Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I Think That's It -

From now on I'll post on a different blog, with mostly different topics, and maybe more or less frequently.  Perhaps I'll check in here every now and again.  I feel like I've actually "done it," whatever that means, and my sobriety is now a foundation instead of a shaky bit of dramatic angst, so I don't feel compelled to draw out every last shade to you, or to myself.  I appreciate all previous comments, emails, communications, etc., and I wish everyone the best of luck.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Alcohol Exacerbates Anxiety -

If you have serious anxiety, don't drink. I'm serious. I'm serious without needing to develop this idea too much. I personally experienced hard and relentless panic attacks as a drinker. If you are suffering, as anonymous is, below, then please: eliminate all stimulants from your life (coffee), concentrate on getting rest, try hard to eat enough protein and exercise. 

Sounds simple, I know. Simple, everyday stuff.

 Everyday living. The regular routine things that get us through become quasi-religious.

 Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What Happens When You Stop Drinking. How Long to ...": I haven't drank in 5 months and I'm still an anxious nervous wreck. Don't know how long a can go on. I need relief. I need a drink

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Showing Status Through Alcohol

Not like this needs to be said, anyway. But. Booze is a status marker. And not only that, some people are convinced that collecting expensive booze, and, for instance, showing it off at a party, is a "hot shit" kind of thing to do. And they're mostly right, for a certain crowd. The method for showing it off can vary from understated (like serving blue label and acting like it is no big deal) to over-stated, like, well, forcing the presence of said whiskey on everyone's ears but not tongue. Anyway, ever been at a family get-together that devolves into vicious fighting? It wasn't helped out by the "blue" label.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Miss You, IPA -

It is no joke.  Not drinking.  There's less relief now, at over three years, than there was before at three days or weeks or even months.  The relief on night-afters is higher.  Social engagements are less tricky, and most of my friends respect non-drinking, mostly because they know just how much social events revolve around drink.

And there's none of those pesky 3am panic attacks.  At least, not related to drinking.  Except I do maintain the police dream, whereby I'm being chased.  But it has morphed a bit.  Sometimes (often), I am being surrounded by large bears, and they are everywhere, and they will get me, I'm sure, but they don't, since I always wake up first, screaming!  Fuck me, I don't know why I have it, but I do.

Anyway, crowding out bear dreams is the fact that my life is objectively good!

I just want a strong release at times!  And I love frothy IPA.  And my wife, who gave birth 3 months ago, finally decided she's going to have a drink since she was sober for 9 months, and bought this delicious large brown bottle of some esoteric IPA.  And IPA is by far my favorite beer.  Strong, and bitter, and just fucking righteous in a way that nothing else is.  And exercise is not quite the same, or, well, it takes over two hours to get that incredible focus and elan which a quick drink would give.

So anyway, I can't hold my shit, is the basic thing.  I cannot just moderate my drinking.  I cannot drink.  I did not drink.  I will not drink.  I hear you, those of you who comment, telling me that they've been sober for SEVEN years only to think it is okay to drink, and waking up TEN years later, the need to get sober again alive, again present, again visceral and again, life wasted.

I hate the wasted life aspect of drinking.

Fuck me, I hate that wasted life aspect.    My layers of regret and denial and just general shame are sufficiently complex, thick, and idiosyncratically alive, that I a think shame may be just about the strongest of emotions.

The point is not to relive bad times.  I'm not trying to do that.  The point is to find meaning.  Being sober and looking for meaning is a lot harder than being a little bit tipsy--the same kind of tipsy that large brown bottle of beer would provide in oh, about twenty minutes of indulgence.  Meaning rich and frothy and honest, I do believe, and inspiring.  And it hurts to not have that ease of meaning because I'm simply not responsible enough to do so.

And at times it is just not enough to know that I'm fighting the good fight.  Instead I just feel bad for a bit.  Actually, to be honest for a moment.  I feel bad a lot.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sobriety is the Beginning not the End.

There's a painful awakening process that occurs when you get sober.  It is this: getting sober is not enough.    It is only a condition toward further steps, not itself a "further step."

In other words: get sober.  Good.  Got sober.  Now what?

The journey is long, and although sobriety is part of that journey, other activities, events, people, and beautiful inspiration should fill your life.  You should not try to make friends solely because those friends are sober, or you can always talk about being sober.  It doesn't hurt, mind you.  Naturally, hanging out with folks who get cranked all the time won't help one bit.

But the point is to submerge yourself in a topic or set of topics that allow you to develop something outside of sobriety, or, if you prefer, with sobriety as a foundation.

It isn't easy to do stuff.  I don't know what stuff you like, or what stuff you are good at (those things don't need to be the same at all), but hey, it is worth the effort!  After all, what else is there, if not effort toward higher goals?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ads for Built-In Vacuums. How Did I Get Here?

If I post about the ads I see, will those ads start to become conscious of themselves?  They seem quite aware and linked to previous posts, so there's got to be a way to make them implode through a nested dissonance, no?

And if all the ads implode, how would I know that I need a built in vacuum cleaner, anyway?

I guess the point is that built-in vacuum cleaners are obligatory, default, and that I'm atypically unconcerned with those things that I should be concerned with, and that my meta-vacuum gambit will work in reverse to make me implode, and when that happens, I'll blog about it as well, and see which adds are "released" into the stream of consumption.

No doubt someone will profit from my breakdown.  Isn't that appropriate?  Or is it morally repugnant?

I can't even remember anymore which one I'm supposed to think> cue ads.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Risk - And Booze.

Yeah, so I've become extremely risk averse.  It is probably debilitating, the extreme way in which I avoid taking risk.  I basically want to limit my exposure to the kinds of things that will lead to huge life-altering abstract and real pain.  I mean, I'm not kidding here.  The problem is that some risk-taking is advantageous, even encouraged, and since I've become so highly conservative, I've lost the flavor of risk.

Minor side thought of the day.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Connection to the Abstract

Our connection with the abstract pretty much forms all manner of internal dynamics we have come to know as our personality.  How much what we know we don't know impacts our internal processes--further, how much we conceive of the "unknown unknowns" as thick and extremely large, or small and insignificant, also plays a very specific role in shaping all of our interactions.

If that seems abstract, bear with me as I lay it out for a moment in two purposefully extreme examples.

1.  Known Parameters and Embedded Comfort.

Folks in this realm don't know what they don't know and they don't care that much that they don't know.  "I'm not a math person," for instance, so such a person simply looks the other way when math comes up, ceding authority to others.  When faced with unknown specialty fields, people in this group can look the other way, like our non-math person, or they can dive in and sort of "pretend" to know a field, which can be useful to some extent and in short bursts, at least until things stop making sense.

Let me back up.

These people are people who are generally comfortable.  They aren't really intimidated by status or by complex thoughts, and they aren't extremely worried about how different cultures might live or how a sense of what is normal might be relative or itinerant.  Their sense of themselves is centered and they speak with relative confidence.  They have comfort because the sense that they are small, or insignificant, or that their conception of the world could be startingly wrong, are all sort of absent notions.

2.  A Sense of Much Larger Abstractness and Paralysis.

Then there are those people with a deep sense of humility because they have a sense of the magnitude of stuff they don't understand.  They won't purport to just "get" things like taxes, or Bayesian theorems, or the incompleteness theorem, because they know that "truly" getting stuff takes years, even lifetimes, or is even impossible.  They get that they can't see the whole picture on anything, even more mundane stuff like politics and policy, and they won't purport to do so.  Only experts can proffer opinions, and being an expert is a serious thing that we should defer to.


Obviously, nobody is just one or the other, and both have their attributes and drawbacks.  But my point is that this continuum, of how we view that which we don't know, our relationship to uncertainty, forms/informs much of how we treat everything else.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Can't Get Him Back

I listen to Neil Young.  Bear with me now.

I listen to the familiarity of memory, the companionship of my father.  He died when I was 18 years old.  He didn't die from a freak accident.  Anyway, what's negative is unimportant.  What is important is that I loved him incredibly.  I'm his son, why not.  We had a camaraderie that I can't seem to replace.  I look all over.  I have multiple false father figures.  I have surging deep level sadness come up to swallow me at inopportune moments.

I feel as if I am in a stasis, and all of this is shrouded in a like bullshit therapy session overlay, and that's just what it is.  there is no conclusion.

Because even though I can come close to feeling him when I listen this particularly Neil young--music he wasn't even alive to hear, but which holds the very essence of how he acted--I can never get him back.  Ever.  I can't come to grips with that.  I've never been able to come to grips with it.  I just don't know how you do, you know, actually like replace the loss that is so fucking huge.

