The following excerpt is from Chapter 24, The Hardway. There are two excerpts from different parts of the chapter.
EVEN THOUGH THIS WAS MY LIFE NOW, IN MY HEART of hearts this lifestyle was once very foreign to me. It was just that I was so physically and mentally dependent. My brain and body had changed so radically that it was quickly becoming the only normal I knew. Another aspect was the secrecy. I spent so much effort on concealing my demons. Reality was that I wanted to shout to the world that I was messed up and had a major problem. I couldn’t do that though. I wasn’t ready for anyone to know but mainly because I wanted to hold on to the only life I now understood. In my way of thinking I was stuck. I desired to tell someone who could help but then I would have to stop, which I really didn’t want too. I also didn’t want anyone to know because I was embarrassed and knew people would talk in this one horse town I lived in. If I kept going it would mean even further destruction. I loved this thing I hated.
**Further on in the same chapter....**
The window in my room overlooked a nice side street. This street was lined with homes from the early 40’s and 50’s with neatly groomed yards but not so precise that one would be scared to touch the grass. It was fall and leaves were all over the yard. It looked so very peaceful. A few houses down children jumped in large piles of fallen leaves. I stood at that window staring at a couple walking their dog. I’m not much of an outdoors type of person but I thought how nice it would be to enjoy those things without being sick or worrying about how and where I was going to satisfy the devil inside me. I began to think of how far I was from making people happy with the songs I had been blessed with. I thought about how far I now was from making my family happy. I also thought about how far I was from actually being happy. I stared for what seemed like eternity. I was a long way from being anything I ever desired for myself. It really didn’t even have as much to do with music but rather life. I was created for something else, not this. I thought that one of the saddest things would be for my life to end this way. I realized that if I were to die like this that people around me would not have good memories of the last few years. Those memories would be regretful ones. There would be nothing good in the legacy I would leave my two precious kids.
I began to focus on a huge oak tree to the left of my window. For some reason it brought a sense of peace. It was like an old friend. It was solid, unmoved and seemed to be full of wisdom. It was as if that tree had once been where I was at that moment. It had been blown about by life’s hurricanes and storms. It had been almost toppled by the great winds of life. Now it had grown to be a shelter for others just like it. I wanted to be like that.