Tag: Awareness

For the Tug of War

05.-Freedom-Butterfly

Being tagged with a life in the land of the free seems no more a fairy tale than any conglomerate of characters and their stories most of us connected with as children; aspired to be like – even envied.  As far back as I can recall, I have never been authentically satisfied or content with what I have or who I am, where I am going or where I have been; categorically nomadic in mind; a life spent theorizing and plotting a never-ending series of events; tsunamis of instantly gratifying trials and errors, with a predominant outcome weighing heavy on the side of error; miniscule and temporary bursts of fabricated endeavors to replenish an insatiable hole in a squandered spirit.  Just as these thwarted attempts, the stories, too, morphed into nothing more than fantasy when my mind evolved and the realities of this world fiercely flooded in; characters that never actually breathed life, but were merely made up and left to remain stranded within the pages of imagination; an inability to deviate from the storyboard they were cast into.  The daily war; to seemingly grind through an endless existence with this ill-advised perception of a life without charge, painstakingly begging to be convinced there is no great price to pay is eventually whittled down to no more than a factored in percentage of its masterful deceit; we have never been, nor will we ever be entitled to the concept of perceivable, let alone tangible liberation – everything has a price; something for nothing is non-existent, and deliverance, from where I’m sitting, should be considered one of the most substantial deceptions we have comforted ourselves with as necessary cogs in the societal machine.

Freedom: the front page cover story for this life which has me held captive and restricted, not unlike the characters of my childhood that were predestined to suffer the same fate; they, like I, were involuntarily sentenced to abide by its command.  I dreamt of being the characters in the stories of my youth without heeding the repetitive warnings of being careful what to wish for; my dreams, they came true, although blackened and overrun; consumed by a nightmarish tint that blankets the path; nothing like I could have imagined; nothing anybody would wish to embrace.  I didn’t understand the manifestation of their struggle; I couldn’t open my mind to the verifiable torment endured as they trudged the tireless quest; I thought they were heroic and brave; I thought it was uncomplicated and effortless; I thought they were free and even beckoning the question of whether or not the ending would be happy never crossed my misguided mind; as far as I could tell, in my limited understanding, they always were – but I was wrong – so rather now, my mind perceives the once beautifully attractive luring aspect of heroic fairy tales as un-relatable and farfetched, with the dishonorable facet of the incarceration of my beloved characters, however, precariously erupting into the forefront of my unfortunate, yet genuine reality.

486988046

With acknowledgement of most likely living in the minority with my somewhat skewed filter on how I see the world, I’m left with an apprehensive desire for human connection that wages this crestfallen and complicated tug-of-war in my head; a faith in mankind that slips further into the shadows with each exiguous effort to redirect towards any sign of radiance or relief – the pivotal flag draped from a rope dangerously close to the final decision for falling under an eternal cloak of darkness; an assumingly obvious unbalanced battle at this phase of the contest – yet concession has never been granted entry into my inner circle; assumptions can be dangerous, and it’s as if teetering on the edge of madness is a thrill all in itself; testing the boundaries and exploring my limits – just how far is too far? Can I ever let myself get close to a person again or do I keep it safe at the status quo, surface level interactions that allow me to remain wrapped up in my self-professed zone of comfort from a distance? Am I protecting myself? Hurting myself? Maybe I’m I protecting the potential people I would be letting into my world if and when failure comes crashing through again; maybe protection of any sort doesn’t play a factor at all.  With a little over six months off the bottle, the jumbled circus of questions haphazardly floating around my head are adding up, but the answers have seemingly fled seeking safer grounds – a point which has proven problematic due to the over-proven fact that patience, as well, has never been given access to my tight knit, inner circle of self.

