Welcome to my World

Where else can you get a really good look at a train wreck of emotional dysfunction
and not be right in the middle of the thing?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

And Another Thing

Shut up, you American.  You Americans, all you do is talk, and talk, and say, "Let me tell you something" and "I just wanna say."  Well, you're dead now, so shut up!
{The Grim Reaper, The Meaning of Life}

I seem to be awash in trite, hackneyed self-pity.  Last night I found myself saying (to myself), "No one understands me!"  *sigh*  Sober me isn't shaping up to be much better than drunk me.  At least drunk me remembered less.  Pill-popping me even (occasionally) got shit done (until the inevitable downward spiral...in flames).


Monday, March 30, 2015

Over and Above

Because every single aspect of my life is in arrears, I can't just make measured progress; I have to kill myself by going over and above in order to make any kind of a dent in my situation.  I can't just spend wisely; I have to mind every penny in order to pay down my mountain of debt.  I can't just eat sensibly; I have to starve myself to shed the 50 pounds of fat I've been carrying for over five years.  I can't just organize my apartment; I have to weed through years of neglect to get a handle on things.  I can't just start writing; I have to slog through 30 years of chaotic, hastily written notes and half-formed ideas.  I can't just put in a fair day's work; I have to work before hours, after hours, on weekends to catch up on all I've let get behind.

Always by myself.  And keep going.  And keep smiling.  And keep sober.  All for the fantasy that I might one day enjoy life more than I do now or ever have in my past.  I'm sick of the stress of it all.
Work Sucks
Late night, come home
Work sucks, I know...
{Blink-182, "All the Small Things"}
Speaking of work, I try not to complain overmuch about my job in this blog, even though I don't really have someone in my life to vent to.  Mostly my hesitation comes from a irrational fear that my comments will somehow come back to haunt me and cause me trouble.  Anyway, it's been a pretty shitty day, capped off by my painstakingly-worded e-mail—so as not to offend those delicate egos—being responded to with passive-aggressive vitriol.  Since I'm a powerless serf, there's really not much I can do except fume.  It's been a surprisingly difficult test of my resolve not to drink, especially since I'm fed up with struggling with my fucking mood.  Why shouldn't I just drink and snatch what little pleasure I can from this miserable, boring existence?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why? (Part 2)

"Why?" has to be the most fundamental human question of all time.  Was there ever a person who, at one time or another, didn't shout out to the cosmos and ask, "WHY?"  My personal "Why?" is why do I have to struggle so constantly with my mood?  Why do my actions, no matter how ideal, have so little bearing on the way I feel inside and the conditions of my life?  Like all those before me, through the unifying thread of humanity, the only answer I get is silence from the "benign indifference of the Universe," leaving me nothing better than to walk the paths of constructed meaning as my opportunities and resources allow.

(*Click for a link to an inspiring weight-loss blog.)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Space & Time

Lost in thought on open seas
Let the currents carry me
If I could would I remain
Another life or another dream
No turning back, face the fact
I am lost in space & time
{VNV Nation, "Space & Time"}

A good friend of mine turned me onto the song "Space & Time" by VNV Nation, and it has officially become my new favorite song.  The music is right up the alley of my northern European sensibilities, and the lyrics spark avenues of wonder within my awareness.  We are all just consciousnesses cast adrift on the currents of space-time.  Are we pulled along forever—life after life—on its never-changing course?  Or are we ever free from its grip through ascendance or oblivion?

It's Too Late, Baby, It's Too Late
Last night as I was trying to fall asleep, it suddenly hit me just how old I am.  That may sound strange, but I think most people see themselves in their own heads as being younger than they are.  I'm 45 years old, not ancient, but no longer able to see "young" in my rearview mirror with my faltering eyes.  In five years—which is nothing to someone my age—I'll be 50 years old.  In my youth, I had no concept of what my life would be like at this point because I'd assumed I would have achieved all of my grandiose dreams by now, as opposed to absolutely none of them.
It's hard to express how deeply this angst has cut me.  Of course, it didn't help that I was feeling low and emotional all day yesterday.  I had well-laid plans but actually got very little done.  I burst into tears as I was putting Pfeiffer's bowl in the dishwasher one last time.  Hell, I was tearing up over The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, and it isn't even that great of a movie.  I keep excusing my continued lapses in mood as part of my protracted sobriety, and maybe they are, but when do I actually get to feel better and reap the benefits of self-control?

Too Much Baggage
Last week I purged hundreds of e-mails from my personal account.  I'm something of an intellectual hoarder: I find so many different things interesting and try to keep them all on my radar in order to eventually process them and perhaps incorporate them into my life in some way.  I had over 500 e-mails that I'd kept "unread" and well over 1000 e-mails in all.  Many of those were news and science articles that I'd e-mailed to myself.  But I'm tired of the accumulation from my past blocking my future growth, so I went through with a merciless resolve and paired things down to 55 "unread" e-mails and a couple hundred total.  (Rome wasn't built in a day.)

