Seeking joy and meaning in a joyless mind and meaningless existence

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

All the Rage

he knows that something somewhere has to break...
{The Police, "Synchronicity II"}

I was just trying to help my mother with her new computer.  But between the piece of shit that is Windows 8 (how many fucking updates for how fucking long does it take?!?) and my father once again telling me my feelings were wrong*, I was boiling over with rage.  I'm four weeks sober now, and I've been grasping at the hope that soon soon SOON! I would finally have a rosier outlook on things.  That hope was the animation in my dead flesh that kept me putting one foot in front of the other.  But I'm just SO ANGRY all of the time and at the slightest provocation that I have to wonder if I'm headed for yet another nervous breakdown and truly fearful of what form it will take as it finally spills over and manifests.
(*I am in my 40's, and my parents are in their 70's.  And I have no excuse as why I still expect or seek their validation.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


What's in your head?
In your head?
Zombie, zombie, zombie

{The Cranberries, "Zombie"}

I'm just so depressed that I can barely shuffle myself forward, navigating the responsibilities of my day through sheer force of will.  (No joy...only obligations, only the expectations of others.)  After a long weekend of lonely depression...two relatively productive days in spite of it all until I abandoned all pretense of giving a shit yesterday.
How does anyone see life (animus pinned within decaying flesh) as anything but a curse?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Mirror Darkly

The good fortune of someone I know, the obtaining of something I've long wanted, has left me bitterly jealous, which is a pisspoor reflection on my character.  But then I hate myself, and I firmly believe that, unless I rigidly reign in my behavior, everyone else will hate me, too.  As it is, I see myself through the eyes of others as pathetic, ridiculous, scatty, incompetent, toxic, annoying and absurd.
I'm just so desperately unhappy, and I don't even want to be alive.  Everything I do—the pantomime of normality, the stumbling through my life like a zombie—is done for the benefit of others.  There is nothing for me but transient pleasure and the anticipation of oblivion.!/en_US/home/

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sisyphus Lives

Hoo boy, another crappy day at work as I desperately try to put one foot in front of the other under the crushing weight of my depression.  (Being a powerless, underappreciated wage slave doesn't help.)  At least I didn't drink last night and reset the clock once again.

But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself, forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.
{Albert Camus, "The Myth of Sisyphus"}

Monday, August 25, 2014

Temptation, Frustration

So bad it makes him cry...
{The Police, "Don't Stand So Close To Me"}

In spite of my best intentions, last night I let myself get over tired again, resulting in an unproductive day and a powerful desire to drink.  Just yesterday I was thinking about how I didn't want to keep going on this exhausting emotional roller coaster of binging and sobering.  But still I wanted to drink so bad this afternoon, to squeeze just a little bit of pleasure out of my evening.  To not worry about anything, including getting to sleep, which often feels like dying to me.

So it's all come back round to
Breaking apart again
Breaking apart like I'm made up of glass again
Making it up behind my back again
Holding my breath for the fear of sleep again
{The Cure, "Disintegration"}

When you have the brain of an addict, you binge on anything that gives you pleasure (e.g. booze, drugs, sex, video games, TV shows, etc.).  You're loathe to stop because you're so scared—with a blind, unreasoning panic—that you will never find anything enjoyable or engaging again, that the misery you're so familiar with will be your permanent lot in life.  This is why the most successful recovering addicts are those who are able to fill that void with some other positive thing and see the horizon beyond the pit of their emotions.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Magical Thinking

I have a superstitious dread of making positive changes and plans for the future.  I'm trying to chart the course of my weight loss and dig myself out financially, but I'm hindered by the fact that I fear some unspecified calamity will happen if I plan ahead.  A pervasive fear of things that might happen—horrible scenarios that could possibly play out—haunts my mind, especially when I'm trying to make beneficial changes, and derails my efforts to better myself.  I'm also afraid and suspicious of being happy because that's when something bad happens in books and movies and because of memories from my own experiences that have had an impact way out of context.  Apparently I'm not alone in feeling this way.

Worshipping at the Altar of Consumerism

Like a good American, I did give my life a lift out of the doldrums by making a big-ticket purchase.  (On credit, I might add.)  I bought a shiny new laptop.  My old computer is only three years old, but some of the keys are wearing out.  And it's lagging behind in the high-powered specs needed to play PC video game, including the video game I'm eagerly awaiting to give meaning to my life.  In my defense, I did get an amazing deal on a machine that can hold its own against other models $500 or more.  I also got 12-month no-interest financing, so I've devised an aggressive budget to pay for the thing.

Personal Roundup

I'm in a weird place with my sobriety (16 days and counting), though one I've been in many times before.  I've recovered enough to give a shit about getting myself organized, but not enough to have any energy to actually do anything about it.  So I have all of these notes to myself and piles of half-started projects strewn about my apartment.

My anger issues aren't much improved, either.  I'm still working myself up into a rage over stupid, pointless stuff (which is everything).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

And Miss Lonelyheart's Pen

For some reason I can't explain
I know Saint Peter won't call my name
{Coldplay, "Viva La Vida"}

Man, I got all weepy listening to Coldplay on the drive into work this morning:  the predictable result of chemical dependency and less than two weeks of sobriety.  How much longer before I cast aside all reason once again and try to drown my feelings in alcohol?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Prepping My Future Failures

I'm going through the mental and physical effects of acute alcohol withdrawal yet again.  I'm trying to stay strong.  I'm trying to get my life on the right course.  But I've been trying to do so for the last thirty years.  Failure has left an indelible stain upon my existence.  Perhaps failure is all I will ever know, and trying and failing is the proper course of my life after all.

