Too Clever By Half

Heart colored pencils

Before I met N___, I was nearing the end of one of my periodical 3 month “I don’t want to go out and party now”, depression breaks. My cousin was telling me I should come out some weekend, a few of them have been partying after hours at this chicks house. He said I might like her, she reminded him of J___, (my last girlfriend)

I was sick of sitting at home and decided to start going out again. Her girlfriend A___ was trying to do the same thing for her. Get her out of the house to meet people. She had lots of friends, but you know? That’s how she met my cousin, A___ dragged N, down to the Seabreeze (that place is a story unto itself). N___ like to party a little but she wasn’t one for hanging out in bars. But she went to school with a lot of the people I was hanging around with so she felt comfortable there. After the bar closed about 10 of us went back to her house and squeezed into her tiny living room and hung out.

I don’t know why the hell she reminded my cousin of J___, she was nothing like her. But she was friendly and nice enough but most of all she was fucking funny. Original, on the spot, situational humor. My favorite. She would go to bed early though, so we would all leave and go over the bridge to Seabrook for the Late, Late, Show.

There were no sparks flying between us or anything. I don’t know how long that went on but each week A__ would make sure N___ went out to the bar. I didn’t realize until writing this but A__ always made sure N___ was near me and A___ always drove and somehow I always ended up in her car with them. I guess I should thank her for that now. Thanks A___! Back then I thought it was because A__ wanted my cousin, which was true but I never noticed if my cousin and I separated at some point in the night, It would always be me going somewhere with A__ and N___. Sometimes I’m clueless.

I do remember I spent a couple weeks in the hospital for mania and when I went out again she was the only one who wondered where I had been.

One night everyone was leaving N___’s place and outside in the driveway I gave my keys to my cousin and said I would call him in the morning. I walked back inside and said I’m sorry, my ride left me, is it okay if I stay here? (What do you want from me? You know I’m incorrigible.) She had another reason for kicking everyone out early. She co-owned the house with her mom. It was divided and they each had their own half. It was only divided by a doorway which was usually open except at night when we were all there.

The first night I “got left behind by my ride”, we were in bed in the morning and I could hear two women’s voices coming up the stairs and laughing. It was her mom and “Shirl” (I can use her real name because that is not her real name) the door opened, they saw me and screamed like two teenagers and ran back down the stairs. N___ told me who they were.

Soon after that she stopped hanging out at the bar and people stopped partying at her place but I didn’t stop hanging out with her. I was still going to the bar until it closed but instead of partying I would go to see her. Then I stopped going to the bar and I think you can take a wild guess what happened after that. It’s 20 years later and we are still friends and we have the most incredible daughter.

I forgot for a long time but I got to tell this to someone new this summer. S__ and his band mates took a sudden interest in hiking and camping together. They were gone for the weekend so the wives and girlfriends were having girl’s day at N__’s house. I didn’t know or I wouldn’t have stopped over unexpectedly. I stayed for an hour. N__ always had multiple dogs. Back when I started seeing her regularly, she had three. Two Boston Terriers and a Black Lab. Kelsey, Chloe and Blue.

Those dogs used to bark at everything. They would go nuts. Except for one thing. Me. They wouldn’t bark at me. I would walk straight in the front door and up the stairs the dogs wouldn’t even open their eyes. Weirdest thing.

A couple month’s ago I was sitting with my daughter and N___ on their porch and talking about how bad drugs and alcohol were. We weren’t lecturing, we were just speaking from our own experience. We both said the same thing though. Individually. If we didn’t all the fucked up stupid shit in our lives, we never would have met each other and our daughter would never be alive. I don’t know what kind of lesson that is for my daughter… I really hope she doesn’t get into drinking. Right now she is against it.

I’m writing this now because I just heard another guy say the exact same thing yesterday. Someone asked him he was able to go back in time somehow and not start using, would he. He said no and gave the same reason.

I’ve been crying and grieving today over the loss of my family, or my idea of what my family was supposed to be. But what would my life be like now if I was straight laced? Would I be married to someone else 20 years later who we’ve fallen out of love but stay together for the sake of two screaming kids and being trapped under a mortgage and both of us find out each of us are on Ashley Madison? I’m venturing into fantasy land now but I’ve heard stories that aren’t too far off the mark. This is no advertisement for the glamorous lifestyle of drugs.

It’s what I was thinking about the other day. “Euphoric Recall”. Am I just supposed to forget about all the good times? I would much rather be a full time parent but I honestly think my daughter is better off the way life turned. It hurts, but I’ll take the pain.

Synchronized Living

“Let’s be heroes, let’s be martyrs, let’s be radical thinkers
Who never have to test drive the least of their dreams”

“Love Ire and Song” Frank Turner

Y’all ain’t gonna believe this shit… I don’t believe any of it. I’m not into anything mystical. I wanted to be way back when I was in single digit years. I remember it was 2nd grade, I never slept. I had an AM radio but all I listened to was static between stations. I thought it was aliens communicating with me. I don’t believe that anymore.

I do believe in synchronicity; not minor coincidences that happen all the time; major shit that is just undeniable for me when I am on the right path (in the flow). I only believe it because it is the strangest thing I have ever experienced. I don’t go around looking for it. I’ve only been overwhelmed by it a few times in my life. This whole summer has been one of those times. After I set the intention to make positive changes in my life. The coincidence was a negative choice but it led to a positive. I want to write all of it at once but the biggest one culminated last night.

I didn’t realize at the time I started planning my relapse a few months ago. I was conscious of it, I was taking deliberate actions, I wrote about it in several posts. Sometimes I was saved by dumb luck and others I caught myself by thinking it through and knowing there was no way this could end well. I knew what I was doing/ I didn’t know what I was doing. It was cognitive dissonance.

Back the point. It started while I was still trying to find people, places and things that didn’t revolve around drinking. I did a search and couldn’t find anything but I did see Frank Turner was playing at the Casino in Hampton and bought tickets on impulse. But what is he doing there? He’s from England and I don’t know anyone who has heard of him. I only like 3 of his songs but I really like them. They would be on my deserted island list. Only because when I first heard them I thought, if I had any talent I would have written these songs. I was wondered if I wanted to go because I they serve booze. But, no, I thought I was still sticking to the plan. I wasn’t having any thoughts about drinking. I told myself I can go to a concert and not drink. (Yeah, right) Still, he got straight, he even has a song called “Recovery”. But I don’t like that song. The songs I like are from when he was still using. I mostly forgot about it. But now I realize I lit a slow burning fuse that led to a huge explosion months later.

