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Sober parents are stars shining over the sea of their kids’ lives.
In times of smooth sailing our stars are simply a reassuring and pleasant presence, but in stormy times our children will be able to look up to us, and navigate through their difficulties by the light of our examples.
You’d never guess from reading this blog, but i’m a writer. Like, kinda a real one.
i’ve published around 25 short stories in different literary reviews and am looking for an agent to sell a book proposal i’ve put together. i write 5 blogs under 3 different names and i’m a freelance journalist here in “Yeaman”, where i have my own column.
i mention this because i started writing about the time i started drinking. At the beginning, writing and drinking went together like “mast” and “urbation” (see how write-y i am and shit?), because drinking helped me live life and writing helped me process it.
In college, i was able to spend all night writing. Literally. i remember pounding the keys of my Apple IIc until dawn, awash in the green monitor light, finishing short stories and novels and feeling damn good about it because the writing was good because it came from my heart.
Real art comes from a raw place. Emptying my soul drained me and the easiest way to refill that void was booze. This worked until it didn’t. Somewhere toward the beginning, i stopped needing writing and started needing the alcohol. Instead of putting my emotions on the page, i drowned them with wine and sweet rum drinks until i couldn’t feel anything anymore.
i started drinking to dull life’s edge and in doing so i blunted my craft.
In the last two years since i stopped drinking, i write more, i write more often, i write better and i am back in the space that made me want to write in the first place. i am less tortured, but i learned that torture wasn’t what made me an artist, feeling was.
i feel too much.
Now that i don’t kill those feeling with alcohol, i’m better at molding them into words.
Here’s what i mean…
Your Heart is a Tomb (a prose poem)
Your mind is a pyramid, your mouth the coffin …
The rubies of your lips are sealed like a casket, silent as the grave that guards the ghosts of your youth. I, I will brave the curses you cast on those who get too close and I will crack your smile, setting free the child cowering inside.
Your skin is a temple, your heart a tomb …
Gold lace plates your cryptic face and locks the case of the key to your safes where you conceal your treasures from the world. But I, I will battle the sphinx and strip away the gilt that envelopes you so I may pierce the secret chambers of your heart and unearth the wealth kept there.
Your body is a shrine, your soul is a grave …
Your eyes are mystic diamonds, captivating rogues and thieves dying to rob the grave treasure you have become. Yet I, I alone will decipher the hieroglyphs of your sacred scars and penetrate the holy places you have buried far from those too shallow to reach that deep.
You will be heaven to me…
Pose your riddles, I will answer them. Set your traps, I will escape them. Let loose your demons, I will battle them or, if this proves impossible, I will sacrifice myself at the foot of your altar and lay myself down in you, my sepulcher. There I will remain, and hide nestled inside where I will let myself be buried alive by your profound good fortune.
That moment when you realize the song you’ve been obsessed with for a week has a reason for making you tear up whenever you hear it.
This version is a Pearl Jam cover of the Mother Love Bone original, as sung by the late Andy Wood. i’m including a fan video of the original studio recording because it expresses what’s going on with me better than i could ever dream of being able to.
What kind of messed up freaky blogger friend am i? The kind that will set up a meeting with me in a bar! It’s a long story but not really.
While on Christmas breaks back in the States i went to a bar for the first time since i can’t remember when.
Not that i’m afraid of bars– i’m more sure of my sobriety than i am of many things in my life–but the thought of spending 4 hours trapped in a room full of people acting like i did when i was drunk is the opposite of appealing. Still, this time i was hanging with my oldest and best friends, one of whom is my sobriety hero (having been on the wagon for well over 20 years), and it was a sports bar so i could watch pro football on the big screen if i got bored and plus of the 7 of us there, only 2 were drinking beer.
i had a great time. i wasn’t even tempted to drink and i was still able to joke around with my buds like i used to in my drinking days. While i have a hard time being sober around acquaintances, i learned i can have a blast around people who know the real me.
To top it off, i met a reader! L / Working On It / 1jaded1 happened to be driving past the city i was in on her way to her home city, so we emailed each other and she googled her way to the bar. i felt bad asking a reader working to stay sober to meet me in a bar, but it was a calm afternoon and she and i only had the briefest of exchanges before she had to hit the road again. Still, it was so nice to put a face to the name and to meet someone who has been such a big supporter here.
All in all, i’m kicking 2013 off right!
What do you think?
What’s your position on those of us in recovery going to bars/lounges? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below and join the discussion!
Indie genius Hip Hip poet Macklemore is addicted to codeine based cough syrup. In 2008, his breakout hit “Otherside” put him on the rap map as he bantered about overcoming his addiction to “easter pink” or “purple rain”.
In October 2012, he released the truly inspiring album The Heist with Ryan Lewis. On it, the song “Starting Over” tells the very personal story of his relapse. In an intimate and eloquent song, he describes the pain of letting down both loved ones and fans he helped in sobriety, and he explains the reasons for his relapse.