Thought For the Day

Misery.  There is nothing but misery.  Joy is an aberration.  Misery is the natural state—and the end state—of consciousness.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Yo-Yo'd Back Again

Cock a snoot, loop the loop, hock the hula-hoop
But now it yo-yo'd back again
{ABC, "The Power of Persuasion"}

Oh, how I'm paying for my sins!  One minute everything's fine and I'm even feeling a little hopeful.  The next moment I've dropped over a cliff of depression and despair.  Now matter how early I go to bed, I'm exhausted all day but still have to smile and produce and justify my time.  Just a casual reading of this blog demonstrates how my life is an endless cycle of hope and failure, effort and frustrated ambition.  Am I doomed to grind my wheels until life grinds me down into oblivion as I beg only for release?

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Taste of Pleasure

Well, I've been drinking again, adding to the steaming pile of failure that is my life.  I had to have some dental work this past Tuesday, and I was given nitrous during the procedure.  While I'm glad that there's something to help manage my anxiety, the taste of anxiolytic euphoria set my mind abuzz, and not only did I resolve to fall off the wagon, but I also decided to steal narcotics from my parents' home for an orgy of pleasure.  I think the experience of certain pleasures triggers me (and addicts in general) to crave further pleasure, to keep pressing the lever until we starve to death.  Fortunately, after my head cleared, I came to my senses and didn't carry out my plans.  I'd been having so many close calls with falling off the wagon over the past week and a half.  Each time I was tempted, drinking again didn't seem like a big deal.  But I was always so thankful for resisting the next day.

Then came two shitty, shitty days at work where I busted my ass (for eleven straight hours on Wednesday) only to be criticized and called unprofessional for requesting half a day of comp time for all the extra hours I had to put in to get done what had to be done.  In the cosmic scheme of things, I've never actually had a bad day, but the more grievous suffering of others does nothing to ameliorate my own challenges.  Just making it through my day when things are going well is a constant struggle.  I'd had enough, and I drank Thursday and Friday and Saturday.  Which brings me to where I am now, two days sober.

The Will Towards Death

It seems, then, that an instinct is an urge inherent in organic life to restore an earlier state of things which the living entity has been obliged to abandon under the pressure of external disturbing forces; that is, it is a kind of organic elasticity, or, to put it another way, the expression of the inertia inherent in organic life.
{Sigmund Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle}
I just don't know how long I can go on like this, trying to build a life on a foundation of nothing.  I don't believe I have the strength to navigate the barren desert of self-improvement needed to reach the promised land of a more actualized existence.  So do I surrender to being an irrelevant drunk as I've done before?  Do I kill myself as I've tried before?  Do I try to go on some kind of disability, which brings with it a whole host of challenge and problems since there is rarely help for those who need it?  I simply do not know.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Matter of Character

Am I really as kind and sympathetic and patient as is essential to my self-esteem?  Or am I just pathologically afraid of conflict?

I have a genuine empathy and desire to help, and yet I also have a pathological need to be liked and a fundamental belief in the futility of argument.  Is the path of least resistance I generally adopt with others the result of a heightened awareness of interpersonal dynamics and existential detachment, self-absorbed disdain or simple fear?

Usually Find It

I had another random realization yesterday:  When I was in my 20's, "going out and looking for trouble" meant getting drunk and hooking up with a one-night (or shorter) stand.  Now it means trolling the grocery store for a pint of Ben & Jerry's.

Thought for the Day

People are never more dangerous than when they think they have everything figured out.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

My Head in the Sand

I have decided to switch my internet home page at home and at work from Yahoo! to Google for the time being.  I'm doing this to take a hiatus from the news stories Yahoo! displays and to stop obsessing over all the issues I worry about.  Homosexuality in particular is quite topical—and obviously quite important to me as a gay man—as LGBT rights struggle to find their place in American and global society, but I'm worn out over the back and forth in the news and commentary.  (And God forbid I read the comments on gay news item!)  I have thousands of articles and links to articles saved on my computer so that I can read them more closely and "process" them, and sometimes I stay awake late at night just scrolling down the Yahoo! face page and clicking on (and often saving) article after article.  It's all just too overwhelming and weighs me down with anxiety and negativity.

I know this sounds like first world apathy and deliberately putting my head in the sand.  But I'm not going to be at my best for quite a while, so I need to limit my external stimuli and focus on getting my life into a stronger, more stable place.  One of my therapists taught me that I can't help anyone when I'm not emotionally secure and leveled-out, and I can't personally do much about the major problems seen in the news.  I try to live as green and as simply as practicable, and I have a cause that I champion.  Information overload is actually quite a common problem in the internet age.  Dear Abby recently wrote a column about it.  Maybe someday in the not-too-distant future, I will be able to get current once again.  Then perhaps I can comment on issues of the day in this blog, instead of exclusively focusing on my struggles with sobriety and psychopathology.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

