Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Thoughts for the End of the Blogging Day…

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out

That’s the eleventh step of the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I’ve never paid much attention to the details of that step having never gotten that far in the program.  This evening, I noticed it said to ask God ONLY for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.  I have been praying all wrong!  I have been praying for anything and everything.  I pray mostly for mental health.  In the shower.  While I eat.  While I am driving.  I am asking God to help remove my mental illness.  It has tortured me so over the years.  Maybe God’s will was to mold me as the person I am today through my mental illness.  I think I am very kind and it is one of my most important aspects as a person.  I have a lot of empathy for people who are downtrodden and/or ill.  I have been praying for a miracle and maybe I’ve gotten it all wrong.  God must be much more subtle than that and I will not set myself up for disappointment when he doesn’t cater to my every prayer and whim.  

Much Too Pretty to be Sitting at this Computer…

Well, I am off to sit on the porch, smoke, drink soda, and listen to last night’s Coast to Coast AM on my iPod.  It is an absolutely gorgeous spring day with a temperature of 78 here.  I will catch up on comments in a few hours so if you comment and I don’t reply then you know I am enjoying this spring day.  Thank you all for the interaction today.  It means a lot to me!

Some Piano…

Have you noticed how Maggie always has to get in these videos? lol  I looked terrible in this video, but posted it anyway.

Gift Cards: I Love Thee…

“I am getting you a $100 iTunes gift card for your birthday today,” mom just told me on the phone. “What do you do with them?  You can’t buy beer with them, can you?”

I smiled.

“I usually just get audiobooks for my iPod,” I replied. “And no, you can’t get beer off of iTunes.  I certainly wish you could sometimes.  If I could download beer off the Internet then I would be in serious terrible trouble.”

“What do you want for grocery day?” mom then asked.

I told her I wanted Lean Cuisines instead of Marie Callender meals.  The Marie meals played havoc on my bulimia and drove me crazy this past week. They are fatty, over the top, salty, tasteful, and make me want to binge.  Lean Cuisines are bland, small portioned, and not dangerous.

“Get me three packs of Snicker’s bars!” I then said excitedly.  Sugar is my new drug it seems.  I am very limited by my family of the drugs in which i can partake these days.

“I will get you two 2-liters of diet soda, but your father says they have to be caffeine free.”

“Okay,” I replied. “But get me three.”

“Three?” mom asked. “That is going to push your budget over the limits.”

LOL!

“Mom, they cost .99 cents per 2-liter!”

“Well, okay,” she said and hung up the phone.

I can’t wait for my Snicker’s bars and soda!  The hours till around 2pm are going to pass so slowly.     

The Rigors of Blogging and Facebook…

My sister follows me on Facebook and so does my sister-in-law.  It has scared the shit out of me that they are going to tell my father that I am writing about my mental illness and addictions openly there now.  I am certainly throwing caution to the wind.  I often wonder if I should just put my real name on this blog and where I live.  Does it really matter that people can find me?  Do I have the courage to be me despite what others think?

My sister sent me a private message last night after I had wrote I get a lot of readers on my blog. She wanted the address and wanted to know about building up a readership.  I didn’t send her an address.  I don’t want my family reading my blog it seems.  I did tell her that blogging is like anything else in life as she should know being a very successful oncologist.  You get out of it about what you put into it.  if you write a lot and try to be interesting then people will stop by I think.  Most people start a blog and give up after a few weeks when no one visits.  When i started this iteration of my blog, I only had two people reading: Pipe Tobacco and Jennifer

I am seriously considering putting my real name up today and where i live.  I would love your thoughts on the matter before I do this.  I always admired Kevin “The Homeless Guy” Barbieux for always using his real name on his blog despite the incredibly controversial topics he wrote about.  Let me know what you think and if I am being stupid or not. 

(I am also feeling especially gregarious right now.  That may change in a week or two when the paranoia of my schizophrenia rears it’s ugly head.  I will go back to being quiet and withdrawn – a social pariah.)

Issues… We Have Them…

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My Thoughts for the Day…

Computer Stuff…

My Twitter/email/TV computer started restarting randomly yesterday.  I was stumped until I changed the power supply from 300 watts to a 430 watt power supply. It is running fine now.  The overclock was causing the motherboard to use more “juice” and it wasn’t getting enough power.  I love trouble shooting this sort of thing.  I really should get a job working on computers.  Most people don’t know this, but I am A+ certified to repair PCs.  I took the exam in Montgomery, Al. years ago and it cost $250 dollars to take it which I thought was a racket. 

