Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Getting Sober

After over five months, I'm finally starting to get sober.  I think it has taken this long for my brain to actually begin to adjust to the lack of alcohol.   I don't plan on drinking for a long time into the future. 

Over the weekend, there was some very good whiskey, a Johnnie Walker Gold and Green label, to be precise.  I took a sniff of the two, back to back, to see what I was missing, and although the pungent odor infiltrated senses, I didn't feel the loss of anything, like a missed opportunity.  Would my life sincerely be better if I had some extremely tasty whiskey?  Generally, no.  Is my life generally better without booze, for now, and for me?  Yes.   

Monday, November 29, 2010


I meant to write "listening" there, but listing will work for the moment.  Getting dark damn early outside, and cooler too.  In my head, I'm still locked in the summer heat though, all unbuttoning my shirt collar and thinking about ice cream (where did those majestic singing trucks get tucked away, anyhow?), and when I go to the subways they reify my incongruous perceptions with their heat (yes still, and they heat those train cars far too much).  Something is happening.  Time.  It is slipping.  Correction: I'm now noticing that I cannot hold onto time, that my previous smatterings of perception have been unlaboriously removed from the wall like unwanted graffiti, and that, damnit all, it turns out that there are some hard sharp edges to this thing they call reality, and those edges will slice you if you lean in on them, and sometimes they'll get you just to play with you too.  And no matter how fulfilled you are, or how much you dream, you'll still only be stuck with yourself at the end of the day.  This, an important lesson for the budding alcoholics among us.  You can't get rid of yourself (well, you can, but then you'd fail to perceive this fact, so what I'm really saying is that you can't have it both ways by getting rid of yourself and being free of earthly encumbrances/physicalities and also stick around to know about that, however deeply embedded that fantasy may be in our popular culture or idols). And you can't get rid of time.  It sticks to you.  And no matter how it might seem, other people can't get rid of it either. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Potato Pancakes and Christmas Trees

There's actually some zucchini in them (credits to my anonymous fiancee for making these delicious treats).  I haven't had them in years, and they were just fabulous on a crisp sunday afternoon.

Today we got a Christmas tree...

More Successful Partying with Kids -

There they were, the little rugrats, crawling and pulling and pushing around.  A small one named Natalia, about 8 months old now, sat with me for a time, using her little fingers to grab at the buttons on my shirt (they were easily the most interesting) and then at my glasses.   I've gotten so used to speaking Polish to kids that even when I see kids who only speak English, I start to speak Polish to them.  I do it partially because they won't respond with a slew of words that I don't yet know, and partially because I happen to see only kids of Polish parents.  That's okay.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It will come when it is supposed to come.

And you can't rush it.  The creative process, that is.  You can and should work on whatever inspiration that manifests itself for you, and you can and should do research and absorb yourself in your interests, to the extent feasible and with a bit of balance for other necessary aspects in your life.  But we are all getting older, and there are opportunity costs everywhere.  There's no way for us to accomplish everything we want to accomplish without excluding other items/goals, and part of trying to do something, following whatever inspiration does come, is that we won't be able to follow every inspiration.  That we'll have to make choices.  That's okay.  Let's not try to hold on to the past or to the present in such a way that our future suffers.  Of course, part of the trick is that we don't exactly know what to hold and what not to hold, but that's okay too.  We're not perfect.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Transition Time

More running today, in the cold, too. Well, to be truthful, it didn't even drop below freezing, but comparatively, it was chilly.  I'm definitely not going out to see many friends lately, or maybe my definitions have changed. Still social, less willing to put up with shit.  Not drinking sure has a way with one's social life. I'm more focused. I no longer feel like I'm just riding out some wave until the end to be placed where the tide draws me back in again.  I'm walking on my own two feet, however much of a cliche that is, and however tacky I feel, and however much I didn't create the world around me, I do have a say in where I'll go today.  You know, the classic drill, the 5am rush of being somewhere important, and the lens of one's life that crops and distills compromised minutes into something manageable, then blows it back up to pretend that it can cover an entire wall. 

