Sunday Morning

Eight thirty 🕣. Aesop needs wet food again. I’ll go to the store in a little while. The oak in my backyard keeps dropping acorns on the patio cover. I’ve decided not to go to church today. I’m beginning to get it together again, and I wonder if my old psychiatrist is taking new patients. How conspicuous will my absence from church be? Maybe the turnout will be rather low. I’m just not interested in taking communion and singing hymns. It’s all a lot of smoke and mirrors. For once I agree with my brother on something. But his alcoholism I don’t agree with, nor his mendacity. Of my two siblings I think I like Jeff better, but not when he’s drinking and ruining his life. Polly is just sort of there. A very dim blip on my radar. What I’d really like is to brainstorm a new way to avert alcoholism. I would save my brother if I could. Is it a matter of letting go of selfish desires? Mostly I think it’s about getting rid of the guilt and shame. How was I able to stay sober? Make this the starting point of a new program for alcoholics. I certainly didn’t use the 12 Steps. I know that it takes a sincere desire to quit drinking. Also it requires a healthy fear of dying. Nothing will work if you are bent on suicide. You must be made aware that alcoholism will kill you. And you have to care whether you live or die. I don’t know if Jeff really wants to be alive. Does he love himself enough to be saved? I should try to call him again.

Nine fifty. Back from the store. Raj’s uncle is named Suk. I introduced myself today. I bought dog food and the usual junk food for me plus a ginger ale. I’m in a good mood right now, so why question it?… I’ve had two American girlfriends, and both of them were religious. Both relationships ended over a disagreement on God. I told the second one baldly that I couldn’t be a Christian, and that was the end of our friendship. The year 1999 was very interesting for me. I played in a band of atheist hippies on one hand and dated a Lutheran on the other. My parents were alive until September when my dad passed away. A few days after his death I went to Borders and bought a book of Epicurus and of Lucretius. The problem of the afterlife was bothering me. One of the slogans of Epicurus was that death is nothing to us. You simply cease to be conscious, as in a dreamless sleep. I’m still inclined to agree with that. So the third girlfriend was an atheist from Scotland, someone I never met in person. We corresponded for six years. It was a great thing. But I drank daily, and way too much. It was out of desperation that I joined the church. I compromised my beliefs just to have some local friends for support of my sobriety. Even as I write, church worship is going on without me. Another variable is the Vraylar I take every day. The longer I’m on it, the less religious I become. Today I feel like I did at 20 years of age. It’s a great drug. I don’t know how it acts on the brain, but it works well. I also don’t know how I fell ill with schizophrenia but I’m quite certain it’s a biological disease, no different from cancer or diabetes in being somatic. The effectiveness of Vraylar is proof that the mind is simply brain function. Alter the chemistry and change the behavior. Moreover I maintain that talk therapy can never be as helpful as drug therapy. The only problem with it is the cost. If you don’t have good insurance, then the expense of the medication is simply not doable. This is why I opted to stay in the system and receive benefits… Well, church will be over by now, and I wasn’t there. I still feel really good this morning. It’s cloudy and cool, a nice summer day. I’m going to give Aesop his snack presently.

Afternoon Musings

Quarter of one. My mind is crowded with memories, all competing for attention. Mostly I wish to confess being a utilitarian, whether that’s good or bad. Everybody wants to be happy, I reckon. My sister would disagree, saying that what’s important is not our happiness but God’s plan for us. Well, not everyone has God on their side. I don’t know if I am saved or a lost soul, and it makes no difference if I reject the religious terms and use my own. I suppose I’m not alone in my epicurean beliefs. I regret that some of my friends are altruists to the hilt, for I don’t share their motives. It’s okay to derive pleasure from life, and even better to spread happiness around. Relieving the suffering of others is always a good thing; everyone understands pleasure and pain: that’s why utility makes excellent sense. But all my defense aside, at the kernel of my being is an egoistic impulse, and nothing can change it. People argue that egoism is childish and immature, and something to outgrow. Still I can’t envision me putting myself in the front line in some war I don’t believe in. And the more sober and conscious I am, the more convinced I am of my position… Hey look— Heidi is here!