Month: February 2016

The Pit

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Greetings and welcome to my unappealing pit; excuse the appearance; dark digs dimly lit; it doesn’t feel safe, this deplorable place; this dreadful, no good, abysmal, awfully terrible place.  A doomed architect, I craft gloom above all – it sat patiently waiting for my predestined fall; my dive from the top lacked convention and grace; verdict – abolished to this deplorable place.  But it’s where I reside; pathetically hide; not a seat left for me on the gratified ride.  Fire and barbed wire line the walls; distant echoes and sinister calls; a stretched out sentence to befall, life passing by weighs worst of all.  So I just lay here; bed etched in stone; a carpet of rocks, now all that I know.  I hear the cries from up above; pleading to connect; offerings of love – presenting peace and handouts of hope; just need to grab the tranquility rope.  I can’t – that’s not me; I belong far below; where the sun doesn’t shine and the grass doesn’t grow; where I sleep on the stone in my pit all alone; dark, dingy tone’s overtaken my zone, dethroned and disowned; imploded, exposed; I can’t ever leave and that’s just how it goes – I’ve acknowledged my fate with its shortage of grace; captive and banned to this deplorable place.

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There is no red carpet leading down to my pit, where the feature mood’s bleak and it barely comes lit; no, not at all; it doesn’t feel safe, I can’t get away from this deplorable place; this dreadful, no good, abysmal, awfully terrible place.  Please disregard that I’m tattered and scarred; marred from afar, charred hard as we sparred.  I grimly grow slow in my meadow below where my scars look like stars as they begrudgingly show.  Abandoned; rejected from a heart that’s infected – disrespected and dejected by a love unperfected.  The key I can’t see in the degree of debris; can’t agree love is free as I flee to the sea.  I construe a breakthrough as I bid you adieu; I withdrew and subdue your vain, violent voodoo.  A sixth sense saw me lose the race, give up the chase to embrace disgrace; I’ve accepted my fate that cannot be replaced, detained and discharged to this deplorable place.

Salutations! Come in to my wonderful pit; its insufferably grave, but I don’t care a bit!  I couldn’t care less to feel safe in this place; this dreadful, no good, abysmal, awfully terrible place.  Screaming I yell, rang the bell straight from hell; no use to excel so I sit here and dwell.  I’ve checked, decked and wrecked my will to connect; no more desire to stay warm by the fire.  I no longer require the means to inspire; I simply inquire my desire to retire.  Thanks for stopping by, no need to come back; attack or hijack the pitch black that you lack – you’re lucky to lack it – misfit hypocrite shit; bit after bit of your counterfeit wit; now I commit to seek death in this pit; I quit and admit I’m unfit for this skit.  Blankly I stare, invoke a rare word of prayer; beware I declare more despair into the air – still, just in case, I’ve assumed my fate of disgrace; caged and cast out to this deplorable place. 

Supremely Extreme: A Mid-Detox Dream

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“This isn’t real…this isn’t real…this isn’t real.” – walls ripple like waves of the sea; bends and twists; maneuvers that defy laws of physics.  “This isn’t real…this isn’t real.” – distorted figments of my imagination emerge; balloons conceal an ivory white ceiling and confetti spills out; at first a jubilant blizzard, followed swiftly by vibrant, assorted shreds of celebration drifting softly through the air prior to final descent, reconstructing the floor into a resounding work of art.  “This isn’t real…this isn’t real.” – a phantom silhouette develops in the window; moonlight launching life into its shadowy, dark form; catlike eyes shoot sinister shots striving to slaughter in every direction; an impetuous endeavor to claim itself a new victim. 

“This isn’t real…this isn’t real” – there are crowns on the clowns slipping in and out of the walls; little green men running loose through the halls; a mermaid lies resting at the foot of the bed; kittens wearing mittens of green, blue, and red.  “This isn’t real…this isn’t real.” – a paralyzed body shelters this lively, vigilant mind; bathing in sweat, permeating through stiff motel sheets, irrepressible shivering stays steady despite this interminable excretion of moisture.  “This isn’t real.” – desperate now for this ostensible nightmare to end…a battle of eyes to stay opened or closed. “This isn’t real!” A sudden, silent spine-chilling void in the room; the phantom is gone, the moonlight shines free – no more balloons or little green men, no more confetti or kittens in red; the clowns wearing crowns have retreated back home, I’m finally left in this room all alone.