Over five months sober now.  Let's keep this going.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Drinking on Thanksgiving

Today I was offered a drink four times. All politely. All assuredly, with some force, and once with enough angst to expect a response from me. Something was wrong if I didn't have a drink.  I used the operation excuse.  It was easier.  I drank coffee.  I drank tea. I drank water.  There was a toast.  The entire family (my step family) wanted to make a toast to my pending marriage.  It was really sweet and heartfelt.  Am I the only one that's going crazy?  How can they possibly toast me and simultaneously push booze on my overactive mouth? Of course the answer is because they don't know that I can't drink because I would drink too much. . . . . eventually.  Not then, no.  Just eventually.  Either I turn the switch on or leave it off all the way.  This ain't no dimmer.

6/25/2010 - 11/25/2010

That's five months so far.  I'm dancing under the storm cloud of raining thoughts that want to pool up to the conclusion that I'll just stay sober indefinitely.  Although I stayed sober for 6 months last year, I didn't get to where I wanted to go, i.e. the point of staying sober was to change my situation in other non-alcohol related venues (if you know what I mean).  The fundamental realization that begat that period of sobriety was that I would need to change the aspects of my life that caused misery, and that alcohol kept me from doing that.  At 6 months, I took the GRE under the impression that I wanted to attend a doctoral program.  I scored well, although not well enough to assure success, but well enough to feel accomplished, to have a bit of an outcome to all of my restrictive madness.  So I had a drink.  Two drinks, actually, as I discussed with my then girlfriend (now fiance), were necessary.  How could I possibly break my sober spell with just one drink?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Praying for something or everything?

I don't get how we're supposed to be able to prey for something with specificity. I just want to pray for everything. Then my head says "Zero-Sum" dude, so you have to pray for something! But where does it say that in the Bible?  Are my prayers any less intense if I pray for the well-being of everything while also dreading the thought because somewhere deep down my instincts say that the well being of everything just isn't possible? Why not? 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Wow, is it really november? Am I alone in the shock of the summer heat back in July. The 100 degree heat. The impossibility of autumn. Is it nearly december somehow? I've gotta straighten my head out to align it with the time-that-is, here in 2010, almost 2011. 2011.

Mood Log/Blog

Good god.  It has come to this.  I'm reading a book about anxiety.  There are exercises.  I'm writing this down at the same time trying to squeeze out some security by hinting at the idea that "we" don't really need to be doing this reading at all, and that it is a forced activity/behavior.  Much like sobriety right?  Forced.   Anyway, so there are exercises in there, and guess what?  Taking a mood log in your head doesn't work.  You've gotta write it down if you want to sort of pinpoint some of the  items that are taking over.  here are some, in no particular order:


Peanut butter style, opened sandwich half smashed onto window, pulled by gravity, taken by rats, nibbled into pieces, digested, shat, rotted, dessicated, vaporized, breathed in.  Still in the same place though.

Dealing with People

People can be extremely annoying.  They get in the way when you want to go somewhere.  They're always there when you are trying to get something done.  They're always, constantly, telling you things you may not want to hear, restricting your behaviors.  Problem is, well, you wouldn't do anything if it wasn't for other people.  They are always the end goal, even for seemingly endogenous activities.  So, maybe it is best to come to terms with their omnipresence.  That's a good thing, even though everyday life can be stressful and overwhelming. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

I was wrong.

At least partially.  Anxiety is useful, but when it becomes debilitating, and you, or I, don't change it when we can, it ceases being useful.   I know, I know, it seems that anxiety should always be eradicated, right?  Well, I thought so too, but I recently posted about it's usefulness.  And I wasn't wrong there--it might be useful.  But it might be so restrictive that it won't allow you to do anything.  When it keeps you at bay for months, or years, from a fuller life, it might be worthwhile to evaluate it's role in some way.  There's a simple method for this, but you absolutely have to write it down.  Okay, just list out the advantages and disadvantages of your anxiety.  Try to to list both.  I'm a fool, sure, fine.  But if you do suffer at times from anxiety, give it a whirl.  You'll only look like a food to yourself.  I think you'll find that, however unpleasant the experience of going through anxiety, it provides some modicum of safety, and unearthing the disproportionate way that it might operate in this respect will help to solve it.  I'll try to explain more in the next post.


