Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Worse for Wear

I thought I would go for a long bike ride today. Preparations were made. Bottles of water in my backpack. Snack bars in the side pockets. I was ready to go and set out in the abnormally cool morning air. I rode downtown and stopped at the tracks to watch a freight as I munched on a sweet and salty trail mix snack bar. My initial hopes were to get some of this wanderlust out of me. I grew tired though -- out of shape. I used to could ride for miles without tiring.

I moseyed on up to the shopping center and chained my bike to a post. Big S asked me where I had been. "Not far," I said as I laughed. "The tracks and back." George was also down there and we had a little talk about why he has been avoiding me.

"You've become militant about this whole not drinking thing," he told me.

"I just don't want to see you back in jail," I said. "You do remember who came and bailed you out the last time, don't you? Me!"

"I can't quit," George said in a rare moment where he let his guard down. "You, my doctor, momma all say I need to, but I can't."

I lit up a cigar and then handed one to George. He lit it up with his Zippo and took a puff.

"Just long as you are okay then I am okay," I told him. We shook hands and George gave me a hug. Soon, he was driving off with his next patron after they had finished their shopping.

Clara was no where to be seen today. I had hoped she was sleeping off yesterday's drunk. She was the proverbial wild woman yesterday flirting with disaster. I was amazed she didn't get arrested, but Big S said he had seen her earlier in the day looking worse for wear. The most desperate time you want a drink is the next day when the hangover hits. It is the only thing that will chase away what ails you and the hang over blues. I could imagine Clara sitting up against the back wall of some building nursing a bottle of wine to get through yesterday's ordeal and the next day's revenge a bender can bring.

Late in the evening found me at Ferret's campsite. He was cooking a strange concoction of canned beef stew and cream of mushroom soup over an open fire. "Come on and try some," Ferret urged me. "It tastes like beef stroganoff." My normally iron clad stomach just couldn't handle one of Ferret's homeless culinary masterpieces. "It smells like dog food!" I decreed, turning up my nose.

"Have just one beer," Ferret pleaded with me as we sat and the sun set to the west.

I cracked open one and drank it. I drink so little these days and that one ice beer went straight to my head.

"Feels good, doesn't it?" Ferret asked, grinning broadly.

"It feels wonderful," I replied, salivating like one of Pavlov's dogs.

I have always been terrible when dealing with peer pressure and succumbed. The next thing I knew, I had drank two more. I am a person riddled with anxiety both social and perceived and the anxiety melted away. Ferret and me both began to laugh and cajole each other about almost everything as we smoked one cigarette after the other.

"Camp out with me tomorrow night," Ferret said. "We will have a homeless homecoming."

It was tempting. I told him I would pack my big Kelty backpack and that I was going to do the cooking. Hoboes over a campfire sounded nice to me.

"Heineken?" I asked him as I got up to leave before it got too dark.

"Heineken, indeed," Ferret said as he grinned and then crawled into his tent to sleep off the twenty beers he had drank today.

As I arrived home, I thought about how insidious alcoholism can be. Cunning, baffling, powerful they always say of it in Alcoholics Anonymous. I toy with the idea that I can just drink a few beers and then quit. My bravado was bolstered by today's experience when I only drank three beers and stopped -- a wild and weird anomaly in my world. I am still debating on going camping with Ferret tomorrow night. It sure would be nice to let my hair down, though. Good night.


abbagirl74 said...

What are you doing? The past two weeks you have been toying with drinking. You have been around those who constantly drink. It's just not good for you. Drinking will put the weight on you faster than eating a great meal. :)

Okay, enough of playing mother hen. Thanks for stopping by and checking up on me. Work has been hell. One more day to go.

Keep your head up. Keep those who really care about you close.

Anonymous said...

Where is Rosa?

Josie Two Shoes said...

Andrew, you know that if you put your fingers in the fire often enough, you are certain to get burned. My email is josie2shoes@yahoo.com, drop me a line if you can. I can certainly understand the lure of the "homeless" not-give-a-care life, but I think the other side of your nature realizes that you have found there are many things of value in the security of a home and family. It is a lot to throw away. When I think back to my marriage and find myself missing those days, as I sometimes do, I realize I do not miss what was going on - I missed the carefree feeling of my youth. Maybe that's part of what you are missing too. You sure can't miss the hunger, and the cold, and the feeling miserable when you've run out of beer. Please take good care of yourself, you are of value!

Golden To Silver Val said...