Mental Illness Update for the Day…

I am feeling very mentally well today.  I woke up in very good spirits.  I am still having those periods of euphoria, but they will soon pass as my body becomes acclimated to this new high level of medications.  I was on 25mg a day and now it is double to 50mg a day.  I still grow very tired at the end of the day, though.  I was in the bed by eight last night and slept until 5am this morning.

The Stigma of Mental Illness…

I am in a long running conversation with a lady on Twitter about the stigmas of mental illness.  It is true most of us hide our disease when it would be perfectly acceptable to tell employers, friends, and family we had cancer or the flu.  She feels more people die unduly to mental illness due to this stigma.  She is probably right.  I am in the position where I don’t work and frankly have grown tired of hiding my illness over the years.  I want to reach out to others with my same problems and realized I had to speak out to do this.  I really don’t consider myself an advocate per se, but do want to reach out and talk.  It is actually incredibly hard to find others with mental illness in these social media outlets due to the stigma involved. I have found two people with schizophrenia on Twitter after countless searches and only one on Facebook. 

Attitude of Gratitude!

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You can’t see it on the video, but I’m not wearing pants!!! LOL!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mexican Tuesdays!

On top of my nachos supreme and chips and salsa, I got shaving cream and cups! LOL   Mom can bring me the oddest things sometimes.  I wonder what goes on in her mind.  I didn’t get any 20oz Cokes, though. :-(

 

Euphoria City…

I took the post down about George.  It was just too racy.  George can be crass and I worry about posting our exchanges.  It’s guy humor and most of my readers are women.  (I put the George post back up.  Y’all tell me if it’s too vulgar or racy, or if it offends.  It is exactly what happened.)

I’ve had periods of Euphoria all day long.  It is very nice.  The alcoholic in me likes anything that makes you feel “high”.  I’ve spent most of the day chain smoking and smiling.  I’m not very verbose today, though.  I don’t know what  much to say. My injection is my “Soma”, and can make me quiet and withdrawn.

I wish I got more comments.  Only a select few people comment out of nearly 300 people visiting the blog every day.  At any given time, there are 4 or 5 people reading the blog and I am always disappointed when they leave without saying hello.  There is a recovery and sobriety lesson in there somewhere – not letting others dictate my feelings and moods.  I am off to smoke some more and read a book as I sit in front of this computer.

Good ‘ole George…

“Momma’s driving me crazy so I coming over here with you,” George said a minute ago. “I’ve been off of work two nights in a row sick and momma’s bout to nag me to death.  It makes me want to drink a gallon of bourbon.”

I laughed. “Come on in!”

“Let’s order a pizza for lunch,” George said.

George had brought a case of Cokes and I began to drool.  What a nice surprise!  I ordered the pizzas online and we are now waiting on them to arrive.  George is laying on my bed smoking a cigarillo.  He is using a cup of water as an ashtray which is sitting on my bedside table.  He has his legs crossed and looks comfortable.  I am doing “computer shit” as George puts it. LOL!

“If you watched porn, what kind of porn would you watch?” George just asked me.

“Everyday Joes,” I replied, meaning amateur porn. “Porn stars and mainstream porn just seems so fake.  I got enough of that with my ex-wife.”

“Find me a good amateur porn site.  Work your computer magic. You can find anything.”

I found www.youramateurporn.com pretty easily and it had all free videos and was virus free.

“Email me that link!” George said excitedly.

“You know it’s rather gross that I am thinking of you visiting this site and beating off,” I replied.

“I forget you don’t beat off,” George told me laughing.

“It’s not funny!” I said huffily. “I can’t help my medications make me asexual!”

I am now having euphoria from my injection.  This is my version of an orgasm.  I just told George I was feeling quite strange, but good at the same time.

“I’ve got to get me some of dat shit!” George exclaimed. “Do they have to inject it in your ass?”

I laughed as I lit up a cigarette.  Smoking is ten times more pleasurable during these moments of euphoria.  I can’t believe George is wanting an injection of Risperdal just to get high.  Us addicts are something else!