In combination with a strong vitamin D regimen (I was declared deficient previously, in need of high levels of supplementation, to which I've dutifully adhered and by the purchase of massive amounts of commercial grade gel tabs golden in color and initial consumption), yesterday I decided, after what I'll admit was a somewhat productive weekend, to go for a run.  I had wanted to get out of the house, and we did take a walk for about an hour, but the walk just didn't cut it, whatever it was/is.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Damien, on the other hand, found maximum pleasure through the discovery of insects--the hairier and more legs, the better.  He liked the way they could coordinate their various and multiple appendages to accomplish a task, whether climbing away from a predator or fixing on and attacking prey.  His love went far enough for him to catch and collect centipedes, water bugs, cockroaches, then feed them, in order, lady bugs, house flies, and caterpillars, if possible. His obstacles were two: social opprobrium, and motherly scorn.  His passions weren't easily communicated to the decidedly non-biologist student body at large--those peers who might judge or accept him and provide or decline opportunities, so he increasingly found himself deeply alone, in his room, studying latin named creatures on the internet until 2 and 3 in the morning.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


When my mother came back from Russia for the third time, she decided to bring me a gift.  It wasn't like I expected it; she was there for business, after all, and asking for a gift was taboo, at least in my family.  I'm not sure, at times, when people decided to ask for gifts, or expect them, and I know that they don't do it explicitly, and much has been said about the ideal behind gift giving, sure, so I'll just leave it at that for now.  My hopes, what small mounds of fine grain sand they had been, were long ago spread across our snowy drive way to provide traction for my father's diesel mercedes, one that, I'll remind you and myself, achieved a 0-60 time of about 20 seconds, if you bothered counting, enough to light and smoke half a cigarette, and certainly enough to probe into the beginnings of a conversation, if one were so inclined, about school, the weather, art projects, or the recent goings on of neighborhood type folk. One thing about the car's performance, though, it stayed consistent, all the way up to 300,000 miles, and more, which made the real and professed reason for its purchase all the more congruent, and all the less concurrent with more modern enterprises, you might say. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010


And then his butt was in the seat, his eyes up at the front of the room.  Ms. Grisleyford was glaring at him.  She must have heard about the recent flatulation of Damien on York’s beautiful little baby face.  He didn’t expect sympathy from her though.  Maybe she smelled blood, maybe food, like a honey-wine wafting off of him and his vulnerability.  The prickliness that had started in the hallway now advanced into areas only his mom had really experienced before.  He couldn’t move. There were, he knew, various twines that kept his hands and feet down, his eyes forward.  His body wouldn’t be any help to him in this unreliable state.  He had to appear normal, but all he could think of was that Damien, and all of his hulking mass was about to come down and sit next to him.

Submerged in Honey

Been burbling down into the netherland of my oh so flimsy self, not romantic this time, oh no, the flirtatious swing decidedly unavailable, as in no avail, slinking itself, folding up neuron by neuron, shadowed underlined bolded pixel compressing down the space between electrons, stilling their relationships for a shellacking.  We'll look back at them one day, like we look back at those porcelinized baby shoes, the quaking little wrinkly feet foibled beyond our knowledge horizon, and laugh, I'm sure. hah.  Funny humor, for the sake of relief, they will tell us, when they try to tell us something.  And we'll get overly excited at the proximity that we think we have to the picture of our old selves.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D.  You've read the studies?  I've seen a number of different items, mostly pieces that advocate its supplementation to your diet.  Vitamin D helps you to process calcium, among myraid other things, and it only comes from sunlight, so, if you're happily camped out inside most of the day, well, maybe you're not so happy?  It is also linked to serotonin production.  So, well being.  And yesterday I met with my endocrinologist (about a month after the surgery) and guess what? Vitamind D is low!  Far too low, in fact.  Below the "normal" range!  So, I'm supplementing now with the fervor that comes from medical and internet fused prescription.

I'm not bothered by this.  Instead I'm relieved.  Lots of depressive like symptoms seemed to be rearing their soft little heads in my life stream lately, so I of course have been concerned.  And while I know that vitamin D is not a cure all, I have traced feeling better to having had taken some supplement the day previous.

Funny thing with doctors, though.  He also recommended I take a calcium supplement.  But I sort of suggested this to him first.  He didn't have much to say about it.  Maybe I just want the doctor to take the lead, maybe I'm old fashioned, I don't know.