After the Fourth

My depression kept me in bed until 3 p.m. today.  But I finally got myself up and made it out to exercise.  I was feeling quite low on the walk to the gym.  Depression is like a prison for your mind, a lockbox around your head...You sincerely believe that you will never feel better or ever feel any pleasure in anything.  I'm trying to give up caffeine this long weekend, so that probably isn't helping matters.  My outlook did brighten after thirty minutes of cardio, and I also weighed myself.  I've managed to get back under 250 pounds.  Granted, I'm like 249 and seven-eighths and a half, but dammit, I'm under 250 pounds!
I had a very nice Fourth of July yesterday, which was fortuitous since I was keen to fall off the wagon Thursday night and Friday afternoon.  I finished helping my mother with a project on the computer.  Afterwards, my parents took me out for lunch, and we then went to my apartment.  My father helped me install a window air conditioner in my bedroom (that my mother bought me) while my mother took it upon herself to tidy up my place.  (So yes, I am quite spoiled.)   That evening, I went out to an Independence Day festival at a local park with my two friends and their three children to hang out and watch fireworks.
Insult to Injury
As you can see, my parents are very good to me and always have been.  I realize how lucky I am to have grown up in an intact home where I was loved and to have benefitted from a thousand other blessings in my life.  However, it also makes me feel quite guilty because I'm generally an unhappy person.  I feel as if my moods are an affront to my good fortune or, at least, that said blessings would be better going to someone who might appreciate them more.  I mean, I do appreciate everything I've been given in life, and I do make an intense—and exhausting—effort to rise above my biochemical handicaps.  So I really can't do anymore about the ugly mess that is my psyche, but I still feel overwhelming guilt all the same.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Another Bad Day

I'm having another bad day today.  I'm glad I've educated myself about the biochemistry of alcohol abuse and recovery because it gives me some perspective to ride out my moods.  Otherwise, I worry about getting to the point of screaming out, "Fuck you!  I'm going on disability!" to everyone/no one in particular.
I'm so depressed at how fat I am.  I so wanted to be in shape for a family vacation coming up in August.  Now the best I can hope for is being slightly less obese.  I worry that my skin of my stomach will droop like a deflated balloon if I ever manage to shed the weight, making me just as unattractive and unappealing as I am now.  I hate the entire course my life has taken: failure, missed opportunities and wasted potential.  I've never been able to attract a mate or even date anyone long-term in the past twenty years.  The only thing I've ever found meaningful is writing, but I've never had the energy to devote to it after the tedium of daily life leaves me at less than zero.  I can barely hold down a job and live independently.  Forget about any measure of success in any aspect of my life.
< /whining >

Monday, June 30, 2014

Homelessness & Dead Kittens

My detoxing this time around hasn't been as bad, probably because I didn't drink all that much when I fell off the wagon.  But I was definitely feeling the depression this past weekend.  On Saturday, I probably wouldn't have gotten out of bed, but my mother needed help with something.  So I forced myself up at the crack of noon and went over to my parents' house.  Afterward, since I was already moving, I went ahead and went to the gym.  I puttered around for a bit and went to bed early.  Yesterday, I had intended to go into work and get caught up on some things to help take the pressure off, but I couldn't make myself get vertical until after 4 p.m.  I bagged working out and got carry out for dinner (and frozen yoghurt for dessert) and vegetated in front of the television until I went to bed at 9 p.m.
Even though I managed to drag myself out of bed at 6 a.m. and exercise this morning, thirty minutes of cardio didn't do much to improve my mood.  On the walk home from the gym I was obsessing about the suffering of innocents and thinking that I despise everything about life.  I see misery everywhere that I look.

Man's Inhumanity To Man

And the Wikipedia homepage today had a blurb about just one more monstrous act (along with its usual anniversaries of wars and massacres) that human beings have perpetrated against each other for as long as we have existed, somehow being able to rationalize ineffable cruelty with casual indifference:  the blinding of a Hungarian child because he might be a threat to the throne.  I point this out simply to answer the question as to why, no matter how sanguine or how despairing I may feel about my personal lot at any given time, my Weltanschauung is always—at its heart—one of misanthropy and nihilism.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


So cry, baby, cry...I don't care anymore
Cry, baby, cry...'cause I'm out the door
Cry, baby, cry...turn your gray skies blue
Cry, baby, cry...'cause I cried for you...for you
{Information Society, "Crybaby"}
I was feeling the full weight of my sins today.  All afternoon I've just felt like bursting into tears for no reason, which would have been hysterical at my day job, especially since important clients and a bigwig from another office were visiting.  I'd been working like a demon the past three days, but I felt like I'd run out of steam.  Hopefully I can hit the ground running tomorrow and get everything I need to get done over the weekend.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Soldiering On

I'm trying not to think about the horrors in store for me after last weekend's drinking has reset my sobriety and the associated withdrawal.  In fact, I'm trying not to think about much of anything at all.  I'm just marching ahead and doing What Needs To Be Done at work and at home.  So far it's been working remarkably well, but who knows how long that will last?  The situation in my personal life has resolved itself satisfactorily, and my efforts during the day have gotten me that much closer to getting caught up at work.  What can one do but appreciate the good and try?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Like I'm Living at the Edge of the World

Well, I failed once again.  Friday night, I drank one and most of a second beer before starting to feel incredibly nauseated, so that derailed my relapse.  However, I ended up drinking ten beers last night, so I'm sure I'm right back to square one.

I violated the addict's cautionary mnemonic H.A.L.T., specifically anger.  In a rare show of maturity, I won't say that someone made me so angry that it forced me to drink.  Instead, I will say that I let myself get so angry at someone that I used it as an excuse to drink again.  I don't want to go into specifics at this point, but this interpersonal drama added to the stress of being behind at work has brought me low.  And I'm terrified of having to go through all of the horrors of acute and post-acute withdrawal yet again.