Another small coincidence was it wasn’t until after I finished the post about the chick I started texting while she was at an atheist retreat. (still don’t get that) She was the one who turned me on to Frank Turner. That’s no big deal, I was probably subconsciously reminded of her. That’s not the fucked up part.

Last night was the fucked up part. I never thought about attending an online meeting. It wasn’t until I was wondering why I couldn’t commit to the idea of a lifetime of abstinence. I came across the paper I had read a hundred times this summer and it was one of the major coincidences. I had always glossed over it because, I’m not a perfectionist. Come to my apartment and you will see. I don’t need to have everything, “Just right”. But it was the fear of failure part that never clicked. The parts of my life that are important to me are the ones I need to go according to plan. If they don’t, I failed. I put a lot of effort into it and I failed. I didn’t live up to the standards I set and then I start kicking the living shit out of myself.

I got sidetracked. A lot of the coincidences were the quick internet searches I would do when I noticed patterns I wanted to change. I would look up how do I change (whatever) and find out I am already doing the right things. (Still off track) The biggest one was “dealing with perfectionism.” I wasn’t thinking about addiction but the article I found talked about it. It said a high percentage of addicts are perfectionists. That made sense to me; no big revelation. Then it said it is the most dangerous combination because they are the most likely to believe they can solve their problem themselves. That is exactly my problem. I still wasn’t going to try the meeting! I’m thinking, I got this wrapped like a mummy. You know the story.

Oh yeah, the fucked up part. I’ve been thinking about the Frank Turner concert and how it probably was an excuse to get drunk. I figured I would have to tear up the tickets if they ever get here in the mail. It would be a waste of $80 but it could turn into a waste of a lot more if I go. (Again) Yesterday, I was depressing and casting a negative light on everything. I knew I have a lot of positives in my life. I’ve been writing them down and keeping them specific and believable. Sometimes I read through it to remind myself. Yesterday I tried and I had a counter-argument for all of it. I disqualified everything. I knew I was doing it so I tried all day to contest it. I started feeling better as the day went on. I was practicing all my healthy coping skills and trying new ones.

(Still in suspense?) Last night I was writing my blog and looked at the clock and thought, cool, I’ll be finished around 10pm, I’ll head over to the store and pick up some beer. Wait a minute! Back the truck up. How did that become the plan? That’s not what I’ve been doing. It’s not a new habit. It still sounded perfectly reasonable. I can’t do that. I was right, I finished at 9:40, time to walk to the store. Seriously? I did everything right today and now I’m going to reward myself by fucking shit up. Cancel that plan. If there is one of those meetings tonight, I’ll log on. I checked the schedule and the next one started at ten. Cool, I’ll just log in and wait. The first 2 times I logged in early, there was a graphic saying they would start soon. Last night, I clicked “join” 20 minutes early and a video was playing and it was blasting. (Do you know where I’m going with this?) It was Frank Turner, “Recovery”! No fucking way! It makes sense because the songs and other clips they were playing were based on that theme. But this song? By this guy who is not very popular? Still makes sense, but that’s where it turned for me months ago. Buy tickets was a deliberate action and I knew I was going to get fucked up if I went and the show isn’t until October 10th! Am I supposed to go and stay sober? Probably not a good idea.

More fucked up shit. They started the meeting asking you to click on the poll if it was your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd meeting. I was one of 11 people out of 200 and something. He asked if anyone wanted to briefly say why they are here. I certainly didn’t! So why did I start the meeting with my camera on even though I’m paranoid about being facially recognized and why did I just unmute myself and rattle off a quick spiel? That is not me. At the beginning the let the people suggest topics and one was what to do after a relapse. That applied to me, I did it again and talked about my problem being afraid to commit because if I drink, I beat myself up for being failure but if I do what most people say, “everyone makes mistakes, get back on track and learn from it” aren’t I giving myself permission to fuck up? He said it sounded like I had a problem with unconditional self acceptance. I started thinking, I don’t know anything about this program other than the basics. Maybe I should have read some of their website. I did “what to do before your first meeting.” The answer? Read about what they call “Tools”. Okay, the first one was, “Unconditional self acceptance”, Still making sense. But the whole fucking thing is what I have been tossing around for the past month. Dealing with feelings of hopelessness and making myself feel worthless. Basic shit, no revelations but I know exactly where they are going with this… “Perfectionism”. Maybe I stumbled onto something here. Some of the major coincidences this summer were I’ve been getting really fucking lucky. Something else I don’t believe in. But I’ve been dodging bullets I’ve intentionally been trying to shoot at myself.

Are you ready for more? I am. I have been relieved because my mania has settled down during the past week and I haven’t crashed into any deep depression. I slept for a few hours last night and when I woke up I was “Top Fuel” again. I turned on the tap to start the coffee and the power went out. Good! I don’t need any coffee. It’s another perfect day, I should get the fuck out of here. I can ride my bike again. Where? Nowhere…

Sit down. No power, no computer, no television. Cool, I charged my tablet last night. No wifi! I can still text and I did. I even texted, N____, not out of the ordinary but I figured she was still sleeping. She wasn’t, she had an appt. I asked her what she was doing later. Then I realized why I wanted to get out of the house so fast. I wanted to race over there and tell her all this fucked up shit going on all summer. I luckily I thought twice. I can’t do that. I’ll be trying to get it all out in 5 minutes, talking so fast I’m foaming at the mouth. All summer long she is the only one who knows I’m manic. I’ve only seen her in person a few times, I’m no over texting her. She keeps telling me I’m manic.

I’m getting to it. In the beginning of July, I blasted out 3 pages in the early hours and waited for her to wake up. I texted and asked who she sees. Why? She wants to know… Since the akathisia shit started I’ve been taking notes and I went through them and typed them all up and I need a professional who doesn’t know me to give me an opinion. She told me that is something I would have to do on my own. Then she said, This is what you do when you are manic. You take notes, you write everything down. When I would do your laundry I would find scraps of paper with scribbles all over them in your pockets. Read what you typed, I bet it doesn’t make any sense. She was right.

