Never going back again

 

I don’t know where my path will lead me but I do know that it lies ahead, not behind.

I’ve been in recovery from alcoholism for a little over three and a half months. I’ve been working the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s working but I sure as hell don’t have everything figured out. I’m also not in any rush to get there. I’m just trying to enjoy the moments as they pass and grow through the process. I”m doing it my way which apparently is pretty disconcerting to a number of people close to me. After all, doing it my way is what got me in this predicament in the first place, right?

Now that would be a pretty compelling argument for not doing things my way if I thought my current predicament was somehow bad. I’m not going to say that everything is perfect by any means but considering the alternative I”m really grateful for where I am today. I certainly don’t think that being in recovery is anything to be ashamed of. Obviously I wouldn’t be in recovery if I hadn’t done a lot of crazy fucked up shit but I wasn’t going to get here any other way. That’s not to say that I would recommend my method to anyone else. Of course, I’ve heard a lot of stories from other people about how they got here and I wouldn’t recommend any of those methods either. Of all the options for getting where I am today, I’m pretty satisfied with the way I did it.

Still, it’s hard to look back on where I was without some level of regret. It’s impossible to get better without acknowledging that you once weren’t so good. I can take comfort in the fact that I always did my best. I’m not perfect and sometimes my best sucks… but so what! I’m getting better, right? I’ve been wrong and I’ll probably be wrong again. I’ve never gotten better by doing something I was already perficient at. I get better by doing something I don’t know how to do. Along the way I make mistakes, I fuck up, I learn and I get better. That’s how I got to where I am today. Of course it’s hard to be on a path of self-improvement without realizing how much I must suck right now compared to some future version of me.

All I know is that I have to keep going. I will stay on this path as long as it continues to work… and probably a little bit longer just to make sure. That’s my way of doing things. I’m kind of stubborn like that. I like to be thorough. But have I learned everything there is to learn from my past? I don’t know but I have my doubts. I may have done the best I could have done at the time but that doesn’t mean that I did the best I can do now. I can’t go back and relive those moments but I can continue to learn from them.  I can try again with the wisdom I have gained. I’m pretty sure I’m done with the drinking experiment though. I’ve actually lost the desire to go down that road. I know it works, I’m just not in a rush to get where it will take me.

 

 

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To make a long story short

I had another birthday yesterday.

That makes forty-seven that I have had so far. I”m not a big fan of birthdays. I feel it’s a lot of pressure to put on one day. But, it is a good excuse to get drunk and spend money so that’s what I did. It was actually a really fun night.  I could tell you all about it but I don’t want to . If you really cared you would have been there. Hopefully you are living your own life and don’t need to live vicariously through mine.

All I know is that at the end of the night I took a cab home alone. Last night I was pretty pissed off about that. Today I am grateful.

Today I can remember that a year ago I did have someone to spend my birthday with. I also know that what happened that night was so disturbing that I couldn’t even write about it factually. I had to write it as fiction.

Today I feel grateful to be alone.

Tomorrow… who knows how I will feel. It’s a funny thing about time.

Oh, that reminds me. I did learn something last night. I learned that time itself is a made up concept. I might have to think about that for a while.

How are you doing?

As I rode my bike to therapy yesterday I pondered the question that I know would be awaiting me.

“So, how are you doing?”

To be honest, I had no idea. I wasn’t happy but I wasn’t looking to kill myself either. I felt like I was making progress but I was still no where near where I wanted to be. I’d been concerned with how much I’ve been drinking but I’ve actually been drinking less that I had expected; with a couple notable exceptions.

So I’m somewhere in the middle. Things aren’t fantastic but they aren’t completely falling apart either.

Should I be feel grateful about that or disappointed that things aren’t better?

My first clue is the word “should”. I’ve always had a problem with that word. The fact is it doesn’t matter how I feel. I can feel either way or both. I can feel however I feel. I can be grateful for the things that are working and disappointed in the things that I wish were different. My feeling don’t change anything. The situation is still the same.

So I decided that the situation is exactly as it’s meant to be. Some things work and some things have room for improvement. But hey, that’s life! In that moment I just decided to be okay with it.

After my appointment I decided to go for a little bike ride. I didn’t really have a choice. I was over ten miles from miles from my house but I wasn’t really in a hurry to get home. I just wanted to ride around for a while.

I wound up stopping in at the 331 Club in NE Minneapolis for happy hour. I realized that I hadn’t been to a bar just to commune with people all month. This is actually a really important part of my life. I haven’t missed it which is probably good. I don’t need to be hanging out in bars everyday but in moderation, there is a reason for me to hang out in bars.