The only wisdom I can offer is that I've realized that you probably shouldn't listen to Disintegration by The Cure when you feel like you've hit close to bottom.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Only 1 Year & 11 Months Left To Go

I'm a month sober now.  While I'm very happy about that, I've been struggling with my mood and emotions and motivation for weeks on end now.  I've decided to give up on my whole "90-day transformation" thing.  I'm still trying to move forward with those goals, but I need to focus on simply remaining sober and not put any extra pressure on myself.  I also given up trying to shake my caffeine habit, though I might give that another whirl during the long Fourth of July weekend.
I've been doing more research on post-acute-withdrawal syndrome.  According to one resource, the most common symptoms are:  Mood swings, Anxiety, Irritability, Tiredness, Variable energy, Low enthusiasm, Variable concentration and Disturbed sleep.  All of which I have in spades.  Apparently, it will take a long time for my brain to heal from the damage I've inflicted upon it, as much as two years to be symptom-free.  (Assuming I can maintain sobriety for all that time...)  So that means I only have to wait another 23 months of being a complete train wreck and emotional basket case.

Actually, I'm glad to learn about this condition.  It gives me perspective and gives me hope, and with any luck, I'll use the information to keep from relapsing.  The main reason I gave up my last long stretch of sobriety was that I was so angry about the return of serious depression, even after all of my hard work of not drinking, eating well and exercising.  Now I know I'll have to expect that for the foreseeable future.  I can look forward to the good patches getting longer and longer, but I'm still going to have days where the bottom drops out of my mood for no reason.

The Kindness of Strangers

In truth, I've kind of leveled out today (finally!), but the weekend was difficult.  I went to bed at 9 p.m. on Saturday night because I just didn't know what the hell to do with myself.  I did receive a couple of positives from people I've never met that helped me along.  A stranger who's actually read this blog more than once e-mailed me some kind words that were well-received and a nice gesture.

I was also watching a stand-up video by Chris Hardwick (who apparently grew up in the same city and at about the same time as I did).  While cyberstalking doing background research on him on Wikipedia, I found a link to his personal website where he talks about giving up drinking and encourages others struggling with alcoholism to do the same.  So that was well-timed as well.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Riding the Tiger

Then in your 40's, you're like, "You know what?  This is the only thing I like about being alive."
{Jim Gaffigan on drinking}
I'm still feeling like crap—no energy, no enthusiasm, lack of concentration, lack of motivation—and so I've invested fully in blaming post-acute-withdrawal syndrome.  As I mentioned in that previous entry, I've gone back to the beginning of the Mass Effect video game trilogy in an effort to pique my interest in something, anythingVideo games have previously helped pull me out of depression; however, it's risky turning to them because they have become an integral part of my drinking behavior.  Since I did play most of the first and second game of that series while drunk, I'm trying to be enthusiastic about actually experiencing them with a clear head.  Plus, I don't want my alcoholism to completely ruin something I normally enjoy so much.

Bioware is by far my favorite video game company making my far-and-away favorite games.  But they have so much exposition in their richly detailed worlds and talking, talking, talking.  Usually, that's a good thing as far as I'm concerned, but with my damaged attention span, it's been hard to remain focused (without being able to take a hit of beer or a drag off a cigarette).  Last Friday, every time I entered a long, involved conversation or unlocked a new codex entry in my game, I would also fold the laundry I was doing or some other small mindless thing to keep myself from getting too twitchy. 

I have to believe that this will all get better over time if I keep up with my sobriety.  And yet it's no wonder to me that I'm drawn to cloistering myself and obsessing over a pointless activity because the things my character does actually impacts the things that happen to that character in a virtual world where s/he can actually make a difference.  There's just so much misery in the real world; I see it constantly everywhere I look.  So what does it matter if we're sober and self-actualized or drunken losers as we play out our hand in the stacked deck of life?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

How Low Can I Go?

I swear, my depression is just killing me!  To have no hope and no pleasure in absolutely anything.  My moods are so erratic and so all-consuming that it's hard for me to have any perspective on my ups and downs.  I hope this is just a speed bump on my road to sobriety.  Until then, I just have to force myself to move through my life like an automaton.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Keep Your P.A.W.S. Off of Me!

Hooboy!  Yet another close call with drinking last night.  I was bound and determined to fall off the wagon when I left work.  I managed to avoid temptation and distracted myself by starting a "perfect" walkthrough of the Mass Effect video game trilogy.  (If you're not a gamer—particularly an RPG gamer—then you probably wouldn't understand.)  Of course, I'm so mercurial that my resolve can go south so quickly.  But two weeks of sobriety is two weeks of sobriety.