That’s not the fucked up part. The scraps of paper. Those were the poems I’ve been posting lately. I don’t write poetry anymore. It’s all from 20 years ago. I would be somewhere, I put it all together in my head. I have to find a pen and something to write on. I don’t read poetry, why am I writing it? I typed them up, put them in a folder. I read them once in a while, only a few people have seen them. They made sense to me. Now, 20 years later, some of them are cheesy but others hit me hard.

What else? That empath woman. Why was I going to spend cash on an Uber to travel all that way to meet her. She wrote 3 paragraphs of shit I don’t believe in. When I wrote a comment saying sorry it will be too expensive to get there, I didn’t hear back and forgot about it. A couple weeks ago she sent me an email saying she also does a group online. That was when I was still against Zoom. I said I don’t know maybe next month, I’ll be able to make it in person. Why did I say that? If I went last time it would have been just the two of us. What would we talk about? I guess synchronicity. She didn’t mention it but it seems right up her alley. Am I supposed to meet her? I don’t believe in fate.

After she wrote the email I checked her page and noticed only a few people had left comments. One of them was M____, my empath friend. Of course she was there 2 years ago! She used to piss me off so much talking about that shit. And the numbers. She would sit there and watch the clock until it hit 2:22 and say that’s strange, I’ve been seeing that a lot lately. She pumped $22.22 worth of gas into her car and made a big deal out of that. I’m just like , will you please shut up. I know how many times a day numbers repeat on a clock. It’s not that unusual. I kept it to myself because I liked her and didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

Last month, I thought it was funny, I jumped up and just had to leave the house, I glance at the clock and it was 2:22. I laughed to myself thinking how she would like that and it was the first time I had thought about her for a while. But when I walked back in the door the first thing I saw was the clock on the stove telling me it was 3:33. I still don’t believe in it but something is going on in my brain.

There is a lot more but I can’t remember most of it. I wanted to go on about the last time I had it this strong when I was in my twenties but this is getting pretty long and I think it would add another 2,000 words and I imagine I’ve lost everyone by now.

You Get Me Closer to God

“You can have my isolation
You can have the hate that it brings
You can have my absence of faith
You can have my everything”

“Closer” Nine Inch Nails

What a long couple of fucking days! It feels like forever since I saw my daughter and that was noon yesterday (Saturday). She is fabulous. She finally realized Panera sucks too. She wanted to go but said it was like she remembered before the shutdown.

I’m not sure if I’m happy about downloading Zoom. I can’t handle the rejection. I don’t mean dating site rejection or I was hitting on someone. I mean being rejected as a human. I’ve been putting pressure on myself feeling winter coming on and I can’t go too far anyway. I’m going to be spending a lot more time indoors. They have an inordinate amount of online meditation groups on meetup .com. I think they are pigeon holing me now that I attended one because that is all that shows in my searches. I did a couple yesterday and the people were nice. I didn’t tell them I thought it was kinda fucking weird how all these WASP’s from New England became devout Buddhists. I kept myself to a minimum talking. Said I’ve been doing meditation on my own and I’m just trying new things to see what works for me. I didn’t follow the whole way through but when she asked how I liked it I said good, thanks.

About 10:30pm last night I got an email from the head of the group saying it was nice to meet me, something getting the rooms back or Idk? Then she said they are having a meeting on WhatsApp and if I wanted to join she could send me an invite. I thought it was weird, I hadn’t heard of meetings on WhatsApp and I don’t have it. I looked to put it on my iPad and it’s not available. Only for phones. I searched why and saw something about going over cell data limit and thought I don’t want that. I was busy trying to do 3 things at once and mailed her back, nice meeting you too, not sure about whatsapp… something, something. Then I realized, duh! People use WhatsApp cause it is free over wifi. I wrote back, Sorry, I was confused. I’d like to join. Still haven’t heard back. What was she doing up at 11pm on Saturday? Was she asking for my number? Am I an idiot?

One of the things I was busy doing was listening to an Online SMART meeting. I’m not sure how wise that was with how Zoom handles your data. But I am well documented as an alcoholic so who cares, I guess. The reason I was doing that was because all day while I was looking for anything to do online, it kept popping into my head to go join one of these groups at a bar. I wasn’t going to do it but I saw one group for hiking, canoeing and kayaking which I’m not running out the door to do but the meeting they announced was, “Happy Hour! at (whatever bar). WTF? All weekend I’m seeking out people I assume aren’t drinking. Why do I keep thinking I want to drink?

I don’t have anyone I trust to talk about it and I know a tiny bit about smart. I looked up their schedule clicked to join a meeting. Oh no. You have to register first. No personal info but it was a lot and the site is super uptight. It took me 4 tries. First my passwords didn’t match, I typed lemon but it was actually a picture of an Orange? I didn’t check the box to agree to terms. That happened twice but no because I was very careful to check the 2nd time. No big deal they say hit the back button to correct it. Oh no. You go back and all your info is gone and you have to start over. I’m really going to get drunk now. I got it done.

I start listening and thinking, fuck, this is just like AA. They have there special sayings and acronyms. They swear theirs is the only program that works. They even did the same thing. One guy is talking and says, “unlike another program with 2 letters that I won’t mention by name.” You just spelled it out asshole! Who cares how someone does it? If it works for them and they aren’t drinking, leave them the fuck alone. Listening to people’s horror stories makes me want to drink. But I did like when people went on about their past, the facilitators would let them do it but quickly change the subject to what they are doing right now to change and what they can do in the future. That was a bonus. It last an hour and a half. I stayed but I was doing other shit on the computer.

One good thing I saw was a graphic set up like a flow chart, Are you happy?>Yes>Then keep doing whatever you are doing… >No?>Do you want to be happy?>Yes>Change something… >No>Then keep doing whatever you are doing.

I didn’t sleep and Saturday night is not a good night to stay awake. Nothing for me to do. Maybe a little. Finally morning comes and I look to find another online meditation. Really? They are all fucking whacked. I don’t do it because I think it’s going to raise vibration. I can listen to almost any meditation on YouTube. Most of the time I don’t pay attention to what they are saying. It’s all about staying still and regulating my breath. The only reason I’m trying to find all this shit online is because I do it all day anyway, I might as well find other people who like to do it. Which is funny because when I joined the site I was trying to get offline.

