Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Watch That Ego! Rational Response to Innate Egomania?

On one hand we're tiny, truly insignificant.  Even when restricting our significance measurement to the whole of the human race, or the whole country (whichever country you happen to be in), or even, the whole town.  This purposefully excludes huge concepts like the solar system or the universe, or all of time.

Let's just say it plain.  As individuals, we don't matter that much.  We don't.  I'm not trying to etch it into wood or marble as my forearm musculature ripples in out-sized pornographic display.  No, I'm saying it simply.  We're pretty small.

We often think we matter much more than we do, though.  And that's a very important thought.  It keeps us going, for one.  It makes us more attractive to potential friends and lovers.

How we craft our own meaning, our own narrative, is at the core of our lives.

And let's back up for a second: many of us--us drinkers--would prefer to stay cynical and stay outside.  But we're not being courageous by concocting world theories based on criticism.  We're being very, very scared, and meek, and embracing smallness.  In short, we don't often commit.  To anything.  We don't want to face our smallness.  But we must.  We must continually do it if only to live at some basic level of existential sustenance, some threshold wherein we're cease to be human.

What's the first step out?  Try something that you're not good at.  Try it again.  And again.  Frustrated? Living with anger?  Washing the dishes?  Think about how that anger permeates the crinkles in your face and provides apt handles for all those self-critical thoughts.  How comfortable we all are to denigrate ourselves.  How comfortable we all are to be ego-maniacs in a full tidal wave of bipolarity.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Saying "Fuck Everything" Is Illogical and Lazy.

No matter how much I want to say it, dream of saying it, or practice how I might say it were I to go ahead with the damned statement, it doesn't make sense.  Life is--breathe with me here--about getting into stuff, and developing yourself within that stuff--not about your status so much, as about your purpose, I think, in that you desire what it is you like to do absent too much social rewards (I'm not foolish enough to think that we can excise social rewards completely).   That's why dead end jobs (or regular jobs?) can suck so much: they have no purpose outside of financial reward, which is, at heart, not satisfying.  Sure, you can learn to spend the money you make on what you care for, and this is the essence of "life as a budget item," with limited capacity and limited choice, etc.  What I'm talking about here is only that stuff that's exquisitely intangible and highly personally rewarding.  Catching a sunrise on an early morning run.  Making someone else laugh genuinely (implied, that you've spread their perception a bit wider, or focused it in a slightly different way than previous).  Laughing to yourself on an isolated street, or in a crowded coffee shop.  The shock and pungency of getting drawn in, to a conversation that you didn't expect.

The layers upon layers of time that we're lucky enough to have and don't fully appreciate while staying aware that we should appreciate them, and our capacity to talk about those layers and that consciousness in a light-hearted or serious way, and to respond to statements that are as abstract as these without even wincing.

Forgiving Someone.

Failing and having the flexibility to keep on working without full understanding.

The smell of maple leaves in autumn.

The maroon LL Bean sweater I've had for 13 years.

Believing that connections between people are possible, even if awkward and difficult.

Making breakfast for someone.

Learning a language.

Being comfortable in a social setting.

Learning that perfection is youthful delusion, but that it is worth keeping in mind anyway.

Keep Going in the Face of Meaninglessness.

This must be the fundamental tenet of faith that is so difficult to master.

I mean, we, as people with self-reflexive brains simple must know that we matter on some level beyond the immediate.  I'd say that finding meaning is probably the most difficult item on the list. If you happen to feel content, or have a fair amount of meaning already in  your life, or you simply are submerged in a number of projects that make you feel alive, that's fantastic.

Me, I think that the issue is difficult precisely because it seems to require action while simultaneously requiring the capacity to let go and exist within the moment more often.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

1 Year, 8 Months. Today.

That's my story today.  I've been sober for a year and 8 months.  I am looking forward to 2 years. I feel better than I've ever felt (though certainly not invincible), and although I still have a host of issues, I don't exaggerate them so overtly as to make them unstoppably huge.

I am sane.  Join me.


