“The pressure of knowing that other people will be viewing my art and attributing it to myself, it just caused me to be so self-conscious about my own art, and caused me to try and make it so many things that other people would perceive it in a certain way, when in reality I should have been just making what I liked. I should have just been doing it for myself.”
-Justin Taylor Phillips
Fiction. Based on a True Delirium Tremors.
by Mingjie Zhai
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Angelie is now 38 days sober. She attends at least one meeting a day. She recently met another beautiful blondie in one of the Drinker’s Den meetings. The man she used to date has built an app for Drinker’s Den and has been encouraging her since they first started dating to go back to meetings. The foundation of the intimate, authentic, and honest sharing of the meetings are what did it for Angelie back in 2013, and now she returns.
But, it was something more. She had gone to transformational festivals, to church, and to Landmark Forum only to discover that it was all part of the mystery of love defined in 1 Corinthians 13, Verse 12. When she had interviewed random strangers on the streets, when she shared her heart out to strangers in foreign lands, when she blew kisses to strange people in strange countries, it was all in the context of being the mirror for the other to see themselves, when shared in honesty, vulnerability, and authenticity. It had to come from the heart for the miracle to happen.
Angelie had found the meaning of life in 2013 when God had shown her that the point of living is loving, and it wasn’t until her third psychosis that she was able to discover, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that love is defined in 1 Corinthians 13, and that God is all of those things.
Well, then, if it states that “love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth,” then how does one create a media platform that exposes the truth without harming the individual? We want to prevent suicide not exacerbate it. Angelie had some harsh words about the people who she thought had contributed to her suicidal ideations, but to actually process the pain without hurting the individual? How does she reveal her ugly truth and that of others without having to harm any individual?
An attorney had given her advice during a private dinner party where the attorney for Black Chyna had been speaking. She recommended using Norco’s disclaimer that they had used at the beginning of each show. Angelie remembered the “fictional” story of OJ Simpson’s confession–a book about what he would have done if he had done it. Perhaps the guilt and shame overcame him and he had to free himself of the burden of hiding. Whatever it may be, telling the truth in fiction would be the best way for Angelie to process what had happened to and for her–the series of events that led to what it led to and perhaps the afterwards. It’s still all bits and pieces, and being face to face with Crywolf, a musician that made a huge difference in her life without even his ever meeting her, until that day, and then for Crywolf to have shared about his process, not only validated her own pain but also inspired her to continue pursuing her passion process. She wanted to create a journaling in fiction, based on a true experienced told in third person idea, because this is the way she wanted to write as a way of “love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.”
Fiction allows Angelie to write in truth, or at least builds up the courage to go there, to discover the truth in the process of writing fiction. It helped her both work through the process on her own while also serving as the mirror for others to see themselves, inspired by the phenomenon of the “mirror” effect in 1 Corinthians 13:12.
Though he was sometimes aware of his own insistence and eagerness for her to join him in those meetings, he had to finally relent. He carried resentments against her, and he was sensitive enough to know that she was also just as sensitive as he is to the pushiness and demands of other people. He would share this with his sponsor and at the men’s stag meetings.
One of the resentments he had against her was about that night when he came over to see her. She had requested that they become intimate again and after the two hour drive, he discovered that she just wanted to cuddle and when she felt his eagerness to do more she had asked him to leave. It wasn’t until he had taken inventory on their relationship that he accepted the fact that she will not fulfill his fantasy of the recovering alcoholic couple who works a rigorous program in the meetings.
She had withheld her body from him and asked him to leave. It was humiliating and that very evening he went straight to a midnight meeting somewhere in Hollywood.
It was not personal. She was selfish. And he loved her regardless.
How did Angelie fall off the wagon again?
That’s right. It was self-sufficiency. She had to do it her way. Pride allowed her to look over the fact that she still needed a program. That pride led her to her first experience with delirium tremors, it led her to sabotaging another potential love, another day of self-will run riot all the way into her first 5250 hold, her fourth hospitalization.
She did not take any programs, rules, formalities seriously. She just did not take life seriously, including her own. She had a great job in 2013, the height of her teaching career, and she knew that she gotten herself let go when the school psychologist asked if she felt like hurting herself and she said yes. The staff liked her and knew that she was good to their kids, and they had offered her another year in her teacher’s contract, but it was that her aim that became aimless. She was absent of love, and life seemed empty and meaningless, and it just became an endless video game scoring points. It was pointless. She was tired of life. She wanted to leave because she couldn’t understand love beyond what was present. It was a deep emotional attachment kind of love. That deep diving is what pushed him away, and in many ways, she deliberately acted crazy so that there was no chance they can get back together.
