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.