Frozen, half-participants, unsure, or, conversely, overly sure, misfiring repeatedly, talking in streaks of stubborn refuge; eyes seeking something, damnit, in the belt buckles, shoe laces, texture of jean cloth, the slight bulge of probiscus--the attention, paid most formally, is to not invalidating oneself prior to validating, to speaking too much, revealing inner thoughts about assessment--inner thoughts about how one views other person's inner thoughts, that is, and how those inner thoughts, having been viewed, might be reacted to, all the while masquerading high level dedication to the articulation of small talk, rounded lips for the sake of exactly, well, nobody.  All of the half sweats and false humility in the world won't stop those thoughts.  They'll keep cruisin through and spread themselves in fine ashen layers.  But eventually those layers will build up and slow down incoming data, and there will be a few moments to reflect, to see the situation, that is, as if not within it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Development of Taste - I.e. You're Lying to Yourself!~

What we think is good is not intrinsically derived from the fool on the hill we hope we'll go visit one day after some time passes and our bodies stop deceiving us; but no.  The way we sculpt out our own consumptive patterns is highly predicated on who it is that we wish to impress.  And while we want to impress them, whomever they are, by showing them how similar we want to be to them, we also show them, perhaps implicitly, what we think of them.

Of course if we urge our taste on others, than we probably think we're dominant over them, at least with regard to that item's field (food, music, et al).

The funniest suggestions, I think fall into the latter category, when person X, Bill, tries to show how erudite he is by introducing a seemingly avant garde work to person Y, Peter, but person Peter has been exposed to the work previously and is in fact much more knowledgeable than Bill.

Anyway, we're constantly besting each other with drinking stories in this way (to bring it back to drinking, as if you missed out!).  And while it may serve a purpose (like furthering our social standing,  or allowing the opening of friendship), it is also highly indicative of one's absolute obsession with alcohol and all things related to the bottle.  So find a more exquisite taste to procure, please, one that takes more than a few days.  I don't mind listening!  Or waiting, for that matter.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What Happens When You Stop Drinking. How Long to Normal?

This is a bit of a tricky question.  Partially, the answer depends on how long you've been drinking and how much you typically drink (and how frequently).

Assuming you're a bit of a hard drinker, though, I'll be honest with you: it takes a good year to feel really straight and normal again.  And don't think that once you do, you can start drinking again.  Because if you do, and trust me, or go find out yourself, you'll be right back to your old self in about a week!  All that hard work for nothing!

I know a lot of people don't want to hear that it takes  a year to be normal.  But consider the fact that most hard drinkers have already been drinking many years, changing, as it were, the chemistry in their very brains--the very brains that try to develop under the stress of booze and/or other drugs--and that large aspects of our personality has been coded, if you will, through the filter of drugs and alcohol, so much so that normal ceases to exist in a sober context.  Which is why I think, at least, that it takes a year to sort of stand on your own two feet again and look around and ask yourself what you'd actually like to do with your life instead of just fuck off all the time, and/or hurt those close to you, damage your own capabilities, not act on potential, and generally just become a full on low-life.

Yes, I think it takes a year.  By the way, I've been sober a year and almost 8 months.

And therapy of some sort might be in order.  Many drinkers have to really get used to the idea that they are not the center of all existence, and that their needs, however pressing previously, have actually been quite banal, animistic, and immature.

Anyway, for about 2 months you will be exhausted.  Don't fight it.  Just try to find a place of comfort to exist from within the sea of exhaustion.  Slowly, it will fade.  Try to do things slowly and in small increments.  I can't stress that enough.  The good things in life, like learning a language, cannot simply "be" accomplished in a day or two.  They take a lot of time (okay, if you are between 4 and 6 years old, language acquisition is not the best example, but I'll assume nobody is of that age anymore).

So, take a deep breath.  Take a walk.  Make a cup of tea.  Watch your habits.  You will have anxiety upticks, of which smoking and coffee and sugar might seem ameliorative or anodyne, but in fact, they contribute to these pangs of death, and I'd say cut them out for a while if possible.  Bottom line is that you can learn to manage anxiety without crutches, but the transition to sober will produce discomfort in the short and medium term.  About 8 months in, you'll start to feel better.  A lot better.  If you weren't a very hard drinker, this will happen in a month or two.   Anyway, good luck to everyone.  I certainly don't have all the answers, and have learned that my intuition isn't always my friend.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Why Do People Disagree?