Oh Andrew ..... please stay away from Ferret. Nothing good can come of your association with him. I also am wondering where Rosa is. Is everything ok with you and her? I am glad you stopped at 3 but don't think you can always do that, Andrew. You said it when you stated that alcoholism is evil. Its evil and its sneaky and can lull you into believing what is not. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Dont go. I hope you dont go there. I know you find it much better being with Rosa and being sober. Think of the hard work that you have put into staying away from all that evil. It would go right down the drain if you go back to that evil guy.

Grad007 said...

Hi Andrew,

It sounds to me like if you want to quit drinking, you may have to find new people to spend your time with. It might help to evaluate the pros and cons of hanging out with the people you know from the shopping center. Someone who delights in you losing your hard-fought sobriety is not a friend. That's just my 2c, since I was never alcoholic, or homeless. I do know an alcoholic of fifty years' standing though. He dies a little bit more every day; He remembers less and less, and only experiences life through a drunken fog.

Amanda said...


I hate to say it, but AA will not save you unless you are the type that thrives on "spiritual recovery." I may be wrong but somehow you don't strike me as this kind of a person.

Personally, it did me a lot more harm than good to think of myself as "powerless towards alcohol."

Luckily, for all of us, AA is NOT the only solution out there, even though I was very convinced of that a couple years ago. Feel free to check out other resources. I'm sure you'll find something that works better for you. :)

PS. Kudos for stopping at 3 beers!

CJM-R said...


The other day you thought about going to a meeting. Are you willing to be willing to listen to that voice inside of you?

It starts with a whisper...

amelia said...

What's happened to Rosa?? What's going on?

Cheryl said...

I'll say there's a lot of good advice in these comments, although I'm sure you cringe when you read them. It does show how much people care about you. They have your best interest at heart. I do too.

I remember thinking when I quit smoking, that if I ever found out I had a terminal illness, the first thing I would do would be to light up a cigarette. It was my way of dealing with the 'never again' part of quitting. I never thought the day would come when I wouldn't crave smoking. It did, much to my surprise. I hope the lure of alcohol can diminish for you one day. Like you said, it's insidious.

nengaku said...

I just want to join the chorus here and say DON'T DO IT, MAN! I've been reading your posts every day and feel you've become a friend and I worry about you. Addiction is a very insidious, tricky, wily, beast. Stopping with three beers PROVES you can handle it, right? WRONG! It only proves how slippery addiction can be. I know you don't like it but I say GET THEE TO A MEETING! If you were having a heart attack you wouldn't like to have your chest cut open but, hey, maybe it's a matter of life and death! Also I understand these folks are your friends and you care about them and want to spend time with them. But, at this stage of your recovery anyway, your health has to come first. What good can you be to them if you are drinking? Not much. And spending time with them at this point is like hanging out in a barbershop - sooner or later you are going to get a haircut.
I'm not a praying person but you are in my thoughts.

Which brings up another point. I'm a devout atheist but I'd jump on AA in a heartbeat if I was alcoholic (simply because nothing else has the track record of success - not even close). The "higher power" issue does not have to be about god or religion or spirituality. Look at it this way - you are not more powerful than alcohol, right? There's one higher power. You are not more powerful than the sum total of the people in the AA meeting, right? There's another higher power. Are you more powerful than a locomotive? There's another. Take your pick among millions. Whatever works for you. I've known people who used a mountain - nature - the abstract power of the group - the concept of love - the sun - all kinds of things a "born again Christian" might have trouble swallowing. But, hey, when it comes to sobriety you've got to be pragmatic. If it works it works.And nobody can tell you what your experience of the higher power should be. That's totally up to you.
Hang in there, mate. Today you have one day of sobriety (I'm hoping). Congratulations!

Portia said...

alcohol can be so confusing. continue looking after yourself, because ultimately, you are all you've got to count on.

the sweet & salty bars are my favorites:)

Tee said...

DON'T DO IT!!!!!! Just because you were able to stop after three beers does not mean you will be able to do that next time. GET YOURSELF TO A MEETING TODAY!!!!!!! Don't allow yourself to be pulled back into the hole of alcohol. You need to give serious consideration to making new friends. There are other places to find and make friendships. Do some volunteer work in the local hospital, community center. There are lots of people out there that would welcome your help/care. You have a lot to offer. Don't throw away everything you have worked so hard for by drinking. How did you get past your Dad and Rosa with this episode? DON'T DO IT!!!!!! STAY SOBER!!!!!