The whole day was a mess. I got depressed and the more I tried the worse I got. I had already put a couple things on my gratitude list. I haven’t been going overboard with it. I only repeat something if there is specifically something different about it. Usually, I can read through it real quick and I actually have a lot to be happy about. Today I went to it and I couldn’t make myself believe any of it. This is wrong. Still nothing online. Fuck it there was another meeting. It was better in the morning. One of the guys had a lot of good answers for people who were struggling. The best thing I heard was when people started talking about treating that voice in your head that tells you to use like the enemy. A young guy said he had a problem with that. He said, that voice telling me to drink is my voice. I have to show it some compassion. Otherwise I’m just hating myself. So that was worth it. I’m always trashing myself when my brain makes a quick plan on how to drink. But that’s my brain. That’s me. I’m the one that wants to drink. I can’t bash myself all day, it will just make me feel worse and want to drink more.

Finally football but I also set my alarm for another meditation group in the afternoon. I didn’t think I would like it because it was about bathing yourself in a golden light. But same thing. If it’s working for them, I don’t care what they say. Good thing I did it. I was surprised because I usually have to wait for the group to begin but as soon as I logged on I saw the woman on video. She looked the part, older with grey hair to her shoulders, (not sure why she looked the part?) and she didn’t notice I was on so I didn’t know if I should say anything. She saw me and it was just the 2 of us. She asked me where I was from and why I was there. I told her I’ve been meditating on my own and I am just looking around for something that works for me. I think 7 people showed up. One woman had been doing it for 5 years.

Before she started she asked everyone to intro and why they were there. I said why and added I had to meditate before I started the meeting because my mind is flying, that is how much I need to meditate. My favorite person was this guy my age, Sitting on the dock on Alton Bay in NH. My state. He said, he does it because it is the only thing that gets him out of his head. I wanted to say, fuckin right, that’s me! Her favorite was a woman originally from Nepal of course. Which was funny because when the woman asked if we had any questions the woman from Nepal asked, why is it a golden light and not some other color? She stumped her! Ha ha. she started rambling. I did get a little pissed because there was a woman, probably 80, lying on her side in bed and I could tell immediately she was very depressed. She said she was there to calm down her mind and she had to pray to get closer to god. That’s not why I got pissed. The woman told her she couldn’t lie down and meditate. Sit upright, spine straight, etc… That’s bullshit! I’ve listened to meditations say, sit in a chair, lie on a flat surface, whatever, I don’t listen to them. I just do the meditation wherever I am comfortable. You can stand on your head if you want. It still helps. How does she know the poor old woman was capable of sitting up? Whatever. I will probably do that one again because it was the only one you got to know a little about the other people there. That’s the whole point of Meetup, right?

Believe it or not, I did another one! Only because it was called breathwork. I thought finally just normal meditation. Oh no. It was 2 women from Australia and me. I think I was the first new person but it was audio only. It was weird. 2 quick bursts of breath into your belly and let it out quick. 4 minutes of that and then hold your breath for a full minute. 20 minutes! I didn’t think I could do it but I did. I’m not sure what it was supposed to do. She made a lot of claims on her page. It did keep me from thinking of anything else for 20 minutes.

What do you know? Football, music and writing and I made it to 9:30.

Swipe Left Face, Swipe Right Personality

Robot Brain

I know I’ve been talking about spending too much time in the virtual world and trying to find ways introduce myself to reality. But I really hate winter. I know it is not close to winter but I can feel it approaching quickly. Last year I was lucky and we had great weather through the end of October. I was still out riding my bike in shorts and t-shirt. I even pushed it an extra week by wearing a hoodie. It was not out of necessity. I had money in my Uber account and only had to pay the tip out of pocket.

Yesterday (Friday) it was cold and rainy which ended my streak of leaving the house for walks almost everyday for the past two weeks. The difference yesterday was I stayed home voluntarily. I still wanted some kind of interaction with another human but didn’t know what to do besides text and I do most of that in the morning. I don’t want to bother people all day and I have never been much of a texter anyway.

My reptile brain was making plans on how to get me drunk. Not really what I wanted to do. Luckily, I had another synchronicity Thursday. It was another in a series. Since I started a couple months ago trying to figure out how to stop the automatic negative thoughts I would think of a new thing I need to work on. Most times I googled, “How do I deal with [whatever], I would find I am already doing most of the right things already. Many of the techniques were had commonality and were logical so they were no surprise. Since I discovered I had no idea I had the criteria of perfectionists and that tied into why I drink, I’ve been hitting on some pretty lucky discoveries in the right place at the right time. [I got distracted] Last week found a webpage that helped me and it mentioned a book. I didn’t think I would be interested but on impulse I checked my app and put a hold on it.

Thursday morning I read another interesting article about perfectionism and fear of failure and learned it is very common among alcoholics. The book I put on hold was supposed to take 2 weeks but when I opened my tablet to text I had a notification the book was ready. I started listening to it and it wasn’t my thing but I still listened to the first chapter and it was about fears in general and ways to combat them. I’ve been working on that for a while and my anxiety has dropped to almost negligible levels. In the book she gave specific instructions to pay attention to the fears you have that day and decide if they are real. I did that and no, they are not. Yes, I have fears but they are created by my mind. It helped Friday to remind myself when drinking popped into my head to remember it is based on fear. It helped. It only took a couple seconds.

I had to find something to do other than sit inside doing nothing. I relented and went online. Again the groups I found were based around drinking and my brain would think, that sounds like a good idea. (Habitual thinking) There are a lot of groups held online but I’ve had a fear of Zoom and they handle privacy worse than Facebook. I’ve never used it. But I thought what would someone find out from my iPad? I text my family a lot? I finally downloaded it. The most popular Zoom group is a speed dating site based in Boston. That did not sound like a good idea to me. I’m not ugly but I’m not going to win many votes in a beauty contest. Then I saw they give you one on one with a person for two minutes at a time. I could just imagine, my face on a video screen trying to answer conventional dating questions as quickly as possible. How many times do I want to get rejected in an hour? I’m not even looking for a relationship, especially online with someone who lives an hour away. Then I saw it was for professionals. And it cost $25. Not going to happen.

