Quarter of nine.
The early days of my recovery have returned to my memory due to the fifth anniversary of the same. I even remember being on a different medication before Vraylar, a sublingual that didn’t work very well for me… I confess that I’m all confused and I don’t make much sense lately. I need to stay sober, but I also have to maintain sanity and proportion. I hear it raining now, at last. The sound of it is soothing, a simple thing for tranquility and peace of mind. I’ve been so scared of relapse because the five year milestone seems so big and important. But no one else has control over it: it’s only me with that power. For this reason, should I be afraid of what might happen? I think I should trust myself to do what’s good for me.
Nine fifty five.
The recovery rates reported by AA are astonishingly low, and they go down as more time goes by…
Quarter of eleven.
I feel bloated after an early lunch and the second Snapple tea. I left a message for my sister on her voicemail. Now there’s an opening in the cloud cover for the sun to peek through. I don’t see the point in much of anything. Writing keeps my mind and my hands occupied so I won’t be tempted to drink. Yesterday I played my bass but I wasn’t satisfied with my sound or the way it went. When you don’t have a car, how can you hope to play in a band? The world has moved on and left me behind. Even my sobriety doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Supposedly all these good things will drop in your lap when you don’t drink, as if a god took care of you. Still I persist at my life and wait for something good to come my way. And that’s probably what I’m doing wrong. I think what I need is some good advice from a person who is shrewd and realistic, kind of like how my old psychiatrist was, because my life is going nowhere!
During the afternoon, something awakened me to the validity of other psychoanalytic theories than simply Freud, which I’d lived by ever since junior high school, namely Alfred Adler. He reminds us that we need security and confidence to carry out our lives, a skill to be proud of and do competently, etc. We need self esteem and a little bit of pride in ourselves. I’ve known some people who take this to the extreme of invalidating other people from their own feelings of inferiority, jealousy, or resentment. Perhaps even some therapists have done this to their clients. I feel I was shipwrecked by one such person four years ago, and the trauma still messes with me in the springtime. I never should have left my psychiatrist in the first place. Human relationships can be very delicate things. There’s always someone with a pellet gun to shoot down your balloon in order for themselves to rise. We say the good die young and nice guys finish last. But sometimes you have to protect yourself from predators.
Well, the sun actually came out after my session went really well. It renewed some of my belief in myself. My other experiences with therapy were execrable; they simply didn’t know how to relate to me. And, whatever other people may say, I still adhere to the Freud I learned in school. If there’s no chance of romantic love for a person, then life feels pointless. I think a lot of people can identify with this statement because there’s so much repression in today’s society. But right now the sun rams through unstoppably and the life force itself is invincible. No matter what a huge mess we’ve made of our culture, love still triumphs.
Quarter of five.
Pastor himself is going to give me a ride to church tonight for our music rehearsal after the service. I’m feeling nervous and anxious about it for some reason. I don’t know what I was thinking earlier today, but it wasn’t very rational. I think maybe the therapist is driving me kind of nuts. He has devolved into my taskmaster, and there isn’t really any psychological stuff involved. He just gives me orders. Eventually I’ll probably rebel against him and do what I want to do with my life. Isn’t that what most people do?… So it’s actually the agency that’s making me crazy from all the criticism they dish out. My natural reaction is to feel anger and resentment at my accusers and, perversely, do just the opposite of what they expect from me. They try to force people into a mold with a shoehorn in uniform precision, but of course this doesn’t work very well. “Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs / Got to keep the loonies on the path.” It’s easy for someone to say you have to do XYZ, but even easier for me to ask for one good reason why. And if a group of lemmings follows the leader over a cliff, I’d be expected to do the same. Who’s the crazy one now? And why should everyone conform?