Although, of course, I've disagreed with other people a LOT in my life, and stood up for myself, and whatnot, I also, lately, have almost no idea why people disagree.  The only conclusion I can come to is that they actually think their opinions matter.  And  here I'm talking about social policy, mostly, or about something wider than one's relationship with one other person, in which case opinions do matter because they reflect and affect the relationship.

Concerning larger political issues though, I have to assume that most of us argue just to show off.  Simply to be better than the other person, and not, at all, for the substance of the material.  Because if our opinions don't matter, how will convincing someone at a bar or dinner or social gathering of any sort actually impact anything?  It won't.  And the likelihood of convincing someone is astonishingly low.  So low that I wonder why it is we get so worked up in the first place.

They Won't Remember That You're Not Drinking.

Making it a point to tell people that you're not drinking isn't necessarily the best strategy, and the reason is often very simple: they don't care.  In fact, the do worse than not care.  They aggressively don't care.  So ignore such statements.  Not to mention that it is almost always awkward to bring up not-drinking with a colleague or casual friend.  In some ways, your own sobriety should be cherished and protected.  There's no need, I think, to go telling everyone.  There's no need to prove a point to anyone but yourself.

In that respect, it is okay to make small excuses for the sake of social politeness, rather than dropping a non-drinking bomb that might just get ignored, or worse, damage your own reputation.  Parenthetical: Not drinking is a sign that drinking was/is a problem, and for most semi-casual conversations, wherein all participants are assumed to be in good standing socially and whatnot, telling someone that you are not-drinking is like advertising a mental problem, and will not necessarily be seen in a good light.  There's simply no need.

And if you do confide in someone that you're not drinking, because you think that she/he is close enough to know, be prepared for him/her not to remember.  Not drinking doesn't have to be a big deal.  Tell yourself.  Not others.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Lots of thoughts piling up lately, in between the strenuous granite layers of work load.  I can't seem to hold them long enough to run them out into sentences.

Let me try.

People love these headphones with B on them.  Heavy plastic.  I haven't ever heard them, but they sure seem to signify status lately.  Style.  Acceptability.  To what?  Well, to show that you have extra income.  To make yourself stylish.  They're not about the music.  They are about showing what you have.  That much seems evident, right?  IF they were about the music, then I'd imagine the set of headphone wearers out there would stay about the same in number, but that the type of headphones they wore would differ. That variability is manifestly absent.

Also.  Women.  With your boots.  And spikey high heels.  Listen.  I know they are sexy.  They ARE sexy.  I'm not saying they aren't.  They make we want to go out and buy a pair of expensive headphones to show you all how worthy I am, how much waste I can produce for the sheer signal that I'm worthy to partner down with, yeah, but also, are they really comfortable?  Why is it that I feel as if I'm in the backstage of some porn video, and all of the stars are rushing in and around me on their way to transition scenes and inappropriate gestures, and well, I'm on the train.  I'm in penn station.  I'm on the street.  I don't watch porn mind you.  Maybe IF I were a porn addict.  That'd be one thing.  And if that were the case, I would tell you, albeit anonymously.

Then again, if I could take comfort in the state of the world by conjuring up an image of myself as a porn addict, perhaps I'm not doing enough to make the world a better place?

That's one thought RE: headphones and stiletto boots.

One more thought.

Many many many times, we should just say, OKAY, I was WRONG, even when we don't mean it.  Just for the sake of flexibility, trying to just be people and acknowledge that we can justify our own opinions forevermore, but need NOT.  In fact, what I'm saying is that we can actually be closer to people if we let our egos go a little bit (this is counter-intuitive, in that we feel that we need a strong principled self in order to what, interact with high caliber people?).  In reality we need to learn flexibility in the right places and rigidity in the right places, and in my experience (with myself), well, I've had flexibility in the places that were supposed to be rigid and rigidity in the places that were supposed to be flexible.

To wit, fighting with my mother: There was no need to show her this kind of bellicosity.  She didn't need it.  I didn't need it.  We play-acted it out, and sure, she did do some culpable things, but that's okay.  Sometimes we need to implicitly accept unspoken apologies that would have happened if the people we actually know were the people we desired to know, in our heads.  You know those head people right?  The ones you're always fake-interacting with, styling yourself for, trying to save up a coupla bucks for some BEATs by DRE?