I was reading about post-acute-withdrawal syndrome (P.A.W.S.), and I probably have a long road ahead of me.  Given my extensive alcohol abuse, I'm most likely looking at continued depression and anxiety as well as cognitive impairment for the foreseeable future, even though I should be through the acute stages of withdrawal.  Unfortunately, as I've pointed out repeatedly, disturbances in my mood cause me to panic and seek out avenues of pleasure, which often involve drinking.
Let It Go
It's funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
Let it go!  Let it go!
{Queen Elsa, Frozen}
My symptoms of continued withdrawal certainly hasn't helped my anger issues any.  Today I got enraged at a driver who honked at me as I was crossing the road in a crosswalk with the signal.  Then I just told myself to let the anger go and get on with my life.  Some people are just assholes.  You can't let their personality flaws poison your own view of the world and/or humanity.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Struggle Never Ends

I was going to drink tonight.  I got as far as the beer aisle at the grocery store.  Then I wasn't going to drink.  Then I was.  Finally I bought some Cap'n Crunch and milk and left.  I know this sounds like a victory, but the problem is that I'll probably have to fight the exact same battle tomorrow.  And the next day.  And the next.  How can finite resolve ever hope to defeat infinite temptation?
My Inflated Sense of Self
you think you're in the movies
and everything's so deep
{The Cars, "You Might Think"}
The last time I drank, it was all very dramatic.  I was four beers into it on a Thursday night.  I'd played a few missions of my video game, and I just got so sick of the whole thing.  My drinking ritual gives me a modicum of fleeting pleasure, yet it becomes it's own kind of rat race so quickly.  I usually don't hold my cleaning up ritual until the weekend, but I just chucked everything into the trash: the rest of my beer, the empty bottles, my cigarettes, my makeshift ashtray and even my lighter and bottle opener.  I took a shower (I hadn't bathed in days), and before I went to bed, all traces of my vices were out of the apartment.
In a movie, that would signal the final victory.  The conquering of my alcoholism as I embark on a better life.  End of story.  Fade to black.  My major malfunction is that I honestly, deeply believe that that is how life works.   That everything neatly ties together into a logical, satisfying conclusion.  This is the root of my addiction to repeatedly falling low and rising up again, my lottery superstition and my mooning over contrived ideals of love.  Perhaps it's all just my psychological strategy for dealing with the true nature of existence - an abject chaos constantly battering against the fragile shelters of safety, stability and fulfillment that we construct for ourselves.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Slaying My Second Monkey

I am trying to get the caffeine monkey off my back this long weekend.  I'm tired of drugs causing me wild fluctuations in my mood and my arousal level.  So now that the acute effects of alcohol withdrawal are waning, (eight days sober!) I've gone back to being moody(er), cranky(er) and exhausted(er).  Actually, to tell the truth, I had a glimmer of optimism and hope for the future today, so that was kind of weird.  I've been getting weekly "lipo shots" for the past few weeks.  I don't know how much benefit they're actually giving me, particularly to my energy, but my friend Jon always told me never to underestimate the placebo effect.
My primary vector for getting my caffeine fix was caffeine pills because I don't really like coffee very much, though I did develop a taste for Starbucks' skinny vanilla lattes with an extra espresso shot for potency.  As expensive as their coffee is, it doesn't hurt my brand loyalty that they pay their employees higher than minimum wage and offer healthcare even to those working part-time.  Plus, their CEO recently defended gay marriage.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What Might Have Been

As I was driving into work the other day, I saw a man I went to high school with and on whom I had a terrible crush from the day I met him through all four years of closeted turmoil.  He is still looking handsome, and I recalled being drawn to his sardonic personality.  And I wistfully wondered how my life might have been had I hooked up with my "high school sweetheart" and was perhaps even still with him today.

This bridge was written to make you feel smitten
And with my sad picture of girl getting bitterer
Oh, can you extract me from my plastic fantasy?
I didn't think so, but I'm still convincible
{The Dresden Dolls, "Coin-Operated Boy"}
Except, of course, that he's straight and never once gave me any indication otherwise.  And he also never found me interesting enough in all the time we were at school together to even pursue me as a friend.  This is exactly what's wrong with how I've lived my life.  I've wasted so much time, so much energy, with pipe dreams I knew would never pan out.  Instead of opening myself to the possibilities that were actually in front of me, I opted to tilt at windmills.  I've missed so much mooning over the impossible, certain my mawkish faith would eventually be rewarded.
Linda thought her life was empty,
Filled it up with alcohol.
{The Nails, "88 Lines About 44 Women"}
While I've stripped away most of my juvenile man-fantasies over the years, I filled up that space with just...nothing.  And alcohol soon moved in as a distraction as I despaired at ever constructing a fulfilling life for myself.  Yet, I've still been living in fantasy:  about how my real life will start...when I get sober...when I get stable...when I win the lottery...when I become a completely different person than I am now.  Fantasy has sustained me for so long until it has become an integral part of my being.  Right now, today...Am I taking practical steps to pursue my dreams?  Or am I still chasing delusion to mask the void?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Trial by Fire

Lately it seems as if Wednesday's are a trial by fire in my sobriety, a trial I have invariably failed.  The pattern is always the same:  I drink Wednesday through Friday.  Renew my resolve over the weekend.  Manage to stay on track for the first few days of the week.  Rinse and repeat.
As for today, one bad vibe at work, and my entire being is screaming to get drunk so that I can abandon all care, if only for a little while.