I thought there has to be something. I saw something about, social skills and communication. Like an hour long lesson but I thought that sounds like it could be good for me. I’m good with conversation but with some people or certain situations I feel awkward and fall silent. Then I saw it was based on the teachings of Scientology. Okay, maybe I won’t do that. Still nothing else coming up on 7pm and boredom is another factor for me. I figured how much different could it be than any other lesson? Aren’t they basic skills you need to practice to get good at them? Would I dismiss it if it just because it was put on by a Catholic? I joined through Zoom and the first thing the guy started was talking about how much of a genius L. Ron Hubbard is and everything he says is true, etc… (Ugh) Then I noticed, this guy is not very good at communicating. The group started with 35 people and they were dropping out left and right.

I decided to see what happened. I don’t know what kind of genius this was supposed to be. He kept putting up a picture of a triangle and the three points were labeled, Affinity, Reality and Communication. He was explaining it like people had never heard the words before and repeating and he only got to the first two points and it was halfway through the hour. Basically, if you like someone and you share a common reality, such as you both agree the sky is blue, you will have an easier time communicating. Well, thank you very much! I put on the Red Sox, they lost and I went to bed. But my brain had stopped telling me it would be a great idea to take an Uber to a bar in Nashua. I guess it wasn’t a waste of time.

This morning I was up early and I had already seen there were online meditation groups. I didn’t think I would like it but I clicked “attend” on two of them. One was in Portland, ME with 7 people. I hit the link and it was on Google meet. Another app I don’t have. I might as well go all in. I downloaded that. It’s not costing me anything. I had no idea what Sahaja Yoga was and I was the first one there and the guy started asking me a few questions. I think I was the first new person to the group for a long time. It had to do with Chakras and I’m not really into it but what else am I going to do at 8am? He wasn’t doing a great job of explaining it and then showed a video of a woman with a dot on her head giving a speech. They were losing me and then totally lost me when the meditation was silent. I already do that when I’m alone. At least I lasted 45 minutes.

I started typing this post until the next one started at 9am. It was Sahaja Yoga too! They had the same chart on the wall with the Chakras but they only spent a minute on it and got into a normal guided meditation. This time my camera wasn’t on so I kept typing but it was nice to have the voice in the background. Then they started playing the same video as the last group! They lost me and I kept typing this until I heard my name… What? The woman was asking if it was my first time there and did I like it. I kept tapping to unmute the microphone but it wouldn’t and they almost gave up but I finally answered, Oh, yeah, yeah, it was great, thank you. (At least I made it all the way through the hour)

Oh well, it got me through the morning and my daughter will be picking me up soon. Maybe I will be spending more time online. I forgot all about winter. There are other groups they show me are pretty out there. One was about psychics talking to the dead and wanted $150? No thanks! Zoom is all across the world. I’m sure I can find something I am interested in.

The woman I told I couldn’t make it earlier this month in person sent me an email which surprised me. I didn’t think I would hear from her she said they also do an online empath support group. I had no idea so many empaths were struggling. I don’t believe in much mysticism and she believes in everything. Maybe I will watch. I never studied synchronicity but I know a little about it and I do have a lot of strong coincidences when I feel like I am on the right path. Maybe we will have that in common. I want to believe! Ha Ha.

In the Throes of Passion

Robot Brain

“You don’t have to be beautiful to turn me on
I just need your body, baby, from dusk ’til dawn
You don’t need experience to turn me out
You just leave it all up to me
I’m gonna show you what it’s all about”

“Kiss” Prince

I forgot to tell you the best part about yesterday! I got sized up by a tall, young, strapping latino stud! (Not maybe, from across the room, did he just?) I was sitting in Panera , minding my own business. (I don’t know why I was in there again. I don’t like the food and I’m low on cash this month, but I’m gonna waste the $15 somewhere.) I think there were 2 other people in there, he was the 3rd and I don’t know where he came from. This time I really was minding my own business. I had just texted my daughter a picture of my flatbread pizza and I was still looking down at my phone because the thought bubble popped up meaning she was typing. I didn’t see him, I felt his presence. I looked up and he was stopped 3 feet in front of me staring me directly in the eyes with a dead serious look on his face. He scanned down my body, up my body and back to directly in my eyes, walked past and disappeared. The whole event last maybe 3 seconds. I thought, what the hell just happened? That was a first for me. Should I get a big confidence boost from that or not? I don’t know, you tell me.

Speaking of curiosities, I had another surprise recently. A couple days ago my back was still hurting and I wondered if insurance would pay for a massage? I have a doctor, I could get a referral. There is a “Massage Envy” franchise right there in the Walmart plaza. I googled their website and it didn’t say anything about insurance and their prices were too much to pay out of pocket and I was about to forget about the idea. I mean, do I really want to go through the trouble? I’m not disabled by it and the pain is nowhere near like it was before when it was all I could think about. It still hurts but it’s not calling me by name. It will probably be gone in a week.

Then I thought, that’s odd, I have never gotten a professional massage. Why not? Many men and women have told me how great it is and I agree it does sound great. Especially by someone who is trained and has to get licensed and it’s their job. Plus they make tips, right? (I think?) So the the better they did the more money they would make. Why have I never done it? I’ve seen the place many times and it never occurred to me. Like I said, now I can’t afford it but in the past I’ve had plenty off disposable income. I’ve worked manual labor jobs that made my whole body hurt. I could have used a really good massage then. I’ve never been cheap, I just blew $50 in the past week on food I don’t particularly like. I spend money on other people, I’ve let friend borrow money and never asked the to pay it back. Why have I never spent money on myself when it sounds so good?

I never thought about it before. I don’t know how much you would tip the therapist, but I could figure that out easily. Pretty sure insurance would cover it. What would it take? Two phone calls. Why can’t I be bothered? I thought I might feel kind of awkward being nude in front of a complete stranger, but you got a towel, right? That’s really weird, I never thought twice about stripping down and having sex in a straight, hookup with someone I just met. Drunk or sober. Whatever, probably not going to do it.