There are people in my life I can't let go of.  In that I have all of the cherished experiences we shared in tiny globule-like crystal balls of perfection, playing out for me as if in a music box whenever I want them too, even and often when I'm interacting with other people, and even and often not under my own control.

Not that I have an obsession with these people, or that these people are the people I'm trying to impress with my stilletto heels.  I'm not.  It just so happens that these were people who happened to be embedded with me in life's whatever, context, rich and colorful, as we came into a sort of development of ourselves that, while ongoing, sure, is, let's face it, a lot slower and different than it was previously (although I'm open to the idea that it is not, out of hope if nothing else).  Anyway, I guess with all of those people there's something true.  It is this.  I was trying, desperately trying, to be really honest.  And, while I was trying to be honest, I was also very, very, full of myself.  In the name of honesty.  And anyway, I'm not talking about all of the people in my head now, just few for a specific period.

And I admit that I get excited.  I'm excitable.  In that I get overly hopeful.  In that I'm very very sensitive to the world, and to my own spinning reel of thoughts.  And it feels good to have intense emotions again, after a 9 month hiatus.

I'm sober.  I am still doing that sober thing.  I am still trying to be serious without polluting myself with it.  I am going to keep trying.  I am trying to let go of the ideal of a day when all of my trying leads me into a land of fantastical bliss.  I am going to accept that changes that I feel should happen, should happen now, at least incrementally, because they won't happen if they don't start now, and I'm trying to understand that life is about trying sometimes, without clear ends and goals and conclusions.  After all, if we knew how it was all resolved, well, there'd be nothing to wonder about.  There'd be no wondering at all.  There wouldn't be, period.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

All That Stuff That You Feel.

I admit I'm a sucker for my own intuition.

But I know, as well, that I'm wrong about most things, explicitly when I follow my strong willed intuition.

There's a simple connection made between my emotional state and what I want reality to be.  It is made in a lot of us.  It drives, I think, the groups we deal with, who we're shocked and amazed by, and who we're appalled with.

Still, I have to keep telling myself that no matter how appalled or outraged I may be, the reality of the situation is not as my emotions dictate it.

Which forces a broader appraisal.

And more work.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

More Anxiety - Prior to Heavy Drinking

It occurs to me that prior to, and infused with, many years of hard drinking, I was also in a fairly deep and narrow hole of anxiety, wherein I couldn't recognize how anxious I was.

Anxiety is pernicious.  But having it and not knowing that you have it is doubly pernicious.  Because you run around in circles unaware of your own energy expenditure, unaware of your own frenetic pauses, the immediacy of every word, the pulse to respond, to vilify, to idolize, to redeem or find outrage.

Anyway, the only point is that we can, and very often are, in certain states of awareness that are not conducive to understanding how we're actually interacting with and consuming the world around us.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Why I'm Not Drinking Today.

I'd rather not be delusional.

And I'm someone who is prone to delusions.

Especially about myself.

Delusions of grandeur.

Delusions of capacity.

Delusions that obsession and drama are unanimously positive attributes.

Delusions that my instincts always tell me the right things.

Delusions that I don't have to make choices in my life.

Delusions that my choices don't impact how I'll end up living.

Delusions that my past is a myth.

Delusions that I can take a drink.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tremendous Need to Feel Worthy?

I'm pretty sure that we're spending a lot of our time trying to figure out that we did what was right, just, or moral, or what have you, and that, at base, we're consistent good people.  You know the kind you want to sit down and have a chat with at a train stop. 

But we're not.

And those people who are?  Safe?  Contained?  Not trying to show off?

Well, we just can't see their thoughts.

We spend a lot of time trying to merge our own moral goodness with the track record of our acts, trying to make them concur, that is, so we can tell ourselves things about ourselves. 

We don't have to be fundamentally bad if we allow that we've done fundamentally bad things. 

Inflexibility is a sin as much as committing any outward sin is. 

But if we've done bad things we should be clear about those things, to ourselves at least.