left me in a confused dichotomy. I am not calling her a bad person (yet), I am saying she was too naïve. She had a compulsion to attempt to make everyone happy and she couldn’t see the damage she was capable of causing. If someone believes what they are doing is good, even if it’s causing great strife to someone, does that mean they are evil or just ignorant? She wasn’t evil, she was just young, naive and slightly selfish as all young people are. I couldn’t fault her for being that way.
I recognized early on the addictive behavior in the way I interacted with her. The symptoms screamed at me to be careful, and to walk away, but my broken brain and heart told me I was in love. The same brain and heart that had me convinced I loved (fully, truly, emotionally, undoubtedly) cocaine, ecstasy, and alcohol. It wasn’t coming from a healthy, or right, place. I breathed her, the way only someone as broken as I was could. Heartbreak after heartbreak. Let down after let down. Each lie she told that I found out about wasn’t even enough to waver my love… even if there were days I would have traded it all for a line of white powder and a glass of whiskey.
There is a line from my favorite show, Scrubs, where the lead character, J.D., is explaining all of his faults to a girl he is attempting to woo. He says, “I’m narcissistic, I’m pessimistic, I’m obsessive, I’m insecure and I’m so afraid of intimacy that every one of my relationships is a journey of self-sabotage that inevitably ends in a black vacuum of shattered expectations and despair.” That is the most accurate description of how I’ve viewed myself for the majority of my life. I have thrown a figurative grenade into anything that has been good in my life. While my relationship with her was not destroyed by a grenade of my own tossing, it was destroyed. I will freely, openly, and unhappily admit that everything with that I lost after the relationship was due to my own self-destruction.
Now, I know that she doesn’t want her personal life to be thrown into my stories so I will digress from the details of the next few months. Even though many would say that I shouldn’t care, I will carry myself higher than that at this point. I also wouldn’t want to be accused of “slut shaming” or anything, especially when in the darkness I know a lot of people who would accuse me of doing such are just ashamed of being a slut. I’m not even saying she is, no matter what her friends say about her behind her back. I don’t know anything for certain, and while I think everyone needs to live their own life, there are certain boundaries crossed that she knew would hurt me and she didn’t care because she incorrectly thought she was smarter and more clever than I. That being said, I will not go into any further detail about the situation, because she is not who I am writing this to. I am writing this to everyone else.
My backstory is peppered with issues of anger and verbal outbursts. When I was a kid, Sally would often tell me I needed to get my anger under control. I couldn’t go around acting like that because it could cost me everything one day. She was right.
After I asked her not to come to my place of employment for my own sanity on multiple occasions, and she declined each and every time, stating she had been going there longer than I had been. When she showed up that fateful night, I sort of lost it. I hadn’t had a blow up on someone in easily 15 years. After all of the pent up anger and rage of a decade and a half being muted by drugs, alcohol, harmful and addictive relationships, and hope that one day I would look in the mirror and see the person so many other people saw, I lost it.
Control was not anything I had in my grasp. I don’t blame her for this. I blame myself for not dealing with all of this in a timely, healthy manner. Do I wish that someone, who claimed for so long that she cared about me, would have respected my wishes for just a while to let me not be so angered by her actions and decisions and outright lies about me? Yes, but I can’t blame this on her being a bad person, I can only blame myself.
The words I said to her that night were meant to cut her deeply, because I knew she hated them. I’m not saying I didn’t mean them, I’m saying I shouldn’t have said them there, in that forum, at that volume, with the frequency and volume with which they were spoken. To everyone who witnessed me at the lowest point I have had in my life, including all of my drug addict years, all of my alcohol abusing years, including every dark moment I thought I would never get through, every moment I questioned whether or not it was worth it to wake up again, every moment I wanted to get through just breathing, every moment ever, I am sorry you witnessed that part of me. I am truly embarrassed you saw that display of immaturity and complete lack of self-control.