None of that was the surprising part. I said, forget the massage and closed the tab which revealed the google tab. Second on the search list was a place close to where I live, on the main road. (Something, massage therapy) I thought, I’ve lived in that town most of my life and when I didn’t I’ve lived close, there is no place to get a massage anywhere near there. It’s not a big city. It’s a small town. I clicked on the website and it was well done, professionally. They showed a picture of the building, it looked pretty nice and it said they were located directly directly across from McDonald’s. Okay, now things are getting really fucking weird. I’m not the biggest fan of McDonald’s but I’ve eaten at that location many times seated in front of the window looking across the main road. There is no fucking way I would not notice this distinctive looking building right in front of my eyes.

Now I’m really curious. I scroll down and they say, Asian massage, Full body massage, something else, $60 for 90 minutes. 60 bucks? That’s a third of the price of the place I just looked at. Down a little further, there were a few reviews and one of them was dated 4 or 5 years ago. Okay, they didn’t just build the place yesterday, I’ve driven on that road a million times. I’m not fucking blind. What the fuck is going on? Am I imagining all this?

I gotta know. I saw the address and looked it up on Google maps. Yes. Directly across from McDonald’s. And… Next door to the the little Chinese take-out joint. Now shit’s gettin’ real fucked up. I’ve eaten at that place a lot. It looks like trash, but it has really great food. Not only have lived near the place. I’ve practically lived inside the place. Eaten at the McDonald’s across the street, the Chinese place next door, Went grocery shopping many times at the store next to that. What? I know plenty of people in the area, nobody has ever said, hey, you can get a really cheap massage at this place a mile away from your house? I’m baffled. I look again at the map and see the blue line takes a tiny left and a tiny right. Okay, I look at the directions they say take a left, next right, the street has no name. Alright, I’m not crazy. It’s not on the main road, That is just their postal address.

Mystery solved. I’m about to close Google maps and I see “Street View.” Wait a minute. That. Is not the building on the website. In fact, it does not even closely resemble the building on the website. It’s the tiniest brick building AND it only occupies half the space. There is another business there. But, there is a sign, (Something massage therapy) I go back to their website and see something that puts it all together. Now I know what is going on. Building looks abandoned, Asian girls, Nobody has ever mentioned it… “Cash Only.” Pretty sure my insurance it not going to cover that.

1998

I’m running out of time to do all the things I dreamed
I’ve only time to be who I’ve become
This person so alien to me
Work and drudgery
Lessers begrudging me
Personal discovery
Addiction, recovery
Time is money
Banal conversations
Repetitive relations
Day after day
Mental maintenance
Dirty hands and a dirty mind
Limited choices
Chaotic voices
Contradictions telling me which way to go

So What’cha Want?

“But if you’re hot to trot, you think you’re slicker than grease
I’ve got news for you crews, you’ll be sucking like a leech”

“So What’cha Want?” Beastie Boys

I was going to write a post about why I bother leaving the house every day. Do you really think I love bananas so much I just had to take another 2 mile walk to Walmart to buy them? No. I do it because none of this fucked up, crazy shit would ever happen to me if I just sat home every day waiting for someone to come knocking at my door. I was outside for an hour and a half today and before I got back here I had a 2,000 word post written in my head, I couldn’t wait to sit down and type. Plus two more stories worth an honorable mention. It’s fucking Wednesday afternoon.

I’m not going to type it out because I want to stick to reminding myself. I gave up on that audiobook, “Sober Curious” because I was listening to the Chapter called (FOMA) Fear of missing alcohol. She gives example after example of things that are much better when you aren’t drinking. I’m onboard with that. She keeps going on in detail explaining all the activities in her life she never thought she would enjoy when she stopped drinking but now she actually has more fun. Then reiterates even more examples explaining why there is absolutely no reason you would need to drink. I’m like, what the fuck? Why does she still drink? The whole point of the book is she figured she had a problem and how much better life is without alcohol, so… I gave up.

But, not before she mentioned something called, “euphoric recall.” I had never heard of it but I knew exactly what it was. It is a major factor in my addiction. Your brain remembers how much fun you had and actually starts feeling that way. Then your brain wants to feel like that again and you go out and use again. Only now, it’s not so much fun anymore. I proved that again to myself a couple weeks ago.

I never thought I had a problem because I was never a daily drinker. 90% of the time I was stone cold sober. I didn’t find out until years later, binge drinking is as bad if not worse. I knew I drank more than most people but I kept it to the weekends. It wasn’t a struggle not to drink on weeknights. Typically I would be home alone reading a book. I didn’t think I was missing out on anything. I really like to read. I got into trouble because I was having too much fun and your brain forgets the negative actions. That’s not the story.

I was thinking about euphoric recall and remembered a part of my life I hardly think about anymore. The Electric Wave. I could probably start another blog only telling stories that started there and I only went there on weekends for maybe a few years. It was a club at the beach that was pretty large. It had two levels. Downstairs had live bands and a bar and upstairs was a dance floor and bar. I know what you are thinking. Sounds pretty lame. No, I’m telling you. Women would drive hundreds of miles on a Friday specifically to go there hoping to party and hook up and then drive hundreds of miles back home the next morning. How do I know? Because we were locals and we knew where all the good after parties were. We were the ones partying and hooking up. What? There is absolutely nothing to do in Connecticut? You have to drive for hours to small town New Hampshire just to dance? That’s not the story either. The story is part of my problem. I think telling these stories is part of my problem.

Back in the day, when I started working during the week and partying on weekends, I had a pretty good job. Sometimes we had to travel far but it was fine, I still got paid for the ride. One Friday my boss screwed me. He sent me to Rhode Island to finish a job. He said he wanted it finished that weekend so he could get paid. It wasn’t chump change. It was a small family business but they did multi million yearly.

Are you kidding me? Friday? It’s two and a half hours away. I’ll never get home. Then to make it worse he said to take Elwood with me. I liked him but he did not like to work. We drove down there and climbed up the ladder and there was a shitload of work to do! WTF? I was absolutely not coming back here tomorrow on Saturday. Elwood,”We really gotta get this done today?”, “Yup.” Elwood’s thing was to pretend he didn’t know how to do anything so nobody would ask him to do it. I worked with him before. I know he’s not an idiot.

