In September of 2001, felt as if I were on the edge of becoming a mad woman, though I was still only a 19 year old girl. I was a budding alcoholic with both feet over the invisible line that crosses us into the place from whence many of us “a-holics” never return.
I “lived” in the back of a head shop that was owned by my main squeeze at the time, a 40 year old fellow alcoholic with a tear drop tattoo on his face, whose communication methods with me were heavy handed to say the least. I weighed in at 100 pounds, and I was covered in scratches and bruises. I wasn’t really speaking to my family much in those days, I felt ashamed of who I was and couldn’t stand “the look” they gave me whenever I came around. They were the really nice people who didn’t deserve the hurt I was causing. I was filled with toxins, and therefore toxic, physically and emotionally. Spiritually, I was bankrupt. The most terrifying thing of all was that I had begun to understand that what I was doing might be killing me, yet I was unable to stop.
The T.V. had been on all night in the tiny back room of the head shop that served as our sleeping quarters. Neither of us had slept in days, and I was sitting on the dirty mattress of a pull-out couch bed. I looked up a at the breaking news announcing that the first plane had hit, and remember clear as day what I said as I watched the first tower of The World Trade Center burn on the screen.
“That wasn’t an accident. Someone is trying to kill us.”
I watched the live feed as the second plane slammed into the second tower, affirming what I already knew; the world was falling apart. Even though New York was so far away, I was positive that the soul-sickness I was experiencing had spread everywhere, and that soon everyone would be as toxic as I was. Humans were annihilating each other the way that I was essentially murdering myself.
It’s might sound common, but my memories of certain periods in my life are marked by the music I was listening to at the time. For instance, I remember 8th grade whenever I hear any kind of punk rock, but especially Pennywise, the Misfits, and a little bit of The Offspring. Freshman and sophomore years were Regge and ska. Senior year was house and electronic music because I fancied myself a “raver.”
Between the ages of 19 and 22 however, those years that I spent getting lost, there isn’t much music. That time is mostly marked by 9/11 and the many uncertain and horrible days and years that followed. Since that day, my personal crisis of addiction and the act of terror on 9/11 have felt synonymous with each other, bonded by circumstance. I was certain for so long that they were one and the same.
13 years to the day later and now 6 years sober, I still feel it. When I watch the yearly 9/11 documentaries on the history channel, which I do every year, I still sob like a baby. I cry for those who lost their lives in such a horrible way. I cry for the families, the firefighters, the motherless children that were left behind. I cry for that 19 year old me, sitting on that dirty mattress, wanting something better. Eventually, I shed tears of gratitude, because I am always reminded of a time when I almost lost my life but didn’t.
Wherever you were in life, be grateful that you survived that day. Never Forget.