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First Ever Guest Post:Richard Sanders Author of "The Seventh Compass of Death"

How I kicked Drugs by writing by Ricard Sanders

    People who know me know my consumption of chemicals was pretty robust at one time.
Shooting crystal meth(1 1/2 years),dropping acid(200+times),smoking pot(daily,for years),
drinking alcohol(daily, for many ,many years)I had a nice mind-mess going ,and despite a little time in jail for the
sale of some of the above named substances,I had no intention of stopping.

    At one point during these early  years I decided I wanted to direct movies and videos, so I went to NYU
Film School. One of the mandatory courses  was Screenwriting 101.  I begged to get out of it-I had no talent
for telling stories-but mandatory is mandatory.  If you write, especially if you write fiction, you probably know
what happened the first time I tried to create something.  Even if you just read fiction, you know what I experienced
a kind of mesmerizing dream state, a kind of alchemical, mind-melting trance.  The blogger Laurel Marchfield
has a good post on writing as entrancement.   and I think entrancement is a good word for describing what
happens .  Even if you write non-fiction,when you're deeply into a text, you feel as if your head is turning butter,like it did when a story was read to you as a child.  In other words, I was getting high on writing.   Just like I'd get high on drugs.  In terms of finding  that entranced , lightly hypnotic,taken-away feeling,the writing high and the drug high have alot in common.

   Right away this presented a problem. I liked the writing high,I liked the drug high.  Trouble was , I couldn't do both at the same time.  The writing high is a controlled state.  The drug high is an uncontrolled state.  Whenever I tried to write when I was stoned I'd get a serious case of entrancement clash.
  So I had to decide between the two.  The choice might sound ridiculous now, but it was soul-searchingly serious at the time.  Eventually I went with writing it was free, it was legal, and you didn't have to carry a gun to cop it.  I think I reached the right decision.  Once I made up my mind,I never did drugs again.  I loved writing too much to let any bizarre drug static interfere.  alot of times in recovery they tell you to get addicted to something that won't kill you.  For me it was writing.  Not only did the word-high get me clean, in time it gave me the tools I needed to make a living as a magazine writer and editor.

   The alcohol?  That took a lot longer to kick.  The entrancement level of booze is nowhere near as powerful as the drugs, so there was no competition with the writing.  I had to use rehab and 12 steps to find my freedom.  But that's adifferent story, a different drug.  Still, I think my battle with the bottle was helped by my fight with the needle.  I'd chosen writing , and I'd  saved my life.


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