H said...

I'm not interested in stirring the pot here, but I have to respond to a couple of comments.

First off, abbagirl74:
Alcohol is actually burned up more quickly by the human metabolic system, but when you pair drinking with eating, the calories from the beer take back seat to the solid food and take longer to metabolize. If you're not interested in starving yourself to death, then, yes, you will gain weight if you drink too much alcohol and eat... and most people I know gain a heartier appetite after drinking, so it is certainly a bad combination at times.

Secondly, nengaku:

You are an atheist. I suppose that would put both you, and I as a fellow atheist, in a North American minority. As such, doesn't it seem likely that the positive track record held by AA might have more to do with the mainstream's ability to commit to a regimen that is predicated upon their existing faith and religious beliefs? AA doesn't contain some unspeakable magical quality that afixes itself to members making them part of the 'chosen' crew of success stories. AA works within existing frameworks, and works to turn agnostics into religious followers. Consider that.

Finally, I am wondering, Andrew, if you are a fan of the television program South Park. While they might be chastised for being offensive or off-colour, Matt Stone and Trey Parker (the creators/writers) are absolutely brilliant at social commentary. I would really appreciate if you would take a few minutes to watch the episode they created dealing with Alcoholics Anonymous (available free from allsp.com) and post your thoughts on the episode. I don't know anyone who has seriously attended AA and watched this episode, and I would really like to get your perspective on the reality Stone and Parker portray. Here is the link:
(you might get a couple of pop ups, I'm sorry about that).

MICKY said...

Mr. Bill Wilson, founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) and creator of the twelve step program. Mr. Wilson was heavily influenced by demons. Chapter sixteen (p. 275f) of 'Pass It On' The Story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world records Mr. Wilson's use of the ouija board, participation in seances, psychic events, "spook sessions", table levitation, and how he would receive "messages" from "discarnate" spirits. Bill Wilson was clearly in contact with demons, and this is the man who created the deceptive twelve step program. Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. (step #11. Emphasis added.) The last part of this statement ("as we understood Him") is enough to damn your soul! God says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5). This is the exact opposite of "God as we understood Him." All men, according to Romans 1:18-32, are condemned before God, because they rely upon their own understanding (Romans 1:21; Ephesians 4:18, "having their understanding darkened"), and they create (in their own darkened minds) a god of their own making (Romans 1:23). To encourage people to turn their "lives over to the care of God as we understood Him", is to encourage people to "turn their lives over to a god of their own making" (i.e. according to their own understanding). This promotes nothing more than spiritual death (Revelation 22:15). In addition, these twelve steps are a deceitful attack against the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ (i.e. they are against Christ, antichrist, 2 John 7; Colossians 2:8-10). The twelve steps are (as Mr. Wilson used them) given as an answer (a way) in which one can overcome sin (with Mr. Wilson's case, the sin of drunkenness). Jesus Christ is the ONLY answer for sin. He is the only way (John 14:6). There is only ONE "step", and that is faith in the Savior (Ephesians 2:8/Matthew 1:21/John 8:36/Romans10:13)! The above exemplifies the "twelve steps" are what are used to "become free from addictive, compulsive" behavior (i.e. sin). In other words, the twelve steps are the savior! No doubt it is deceptive, because "Biblical principles" are interwoven throughout; but if they weren't, few (if any) would be deceived. One good question to ask would be, "Where does Scripture talk about any 'twelve steps'"? The answer? Nowhere! These twelve steps come from Satan (via Bill Wilson), who is the master deceiver (Revelation 12:9). Remember, Satan used Scripture to tempt Christ (Matthew 4:6), and Balaam spoke much truth (Numbers 23-24); but he was a false prophet (2 Peter 2:15-16/Numbers 22). In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus warned, Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Jesus likewise warned in Luke 13:24, Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

MICKY said...