Delirium Tremens: commonly referred to as DT’s – a psychotic condition typical of withdrawal in chronic alcoholics, involving tremors, hallucinations, anxiety, and disorientation. 

This “fun” new feature added to my personal history of detox symptoms has just started to occur while sobering up during each of my last two consecutive relapses; the disease progresses, and as I have recently experienced, trailing right on its coattails are the effects of withdrawal.  Unwillingly it has hurled me orbiting into the next realm of my life which has been lived primarily for the extremes; where law and order cease to exist; balance is non-existent – readings from my scale of viability cannot be perceived as anything other than an eternal enigma; I’ll invite fellow drunk, Billy Joel, to break it down for us:

“Sometimes I’m tired, sometimes I’m shot, Sometimes I don’t know how much more I’ve got, Maybe I’m headed over the hill, Maybe I’ve set myself up for the kill, Tell me how much do you think you can take, Until the heart in you is starting to break? Sometimes it feels like it will,

Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes,  Too high or too low there ain’t no in-betweens,  And if I stand or I fall,  It’s all or nothing at all,  Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes”

-Thanks Billy, you’re truly an inspiration.

It haunts me at night and plagues me by day, this battle between extremes – diving deeper down daily; making myself lost within the manipulative maze of my mind; I get sent spinning off course, analyzing and dissecting how much my circumstances digress every time I unleash the active disease to showcase and prove its persistent progression.  I consistently collide with these disheartening dead ends; retreating and rerouting in hopes to discover an innocuous way out, knowing full well there is no exit at all, safe or otherwise – not in the maze of this mind at least.

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How do I restore a balance, or probably more accurately, establish one for the first time?  I feel faced with a question that may never birth an answer.  How do I embody a genuine value in my life while I flounder at rock bottom, when I couldn’t even see a value in it when I had risen to the peak?  I begin to believe my life is merely living at each radical end of the spectrum; a human ping-pong ball; a bunch of drivel adjoining time and space in the superfluous intervals; pounded back and forth by the paddles of life.  I physically fight; I mentally fight; I spiritually fight; I become drained and discouraged; critically and cruelly cast down – up to date my record corroborates a uniformed overpowering – but lucky for me, all it may take is that one crucial win to be set on the right course.   

Who Ya Gunna Call?

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Green and gooey, this monster-like mass continuously compelled to consume; an insatiable appetite reaching realms of relentless proportions; sludgy, gross gunk left in its wake; a subtle producer of vague chaos; any given kitchen stood a better chance standing its ground against a feral, famished pack of teenagers – padlocking the refrigerator and pantry won’t keep this annoying apparition away.  Home was the Sedgewick Hotel when we first met this anti-social, unfriendly ghost and the staff put up with its shenanigans for as long as they could, making every effort to keep things in check and the establishment functioning flawlessly.  By all accounts, Slimer cared solely about stuffing its face – an affirmative inconvenience, however, nothing uncommonly menacing or violent took place as far as ghosts go.  But in time and under certain circumstances, even that became too much of an encumbrance; it could no longer be contained – situations were becoming increasingly dicey; action was necessary; the issue required resolution.  So who did they decide to call?  I think we all know so I’ll spare the dramatics – Bill Murray & Associates came in and took care of business.

Some kids were militant in their loyalty to G.I Joe while others found their strength getting lost in the pages of comic books.  I was all about the Ghostbusters, for a stretch of time, and when I think about the personality Slimer embodied, I can, to this day, relate my own flaws and character defects to it – particularly the imagery of Slimer chowing down at the room service cart, slabs of food falling straight through and directly down onto the floor of the hotel hallway.  To me, Slimer sort of represents a manifestation of the empty-void I sense within myself – endlessly consuming, in spite of never being filled; leaving behind my own version of unsavory slime wherever I may roam – the wreckage of my past.  For a time, the people nearest me could handle an occasional drunk incident and look past a hangover or ten, chalking it up to living through my early twenties – it’s normal, that’s what folks do in their early twenties – true for many; false for me.  I can’t pin point it, but the day came where I brought my destiny to fruition and crossed the line, flipped the switch; an irreversible switch and a line I could never retreat back across – much to the chagrin of myself and everybody in my life, Bill Murray & Associates weren’t available to save the day.