Heartbreaker

heart_break_001Bona fide metamorphosis; I persistently mulled over the invented elements featured in that newest round of transformation; convincing myself in a desperate, self-soothing manner that I had thoroughly evolved that time around; besides, authentically believing in the fabrication myself was of crucial importance to ensure that all those around me bought into the act as well – the new me that is; proclamation of a wholehearted oath secured through the blood-soaked signature of sincere intentions and paramount promises – this time I recognized the remedy; this time I was cognizant of the solution; I predicted a warm embrace; I felt I had undeniably earned it; anticipating a warranted welcome with open arms; presuming all infractions would be expunged from my inadequate record – a clean slate; I had, in fact, led any questionable culmination to be in tune with the blatant fact that I was cured; that I had no control whatsoever over my thoughts or actions prior to this conclusion, citing, as any good alcoholic would, that my illness had made me that way – why should I suffer for it after the fact? 

stock-illustration-22467839-captian-at-wheel-of-shipI had diligently worked at making it come across as if my life finally rerouted back on track; a quintessential illusion; my master-minded manipulations continuously cultivated their effectiveness with every booming beat of a heart pounding on borrowed time.  My primary purpose became exclusively pursuing a hunger for that recognition; the validation of anybody noticing a job well done with me at the helm – whether or not it was “real” plays no significant role in conjunction with my ill-fated agenda; it was the obligatory recipe, fueling operation of the subsequent pride filled ego-trip that inundated my consciousness and generated sensational feelings of invincibility – like I got one over on everyone again; I had outsmarted and outplayed everybody once more; I, in all my glory, had engineered a masterpiece; let me reap the rewards of such tiresome work and let everybody else settle in with the idea that a new and improved Chris had arrived back in town – obviously that was the case.

fists-vector-3705Then reality steadily forced its way back up to the surface; and in succession with every time before that, defective words launched from my lips vanished and faded in the distance, getting lost in the background and swiftly becoming virtually valueless due to a lack of physical effort to fortify their fidelity.  The only real illusion was what I had erroneously convinced myself of in attempt to soften the relentless and never-ending, self-inflicted fists of life beating me into submission; the masterpiece I thought I had skillfully constructed around me wasn’t that at all, but no more than counterfeit concoctions of an ill-minded imagination; travesties of my sickness; corruptions of my curse – when all was said and done, I assuredly found myself further down the rabbit hole than where I had begun.

Common sense might offer up reasonable rationalizations as to the benefits of cutting out this way of living altogether, but when it comes to alcoholics and alcoholic behaviors, common sense is non-existent – on a side note, when I really get wrapped up in my analytical state and dissect it, I’m not all that sure I can even buy into the ideology of common sense being an entity at all; what is common to me may not be all that common to you; it’s a blurry line, at best; I don’t see the sense in any of it really.  Regardless of whatever sense it makes to cut it out, it’s imperative to remember that we are sick people; connections in our brains are, for lack of a better term, not entirely connected; it’s also imperative to remember that we cannot use that as an excuse or justification to continue on down a calamitous passageway, writing off any and all options that offer us the solution to our malady.  As with any of the countless other illnesses that live and thrive, we too must be treated, despite our awareness that no cure currently exists (“We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” – Big Book, pg. 85) – it is our responsibility to seek that solution; to be honest and truthful with ourselves first and foremost; if we ever expect to break the cycle of continuously trying to fool everybody, including ourselves, to no avail, that is what our predecessors have found to be required – in the end, no matter which way you slice it, it’s simply wasted time and energy not to give recovery a genuine, full-fledged effort. 

We are men and women, young and old; we are sons and daughters, fathers and mothers; we are somebody’s friend, we are someone else’s enemy; we are praised professionals running multi-million dollar businesses; we are homeless and forgotten, finding shelter in an alley behind the dumpster we scourged for our last meal; we are immensely intelligent and stunningly creative; we are charming, fun, and easily loveable; we are dark and lonely lost souls, never truly able to find a place where we fit or a setting where we feel comfortable; we are full of potential, yet time and time again we are left with more to be desired; we offer up bright and promising lives, although we are not always proficient in keeping true to our promises; we break hearts over and over again, hoping someday we can peel away from the perpetually poisonous pattern of building up expectations, just to become a major let down one more time.  Many times our intentions are good, but our outcomes are not; throw caution to the wind until we meet again, heartbreaker.

