addiction

sunday kind of love…… sinead oconnor

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immersion

 

the late 1980’s and early 1990’s were a hella time for me. i left chicago in 1987 landing in orange county looking for respite but realizing i had landed in quicksand.  my mother was immersed in a toxic relationship and it felt as i had overdosed on jimson weed. in spite of my hopes for that move, my nature pulled me further down into the drink and i managed a last ditch “beam me up scotty” which transported me to denver. after all every day could have been the last day of my acquaintance with everthing. i jetpacked to denver with the single intention of dying. but damnit! i got so much more than that.

the pace of life was so much slower here that it provided the “breathing into a paper bag” solution to my life which was in hyperventilation mode. i relocated to denver in 1988 with every intention of dying from aids. it turns out that expecting to die at the age of 29 is not as emotionally tumultuous as not dying and not having a plan.

with the passage of 25 years, i have had the grace to come up for air a couple of times and catch my breath on firma terra. letting go, acceptance, forgiveness, recovery, inspiration, education, sharing, and teaching have become integrated in my daily routine. i work at integrating gratitude for this on the real.

during those first five years i became acquainted with another bright soul on a bold trajectory in life by the name of sinead oconnor. that introduction was like meeting an aurora borealis for the first time. it was a spiritual experience. she will always be a spirit guide to me.

This is the last day of our acquaintance
I will meet you later in somebody’s office
I’ll talk but you won’t listen to me
I know what your answer will be
I know you don’t love me anymore
You used to hold my hand when the plane took off
Two years ago there just seemed so much more
And I don’t know what happened to our love
Today’s the day
Our friendship has been stale
And we will meet later to finalize the details
Two years ago the seed was planted
And since then you have taken me for granted
But this is the last day of our acquaintance
I will meet you later in somebody’s office
I’ll talk but you won’t listen to me
I know your answer already
But this is the last day of our acquaintance
I will meet you later in somebody’s office
I’ll talk but you won’t listen to me
I know your answer already
I know your answer already
I know your answer already

true

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birthday candles

Fuzzy: What do you think happens when we die?
Willy: We get to have sex again.” -Longtime Companion

at certain intervals recently, i find myself shivering from a seemingly new sense that we are definitely living in a newer era. man buns, social media, selfie sticks, apps,  handcrafting, crowd funding, locally sourced, gmo-free are just a few terms that signal the radical shifts we have made in our daily lives. it as if the american portrait is no longer a rockwell or a remington, but the new american rendering is like a chuck close collage made up of smaller individual pics. i guess you need to zoom-in to be able to see what is at the heart of the story(ies).

close collage

young people (and people in general) especially millennials no longer remain loyal to companies or stay in jobs for decades because there is no sense of security, little hope for a pension, and a large chance of being let go as they age. mergers and acquisitions have created a completely new monopoly board. there have been so many broken deals, cover-ups, and gerrymandering of the system that people are too numb with frustration to bother participating in the political system.

when these random moments that contain a bit of cultural clarity occur, i feel a bit giddy and refreshed as if i had just come up for air after swimming underwater. relieved to breathe again and feeling blessed and hopeful that i am allowed to do yet even more. this is my 6th decade on earth and not only am i amazed that there is more to take in.

i have had another of those moments recently. it’s not a power moment- although it feels powerful- no it’s a humbling experience. i think back to my experiences in say the early 1980’s. at that time i was certain that my bohemian lifestyle and twenty-something world view was uber-insightful and could doubtfully be aced in any way. and then there’s the gift of now which provides me the experience of memory lost and of millennial worldviews that tell a quieter more bittersweet tale of lives and dreams drifting in and out of view.

my blog has always focused on the emotional side of recovery. at first it tried to cultivate the basic  feelings that early sobriety uncovers. this was followed by a more personal journey of emotional sobriety, my own shame and trauma that my younger self masterfully wove into older adult tapestry. now my temple of words remains a small canvas that i splatter, brush, tap, spit, or caress some feelings i have ready on my palette. it is definitely a spiritual practice whose consistent presence has normalized my multi-colored experience.

hey now

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What is like a smelly fart, that, although invisible is obvious? One's own faults, that are precisely As obvious as the effort made to hide them." His Holiness the 7th Dalai Lama in 'Songs of spiritual change'
What is like a smelly fart,
that, although invisible is obvious?
One’s own faults, that are precisely
As obvious as the effort made to hide them.”
His Holiness the 7th Dalai Lama in ‘Songs of spiritual change’

there are times that a guy just needs to let go of his conscious self and act on instinct. i believe i am at one of those personal milestones. no guarantees. no safety net. just fear. and faith. no doubts. and no regrets.

hey now. hey now. it’s gotta be now. it’s gotta be soon. it better be now.