Anyway, here's to love, here's to life, here's to you, and here's to vitamin D supplementation.  Like sanitation for the soul!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Can Only Try

To do whatever it is that I'll do when I try. I won't necessarily have a finished beautiful product after the first attempt. That's gotta be okay. That can't keep me from trying in the first place, i.e.  there will be mistakes.  And it won't be perfect, ever.  No matter what.  The day that I produce something that is perfect only means that I've actually become content with my efforts, and that I've practiced a lot, not that it doesn't need more work, necessarily, or that others should view it in any particular way.  I may not be able to do it all, but I'll do something. 

And the day when I can master this technique  is the day that I need to try harder.  And relax harder too.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It is all like I said it was going to be

in my head, before i said it. and what a let down, boy, lemme tell you, these days. so energetic in their frenetic morning pauses, their half-hearted commutes into the hinterlands and fallen wood, rotted, soft and dark. there was a thought yesterday. i almost pinned it down, but slipped at the last minute, violently so, and my shoe got sucked off in the sludgy mud that was left from recent rains, and my hand went down into the grass, the thick scalp of the earth shedding easily, welcoming, really, a synthesis of me, and of it, and i'm not ready yet, like i said, before i really knew what it meant. that i'm not really emotionally set on that aspect.

the idea went pinging away down the alley like a stone getting skipped on water, eventually settling down to look at me with eyes microscopically aware, the fusion of our paths liberally painted out in the recent past, vivid hues that i tried to capture too, with a french daisy yellow that was too costly in an east village shop on a windy day, when i reached back into the palette suddenly, aware that the idea might be tired, might be winded, that, yes, i could see it now, breathing over there, panting really, out of breath, energy dwindled down into a smidgen of a mark, only eyes to belie some sense of the movement, of the energy that sizzled out so briefly to test the heat of the pan, so i grabbed hold of a white tube then, and some sludgy mix off the ground, pushed the colors together haphazardly at first, and then with some rhythm, a sense of step, of hoopla, fluidly even, with some purpose, and dabbled my knife end longingly in the moisture that had perspired between us before applying it deep down blues groove etta james' on the already crackled dried up acrylics of my let downs, and, for those few moments, we cut the bodily apparatus down into a lockstep game of mathematical and engineering bliss.

Maybe tomorrow, we could do this again, I called out, in my newly acquired voice.

Sure, if that's what you think, my idea smiled. If you think you can manage.

I looked down to make sure my shoe laces were tied.

Monday, November 15, 2010

So Clean My Teeth Hurt

The joyride of sobriety flails, at times, through an unsightly bender of curves, blindingly spiral and tight, clamped down on your neck like the hands of over-achievers and paranoids everywhere, all the while hurtling out epithets, occupant's eye lids glued back to eye brows, frozen in place against the horror of oncoming deluge of sanity, oh wicked forced sanity, persistently lucid and mockingly straight forward. How I pine for the bliss of oblivion. How I stutter under the weight of my intestinal matter. How trees kiss me with their budding vociferous stability. There's a message here, encrusted in brine, and it speaks itself in language I cannot hope to decipher, or abandon.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Anxiety 13

A lot of people drink to decrease anxiety.  Alcohol is a drug that does a fair bit of anxiety reducing, after all.  The question becomes, as always, how often you drink, and how intense the drinking goes--i.e. how much.  Sobriety is a bit of an imperfect experiment in some regard, because it is hard to gauge anxiety levels in a social situation when I'm the only one not drinking and everyone else has continued on with their typical evening.  To wit, if I really wanted to see what my anxiety levels might be without alcohol (and during some sort of social outing), then they'd have to be sober too.  And often, they're not.  If they were, we might all have higher levels of apprehension, hesitation, or paranoia.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Holding A Glass of Wine

On Tuesday night of last week, I went to an event.  It was halfway social, and halfway professional.  There were a group of journalists gathered there and an installation as well.  There was also wine.  And for whatever reason, in my infinite wisdom, I took a glass when it was handed to me.  It seemed like the polite thing to do!  I just want to please everyone else so much sometimes, damn, it makes me sick.  I didn't drink it, but I did realize how close I was to drinking it, for the sake of, you know, doing something with my hands, and not at all for the sake of imbibing.  I successfully placed it on the ground once the presentation began and conveniently forgot about it, but my own nerves shocked me.  It is one thing to sit here and realize how substantially sober I've been, how weighty it has become, and another item entirely to go out and operate in that world and stay sober while, you know, doing things.  This will take some work.