I Really Dig this Video and this Group…

Some Photos from Around Mom and Dad’s…

Isn’t mom and dad’s house the most hideous color?  I don’t know what possessed dad to paint it this color but it embarrasses my siblings and I.

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Model Railroad Club of Toronto…

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No Hairy Butts Here!

“I”m glad your butt isn’t hairy,” my nurse told me as she was injecting me. “i have never liked hairy butts on men.”

I laughed. Boy, did I laugh.

“Well, I am glad I could accommodate you,” I replied, smiling feverishly. 

Rebecca saying that really surprised me.  She is very conservative.  You know I just had to drive up to the pharmacy and tell dad all about it.  He loved it!

I am already feeling better just an hour after my injection.  My mind is quieter and I am calmer and more relaxed.  I got three Snicker’s bars and three Coca-Colas at the pharmacy so I am set for an hour or two. 

The Way to My Heart is Through My Stomach!

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An Attitude of Gratitude…

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“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Today, I am thankful for medications and being able to afford them through the help of my family and the government.  My medications run over $1000 dollars a month – as much as what I get in disability each month.  I could never afford this without Medicare Part D which pays the full cost of my medications. 

I am also thankful for AA.  Having a safe and supporting place to go everyday to talk about my drinking issues is amazing.  And it doesn’t cost anything.  People come together to help and support each other via a common cause – the simple desire to stop drinking.  I am learning to live in a healthy way by attending the program.  I have a new lease on life. 

My gratitude lists will always include Maggie as well.  She really tickled me last night.  She was the proverbial bottomless pit as far as food was concerned yesterday.  She ate her double cheeseburger with relish.  Later, dad gave her a cup of her Purina One.  She ate that.  I had lasagna for supper and couldn’t eat it all and Maggie ate the rest.  She was bloated and it made me smile.  Jumping up on the bed to sleep was laborious for her.  I almost had to pick her up.  She is hungry again this morning and watched intently as I ate a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast.  Yes, she got half of the two. 

I am also thankful for Kevin “The Homeless Guy” Barbieux for reminding me to be kind to others which he is not.  He has taught me so many lessons over the years.  I have often gone by the mantra “do the opposite of what Kevin does” for better life living results.  He also taught me that homelessness wasn’t the end of the world.  There are places you can go and live off of the system for decades.  I always knew if my family abandoned me, then I would have a place to go however austere and contrived.  It was just a glimmer of hope in the pits of despair that once was the hell that was my mental illness and drinking.       

My Thoughts for the Day…

Shall I Howl???

full_moon_02_20001I am a firm believer that the gravitational pulls of a full moon have effects on our brain chemistry.  Last night, I was sitting here at this computer and looked out the window: A full moon.  I immediately called dad on his cell phone even though he had just left after our medication ritual.

“Guess what?” I asked him. “It is a full moon.  You know what I should be doing.”

“You should be acting crazy, drinking beer, and raisin’ hell,” dad replied laughing.

I laughed and laughed. It was so true.

“We should be full tilt nuts right now.”

“That explains the crazy customers I had in the store all day,” dad said laughing some more. “Everybody was wanting their pain pills.  We had some real crazies today.”

At least dad and I can laugh about it.  It was true though.  Tomorrow was to be my shot and it was a full moon – a very interesting combination.  

Throwing Caution to the Wind with Facebook…

51 I am throwing caution to the wind with regards to Facebook.  I am just going to be me and be honest about my problems and I.  I realized that was the only way I was going to use the service.  So many of my former blogging friends have gravitated there.  They no longer write their blogs and just post on Facebook.  I want to join in.  It feels odd letting my classmates know I have a mental illness, though.  There is a stigma to mental illness and we learn to hide it.  There has been an outpouring of support about religion though. Classmates are contacting me via email and an old friend who used to work for my father stopped by my house yesterday with a “recovery Bible” after what I wrote on Facebook.  It was so good seeing her, but it felt kind of odd.  She wants me to go to church with her this Sunday.  I used the same excuse I use with Mrs. Florene.  I don’t have Sunday clothes.  I am just not ready for formal religion just yet and the Baptists are certainly interesting.

Computer Stuff…

abit_big You may remember I put together a computer out of spare parts I had lying around.  Last night, I got adventurous and started to overclock.  It has a 3.0 GHz “prescott” Intel Pentium 4 processor.  I managed to bump up the front side bus up to 1000 MHz for an amazing overclock of 3.75 GHz.  I was so proud and excited, and it is rock solid stable as well. 

