Monday, December 26, 2016

25 Songs About Addiction and Recovery: HATE ME, Blue October

Hate Me came out about ten years ago, and I remember this song fairly well because of a sponsee I had at the time. He was kind of/sort of trying to recover, but was handicapped by three big factors: 1) his ex-wife was (and is) an established member of the fellowship, 2) he was between jail bids, and he knew it; he had done a small sentence in this county, but was facing a year's term in Pennsylvania, which he eventually had to serve, and 3) he really didn't want to change. But he did feel guilt and remorse about much of what he had done in the previous two decades, to both his ex-wife (a feeling he managed to lose for at least part of every day, but it was real) and his daughter (which he did feel ceaselessly, at least at that time), and I remember him saying to me that he felt like he could have written this song.
It is written from the viewpoint of someone newly sober (three months) that is realizing the enormity of the problems of his addiction, and how badly he had treated those whose only crime was that they loved someone who didn't act lovably. The self-hatred that is constantly referenced in the song, that is its title, is something that is very real in early recovery. Amends seem to be too monumental a task to even contemplate, and as the full scope of the damage becomes clearly, it truly does seem to the person in early recovery that the partner/child really ought to hate him--because he would deserve it. It is a measure of how soul-deadening active addiction is that the concept of forgiveness, of loving someone even though they do hurt us, is beyond us.
It is also a measure of the self-centeredness that is the actual disease of addiction. It relieves the addict of the responsibility of making amends if the people they are owed to hate him and don't want him around. It also is a convenient excuse, both to not examine the addiction period in detail, and also provides a ready-made reason to relapse. When I heard, and still hear, this song, this is what I hear, what I see--not the remorse, but the self-interest and absorption that underlies it. This is nothing more or less than the recently-sober singer trying to backdoor-manipulate either forgiveness or a reason to give up.
Seeing it for it is does not make it less genuine. Indeed, this is a necessary phase of true recovery. The positive of the song and the sentiments is not what is being said, but the facts that the effort is there and that they are being said out loud. A closed mouth does not get fed; if the addict does not voice these sort of feelings, they cannot be (hopefully gently) influenced to see that the disease of addiction, contrary to what they want to believe, is still alive and kicking after the substance is down. It's the self-centeredness, the obsession with themselves, that needs to be addressed for long-term recovery to take place, not merely staying abstinent for a length of time.


(If you're sleeping are you dreaming
If you're dreaming are you dreaming of me?
I can't believe you actually picked me.)

(”Hi Justin, this is your mother, and it's 2:33 on Monday afternoon.
I was just calling to see how you were doing.
You sounded really uptight last night.
It made me a little nervous, and a l... and... well... it made me nervous, it sounded like you were nervous, too.
I just wanted to make sure you were really OK,
And wanted to see if you were checking in on your medication.
You know I love you, and...
Take care honey
I know you're under a lot of pressure.
See ya. Bye bye”)

I have to block out thoughts of you so I don’t lose my head
They crawl in like a cockroach leaving babies in my bed
Dropping little reels of tape to remind me that I’m alone
Playing movies in my head that make a porno feel like home
There's a burning in my pride, a nervous bleeding in my brain
An ounce of peace is all I want for you. Will you never call again?
And will you never say that you loved me, just to put it in my face?
And will you never try to reach me?
It is I that wanted space

Hate me today
Hate me tomorrow
Hate me for all the things I didn't do for you

Hate me in ways
Yeah, ways hard to swallow
Hate me so you can finally see what’s good for you

I’m sober now for three whole months it’s one accomplishment that you helped me with
The one thing that always tore us apart is the one thing I won’t touch again
In my sick way I want to thank you for holding my head up late at night
While I was busy waging wars on myself, you were trying to stop the fight
You never doubted my warped opinions on things like suicidal hate
You made me compliment myself when it was way too hard to take
So I’ll drive so fucking far away that I never cross your mind
And do whatever it takes in your heart to leave me behind

Hate me today
Hate me tomorrow
Hate me for all the things I didn’t do for you

Hate me in ways
Yeah, ways hard to swallow
Hate me so you can finally see what’s good for you

And with a sad heart I say bye to you and wave
Kicking shadows on the street for every mistake that I had made
And like a baby boy I never was a man
Until I saw your blue eyes cry and I held your face in my hand
And then I fell down yelling, “Make it go away!”
Just make a smile come back and shine just like it used to be
And then she whispered, “How can you do this to me?”

Hate me today
Hate me tomorrow
Hate me for all the things I didn’t do for you

Hate me in ways
Yeah, ways hard to swallow
Hate me so you can finally see what’s good for you
For you
For you
For you

[Children voices:]
If you're sleeping are you dreaming,
If you're dreaming are you dreaming of me?
I can't believe you actually picked me

[Girl:] Hey, Justin! [12x]

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