Anyway.  I like to cry because it allows me the momentary release and the true real felt emotion that I so rarely actually feel.  I cry rarely. 

"What are you trying to prove.  Trying to get closer but not too close.  Trying to get through.  You're invisible.  Nobody can touch you now.  I can touch you now."

A Nice Thought - Start Tomorrow New. Be Refreshed and Find Purity in Discipline.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense

Monday, September 9, 2013

Meaning To -

I keep meaning to post.  I'm sorry that I haven't been more ebullient, preferring instead to saunter into the corner and find blissful solitude, if only for a bit.

Like many, I'm tired.  I am tired in a good way, but also in the way that not-sleeping brings, a kind of bleary edge-of-the galaxy fatigue that distorts shapes and runs rip-shod over normal interactive types of endeavors.

Anyway, I'll be back.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Nice Big Creamy Frothy Double IPA!

Had a nice satisfying drink in my sleep last night.  A dream, I admit, and no hangover!

I'm always a mirror for those around me, and that's no different when those people are drunk.  I don't deign toward chemically induced profusion if not necessary for affect, and believe me, it is not necessary.  I found a nice slice of affect was still sitting there at the core of who I am, and that's not so bad, even if it isn't "perfectly balanced and rational and hyper aware."  Because fuck it, right?  Why not relax a bit with all these heavy bands of worry and fatigue?  What is the right way to live, I've asked, and repeated, to myself, all the while avoiding the question with the question.  What is the right way to live. What is the right way to breathe?  There is none.

Don't Blame Me For Not Trying

No matter what my track record, you can't say that I haven't tried, damnit.

I've reached out to people I had no inclination to befriend.  I've taken a job I never thought I could do, ever.  I've bought an apartment, married a beautiful woman, had a son, and learned to become decent in a really difficult language.  I've lost 20 pounds, found a way to keep surviving with a certain "couched" optimism, and most people would probably just say I'm "nice!"  Which leads me to believe they have no idea what I'm thinking!  Which leads me to believe that my efforts are partially successful = I shan't feel guilt.

Guilt free.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Simple Things

An ode to non-obsessive tendencies.  Playing basketball with kids.  Visiting with family.  Doing a good job for the sake of the good job.  Figuring out something that is hard and technical and non-obvious on one's own.  Understanding one's limits.  Finding a way to manage, and survive, and keep moving forward, without glamorizing the future or the past.  Genuinely giving your love over to someone and not expecting anything for it.  Developing a less than ideal sense of one's own capabilities.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Former Lovers (and Near Lovers):

I was insincere, or at least a bit too emotional, when I wrote previously about former lovers.  They occupy a strange place in my mind.  And for clarity, they're not all former lovers; they're former "intimates," some of whom I had relations with that were never physically manifested, though I am sure that these were intimate relations nevertheless.  Anyway, the point.  The point is that getting sober, or getting older and getting sober, had for a long time possessed me by cycling back intense and crystal clear memories, memories that I felt, at least, were sharp and accurate and intensely vivid, so much so that they sucked me from my present state and overcame me at times, entrancing as they were--to relive the past without reliving the past.  To examine all angles of a series of events without having the weight of decision-making in real time.

Except.  Except that I never had these types of reshuffling snapshot live-feeds into the past when with any lovers/former lovers/intimates.  And so you see that this group of relatively select people, people who I felt a vulnerability I cannot try to write, except to say that I ceased to feel a separation vis-a-vis my body and the world and the other person, such was our connection, also happens to be the same people I cannot access in my new found sobriety.  And I look back at those times now with a fresh layer of nostalgia for the child-like innocence that those times represent, and also, I wonder: why don't I cycle through these memories as well?  What is it about incredibly close compatriots that keeps me separate from them now?  Why can't I taste at least the memory of their sweet elixir, and at least get my shit straight about our interactions?

I can force myself to remember the objective specifics, but it is not the same.

Odd phenomenon, I thought, or didn't think.  And this was really want I mean to detail in the previous post.  And instead of actually working to describe it (yes, it is work), I simply did what came much easier (and resulted in a much cheaper post, though it still stings to get a rebuke in the comments like that--almost like a former lover scorned that he/she is not remembered appropriately).

To be clear: it isn't as if I don't remember these people.  I can tell you about all of our interactions.  I can tell you where we went, how we went, what we talked about, generally, etc.  It is more about the energy or mood of our interactions.  I don't think it means that I have forgotten.  I have a sneaking suspicion that it is more about my own inability to {insert appropriate verb here},.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sobriety = Revamp Entire LIfe

I know, I know, it sounds dramatic, but sobriety really triggers a bit of re-engineering, if you will, regarding almost every aspect of life.  To wit: it isn't just the cessation of drinking that changes.  It is everything else.

Friends, family, social relations general, exercise routines, nutrition, worldview (potentially), and more.

And I'm not talking about religious conversion, i.e. the need to talk to everybody about one's sobriety.  God help us if that were the case.  I know far too many office-mates who already like to vocalize their self-help routines daily, as if to compare and contrast (and be better than others).

I'm talking about the fine stuff, the granular small bits around the edges that slowly permeate the whole.

Enough said for now.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Certain Comments Not Allowed

Comments that say you're currently drinking, for instance.

Plans to get sober, but present boozing, do not qualify you for writing about sobriety, or getting any of the support from sober people.  Sorry.  I'm just going to delete them.  If you've been sober for even one day, fine, comment all you like.

Nothing is Pre-Determined

I like the idea that we can "do" anything we want to do. I also have entirely mixed feelings about it. While life is certainly not akin to prison for me and millions like me, there are limitations, and I have a feeling that for most of my childhood, and early adulthood, I was told implicitly that almost anything is possible. And it isn't.  And there's a lot of hard work between the dots of intense pleasure and clarity that, mind you, actually do exist.  But nobody said that, or I didn't want to hear it.   Which isn't a complaint.  It is just a ramification of dreaming for too long.  Fantasy is good as fantasy.  When fantasy becomes reality, there's a lot of crap to deal with that sort of detracts from the fantasy part.  I still feel that, despite knowing the substance of the last sentence, all of us get drugged into feeling like potential decisions we are about to make carry less weight than similar decisions we made in the past.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Former Lovers

What space do they occupy in our minds?  How does it work?

I have one in mind.  I have this anesthetized feeling toward her, that, I'm sure, isn't somehow my real accurate feeling.  And yet, it persists, a hammer wrapped in cloth.  It will still break the window, wont' it, if I swing?  It will still hurt its owner?  Won't it?  I don't know.  I've wrapped it up with a lot of cloth, mind you, quite thick, in woolens and sheets and strips and shards of those things best left to whimsy of nostalgic meandering, and I find it sick and both convenient and repulsive now, the way it is, and yet.

I can't quite touch it.

Damn it.

I want to touch it.

I mean that sincerely.  I want the crystal clean memories of yesteryear, to live through them at times in a way that won't be wholly cathartic, in a way that won't be fully punishing, but instead fractionally cathartic and punishing, and unlike a walk in the park, it will reach into me and tell me that I am alive because I know what mistakes mean and that I'm alive because I know where I was and where I was, it was fundamentally flawed in a way that is irreparable now, and so, must be wrapped every so tightly, except that I long to flail flawed markers around and just relish in it, you know, the imperfection, the subtlety and the numerosity of imperfect existence, crystallized and sweet on a sunny day just like any other.

Yearn for Creativity, Curiosity, and Imagination

I've been mired in a rivet of negativity for a tad long, no?  I'm relentless, with this over-arching need to reformat and drop a drape of darkness over perfectly merciless alliteration!

The point is this.  It is much harder to be curious and imaginative than it is to be negative and disillusioned.  They're selling disillusionment on the street, man, all you have to do is consume some entertainment for a while and you'll feel it settled into the corner of your spine like a cement nail that's been glued there specifically to keep you from relaxing.  

And so.

And so.

And so.

There is a rubber ducky in my pool, and he needs a-feedin'!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I Fucked Up Thoroughly and Regret It Deeply.

I'm flogged by regret, an almost nonstop ribbon of internal discourse that flavors everything I filter and process, almost all interactions, and most certainly, how I view my current position in life on a more macro level.  My default is self-blame, assumption of inadequacy, and intense disassociation.  It is difficult to embed myself, find meaning, and feel excited in a way that is not put on, manufactured, or that doesn't immediately collapse into meandering highly self-critical metaphorical lashings of self.

It is impossible to shake completely, coming back at moments when I feel like I've shed it, finally, and making its way into the crevices that I was too slipshod to fill completely with consistency.  See, I can't do anything about it--my years of being ridiculously self-absorbed, unknowingly gorging myself on all sorts of somewhat evil consumptive pastimes, and being an asshole, even and especially when I thought of myself as completely garrulous, hugely social, and friendly to the tee, well--those years cannot be undone.  I cannot choose to make better decisions. They won't unfold.  . I changed the course of something that had promise and allowed open and authentic possibility, and turned it into something else; something with walls.