Finding Deep Joy

When I was a kid, my father's mom, my Babcia (bob cha) used to make lemon poppy seed cake.   It was light gold in color, and although the crust was thick the innards were moist and delicately fluffy.  When it was still warm she would take it out its pan and let it cool on wax paper on the counter top.  Then I could take a piece and put it in my mouth.  I used to eat it not like cake, not like food to be chewed.  Instead, I'd suck on it like good chocolate.  It would disintegrate in my mouth while firing on all pleasure centers imaginable.  It is hard to describe the taste, partially because I've lost my sense of its flavor, unfortunately and, trying to recreate it, have eaten a lot of lemon poppy seed muffins over the years.  Of course, my grandmother died in 1996.  I didn't attend her funeral.   I had some excuse to attend to, and the truth is that it was more than my torn emotions that kept me from going, though, as high school kid, I wasn't fully aware of why the instinct had manifested itself.  Later, after the state police were called at the funeral, I wasn't surprised.  I still don't know exactly what happened, except that either my father or his brother got drunk and became violent.  I tell this dispassionately because I no longer attach heavy or many emotions to it.  But I do deeply enjoy the lemon poppy seed muffins and cake that I can find around town.  I know that none of them will really get to the level that she developed, or that I experienced.  Gleboka radosc, jesli ja moge pisac to.  Deep joy.  That's it.  That's what matters.  Now, how to attain it as an adult?

Friday, November 12, 2010


Any response was positive.  A mumble would be downright spectacular, a symphony.  That's when we got him a harmonica.  At first, the sounds he made mimicked his previous vocalizations--flat, monotone--; soon, though, we found that he could mimic the radio stations coming in from chicago, and I'm not just talking about the old timers.  He'd sucked in and spit out enough delta blues to transform the ward, and we weren't sure how it had happened, but over time it became clear that the language he could hear came in scales and notes instead of sentences and words, and that his parents could be an amalgam of chorus calls both wide and deep.  The challenge remained to make the boy believe we were as excited about him as we were about the sounds that he could produce, and, I'll tell you, it would have been an easier job if it was the truth.  Gerald, my former co-worker, he just couldn't get over the sound, the tone he'd called it, and he pushed the young boy just about to midnight every night if I let him.  Everyone had to be reminded, though, that this was a boy who could barely speak.  That this, my friends, was an aberration from what we knew, not, as our dreams may signal, a confirmation of what we wanted.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Problem

The boy couldn't have been more than twelve years old, sixth grade max, but his fingertips were wrinkled and his cheeks scruffy with wear.  A glance into his eyes yielded not hope or identifiable longing, but bewilderment, an excitement that couldn't find a way out of his mirror filled home.  When we went to pick him up, he didn't want to talk.  He didn't even seem to want to be.  But he was, which lead to the problem of where, precisely, we'd put him, if, that is, we had the opportunity.  You see, placement of this sort were a rarity to start.  We could put new clothes on him, wash his hair, sure, but the language barrier would be a problem.  He'd go into remedial class right away, and we had some of the best teachers across our part of the state.  Yes, you know, I think he would learn to talk.  The problem was that he'd missed out on all of those years in the first place, sheltered you know, walled up in either the most extreme of isolation, or the fiery will of his parents, disciplinarians and romantics at once.  Funny thing, is that people, they think folks come in one color, one stripe, either conservative or liberal, black or white, you know all of the typical divisions and their derivatives in more slang than I could hope to command, and yet, what, I'll tell you.  We would have a hard time getting rid of this boy, grooming or no.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I was "pulled over" the other night

Btw, at times I forget to tell all of you the potentially interesting tidbits of how I got to where I got, without the getting there part.  So, here's something.

On friday night, I drove to a desolate town update.  A weekend getaway.  No problem.  Except that we drove into the town exactly backwards, a fact that didn't dawn on me, and one which I was stubborn to admit, even when my fiance told me so a few times.  "The clock tower is on the left." Me: "But the directions say it is on the right side." Her: "You've got it backwards." Me: "No, it is just that part of the directions that were mistakenly put down backwards."