Hey now, letters burning by my bed for you
Hey now, I can feel my instincts here for you, hey now
By my bed for you, hey now, hey now

Uhu, you know it is frightening
Uhu, uhu, you know its like lightning
Hey now, now,

Hey now, letters burning by my bed for you
Hey now, leave it to the wayside like you do, for you
Imagination calling mirrors for you
Hey now, hey now

Read more: London Grammar – Hey Now Lyrics | MetroLyrics

preparation

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A Pile of Dry Shit

One day a famous government officer met a highly respected edlerly master. Being conceited, he wanted to prove that he was the superior person.As their conversation drew on, he asked the master, “Old monk, do you know what I think of you and the things you said?”
The master replied, “I don’t care what you think of me. You are entitled to have your own opinion.”The officer snorted, “Well, I will tell you what I think anyway. In my eyes, you are just like a pile of dry shit!”The master simply smiled and stayed quiet.
Seeing that his insult had fallen into deaf ears, he asked curiously, “And what do you think of me?”
The master said, “In my eyes, you are just like the Buddha.”Hearing this remark, the officer left happily and bragged to his wife about the incident.His wife said to him, “You conceited fool! When a person has a heart like a pile of dry shit, he sees everyone in that light. The elderly master has a heart like that of the Buddha, and that is why in his eyes, everyone, including you, is like the Buddha!”
i find myself in the planning stage of change as the days once again begin the trek to get longer. i have been considering some options for the next project to dive into. part of me wonders whether i should just take a break, but i am not sure that is how i roll anymore. i can take a break when i’m dead. i would like to fuel and flame some passion in my life. and i would love the opportunity to continue to have conversations about recovery. not my recovery any more, but recovery in general- and why it is that the concept of recovery is not the first thing or even the 100th thing that people expect when the topic of addiction or illness comes up. it seems to me that our collective perspective on addiction and mental illness could be characterized as a pile of dry shit. but i hope to remind us that there is a something just like a buddha among us- recovery.
A New Recovery Advocacy Movement 
William L. White & Pat Taylor 
People in recovery from addiction, their families, friends and allies are on the 
move. Some are calling on mayors, governors and legislators to change policies to make 
it possible for people to get needed treatment and recovery support services. Others are 
joining National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month celebrations that draw 
tens of thousands of people and extensive media coverage. 
Local communities of recovery are organizing and sharing ideas, resources and 
experiences. A grass roots media campaign (see http://www.recoveryiseverywhere.org) is 
countering stigma and putting a positive face on recovery. A network of thousands of 
recovery homes is spreading rapidly to small towns and large cities. Recovery High 
Schools are flourishing, as are special programs for the growing number of recovering 
people entering or returning to college. Innovative peer-based recovery support services, 
ranging from Recovery Support Centers to growing networks of recovery coaches are 
testimony to new creative solutions to addiction. Something is happening in our 
communities — a renewed spirit of service and activism that has been christened the New 
Recovery Advocacy Movement. 
Faces & Voices of Recovery, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug 
Dependence, the Legal Action Center, the Johnson Institute, the Center for Substance 
Abuse Treatment’s Recovery Community Services Program grantees such as White 
Bison, Association of Persons Affected by Addiction (APAA) and Connecticut 
Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) and hundreds of new grassroots recovery 
community organizations are all part of this exciting movement. Recovering people are 
collaborating with visionary professionals to communicate to the world that addiction 
recovery is a reality for millions of people and their families. This movement is calling 
for a vanguard of recovering people…. www.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org

Man In The Mirror

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Each day, we’re given many opportunities to open up or shut down. The most precious opportunity presents itself when we come to the place where we think we can’t handle whatever is happening. It’s too much. It’s gone too far. We feel bad about ourselves. There’s no way we can manipulate the situation to make ourselves come out looking good. No matter how hard we try, it just won’t work. Basically, life has just nailed us.

