I was sitting here just now screaming Lords of Acid into my ear and thinking back tot he bad old days when it occurred to me that when I do that, I can block out a lot of the bad just by, well, not thinking about it. As February comes up and the Darkness comes, it is important for me to remember that not everything out there is able to stop the progress I have made over the 8,000 or so days I have been clean. Not everything can take away the fact that, no matter how broken I am, I am still here and able to tell my stories in the hope that it helps a single person never make the same mistakes that I did.

I have bad days still, where I scratch my arms raw trying to get rid of something that hasn’t been there in more than half a lifetime now. I still can taste and smell and hear and see all the things that were, and dread the things that nearly might have been. I even can, on the worst days, find myself locked in a place where it is so real that there is nearly no escape.

Yet I am here. I am sitting with my three Ducks in a place that isn’t a jail cell, crack house, street corner or a grass and rot covered pauper’s grave.

I am here and I can tell all of you that I love you and growl at your demons with the strength of my own. I can hold you in the worst times and celebrate with you in the best of them. I stand more than ready and able to be Sword, Shield, and Bear to those that I call My Tribe.

I am still here to tell you stories about Siobhan and The Cauldron, or try so very hard to use words like antediluvian in the correct context and laugh when I use sentences that contain words like eldritch and Nyarlathotep.

I am still here to drink more than I should and read tasting notes to all of you in a bad Sean Connery accent while talking about shingles you say.

I won’t quote Maya or Warsan, I will leave Shakespeare be for the day and just say I am still here.

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