Yeah, you get it.  We came in precisely backwards, drove almost all the way to the house, by instinct, and also, then, by instinct, I turned around and drove back into town knowing that we had to go "through" town according to the directions, but had not done so.  And when we got to town, the clock tower appeared, as previously scheduled by my mind, except it wasn't on the correct side of the road.  So, we turned around.  And then we turned around again. And then something that was very very simple became quite disorienting.  And, then, viola, as we were looking at the directions, flashing lights appeared disco style, all white and red, in the rear view.

You know what my first thought was, right?  I mean, I know you know.  I'll tell you anyway: "I'm fucked. Let me take some deep breaths, I've got to appear sober and walk in a straight line now."-- yeah, me, little ole sober me had to convince myself that I was sober so I could act sober for the cop, who, all of 10 years old, was quite concerned that I figure out where I wanted to go, and then proceeded to get there safely.  Somewhere in the middle of my blathering about the directions (as if he should know the directions precisely), I realized that I hadn't had a drink in over four months and that, no matter what, I couldn't possibly be in trouble for drinking at that moment.  Maybe I was a klutz, or stubborn, or just nervous, but I wasn't drunk, and I wasn't in trouble.  I just thought that I was.

Now, what was that!?

Not Drinking Doesn't Inversely Increase Happiness

The title speaks for itself.  But let's get it straight for a moment.  There's a lot of variables that impact one's level of happiness, and drinking is just one variable among the masses.  Why?  Because, although the propensity to drink herculean amounts of beer, gain tolerance, drink again, lose one's money family career, sanity and even life, are all drastic enough, not drinking doesn't guarantee inverse proportionality.  Damnit.  And i was all excited too. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

From The Drenches

Empty/normal day, lacking energy, back on coffee, and sucking generally.  More explicit write up brewing into a pot of masturbatory self congratulation at a later date.  For now, will curl up in bed and be uncomfortable.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Alcoholic Pancreas

Here's a picture I found over at methods of healing.  Click on the link for more.

Just Relax Already!

It has come to my attention that some people are extremely worried about appearing relaxed, namely, without worry, and that, such chronic worry makes it nearly impossible to relax.  What concerns these people, myself at times included, isn't so much the need to posit a calm face, for instance, or arms and shoulders lacking muscle contraction, but is instead the need to prove to oneself that they are in fact relaxed.  Let's wake up to realize that we're not relaxed all the time, and that better communication, more effective relaxation, and an increased capacity for all sorts of things will come when we start to accept who it is we are, whatever that thing is, and however seemingly contorted.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Anxiety, My Friend, Come, Have A Seat.

Hello everybody.  I've got an answer for you today.  The answer is that 100% comfort provides an empty existence, and that this emptiness accumulates.  In other words, it is precisely the correct amounts of edginess and anxiety that actually provide a bit of sanity to an otherwise unanchored mind.  There's a place for anxiety, a proper place.  It tells you that something is going on, it asks you to look around in a rushed state of mind, in a way that cannot catalog everything step-by-step.  It can and is useful.  We shouldn't try to quash it.  We should instead try to live with anxiety. It is like a default setting from keeping us from getting ripped off.  If we want to maximize comfort, and I think we do, seen as pleasure, or seen as, you know, maintaining a life that doesn't require much affirmative action outward, anxiety steps in to keep us from going batshit crazy with boredom, or from letting our minds turn to mush.

I've dealt with some level of anxiety my whole life.  It could have once been external, but it comes from many places now, including maintaining an endogenous spirit.  For many years now, I thought the answer to increased anxiety was to think about a time when I'd have more of something, and when that more of something would ameliorate the source of the anxiety.  I always used to envision a life without anxiety.  I never really thought of anxiety as anxiety, of course, but knew that at times, I just had to get out of wherever I was, whether a public place, or school, or, for you budding psychologists out there, my own home.  It wasn't unidirectional, but once it grabbed hold, it held strong for some amount of time. 

The point is that I've always maintained an antagonistic relationship to my own anxiety.  But now I think that anxiety provides a certain perspective, one that might be beneficial to have so long as the anxiety itself doesn't consume everything in sight--so long as it cannot grow unabated.  Which is to say this: let's not run from anxiety and force ourselves into dark caves of whatever tonic we deem beats out the panic.  Let's realize that we've got some basic instinct that filters through in very specific biological and psychological ways that are fairly predictable and maybe, perhaps, provide levels of insight into something more fundamental.   