With the Ghostbusters being a generally impractical option, “who ya gunna call?” when that uneasy emptiness inside starts creeping its way into consciousness or our own “slime” in life reaches capacity, breaching the banks of our river to ruin?  The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous suggests that once we pass that threshold of no return, the ensuing situation is left beyond any measure of human aid; that a spiritual remedy is required to remain rational; to rise from the depths of distress and climb to that ostensibly unattainable crest of contentment – shattering the sadistic cycle of suffering; autonomy at last.  Still, there is one troubling dilemma blocking my path – I haven’t quite locked in on what spirituality means to me; I’m not confident in what I believe to be my higher power – two crucially important aspects of long-term sobriety that could potentially occupy that void which bedevils me; an antidote to the alcohol, the over-eating, under-eating, women, sex, Netflix binges, isolation, and every other unhealthy Band-Aid solution that materializes in this muffled melon of mine.

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Most treatment centers or rehabs that promote the 12-step path to recovery hold at least one group therapy session to address what qualities your individual higher power might personify.  Everybody then randomly screams out different traits like, “all powerful” or “forgiving” or “unconditionally loving” – occasionally something to the tune of, “major pimp” or “swagged out playa” slips through the cracks – kids these days, ya know? But I think you get the gist; all the while the group facilitator is writing these random, yet positive personality traits on a dry-erase board in list format.  When the board is filled, the facilitator turns around and says, “why not let this be your higher power?”  Now – that’s all well and good, in theory, but it just doesn’t do it for me – I still can’t put a face on it; what do I do? Put Bill Murray’s face to all these character traits and call that my higher power?  Maybe I can pray to Mr. Murray temporarily, but I’m trying to determine or compute what my long term, eternal higher power actually is – for real; what it actually looks like to me; and much to my dismay, I’m not confident that Bill can be my permanent solution. 

There is a lot I still need to look at within myself; a lot of rigorous, honest work to be done – but I’ve recognized that this time around things are slowly starting to feel a little different; my approach and attitude has reached a point of sheer desperation – and no matter how big the mountain gets that stands in my way; no matter how far down the rabbit hole I am or how much life wishes to brew up storms of shit and send them my way, I sense a slight feeling of ease wash over me from time to time; like it’s going to all work out how it’s supposed to.  I’m not sure why I get this feeling; maybe it’s because I feel I have nothing left to lose at this point; an authentic “rock bottom” – and as for answers; I don’t have them; for now, the question prevails: “who ya gunna call?”

“50 Shades of Addiction”

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I spend a lot of time exploring the darker side of addiction, both generalities and my personal experience, because I have spent a lot of time in that darkness; the human mind has a propensity to be attracted to what’s lost in the shadows; the lowdown dirtiness of it all; the shock factor.  Folks may act as though they don’t like to see, hear, or talk about it because it’s “uncomfortable” or “inappropriate” – “what about the children?!?! ooooh lawdy, help ma Jesus” – yet turn on the news or look to our entertainment choices in movies and television – even novels; darkness sells – bigtime.  Facts are facts and the verdict is in.  In any case, I thought I would lighten things up a bit for a change and have a little fun, or at least make an attempt at it.  Although addiction and recovery should be taken seriously, it’s not always a bad thing to poke fun at ourselves or the insane behavior we exhibit along the way; a portion of recovery is to have fun and enjoy life, isn’t it?  Dare I say, I’m seeing a light in the darkness?  I picked out a few of the more colorful to breakdown and analyze…