The only thing we had going in our favor was all the work and all the materials were in the same spot. That was unusual. I took all the measurements and threw a circular saw at Elwood and sent him to chop the lumber. I kicked out a 100 foot roll of rubber and snapped a million chalk lines and started slicing and dicing. All that was left now was to Henry Ford assembly line this motherfucker.

Elwood was getting into it. He was busting ass. He never asked me one question about how to do anything. We were a unit working in tandem. All day long he kept saying, “Don’t tell anyone I know how to do this.” He was serious. I said, “Don’t worry, Elwood, your secret is safe with me.” Next thing you know, 2pm, Done! Let’s get the fuck outta here! That was a 2 day job no matter how you looked at it. We kicked the shit out of that place.

I know, I know, I’m getting to the story…

Not long after we got back on the highway headed north, Elwood is still saying, don’t tell anyone I know how to to that. A couple young girls came flying up even with us, smiled, pulled ahead and cut in front. We were the only 2 cars on the road. What the fuck did they want with a couple guys in a work van from NH? I don’t know, it was fun. They were bouncing up and down to the music and we played car tag for a while. One of them really seemed to like Elwood, holding her hands apart like she’s talking about the BBC and they both bent over laughing. Eventually they left us behind.

I said to Elwood, “I’m going to meet those girls tonight.”, “What you talkin’ about?” I said, “They are going to Hampton Beach. The Electric Wave.”, “How the hell you know?”

How did I know? We were still in Rhode Island. Their car had Rhode Island plates. Hampton is 2 hours away. They could be going anywhere. How did I know? I just told him, ” I know where they are going.”

We got back to the shop early and my boss absolutely did not believe we finished the job. He kept asking me, “Are you sure?” I told him if he didn’t believe me he could send someone else down there tomorrow but there ain’t gonna be shit left to do.

I went home and started my Friday night routine. Ordered some delivery, sat on the couch and watched the Simpsons. They had 3 episodes back to back. It was my favorite show at the time. Click around for a while.

8pm. Time to get ready, I put on my Friday night playlist, took a shower, shaved, smiled at my pretty face in the mirror and sat back down to wait for my cousin to call.

They picked me up and I told them all about what happened that day while we we drove to the club. They were laughing and telling me I was full of shit. “Yeah, right, what color is the sky in your world?” We we walked up the wide staircase and turned to the right. I smiled and pointed. Who were those 2 drunk girls in the middle of the dance floor surrounded by 10 guys? Use your imagination.

Euphoric Recall. That is my biggest problem. I romanticize the past. That’s how I fucked up this summer. People tell me I just thought I was having fun because I was so drunk. Maybe. Do you have any stories like this?

I’m not telling anyone to go out and start drinking. Do I remember and regret all the godawful shit caused by my drinking? Abso-fucking-lutely! Alcohol is the worst drug. Right now my brain is feeling high, thinking wouldn’t it be great to do something like that again? Like what? Blackout for the weekend and almost get my ass kicked out on the street? It’s not fun anymore.

I don’t know? Do I forget about all the good things? Do I only focus on the negative and beat myself up until I feel like a piece of shit? I do that enough already. Do I forget about everything? How?

I had to come home and write something. I was just minding my own business today and stumbled into a situation and my brain jumped up with, “Wouldn’t it be great if we…?” Uh…No. What am I supposed to do? Hide in my apartment for the rest of my life? That’s no good for me. That’s why I walked 2 miles to get fucking bananas. 4 for 99 cents! How is that possible? A couple good things happened today. Small things, but encouraging. If I stayed home I would have missed that. I did go straight to the office this morning and signed the shit out of my lease. So I have my priorities.

I’m doing pretty well. That is the second time in 2 weeks I ran into an unexpected, random encounter where my brain immediately kicked into gear with, we could have so much fun! And I slammed on the brakes.

Dinner time!

Remembrance

Robot Brain

“But these day I sit at home, known to shout at my TV
And Punk Rock didn’t live up to what I hoped that it could be
And all the things that I believed with all my heart when I was young
Are just coasters for beers and clean surfaces for drugs
And I packed all my pamphlets with my bibles at the back of the shelf”

“Love, Ire and Song” Frank Turner

Ostensibly I walked to Walmart today to see it they had any fruit. I imagined they did. I wanted to see if it was fit for human consumption. I ran out of bananas. Not really an emergency. They aren’t my favorite and I have plenty to eat. It was just another perfect day and I wasn’t going to sit here and watch it through the window. I really want to take my bike to the beach again but my back is still too fucked up to ride.

I’m relegated to places in town within walking distance. The grocery store is doable but pushing the limit. I didn’t really have to go to either place. I just have trouble walking without a destination. I don’t know why. I would walk nowhere for hours when I was younger.

I made it to the store. Walked in the door, looked to the left at the produce section as I continued past it without a thought, took a right an walked to the pet section. No, I don’t need anything here. Toward the back of the store, oh, the restocked the bikes. Maybe I’ll… No, I don’t really need anything. Finished the circuit, walked by the produce section, now on my right and directly outside. I got halfway home before I thought, What the fuck did I just do?

Walking the rest of the way I started to think about how I’ve been trying to counter my negative self talk. “I’m fucked up, dude” is one I hear a lot. I never thought to change it. It’s just an expression, a saying. Something I do when I notice I’m doing something fucked up. Maybe I should stop saying it. I’ve been catching it when I trash myself but I do it so much. I never noticed until I started paying attention. But I am fucked up. I was thinking about it last week while I reading people on here. Everyone is fucked up. Not only the people who blog about their mental illness or addictions. I follow a couple people who have recipe blogs and they post instructions on how to make what they had for dinner last night. They’re pretty fucked up. There is nothing wrong with it.

I got home and started thinking about how I am still having trouble with the approach to not drinking. Commit to zero tolerance no drinking ever for the rest of my life? That doesn’t seem realistic because with my thinking, if I drink once, then I failed and a loser and beat myself up forever and make myself want to drink more. But if I don’t commit and I drink again, it’s okay because I didn’t really fail. (If you never try, you can never fail) The “everyone makes mistakes, just learn from it” thing sounds more reasonable but am I just giving myself an out? How many fucking “mistakes” can I make? Am I giving myself permission to drink more often because it’s no big deal? Just try again.

