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Excuse Me Madam, There’s a Monkey on Your Back…

Excuse Me Madam, There’s a Monkey on Your Back…

Excuse Me Madam, There’s a Monkey on Your Back…

monkey addiction

Nice monkey…

 

I think it’s universal that people who are in active addiction feel a sense of urgency. There is always the need for “more”. It’s why we hide wine bottles in winter boots. It’s why we look around sheepishly, and polish off the dregs of other people’s drinks while they are in the bathroom. There is an emptiness that needs filling. The necessity of finding the next fix is all.

 

Monkeys Don’t Make Great Pets…

The analogy of the monkey on your back is an apt one. Addiction is like a hungry, messy, unwieldy primate playing piggyback. And if you’ve ever known anyone with a pet monkey, you know they throw poop. They are not charming companions. They climb humans like trees and dig through their hair for bugs with sharp claws…

 

I had someone write to me yesterday who had just been on a sober vacation. She said it was the first time in years she had been to the beach without a giant sippy-cup filled with iced wine. And she didn’t stub her toes or act a fool or have that continuous, lowgrade worry she’d run out of liquor on a remote island.

 

That’s it in an oyster shell. She was not carrying the need for more like a portable cooler (or a hairy beast). How freeing!

 

Hiding, Lying and Monkey Business…

And it’s not just vacation. I hear from people all the time who take a sippy-cup roadie while they walk their baby in a stroller. Or hide liquor in a coffee cup so the “kids won’t know”. They leave bottles in the wheelwells of cars, or tuck shooters in the side pockets of purses. Stash a pint in the desk drawer, just in case. It’s exhausting to be this devious and dependent.

 

One of the greatest things about sobriety is the reduction of stress. There is no more need for lies, excuses or the hiding of vodka in golf bags in the basement. Gone are the machinations – I’d better make sure I stash an opened bottle in my closet, behind the heavy coats. I don’t want anyone at the party to know I fill my wine glass every time I take a pee, but I don’t want to have to wait till they all leave to get good and drunk.

 

You know the old saying, “No one is smart enough to lie”? Add drunk to the mix and you forget where you hid the booze, because you were in the bag when you hid it. It’s horrible – lie upon lie upon lie. Just like carrying something heavy on your back.

 

When we get sober, the bad monkey is gone. Everyone thinks they want a pet monkey.

 

Until they have a pet monkey…

 

Today I’m not drinking because I am going to the zoo – to see the monkeys…

 

How come you’re not drinking?

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Comments (6)

  1. Tim S
    Aug 26, 2016

    Bad monkey of the vicarious sort: I had a dear friend who described her daily breakfast as “a Bloody Mary you could see through,” consumed on her way to work. My friend lived in Marin and worked in the City.” One day the traffic was particularly bad and the Golden Gate Bridge was a parking lot. Her glass empty, my friend panicked, got out other car on the middle of the bridge, retrieved her.stash of vodka from the trunk in front of significant numbers of working Marin, and was able to complete her commute. The monkey was in a foul poop-throwing mood at 7:00 AM that morning. I don’t believe in literal miracles but my friend hasn’t had a drink for. 29 years. She’s finished college and earned graduate degrees from Yale AND Columbia, and become a lovely, confident, sober woman. Amazing stuff happens here.

  2. Steve
    Aug 26, 2016

    How come you're not drinking?
    It was time to stop before my body did.
    This is one of my favorite parts of being sober. I’ve been able to be truthful for 11 months now, the sneak is gone. I remember finding my fathers bottles back in the day. The Apple didn’t fall far from the tree and when it landed was turned into hard cider.
    Funny though, as I talk to my girlfriend, turns out I wasn’t fooling her, just myself.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Aug 27, 2016

      I hear you. I love the mornings and the truth telling! And yes, we weren’t fooling anyone!
      XXXOOO
      M

  3. Carlee
    Aug 28, 2016

    How come you're not drinking?
    'cause that monkey belongs in a cage
    In recovery that monkey is still sitri g in the corner of my room, knowing I want nothing to do with him. I feed him rwcovery bananas to keep him calm over there, but if I ever were to invite him back over, there he will be, right on my back, clawing and scratching and wild as ever. I know this monkey to well to let him out of my vigilant supervision today.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Aug 28, 2016

      Nasty little creatures best left in the jungle… but I hear you. My monkey is under the bed I think…
      XXXOOO
      M

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