I also managed to overclock the memory/RAM for my main blogging and gaming computer.  I linked the memory bus to the front side CPU bus for an overclock of 850 MHz.  The front side bus is running at 1700 MHz.  That was just amazing!  I am still astounded that it is stable, but we are running fine.  I ran lots of number crunching tests and didn’t get any errors. 

Next on the agenda was overclocking my Nvidia Geforce 8800 GT video card. The bios is locked so no overclocking.  I was so disappointed.  It is a good card, though, at stock speeds and has served me well these past few years. 

I changed browsers yesterday.  Internet Explorer 8 was running slow for me in 64-bit mode so I changed to Apple’s Safari 4 browser.  It isn’t groundbreaking, but it does the job and I like it so far.  It is fast and stable.  I’ve never liked Firefox because of the download manager.  I download lots of stuff and I was always hunting where Firefox put them.  It aggravated the shit out of me.  Firefox is still the fastest and most secure browser, though.   

Monday, March 29, 2010

Double Take and a Turn Around!!!

I was just sitting at a red light in downtown West Point, Georgia.  A train was passing in front of me and I was geeking out! I love trains. I was headed to the 8pm AA meeting in Lagrange.  It is a long drive and I was just out of town and was trying to psyche myself up for this ordeal. I kept praying in the shower that God would allow me and help me to make it. Then it happened.  I had a massive panic/anxiety attack sitting in front of that train.  My arms went numb.  My mind was racing a hundred miles an hour.  The whole world seemed to spin.  I managed to turn around and head home.  I have never been so glad to pull in my driveway in all my life.  I was literally scared to death.  I tried to do too much tonight.  Late in the evenings are when my medication levels are low in my bloodstream.  I am always tired and go to bed around 8:30 until dad arrives with the meds.  Tomorrow is also my injection of Risperdal Consta.  I should’ve been more cautious and just attended an online meeting at 9pm.  You live and you learn.  I am just glad the panic attack didn’t last long.  Usually, they can last for an hour or more and I am wracked with agony.  Thank God for tonight’s reprieve from the usual. 

A Special Moment in the Life of Maggie – Getting Her Weekly Double Cheeseburger.

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Celebrating Spring!

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Curious Family Dynamics…

My mother suffers from schizophrenia and bi-polar.  She also has an addiction to aprozolam (Xanax) which my father tolerates as it keeps her malleable and complacent.  She easily gets muddled and confused.  She will often sound thick tongued over the phone.  She did today and I worried deeply about her.  Her’s is not an easy life as I sometimes delude myself into thinking with Helen cleaning the house and cooking all her meals.

“I just put your cokes out on the porch,” mom told me a moment ago over the phone.

“Mom, I picked up my cokes at eight this morning,” I replied.

Used to, I would take advantage of her muddle-ness and confusion.  I would jump all over the chance at getting six extra cokes for the day.  I won’t lie and say it wasn’t enticing, but cooler and more ethical heads prevailed this morning.  Dad has often told me I’ve taken advantage of my mother’s tendency to do things such as this over the years and i want to change that. I don’t write this to toot my own horn, but to display some of the dynamics that go on in families with individuals who are addicted and are mentally ill.    

Depression Sucks!

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Twitter Idiosyncrasies…

  • The #amwriting people: People who are always writing about writing, but never write anything interesting.  They always use the #amwriting hashtag and encourage you to use it too.  Write about your life. Your dog. Anything other than just writing about writing.  I want to get to know you and that is why I followed you. 
  • Link posters: People who clutter up the Twitter stream with endless links to things they think are interesting.  These links are only interesting to them.  They insistently want you to be interested as well.  Sigh.
  • The “I may win” retweeters:  People who retweet that dealsplus or other retweet to win crap hoping they will win an Apple product or other assorted junk.  It is the scourge of Twitter.  You are not going to win an Apple product I assure you and you are cluttering up the Twittersphere. 
  • The 4square twitterers:  These people think visiting the Chevron is great and they want you to know they’ve been there as well.  If you visit the gas station enough, you get to be “mayor” of Chevron.  Your first bit of legislation as mayor should be to ban tweeting about visiting Chevron!
  • Follow Friday: I don’t like this.  People tweet endless lists of people to follow.  I’ve followed them to join in on the spirit of the game and was met with a bunch of uninteresting people, people that never tweet, or Internet marketers.  Tweet the most interesting person you follow and let that be it.  I will follow and enjoy!