At eleven o’clock I have an appointment with Sean for therapy. I don’t dread it so much this time because I did my homework, more or less. It snowed for a few minutes an hour ago, when I fed my dog his breakfast. I’m looking ahead to Wednesday night, when I’m supposed to rehearse with my church for our Christmas medley… I won’t get to have lunch until noon today. Music: an old Irving Berlin song, “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody.” I think I still have that vinyl LP somewhere in the house. It makes me think of my mother…
Noon hour. My visit with Sean went okay. He seems to like Alan Watts, and keeps referring to him and to Eastern religious traditions, which is fine with me. My sleep last night was troubled with difficult thoughts and feelings. Right now I ponder whether it’s a good thing to abandon your personal desires and act from altruism. It seems like every major world religion has self sacrifice for its ideal and goal. This can be the real test for some people, including myself and my last girlfriend. I was a very selfish alcoholic. I still don’t understand why I can’t just have the things I want for myself rather than letting it all go and trusting in providence for what I need. Bertrand Russell wrote a book called The Conquest of Happiness. Reading Mark Twain is a little like that as well, but you don’t meet many people who think the same way as Thomas Jefferson these days. The Enlightenment appears to be quite dead as our society continues shifting away from reason and freedom. I wonder if I should simply surrender my beliefs and drift downstream with the other flotsam?
One o’clock. And yet I can’t get rid of the idea of “moral paralysis” in Joyce’s Dubliners, and of trying to be the Byronic hero, however selfish people call it, and worse things. What on earth are we supposed to do? Just be ourselves.
I tried playing the bass but my confidence was blown away by the therapy visit I’d had this morning. I usually put on blinders to the ugly things I don’t want to see, like a form of extreme introversion or maybe selective denial of reality. This began when I had a Nissan truck and the interior was always a big mess. My brother said, “You don’t see it, but other people do.” He meant himself of course. Since that time the messiness has spread to my house, and I don’t know why. It’s a problem that has gotten progressively worse in about ten years’ time. It seems like there’s nothing I can do to fix it. Maybe underlying it all is a subconscious motive, perhaps an attitude of devil may care; maybe I need a good reason to keep things clean. Otherwise I figure it’s not worth the effort if it’s only me. Underneath it all I think it’s due to a feeling of despair and futility. It’s a voice saying what’s the use. Or it could be from a sense of rebellion and reckless independence, like defiance and perversity. It could be any or all of these things at a submerged level. Possibly I have anger issues directed somewhere. No one else has been able to figure it out yet.
And then maybe no amount of psychologizing will ever expose the reasons for my behavior. It’s just a schizophrenic brain glitch.
Quarter after eight.
I got the trash out in time for today’s pickup, which usually comes at around eleven o’clock. Next I went to the store. Michelle said she was very tired for the weekend from working two jobs again. The customers this morning were all guys, and some of them knew each other from somewhere else. Many people order biscuits and gravy on weekday mornings, though Michelle told me the owners need to get a new gravy pot. I hear the raucous cawing of crows somewhere out there. Aesop gets his breakfast at nine. Just now he’s finishing his peanut butter treat. If I don’t call my sister today, she’ll probably try to call me later this morning or even afternoon. I guess that might be okay. I missed having rehearsal with the band this weekend, but staying home from church was a good move. The sun splashes the backyard like orange juice on the greens. Now I reflect on the pointless suffering that people inflict on each other for lack of understanding, or sometimes from self defense, and of course from fear. It’s even harder to forgive people their trespasses. Our reflex is to demand an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and our justice system is set up that way. Right now I can’t really conclude anything with conviction. I read too many Tarzan books growing up, in which revenge is the oldest motive in history.
Quarter after nine. I feel tired and lightheaded from getting a poor night’s sleep. Aesop likes to rest on the hardwood floor of the hallway where the oak tree shades it. I heard Lenore’s chocolate Lab bark from her yard just now, so I hope she got back home today. Also I hear a suspicious sound, like homeless people rifling through our trash cans. Maybe it’s only Diana wheeling out her garbage. Aside from these noises, and except for my tinnitus, it’s remarkably quiet here. No one may pierce my mental privacy today. It is live and let live.
