Our Featured Presentation: Addiction

Addiction does not give a damn about me or Whitney or Amy or Heath or the nameless addict, who panhandles on the street. It will never be your friend and it will never be satisfied. And if by the grace of God you survive, the precious gift of noticing the blue sky, becomes intensified, and the meaning of your life becomes glorified and the fire to lend a hand, becomes magnified, and the knowledge you acquired, you cannot hold inside, and you recognize your gift of words, do not belong to you, so you share outside, and the mission to spread peace shifts into overdrive, and the value of life becomes rarefied, and the desire to meet the world is mesmerizing, and the energy received from those you meet, is electrifying, and the idea I may inspire, is gratifying, and the meaning of my life, materialises and comprehending those years were not lost, if my addiction can save a life.

Our Featured Presentation: Addiction.

I was very lucky to find a blog, or rather the blogger found me!, that helped me get through work.  The quote above rocked me deep today, and provided me with some much needed hope after recent slips. I highly reccommend giving the whole article a read, and while you’re at it, the rest of the highly innovative blog.

Re Do: Day 1

So I’ve been actively (and unknowingly) working ahead of myself in the 12 steps, attempting to make amends.  This makes me feel like I should get a gold star on my drunky report card or something!  I’m not sure which step it is, and I can’t say that my-ex and I have reconciled, but I can happily report that we are past the ugliness in a lot of really good ways.  We ate out together tonight and it was just, nice. We went to a mexi restaurant Tres Pesos a bar and grill and somehow, I was able to put alcohol out of my mind (though it did jump in there like a photo-bomb about 37 times: how great would a drink be? God, you need a drink! You seem thirty, alcohol? ….  This is another gold star to having an evening that admittedly is pretty unusual and stressful, and not drowning anything out.  We aired out some things cautiously, we talked around several subjects, completely lost track of time, laughed some, and hugged goodbye.

I went to a meeting today too, which I can say may be the only reason I didn’t shut that spastic liquor monster up with a whiskey & ginger.  The meeting was wonderful, we read from the blue book, or is it called the big book? And I shared with the group (all much, much older than my 22 years) how it continually astounds me how similar all of our stories are, sometimes even down to the oddly specific details.  I can’t share those because Anonimity, but I can tell you that it is a true language. 

And it may be some of the truest language I’ve ever heard.  Other than a will to stop drinking, it’s pretty much the only imperative that you be honest.  This makes for some nearly heartbreaking moments of authenticity, which is something so foreign to me and I would guess to most, that it’s almost cinematic.  I realize, people aren’t like this.  Like ever.  People don’t where their ‘truths’ out like a prized handbag or pair of shoes.  We are literally conditioned to do the exact opposite and ‘toughen up’ because ‘life’s a bitch’. 

I had a thought today that recovering alcoholics may be some of the better people I’ve been around.  And the whole God thing being part of the program… I’d wager that active members of AA are more true to the Christian disciplines of love and faith than steady churchgoers).  You witness this in action in these meetings like I’ve never seen in a church.

 

 

how the fuck

I saw an old friend tonight.  We were those sort of friends who always ended up occupying similar space, but not ever particularly knowing what to do with it.  I think we cared for each other–the length of yearson the periphery has to speak for something?

When he hit me up on facebook, I though for sure he’d caught the private relationship status change from all the fall out (see Just Beginning post).  I thought this would be a lonely attempt to reconnect.  At best, to try and get some not-so-strange.  At worst, to try and rekindle a friendship.  I decided to bring back-up, and showed up despite not really wanting to at all, if only for old times sake.

He was always the lonely type.  Soft, distanced brown eyes.  A strong but thin physique…The first kid to wear skinny jeans and dye his hair in high school, from what I can remember, his emo act got him a whole lot of pussy.  This part I can remember.  Girls I barely was aware of asking increduously and nervously is I really hung out with him on the weekends… I was dating his best friend (thats how I met my old friend) and frankly, I could give two shits.  I heard how he raunchily shared every detail about these girls he’d, after they gathered their clothes and he dropped them off just in time for curfew (his parents were/are loaded.  the car only added to his appeal).  I thought–read:knew–he was an asshole.  That’s all there was to it.