Religiously Spiritual

desktop-backgrounds-beach-sunset-wallpaper-2

I’m walking now; exclusively powered by instinct and muscle memory; life has momentarily transitioned into a state of tranquility, shifting back and forth between bouts of conscious rumination and subliminal stillness. This unworried feeling is foreign to me; remarkably unlike the artificial, bottle-fueled abyss I have so often been self-destructively hurled into time after time.  I welcome it; a rare condition of mind I can only compare to winding up enthralled in an episode of lucid dreaming, but rather than feeling awake actually locked in a dream, I’m actually awake feeling locked in a dream – a role reversal I ungrudgingly usher in – a breath of fresh air readily embraced.  Satisfying warmness inundates my face as the sun locks me in its crosshairs, firing the rays of its life-bearing light into my soul; its glare creates a prism effect as I gaze down the beach; the blur of distant objects; these metaphorical indications of what’s to come vehemently scream warnings not to be concerned with what the future may consist of; procuring the blind faith to accept that everything is blurred out in a condition of ambivalence for a reason – acceptance is key, staying locked in this moment is not only enriching – it’s vital.  

Invigorating sand sneaks up through the divide of unsheltered toes – a tender and rugged euphoric fusion yielding to my presence and giving way to every step; if only each aspect of life was so accommodating; if to the exclusion of everything and everybody else, my wants and needs were habitually met without question while concurrently encompassing absence of shame or guilt – not the case however; those narcissistic thoughts only intend to lead towards supplemental suffering and the means to conserve my sickness.  This place is my constant in a world overrun by variables; right here I am free; an authentic solitude unaccounted for back on the mayhem occupied streets of society; streets which persistently lie in wait a couple hundred yards away for my assured return – I retreat here in the surf to charge a worn soul, revamping my spirits in order to survive when I set foot there once more.  Flashing a quick glance behind me, I catch sight of the tide gently over flowing impressions left by my feet; footprints of my past washed away into nothing but a recollection – evoking a subtle truth that what took place back then is finished; it cannot be modified or revised; it’s gone now; so I stay the course; trudge on; press forward – a happy destiny still awaits; magnificence obtains its majesty over the duration of the ride.

FreedomFor me, meditation isn’t practiced in a dark, candle lit room, burning incense and playing music to the tune of Kumbaya in futile efforts to clear out all of my conscious thought life – it’s a stroll along the shoreline, being mindful or connecting with the texture of the sand and the sounds of the ocean; it’s hiking up to the peak of a mountain and overlooking the valley below or walking a trail through the woods, searching out the stunning sight of a secluded, jaw-dropping waterfall.  The sole purpose of meditating is to engage in contemplation or reflection for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness – the beauty is, there are no set guidelines or boundaries – it’s ambiguous, it’s personal; we are all free to customize meditation to how it best suits ourselves – something religion can and will never offer us.  Spirituality, for me, is simply an assessment of my interior being – the life, power, and energy in my mind and body; I have the ability to honestly conduct this assessment in a meditation style customized to my personality.  Adopting this is so pivotal for my journey due to its genuine cleansing of my soul; when the tank is empty, I require fulfillment; as long as I’m replenishing my spirituality tank with positive vibes, I’m not being permeated with the desire to escape.