Not that I'm really terribly unhappy with where things are! Although I know it doesn't seem so when re-reading the above. Or that I don't feel, even, that my sense of regret is really an insidious sense of wanting to have more, do better, and generally feed the old selfish self that lurks never-ending in the sewer pipes of my daily dreams, the self who desires power for power's sake.  And yes, I'm entirely too hard on myself, almost all the time, and yes, I can see this behavior in others and absolutely give them solid real advice when I tell them not to be too hard on themselves.  And so. There is no conclusion here.  Sorry.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Comments By Anonymous- "Help a Man Out?"

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What Happens When You Stop Drinking. How Long to ...": 

hey now...been at this 'trying to get sober' thing for a while now...I am, I guess, what could be considered as a highly functional alcoholic. Professional employment, good family life, dogs...blah blah blah....at least 12 beers a day for the past 10 years, but now over the whole thing...it's just that I simply cannot...I quit for about 5 months and thought I had it licked...hell, even did an iron distance triathlon in the interim (exercise has been huge all my life). Now, as you can probably figure out, the wheels have fallen off...Naltrexone is in the house, but i'll be damned if I want to do it that way....needing a bit of strength, and would like to find a source to keep up with folks on a consistent basis (accountability works well for me). Did the AA thing but, even after months of meetings, never got comfortable with the whole thing....can somebody help a man out?? 

Hey, Man:

Here's me, someone who has been sober for over 3 years, helping you out. Are you ready?   If you sense a bit of bewilderment in my tone, I'm sorry.  You did a triathlon in the interim?  Great!  I'm happy for you. You've been doing triathlons with 12 packs for years, so good to switch out one for another in some respects. 

1. Get your nutrition right.  That's first.  Are you eating enough protein?

2. Don't expect the world to bow down at your efforts.  This is a big one.  You're not a model of ideal behavior because you've gotten sober.  You've simply corrected a major character flaw that most people don't have.  Don't pat yourself on the back for that.  You're basically just getting up to speed.

3. Don't expect bliss and perfection.  Bliss and perfection only happen when you're too drunk to know the difference

4.  Be sober now and expect that it won't be ideal.  The world has lots of details and stuff has been happening when you've been out drinking (not everyone has been out drinking like you).

5. Time to grow up, emotionally-speaking.  What they say about being "stuck" at the emotional age of when you started drinking is true.  You may have even gone backwards.  How do you "repair the dissonance?"  Time and effort and maddening amounts of self-doubt, and time and effort and not giving up.   

6. Stop thinking in terms of your whole life or everything, or everyone, or anything so blandly opaque and abstract.  

7.  Drop all your previous principles, in other words.  Expect to remold them slowly.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Levels of Abstraction

There's an increasing transition occurring in my life: to wit, I desire to signal to others less than I desire pleasure inducing behaviors for myself.  Those pleasure inducing behaviors are not basic, and I don't need audience to show my selective taste.  I don't need audience anymore at all.

I wonder whether I need anybody at all?

I do, I know.  I need my wife!  Without her I'd surely be in a gutter somewhere, writing this blog as if it were my only saving grace, and trying very hard to impress all of you all the time.  See, I try so much less to impress than I've ever tried, and my standards are so much higher!  It is a reverse relationship than you might intuit, but true!

Anyway, all the principles I used to hold I have almost completely let go of, and I feel much freer for it.  And all of those principles were abstract.  I.e. how they could become actualized/practical was open to interpretation.  And.  Because of that I could do whatever I wanted.  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

We're All Victims

Excuses are easy.  I'm not saying they're not valid, or warranted, or heartfelt, or that they matter.  Or that excuses function only as excuses.  I'm not saying that they should be wiped away and disregarded.  But.  They also shouldn't have the power of God, be capable, in other words, to diminish one's sense of necessary responsibility and, yes, if necessary, shame.  We are all victims in some way, some of us much more so than others.  And it is often the case that the true victims (of child abuse, for instance), are incredibly hard on themselves and not very forgiving, whereas those who live sheltered lives have learned to manufacture outrage and build in excuses that manifest as victimhood, but are in reality simply privileged excuses to feel outrage, blame others, and generally not work to self-correct.

Self-correction is necessarily difficult.  Perhaps the most difficult.  Parents would at times rather lose sons, would rather commit suicide, would rather take the cost of almost anything over and above self-correcting.  

Sobriety = self-correction.  It isn't easy, and it isn't about being nice, playing games, or making people like you.  It is about desiring honesty and trying not to let the first few inchoate thoughts that float into your mind find a way to solidify as irretrievable fact, forever immovable.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Alcoholics are Sugar Addicts, Too -

Alcohol is a super carb.   When you're drinking it, it is also as if you've switched over to eating highly refined carbs, which seriously mess with insulin levels, amongst other things.  Therefore, to get clean and sober, you must think hard about nutrition, and how you'll deal with cravings, which are often the sign of low blood sugar, not a maligned psychopathic need to drink booze, per se.  Just that booze offers the kind of warm fuzzy sugar rush that we all get quite used to.  So, for one, you can supplement with amino acids.  L-Glutamine will control sugar in yer blood--and your brain can use it instead of glucose to run.

Eat more protein (but not too much, but include some at each meal), and try to eat regularly, in general.  You're not a misanthropic heretic because you've succumbed to a craving or two (or 20k).  You don't need to denigrate yourself endlessly because you drank when you didn't know better.  But now that you know better...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Reliving The Past -

Struggling with regret is normal.

But living in a world where previous mistakes infiltrate almost every living moment is not as normal.
A second version of this is when all current events get filtered through old mistakes.

A third version exists when we basically are reacting to old mistakes without knowing it, and simultaneously trying to "prove" ourselves (mostly to ourselves).  The academic would be star is not exempt from this as much as the high school nerd who is now a sports jock is reacting to previous real or perceived social opprobrium.

We don't like it when our egos, finely tuned and attenuated as they may be, in relatively fragile state either way, are hit down.  And depending on our character, how we react (depression, or digging in deep, or ignoring previous slights), is vital and reflects our self-image.  Naturally, I can run away, across the country, and become sensitive, and cower in the corner with the best of them!

I used to think it was important to be careful with everything I said, to make sure the person who I was talking to was flattered, to always be aware of social etiquette (unless drunk, in which case I would change my "audience" to a new crew of crazies in my head and act all sorts of out of tune).  Etiquette and niceties are quaint and excellent, and being polite is important.  I respect hierarchy and authority, much more these days than ever before, and in a deeper way, too, but I also recognize that my specific actions and words are much less important than ever before, and while that is a bit depressing, it is freeing, too.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sigh... Life is Practical Not Dreamy


It took me about 15 years to say that to myself in a way that was felt and honest and not a put on and not a fake way of asserting some sort of falsified notion of how to act.


And even now I dream in a way that is barely containable.


While my life has drastically changed and mostly in good positive ways!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Compacted Dreams

Dream big, right? Well, there are a few versions to this in practice.

First is the adolescent version: dream that "things can change" without taking any steps to make those changes.  Imagine instantaneous revival and incarnate redemption.  This is the dream of lottery-winning and dancing with the stars or what have you.  This is the American dream, that "anything" can happen, and damn the probabilities all to hell, those things will happen to you/me/us, the exceptional ones.

Second is the twenties-something career climber: dreams have solidified inside of a track; parameters are increasingly set and education and hard work will yield the path to the bigger adolescent dream buried deeper within the twenties-something psyche.   Fuck and suck and don't imagine turning thirty, because it won't happen and nothing is real, yet, i.e. only my ambition matters.

Third: Thirties.  Figuring out that life is not infinitely long.  Taking stock of past record of events and actions.  Accumulation of regrets and victories.  Trying hard to become someone practical and worthy.   The longer adolescent dreams hang on here the less progress is made.

Forties: Work out.  Get that aging body in shape.   Career work is embedded, entrenched, dreams regarding work are a laugh.  Cynicism has set in, and aerobics has come to combat it.

More soon.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Who Says You Can't Reinvent Yourself?

The coda; the pause and hum.  The instant recognition. The survivor instinct; spotlight drenched megalomania; infant death syndrome; blinding searing insight with too many adjectives;

fashionista sipping java on ledge of portent, mildly congruent with former selves, constantly aware of onlookers;

The depressive mindset lifted and expanded into antitheticals and recursive institutional bureaucratic jism; spread wide enough to dry and fly kite like in park, elicit comments from on-lookers about diaphanous transparency and willingness to achieve and strive higher.  Commitment to principles, you respond, starting to get the feeling in your fingers, the rhythm of the day fills the negative space around you, as it was lost a few moments earlier.