A Good Start to the Day…

“Good morning!” dad said over the phone a minute ago.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I’m drinking me some coffee, eating a microwaved honey bun, and watching CNN,” he replied.

“I called to ask you about that NAMI meeting,” dad then said. “Me and your mother want to go with you.  I am not making any promises with work and all, but I do want to go.  I want to hear what other people have to say about mental illness.”

“Thank you,” I replied. “That makes me so excited!  I am more likely to go on a regular basis if you all get involved.”

“I want you to talk to your brother and sister as well.  There have to be some cutting edge studies on mental illness and schizophrenia you can get involved in.  I want you to try some new medications.  I will call your brother and sister tonight and ask them to inquire about them.  They have contacts in psychiatry.”

I thanked dad and hung up the phone.  I am leery of different medications, though, and the thought of being a guinea pig for said medications and studies scares me.  Most medications for schizophrenia have such terrible side effects.  I will try to keep an open mind about the matter and see what my brother and sister say.  It will be so interesting if they get involved with my mental healthcare.

Giving Thanks…

I sat down this morning at the desk in my computer room to write today’s gratitude list.  I had so many thoughts on my mind and so many things to be thankful for. Number one was yesterday.  I had a mental illness free day and they are rare.  For that, I was so thankful.  No racing of the mind.  No endless pacing of the floor to chase away my mental illness blues.  No feelings of overwhelming despair. 

This morning I am thankful for my central heating and air.  I woke up very cold and heat was just pushing a button up a few degrees much to Maggie’s chagrin.  I basked in the warmth shedding clothes.  I have to remind myself of my homeless days and those times I would be so cold I would cry.  My only recourse was to crawl into my sleeping bag with layers upon layers of clothes on to get warm. 

Another thing to be thankful for was the hot turkey and Swiss sandwich I had for breakfast.  I toasted the bread, slathered on some mayonnaise, and warmed the turkey and Swiss in my toaster oven.  It was heavenly.  A far cry from all those cans of fish steaks I ate cold when I was homeless and all the countless bowls of tepid oatmeal.

Yes, I have much to be thankful for today with my homelessness forefront on my mind this morning.  Thankful indeed!  

Maggie’s Always Hungry…

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My Thoughts for the Day…

All Mixed Up!

I’m neither conservative nor liberal. I consider myself a moderate and would like to see a new moderate based party.  I think a third party is going to be so important and key to America Libertarians aside.  I think it is terrible the extremes our two current parties go to on either side of the coin.  It is bad for our country.  We need to meet in the middle and have a consensus – a truce for the betterment of our country.  We need to work together and not be so deeply divided along party lines.

I listen to lots of AM talk radio, but can’t listen to the political shows that are so prevalent during the day.  I abhor the likes of Rhandi Rhodes, Neal Boortz, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh.  I think they delude people into believing what they erroneously say.  And all they do is divide and bitch and moan – drawing lines in the sand and proselytizing about it.

Dad asked me again last night what I thought of the healthcare reform bill.  I said I thought it was about time.  We have to have insurance for our houses with mortgages.  We are mandated by our states to have insurance on our cars.  Why not health insurance? And for the 34 million Americans who can’t afford it.  I just worry how it is going to affect dad and my brother and sister who all have jobs in healthcare.  Who knows?  It could be a boon.  34 more million Americans are going to be able to get care where they currently can’t.  I eagerly await to see how this is all going to unfold.  

All is Well in my Mind…

Is it the calm before the storm as what often happens?  I’ve felt so well mentally these past few days.  I woke up this morning with my mind so clear and alert.  Normally, it is clouded and muddled by mental illness.  I could grow to really enjoy this.

It is easy to think I am cured when I get like this.  I let my guard down and revel in this new found wellness.  I think my writing really shines when I get like this as well.  I am so easily able to put my thoughts down on “paper”.  The words just easily flow.  I guess that is why I wrote so much yesterday.  I worried about it, though.  I worried I wrote too much and people would grow tired of my rambling.  I had so much I wanted to say and I thought people wouldn’t be bothered to read it all.  So many of you mean so much to me and I appreciate the comments so very much.  Feedback is a good thing good or bad.  It is my Atlas Marker. 

