Exposing “Mr Q”

Well last night my mother and I slept at my Aunt Laura’s. We were a bit worried that we might be imposing because Laura leaves on a trip tomorrow, but she was happy to have us here. We brought over some Thai Food, sat and chatted, watched some of the end of the Olympics, and played a few rounds of Boggle, which looks suspiciously like “Scramble with Friends”.

I had an okay day thanks to the support of my family and my commitment to continue moving forward. But it also helped to have some meds to make my symptoms a little more bearable.

What I am contemplating now is this:

Throughout this process I have been able to draw upon an inner strength that I didn’t even really know existed. Imagine hauling up water out of a previously dry well, and you get some sense of what it has felt like to dredge deep within my soul and pull out resistance and strength I didn’t know I had.

Always, in the past, every single time, when things got tough and the symptoms got worse, I let the addict part of my brain run the show. I delivered myself into his hands begging “please, oh please get us out of this pain!”

This time, however, due to the help of my family and the doctor I saw in the Emmanuel ER, I was able to say, “no”, you can not control me, you can’t make me go back on drugs just because that will temporarily relieve the pain. It is hard, denying myself something I feel I need, that sometimes I even feel like I deserve. The worst part is when your brain decides to get all clever and come up with a really pretty and logical sounding rational for why getting immediate relief from pain while sabatoging progress is not just okay, but is the right thing to do.

All along, my brain has been feeding me lines like

“you shouldn’t be doing this, you did the taper wrong, the withdrawals are worse than they should be, you won’t be able to deal with them, if you want to stay on track, you need to get back on the subutex, cause after all, it was what made your progress possible, not you. No, not you, never you. You could NEVER have done all this stuff without subutex. So obviously you should get back on it so that you can keep moving forward…right? So just call your doctor, tell him you made a mistake, he will work it out with you, you know he will. And your friends and family might not approve but if the understood how much easier this will be for all of them…..

Uh…Wow. My uncle named that voice inside me “Mr Q”. Because it is always questioning, always looking for a loophole, or a way out. Clever as clever can be, but without a shred of dignity or honesty. Mr Q will accept any means to his ends, even if it means hurting those he loves or endangering himself.

Mostly though, when Mr Q talks, what comes out are lies. He is the part of me that lies to myself, that I use to manipulate others…he is the kingpin of all the addictive voices in my head.

And the reality is not that I will ever truly try to be rid  of Mr Q, per se. More that I will be able to hear him, listen, and just observe his voice without getting sucked into it and embodying it. Q’s energy is fearful, distrusting, scheming, conniving, manipulating, lying, hating, angry, and in pain. He curls up in a corner so that no one will see him, and when someone does happen to notice him, he becomes standoffish: “whatchu lookin at? Mind yer own damn business” he snarls. Mr Q doesn’t care about anyone or anything except protecting himself and keeping himself pain free.

So my goal for the next five days: observe my Mr Q, but keep him in check, and mostly, to embody him as little as possible. He must remain in the background for me to do my work.

Thank you to everyone who has been reading this and following my struggle through the past few days. Things are hopefully on the upswing now, and I look forward to posting more tomorrow,


Goodnight, and Peace to you,



Don’t worry, more about “Mr Q” in the next few posts


4 responses to “Exposing “Mr Q”

  1. I’m so pleased with your progress, resolve, tenacity, and ability to separate from Mr Q and release the power of the King. Kudos!

  2. Dear Nathan,

    Once again you are my night time read!
    A strong response to the addict voice, Mr. Q. Your voice is strengthening. Bravo!
    Up at 3:45 am tomorrow so I’ll say night to you. Sleep peacefully!
    Aunt Laura

  3. Nathan, You’ll beat that guy, Q. You are putting up an amazing fight!
    Papa Fisk

  4. Hey Cus! I am sorry I haven’t been following/responding to your blog regularly lately. I’ve been distracted. And I haven’t followed through on blogging about my own wellness quest, but my heart and mind have been working with what wellness means for me, and for you, and for us all. And what I am thinking about is that wellness is not always being perfect and happy, wellness is balance, awareness, and willingness to learn from your own experience. Wellness is creating the tools you need to get back up when you fall and learning and not falling as hard the next time. I want to tell you that I am so proud of you! You fell pretty hard the last couple days and you are getting back up and you are still clean! Do you remember the last time you fell and stayed clean? I think the work that you are doing is so phenomenal.
    I know what its like to have a voice in your head that makes you feel like you can’t trust yourself. I’m gonna call mine Ms. B because shes the “but what if” voice. Shes the fear voice, the voice that plays out all the scary scenarios, that makes me feel small, and powerless, the voice that tells me I can’t. And there was a time in my life that Ms. B had all the power and I believed my Ms B voice to the point where I no longer felt I had any power at all, even to stay sane or safe. That is a scary place to be. I think it is so great that you can acknowledge that this voice isn’t you and it doesn’t have to control you. For me and Ms B I had to acknowledge her and then even be grateful for her, because realizing that I wasn’t Ms B helped me find my true self and so I am grateful for my Ms B voice. And she never goes away permanently, in fact she’s been speaking up pretty strongly lately, but she doesn’t control me as much or as long as she used to, and she still helps guide me because when her voice comes up I know I have a lesson to learn and when I learn the lesson I can see my path ahead a little better. So I say “thank you Ms B and Mr Q, thank you because standing up to you makes us stronger and gives us the tools to find our power”.
    Thank you Nathan for your honest sharing and your commitment to your quest, even when its hard. I love you!

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