After that night I lost my job, I lost many of my friends, pushed away the girl I had been talking to only a month and a half prior, and I lost a lot of my self-respect. It’s been a truly humbling and disgustingly self-evaluating life since that night, and I have definitely been spiraling a bit over the last few weeks. Every night has been a tough struggle to remain sober, and not because of what she did, but because of my complete and total lack of faith in myself. I thought I was in control, and I’m certain many people could have seen I wasn’t before I completely lost a handle on everything. There hasn’t been a day I haven’t thought about going to a bar and grabbing a drink, or twelve. There hasn’t been a day I thought about getting some cocaine, or whatever and reverting back to a time when I could force myself to forget for awhile.
People would text me and ask me if I was ok, and I would lie and say yes, even though I was busy doing something I hated: subscribing to the victim card. I was blaming her for this. I was blaming someone else for this. Pinnacling in my truly outlandish acts of blaming the man who fired me for this, I’ll give him a name in this story (ummm, let’s go with), Seanathon. Seanathon did what was best for the business, and I’m certain it was hard for him since he and I have been, and still are close friends. I can continue to blame all of my mistakes on other people, but what sort of growth would that be? (I hadn’t gotten here at this point of the story though, I’m jumping ahead a bit.)
Last night, at the time of me writing this December 8th, 2017, I texted an old friend of mine. One who I texted for one purpose and one purpose only. I wanted him to basically give me the green light to go out and drink and get fucked up the way I used to. I explained to him my situation, where I was mentally, what I was trying to figure out, and I waited, knowing I would get the go ahead and my 1,190 days of sobriety would come to a close. But last night, that friend, who was definitely drunk, and probably on cocaine, shocked me, and truly possibly saved my life.
He said to me, “Dude, you’re an awesome cat. Don’t run from a situation because you feel betrayed. Whether you like it or not, it happens to everyone. The amount of strength and perseverance you’ve put into your sobriety is so endearing and I mean that. I’m not religious, but a test is a test.” Which of course I debated with, because I wanted the green light. I wanted him to tell me to go get fucked up and throw it all away, because then I would have hit the bottom I needed to hit in my mind. He called me and started giving me advice on life. He spoke eloquently, smartly, and with logic and reason I couldn’t debate against. He told me to stop looking at it as though I was wronged. She’s a cunt. I deserve better. And sure, I fucked up, but I am Matt fucking Wright, and I have been an inspiration to so many people. He hopes that one day he can do what I have done, and he knows so many other people look at me in that way. He told me to go, sit by myself, and cry because it feels good. Get all of that awful shit out of my body, and then remember that I am Matt Wright, because apparently I had forgotten that little fact. I am better than her, I am better than all those who I perceived as wronging me, I am better than who I was being. I just had lost sight of all of that, but he knew who I was and he knew I would find myself again.
I asked him how he got to be so smart and where did he learn all this stuff. He chortled a bit, and said, “When I was going through my big break up, this is all the same shit you said to me. Essentially you are just listening to your own advice.” I laughed, because if ever I were to listen to anyone about how to better myself, it would be me. Then he told me I was an inspiration, a brother, and that he loved me. Then he said something that blew my mind. The guy who recently said he wished he was able to drink with me just once more, told me if I were to come up to see him he wouldn’t want to drink with me, or do drugs with me, or any of that. If I wanted to get drunk for the sake of getting drunk, or get high for the sake of getting high, he wanted to be there. But he didn’t want me to throw away three years of sobriety because I was trying to feel better for a small moment because I was running from my life. I was better than that. (Then he threw in that he hoped one day we could grab a beer together again, but under the right circumstances.)
I thanked him, and will again. Dylan Ammarman, thank you. You are a great friend, because you could have told me to come up and I would have left to come see you, and we would have partied like the Duke v. Michigan State game from 2013. It would have been fun, but it would have been vapid, and you could see that, and you saved me from myself. I thank you with every fiber of my being. Thank you for reminding me that I am Matt Wright. Thank you for reminding me people care. Thank you for reminding me that I am better than all of this. Thank you for everything you do. You are a wonderful friend and I love you like a fucking brother. I owe you with my entire being, and always will.
To everyone who has been a part of my life over the last month and a half and witnessed my rock bottom, I apologize for who I have been. I hope all of you will one day find it in your hearts to forgive me for my actions. Well, almost everyone. She’s still a lying cunt.