And so the rituals begin; every group, clique, or crowd has developed their own traditions which become revered and sacred over time; shoes off; form a circle; pass to the left; burn incense (preferably Nag Champa); display paraphernalia, choose the one which best suits the situation and, perhaps most crucial, have plenty of junk food on hand – these are simply some of the classics without delving into particulars or individual details.  There’s generally no contest implying that stoners are an interesting breed of people – intensely philosophical in a “spaced out” sort of way and thoroughly intellectual about subject matter entirely irrelevant to anything happening in the present moment…perhaps entirely irrelevant, period.  Somehow, someway, over the course of a cypher, all problems in the world are solved – typically however, the same conclusion is always met: if everybody in the world smoked weed, there wouldn’t be any more problems because all would be “chill”; the universe would unite in perfect balance and harmony – peace symbol necklaces and hemp blanket jackets for everyone…que up ANY Grateful Dead song and get lost in translation; they all sound the same, sorry deadheads – put down the joint and you’ll see.  Strangely, stoners can see or make the number “420” in or out of anything and, sticking with the theme of numbers, they are practically profits in the realm of fractions for whatever reason.  Meals for the average weed smoker predominantly consist of a buffet of items that do not mix together; a bowl of cinnamon toast crunch paired with a Taco Bell burrito isn’t uncommon and all of a sudden those hot dogs rolling on and on for centuries behind the glass at 7-11 start to look intriguingly tasty – it would actually go quite well with a Pop Tart and that can of cranberry sauce leftover from Thanksgiving dinner.  In an encounter with individuals high on cannabis roaming through the general public’s daily life, one may notice random laughter which cannot be made sense of – do not take offense, they are not laughing at you…or me, birds, trees, clouds, air, rain, buildings, cars, street signs, or the sky; they are, more than likely, laughing at nothing.  It happens – often.  When coming in contact with their apartment or car for whatever reason, don’t be shocked to find an alarming number of empty Visine bottles, that too happens – often.

Let freedom ring!  All those thoughts and ideas floating around inside the brain that should remain there, don’t remain there.  Evolutionary barriers that were put in place for a reason go down and the decision maker doesn’t make such good decisions anymore, but it doesn’t always start out too bad.  A long night of drinking with buddies has, for lack of a better word (and trust me I wish I had one), led to many “bromantic” situations.  “You know what dude, I like, really, really love you, bro…like I should say that more often, why don’t we? like, like it was just meant to be this way, you’re soooo my wingman for life!” and on and on, usually involving some type of unnatural hugging, and the next morning all parties involved try to act as though not a memory could be had – some portion of the conversation or events can usually be recalled, but it’s ignored nevertheless.  An alcoholic beverage is sometimes referred to as, “liquid courage”; most of the time this fabricated boldness only proves to work against whoever ingested it – the guy at the party who thought it would be a commendable feat to jump from the third story balcony onto a parked car or the fella suffering from napoleon complex that picks a fight with the biggest, toughest guy at the bar – neither of which are effectively wise decisions, but watch an episode of “Cops, Spring Break Miami” – that packages it nicely, topped with a bow.  On the subject of out-of-control, drunk college guys and gals, it’s not out of line to say alcohol could be a contributing factor to the over-population of the world, is it?  Walk of shame, ladies? One high-heel on, the other broken and stuffed into your black hole of a purse, smeared make-up and joker-like hair, cursing your girlfriends by name in your head for letting you do this – again, cannot confirm whether or not a stop at the pharmacy for “plan B” is necessary so it’s just wise to do it exclusively out of precaution…need I say more?  Didn’t think I was going to let you ladies off the hook now, did you?