I think the word “meditation” itself can initially come across as off-putting or threatening, immediately turning culpable folks away in contempt prior to investigation; its uninviting, pre-determined ritualistic nature or religious connotations supply enough reasonable doubt to justify these conclusions in the eyes of skeptics.  Although there are many religions that embody meditation as a part of their rituals, it is by no means all encompassing – at least not if we are able to open our minds up to the innate differences separating religion and spirituality into entities completely independent of each other – and they are, no doubt, quite different.  Every religion around the globe incorporates specific traits or qualities which make it just that – a religion.  This includes a definitive god (i.e. Jesus, Allah, Yahweh), a creed (i.e. rules or belief system), rituals (i.e. communion), prayer (i.e. The Lord’s Prayer) and organization or hierarchy’s (i.e. priest, pastor, parishioners, church buildings, etc.).  The saying goes, at least around the rooms of twelve step programs, “Religion is for those who are afraid to go to hell; Spirituality is for those who have been to hell and never want to go back.”  The spiritual aspect for me is, as I stated earlier, simply the assessment of my inner being, which meditation allows me to complete – no rules or guidelines or hierarchy’s; no definitive god, at least not in the sense that major religions of the world are concerned; just connection, self-awareness, and mindfulness; that’s all, plain and simple. 

gi-letting-go-butterfly11I’m not religious; far from it actually, but feeding the spirit inside me through how I exercise meditation and incorporate it into my life plays a large role in why I can now achieve so much acceptance and feel so much peace, even considering all I’ve been through and all I still face – it allows me to take a step back and realize I cannot “play god” in an attempt to control how I believe things should be; that everything will fall into place as it should, which is perfectly fine – and that is enough.  Now don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t bother me in the least that there are people practicing or taking part in any of the multitude of organized religions either – millions do, so who am I to say there is not any validity to it whatsoever – that would be insane or at the very least, intensely egotistical; I believe people should follow their own paths and partake in what works on their own individual playing fields – it’s just not my path and I know that now – I’ve tried it and my experience was fueled by deceptions and contradictions that render it highly unlikely for a return – but that’s just me.  By the way and in case you are wondering, yes I do have a higher power, but that, my friends, is a tale for another day.

“Just Hear Me Out”, Me

canstock3161281Justification and rationalization aplenty.  When referring to a life that lacked many things, these two were, by no means, on that list; my muzzle could rattle off scenario after scenario for days on end as to why I did this or how I need to do that – and that’s coming from a pretty quiet, reserved gentleman.  So, what’s the problem?  Contrary to popular belief about addicts and alcoholics, the problematic justifying and rationalizing as a person living with the disease does not refer nor pertain to physically picking up and taking that first drink or drug.  It does, however, start to set a series of events in motion that will eventually lead directly to it.  This is why you will hear so many in recovery refer to the relapse happening far before the actual drink or drug is taken.  My head defaults to a system that has been in power and control for years; governing my life in a single-minded and tyrannical manner.  The system, which is not absent in many normal people as well, is basically this: a thought or behavior with subsequent punishment or a thought or behavior with subsequent reward – it became the basis for every decision that I made; whether or not it was a completely sound and conscious decision at the time really had no effect or influence on what I perceived as the final outcome; at least that’s how I see it when I look back on the life patterns in myself. 

I do not claim that the physical act of taking the first drink was not justified or rationalized in the process – it certainly was – but it was not the primary means of such deliberate action.  When I do something positive in my life, my head automatically starts to formulate a reward – it’s how I am wired and I am justifying said reward, whether it be food, an impulsive purchase, or any other life pleasure that provide instant gratification, because I did something virtuous and noble rather than simply conducting myself in a positive or productive demeanor because it was the right thing to do; a fundamental lack of integrity – whether or not it was to directly benefit me or not should play no part in the thought process – but it always does; human nature?  Maybe so, but that doesn’t mean I cannot or should not try harder to stay conscious of these underlying intentions or motives as to why I am thinking or behaving in any particular fashion. 

