Noon hour. People don’t communicate with each other like they should… The poems I wrote after my dad’s death grew more pornographic and doubtful about my orientation. Was I just a pervert, maybe a victim of rock and roll music? Sometimes I wish I could drink again and forget what a degenerate I am. It takes the pain away for a while. I remember a day in January 2002 when most of the band Blueface came to my house. That was fun and heartwarming. I used to drink a lot and do the whole rock and roll lifestyle except I wasn’t promiscuous. I looked at porn, that was all. But I was on the same page with the band, whether it was evil or whatever. They connected it with the devil, uncomfortably for me, and it worsened my delusions. The lifestyle dichotomized experience into a Christian good and evil. The band actually wanted to go to hell. I didn’t want to believe in either heaven or hell, but to just be my agnostic self. I recall the day at Borders when I picked up The Riverside Milton, kind of an editorial blunder. I doubt that it’s in print anymore. But I bought it and began to read Paradise Lost, thinking of Satan as a hero.

One o’clock. The magnetic pull of summertime activates old memories of the gigging life and how rock and roll affected my mentality. Is it really desirable to play rock music again? It’ll be good to go to church Sunday and purge my dark thoughts for a while. Out with the bad, in with the good. I feel tempted to drink beer in the summer sunshine, get loaded and do something with music. But I won’t do that. This mood will pass, like everything. I’m really a thrall to my memories, triggered by the seasons and the weather… I can remember the feeling of being shit faced drunk. It was wonderful at first, but then it became unpleasant because of withdrawals. The year 2011 was so much fun, especially in the fall when Kate and I exchanged gifts and so many emails. But what a chore for my body to push all that fermented fluid! Poor liver and pancreas, stomach, kidneys— everything. Alcohol gave me a foretaste of heaven, but it was false, merely a release of endorphins in the brain. Over time the heaven turned into a nightmare of hell. I finally stopped drinking because my stomach couldn’t hold the liquor down anymore. I was wasting my money.

A Regret

One twenty. The clouds are burning off. Sometimes it feels like nothing is going right. I know that’s too extreme. At least something must be going right. In fact it’s only one or two things I don’t like, and these color everything else dark. If I could drink without consequences then I’d be tempted. But I can’t even do caffeine. A tiny bit of chocolate, maybe. I had some thoughts about good and evil this morning, from a religious point of view. The devil exists only as a social taboo, not as a real being. Evil thoughts and deeds come from a deeper place in the brain, a place we mostly shun. I wonder why my supervisor’s job ended? One participant of the agency looked at him and proclaimed, “I don’t like you, you’re the devil!” He in turn judged her to me for having drugged her way into schizophrenia. He was being absurd because he used to be a meth addict. He was the most addle witted person I ever knew. The guy was actually pitiful for being so insecure and cowardly. He never learned how to think, or maybe lost the ability… We had an occupational Black Friday at the end of June or July 2008, so that’s why I remember my boss right now. It was every man for himself, with a lot of treachery. I was ashamed especially of the street hires who made trouble for the participants. I worked with the lowest of the low. There was one participant I should have defended before she lost her job. I should’ve gone to the CEO and told her exactly what had happened, but I didn’t have the balls. Mary Alice seemed like such an ogre to me instead of a human being. I lacked the self respect to go and face her. I was just a peon in the scheme of things. But the one who should’ve lost his job a long time ago was my supervisor…

Darkness and Light

One thirty. I restrung my new Fender bass and played it for a while. Aesop really hates the noise and lets me know it. He is quiet now. I feel weird today from my meds, sometimes on the brink of death it seems like. Each time I go to sleep could be the last. Images and feelings of memories flash and vanish like lightning, not lingering long enough for me to elaborate on them.

Here’s one. It was near Christmas of 2014, I think, and I was reading from the Kindle that Kate had gifted me that fall. The essay was by David Hume, and I remember how I looked for support for my idea that people are blameless because they don’t have free will. I was probably drinking that night. I also examined a book by Herbert Spencer titled The Data of Ethics, again trying to rationalize drinking. The truth is that I could barely read anyway from being drunk, so what was the point— except the ability to drink depends on the ability to rationalize it. When all the reasons are gone, one can no longer force himself to abuse alcohol. That was no way to live and use my head. My mind had converted to just a rationalizing machine, and this and getting drunk made me feel better temporarily. But I couldn’t see the light that was so obvious to sober people. And even though I’m sober now, I still have to get my act together in certain ways, like cooking and cleaning. Sometimes CBT can be manipulated to justify bad behavior and absolve the perpetrator. If anybody can do this, it’s me. I was the king of rationalization, and still have the capacity for it. But you can rationalize yourself right to death if you’re not careful… I wonder why I didn’t sleep last night. Was it only because of Aesop, or was there a deeper concern?…

Marc the guitarist was another clever rationalizer. Very wily and too cute. He could invent lies at the drop of a hat. To think that I could have been a martyr for his kind of rock and roll. I remember the feel of those drunken nights, bar hopping from the Samurai Duck over to Black Forest to check out his friend Casey on drums. Or seeing something bizarre on Spike TV while Marc talked with me over a beer before a gig. I wasn’t wholly convinced by his words. At 36 years old, I was still very young. Part of me wondered what I was doing there at the bar. My mother was gone, but I imagined that she would approve of my involvement in the music project. This happened before my first recovery. On a different medication, I saw clearly the contrast between darkness and light, and I was flirting with the wrong side of the dichotomy. I didn’t really want to be a bad boy, but the good side seemed oppressive to me as well… When would I ever be free from religious extremes? Finally CBT taught me about the gray shades along the continuum of black and white. And yet it still appears that there’s always a good and bad side, the light and the dark. This polarity is Christian and also Aristotelian. Either there’s truth to the excluded middle, or my poor schizophrenic brain is deluded.