Greetings Andrew
I wonder if this might interest you:
I imagine 12 Step recovery programs are a slow slide into the jaws of Satan. I was involved with this evil “satanic cult” [AA] for over 30 years but was saved through the power of Jesus Christ. He directed me to a therapist who was into “real” recovery, not the mind destroying, soul destroying, cult, which is AA. I have met two Steppers recently & I imagine they are completely devoid of any emotion or insight. I feel pain because both these men are decent human beings but AA has destroyed their brain structure & they have no idea how to relate apart from expounding AA propaganda. I imagine Hell to be a continuous flow of AA meetings without any light at the end of the tunnel because one never recovers'. I beg Andrew, to get out before it is too late.
How does one recover when one is handing one’s power over to AA. The 12 Steps were written out of Wilson’s head, he certainly didn’t get his guidance from the Bible. I imagine he was an agent of Satan & he & Smith’s “cult religion” has filled millions of Steppers with their anti - Christ propaganda.
Step Three of AA is "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him." While many in the Oxford Group placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, there was much leeway given. Shoemaker, a leader of the Oxford Group, says, "The true meaning of faith is self-surrender to God." He further explains: Surrender to whatever you know about Him, or believe must be the truth about Him. Surrender to Him, if necessary, in total ignorance of Him. Far more important that you touch Him than that you understand Him at first. Put yourself in His hands. Whatever He is, as William James said, He is more ideal than we are. Make the leap. Give yourself to Him. Aside from capitalizing the "H," which Christians do to refer to the God of the Bible, "Him" could refer to any god of one’s own making [BEDPAN]. Can you see what is happening to you, Andrew? Ask Jesus to take control of your life, read the Bible & instead of 12 Step groups, go to Church. Burn your Big Book or use it as toilet paper. Can you see the difference: With The 12 Steps, you never recover but with John 3:16 you are guaranteed Eternal Salvation. The “ball is in your court”, Andrew?
Peace Be With You

MICKY said...

I imagine 12 STEPPERS have sold their souls to the devil. Fortunately, I was saved through the power of Jesus Christ, but for many years had been exposed to the evil “satanic cult” (Alcoholics Anonymous) Wilson (AA) has prostituted himself & deluded many thousands (12 Step Groups) by worshipping the god Moloch (Ba’al the Sacred Bull). It all started with his (Wilson) “drug induced hallucination”….
Here are references to seances and other psychic events….
Bill would…”get” these things …long sentences, word by word would come through….” (22)
, he asked for guidance….The words began tumbling out with astonishing speed….(23)
So A.A.’s 12 Steps were actually received verbatim from the demonic world. It is not surprising, then, that the effect of A.A. upon many of its members is to lead them into occult involvement. In 1958, Wilson wrote to Sam Shoemaker,
Throughout A.A., we find a large amount of psychic phenomena, nearly all of it spontaneous. Alcoholic after alcoholic tells me of such experiences… run nearly the full gamut of everything we see in the books. In addition to my original mystical experience, I’ve had a lot of such phenomenalism myself.(24)
Wilson’s “original mystical experience” was his alleged “conversion” –a classic occult encounter: “Suddenly the room lit up with a great white light. I was caught up into an ecstasy…it burst upon me that I was a free man…a wonderful feeling of Presence, and I thought to myself, ‘So this is the God of the preachers! ‘ A great peace stole over me….”(25)
This was not the “God of the preachers” but the one who transforms himself “into an angel of light” (2 Cor 1l:l4)-a light that often transforms those involved in the occult. The experience was so profound that Wilson never touched alcohol again. Satan would he more than willing to deliver a man from alcoholism in this life if thereby he could ensnare him for eternity and inspire him to lead millions to the same destruction!
Wilson joined the Oxford Group and regularly attended its meetings at Calvary Church (NY), pastored by Episcopalian Sam Shoemaker. Shoemaker urged his hearers to “accept God however they might conceive of him….”(26) Here was the origin of Step 3’s “God as we understood him.” God does not respond to those who call upon false gods. Jesus said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (Jn 17:3). God’s judgment comes upon them “that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thes 1:8).
I will set my face against that man & his family & will cut off from their people both him & all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molech. I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums & spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, & I will cut him off from his people. (Leviticus 20: 5, 6)
Moloch the God Ba’al, the Sacred Bull, was widely worshipped in the ancient Near East and wherever Carthaginian culture extended. Baal Moloch was conceived under the form of a calf or an ox or depicted as a man with the head of a bull.
Hadad, Baal or simply the King identified the god within his cult. The name Moloch is not the name he was known by among his worshippers, but a Hebrew Moloch (in the Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament), or Molech (Hebrew), is no different than the word Melech or king, transformed by interposing the vowels of bosheth or ’shameful thing’. translation. The written form. He is sometimes also called Milcom in the Old Testament. I beg you Andrew, to to get out while you can (12 Step) or end up as SHAPE SHIFTING REPTILES!!
Peace Be With You