When the roles are reversed, which is far more existent in my particular situation, my mind defaults to formulating a proper punishment that must be inflicted upon myself; I view myself as unfit and unworthy; I deserve pain and suffering to the maximum degree.  So on and so forth; but the problem was this – I justified taking a drink as both a punishment and a reward – I did something good, lets celebrate! I did something bad, lets numb and escape that unwanted feeling. This cycle, or system, of reward and punishment that plagues me continues to produce the menacing and treacherous symptoms like irritability, restlessness, and discontentment – in other words, the kryptonite of the alcoholic, leaving no chance for long-term recovery. entitlement

Then the shift starts to take over and the entitlement rears its ugliness; I stay sober for a period of time and now the world owes me something? All of a sudden everybody should just welcome me back into their lives with open arms? Look at me! Over here! Do you see me? Look at what I’m doing! Trying to find work again, preparing for schooling, attempting to pay my bills instead of avoiding them, getting out of bed in the morning and contributing to my life and the life of others.  Don’t you see?  Commend me; tell me how good I am; I deserve it god dammit!  I’m doing exactly what an adult should be doing and I demand recognition!  I’m special, aren’t I? 

untitledWow – what completely absurd and irrational thinking; talk about self-centered; talk about egotistical and pride filled jibber jabber.  What type of raving lunatic cannot see that as being an irrefutably unjustifiable and foolish view point? – that nutcase is me; it’s exactly how my mind sees it.  I will start to rationalize my return to active addiction by feeling a lack of support or understanding.  I’ll start to tell myself lies like, “even when I’m sober, my friends and family don’t get me, my drinking was never the problem all along; these other people were the problem; I’m just sober and alone now; I might as well go back out and try this drinking thing again; at least it’s dependable – it really wasn’t that bad anyway.”  The lies only escalate from that point into, “I’ve already lost everything; I cannot have contact with my children; my career is gone; my divorce is final with totally unfair and unreasonable conditions; my house had to be sold, leaving me legally homeless three-thousand miles away from everything I once knew – what’s the use? It’s already too late.”  These I can now recognize as critical red flags; that my mind and disease are in a very bad place – attack mode; and although these are true scenarios I have to deal with, it is by no means the end of the world – and that, I must always, always remember.     

Much to the tune of self-deception for a lengthy period of time, I was not drinking to tolerate the world around me or what was taking place in it like I so often preferred to believe; I was drinking because I always managed to reach that pivotal point where my only option became drinking in order to tolerate myself.  That was my ultimate justification, whether or not I chose to see or accept that is debatable, but thankfully, my eyes have been opened to embracing that as being the case.  I hated myself; loathing and detestation of my mere existence; I couldn’t stand to be around me, but rather than address the problem head on, I backed down from that confrontation of myself in attempt to ignore the problem altogether; secretly praying that it would magically disappear; a truly unrealistic expectation.  So every time problems didn’t disappear, I already found my solution drowning in a bottle of liquid escape – and it worked, that is, until it didn’t. 

foggy-mirror-rectify-it-with-petrolium-jellyI took extreme measures to avoid myself, which did not solely involve indulgence directly in that anesthetizing solution.  For instance, before I would even consider walking in front of the bathroom mirror in my home, I turned on scalding hot water in the shower so the steam would fog out my reflection – I couldn’t look at myself, staring into my own eyes was too painful; the occasional tears streaking down my cheeks when it got to be too much; tears of shame, guilt and remorse; I chose not to feel them and I didn’t want to see them either – but I still couldn’t stop being that miserable excuse for a human being.  I was always qualified to justify self-destruction, but under no circumstances prepared to warrant self-improvement – all because I didn’t love or accept myself – I didn’t know how; I didn’t think it was possible, so I never tried.  Today things are a little different.  I don’t love the things I once did, but I don’t hate myself anymore – I can look in that mirror and know that I am at least giving it my all; doing the best I can, and learning to trust in the process.

The Pit

120207_holebig

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.

heart-scars

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. 

Who Ya Gunna Call?

untitled

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.

236457-nature-landscape-sunrise-trees-sunbeams-lake-mist-morning-calm-reflection-water-736x459

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”

stoner-yoda-light-saber-bong

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?

safe-to-come-out-peer-through-blinds

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.