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Out of all the various types of addict and the unavoidable tragic, odd behavior that plagues us, my personal favorite; the most entertaining, maniacal, crazed, and winner by a landslide is, no doubt, the tweaker.  Without question, methamphetamine thoroughly sends a person flying aimlessly into another dimension altogether.  The shadow people; they’re out there in the bushes – they can be spotted while peering through the blinds of a motel room or from across the parking lot – they can never be caught though, just a bunch of tweaker Peter Pan’s out there that’ll never quite get it, so don’t bother trying.  As the shadow people retreat for a bit, that desktop computer starts to make itself known; it’s breathing out questions into the room like, “how do I work?” or “what’s inside these outer walls? Take a look why don’t you.” Before the questions are done being asked, the entire computer has been dismantled and laid out all over the floor around said tweaker.  Then, a sudden, but brief noise resonates outside – it’s probably nothing, but it could be a S.W.A.T. team or the U.S. Army finally ready to invade – run to the door and lock all 14 deadbolts; move the couch in front of it for extra security; peer through the blinds again – nothing there, it’s drones…they’re using drones!  Must hide; wait; cameras were planted in the light fixtures, or behind the paintings, or in the television – they’re might be one in that disassembled computer.  No.  Nothing there – wait; the webcam! They’ve tapped into it; they know everything – they’re coming for sure now…I’m finished!  After a few hours of running back and forth between peering through the shades and hiding in the closet, the pieces of the computer look like they need to be put back in place – okay, computer reassembled – time for more tweak.  It’s been five days, no sleep – more tweak…..S.W.A.T.……drones………..shadow people……………..disassemble…………………reassemble……………repeat.

There you have it; a little comedy out of tragedy.     

This Tour Intertwined with a Nursery Rhyme

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Atmosphere.  Sustenance of shelter; careless and carefree – perfection; this world within a world; security before insecurity is understood, it’s comfortable; no formidable argument could be made to abandon this accommodating abode, nevertheless, venturing into the world above is unavoidable; farewell and good luck.  Peer up into the unknown; nerve-racking and overwhelmingly uneasy – yet no other course of action is in play, so press forward; head up.  Storms brew over the horizon – darkening skies with an aroma of rain; there’s no other option – ascension remains.  A few drops at first; a drizzle of sorts, but it can’t overpower the driving life force.  But the drizzle won’t last, the rain goes full throttle; once again found right back at the bottom.  The shelter’s still there but it’s just not the same; no more perfection and no more security; regardless, it’s more comfortable than that world outside here.  The argument can be made to leave here again, but the desire to hang back stays extraordinarily strong.  There’s a faint, distant light – it can be seen through the blanket of black; it ignites that life force – yet one more attempt to venture out of this shelter; the decision’s been made – now to press on, to that world up above, in search of a life that’s worth living; and for love.


   “The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout,

Down came the rain and washed the spider out,

Out came the sun and dried up all the rain,

And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.”


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My fascination and interest in children’s books is no secret, especially the likes of a Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) or Shel Silverstein – more so now than when I was actually a child.  The wisdom hidden or implied within their pages is the knowledge of genius’s leveled down into words and sentences a kid can understand, read, and enjoy.  This is not to say that children generally comprehend or see what we can as adults, but it’s still pretty interesting that all those nursery rhymes and beginner’s books are being stored into the memory of a forming brain; that later on we can look back and say to ourselves, “whoa, that’s what that meant?”  The itsy bitsy spider translates much different to me now than it did twenty-five years ago – that spider is me, I relate to it; my whole life I’ve been climbing up the waterspout and then alcoholism showed up and wiped me out – completely.  But the rhyme doesn’t end there; the rhyme goes on – there was light and subsequently there was hope; the storm passed; the spider could have conceded and gave up, what’s the use?  He was so far up that waterspout at one point and to start all over again would be too hard and overwhelming; the cards were stacked against him – surely there would be more storms; it would just be easier and more comfortable to stay put at the bottom; but the spider chose to climb nevertheless and that, in and of itself, is respectable.  That’s the attitude it’s going to take to make it in a life of recovery.


“Oh the places you’ll go, today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting so…get on your way!”

– Dr. Seuss

Hustle or Bust – Act 2

Addicts and alcoholics such as myself are extremely resourceful and clever people; the gift of desperation can work for or against us depending on state of mind or, more importantly, spiritual condition.  The following are merely a couple examples of how I, myself, and other addicts I’ve met along my journey have supported the habit.  With that being said, how we did it is not really the point of what I’m driving at. 

