An excerpt from “Outside The Lines” by Jerry Muzik (pen name: Benji Driscoll)

I didn’t consciously choose to be addicted to cocaine and I didn’t consciously choose to be outwitted by the Devil, it wasn’t part of my plan.

Expressing myself is very important, the good, bad, all of it, I know the same goes for everyone. Expressing my feelings and emotions as they actually are and as they happen is very important. Embracing them, accepting them and feeling them.

On occasion, I get a little disappointed with myself from an action or reaction that I’ll make. Okay, it’s more of my own inaction than anything else. It’s a reminder of how I used to be, even more disappointing, it reminds those closest to me of how I used to be. More importantly, it’s a sign that I’m not on my “A” game and “A” is for Awareness.

In my mind, I was an open, honest, fun loving and easy going guy.How I used to be in reality was far from the illusions I held of myself.

Patience did not exist, it was hard to be calm when I was always annoyed, everyone was a problem and everyone was difficult. Understanding, that was easy, I understood that everyone else was always wrong. Honesty was out of the question because it scared the hell out of me. Forgiveness was for the weak, I was strong, so I held onto to everything. Willingness to do anything other than what I wanted to do was also weakness, I would break before I would bend. My delusions removed me from reality.

When I was younger I would isolate/distance myself, I could feel alone in a crowded room with family, friends, it didn’t matter, and that was my choice, my “safe mode.” As I got older my emotional anesthetics became cocaine and alcohol, I hid behind the many masks of addiction for just over twenty years. And that to me was also my “safe mode.”

I tried to selectively numb out the emotions that I was afraid of and/or didn’t understand, which happened to be all of them. By doing so, I numbed out every emotion, every single one, both good and bad. My feelings had become numb and whenever I did show my feelings they were usually falsely exaggerated. Anger was all that came out, which makes sense, since fear is anger based. It’s hard to express your feelings and emotions when you’re numb and it’s impossible to be yourself when you don’t know who you are and you’re afraid to find out.

Behind the addiction and fear, behind the masks, numbed emotions and anger was a good hearted person. My fears of failing at being myself and failing others prevented me from taking action. My fears of allowing anything new in or anything old out. My fears of dropping all of my masks, embracing all of my emotions and accepting all of my feelings, kept me. I was being kept by my fears. I was being outwitted by the Devil and my Devil was addiction.

My fears were fueled by my cocaine addiction and that kept me moving further away from myself and others.  My addiction had taken control of my life and no longer gave me an illusion of safety. My addiction fed me fear and I indulged as much as I could. It had a grip on me so tight that told me it was okay to choose wrong from right. That I deserved it, forget about your wife, forget about the dogs, and forget about the house and the mortgage.


In my hopes and failed attempts of escaping and avoiding my addiction and fears, I was avoiding life more and more. The further away I became from myself and my life, my addiction and fear grew, along with my anger. My anger built up so much inside that I hated everything, my “internal fuse” grew shorter and shorter. I felt like I was entitled to my anger and I shared it with everyone and that it had no affect on anyone else.



“It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.”
~ Marianne Williamson

The moment I hesitate to express myself openly and honestly is the same moment when I start moving backwards. My forward progress will decrease and my internal pressure will begin to build and I’ll eventually emotionally explode. That is usually expressed in the form of silence and anger. The pressure of buried emotion, feelings, and of buried living, will begin to fester, I have begun avoiding and I am no longer evolving.

I have learned that feelings buried alive never die. When I say “I’m fine,” I’m really not, I’m either (Frustrated Insecure Neurotic and Emotional) or my (Feelings Inside are Not being Expressed,) F.I.N.E.

By holding it all in, I was feeding the beast, I wasn’t just listening to fear, I believed it and lived in it. I thought I was outwitting everyone, even the devil. As it turned out, the devil was outwitting me with fear, doubt and addiction and I brought them all on by myself.

I didn’t consciously choose to be addicted to cocaine, to be outwitted by the Devil.  But when I realized I’d allowed myself to be played; I made a conscious choice to change. Not just to overcome my addiction to cocaine and alcohol;  to take the cape off, get out of the phone booth and embrace my genuine superpowers.

You see, I didn’t just quit cocaine and drinking. Quitting is just another form of avoidance and I had already proven that I could avoid. I choose to Evolve! And that… the Devil didn’t see coming.

I chose to grow and learn, to accept myself for all that I am and all that I am not. I chose to take accountability for ALL my actions. I chose to let the past go and to be grateful for it. I chose to be aware of myself, to allow myself to live in the moment and to take action in the moment.

(I became aware that I got played because I didn’t express myself openly, clearly and honestly) All of that just from not expressing myself openly, clearly and honestly, sounds a little heavy doesn’t it? That’s because it is, it’s just that HEAVY.

My experience has showed me, it has taught me and continues to teach me, that by not expressing myself properly; I was actually generating more pain and more fear in my life. I was creating more distance between myself, Loreen, my family, friends, work, my pets, LIFE, everything.

I used to think it was easier to stay shut up and locked up and keep everything to myself, and by doing so I would not affect anyone else. I thought I was being strong by keeping everything inside, by not allowing anything to surface the only thing that came out was anger. I also didn’t know how to express myself, I had no clue.

Strength is not keeping everything inside and keeping everyone and everything away. Strength is expressing your every feeling and every emotion. Strength is crying when you’re sad and crying when you’re happy. Strength is accepting help and it’s asking for help, strength is laughing so hard that you cry. Strength is not afraid of finding out who you are and being just that, YOU. Strength is not worrying about being perfect, it’s learning, growing, sharing, changing and embracing what you have and what comes your way, all of it. Being your authentic self, being real, true and PRESENT, that’s strength.

“I’m no longer afraid, I’m alive.”


Expressing myself doesn’t just benefit me; it benefits those around me, near and far. Stop hiding behind the mask and EXPRESS YOURSELF.

Like Madonna said, “Express Yourself so you can Respect Yourself.”

I was an addict…Now I’m alive

Embrace, Express, Evolve
Jerry Muzik

3 Responses

  1. chiquita

    This was a wonderfully inspiring story! I’m so proud and happy for you and your family 🙂

    • Publisher Notes
      Publisher Notes

      Thank you so much Chiquita! I appreciate your kind words. I have to admit, at the beginning, inspiring is not at all what I thought my story would be. I’m so grateful to be here to share it and to make a positive impact. ~Jerry

  2. MarciaAnn

    I love that you have mastered the root of all addictions once an for all – SPEAKING YOUR VOICE! Since addicio means voice in Latin, that is what addiction really is – the shutting down of one’s voice, story, pain – so as to cover it up.

    I love your acronym for F.I.N.E. – as it is true! Hiding behind the mask of F.I.N.E. so we don’t have to go there – and share or give any explanations.

    I am so grateful to be reading your article today – I am shutting down my voice – and I am Queen of My Castle! I should be sharing my truth instead of hiding in my bedroom – away from the energy vampire in my home! xoxoxoxo


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