Does One Ever Arrive?

One thirty AM.

I’m not sure why I got out of bed in the dead of night. Vaguely I remember drooling on my pillow when it was 75 degrees in the house and a bit out of my comfort zone. But by now I’ve forgotten the things on my mind as I’ve woken up and shaken off the slumber… My journal is nearly full of my drivel since the beginning of April. After reading it back, I gave it the title, Future, Past, & the Imperfect. The most noteworthy thing about it is the departure in style and content from the sermons I used to hear at the Lutheran church. A voice of my own begins to assert itself, though the observations are often regretful and remorseful for a big decision I made five and a half years ago. It’s almost like leaving the Old World to explore the New on this adventure of recovery. Something about my progress is one step up and two steps back, and I frequently look back on the familiar past and wish I could have it both ways. It’s a little like having a foot in both places at once before the old Atlantis finally sinks below the ocean waves forevermore. What happens next is totally up to me.



Eight o’clock.

To some extent, my mental events are subconscious arithmetic, though very elementary and somewhat like numerology. I’m quite loopy for anniversaries, especially in multiples of ten years. I recall that I was in IOP treatment for alcoholism this month twenty years in the past. The main therapies used were based on intuitive psychology rather than evidence, as with cognitive therapy. It all boils down to the same dichotomy of reason versus romance, and which one would you stake your life on? I’ve seen a lot of bad logic go with the Twelve Steps, and a flawed method means inaccuracy. This in turn means a failure to accord with reality. But there may be something to be said for “the language of the heart.” I only know what works for me, and it’s not the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.” I could never see the relevance of this to recovery. You either care about factual truth or you don’t. Followers of Jamesian pragmatism value results of a belief over what is actually true. People used to talk about the Flying Spaghetti Monster and other ridiculous stuff, but if the belief helped you, it was somehow valid. I don’t hear that kind of talk today. And people still recover from addiction or they don’t, irrespective of their thoughts. Maybe instead of abolishing the DSM, we should do away with the Big Book. Either way, you’re going to upset somebody. So I stay away from the whole field of recovery. Or perhaps they stay away from me?

Sheathe the Sword

Quarter after nine.

I’m watching Aesop since giving him the sedative prior to his appointment. I’m not very happy about our project for today, but at least Gloria will be with us. Yesterday I really wanted to drink beer but I settled for writing about it. There isn’t much else to say now.

Next morning.

We got the vet visit over with. Today, Aesop seems to be a little bit mad at me for his ordeal, though his appetite and everything are fine. Finally I can take it easy, just breathe and be at peace with life… I think of things that happened years ago, but the years themselves are a blur and mostly forgotten due to daily drunkenness. My biggest regret is losing my lady friend in 2017, just after I started going to church and got serious about recovery from alcoholism. Somehow I think she felt more comfortable with guys who drank. She’d been married to a moderate alcoholic, and his brother had died from alcoholism. To her, it was normal. My own brother used to say, Live by the sword, die by the sword: but I wasn’t ready to die. I was only fifty. So I went through a little personal revolution and stopped the suicide. It’s baloney to say that it’s your duty to drink like your friends or family. Use your own judgment and choose for yourself what’s best for you. The others may accuse you of narcissism or whatever, but it’s bogus reasoning. Life itself is given to you only once. There’s always an alternative to self destruction. We all have more options than we admit to ourselves, even drastic ones. But it isn’t wussy or cowardly to save yourself from certain death.


Every Blessing but Bliss

This is what sobriety comes down to. Alcohol is a worthwhile sacrifice for the benefits you receive, though it’s never easy. The stuff I learned in treatment contains at least some truth, and it can’t be ruled out that God rewards those who recover. For that reason I’ll go back to church again this Sunday, mindful that alcohol and my old friends are indeed a sacrifice for a gain somewhere else. This seems to be the way of recovery. 


Ten fifty PM.

At least now I know that I’m not the only one who is both sober and friendless. When you succeed in staying abstinent, it does something weird to your social life. But I guess I’m happy with wandering off to be the lone philosopher as Aristotle suggests in the Nicomachean Ethics. You either drink or you don’t. Recovery groups are turning into something like the church: every week you come to confess and be forgiven. Then you go out and do the same thing again. It’s a waste of time if you’re serious about staying sober. There’s only you and the alcohol. Everything else is extraneous. The only reason you go to a group is to give your support to people who need it. If you do, you must keep your own sobriety in a lockbox. 

Birthday for Two

Well it looks like I’m going to make it for my birthday tomorrow: five years of sobriety, and nothing really mysterious about it.

I actually sent an email to my former friend about the anniversary. I only did that to make myself feel better; it has nothing to do with him at all. I doubt if he’ll reply, and that’s just as well.

Tomorrow will come and go like every day, but the word of the day is “relief.” It’ll be a huge burden rolling off my shoulders, and then I can get on with my life.

I know it happened three years ago, but the house fire 🔥 is on my mind today. Amazing to me that I lived through a fire and what that means symbolically and psychologically, even in an occult way. For me, it means my transformation to an independent person, which is like the zodiac sign Aries and my life path number of 1. Sometimes I get into this kind of stuff. Maybe it’s stupid and bogus; or then again maybe it’s not. I think I’ll look up fire in the dictionary of symbols.