Okay, side point, google image search for "happy" yields some funky stuff:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Addicted To Cycles

Why not live a comfortable life?  I'm serious.  Why is it that we, as addicts, let's say, seem to prefer drama?  Is it simply that we're trying to splay out our emotions on the canvas of relationships we've developed to see what the picture will look like when it comes back at us?  Do we need to have a side for every point of view, an angle that postulates, espouses, flies off the handle or hook with every utterance?  What's the difference?  Are we addicted to the chemicals that we ingest as well as the emotional situations they create because it provides a sense of purpose, and because that sense provides us something stable and knowable and pursuable, in short, something to react against?

I think it might be the case that sobriety presents a biochemical challenge as well as an emotional one: to reassign one's reactions to the backseat of the car, to silence their yelps when they cry out for control of the wheel.  To try to think and be calm and responsible and respectful even when you think you know just what is needed in a particular situation, even when you're absolutely sure of what is right.  Just stop for a minute.  What's the story you're telling yourself?  What are the reasons you provide for your actions?  Let's work hard to make the implicit explicit.  Just for the sake of being better informed about what's going on, even when it is ugly.  Even when we prefer an emotional rollarcoaster, let's stick to observing the traffic for a few minutes, here on this bench, just see what rolls on by before we get up to join the fray.    I guarantee that natural curiosity will surface.  

Poasting, Ducky

I'm out in the country roasting in the open space and open air.  There's beer here, but not for me.  It is some local microbrew.  I'm really happy to be here even though I can sense that tomorrow, and Monday, will come very quickly.  That's okay for now.  If you're out there, and you're drinking and you don't want to be drinking, give sobriety a shot.  What have you got to lose? More substantial post soon.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Specifically, what are you up to?

I'm asking you this question: why do we do what we do.

Also known as: why do you do what you do.

And because it is easy to shake this off into the effluvia of nostalgic meandering:

Why are you doing whatever it is you're doing right now?

I remain convinced that we don't have a very good reason or very good reasons.  That is, we don't have terribly specific reasons.  Or, if we have specific reasons, our ability to control those reasons goes down (by their nature, they are external).

That's fine.  Right?  I mean, why have a reason for every moment?  At times you have to go into all that is, oh holy reality, without knowing why.   So we've got imperfect information.  Anyone can admit that.  Still, given the imperfect information, we act, and we act based on?  It isn't always the specific reason/s we're telling ourselves (or each other).  That's my point for this moment of the morning.  And my point helps me tell myself that my reasons for action matter.  But maybe they're largely irrelevant, even to me?

A question worth pursuing with as little emotional attachment as possible. If possible.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I am not drinking today. Or Tomorrow

Or the next day.

I'll eat though.  So watch out.

Raining Today, if you've been inside so far

That's what's going on outside, if you hadn't also noticed by glancing from the window.  Also, you know, assuming you live somewhere around the NYC metro area (that you have a window, that you have light, that the light retains all of the classic characteristics we have come to know and love and forget, that you can see, that the window isn't dirty, and that I'm correct in the first place), or, let's check and see, yes, indeedy, www.weather.com confirms it: Messy commute for east coastville, USA.

You're tuned in to the local station here, listening to the mind drumming finger tip table top tapping out the rhythm of noxious mephiticisms that emanate daily from the inner being, right there, behind your ears at the base of your skull, tick tocking it's way around toward the visual landscape that exhumes itself, blissfully still alive and breathing and trying to make something from nothing. The classic effort, that, proving one's mettle in conjugation, declension, otherwise, language biting hopefully, sarcastic, referential though slightly hermeneutic, but basic, folks, quite basic, so let's get on with it.

The weather is cartoonish, painted in with the strokes of Micky and friends, first run batmans and robins, and the tunnels pour sludge they call subway cars, seeping in and oozing out from every little crack, the humidity omnipresent and thick, and did you notice that it isn't summer anymore, commoner standing next to commoner, having common convo, did you notice how the sky looks now, no? Neither did I.  But I'll tell you what, that summer [sky], that summer [sky] sure is gone, however it was, and whether it found some solace I don't know, but I'll tell you this: I would just kill for some roast beef, if you know what I mean. And there are bells ringing here and cows mooing, and the opportunity it seems, may have presented itself, like swiss cheese melting on toasted rye, I'll sit back, by and bye.

 Edit: I am quite sober.

Double Edit: Imagine if I wasn't?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Am I Not Drinking?