Pause and hums and nips and tucks,.

A conversation, it is, however dire, however superfluous; easy excuses are too easy for me now, however sexy they look;

dance in air vent air like cotton candy; prance along windowpanes like spanish guitar; trill into the dense edge of evening, the undulations of my corduroy, in the all night long good will basket, soaking in community-minded fungus of a thousand crotches and ready to be recycled again into another person's enigmatic livelihood.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Apprehension about Sobriety -

I get a lot of emails from folks who are either about to try to get sober, or who have gotten sober recently, and are concerned about anxiety: they've never experienced this much of it, namely, or they don't know how to act in social situations anymore, or they dread going out.

While anxiety is a constant enemy for me, I won't pretend like it can be conquered. I've probably talked about this before, but I want to be clear that when you decide to get sober, you must be prepared to deal with increased levels of anxiety.  That anxiety might get triggered for a lot of different reasons--reasons that you can work out with a therapist, or slowly, piecemeal on your own, so long as you remember that "knowing" why anxiety exists doesn't necessarily stop the anxiety from existing.  Repeated exposure to triggers with increasing severity is the core of cognitive behavioral therapy and can help. Just like pronouncing foreign words becomes easier with practice.

In fact, practice is at the heart of what it means to get sober because you will realize that you're simply not as good at things as you thought you were, and that, well, if you want to improve, for a variety of reasons, you need practice. Hopefully the ideal of practice will wear into what you do on an everyday basis, and you will stop seeking mastery in the sense of actual accomplishment, and see mastery instead as more abstract, i.e. unattainable, which will yield to more practice and betterment of self, and the knowledge that apprehension, worry, doubt, and fear, all presuppose a certain type of attainment, an expectation of mastery, that is not evident in anyone, i.e. is unrealistic, and at that point some sense of dread will dissipate.  Trying to figure out how to relax and have fun without being dogmatic and regimented will be quite valuable.  Good luck!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fighting and Love

When fighting about a relationship (or really, any kind of talk about the relationship) constitutes a larger portion of time of the relationship than the relationship part of the relationship, it may be time to find some new relations.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pat Moore Foundation: Guest Post

Here's a guest post from Recovery Rob at the Pat Moore Foundation:

It’s true what they say in the halls of Alcoholics Anonymous, or any alcohol and drug treatment center for that matter – “If you don’t take that first drink, you can’t get drunk.” It seems so basic, so easy, but yet it’s so incredibly hard to stay away from alcohol. Our disease just doesn’t want us to succeed – plain and simple.

Whether we’re newly sober, have some serious clean time, or maybe just considering if we are alcoholics we often find ourselves having a conversation in our heads about how we can just have one drink this time. Just one drink that will take edge off or help make a situation better than it is. But then time and time again we wake up the next day or days later to discover that that one drink turned in to many. We try drinking only certain beers, or only hard liquor, or wine, or only on the weekends, or some other promise that the future waits to stomp all over.

The problem is that when we worked go-arounds to prevent ourselves from getting and staying sober we work hard with the mental and physical gymnastics of keeping what we do, how much we drink, and where we go a secret that it’s just too much to handle. We might even consider taking that ‘needed’ break to prove, “See, I can do it. I can stop any time I want!” But then again, we are right back where we left off – drinking heavily and making our life more difficult than it needs to be.

So, instead of working hard to discover the right combination of what works best – four drinks, on Tuesday, at “such and such” bar, and with our “so and so” friend – we need to remember that we just don’t need to pick up that first drink.

Again, it’s a simple concept and oh so hard at the same time. But you know what? It’s helped millions of people stay clean every day because no matter how much clean and sober time they have they still take their sobriety one day at a time.

Recovery Rob BIO

Recovery Rob is a 48-year-old man who has more than twenty years of sobriety, whose drugs of choice at one time were alcohol and drugs, and he has worked in and around the field of addiction for more than 30 years. Recovery Rob hopes to reach out and continue to help others who work through their process of addiction and recovery. Recovery Rob is a professional writer who has published two novels and is currently working on his third. He has been writing and working as Pat Moore Foundation’s premiere blogger and content writer, which helps keeps Pat Moore Foundation’s drug treatment addiction and recovery blog top-rated.


Confidence is actually a fairly amorphous trait.  You know when people are confident. You think you know.  But their internal world may not coincide with what you think you know about them.  Likewise, I could know when I'm confident, and also be cripplingly insecure at times.

Anyway, the point here was supposed to be that drinking obviously leads to over-confidence, but that over-confidence can be particularly insidious. At its most extreme, it is delusion.  Without any confidence, though, deep depression takes over.  So I no longer have a post.  I am not the right person to ask such things!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

3 Years

About 2 days ago I passed my 3 year mark.

I've been sober what seems like a long time.

More changes are potentially on the way (good changes).

I'm positive the hardest part of getting sober is the getting sober part.  Staying sober is difficult.  There's not doubt about it.   But the transition to long term sobriety is in a sense harder, because it jumbles up social circles, body chemistry, and everything else that seemed normal.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Time's Not Your Friend -

This is from a Tom Wait's song.

I keep it running on loop in my head.  Almost to my own annoyance.  I've always been that way with music, that is, almost playing what I will internally, back to every little snare catch and bass thrum.  I'm not saying this is a blessing.  It took a few conversations to realize that it wasn't totally normal, i.e. most other people don't have constant playback of sorts going on.  And anyway.

I wanted to pontificate in the medium intellectual realm regarding time's friendliness or lack of friendliness.  I don't think I will. The dice are still flying too wildly for me to make a call.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day 5 Sober -

Here's a recent comment (below) that may represent a good reason to quit!  I think when your boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife asks you to get sober (for however long), it is a pretty solid indication that you have a problem.

And, unfortunately, "proving" to them that you can get sober for a bit doesn't entitle you to go out and get drunk.  It is nice motivation, of course, but it pays to step back and understand why that's motivation, and how circular the logic is.

"Day 5.

Trying to see how long I can go without drinking. I'm 31 years old drinking since 16. I never thought I had a problem drinking. I usually hold my alcohol pretty well almost to the point people do not even know I'm drunk but myself. I was a heavy drinker drinking all those years I had a tolerance for it. My boyfriend gave me a 90 day challenge. I personally just want to see if I can make it to 4 weeks. Wish me luck!"

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Weirdest Weirdo vs. The Viscous Psychopath

To me weirdos are not dangerous.  Psychopaths, though, are.  What's the difference?

Weirdos are predictable.  To a fault.  They don't fit in.  And we know they won't.  They, like nerds, or geeks, have strong preferences that don't match mainstream commercial preferences.

Because comfort in groups really can be indicated by how similar to each other we are, weirdos make us uncomfortable in their atypicality in one or two arenas.

Psychopaths, though, well, they're just plain manipulative as hell.  There is no "knowing" them, and there never will be any knowing them.  They too have preferences that don't match commercial homogenized preferences that might otherwise indicate group belonging.  They are self-involved and strategic, importantly, even in highly personal relationships.  Highly strategic.

But to what end, I ask?  Psychopath?  To what end?  And they will not answer, whereas a weirdo or a nerd would just tell you straight up.

If the question is: What would you do if if you didn't have to do anything else, weirdos and nerds will answer it with something you might not.  Psychopaths would answer it with whatever they think you would.  Much more dangerous, in my view.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Freedom and Suicide

For those of you who have contemplated it--or contemplated contemplating it, at one level of abstraction--there is one sense in which the prospect of suicide is freeing.  It is this.  If you got to a place where you felt that it was all worthless, worthless enough to throw it away, then that stuff that was so heinous as to be worth throwing it all away, must in some way also be worthless, and so.  So it can be a kind of reset, this thinking, this process, this contemplation, though I don't urge it on anyone, and certainly don't want it for the sake of clarity.

Just sayin: if it is worth ending it all, nothing matters.  If nothing matters  . . .  it might not be worth ending it all.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Breaking In The Long View

Sobriety is for me now a long haul game.  No longer quite fashionable or trendy in the sense of being new and exciting and worthy of gossip.  I don't need to go proclaim it.  I don't need to go figure it out.  I have other stuff to figure out.  I'm working through major regret issues, not all related to alcohol, though alcohol fueled many of the regret-based activities.

Regret is a horror.

Yes friends: I had a bad week.  It wasn't  that the events of the week were tied to the experience of the week, either; it was, instead, that somehow I've been experiencing huge waves of regret over the course of my mostly I-can't-complain life.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Being The Best.