I got tired of thinking about it and I didn’t sleep last night so I went to bed. Surprisingly I fell asleep quickly. I have a hard time napping during the day. The phone ringing woke me up and when I saw, “Landlord” on the screen my heart skipped. “What did I do wrong?” After my scare Sunday I was already thinking I should check to make sure they have my paperwork in the system. It was good news. My lease is printed and all I have to do is pick it up. Still, I had anxiety after hanging up. Coupled with the usual anxiety I have that lasts about ten minutes after a nap. Drinking popped into my head for a second but not like I was going to run out the door to the store.

It made me wonder. Is that a craving? What would I do if it did make me want to get drunk. I never googled that before. It turns out I’ve been doing most of the things already. One is, distract myself. I’m doing that right now. Sitting at the computer typing and the Red Sox are on next to me. The problem is both of these are also triggers. Not that I don’t have plenty of other triggers. But sitting at the computer and typing and drinking all night is something I’ve had fun with for a long time. I started writing about an hour ago because this time of night is a time I like to start drinking. I did it on purpose tonight. I wasn’t having any urges, I was just planning ahead. It’s just on my mind because I thought so much about it today. I already knew about meditation. But deep breathing? Again? Nobody thought I might need to hear about that? I’m reminded of the saying, “Don’t confuse your google search with my medical degree.” or something like that. Makes sense but why the fuck am I finding all this shit out on google by myself years later?

Another one I had never heard of was “surf the urge.” They normally last 15-20 minutes and you just ride it out. I think I knew that but a problem I used to have was the part of my brain causing the urge really didn’t want to ride it out. I would make it worse and last longer by convincing myself it wouldn’t go away.

I did distract myself around 5 by making dinner. When I used to try to control my drinking I had a fucked up system of how much beer I could buy at a certain time so I wouldn’t run out before the store closed. Makes sense, right? Like if I bought a six pack at 9 by the time I finished the store closed. How is that controlling my drinking? Isn’t 6 beers a lot? Stupid anyway, half the time I would look at the clock, notice I had 2 beers left and walk the store for another rack. That’s not the funniest part. Some nights I would say I can just buy a 12 pack at 6 and the store would be closed when I finished. Yeah, that’s really controlling my drinking. Alcohol fucks up your thought processes.

What else? Overconfidence in staying sober. I remember earlier this summer when my daughter got her license I was so happy for her and she has a good boyfriend and she got the job she wanted right away. I just can’t believe how great her life is going. I started telling myself I was doing pretty well also. I was taking care of all my responsibilities and doing more than necessary to help my physical and mental health. I was feeling pretty great. (and manic) I don’t think that was it though. I didn’t think, this would be a great time to start drinking. I kept doing all the same things. My intention at the beginning of the summer was to be outside as much as possible because I wanted to meet people in the real world after being tired of meeting people online. But not drinking buddies.

I’m pretty sure how it turned. For years I’ve been seeing my daughter almost every weekend, usually at her house. I wasn’t only seeing her. I was seeing her family and I get along with all of them. They usually have company and a lot of times it is people I’ve known for years. After my daughter got her license and job, she wanted to pick me up and drive places. I was seeing her less often and much shorter length of time. Plus, I’m still not sure do I stop over and visit without the reason of visiting my daughter there? In the same month the two women I’ve been seeing semi-regularly for the past two years disappeared. I have no explanation for that. I pretty much lost all face to face contact.

The first week of August I realized how quickly summer would end and also even though I was out in public everyday, I wasn’t giving myself a chance to meet anyone. I was just walking or biking right past them. My plan was to not waste the summer and I just wasted the summer. I kept going out during the day and I started making point of stopping in public at least a little and I was still trying to find sober people. But my brain was really revving up at that point and I panicked thinking I had a deadline of end of summer. That’s when I started trying to figure a way to meet people online. It is also when I started planning on drinking. I knew it but I didn’t know it. But every place to find people was a drinking activity. I know it’s not a good idea but I guess I was thinking it was a really good idea. Luckily I kept cancelling before I followed through until I exploded on Labor Day weekend.

I guess this post is an, “everyone makes ‘mistakes’, learn from it and try again” post. My original plan for tonight was to listen to the audiobook, “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It was not what I expected. I think it is a fantastic audiobook. She narrates her own words and has a great voice and even though it’s not poetry at all it sounds like one long spoken word poem. The problem is it is 18 hours! I’ve only listened to two 40 minute sessions. I almost did but “Sober Curious” by Ruby Warrington popped up somewhere on the internet. I’ve been seeing it everywhere but never thought anything about it. I almost went to my room but on impulse I checked and it was available on my app. I said, come on, this is what’s on my mind. If I don’t like it I don’t have to listen.

I listened to a few chapters. At first I thought she’s too young, she did drink a lot but not extreme or long enough to have a problem and she hasn’t been sober that long. But she is well researched and it’s a book about addiction and I don’t have an argument with anything she says so far. I almost did quit when she said she does still drink but she won’t tell how much or how often because we will compare and not make our own decision on how much we should drink or if we should drink at all. First I WTF’d? but it makes sense. I know there is no, ummm… “Safe” quantity or frequency I can drink. I could say to myself, I’m fine if I have 2 beers on Friday night. I could say it but there is no fucking way it would work. I’m still going to listen because I agree with everything so far. Maybe not everything but there is nothing else sticking out that I remember bugging me.

I keep thinking back to the few times I’ve told professionals alcohol makes me manic. They all said the same thing. “Alcohol is a depressant, you know.” No shit. I know that but before I get depressed I drink for 4 straight days and nights without sleeping until my brain and body finally give out. When I was a kid I used to get pissed when my friends would pass out and I would be the only one awake still wanting to party.

My favorite thing the guy I saw on YouTube said was about “compound interest.” I’ve always liked it when it came to money but he meant, don’t try to do everything right now. Just try to get a tiny bit better each day and it adds up.

“Leave the morning for morning, yes pain can be killed, with aspirin tablets and vitamin pills, but memories of hope and glorious defeat, are a little bit harder to beat.”

“Love Ire and Song” Frank Turner