Evening Update

Well, I managed not to drink.  I blew my budget and my diet and blew off going to the gym, so I wouldn't exactly call it a victory.  But fuck me, I'm doing the fucking best I can.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Diminish and Yet Remain

(Galadriel) You offer it to me freely.  I cannot deny that my heart has greatly desired this.
{J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring}

Ugh!  You never know when temptation is going to drop down on you and test your resolve.  Today at work, I had the attorney for a man who came to our office for a deposition hand me his client's almost-full bottle of Vicodin because we'd asked him to bring it in.  (I swear, opiates are coming at me in waves!)  I proceeded to photocopy the vial label for one of the attorneys I work for...all alone in the copy myself.  Of course, I didn't take any; I don't think even I could be that stupid, but the addict in me did have a momentary flash of weakness over the situation, kind of came out of left field.  Opposing counsel even made a crack as he and his client were walking past my desk that, if they came across me sleeping, they'd know I'd nicked one of his pills.  It was all very bizarre.

Dain Bramaged

I was reading about alcohol withdrawal in an attempt to make myself feel better about feeling Not Quite Right, and I made the mistake of reading about the potential long-term or even permanent effects of alcohol abuse.  Obsessive histrionics are normal for me, even at my best, and I have to admit that my first inclination was to drink tonight to chase off my worrying.  My brain is all I really have going for me, and I'd hate to have my alcoholism cut short my writing career before it's even begun.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

When You Follow Your Dreams

You take one step after the other
At times you may not know
Which way to go
You open one door just to find another
{Missing Persons, "The Closer That You Get"}

I felt as if I might implode today.  Job stress.  Family stress.  Interpersonal stress.  All backlit by my seemingly perpetual alcohol withdrawal.  I went into work to try and organize my desk, but I didn't get very much done before I had to leave.  I drove home—screaming in my head—and then walked over to the gym before it closed.  Half an hour on the elliptical gave me a perspective on things: I'm going to get myself ready for the week, go to bed early and focus on my job in the days to come.  Everything else I'm obsessing about can wait until later.

So Much to Give
I want to quote Carol's line in the middle panel to everyone I know.

My hypnotherapist in Los Angeles gave me a copy of The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World by Alan Downs, which I haven't actually read it yet.  But like any member of a marginalized group, I don't have to look far to become angry and frustrated with the status quo.  However, I think my anger issues also have a more personal dimension.  I had a lot of naïve expectations for life that didn't bear out, and most cynics are idealists who found the world to be apathetic, at best, and brutish, at worst.  I appreciate that I only have "first world problems," but the struggles of the wider world don't make my personal struggles any less difficult.

Such a Good Boy

Day three of not drinking.

Opiates are actually my drug of choice, and the person living with me has Vicodin from some recent oral surgery.  I'm surprised at how little temptation I have to steal them, seeing as how that was my modus operandi for two and a half decades.  Maybe I've actually learned a lesson and remember how truly horrible opiate withdrawal is for me, so much that it might even necessitate a short leave of absence from work, opening up an infinite can of worms for me there.  Similarly, the other day I was over at a new person's house, the friend of a friend, and I made the conscious decision not to ask to use the restroom and then snoop for any narcotics that they might have.  Maybe I just don't want to be that person anymore.  I certainly wouldn't miss that aspect of myself.

And awhile ago, I resisted looking for pain pills I think my parents might have while over at their house doing laundry while they were out of town.  I definitely don't want to betray my parents' trust ever again, especially at their sort of age, and don't want them to question whether they should allow me a key to their home or to have distrust embedded in the foundation of our relationship.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

And Again *Sigh*


A hundred years of blood
A ribbon tightens round my throat
I open my mouth
And my head bursts open
Sound like a tiger
Thrashing in the water
Thrashing in the water
{The Cure, "One Hundred Years"}

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Limping Along

Well, I managed not to drink last night, so one down, 360 plus infinity to go.  I actually told myself I would drink on Friday night, and frankly, that may still happen, even though I woke up this morning glad I hadn't given in.  My diet took a bit of hit last night, but I didn't do near the damage I'm capable of.  I was also pretty good about my budget.

Pleasure, Little Treasure
My crisis yesterday came from the whisperings of the demon-incubus of Pleasure.  Depression, in general (and my withdrawal-induced depression, in specific) makes me lose interest in things that I might normally enjoy.  I began to feel as if I'd "never be cheerful again," and so then I started to panic, desperate for anything pleasurable to fill my evening after work. 

Since I couldn't muster any enthusiasm for any of the myriad of activities I'm lucky enough to have the time and resources to enjoy, my thoughts automatically turned once again to the drinking-smoking-video games triad as my only available source of pleasure.  However, as I said the other day, I need to retrain my thinking to stop chasing pleasure and fill my time with practical activities that will elevate my life into a more-fulfilling mode of existence.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Seeing as how I consider myself to be out of time, as part as my effort to do EVERYTHING RIGHT, I went to bed at a decent time last night.  Unfortunately, I'm only four days into my sobriety, so I'm still feeling the physical effects of alcohol withdrawal.  (In fact, being tired and unable to cope is one of the strongest factors in feeding the cycle of continued drinking.)  I was so zonked this morning that I incorporated the sound of my alarm clock into my dream.  I was yelling at someone to stop the noise and ripping batteries out of a device I thought was making it.
The video below shows just how I've been feeling at work this week.
11th Hour Emergency
I don't know if I can do it.  I don't know if I can stay sober in the context of my life right now.  I'm so tired and feel so low.  Perhaps I've just been fooling myself over the past 30 years.  Perhaps it's truly time to let all hope die...