The swill of narcissism and drama is cheap.  Its cheapness is likewise seductive.  It's not woken by back pain at four a.m., nor by the sudden scampering of large roaches or what might be large roaches in the still heat of insomniac trill.  No.  It is smooth and clean and the purest sense of authenticity one can grieve for this side of the divide, whatever that means, and it is isolation, simple and sweet like a root beer float at age eight.

It is the capacity to sail excuses into the ether and buy them; because it is cheap, it doesn't matter what you waste.  Cheap means you don't have to give up much to make it go.  And because it is cheap, well, unfortunately, or fortunately, maybe it isn't quite as fungible as I thought it used to be.

It is not competing against singularly minded machine-people and being beat without excuses.  It is certainly not acknowledging a simple fact, and letting the simple fact flail into the wind with new found freedom.

I am not the best.  Not the smartest, or brightest, or best looking, or most popular, or most clever, or funniest.

And I am not the best even with heavy lifts of effort.

And that's because effort cannot be forged from the desire to be the best.  Ego-driven effort does a lot, but it is always somehow lacking.

And this is a simple truth that I've known conceptually since I was into Krishnamurti when I was like 11 years old and graduated from The Hobbit and before Stephen King in my early teen years.

The truth is that winning because of ego driven effort is false, hallow, chimera.  Building a life and having a vision for how things should be means a lot more than being best.  It means being able to stomach other people being the best.  It means being able to say "slow down, too fast for me."

1) Work on something that cannot be mastered (music, language, books)

2) Associate with people who have a bigger conception of the world than Brooklyn pizza and late-night drinking

3) Stick to standards when they are hard to stick to

4) Forgive someone for no reason other than forgiveness, and act selflessly in future relations with that person without once bringing up the forgiveness necessary to partake

5) Forget about large glorious visions of what could be.  Work on practical detail-oriented steps for what is.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Listen (and say it with me now): I Don't Know

Alarmingly disarming, this simple phrase.  I don't know.  What do you think?  

Makes you remember that it is okay to change your beliefs and update them as you see fit based on, well, on life experience, which is, yeah, actually experiencing things first hand and having the realization that, well, yeah, you weren't exactly spot on accurate as a flaming lefty neo-marxist (not to mention that the people who care about those things aren't the people you actually being attracted to).

In the middle of a very strenuous day, when all we're telling ourselves and all we're told to tell everyone else is that we know know know, let's breathe a sigh of relief, imagine a Benny Goodman lick, and say it, even under our breath, collectively, even as a swear might come out similarly.

I don't know.

Yeah, me neither.  Glad I'm not alone.

If you're thinking it other people are thinking it too.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Exercise (and no booze)

Here's a post to remind all sufferers of substance-dependence issues to get out and exercise, even a little bit.  It makes a huge difference in mood, self-perception, and the capacity to concentrate and prioritize.

I don't care what it does for one's body, i.e. weight loss, in other words, however nice that may be; the primary effect is in the mind.

The other side to this coin is: watch your sugar and refined carb intake.  Sugar and refined carbs (I'm thinking anything with white flour) are basically bad news for mood (I can ruin half a day by eating a bunch of shit), unless exercising strenuously, when they can be used for fuel.  Sure, they feel good going down, but so does a nice cold one on a day very much like this memorial day.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Here We Are

Lacking apt metaphors.

Staring at each other.


Flinging out dreams of ambiguity and eventual decay.

Abusing ourselves for the sake of survival.

Finding solace in twisted drama.


Jumping viciously from one point to the next.  Forgetting the bread crumbs.

Unavailable and bad at listening.




Monitoring the precursors to the threat to the end of the beginning of whatever it is we've told ourselves it is we've found, and scrambling meanwhile, in the substrate of our dual selves, to figure it all out before the threat manifests.

Adjusting past architectural commemorative for new needed commemorations. Wondering why new needed commemorations went astray.

Lacking apt metaphors.

Glancing fleeting ephemeral mirror reflection enough to tie stomach in knots.

Enough to find smeared vaseline smiles in great vats of opacity.

Enough already.  Enough.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Getting What You Want.

Sometimes this happens, and it turns out that you you didn't want it, whatever it is, after you have obtained possession.

Best way to ameliorate this phenomenon in the future: ask people who have wanted and obtained what it is you want and listen to their answers.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Honesty in Personal Dealings - Different Stories for Different Friends?

Here's the hallmark of vicious self-deception.  You find yourself telling one set of friends one story, and another set of friends a completely different story, or, perhaps, withholding all sorts of information from a second friend/group of friends.  It represents an aggressive need.  It is a need for control over other people's perceptions.  It is more importantly, a need to control all angles of all personally experienced events such that they comport with thresholds or standards of comfort when digested personally. I am as guilty as anyone, or at least used to be.

And so, what inevitably happens?  Some friends get together, two spheres of friends perhaps, at a party, or graduation, or what have you, and viola, they start comparing stories.  After all, they liked the stories they independently heard.

And one day you're therefore sitting at a party, perhaps your own, trying to explain discrepancies that you barely explicitly consciously knew were there.  You just always kept certain friends away from other certain friends because those people were naturally incompatible--it never had anything to do with self-interest.


I recognize that we have to do this self-selection stuff to some degree.  And I guess the real question is whether it is manifestly negative to avoid negative aspects of our own lives, i.e. to avoid thinking about them, to usher away conversation from them, to sort of keep them at all times from consciousness, even while therefore being consistently aware of what we need to keep away from.  After all, what's the use of thinking about bad stuff?  Is there a use in it?

As I've sort of relaxed (although outwardly become much more stiff), memories constantly hover, descending at odd junctures.  But I like them.  Even the bad ones.  I like that they are there, that I can even safely relive them at times.  It is weird, I know, but to safely relive harrowing stuff isn't really traumatic at all.  It is comforting.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Finding A Way Out -

It's been too long since I simply felt comfortable in my own skin.  Since I've found a way to just stay loose and relatively relaxed while living my life.  I recognize that specifics change, where you live or where you work, for example, but alcohol fundamentally changed my sensitivity to my surrounding environment, and since sobriety, I've been working back to a healthy understanding of stimuli in the outside world, trying less to get trapped in negative (or positive) feedback loops that can't be corrected.  This is more of a quick reflection, and a reminder of my new emerging self, the old self in many ways, and this familiarity I feel now is really quite beautiful, because I haven't been like this (even if "this" is for short spurts right now--it is intensely focused and much sharper and less worried or acutely aware of all the wrong things), in a long long while, over 10 years, at least.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Feels Good To Cry

Not that it feels good to feel sad, but that, well, instead of suffering under the nausea of stewing abstract or undefined emotions or just general sadness, the need to cry in an infrequent crier (me) allows a sort of peak of sharpened acuity that is very much not present most of the time and is refreshing in its own way that I cannot do justice to in words, but would very much like to share somehow even though sharing is absolutely impossible in this sense.

Almost like this (my effort):

All of the sad events that have happened in my life are not really mine.   I see them, out there, almost like a TV show or movie, and consume them in that way, as fiction, and when they become mine, when I own them, like, well, every May 13th, I find it fucking refreshing, and I cry, because they have distilled into painful experience and I am simultaneously absolutely helpless to do anything about them.  Because I agree that those events are strange and weird and downright petrifying.  Fuck, imagine that, right?  And there, that, imaging, well, turns out, there's no need to imagine at all.  All I have to do is remember.

Original Ideas

Original ideas are very hard to come by.  Ideas, not so much.  Ideas percolate or ferment, or rot, or make friends, or sing out loud, all the time, non-stop, it seems, no matter their intrinsic banality, or a lack of caffeine, or that pit bull that won't shut up because its owner trained him to think that airplanes or backfiring cars or neighbors were enemies (well!  well! aren't they, he might shout, in a steroid binge of sorts).

And anyway, how do you know if you've got one or not?  It takes serious work on its own right.  I mean, what's the set of all ideas out there, where is it?  And how do you compare your idea with the ideas of that set!  And then, what's your method for ascertaining whether similar ideas were close or identical to yours?  And anyway, what's the use of the idea?  Does it help improve something?