But over the years, I began to pity him.  Seeing him squeeze in those leopard print ultra-skinnies.  Trying to dye his hair outrageously, long after it was cool.  His first STD scare.  His first DUI.  His first heartbreak.  One night, I had just come home from a semester spent in India (we’ll get to my flavorofprivilege, I’m sure, later in the blog). I decided, almost against my better judgement to goto a hometown party. 

It was horrific.  I didn’t know how to talk to these people anymore.  Didn’t know how to explain I’d spent the semester sober, doing MAJOR and SCARY introspection.  It didn’t help I was nearly bald, per an impulsive and attention-seeking decision.  Everyone was buzzing around me or about me.  I was ‘cool’ for all of this, and yet all I knew how to do was drink. I couldn’t talk to anyone really… and this was me at every party.  All I’d have to do is have a drink or a few… and wait for the magic.

But back to my old friend.  He meanders up to me…meander is strong.  He wobbles over to me, I’m sitting alone by a window, overwhelmed with the responsibility of being wanted.  He sits beside me and stares at my face.  I’m sure he meant this to be revealing and sensitive, a sort of ‘hook’ to what he was going to say, but in my anxious and not-yet-displaced mind, it weirded me out. 

“Sydney, I’ve always loved you.”

…yup, yikes… 

He proceeds to say that ever since I was with his best friend in high school he has loved me, always jealous, always longing for me from the distance, ad nauseum.  He is very drunk.  I am very desirable at this party being that its my first social appearance since being abroad…he is very drunk, he is lonely…I’m getting the picture…  By the time he’s done trying to convince me (and  himself) that he’s in love with me, I’m my-entire-cup of whiskey-drink down.  I politely decline, saying you don’t mean that, you’re drunk, he protests… I slammed another drink and smoked a cig, took the bottle I brought with me and left.  I did not acknowledge this conversation ever again. 

 

So, things haven’t been the same since.  And now, fairly out of the blue, he’s messaging me pretty insistently, what am I supposed to think?  I take another friend and sit there awkwardly trying to make conversation or catch up, alternating between deep boredom and pity.  He still, at 27, lives behind his parents’ home and works at PapaJohn’s.  His ‘apartment’ (read: room over garage) has video game posters, a large hentai ‘panty-shot’ cartoon, cups with a considerable amount of mold growing in them. He had no reason to want to see me, and I shot his fuck-for-good-times-sake chances out of the water by brigning a friend. We talk about all the people we used to know, all making very poor life choices.  He tells me he’ll be getting his license back soon, from his 2nd DUI.  We watch him play video games.  My friend and him smoke a bowl while an anime about pinball plays behind the rest of the visit…The coolest, most fucked and most admired kid from high school, now a monument to all that is just a little fucking sad.

He offered me wine during this visit…how the fuck was I supposed to say no?

Another Post

Starting off not so good at this blog thing or the sober thing.  I drank heavily Sunday night and again, for petty reasons, turned to wine.  I had another post in between but I think its lost now.  Shame.  It was a happy shiny post, full of day three accomplishment. 

I feel very disconnected and constipated, emotionally.  I know that there are moves here to be made, I felt in my meeting this week; but I’m meeting them with stress and resistance, instead of with a whole and open heart.  I want to get back to that warm and fuzzy creative place inside my own mind.  The place where I feel supremely beautiful and the world looks the same.  Where I’m writing here.  The place where I feel goooood.  Its deep but not dripping with all the connotations that a silly half-baked person would say: deep man, har har….  Its just literally further down in my psyche, I think.

 Its an active place, and when I make the actions from that wellspring inside me without the external distractions—when I actually bade my own voice, my own intentions—it feel as if things line up and have some sort of order. 

 Without having that foundation, I feel like I’ve been poking and prodding at possibilities.  Just irritating the shit out of myself with, say, looking for a car for two hours instead of working.  Forcing myself to communicate and conduct myself in a certain way with the ex.  Everything feels like this big push.  Instead of resolute…

 

I think I’m definitely in a funk.

 One of the things I feel like I’m forcing is this sobriety.  I find myself outside of the place of clarity within me.  It was crystalline my intentions, and the effects of alcohol.  My first post.  It all made sense.  I didn’t set up any sort of ‘touch-stone’ other than going back to that post, though.  Maybe that’s the key/ Of course, then I went most of the weekend without writing.  Had my little bender Sunday night. And, fuck, just so many feels happening inside me right now! I am trying to get on top of it all, but I can’t.  I am trying to accept, but its hard.  I’m trying to figure and work and plan and it just seems like what I need to do is surrender to all this shit and I’ve about a chance in hell of doing that. I want someone to CONVINCE me that drinking is bad all over again.  I want to be back on the ledge and a siege of people shaking their fists and telling me not to jump.

