Last night at A.A. I gleaned a word of wisdom from a long time A.A. goer. "Walk," he said. "Feel like you are going to drink? Get out of the house and walk." That is what I did this morning. I got up. Ate a granola bar. And set out through my neighborhood in the chilly air to shake off these urges I was having. I donned my radio and made great strides early this morning as I passed by the many houses -- their occupants sleeping within. Fueled by my desire to be a sober man -- a respectable member of society. It really does work. I felt so calm when I arrived back at home. The urge to drink had left me.
Another A.A. goer last night also shared with me that he reaches out to newcomers when he feels the urge to drink. "Be of service to others," he said. "Alcoholism is such a selfish disease and we have to cast aside our old ways of thinking." I feel much too raw and new in my sobriety to be of help to a newcomer though. I could share my own experiences with drinking and maybe that could help.
As I was walking this morning, I thought of Clara and Ferret, homeless. The days are growing shorter and the nights much cooler. Soon, the first big cold front of fall will come roaring through bringing cold temperatures. There is already snow falling in the Sierras. I shuddered to think of my own forlorn days spent in the cold woods of Alabama when I was homeless. Frost covered mornings would greet me as I escaped my tent to start a fire and get some hot coffee percolating. I would long for the sun to rise and get high in the sky to warm me with its gloriously bright light. And to think, I have daydreams and fantasies of going back to that kind of life. They are just daydreams though. Grand fantasies of me living by my wits and drinking copious amounts of beer -- a life I cannot live. A life in which you have nothing to lose as you've already lost it all. Maybe that is why I fantasize about it. I have lost so much -- so much hurt and pain. Homelessness would be safe and comforting. There would be nothing anyone could take from me. I could scoff and laugh crazily at threats from my father or the heavy pressure society puts on me to conform -- to be normal and socially acceptable.
I have often thought lately, deluded, that the medications my father makes me take are mind controlling agents. Agents to make me conform to the whims of society and the myriad of rules and norms it places upon us. Isn't that what crazy or insanity is? Acting abnormally and not being constrained by all the countless rules and regulations that mold us into the dutiful citizens we are. The delicate social and societal dance we all waltz through everyday is interrupted by the unwell mind of a mentally ill person. When I was extremely mentally ill, I didn't care for this dance, nor knew how to go about it. No social pleasantries. No grooming. Even meals were forgotten and my delusions would spur me on to things that broke social norms. Exasperated, my family would send me to countless doctors and try countless drugs. I still struggle with the idea that I am just eccentric and not schizophrenic. A free soul amid millions of conforming clones. Once you are labeled insane though, there is no going back -- forever destined to play out the family and societal role of the one with an unwell and sick mind. Coddled. Tread around as if walking on egg shells. Lost in the system that is mental health care. Just another statistic among countless others struggling often without avail to conform to a society that exasperates us. I am envious of people like my father that make it look so easy.