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My 90-Day Transformation

"I am simply out of time."
This is my new mantra.  I have wasted years in ethylated stasis, and I can't keep turning on the thread of maladaptive behavior and expect my life to change (although I do play the lottery, so...).  I am going on a family trip for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary in August in exactly 90 days, and it would really mean a lot for me to be in shape for it.  I'd like to be able to wear a bathing suit and go swimming, which I've always loved.
And so I present my three W's:
1. Weight

I don't know how much success I can expect.  I doubt I have enough time to achieve my previously-identified goal (which was supposed to happen last summer!).  But if nothing else, I can be significantly less fat by then.  I'm not doing anything crazy or any fad diets as I've done before.  I'm just trying to be sensible by "eat[ing] less and tak[ing] a bit of exercise" through cardio mixed with light strength training.  I do obsess about loose skin, but there isn't a lot I can do about it at this point.  It's not as if I don't have other reasons to lose weight besides vanity.

Right now, my physical stats are weight (254#), waist (52"), chest (50") and biceps (13") with a BMI of 35.4 (making me definitively "obese").
2. Wealth

This is actually intimately connected to my weight and especially my sobriety.  If I'm following my diet, then I'm following my budget where it comes to food.  And if I'm following my "diet" (as my dad calls it), I'm not spending $50 a day on beer and cigarettes and movies and binge eating.  I'm not really sure how much I can actually pay down in 90 days.  I'm more concerned with not losing ground.  Even if my debt stays the same, as long as it doesn't increase, I'll call it a win.

Right now, my outstanding debt is $16,367.47 (not including the money I owe on my car payments).
3. Writing

This is a more ambiguous goal, but the most important thing to me in my life.  My goal for 90 days is to have all of my writing notes, boxes of ideas I've been scribbling down for 30 years organized and scanned onto my computer.  I want to have started back seriously writing the young adult fantasy adventure that has the most promise and commercial potential.
Feeding the Cycle
Back when I was sexually active, I used to hook up with random guys and then obsess about HIV for months, even though I've always practiced safer sex.  (To someone with O.C.D., a 1% chance—or even less—might as well be 100% by our way of thinking.)  One of my earliest therapists believed I got some kind of psychological reward out of the whole deal, because otherwise why would I keep doing it?  I think she's was right.  I think a part of me was seeking the sense of renewal and rebirth I felt when I got back a negative HIV if everything in life was full of hope and potential.

I think I've fallen into a similar pattern with my drinking.  I can't deny the sanguine feeling I get when I clear out all my empty beer bottles by taking them to recycling and throw out my makeshift ashtray and leftover cigarettes and clean the area around my computer workstation of any trace of my last bender(s).

I need to stop chasing these false and counterproductive good feelings.  I need to retrain my thinking to stop chasing transient pleasure, even though my need for it is as intense as the "jonesing" for a drug, and to focus my personal time on furthering my personal goals.  I should be asking myself "Is this getting me closer to my dreams?" rather than "Am I happy?"  This doesn't just include the encompasses the budget-killing eating out every night because I need a little pick me up...and the doubly budget-killing chair massages after work for sensual (though non-sexual) enjoyment...and paying for movies and TV shows because I only want what I can't have when I have a thousand free movies and TV shows available for instant gratification...and all the other things I spend money on for no good reason.

You won't have to read very far back in this blog to see that my past behavior patterns don't bode well for anything other than a crash and burn of yet another "grand plan."  But there is nothing better for me to do.  Please wish me luck...

Friday, May 9, 2014

Bad Choices

Seeing as how I had a mind to devote an entire website to my poor decision making, it's not hard to fathom that I'm a prisoner of making bad choices now.  It's not even noon yet, and I'm already thinking about drinking again I did last I did the night before.  I've got a new video game installed and ready to play.  Is it a good idea?  No.  Will it give me even a modicum of pleasure that I crave so?  Perhaps.  I've realized that, even when I'm staying sober, I've been chasing pleasure like an addict, whether it's with food or entertainment or anything else—regardless of the cost—that I think will keep the sadness and fear at bay.

You Can Only Control Your Behavior

You have to change your behavior to change your life.  I have to move my thinking and my behavior away from the folly of chasing transient pleasure.  And yet I feel so lost and adrift in the endless ocean of my mood, barely keeping my head above water, that I have trouble in differentiating between good and bad choices against the perspective of an infinite horizon in all directions with no solid ground to anchor myself to.

...and when
I finally let my guard down

I was in the middle of the sea and drowning, drowning, drowning
{Lower Dens, "Brains"}

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

So Hard

I have been feeling so bad lately that I can just hardly stand it.  I can barely put one foot in front of the other, and yet I have to keep showing up at work and keep producing results and keep it all together.  I want to tell everyone I have ever met to go fuck themselves and run off somewhere, never to be seen again.
The problem with being so messed up is that I can't even be sure why things are so bad.  It could be that I'm withdrawing from my recent drinking last week.  Or it could be that I've entered another double depression.  Or it could be I'm fighting off a mild cold that has run me down.  Or it could be that my sleep is disturbed because it's been so hot in my apartment.  Or it could be an endless list of other physical and/or psychological stressors.
When I'm feeling better, I beat myself up over all the wasted time in my life, and yet I've had to spend so much of my time keeping my mood and psyche from bursting at the seams when all I want to do is scream!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Struggle Continues...

