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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Quarter after one.
When I was a poor drunkard in 2009, there was a clerk at the store who told me he chose not to drink, and the matter was as simple as choosing to drink or not drink. At the time, I think I disagreed with him, saying that alcoholism is a genetic disease and not a matter of choice at all. Now I don’t know. Opinions on it vary. There was a huge controversy over alcoholism when I had my problems. A few quacks wrote books on the subject just for the money. A counselor told me that if I could solve the riddle of why some people recover and others don’t, I’d be a rich man, but I’m skeptical of that today. There will always be quacks to ride the gravy train, cash in on something big, but I’m not one of them. If there’s a secret to staying sober, then it is obscure even to me: even I don’t know how I’m doing it. I am definitely cynical of treatment facilities and other things where the research is phony and they only want to make a lot of money, and control patients into the bargain. If you are an intelligent person, I expect that you’ll discover a way to stop drinking without the gimmicks and false information that you see everywhere. Looking back, I see nothing but a huge racket made of addiction and recovery. If you’re smart, you will care enough for yourself to make the best decisions, not for anyone else, but for you alone.
It’s supposed to be cooler today than the last two days: mid eighties. But I’m really enjoying some of these summer moments, appreciating what I have and what’s happened to me. It may be wrong to credit the invisible powers that be for this good fortune. Most people don’t see what I see, that is, a kind of providence intervening to take care of people, particularly the poor and underprivileged like me. Maybe there’s an element of cleverness in my situation today, of erring on the side of caution. I don’t know what it is but I’ve survived a lot of stuff and lived to write about it. My biggest Waterloo was alcohol addiction. Occasionally I still need a dose of social support to help maintain sobriety, and luckily the church has been there for me. Without it I might be sunk. And in turn, without sobriety, everything is lost… I learned from something I read how guilt can be a person’s Achilles’ Heel. Actually, it was an astrology report for myself, done online twelve years ago. It was very true. I wonder how many people can relate to guilt being a problem in their lives? How many would like to remedy this condition?
Six fifty AM.
Yesterday afternoon the clouds finally blew away to make a sunny day. This morning it’s still mostly clear with no breeze. It keeps hitting me that the key to everything resides in your own heart, whether it’s recovery from addiction or whatever. The original and ultimate arbiter of the truth is yourself; you are the alpha and omega of your life, and no one can rob you of that unless you give them permission. You can bow to an authority figure, but first you endow the person with the power that was yours to begin with. I did some reading in Emerson yesterday, and his message, repeated again and again, is self reliance and independence. For background noise, my mind plays “Coconut Grove” by The Lovin Spoonful, but the room is quiet and tranquil. I tell Aesop it’s 43 minutes to his breakfast and he settles down and waits patiently. Outside and in, the air is breathless as if expecting something to happen. But today I only expect good things.