Security blanket

29 Jun

I like to have a blanket on me at all times. It’s not practical. If it’s 90 degrees outside, I will turn the fan on as high as it goes just so I have an excuse to snuggle under something. I don’t think this is that unusual, but I’ll acknowledge that it’s a bit of a compulsion. It’s not so much how I feel under a blanket as how I feel when the blanket isn’t there: distressed, cranky, exposed.

When you use substances as a crutch, they function like a security blanket. Sometimes they’re all you need — an alternative to friends or lovers or leaving the house. Sobriety feels like someone pulling that blanket away.

First it’s embarrassing. No matter what anyone says, you feel shame, and there is nothing to cover yourself up with. You grasp for something, anything, and you come up empty-handed. No one is pointing and laughing, but you still feel that judgment. They never got your blanket, anyway. That kind of bond is singular. It’s not just them, though: now when you look down, you see yourself, all those belly rolls and blemishes you’d been covering up. You don’t want to see them, but you can’t look away.

Then you’re angry, because someone fucking took your blanket. It was yours, and you needed it, and now it’s gone. In what universe is that fair? It’s not anyone’s business what you use to sleep at night or cling to when you’re sad — that’s personal. Maybe you took the blanket away, in which case you’re mad at yourself for choosing so-called rational thought over impulse and emotion. You yearn for independence and the ability to handle life without the help, but did you ever stop to consider how hard that would be? You’re selfish. You’re terrible. You fucked up.

Mostly it’s sad and you feel crappy. You’d been using that blanket for so long, you kind of forgot it was there. It wasn’t even a source of pleasure so much as stability: the kind of thing you only really miss when it’s gone. And there is nothing to replace it with, just distractions that help you forget (for minutes at a time) that gnawing void. It’s depressing to care so much about something you swore you didn’t need, and now you have to deal with that — sadness that it’s gone, sadness that you care, sadness that you’re writing self-indulgent blog posts about it.

But hey, at least you’re writing. There’s a lot more time for that now. Because man, when you wrapped yourself in that blanket, the hours just sped by…

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2 Responses to “Security blanket”

  1. Melissa Newling June 29, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    Thanks for that insight. Sometimes as the people close to the addict, we lose the ability or grow tired of trying to understand. It helps to be reminded that no one feels worse than the addict themselves.

  2. Joe Wadlington January 31, 2013 at 12:21 am #

    Thanks for writing this; I gives me a better insight into what friends with addiction, or even just compulsion, are struggling with when I mean well but am still “taking their fucking blanket.”

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