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They are found in neighborhoods throughout the country; undersized and red; mostly disregarded or neglected; never in the forefront of busy minds traversing through daily life – work, kids, bills, friends, family, and the list goes on.  They are positioned up or down depending on the situation; their unvarnished intention to notify postal workers of outgoing mail – and what is generally mailed out from homes?  Payments for various personal bills and expenses so, consequently, these indicators also dispatch the same information to criminals and identity thieves looking for a score.  Now, this was never my hustle, but I have heard scores of testimonies about the triggering effect these seemingly harmless red flags have on the drastically desperate addict or alcoholic consumed with obtaining the next fix; even to the point where cruising through a neighborhood on the prowl for upright red flags becomes an entire addiction in and of itself.  The prime targets are obviously checks, gift cards, and even cash if folks are naïve enough to send it snail mail – checks seem to be the most frequent find and its surprisingly somewhat simple to execute check fraud once the check is in the wrong hands – all it allegedly requires is a little sandpaper, a pen, and some balls to go through with it.  I’m certainly no expert in the business, but I imagine there are all sorts of other ways that it can be done as well – this is purely the version I’ve heard.

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Getting back to my own lunacy…

As I retreated from laying my soldiers to rest in the dumpster of the high school across the street, I schemed and analyzed – thinking of anything or anyway I could diminish my distress; this unrelenting, incessant desperation digging deeper by the minute; by the second; completely overtaken as my head relays to itself an urgency; deprivation has become a threat to my survival – it’s out of my control, the power of choice stripped away.  The hour of insanity draining little drops of liquor into a medicine cup was, for all intents and purposes, just a teaser – undisputedly igniting the over-powering phenomenon of craving; it was alive and in full force.  Distraught and on edge, I paced the kitchen when all of a sudden it hit me like a sack of bricks.  Out of all the fucked up things I’ve engineered, plotted and carried out over the years to support my addiction, what popped in my head that night was the lowest – at least it was to me – from a moral standpoint; hell – just from a human being standpoint.  But nonetheless my mind was foggy and overridden by selfish desires so I walked towards the kid’s room, slowly and quietly, every effort and measure taken not to wake them.  I turned the doorknob and peered in – two sleeping children; just what I wanted.  I slid in, shut the door behind me, and laid cold, dead eyes on the target of this mission.  The Spiderman nightlight provided just enough glow to guide the way while also reminding me that I was preparing to army crawl through an innocent child’s bedroom in pursuit of a piggy bank; I had become desperate enough to commandeer quarters from my five-year old.  No words; no justification – just shame and guilt and remorse.  Addiction in its cruelest hour.

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I’ve also manipulated people in my family for money, sold valuable belongings to pawn shops, and cashed out gift cards; all pretty typical in the world of addiction.  I’ve heard stories anywhere from folks selling drugs to selling their bodies on the streets of wherever it is they came from – the desperation factor is incredibly strong when it comes to getting that fix; that tiny taste of relief I talked about – soon to demand it again, and again, and again – where does it end?  I work and scheme and think and plot; I plan well in advance; I deceive others; I fool myself; it rents space in my head from the moment I wake up until I pass out into oblivion; and even then it haunts me in my dreams – the effort it takes; it’s an extraordinary undertaking when I really think about all the time and energy it takes to keep an addiction active and alive; all the willingness I had in me to chase bottle after bottle.  It’s commonly agreed upon in treatment centers around America that if we, as addicts and alcoholics, would put a fraction of that energy towards recovery, our chances of successfully remaining clean and sober would significantly increase; yet we continue to relapse, and at a rather alarming rate – why is there virtually all the willingness in the world towards killing ourselves via substances, yet virtually none to break free of the bondage and actually live? 

This is the question I desperately want an answer for, but I still haven’t found – I’m not sure there is an answer…that I want to hear that is; maybe I’m wired wrong and I’ll leave it at that – it could be something greater than just that alone.  The Big Book conveys a message somewhere to the effect of no human power having the ability to relieve our alcoholism; we suffer from a spiritual malady; in which we need a spiritual solution.  I don’t like that answer, I don’t like that solution; it’s not tangible; I can’t see it – it’s too hard for me to reason with, or analyze, or the number of other ways in which I want to find that easier, softer way.  I want to fix this myself, but I am human, and all I have is human power which suggests that no matter what I try, no matter how hard I try it – I will never fix this myself; it’s literally impossible and it’s one of the biggest resentments I have in my life – it tears me up, I crumble over and over at its mighty hand.  I know all this; the information is in my head, and after everything I have put myself through, I still yearn to find a different way.  I despise doing things that are difficult, and recovering from active alcoholism is exactly that; it’s my big white whale.  If my hustle doesn’t change, I never will – this cycle of bringing about still more and more pain will continue with no care or regard for me and my life.  Actions speak louder than words – the cliché thing to say I know, but it’s true – conceding that I cannot do this by myself and putting all my knowledge of this disease into action will be the hardest thing I ever do this lifetime. 

