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.
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?”