Good god, who knew that abstaining from something was such a business? Not that I'm falling down on the job, just that this activity of not doing something involves a lot more than forgetting about it. That creature of the night, so easy to come back in moments of desperation, if anything to break the damn monotony of time, which seems to stifle while it mocks with its subtle speed, flowing away fast as traffic down the thruway. So damn constant and determined, so much faster than before.

Yeah, I'm making small talk with you, fellow non-bar patron, finding a piece of mind at the end of a long day, or long night. Whatever, it is doesn't matter, because we're sitting here after an experience, no(?), an experience that found us both flailing in the tumult of the ineffable.

Give me one of whatever he's having. What are you having, anyway? Yeah, hot cocoa, okay, me too. Do I want whip cream? Sure hope it isn't alcoholic whip cream. You never heard a'that? Let me tell you, if I had a little kid and named him whip cream. Well, let's not start anthropormorphizing everything, let's just keep a distance, some pace, you know, with the fault lines of this thing.

But we're through now, figuring it, angling our hands in a line with some invisible platonic ideal, always content enough to get some purchase, even when we get ripped off. Who wouldn't, after that night/day? It sure was a feat, wasn't it? Sure was something, there, on the rocks, no longer anything though, barely enough moisture to say that it might dry up in the sun. No need to or call in the cops with their kitty litter, their sand, to mop up after our accident. Look at it out there? Yeah, if only everyone saw it like we see it now, well, shucks. Better get a move on, before those thoughts come back in.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Finding Time

Funny thing, since I haven't been drinking, I've had less time than when I was consistently drinking. Variables in my life have changed besides my drinking, that's true.  So maybe that just about accounts for it.  I used to do a lot of listening to music, but now I mostly press myself into other pursuits.  Did just find some old Frisell, so as kind of reclusive mysterious touch and go goes it is great; have a listen to it yourself:

Finding a Way Out

I'm sitting in Starbucks where the line is long.  People are highly desirous of their coffee.  Better to face the workday caffeinated.  I'm in agreement, but I also know that I'll potentially feel like crap later if I partake now.  All I can think about is how coffee pushes the body to feel stressed, and that stress might be good, feel good, because it wakes you up, but then, you know, depletes you too, so then I'll be trapped in the wall of a dead brain, which I can't stand.

Things -- brain activity? -- aren't exactly deadened right now, but they aren't vivid either.  There was a time when everything seemed vivid, when life was like sucking on a psychedelic lollipop of energy and intriguing ambiguity.  I'm not willing to trade these days for those days of extreme highs and lows, though I don't sit and stare as much anymore.  Perhaps that's also because I live in a much larger city.  Not sure.  Brain activity, perception, filtering, what have you, it is flat, flat and neutral., grey tone, neither bass or treble heavy.  That's the way to see music (italics on "the"), to hear life, etc., to find what it is that matters, quotes, that thing being primal and important and vital, so I used to think.

Now I think life happens here on the margins.  I'm trying to get something done before work, after work, before it all changes, all goes away, before I settle into whatever it is that I used to be disgusted with, before I accept what it is that predominates, god forbid, whatever that is.  Perhaps this is an admission that I've accepted it already, that I'm here, you know, in immovable space, much much smaller than I used to be, perhaps better for it, I'm not sure.  I know there are places left for animated affectation. I know they're waiting.  I'm just figuring out what they look like now that they're not distorted.  I'm over four months sober.  Sounds so small when I write it out like that and felt so much bigger before I wrote it.  I'm not thinking about how many more months there are to go.  I think that'd be a bit of an admission that I'm waiting for death.  I don't want to wait for death.  I don't want to blindly pine for that which cannot be, but I must make sure that it cannot be first, before I give up.  Whatever it is, wherever I sit.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Today is Today

And that's it.  I'm trying not to forecast the forever in a day, because I need to keep my sanity for the moment.  Not my calm, but my sanity.  If I start to think about too many phenomena at once, I'll get overloaded, and I will at least temporarily lose a piece of my sanity.  And, although my sane mind wants to assert itself at this moment to tell me that it would recover for a temporary shock, I don't think that it is aware of the circumstances that might ensue--and it is this precise reason, this lack of knowledge that keeps us from asserting this fallacy: I won't get into an accident.  I promise! 

How can you be so sure?