Hustle or Bust – Act 1

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My well had run dry – both the liquor that customarily inundated my bloodstream and the great American dollar I relied upon to obtain it; the catch – money essential to fuel my alcoholism could not be traceable by my wife, which, to say the least, was not an easy task; she was annoyingly scrupulous and thorough in regards to our financial situation which forced my hand into adapting a very elusive, clever, and creative skillset to carry on in my ways.  I had started to exhibit faint signs of the shakes; ensuing symptoms of cold sweats and hallucinations were more than probable occurrences should I not scheme up a remedy for this particular predicament in a timely fashion.  The demon inside demanded to be pleased and satisfied or misery would surely be headed my way, sooner rather than later – and trust me when I say I would always rather deal with consequences later – preferably never, but surely not sooner. 

Triggered into a trance; I frantically parade around my basement, sporadically reaching up into the ceiling to reclaim lost treasure.  Within fifteen minutes, I was madly and meticulously draining diminutive drops of liquor from the empty whiskey shooters I kept hidden and haphazardly placed about in black baggies above the ventilation systems and ductwork of my home.  Hundreds of miniature bottles stood at attention, united as one flowing entity with a common mission; an army amped up; obeying the command of their General, strategically spread out and categorized by rank in a grid on the surface of my washer and dryer; soldiers I had formerly tucked up and away instead of providing a proper burial for; all in preparation for just an occasion such as this; the obsession that never ceased thinking three steps ahead to ensure my well would remain perpetually plentiful.  

After an hour of this astonishingly unorthodox undertaking, I had extracted enough booze to fill one shot glass or, in my case, the medicine cup that accompanied the bottle of Tylenol in the cabinet – It was in these moments of desperation that the disease completely hijacked all rationale and the age-old-alcoholic insanity showed up to prove what lengths we are willing to go to for even the tiniest taste of relief.  This sickness that plagues me; it disgusts me at times and I myself get perplexed trying to make sense of or decipher the depths I would sink to in pursuit of relieving my undesirable discontentment.  I wish I could say the insanity stopped there, but one shot would never hold me over, let alone subdue my compulsive craving for more; I still found myself needing a means in which to feed the beast; alcoholic activated – welcome to my hustle.

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I’m not the alpha male type that strolls into a bank wielding a gun on the hunt for cash – the risk doesn’t match the reward; percentages favor the house leaving my chances of getting caught far too high, ultimately interfering with my agenda; how to successfully arrive at the liquor store undetected each day.  So no, my hustle never involved violence, grand larceny, or any category involving a major felony; I had to face the facts and accept that I would make a shitty criminal.  I found my strengths, my “calling”, if you will, was in the art of denial, deceit, and manipulation.  I bagged up the entirely empty pocket size vessels of anesthetizing solution into a large garbage bag and crept slowly up the stairs and out the side door like a deranged and maniacal Santa Claus hoisting around a sack of certifiable nightmares.  Across the street from my house was the town’s high school; an optimum and favorably anonymous dumping ground; under the blanket of night I could finally bury my valiant soldiers virtually undetected.  After making gesture of my final salute for a job well done, I retreated back across the street to my house, hamster wheel spinning rapidly in my mind – forecasting direction of the next act in this nonsensical shit show; a quest to fulfill an insatiable inclination that cannot, in all reality, ever be filled.

(In act 2, I will delve into my own personal various hustles over the years and how low I would go to feed this addiction. I’ll also explore some of the ways in which other people I’ve met along the way have fed their addictions over the years.  Stay tuned.)