Quarter of noon.
Desire is a hard thing to live with, yet unless nirvana is for real, it is ineradicable… I had a dream last night about V—: she was having sex with a middle aged man on camera. I don’t know what has gotten into me lately. Is it bad or good, or maybe neither? I’ve been repressed for a long time, since I quit drinking. Now there’s an itch that’s driving me nutty.
One o’clock. Particularly, it was Pam’s voluptuous body I loved. I’ve had a breakthrough just today, where before I was blocked due to a bad experience with talk therapy. The therapist downright declared me a gay man, and this messed me up for three years. I believe that male clients should have male therapists, or perhaps the female therapist I had was just very bad at her job. Whatever, I’ll probably never be a fan of psychotherapy, and my digression to this four years ago was all a mistake. There’s no cure for schizophrenia, especially not from the inside out. I feel inclined to call up my old psychiatrist and renew our relationship…
Sometimes I feel that there’s no place where I belong; but it could be that I simply don’t belong with WordPress. I don’t care for the conservative attitudes I keep running into here. And needless to say, the church is someplace I don’t fit with anymore. Sex is for more than begetting children, in my opinion. I’m just very sick and tired of repression wherever I turn. Our time is the Victorian Age all over again, and for this reason we’ll be seeing cases of “hysteria” cropping up anytime now.
The world holds its breath while the votes are counted. I doubt if I can get any more sleep this morning. So much hinges on the election, for me and for everybody. All I can do is eat ice cream and try to think about something else.
Nine twenty. Rich autumnal colors outside, beautiful to walk through. Aesop needed food, so I took off a little early. I thought a bit about independence, and using your own judgment, especially in matters that concern you personally. As a rock star said, “Watch out for that advice.” Everyone with sense has the right to be eclectic and make their own decisions. All of us are free, but some of us are not aware of the fact. People can tell you that you’re screwed. People can tell you anything, but the judge is ultimately you. This is your life, live it your way. My annual review for Laurel Hill happens this afternoon. She will probably ask me why I’m not seeing a therapist, but I’m prepared with an answer. If I’d wanted my life to be wrecked, I would’ve taken the advice of the first therapist. But I used my own wits instead… I hope I can pick up my Vraylar today. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow. Let it come down.
Eleven thirty. My sister called, and we had a nice conversation. We agree on a lot more now than we used to, and that’s very encouraging. I think the real demon is alcohol. It destroys lives, but it also obscures the truth… We talked, among other things, about Jack London stories. She saw the new release of The Call of the Wild and said it was great. I described to her the short story of “Batard.” We were on the topic of cruelty to animals, so this story came to my mind… It’s almost time for lunch. I feel good right now, so I won’t question it. Just roll with it through the rest of the day.
Six thirty. I should analyze what went wrong today. Why was I thinking I was gay? I have a Platonic impulse and an Aristotelian. Plato is deeper, I believe. He is round, Aristotle flat. But Aristotle is proud and upright. There must be something in my past influencing my present. It’s been a weird day ever since I got up this morning. I only know that I had physical therapy yesterday, and probably something about it set off queer thoughts today. Time will tell why. Maybe some of the exercises Erin put me through suggested sexual stuff to my mind, even humiliating things. And no, I don’t think I like it, even if it’s just me. One more session, I reckon, then I’ll discontinue the program. Physical therapy is not my kind of thing.
Eight o’clock. I wonder what gives me such a strong attitude of pride, and why is it often wounded? I hate being put in a compromised position by anyone else. A position may be literal or figurative, physical or mental. I hate to be degraded or demeaned by people or situations, likely as a result of abuse somewhere in my past. And it’s awfully easy for new people to come along and abuse me even more. I’m just not the type for therapy for that reason. I’m more inclined to go off by myself and lick my own hurts…