I met these two computer programmers. I want to go on record as saying computer programmers are highly under appreciated. Okay, I think most people are under appreciated but a computer programmer’s job is to not be noticed. Most of the world these days runs on software but the only time we even think about it when it doesn’t work. A software developer’s job is to create something that we can take for granted. Fuck, I’m glad I got out of that field!

I also talked to a guy who is trying to create a better battery than anything currently in existence. Yup… that’s what I do at the bar.

After that I went and hung out with a friend who had just gone through a couple of rough days. I couldn’t fix anything but I still think I made things better.

So how was your day?

Moving connections

I’ve been struggling all week trying to write about what happened last weekend. It finally dawned on me that I was making it way more difficult than I needed to. I wanted to capture the transformative nature of the weekend but that is not really necessary  The nature of transformation is that it sticks with you and it continues to change. In other words, there will be plenty of time to write about all that.

What I need to capture is just the events as they occurred and my feelings, thoughts and state of mind in that moment.

If I just gave you the events, it would sound something like this:

I spent Saturday afternoon helping one of my closest friends move out of Minneapolis into her boyfriend’s house in Oakdale. It took two trips filling my van and a pickup each time.

Afterwards we had diner at The Green Room in Stillwater and drank wine from a vineyard the couple had visited in SLO California when they were there over new years.

After that we went to meet the boyfriend’s dad at a karaoke bar across the river. We drank beer, eat peanuts and talked about everything under the sun. The boyfriend did an amazing job singing The Piano has been Drinking by Tom Waits.

After the bar closed a group of us returned to the boyfriend’s parents house to hang out. We drank and talked, I played the piano for a bit, and we partied ’til the sun came up.

Boring! I mean the day was in no way boring but what made it exciting was not the things I did, it was the connections with other people that made it meaningful. The events alone make it no different than any weekend in my life. What makes my life special are the people involved.

I was so grateful to be asked to participate in this move. I love helping people move and I’m pretty damn good at it by now. Moving is a major life change and I feel very privileged to be part of these monumental events. As I was helping my friend move I hearkened back to the last time I helped someone with a move out of this residence. That was a much more solemn life change filled with negativity and destruction. This time had it’s share of negativity but it felt like a move forward. It felt like growth and new opportunity.

What was so special about being asked this time was that they didn’t need to ask. I’m not talking about not needing to ask because I would help regardless, like I already had it on my calendar – which I did. No, I mean not needing to ask because they didn’t really need my help. I’m sure that the boyfriend could have just hired movers and have been done with it but he didn’t. They took the risk and asked for help. I find that noble.

My brother-in-law once said, “any problem that can be solved with money is not a problem”. I like that. I believe that. By the way, I think that poverty is a problem that can be solved with money, but that is clearly outside the scope of what I am trying to accomplish with this entry.

My point is that the boyfriend could have simply solved this problem with money. I’m sure he’s got it. He drives a brand new Lexus, works for his dad’s company which from what I could tell is doing perfectly well. His parent’s house reminded me a lot of my dream house which I have created in my head just in case I wind up rich. Their’s might actually might be a little bit bigger and I’m sure it’s not their only house. Surface it to say, they have more money than most of my artist friends.

… but not all. I feel very fortunate to have friends at all levels of the socioeconomic scale. It’s all part of my love of diversity thing. I believe it takes all types to make the world go round. I just don’t like it when some people are valued more than others. I grew up in a middle-class family that struggled financially at times. Nowadays, my parents could be considered rich I guess. Saturday I was asked how I define rich and I responded, “if you have so much money that you need to pay someone to spend it for you, I would consider you rich”. My parents do that on occasion.

Me? I’m pretty fucking poor. Most of my friends are poor. It might just be that our economy is totally fucked up. I mean most people are pretty poor and this is the richest nation in the world, right? Per capita, we are number seven but again, I’m getting beyond the scope of this post.

What I am saying is, regardless of your income, race, sex, disability or any other way we want to categorize people, we are all human. We all have the same human limitations. We all need to eat, sleep and shit. We are all constrained by only having 24 hours to each day. We all get older and we will all one day die. In that, we are all the same.

Money cannot buy friendship, not real friendship, certainly not my friendship. That’s why I was asked to help with the move; to build friendship. I was asked to be part of a meaningful life event not because my help was necessary, but because I was wanted. That means the fucking world to me!

They didn’t get off cheap either. I think I only bought one beer all night and I can drink! The boyfriend covered my gas and took me out for a really nice diner. You know what? Hiring movers would probably have been cheaper.

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