 

This seems selfish.  This also seems unproductive.  How can I do this if I’m just doing it for the angry mob?  What’s it even worth if that’s the case?  Doesn’t it only have intrinsic value for someone else, the someone who feels it is their life’s purpose to pull people off of ledges?

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

“The pleasures which I made haste to seek in my disguise were, as I have said, undignified; I would scarce use a harder term. But in the hands of Edward Hyde, they soon began to turn toward the monstrous. When I would come back from these excursions, I was often plunged into a kind of wonder at my vicarious depravity. This familiar that I called out of my own soul, and sent forth alone to do his good pleasure, was a being inherently malign and villainous; his every act and thought centered on self; drinking pleasure with bestial avidity from any degree of torture to another; relentless like a man of stone. Henry Jekyll stood at times aghast before the acts of Edward Hyde; but the situation was apart from ordinary laws, and insidiously relaxed the grasp of conscience. It was Hyde, after all, and Hyde alone, that was guilty. Jekyll was no worse; he woke again to his good qualities seemingly unimpaired; he would even make haste, where it was possible, to undo the evil done by Hyde. And thus his conscience slumbered.”

–Robert Louis Stevenson 1886

This is a divide I see most clearly when sober, and less clearly when with drink.

Just Beginning

So I went to my first AA meeting this week. And then another, even though I’m still drinking. My mind has been swirling non-stop and I get caught in the currents. I can’t focus on what I need to, I can’t concentrate on getting my life better, I can’t see anything but loss.

 

Last Thursday, was a normal Thursday except I had acted up because of alcohol on New Years.  I’m a black-outer.  It’s not a normal week with out not remembering going to bed, and that’s saying nothing for the weekends.  On New Years, my now ex-boyfriend’s and my anniversary, he had surprised me with tickets to go see one of my favorite bands. I booked a hotel room, cause I knew we would probably get sloshed and I shouldn’t say we because this time it was all me.  I got so drunk I fell on someone in the stadium seating. I was so drunk I fell down most of a flight of an escalator. I was so drunk that I don’t remember telling the cab driver that I was going to rape him. I woke up and recalled nothing.

 

Usually we alternate the two of us, between me having an embarrassing night, we would fight/talk/etc about it (or sometimes just never mention it) and eventually it all was fine.  We joke about alcoholism all the time, and it’s not unlikely that his night ends in puke, and mine blacked out somewhere. That’s how it used to go.  I’ve always been someone who “finds the line”, a particular sort of art. I’m that girl who goes far, far too far.

 

Well after New Years, I was thinking I might ought to slow down a bit. I felt shit-guilty, I mean upset.  It was like I couldn’t conceive that it had happened, surely that wasn’t me and this was all just a dream I would wake up from and we would wake up in each other’s arms. 

 

Thursday night, I came home from work—and though I don’t deserve any excuse—I didn’t want to drink that night. But my other three twenty-something’s roommates (my then boyfriend and two best friends) were playing Drunk-ass and had been since three o clock, a normal occurrence for me to come home to around 6. I even said, “I can’t drink a lot, I’ve got to go to bed early,” but true to me and my magic line finding skills, I found it crossed, set the son-of –a-bitch on fire.

 

What happened that night? I couldn’t tell you truly, I have no idea.  What I was told? I cussed out my two roommates, vented every frustration with the both of them I’d ever had. Their lifestyle, the mess in the apartment (they are messy, I am clean enough to mind cockroaches), their laziness and lack of drive, I imagine even their collected mental health issues or weight problems… I haven’t gotten their side of it yet…  But what did I do to the man who I have claimed to love for over a year? The person that has been there for me more than anyone, my best friend?  I tell him I hate him, slam him up against the wall, hit him and break his glasses.  This had happened before, but now was ‘third strike’.  He ended it with me and I can’t even remember being there for why.