It’s as if you just looked at yourself in the mirror, and you saw a gorilla. The mirror’s there; it’s showing “you”, and what you see looks bad. You try to angle the mirror so you will look a little better, but no matter what you do, you still look like a gorilla. That’s being nailed by life, the place where you have no choice except to embrace what’s happening or push it away.

Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape — all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain. In fact, the rampant materialism that we see in the world stems from this moment. There are so many ways that have been dreamt up to entertain us away from the moment, soften its hard edge, deaden it, so we don’t have to feel the full impact of the pain that arises when we cannot manipulate the situation to make us come out looking fine…. Pema Chodron

this could be seen as a lazy post. and maybe it is. none-the-less the irony of the lyrics of this song and cory’s struggle are hard to let lay. my understanding is that he just got out of rehab in early june. he was working to some degree at taking a look at the man in the mirror. and that is not an easy task. i understand very closely how unaware he probably was of his mortality. no doubt he was too occupied running from his reflection. but i feel very blessed to have encountered some of his strengths. his voice had an effect on my sanity.

thank you.young cory… for living your own life- you made an impact and changed lives. maybe next time the road be more gentle on your soul,

life imitates art

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image credit… ddmag


INTERVIEWER:

When and why did you start to write?

BURROUGHS:

I started to write in about 1950; I was thirty-five at the time; there didn’t seem to be any strong motivation. I simply was endeavoring to put down in a more or less straightforward journalistic style something about my experiences with addiction and addicts.
INTERVIEWER: You regard addiction as an illness but also a central human fact, a drama?

BURROUGHS: Both, absolutely. It’s as simple as the way in which anyone happens to become an alcoholic. They start drinking, that’s all. They like it, and they drink, and then they become alcoholic. I was exposed to heroin in New York – that is, I was going around with people who were using it; I took it; the effects were pleasant. I went on using it and became addicted. Remember that if it can be readily obtained, you will have any number of addicts. The idea that addiction is somehow a psychological illness is, I think, totally ridiculous. It’s as psychological as malaria. It’s a matter of exposure. People, generally speaking, will take any intoxicant or any drug that gives them a pleasant effect if it is available to them. In Iran, for instance, opium was sold in shops until quite recently, and they had three million addicts in a population of twenty million. There are also all forms of spiritual addiction. Anything that can be done chemically can be done in other ways, that is, if we have sufficient knowledge of the processes involved. Many policemen and narcotics agents are precisely addicted to power, to exercising a certain nasty kind of power over people who are helpless. The nasty sort of power: white junk, I call it – rightness; they’re right, right right – and if they lost that power, they would suffer excruciating withdrawal symptoms. The picture we get of the whole Russian bureaucracy, people who are exclusively preoccupied with power and advantage, this must be an addiction. Suppose they lose it? Well, it’s been their whole life….. reposted from an interview with Conrad Knickerbocker in the Paris Review on NYE 1965 and re-pusblished at dangerousminds.net

i am not clear how much change the new year will see. however i am sure i have changed. having been at my workplace for 4 years has afforded me some peace of mind. i have become familiar with not using for several years and my emotions don’t seem to run the risk of sabotaging me any longer. don’t get me wrong- i am still overly impulsive at times-more than i would like- but my recovery process with regard to those impulses has become like a well-rehearsed swat team. 
in moving forward this year, i hope to regain a sense of security that i misplaced a few years ago. i hope to work the steps again with a new sponsor and gain additional insight as well as let some further unneeded baggage go. i hope to pay off some debt that has been haunting for a few years and become a little less dependent on 2nd and 3rd incomes for entertainment. at this point, i am not sure i will ever write a short book, as i might have incorporated “confidentiality” to a fault in my writing that is public- or perhaps i should just be writing for myself with a privacy setting so no one can read. i know that somehow my spiritual connection to this online journaling has altered.

 i registered for school last fall, however i never did follow up with it further and i would very much like to pursue this. i have considered painting as a form of expression. i have no idea if it is even something i can do, but i am very aware that paintings move me – and abstract and neo-expressionist works seem to grab my gut. 