Unfortunately, my defeatist brain won't let me enjoy even such a cathartic personal victory for very long.  How many times in the past have I been convinced that I was on the threshold of turning my life around, just as I tell myself that I'm on that threshold now.  But 30 years of false starts doesn't make me overly optimistic, and I get quickly overwhelmed by monumental nature of the task.  In fact, I became a raging, binge-drinking alcoholic so late in life because I'd basically given up on my dreams, and that was my solution for getting through my evenings after work in order to do it all again the next day, day after day until days turned to years.  I remember another good friend of mine talking about one of his professors in college and his making the facetious, sardonic comment that said professor "probably drinks a fifth of scotch just to make it through the day."  And oh the irony of my 20-year-old self's disdain and smug confidence that such a fate could never happen to him.

I doubt anyone's life really turns out how they planned.  And if it does, then our contrary human nature makes us question if that's what we really wanted.  What can any of us do but press ahead and make the most with what we have?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

H.A.L.T.ing Progress

There are many other areas in my life that I'm trying to improve upon, in addition to staying sober, but I always seem to be playing existential Whack-A-Mole and can never sort them all out at once.  I've been doing well with my sobriety (lately), but I've also been spending a lot of money eating take-out and renting movies as a crutch to keep my mood stable enough to avoid relapse.  (My mood is a hole with no bottom, and I will throw anything at it in blind panic to keep it from getting too deep.)  So my credit card debt continues to pile up.  This has also frequently included gut-busting poor food choices.  So I haven't gained any traction with my weight.  And so on...
Part of this intersects with trying to keep myself from H.A.L.T. (i.e. not letting myself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired), but at any given time, I can almost guarantee that I'm at least one of those things, if not all four simultaneously.  Life is never perfect, and life is a journey blah blah blah.  So I suppose I should just appreciate what I have and let the struggle towards the heights fill my heart.
I love you, man!
Speaking of appreciation, one of the guys I work for shouted out that he loved me after I sorted something out on his behalf.  It gave me pause, not from hearing it from the straight and married source, but from the realization that I couldn't remember the last time anyone other than my parents said it to me.  Wah, wah...poor me.  I should instead be thankful that my parents are still around to say it to me and are good parents who would say it.  Of course, that line of thinking just eventually leads me around to the entropic nature of existence, but c'est la vie.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Pfeiffer R.I.P.

This past Saturday I had to have my remaining cat Pfeiffer euthanized.  She was about seventeen and four months, and she'd been with me for over sixteen years.  She could barely walk and had mostly stopped going to the bathroom, and the vet told me that it was time to let her go.  I went by myself, and it was very hard.  Everyone at my veterinary clinic was wonderful, just like last time.  They gave Pfeiffer a sedative, and I held her in my arms until she fell asleep.  They then took her away to administer the euthanizing agent, and she was gone in just a few minutes.
Good night, Princess...
I've cried much over her, even though she had a good life.  Grief is especially hard when, like me, you don't have much of a social support network, which is also an added challenge to my attempts at sobriety.  I'm lucky enough to still have my parents, and I do have wonderful friends.  And all of that is a comfort to me.  But I don't have a social network to buoy me when I  need it, a fact that has always been noted by the mental health professionals I've seen.  Mostly it's the fault of my obtuse, poorly-developed social skills, and it's in my nature to isolate myself.  My father even volunteered to go to Pfeiffer's appointment with me, but I didn't feel that was a good idea.
Personal Roundup
It's been a hellish, hellish, hellish five month as I've navigated through the symptoms of post-acute withdrawal syndrome while holding down an often-stressful job with the aforementioned lack of social support.  I've clung to my sobriety like flotsam through a stormy sea and have somehow managed to stay afloat.
In fact, I'm writing this now to stave off the thirst that has descended upon me like a sudden squall this afternoon.  I'm in an emotional "perfect storm" that has sunk my sobriety on occasions too numerous to count:  I'm feeling low and lonely but also feeling deserving of a reward for my good behavior.  My addict's brain keeps whispering about how much fun it would be to fall off the wagon, how deliciously naughty and how one little relapse won't matter in the Grand Scheme of Things.  (Trying to find perspective in the Grand Scheme of Things is always a bad idea!)
Anyway, it's all lies, lies, lies.  (Yeah!)  I'll just have to limp through this evening like I've limped through the past five months, constantly telling myself that—one day—I'll come through to a calmer, brighter ocean of possibilities.
Days Sober: 5 months, 4 days
Weight: 253 pounds {i.e. still hella fat}

Debt: Currently in denial...