 

 

So, I’m definitely an alcoholic.  This is not the first time it has interfered with my life in a big way, it’s just the most sweeping, all-at-once embarrassment.  I feel so much pressure because of this. It’s like I’ve been underwater and now I can just barely see the surface; I’m struggling to take it all in.  There’s a lot of pain, a lot of anger (mostly at myself). I see all the way since, god I was probably 15 and now I’m 23 almost, and so 8 years? Almost a decade that it has just been creeping along: waiting for a big move and only every now then acting insidiously on my behalf. Compared to that, the big fuck ups aren’t scaring me so bad right now.  That fuck up: I just lost my boyfriend, I was kicked out of my apartment, I lost friendship and companionship and most importantly—if I am to take to some changes—stability.  But even then, what has alcohol taught me but to hold on to it and together we’d pull me up from the most disastrous of places.

 

In the Russell Brand documentary about heroine addiction, he interviews a woman who prescribes methadone to recovering patients.  Brand is a strong proponent of abstinence rehabilitation, so he began debating with the doctor.  Her argument goes something along the lines that people have been beaten and broken by addiction and its underlying causes for so long that they wouldn’t survive or heal without any sort of assistance. Like a “cast,” methadone—she believes—is to help hold everything in place to foster a slower and safer rehabilitation. He does not buy any of this and neither do I.  If the substance can sweep my life out from under me, why can’t I sweep its? But still, I’ve been drinking here lately because I’ve been keeping this kind of mentality.  “I can’t just cut myself off, I won’t survive. Plus I’m already healing a broken heart and pride and I have to go on somehow. I can’t do it by myself!”  I will want to drink soon.  I want one now thinking about it and I’ll want one tonight. And tomorrow. I’ll want to escape from everything like I always have.

 

What’s really terrible is this is the first time that I’m seriously looking at any of this and I’m so scared of what I’m seeing.  What’s that?  A girl who was first generation college, AP and extracurricular star, on track to top universities, a girl with dreams and hopes, big ones, well loved and loved well.  I don’t dream much anymore.  I delude myself in the future and grieve for the past.  I’ve wrapped myself so tightly between the two I can’t love, can’t give, can’t see anything but myself. I’ve become wholly selfish.  And even though I say alcohol has taught me how to navigate hard times, through these kinds of struggles, the more I think, it really hasn’t.  I haven’t navigated shit.  I’ve never learned how to really cope.  I took big hits personally a long time ago and started drinking and never stopped.  I never pulled my self up by my boot straps and did work to get back on track or accept anything about me or my actions long enough to find a new one…  Alcoholic-me was telling me I was going to get there, I was doing fine because I was keeping a job.  I was doing fine because I had a boyfriend and two good friends. This wasn’t reality and certainly isn’t the truth now that the loss of those things have dragged me back up to the surface.  All I’ve been doing all these years: dodging bullets.  I haven’t gotten over shit. I’ve just moved out of its way and let it roll me right over. The only thing I’ve accepted is that dodging and evading and getting plowed over is life. 

Russell Brand from Addiction to Recovery

 

*EDIT* This movie inspired the post: Just Beginning. My story and in-depth reaction to my first AA meeting(s) can be found there. Caution: Shits deep.

Abstinence. That is a word no one has heard me say in a long time. This documentary, other than having Russell Brand in it–who I find to be just the right amount of asshole–brings his own addiction forward, and looks at some of the myths and science behind people who are addicts. An ends up taking them all the way to Parliament. Awesome!

But even more awesome is the look at recovery. A new term for me: abstinence. I may have said that word earnestly about three times in my life: while I was a commited Christian in a Baptist church, when I joined True Love Waits, and then when I graduated True Love Waits and gave my prized earning-a ring of promise-to my first good fuck…

But I digress! Brand uses the term with much more sincerity: abstaining from the drug or drink. The movie emphasizes heroine and its deadly counterpart methadone, and argues fervently that the fairest, kindest and most effective way to treat addiction–and I think the only true way–is to treat the underlying issues.

Its good :)

Then & Now

It’s certainly been awhile.  I’ve no idea how long actually.  Anyway, my latest work (other than avoiding getting work) had been on myself, and in the realm of the past.  I’m rather fixated on myself around age 17 versus who I am now.  For example, I wasn’t a supposed criminal then, now I can’t get a Care.com babysitting account for my wimpy charges  (for your assumed curiosity: misdemeanor possession of weed which wasn’t mine–though it could have been–and shoplifting from walmart, back when I convinced myself it was political action)

Here are so more facts I’ve just put together a la those fun myspace things everyone used to do!