Which is to say that we are all depositories of a lot of ideas, that we consume endlessly, but that producing ideas--even moderately questionably novel ideas at that--takes a bunch more work.  If you don't think that's the case you are either a) much smarter than me or b) fooling yourself.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Comment: The Possibility of Sobriety -

I find this message warming and I am also shocked by it: of course it is possible to stop drinking!  You just have to go through a few uncomfortable stages to do it~ and Yes, it gets to the point where alcohol doesn't even get in.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What Happens When You Stop Drinking?": 

Day 4 and its Saturdayy night. A first for me to be AF at the weekend. I have to say that reading this blog is the thing which has kick started me in to believing it might be possible. I keep telling myself I am not giving up anything, I am actually freeing myself from alcohol. It's kind of scary because if I think about making plans for the future, like the odd weekend away or a family occasion I kind of think twice about it because everything we do always involves drink. Can I really manage to be totally clean of alcohol. It would be fantastic to get to the point where the thought of it doesn't even enter my head. Do you ever get to this point? 

Friday, May 10, 2013

I would sell my soul for something pure and true . . .

Ain't it the case, my friends, to taste that distilled purity, drip drop, itty-bitty minute laced indulgence for us kiddos, layin' back, as we are, in the summer time of our sobriety, our uninterrupted plateau of higher calling, i.e. that which we mustn't think of directly, except when reminded of the difference, the stark recall button pushed, pressed, deeper now, we're getting there, until, ahh, simple utter relief, oh so long coming.

If only.

If only I flailed in the middlemen of my own ignorance and came out with friends.

If only I could frolic undisturbed for years in a bed of rose pedals.  If only romance would tingle on the fringe of my life and I would have the courage to look back for once, instead of finding uncountable excuses in the molecular structure of fractal outlines;  anywhere that is generic, please i beg of you.  Direct eye contact makes me sick.

Monday, May 6, 2013

How Long To Live A Lie?

I wonder if we wait out living a lie in the present for a hope at something "true" and "real" in the future, and if so, how long it takes to start to accept the present for reality, and at what increments the true present reality intercedes or overlays to displace the perceived potential future.

I think about 5-10 years, in general, though I know there are outliers.

The other question I have is at what level of specificity folks hold out for their dreams.  My guess is that dreams are vague and opaque at best, and if there was any actual flesh on the meat of the matter, the dream would look mightily different.  Which begs the question perhaps: if we know that are dreams are by definition inaccurate, well, we sort of also know that we would never want to have those dreams in reality, since having them would necessitate their destruction.

Likely result: change dreams.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Who Are You?

I used to sing along with The Who as a pre-teen.  I never really knew what the lyrics meant, except that they held a type of aggressive in your face brand of introspection, or supposed introspection, the kind that elders certainly must be incapable of, and that only folks under a certain age would find intoxicating, precisely because they could tap into it.  (There's another way to read this divide, as with all divides, and it is not that the brand of introspection pushed out of my speakers as a 12 year old was only accessible to those under a certain age, but that instead it was only listenable, that is, bearable, by those under a certain age, because at its core was something selfish and ugly and utterly hormonal, instead of any genuine question--i.e. a question that isn't afraid of an answer -this was, instead, perhaps, a question asked with a specific answer already in mind; a question asked only for the sake of the answer.  And the answer was a kind of fuck you.)  And anyway, the song is basically a bender of a song anyway!  Or it is a love song.  Or it is both.

Anyway, I think the brand of introspection there was still very romantic, or idealistic, in that it tried to perhaps strip the layers of normalcy and socialization, the pressures that we all feel are so static and staid and true and never change as we learn about them, and which are actually quite fluid perhaps.  And alcohol is a nice foil, i.e. it is convenient to feel that alcohol provides access to this truth, this core stuff, but the real truth is that we have to deal with all sorts of stuff that incentivizes our behavior every single day, whether enforcing it or punishing it, and that's what makes humans so fantastic and miserable.  And love is a similarly nice foil, to say that we love someone else and that person loves us makes our lives true and meaningful.

But we still have to deal with a lot of little piddly shit that isn't related directly to the raw pure emotion of love or drunkeness or anything like that, which, collectively, is sort of what being an adult is all about, since those pure things are there, mostly, well, all the time, and yet cannot necessarily be talked about explicitly.

Which brings me to my larger point.  In any given situation, you kind of have to have an idea of what you prefer, who you are, and not necessarily be driven by other people's strategies/perspectives on your behavior.  Yes, to some extent, obviously, you must adjust based on other people's adjustments, sure, but if that flexibility could be quantified into a number, that number shouldn't really rise higher than some threshold only you can figure out (i.e. only us individually), and we have to do that, figure it out, that is, in order to live and be consistent with ourselves, and we have to also make sure to doubt our own motivations and our own need to tell stories that are flattering to our perspectives at the same time, etc.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Staying Underwhelmed -

I've been intensely focused on staying localized within my own sphere of being.  That sounds sort of opaque, I realize, and what I mean isn't quite definable.  It is a zone of being within what I care about, and trying hard not to get caught up in what doesn't matter.  There's endless ways to get caught up, and each one seems to be gluey and sticky and almost aggressively alive, and normally I'd be oh-so-open to just being absorbed into everything else, telling myself all the while that I'm cool with it, cool with it, cool with it, repeated like a mantra, when the entire time I'm internally freaking out, imploding in a kind of restrained frozen way that is painful because it cannot be expressed correctly and because there's nobody to really express such experiences to, exactly, though some folks masquerade as soothsayers in this respect.  I used to imagine how it all might work out without thinking for a second about how to get where it was working out, and now I see steps--specific and concrete--toward what I want, even when what I want is a mindset, a way of existing, and I exercise those steps with as much patience as possible, which I admit, doesn't meet threshold acceptance on most days, and yes, I can just adjust my expectations, except that I cannot adjust my expectations, and it is the slow strangulation of results which I must lather in if I am to succeed at all.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Stay Within Your Life

For a decent chunk of the last 10 or so years, I've been concentrating on all the wrong things.  No, I don't just mean the boozing and chasing the latest exciting trend but missing the mark wildly on the latter and meeting resounding success on the former.  No, I mean that I've been way too abstract and analytical.   And it took me some time, but I've come to the conclusion that I cannot care about big ideas so much.  They don't matter.  What matters is informed by what's in front of you, and how you do or don't yearn to enjoy your life, to inhabit the space that exists, in other words, instead of chasing that which is opaque and fuzzy.  The opaque and fuzzy is often justification for selfish behavior anyway, and selfish behavior is, for me, short term and destructive, i.e., I tell myself I'm doing things for the sake of big notions and then act like a 7 year old. And the opaque and fuzzy isn't very exciting.  I reject that idea that that which is near is superficial, as well.  It isn't.  It is just available, and available and unnecessary are different. Too much of my relatively recent life has gone by with me as a spectator instead of submerged.

And I haven't expressed as clearly what I mean, except to say that I can't exactly live my life burdened with all the knowledge of how things work, all the time.  Instead, most of the time, I just want to interact with those things, much more intuitively.  I want less logic and formalizing and distance and more emotional engagement and feelings of home and accessibility of myself to myself, if that makes sense.  Instead of walking around in a fog.  I don't think there will be such severe costs to this, while I do think the benefits will be notable, as I've already seen.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Drives me nuts.

Partially because I lose.

Partially because I lack discipline to compete.

Partially because it forces me to see my own laziness.

While i admit the above, it is also true that ultra-competitive people are so fucking blind to everything else besides their own standing that being around them is insufferable.  Everything is a reference to an accomplishment or innuendo of potential.  And I'm not reading into it!  I try my best NOT to read into it.  I want to be as laissez-faire as it comes.  Goodness.  This is tiring, using up my personal time to delve back into an atmosphere I detest.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bragging About Hangovers

Always seemed so strange to me.  "Boy was I hungover!  I could barely get out of bed!  My liver must be fucked man!"

And yet.  There I am on a Monday morning, any Monday morning, listening to the same shit as I did in college, now, in my relatively secure tie and slacks job.

The more things change, the more, well, you know.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Value In Fights?

I used to think that fighting was necessary--fighting, mind you, in the sense of me and my wife, or me and my friends, or "anyone with whom  I wanted to have a lasting relationship", however romantic that idea was, and I'm not referring here to anything physical. Two thoughts.

1) I thought that conflict really either engendered folks to each other, or propelled them apart, but that there couldn't really be mixing of the two once a fight was under way.  Once under way, moral questions became crystal clear.  I also thought the way you handled an argument said a lot about who you were as a person.  Perhaps it does.  But what does it say, exactly, and who is the correct interpreter?  Not the other party to the fight!

2) Fights as necessary to push out all anger and be done with it, to know "what people really think."  This was completely wrong though. When fighting we all say or do things that we don't mean, precisely because we're pushed and we amplify to hurt at times, when we're hurting.

Also, I reject the idea that we have to have fights to demonstrate that we will or will not be pushed around, and I do so by saying this: to what end?  Can't we find a place for relatively peaceful, even spirited, disagreements, or is everything supposed to be to the death?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Truth Is . . .