Like so many others, I just never thought I would
I never thought I would
Didn’t pick up The Book
Doin’ it by myself
Didn’t turn out that good
i’ve been sober for over 23 months and 4 days as of today. i’m extremely fortunate that i have been able to stay sober so long on my first try.
That i have not relapsed has nothing to do with personal strength or wanting it more or trying harder. If i’ve avoided a relapse it’s because i recognize that i’m weak and will never be able to control my drinking, so i let my Higher Power and others do it for me.
My continued sobriety is also thanks to those in the rooms and here online that have relapsed. In each of their stories i see my own and, as i know i’m no better than they are, their relapses serve to remind me how vulnerable i am. Each harrowing tale, disappearing face and name that evaporates on my blog roll frightens me and forces me to rise up from my laurels and fight like my life depends on it.
Because it does.
For those of you who have relapsed, know that your experiences are not wasted but serve to aid others who suffer. And remember, it is never too late to stop for the last time.
The man i used to be made fun of people like me. Optimistic, looking on the bright side, a quick smile…
Maybe i didn’t trust these strangers and figured they were either lying to themselves or to me. Whatever the reason, i considered myself smarter than them because if they knew as much about life as i did, they wouldn’t be half as happy.
Now i see it’s the younger me that was ignorant. So, i don’t mind his laughter.
i just wish he’d clue in a little faster.
Day 2 1/2 of my vacation and so far things are going really well. i ‘m staying with college friend of mine for a couple of days before i head up to my folks’ place in the outskirts of middle of nowhere wilderness.
Remember that one time how i said coincidence is the language of God? Well, my buddy lives in a small town, population 3,854 souls, and on the only full day i was in town, they had an AA meeting. In a church three blocks down on the street he lives on. It took me 5 minutes to walk there.
i got the message.
i went to a blues concert last night by Jake La Botz, a man who partied his demons to death and came out the other side with a sacred clarity that is so scarred it’s poetic.
While the show was superb, the thing i didn’t like about it were the drunks. The gig was in a cafe here in Yeaman and most of the patrons were either too young to know the blues or too drunk to feel them.
Then, in a moment of clarity, i realized that this is Live Music. It also explains why i prefer to sit at home and listen to studio recordings through my headphones; still, in a live concert the noise and the talking and the mistakes are all part of the music. That’s when i understood that Life is “Live”. That even if i want Life to be a pure and flawless studio recording filtered through the bubble of my headphones, Real Life is full of noise and mistakes and surprises. And all of it is part of the music.
Here’s Jake La Botz singing an apt song for this blog, “Lay Down The Bottle”.
Also, i interviewed him for the Bar None, so be looking for that soon.
PS Thanks are owed my wife, Celeste E Hall, for her permission to use her great photo!
One of the main tenets of recovery is that the addict is not able to control their own drinking (or gambling, or binging/purging, or drugging, or sex addiction…), otherwise they would control it and there would be no addiction problem. Because we addicts are not able to control this aspect of our lives, we have to give control of that area to someone / thing who can; this entity is often referred to as a Higher Power, or a “power greater than ourselves”.
But what about those people who cannot find their Higher Power?
What follows are my suggestions for those who are struggling with the concept of a Higher Power.
10 Ways for an Agnostic to Find God
- Stop looking
- Listen to the silence
- Create something from nothing
- Write a mental list of at least 3 people you love, and why you love them
- Do a totally anonymous act of kindness
- Decide what you want most, then think about it until your heart hurts
- Hold hands with someone (two people works best, one on each side)
- Talk to someone with less experience than you
- Apologize out loud to someone you love
- Do something that makes you deliciously happy
When you have done all of these ten things, put a face on how you feel (note: it doesn’t have to be a person’s face).
The next time you need God, think of that face.
When you can’t see that face anymore, go back to step 1.
Mrs Demeanor and i went to a concert the other night to see Seether open for a band called 3 Doors Down. Now, here in Yeaman, both of these bands are unknown and only one of them is good. To give you an idea of just how messed up the world is, Seether was the warm up act and 3 Doors Down was the headliner which is like saying God opened up for Rebecca Black but there you go.
i don’t know if you know 3 Doors Down or not, but if you don’t, the best way to describe them is “cute metal”. “Sheet” metal. 3 Doors Down is the Avril Lavigne of metal, is what i’m saying.
Then, after a break, there was 1 hour and ½ of a Christian pop band performing finger pumping ballads that penetrated the virgin heart of every teen in the audience.
Don’t get me wrong, i understood the passion of those kids feeling each petty word they heard and i can’t fault them for it. On the contrary, it was fun watching the youth of the day get into the songs like i did Cinderella or Ronnie James Dio back in my “hey” days. Still, i felt i was trapped in a toybox at Ken and Barbie’s concert and even if i was welcome, i knew i didn’t belong.
My place was deep inside the Seether songs, with those battered and scarred survivors who have felt the full weight of the world both when it rolled over us and when we kicked its astronomy into a new orbit.
It was probably wrong of me to feel proud, but i knew i belonged under the bed, with the other broken toys.