10 Things about me then:

1-seriously into politics, a way of caring for the world at large and making change in the world

2-obsessed with ‘getting out’ ‘leaving’

3-I used to talk to myself, like I was being interviewed by Oprah. the voice, MY voice, was so clear.

4-I was passionate

5-I laughed more

6-I took risks, albeit silly or dangerous ones, but I did.

7-I could talk to people, anyone mostly. I liked it. I remember being assured I knew how to start and keep conversation.  I thought I knew how to say all the right things.

8-I was blind in believing and creating a path for myself. A faith unaffected by silly things like reality.

9-I didn’t need a lot of sleep.

10-I could make myself (and did) do just about anything. Self motivated, self starting.  An energy I regenerated effortlessly (albeit at times manically).

10 Things about Me now:

1-I’m much more interested in newagey things. Including feelings.

2-I don’t like the word faith. I don’t like doing things blindly.

3-I’m afraid of e v e r y t  hing.

4-When I was then, I’d just get bummed out. I’d have a nice dramatic cry, usually in a room by myself, and it’d be over with. My mom was also there for most of these. Now, I get depressed. It feels like I’ll be swallowed whole.  I also see now that depression can drag on forever and there are only two ways out: one, out and on and up. Forward.  And two: suicide, or something near self-infliction.  The pain has to match up somewhere on the outside.

5-Sometimes I’m smarter than I was then, and infinitely so, other days I’ve lost so much of what made me special.

6-I look back. I never used to do that. I never stopped not even for reflection.  It would have done me some good probably—and inevitably it has—but this is just obscene.

7-I feel like I care about other people more. I ‘SEE’ people. Their feelings at least make sense to me. I’m compassionate in a quieter way.

8-Jaded. Or worldly.

9-I’m recently coming to terms with myself (this step part of it) and I can admit things about myself without a coy defense, without the charms of protection.  I’m spoiled.  I’m a brat.  I like to be waited on. Part of me desperately wants to be a kept woman.

10-I watch better movies, listen to better music (!!!) and watch better TV. Part of that I’m almost positive was watching less CNN.

 

EDiT: One of us searched, meandered. The other was terribly impulsive.

Eh gurl

Sometimes I love women, like men do.
But not just men, ethnic men.
Excuse me I really don’t mean to stereotype,
but in my experience, they are more vocal.
Its not hidden if you’ve got a great body
or a pretty face; their flattery is made known.
If they like what they see you’ll get
one of two things: a marriage/lovemaking proposal
or
“She got a donk!” “Eh girl!” “Eh mami!” “Que cullo chica!”
with claps or whistles, and guffaws.
All of this is no surprise if you listen
to mainstream music, primarily
the radio, and while some women who hear
men sing things like, “Get over here and shake your ass,”
and get offended or disgusted, even angered,
I get just a little bit wet.
It’s so brazen, so loud! So risqué!
Maybe its misogynist, and maybe I’m not a feminist,
but I’ve been in the club and thought:
“Damn gurrl! I wish you’d come get some of dis!”
I’ve just never said it out loud.

Sometimes havin…

Sometimes having a dream hurts worse than anything else. You get pains all over your body from carry it around and the sonofabitches who put the thought there to begin with doesn’t even give you the courtesy to ever see what youre carrying, its a few hiundred yardsin front of you, always outof sight. You walk around with a fire in your belly that people tell you is agood thing, but really just gets you in to all sort of trouble. For me nd my dream, I’m a serial job quitter. The carrot of the end of the stick looks so good I trick myself into thinking I;ll get it any other way than good hard work. It also causes me to cry or become wholly morose atthe most wrong moments. Worst of all, the absolute worst, is that my dream has become so large and beautiful that I’ve become incredibly diluted. My dream has become better than me. All the longing and the pining and the carrying and the planning have swelled to such immensity and in completely void space. It’s like I’m sitting in an empty room, looking round, and wondering why did I even want to fill it inthe first place? Isn’t it perfectly functional barren? What’s the use of filling it with shit when its just fine as it is: plain and empty.

This si how I’m one of modern cultures largest cliches. A waitress working in a small town, hoping to one day move to the Big City and become an actress. As if its something I’ll just change into when I take my first subway ride.

http://youtu.be/Ooqqj6q1MeU