That beauty only manifests itself like schisms in dense granite, and the larger proportions of our days are spent fighting, bickering, commuting, crapping, or just generally not being very productive--being dull and thick and rock-headed and not very lustrous.  We dream big and we talk equal, but we avoid the hard work that allows dream fulfillment and we are mostly average.  And getting over that, and getting to what it is we care about (discovering it and having the guts to keep at it), is really hard.  It is so hard that I won't even anonymously say what it is I sincerely care about.

Most of my life I live to get to moments of utter bliss that I cannot replicate with precisely calibrated equations, no matter how similar the situation.  Unexpected and unpredictable, I have been floored by piped in music (Paul Simon's Graceland) in Wholefoods, utterly repulsed by the stuff that I'm supposed to find enthralling  and anti-anxious in a world that breeds anxiety.  Numbing oneself out is healthy at times, but having the courage to appear unstable, stupid, and ignorant and then learn, is vital and rare. I'm not sure I have it. I think that the older I get the more I seek comfort and stability, and the more I seek comfort and stability the more I realize how foolish I was for so many years.

But the point is that no matter how much we want it, we cannot just increase the beauty quotient.  We can't simply add more bliss.  It just happens sometimes and those times are certainly not all times.  It--life--is what we chose to do in between.  Coming to terms with that can stop a lot of pointless jabbering and suffering too.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Language Learning as Apt Metaphor

If you've spent time studying language, you know the drill of repetition and seemingly endless exercises, and then slow incremental growth, and one day, full sentence comprehension.  And then blinding confusion and fitful bouts of pseudo-confidence.

Having some basis for understanding a language through sheer willpower, though, distills other life lessons down nicely for the need of patient study generally, and humility.

Classical music is an arena that seems to me similar.

Numbers and number study.

Pretty much any learned enterprise has this nature.  The parameters may be porous and more in flux than we might like at times, but there's a main thrust, a body to take the temperature of, and diligence can be rewarded.  Or, minimally, it can help us all realize how singular and small we are when alone.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Imperfection -

The stunning incapacity of most to cope with their imperfections.  Classic recipe for self-loathing maximus and status quo for dandruff digging wedgie popping reactionary flaming from all across the income spectrum.  None are acquitted this easy peasy beautiful cover-girl fascination, vanity rearing like a 4am enema to wake one from REM sleep, lilt sideways in silence and demand a compliment for such interruption as you rub the crust from reddened eyes and massage your sore ass (but oh so clean, no?).

Blow me.  I say, back.

Figures, prissy indignation flaunts a jowl in response, not one to be outdone.  Loose as all hell--the jowl--should be turned in for dollar bills it is so loose, and flaps away in our cramped shared space as if it is possible to extricate himself from our intertwined being.  You wouldn't be saying that if you'd worked out effectively instead of eating those brownies while watching charlie rose and looking hard at the screen like deep thoughts could be shred in a staring contest, while I went back to laying on my back, waiting for your attention, knowing that you'd come in with your small regret and your quote unquote needs later, after my needs had been withered with loneliness and isolated self-referential paranoia.

And I wonder is he different.  This time will he be different.  Will he want to fuck me hard because he saw it in a porn video or will he want to fuck me hard because he thinks it proper to be fucking hard.  No matter the feedback.  No matter the guttural primitive cheapness of the boozy sweat, or the knees shaking from the lack of exercise, the pit of a chest and the over-eager whimpering.  What am I, anyway, his nanny?  His nurse?  His mastermind slut?  Is that the best one?  The mastermind slut ninja arms akimbo in stationary, silent, blissful, passivity?

I'm an alcoholic and I can't get out. My vanity is my drink and my drink is my vanity and all is within and all is without and I am not privy to making distinctions as simple as you and me. And fuck me it is hard to live sometimes.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Negotiating Conflict

Probably one of the hardest things to do, for so many reasons.

First, there's always intent vs. action and how wildly we can feel certain that other people take actions with the strong intent to produce the precise reaction we felt.  This is reasoning backward at its finest.  We feel an emotion, then ascribe a causal narrative to preceding events based on it, and then we at times viciously defend our interpretation of the story.

My rejoinder: what else can we possibly do?

The response: understand all sides as thoroughly as possible.

But that takes time, and conflicts often flair unexpectedly, not yielding to concise units of analysis, when intuition accounts of meat of the matter.

Second, there's the correct interpretation problem.  Are you as the receiver responding to a statement that you just heard, or the one you wanted to hear, or the one that was in between, or the one that simply wasn't accurate?  When conflict happens, shared understand by definition fails, and all interpretations seem possible.  People can be malicious.  When things are good, we give the benefit of the doubt; when bad, we doubt everything.  And doubting everything means all statements can be construed as purposeful and basically evil.  Even (or especially) omissions can be seen this way.  If you didn't, for example, say hello, this may be obvious evidence of your standing.  In short, signaling gets all screwy.

Third, there's the problem of amnesia and withdrawal.  Once a conflict happens and the parties have been separated, they tend to reinforce their view and ignore all other views over time, even when they feel really bad about a situation.  This is especially weird to me.  If you feel bad, shouldn't it be the case that you find the person you had a conflict with and resolve the conflict, even if it means taking a hit to the old pride?

Fourth problem: Ego.  Admitting wrongness is basically inhuman without public or perceived public shaming.  I don't mean shaming on the news, but damaging social circle perceptions are enough.

Fifth problem: it just hurts.  Damnit.  It just hurts, and who wants to show their wounds to the open world, ever?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Strength -

Is not one data point.

It is a time series.  Flowering outward in real time that has a fighter's objective stance.  Seeking weakness.  Sharpening blades.  Showing off while remaining reclusive>it is that strong, that it doesn't have to figure out a way to find a way to show off.

Anyway.  It isn't insecure, that much is certain, though if it were insecure, that insecurity wouldn't gain a foothold.

Strength doesn't worry that the metaphor is off.  That reflexive character inherent on all others allows ribbons of true blue uniform--almost robotic--production with perfect consistency.

Flip the channel and break the mirror and crush the internet cables into a crystal powder.

There is ice cream in the fridge and we are weak tonight. Tired and weak and longing for the end of the week and practicing our language skills in the real world type of place where real world type language is produced with aching fluency.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Antidote to Myopia

You might not have every other life that you wish to have.

This is often seen as a curse.

Concentrating on those things and experiences we do not have feels bad.

Yet, we still have our own lives.  Those lives we inhabit.  Our particular idiosyncratic stories and memories.   They are with and without cliche, completely unique.

They are probably the only things we have that are completely unique.

But at least they are existent.

I mean this in the most positive aspect I can.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Stay Light (i.e. Superficial)

The capacity to stay superficial when faced with daunting facts or circumstances is often under-rated, mostly because we see the concept of superficiality as superfluous and unnecessary and pejoratively.  It is an insult, mostly.  If someone is superficial, that person is bad.  We purport to value deep people, folks who can delve, who walk the walk, so to speak.

The consequence of this is that we spend a lot of time trying to appear meaningful, and at times suppress what could be fine thoughts that might otherwise appear to be superficial.

The other consequence is that we, as in me, can be overly harsh on ourselves, mostly because we see a lot of the popcorn thoughts we have as throw-away, as fluffy meaningless fodder, thoughts that do not purport to align with the architecture of meaning that we value.

And that's good in a way because a lot of thoughts are meaningless, and bad in a way because we might make errors and not know that we're making those errors. That is also bad because it makes us rigid and inflexible, and mostly, it serves to confirm what we already knew were deep thoughts.  It stifles creativity because we're already pre-filtering what we will evaluate further and value more.  We're being charlatans with ourselves all the time, in other words.

And that probably cuts both ways, sure, in that we don't just want to adopt any idea that comes along, or become so flexible that we have no standards, but I think it is probably much harder to try to accept a seemingly superficial idea as deep, and evaluate it as if it is has great meaning that takes time to understand, than to dismiss it outright.  This makes me uncomfortable (my advice to evaluate that which we don't like or understand as if we should and really do like it and can eventually understand it), but it is important....