I am very apprehensive about my shot, though, tomorrow.  I am embarrassed.  Two weeks ago, I had taken over 24 Benadryl before my shot.  “I am feeling really mixed up,” I told my nurse. She looked flabbergasted.   What did I say to her and how did I act?  I can’t remember.  All I remember is her putting me in a waiting room to see my doctor after my shot.  I remember my doctor calling dad, dad arriving, and they drug tested me.  I was really acting crazy.  “How you taken any Benadryl or drugs?” I remember my doctor looking deeply into my eyes and asking.  “No,” I said lying as I looked steadfastly back into his eyes not to give away my ruse. Tomorrow, I will go into the doctor’s office with my tail between my legs and hope for the best.  I just hope I didn’t scare my nurse.  Rebecca means so much to me and is always so kind.  

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Thoughts for the End of the Blogging Day…

My Heart Glows!

“I’ve got a lady named Beth reading my blog and she has a daughter with similar issues to me,” I told dad a moment ago. “She’s really opening my eyes to your side of the story and what parents go through.”

“She’s had it tough, hasn’t she?” dad said very intrigued as if he knew. 

“She doesn’t complain about her daughter,” I replied. “But I am getting glimpses of what it is like to be in your shoes.”

“I like I have an advocate on your blog now,” dad said. “You make me want to read again.”

Oh Lord! I don’t want dad reading my blog again, but I liked he showed some interest in it.  It is such an important aspect of my life.  I consider it therapy. 

Dad was in an awesome mood and so loving tonight which was irony coming on the heels of what I wrote about him today.  We cleaned off my porch so I could sit out there this spring and summer and listen to my radio shows on my iPod.

“I’m never going to let you go back to who you were,” dad told me when he was leaving.  “I am one determined son of a bitch and we are going to straighten you out.  Every time you fall, I am going to pick you back up!”

I was just glowing as dad got in the car and drove off.  I do so love him so very, very much.  I told him he was my Rock of Gibraltar. Dad really set the mood for the rest of the evening and I have just taken my medications to boot.  It is going to be a good night!

Lovely Flowers at Sunset on a Stormy Night…

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Too Much Babble Today…

I am sorry. I am babbling today.  I feel lonely and need to talk.  I am sitting in an AA chatroom, but it’s just not the same as my blog buddies.  You all know me so well.  I reveal so much on a daily basis.  I apologize.  I am going to sign off for the day and stay quiet.  I will probably be on Twitter, though.  Babbling is allowed and accepted there. LOL  Good day.

What it Means to Love…

I just left an online AA meeting where we discussed true and deep love for someone or something.  It centered on the love for new found sobriety and going to any length to obtain it.  It really made me think.  Will I do anything and everything for my sobriety like I used to do for a drink?  I can already find myself settling back into complacency about my sobriety.  I didn’t go to the 10am meeting this morning.  You better bet if someone told me to meet them for a case of beer at 10am then I would have been there.  I would have driven to Timbuktu.  Will I do anything and everything to stay sober?  I better start getting serious again!

I love certain things.  I realize now I never loved my wife.  I have no regrets or remorse over my failed marriage.  I was miserable.  I was drunk all the time and I felt my then wife exacerbated this. 

I love Maggie wholeheartedly, but it is so easy to love our pets.  They love us back unconditionally with little strings attached.  I love mom and dad.  I fear dad doesn’t love me, but sees about me due to his extreme sense of responsibility.  He loves my brother and sister and is very proud of them. They are both doctors and overwhelmingly successful.   I am just tolerated. The prodigal son.  

Mom loves me unconditionally.  You can see it in everything she does.  She worries about me all the time and feels this supreme sense of quilt that I inherited my mental illness from her and her side of the family.  I love her back and would do anything for her.  I don’t feel this for my father to that extreme.  My father has a mean streak from all he’s been through with mom and I and it is not easily forgotten.  Hugs are few and far between.  I guess I should just be proactive and ask for a hug instead of waiting for one.  Maybe he will melt some. 

David Balser’s Onion Valley Mining and Lumber

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The Couch is a Good Place to Be!

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Caught With My Pants Down…

“You haven’t come to get your Cokes yet,” mom said a moment ago over the phone. “I thought maybe you were feeling mentally unwell.  Are you having panic attacks?”