i spent nye day painting the office in the suburbs where i facilitate a meth recovery group. i enlisted the help of 2 persons whom i have worked with over the years and they came through with flying colors- pun intended. i sincerely hope that the metaphor of putting a new face on life for the new year somehow takes hold on them both. 
i have made a new friend who appeared in my life almost like magic. uncertain of where we might land, i am very grateful for a new set of eyes and ears. and i am very blessed when i meet a new friend in recovery- it’s culturally competent. my intention is that a new relationship or two will continue to flourish within my world.  i am hoping to head to chicago to be with friends and perhaps see “the book of mormon”. i will be ready for a break by that time. i would like to catch up with my cousin who lives in rogers park as well.

these are plans i have and 

hurt

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I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything
What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end
You could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

i have encountered a young man who is plagued with pain and crazy. he is 19 and he has been smoking meth anywhere from 2 to 5 years. he has lost sight of sanity- if at all he ever had any. i am convinced he at minimum has adhd and ptsd, mostly because his inability to be still is prominent. he is painful to be around really, kind of like being with someone who has rolled in poison ivy. his mother has been smoking twack for most of his life. she doesn’t see it as a real problem i guess, she just sees it as something that just is. i think this perspective got translated to him as just something that is. everybody just smokes. it is just something people do.

i continue to engage with him with uncertainty as i am curious about what has happened to him. he certainly needs a helping hand and i am not at all sure if that can be mine. it always feels shaky to be with him- kinda like walking with sea legs or petting a porcupine. there have been tales of terror – manslaughter and suicide that should only present as ghost stories meant to scare. yet here they roll with the ease and familiarity of stories of baseball and camping trips.

i don’t know if sanity or recovery or sobriety are part of his path. he is a whirling dervish with no end in sight. i hope he can find calm, but can’t swear he would recognize it. one minute he runs from being centered and the next he laments the peace he can’t have. i guess this post is meant to be a searchlight  and a prayer. i want to witness that he is real and that he matters.

i remember reading “the sluts” by dennis cooper and being gobsmacked by the general sleaze and realness of his characters in that book. young male hustlers who were starting out their lives with fewer possibilities than most of us. they were selling themselves to drown out their own hell.  for some reason i recall these characters as i consider this young man.

i find it fitting to quote from dc here…

Experience:Call me a caretaker if you want, but after reading Brad’s reviews, I couldn’t help but feel concerned about this troubled young man, and angered by the callousness with which the previous reviewers have treated him. I work in the mental heath industry in Orange County, not far from Long Beach. I made an appointment with Brad in order to encourage him to seek treatment, although he didn’t know my intentions until we met.

Regular visitors to this site know that I’m not against hiring escorts. I will even admit that Brad is my type and that meeting him involved a high degree of self-control on my part. Something the previous reviewers are right about is that he’s extraordinarily cute. Brad is one of the cutest twinks I’ve ever seen in fact. I don’t know how a boy as cute and young as Brad ended up in the low end of his profession, but it’s wrong to exploit him. He deserves better.

I had a long talk with Brad. It took him a while to open up to me, but he did. My knee-jerk diagnosis is that Brad is probably schizophrenic with an untreated chemical imbalance. He might also be suffering from a mild neurological disorder, as evidenced by the physical tics that the first reviewer mentioned. He allowed me to drive him to the facility where I work and enroll him in an outpatient program. I set him up to live at the home of a female acquaintance of mine. He is no longer at the phone number posted here and with any luck, you have heard the last of him. Shame on you.

You: Hispanic male in my late 30s.

Brad responds: Don’t believe this guy. He’s a prick. I have a new number. It’s 310-555-9876. Call me if you’re a generous man. I’m up for anything. I need a place to live too. This guy’s a fucking prick. I don’t need help. He’s a liar. I’m writing this on his computer. What does that tell you? Guys like him are the worst. They promise you shit and they don’t mean it. Don’t call me if you’re like him.

Webmaster’s message: My repeated attempts to contact JoseR72 and have him confirm this review have been unsuccessful. Until further notice, I strongly advise all of you to stay clear of Brad.

indeed there continue to be tales about the tenderness of the wolves. “Clearly the secret of happiness…is a variation on the general principle of banging your head against a wall, and then stopping.”
Stef Penney, The Tenderness of Wolves