Monday, March 25, 2013

Alcohol Use and Couples

A Quick Guest Post and Request:

    My name is CJ and I am a graduate student in psychology. I am currently seeking couples to participate in my dissertation research which focuses on a partner's role in a person's decision to seek help for alcohol use. I am interested in hearing from people at all levels of alcohol use (for some people even one drink is too many, while others draw the line at different levels) and from people at all levels of seeking help (ranging from not considering it up through regular meeting attendance or treatment). If you and your partner disagree about alcohol use, please consider participating so that we can better understand the role of the family in alcohol use issues. The study has a component for both partners, and is completely online and anonymous. Please click on the link for more information about eligibility and the nature of the study. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Abuse vs. Loneliness

Let's say you had a great friend.  A friend so great that, no matter what happened between the two of you, you could never honestly tell this person to fuck off, not if you had a cool head.  In other words, no matter what kind of shit you told each other, there would be a bedrock of something much thicker than the verbiage flung.  And that bedrock would be evident each time you'd go crawling back to each other, NOT, with your tail between your legs, but because your relationship is noticeably solid, as in: you get each other.  Fundamentally.  When you're together, you are not alone.  You are sensitive to one another's proclivities.  You feel understood and respected, most of the time. You love this person as intimately as you are allowed to love someone else (this is not sexual and not romantic).

It just happens that every year or two, this relationship skids out of control, and comments are strewn about that are not very nice.  They're mean.  They're mean comments and they are manipulative and extremely crafty.  So crafty that you have to digest their full craftiness, their full impact, over many days, before you even understand how goddman crafty they are.  All of the goodness that was typically propelled into humor and insight and connection was used, in these comments, to hurt.  To maim.  To show pain experienced.  To twist the knife in and force you to speak, goddamnit, speak, and say how enjoyable the pain is.  To be convoluted and to become a mockery.

And yet.  The relationship is real.  The bedrock remains.

What do you do when you know that both sides exist, and both exist clearly, without ambiguity or hope that that one may cease.  Do you chose relative loneliness or do you chose to go back into potential hits of abuse (mental, not physical)?  I'm not helpless.  I'm asking a question.

And let's face it that for some of us (like me), life is incredibly lonely to start, and there are only a handful of people who I've ever even connected with in the first place.

What's the right move?

Friday, March 22, 2013

First Few Days of Sobriety

I've been sober for more than two and a half years.  Still feels like it was yesterday that I tried, failed, and tried again, out of necessity. But it wasn't, actually, yesterday.  And there are lots of folks posting on different entries about their first few days (one example is below).  And I'd like to stress a few points about the first days of sobriety.

1) They are harder than consistent long-term sobriety because one's body must adjust to vastly different units of fuel.  If you're a long term heavy drinker, it means that you're "eating" your alcohol, and you have physical dependency.  When you quit, you may experience symptoms of severe withdrawal that could become medical in nature.  Don't hesitate if you think you should seek the advice of a doctor or go to the emergency room.

2)  For goodness sake, EAT.  EAT A LOT.  Eat, in particular, foods high in good fats and not that many carbs.

3) Drink black tea.  Don't be afraid.  With lemon.  Pretend you are sick and need nourishment (you are).

4) Don't think about not drinking.  Think about what you care about.  Playing the guitar?  Listening to music?  Reading?  Whatever it is that gets you going outside of alcohol.

5) Find a way to walk more often.  It reduces stress and anxiety.

6) Don't try to do too much.

7) Don't worry if you don't want to go to AA.  Here's why AA works: if you believe in it, it works.  Whatever you can believe in, works.  Believing in something increases awareness and confidence.

8) Good luck

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What Happens When You Stop Drinking?": 

3 days in 3 hours....spent the last two days reading every post here. I relate to almost all of them. Day 1 and 2 not terrible but now on day 2 plus I've been eating everything in sight and my afternoon nap turned into an all afternoon nap. My workout routine was painful but I got through it. I read about Vitamin B and D here but not sure how much to take. I bought b complex and d 5000. I took one of each tonight. I had to drive by the liquor store to get it and it was mildly tough to get past that. I just try to remember how bad I feel after drinking both physically and mentally guilty. I'm just trying to focus on getting through each day now and not being too hard on myself for sleeping more or eating a little bit more. I've drank heavily since I was 16. I'm now 46. In the last 7 years I've been drinking everyday and at least 3 heavy drinks. For a period it was 1 - 2 bottles of wine because that was suppose to be healthier right? I don't know why I made it this far. Successful in my love life, career but maybe not in building friendships. I used to be a big extrovert and have grown to be a huge introvert. Blah Blah Blah.....I love this blog and it really helped me get this far anyhow. 3 more hours, then onto day 3 plus moving toward 4. Will I make it a week? The weekend is going to be a huge test. Saw some people say Pizza helps. I find that funny. Pizza helps with everything and after eating pizza they are right, I'm too full to think about drinking! Perhaps some pizza is on order for the entire weekend. I'll let you know and when my brain stops spinning I will be more clear in communicating my thoughts on this blog. I hope to continue to see others keep writing. AA is a good place for support but I feel like it's their way or I'm a failure and won't fit in. I don't want to hold hands in a circle and pray. Just saying it's not me so pretending that is me would drive me to drink! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Friend of a Friend of a Friend

Went into rehab.  Came out, went into a bar.  Came out, went back to rehab.

Came out.  Now what?

Try again.

I want to tell you that you are not letting anyone but yourself down.  There's a funny self-selection process for sobriety.  Here it is: If you've thought that you should quit drinking, you probably should.

Whether you do is entirely another question.  But the risk isn't worth it, in my eyes.  Here's why.  If you become a full blown alcoholic, it will be much less likely that you'll be able to stop at that point. You'll inhale alcohol and shit out pure venom.

You can live with yourself, sure, but why would you?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Scared of Sobriety? You're Not Alone

Recent comment below.  How will I have fun?  Connect to my husband? Keep living my life?  I know ALCOHOL is a serious problem, but so many reasons to quit AND SO MANY REASONS TO KEEP ON DRINKING.

I don't disagree.  What you'll find upon a decent amount of time of sobriety, is that your preferences will change.  Your tastes will change.  If preferences and tastes are what link us to others, those others will have to become dynamic and grow as well.

Genuine personal growth is not something that should alienate marriages.  If it does, the marriage is the problem.

"This is my fifth night sober. Been drinking heavily, and I mean to thr point of passing out, at least 4 nights out of the week for the past 15 years. I've held down high position/high stress jobs all the while rolling into work either so foggy I couldn't perform throughout the day or still slightly drunk from the night before. I'd lead business meetings and not have a clue of what I had just said. Met my fiance three years ago and he slowly pulled me out of the bar scene (kicking and screaming - not literally). But in the meantime I introduced him to my nasty lifestyle (tons of booze/ocassional coke). I think he felt as long as we were doing it at home and we were together then what was the harm? Over the past 1.5 yrs we've now turned into a couple who comes home and 'unwinds' with several drinks. I'll talk about quitting/he'lk talk about quitting and then one of us will eventually cave. "We're so weak!" We'd cackle with laughter. "Oh well. Tomorrow will be different." Except last Tuesday was my tomorrow and all of a sudden a switch has been flipped in me (part of my wake up call came from a blood test that said my bad cholesterol was high. I askef the nurse what the main cause could be and she said alcohol abuse. Oops. I recommend anyone getting this test. It could be the scare you need). I let my fiance know I was going to stop and he of course naturally said "me too". Except he's brought it up grabbing some cocktails a couple of times. I dont think he understands I mean business. I have a TON of fears but I think the biggest is our potential not to connect like we so often did (perhaps superficiously) while drinking. Does anyone have experience with this? What was the outcome? BTW regardless it will not change my mind. I have got to do this for myself or I can never ve the person I know that is inside of me, waiting to break free." 

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Funny thing, our minds.  They're capable of understanding a great deal of sophistication, but given time restraints (and other pressures), they thin out into fast acting machines of impulse.

Insert appropriate parameters of high level conceptual understanding.

Ram unshaven rust-fringed ford f-150 truck into parametric fragility.

Enjoy smothering whimpering sounds.  Downshift.

Insert appropriate aphorism.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

What Would God Want?

If there's a western God in the way that many of us believe that there is, what would God want?

Why would God want anything?

God seems to be totally outside of the idea of any incentives.  Why wouldn't God lay on the proverbial couch all day?  If God is all knowing and all powerful and created EVERYTHING, why does God care about anything?

God already knows everything and everything that will be.  Why care?  Why does God care?

If the system is a hybrid, if God sets up the conditions and sets things up, then why would God  step in to change them if they weren't going the way God wanted.  It must mean, if God has that power, that God has all power, not just half power to set up games and see how they play out.  If that's the case, God already knows every possibility and has infinite time to play with all possibilities if God wants... I still don't know the reason for God to want, though.

I think the view of God as a CEO is misguided, in other words.  God is often a CEO with eyes and ears and ultimate control, and the company the CEO governs is merely a figment of the CEO's imagination.

Why should we imagine that we matter to God?

If you answer that question with either a) yes we matter or b) no we don't matter, what does that answer have anything to do with how we should act?

To be clear: I want to believe that God cares. I want to believe in God.