I smiled sheepishly.  Little did mom know that I was there when the police left and the backdoor of their home was open.  Charlie let me get some cokes and we locked the door.  I didn’t tell mom and dad knowing they would get on to me. Dad swears I am the only man in the USA that can get high off of cokes.   I have felt guilty ever since.  Used to, I wouldn’t have given a shit so I guess my conscience is improving with sobriety and AA. I still drank the diet Cokes, though.

“Um,” I replied not wanting to lie. “Just put the cokes out and I will be over right now to pick them up.”

“What are you doing?” mom then asked.

“Listening to Kim Comando on Computers,” I replied.

“You love that AM talk radio,” she said.

I drove over to get my six Cokes for the day.  It was raining and it was nice.  I thought how lucky I was to be alive on the drive and experiencing this day.  I was feeling very, very, very mentally well.  I was really enjoying the moment.  It is a good day to be alive and I hope this feeling lasts me for the day.  If only everyday were like this.   

My Thoughts for the Day…

The Ghetto Lawnmower…

Dad bought me a used lawnmower a few years ago.  I have rarely used it.  Last summer, I was having those panic/anxiety attacks and couldn’t mow my lawn.  Charlie came every two weeks and did it for me.  Late yesterday afternoon, I got out the lawnmower cleaning the air filter, changing the oil, and putting fresh gas in.  It like to have never cranked.  It cranked with a big puff of blue oil smoke.  It’s ghetto.  The deck is rusting.  It uses oil.  It is just downright cantankerous, but it has personality.  I think I can finally cut my grass this year with the panic attacks at bay.  Luckily, I don’t have a large yard.  It will be time to mow in about two more weeks.  The weeds already have a head start over the grass. 

Alarm! Alarm!

Mom and dad’s alarm service called me last night saying the alarm was going off.  I am on the list of contacts.  I didn’t have the new alarm code, but drove over.  The backdoor was wide open and the police were there.  I don’t know were mom and dad were.

“Can you turn this alarm off?” the policeman asked after checking my ID.

“No,” I replied sheepishly. “They recently had a new alarm installed and changed the code.”  The old code was their wedding anniversary. 

It must have driven the neighbors crazy with that alarm blaring just next to their house.  I finally had the bright idea to call Charlie with the policeman’s cellphone and he had the code.  He was over in a few minutes to turn the alarm off.  I used the opportunity to get me a 20 pack of diet cokes and mom and dad will just have to deal with it today if they even realize the cokes are gone.  There were five 20 packs sitting on the basement floor for my coke ritual.  

The Call of the Covers…

I am finding myself more drawn to the bed.  I said I was going to be like mom and just sleep my days away, but then I wouldn’t be blogging and twittering either.  I can understand mom’s lure to the bed, though.  When faced with mental illness, you want to sleep until you feel better.  Sleep is the great escape from the torment that can be an unwell mind.  It used to amaze me that mom could sleep all night and then just lay in the bed all day only getting up to eat or use the bathroom.  Dad is comfortable with this.  He doesn’t encourage her to get up or get out.  It is manageable. And if you knew my mother in her un-medicated days, then you could understand how dad feels this way.   Mom was wild.  She would be up at 3am hanging pictures on the wall or ordering useless junk off the shopping channels on TV.  She would keep everyone awake.  My brother would used to wander out of his bedroom and exclaim, “Mom! Go to bed, Goddamnit!”

I worry about depression and my new found love of sleeping.  I can crawl into the bed and daydream till I drift off.  It is definitely an escape. I was in the bed at 8pm last night.  I couldn’t wait to go.  I also couldn’t wait to get up to drink the diet Cokes I procured yesterday at mom and dad’s.  It was hard to wait to drink them, but I wanted to savor the experience.  And some of my favorite moments of the day come at 4am when my medications are still very active in my mind and I am fresh after sleep.  I feel my best at such early hours.  It is late in the day when my feet start to drag and I feel mentally unwell.  Sleep is like a resetting of the clock. 

Will I sleep my days away?  Let’s only hope prudence plays a part.  I have too much to live for these days to be spending my hours asleep.  I have AA meetings to attend.  Blog posts to write.  My new found love for religious lore and history.  Hours of Coast to Coast AM to listen to.  I think I am going to be up for some hours to come.