I feel pretty puffed up with myself just now. I feel really good about my recovery ❤️‍🩹 and how far I’ve come. I’m a much stronger and braver person now than before I quit drinking and took control of my life.

Woo hoo! It’s a very big deal!

I should order myself a pizza 🍕 tomorrow afternoon and pig out! Call it a birthday for Aesop and me.

Yourself the Captain

Nine forty at night.

I had some wild sexual dreams that may or may not have any relevance to real life. The desire can be strong but the opportunities will be scarce for a person like me. My old psychiatrist appeared in the beginning of the dream, with a sweaty suggestion of homosexuality for me, but the dream was transformed to something more to my liking. Even so, I never really did the deed with anybody. And why should a theory a hundred years old be taken seriously to explain schizophrenia? The friend of a woman from church a few years ago said her son was “a schizophrenic and a homosexual” with a bit of a sneer. But it doesn’t mean there’s a correlation between the illness and the sexual practice. Since I quit drinking, I’ve been subjected to a lot of opinions on my mental illness that can’t all be true. I believed I was doing an independent thing by embarking on my recovery, but the waters on my voyage have been quite choppy. I guess no one ever guaranteed me the sailing would be smooth. At some point there should be some discoveries on the way, else it’ll all be in vain. One thing I know is that the truth cannot be dictated to me by previous cartographers. Every individual draws their own map of their journey.


Wee hours.

The person who put the brakes on my music was only me, but it’s for a good reason. I’m about three weeks away from my five year sober birthday. Making music is often a slippery activity for someone in recovery. In this case, we just do the best we can… I have the strangest memories of my eighth grade in the fall season. My parents had the television on constantly. I can still remember the music from some of the commercials, like for Sizzler Steakhouse: steak and langostino shrimp, where the music was Polymoog synth and a Fender P Bass, very pretty, like lounge music. Today I don’t even own a tv. I know some people are addicted to it. If I had one, it still wouldn’t be the same as when I was a kid. After my mother died I began to see television for what it was: a brainwashing tool, like having the Central Scrutinizer in your own home. Or like a scene out of Fahrenheit 451. Totally dystopian. I think I’d rather be liberated from all that. Then again, a person could argue that social media is just another form of hypnosis along with tv and everything else…


Quarter of nine at night.

There’s still twilight outside that I can see from my position. This afternoon I caught myself doing too much second guessing of other people’s thoughts on everything. The fact is that no one is clairvoyant enough to do that: telepathy doesn’t exist in real human experience. So I began to ponder what ever happened to cognitive therapy, since it was pretty big four years ago and very effective because it was realistic and based on evidence. People are less depressed when they are disabused of their distorted thinking. And, mind reading is an example of a cognitive distortion. First you catch yourself doing it, then you counter the distorted thought with a more rational one, one that is more realistic.

I hate to see a good method abandoned in favor of much older and less effective ones; yet this is the debate of reason versus romance that has gone on for more than three centuries. I’ve never seen a homeopathic remedy be very useful, especially against a disorder like schizophrenia: it makes no sense to fight delusions with more delusions. I guess it depends on the place of imagination, its meaning and its utility. I struggle when I pick up an author like Samuel Taylor Coleridge: I get vertigo from being lost in a misty fantasy of unnecessary abstraction, so I’m better off to avoid this stuff. The romance tends to sneak its way into even what we call science. It keeps us human and organic to use our imaginations, so probably the solution is a state of balance.

Schizophrenia is an extreme wherein imagination exceeds the boundaries of reality. But I don’t see much of that around me anymore. I remember when the streets at night were like rivers in hell, shrouded in fog that stank of brimstone. With age and with drug therapy, those things have sort of vanished in thin air. I’ve also grown callous to them over time.

Spark of Life

Eight thirty.

The moon loomed in the blue western sky as I headed for the same little market. I considered church today because I felt lonely and cut off from society. But when I thought of a few members I don’t care for much, I decided against going. It’s romantic to say love your neighbor as yourself, yet the reality is a bit different. It’s the difference between prescription and description, or ideal and real. Usually I don’t want to be preached to. I’m doing my job as long as I don’t drink. Yesterday I finished reading the first book of essays by Loren Eiseley and my impression was confirmed: he is not a materialist and he rejects scientific certainty. There will always be an element of mystery to life on earth that can’t be reduced to a materialistic explanation. It must be a thing of magic and miracle, something romantic. For me to agree with that would take a leap of faith. In a way, Eiseley is kind of pessimistic about the power of science. There are limits to what we can know— so how does he conclude on that?… Colin just walked past my house with his dog Lolo in the morning sunshine. The spark of life animates the two of them, unless it’s the energy from the sun trapped in chlorophyll as glucose, eaten by him to make adenosine triphosphate for his cells to do their work. Is there still a mystery to the scenario? I guess I’m a scientific optimist and determinist, though this doesn’t gel well with freedom and responsibility. I’ve been sober almost five years, which is enough of a riddle.