I thought hard about killing myself last night.  So much wasted time.  So much wasted potential.  And nothing to show for it but an endless bitter struggle.  I'm not actually going to harm myself, and I pose no danger to myself (or others).  I think the psychological term is "passively suicidal."
It's pointless to judge life in terms of accomplishments, anyway.  Time pulls the rug from under the "losers" and the "winners" equally.  Appreciating what you can now and pointing your nose in a better direction are the only sensible actions and the only sensible perspective on existence.
You're on a one-way ride
Down a dead-end street
You better realize
Never walk on by
{The Psychedelic Furs, "No Release"}
Personal Roundup
I drank Monday night, and then, after drinking Wednesday night, I spent the next 36 hours in bed.  I called in sick, of course, and viewed it as my own private detox before recommitting to sobriety.  Of course, that didn't stop me from almost drinking last night.  Fortunately, I managed to resist the urge and even did a load of laundry so I had some clean underwear.  Unfortunately, past victories are no indication of future success.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Prisoner of the Cycle


"Just wait 'til tomorrow!"
I guess that's what they all say
Just before they fall apart...
{New Order, "Regret"}

Sunday, March 16, 2014

One Foot In Front of the Other

My failure at sobriety necessarily makes me an emotional basket case due to alcohol withdrawal, which in turn makes me want to use just to avoid having to deal with it.  I last drink two days ago on Friday evening.  I've let my desk at work get out of hand, which causes me further stress.

It's impossible to make up for wasted time and wasted opportunity.  To me, my life is one failure after another, which explains why I have no faith in turning things around.  However, all I can do is do what I can do right now.  Today that means coming into the office to organize my work.  Tomorrow it means sticking to my diet and budget.  Hopefully I'll have the strength to keep a calm face while the storm rages inside my head and to move one step at a time through the days of this week.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Failed Again

Well, I failed once again and drank last night.  I felt so run down yesterday that I couldn't resist the temptation to steal a few hours of contentment.  Psychologically, I'm like a sprinter: able to manage short bursts of self-improvement and positive change but useless for the long haul.  How do I become a marathoner able to keep focused on my distant goal?

About three beers in I started to feel nauseated, and I'd had a mild headache all day.  My symptoms became so bad that I stopped my drinking and smoking.  I'm guessing a touch of cold or flu is what was making me so run down and feeling so bad.  (My mood doesn't handle being ill well at all.)  Regardless of this understanding and regardless of physical illness, I'll probably end up drinking again tonight since I have beer and cigarettes at home.  I wish I had a fraction of self-discipline and self-control that everyone else seems able to exert over their own behavior.  Am I doomed to dream large and yet fail at every turn?

Ever tried.  Ever failed.  No matter.  Try again.  Fail Again. 
Fail better.
{Samuel Beckett}

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Snow Day

Yesterday the streets of Memphis were covered in ice due to cold temperatures and winter precipitation.  As such, I had a nice "snow day" home from work for the first time in at least a couple of decades.  (Ten years in Los Angeles = no snow days!)  My first inclination was to play video games all day.  However, instead I cleaned my bedroom, my bathroom, my kitchen and the downstairs bathroom and even put a dent in the boxes upon boxes of clutter that weigh me down like an albatross around my neck.  It was exhausting, and I had a period of intense desire to drink and smoke and play the aforementioned video game.  But I resisted, and I think my sobriety and self-improvement will be the better for a tidier environment.

Personal Roundup

I've still been feeling vaguely anxious for no particular reason on a consistent basis, and I'm hoping it's just the residual effects of alcohol withdrawal.  On the plus side, I've managed to get myself to the gym the past several days.

Days sober: 12
Weight: 257 pounds
Debt: A shitload and then some

Friday, February 28, 2014

Lost In All of Our Vices

I've been on a roller coaster of relapse and recovery since I fell off the wagon last November after four months of sobriety.  Giving into the temptation of pleasure has farther reaching ramifications.  Like most people, I don't have the luxury of going into an inpatient detox facility or even just taking time off of work to dry out.  (Besides, I used up all of my chances years ago.)  Anyway, alcohol withdrawal causes anxiety and makes me emotional, overly tired and uninterested in anything.  As such, it seems easier just to drink again, but then the whole process repeats itself.
I've got a week of sobriety under my belt, but—damn the cliché—I just have to take it one day at a time.  I've spent a few hundred dollars pampering myself (mostly with eating out) this past week, but now I need to buckle down and return to my budget and my diet.  I've returned to the gym, and I'll just have to see how it goes.  I'm so tired of chemicals causing up and downs in my mood, though I'm not quite ready to let caffeine go; however, it's next on my list in a week or two.

How Am I Going To Be an Optimist About This?

My new favorite song is "Pompeii" by Bastille.  I honestly don't know what the singer is trying to say exactly, but the lyrics remind me of a sort of "feeling out of time" thought I described in a previous post.  You can see the official YouTube video below.

May the Road Rise with You

Anger may be an energy, but I feel as if I am constantly consumed by rage over everything in my life, real and imagined.  It seems only a matter of time before I have a road rage incident or a meltdown at work.  I've swallowed too much negativity in my life without dealing with it properly, and it's left its mark on my psyche.  Last night I grew enraged over the actions of a character in an audiobook, and I got so angry at being unavoidably late for my A.A. group's potluck that I almost decided to cast off my sobriety.  One benefit that I'm hoping for from an even keel of diet, exercise and sobriety is a better handle on my mood in general and anger in specific.

Luke Skywalker:  How am I to know the good side from the bad?

Master Yoda:  You will know when you are calm, at peace.  Passive.  A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.
{The Empire Strikes Back}