Because deep down, she had been wanting to leave the marriage for quite some time, but she was too much of coward to walk away. It was easier if she could just make him do it, then make him wrong for doing it, so she can look good and he look like the bad guy. It was the perfect setup. In a lot of ways, she had become the ultimate manipulator. She had wanted to leave him, but instead, made it so difficult for him to love her, that he had no choice but to leave her. Then she can cast blame, guilt, and try and sabotage his future with any person he falls in love with afterwards. God had other plans for him. He had gifted him with a beautiful girl that he and the woman he had fallen in love with have been wanting. Sonny had been praying for a nuclear family with a woman who would nurture his seeds, and Angelie had been praying for the courage to leave the marriage and go on her call to adventure. She knew she was divinely designed to do something more than just keep working in a broken system.
God is answering both their prayers.
Her heart was still bitter while she was operating Love Story as a way for her to get better. But today at the Drinker’s Den, there was a different book called Bill’s Story that talked about fully submitting your will over to God. When she had discovered the power of 1 Corinthians 13:12 in Drinker’s Den, her life started becoming better after a few months of actually applying the principles in action. It turns out as things got better, The Love Story would also get better. As the momentum of the company started picking back up, she had started taking credit for God’s work, specifically holding onto misplaced resentments of other people who did not work as hard as her, did not see the same vision as her, did not put in the passion/drive/and fire as she expected them to have to be treated as her equal. It became all expectation and that Martha mentality of self-sufficiency and self-will run riot had been the breeding ground for her to start picking up drinking once again. It caused resentments and triggered old wounds, leading her to numb at bars in the guise of “just networking” or “food pairing” at restaurants. It was the wine that did it because it carried a certain sophisticated pretension behind it.
Satan knows she’s foolishly courageous at times, so he seduces her with pride. It came with minor successes in her journey venturing with her photo, video, and journalism skills. She had gotten access to major festivals through rapport and a small blog, and somehow she had drank the illusional Koolaide that she was somehow better than others now that she’s on first names basis with certain artists. She had forgotten the original source of her sustenance that had raised her up at a time when she could barely crawl.
The funny part of this whole ordeal is that an alcoholic can easily recognize another alcoholic, but for some reason, it does not register that the only responsibility of an alcoholic is recognizing it in oneself.
Dillian had to take some major inventory over his resentments around her. He was courting her during a time he was financially struggling, taking time out to get to know her, and yet she treated him like a business deal. He felt manipulated and in some ways, she was manipulating him without her even being self-aware of it. She knew he had begun to fall for her but she continued acting dumb to his emotions and continued pushing for him to help her on her project. She clearly exhibited all symptoms of the tragic alcoholic–self-centered, compulsive, and wavering between low self-worth and delusions of grandeur.
It helped that he found her intellectually stimulating and highly attractive. It also did not hurt that he really enjoyed their time when they were hooking up, but he found her to be hopelessly naive and compulsive. Dillan so wanted to save her, but knew within the same breath, that she would be a siren if he did approach it that way. When they were dating, he had fantasized about their doing meetings together; he even thought about having kids with her but kept it to himself, because he knew she was wild, unattached, and uncommitted to anything other than her project which she incessantly talked about all the time like a mother whose entire life revolved around her kids. It was like she had substituted her obsession with alcohol with the Love Story project.
He also had a feeling that he was but one among the many suitors in her life. He had no control over her flirting, dating, and messing with other people. So, finally he had to let her go, despite still taking her phone calls. He would tell her his dating episodes in hopes that she would somehow get jealous, but nothing. She fully supported him, and this both made him both sad and made him like her more. Whatever it did, it made him want to go to more meetings. And though they stopped speaking for quite some time, he continued praying for her surrender, sobriety and sanity. The prayers began working its miracle, because one day he had received a voicemail from her out of the blue:
“Hey, D, I want to thank you for creating the app and personally downloading it into my phone. Sorry I was too cheap-o to even pay for the $4.99 and yet you still had personally set it up for me. Well, I used it yesterday and it saved my life. I went straight to a meeting after the night before I had blacked out yet again. I’m in a different state, so I can not afford to act ratchet and thirsty anymore. It’s time I faced my own daemons. I’m going to start fasting and I’m going to follow a rigorous program this time around. My life depends on it.”
He had called her within a few hours to really share his story so she can hear the hope in the painful struggle of what seemed to be life and death for her at the time. Her body was on overdrive. Her body was going through hypomania and shock from the realization that it will be without the dependency on the liquid courage for sustainability anymore.
Somewhere in her subconscious, she knew that he never did give up hope, not even after they stopped dating and had become friends, not even after he had already moved on and had fallen in love with another girl, he never did stop praying for her.
When she was going through DTs, Dillan had been on the phone with her and had given her the validation she needed to go through the physical withdrawal symptoms of detoxing her body from the substance.
It was Rylie who gave her the shock of truth.
“You are a sick and bad person.
I think you need help.”
It was Dillian who counseled her through, and it was God who delivered her through the process of detoxification.