Growth in Spirituality…

One of the most novel things for me lately is to pray.  My analytical mind wonders if God is there.  If all this mundane stuff I pray about is really heard.  Millions of people are praying at any moment.  Can God process this overwhelming onslaught of needs and desires?  Does he truly answer every prayer or is it all more esoteric.  Do we play a more active role in the fulfillment of our prayers?   I have to pray to go to AA.  It is not easy to me to sit in a room full of strangers with all their social needs and desires.  It can be overwhelming for someone who suffers from extreme social anxiety.  By praying, am I deluding myself that I can go and make it through this ordeal?  Is it the great whitewash of humanity?

Mom is Catholic and told me yesterday that I needed to have faith.  Faith in the unseen and the esoteric is something so hard for me.  I want facts and tangible things I can see and feel.  I’ve had my fair share of delusions over the years with schizophrenia and don’t need to be corn holed into believing something that isn’t real or as many have said is the opiate of the masses.   My opiate was beer and we all know where that leaded me.

Faith.  I must have it, yet I balk.  Is there hope for this old agnostic yet?  I pray everyday now.  I just prayed for faith.  Let’s just hope I am just not another lemming walking over the cliff. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

In the Backyard on a Beautiful Day…

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Dad’s Visit…

“Wash your hair for me tonight,” dad told me a moment ago during our medication ritual.  “And you need to clip your fingernails.”

“Yes, dad,” I replied. “I should’ve worn my baseball cap.”

I was a little embarrassed, but I had let myself go the past two days.  I get so caught up in my mental illness that I can forget these vagaries of life.  I understand completely how a homeless person would let themselves go physically. 

“Are you using that shampoo Dr. K prescribed for you?”

“I’ve used it three times this week.”

“Good,” dad replied. “We are going to get you in shape physically.”

The Chattahoochee Railway – What I Model…

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He Called Me, “Buddy!”

“I thought black people don’t get sick like white people,” I told George a minute ago.

He busted out laughing.  “This flu I’ve got is a plot by white people to keep a good black man down!”

I smiled as George handed me a 12 pack of diet Pepsi.  All joking aside, George has really got a bad case of something nasty.  I told him he went father than I ever would by working last night.

“I am headed home for the bed and I don’t want any shit out of momma!” George said.

“No poker tonight?” I asked sheepishly.

“Are you kidding? But maybe a good drink will kill whatever is ailing me,” George said with a sly grin.

I smiled back. It was good to see my friend this morning.  I told him if there was anything I could do then all he had to do is ask.  It is a good thing he is off of work tonight. 

“Thanks for the Pepsi,” I told George as he bid me goodbye.

“I can still look out for my buddy even if you are part of the great white plot to keep black people poor and downtrodden.”

I liked that George still had a sense of humor.  We often banter playfully about racial issues and make light of what some people take as the gospel.  It is one of the things I so love about George.  I hope George gets some good sleep and awakes feeling better.  And I do hope I don’t get it as well.  I am off to go wash my hands and wipe down that carton of diet Pepsi.  You can never be too careful when it comes to the flu.  At least, I’ve had my shots.  George hasn’t. 

The Sleep of the Dead…

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Mental Illness Check-in…

I had some issues with my mental illness yesterday.  I get these periods of great despair and restlessness.  I immediately jump up and pace the floor.  “I AM THE WALKING MAN!” I exclaimed loudly as I walked and Maggie looked on like I was crazy.  I tuned the TV in my spare bedroom to The Weather Channel and also the TV in the den.  I walked between both rooms pacing as I watched.  I realize it is growing time for another injection thus my restlessness.  Tuesday is the day.  We are going back to my 50mg level for my injection.  The 25mg injection just wasn’t working as well.  My sex drive started to return, but at a great cost.  I am just destined to be celibate it seems.  It is not like women are beating down my door anyway.  I had mainly hoped for a rich fantasy life which I currently do not have. 

I am feeling some restlessness this morning, but not bad.  I just drove over to get my diet Cokes and that will preoccupy me for about an hour.  The caffeine seems to focus my mind and calm the doldrums.  I wish I could just drink Cokes all day.  I realize it is just another drug and I use it as such.

My Thoughts for the Day…

George is Sick…

“I’ve gone three days without drinking,” George told me last night on his way to work.  He had called me on his cellphone on the drive to Lagrange. “I am so sick, though.  I almost called into work.”

George had a coughing fit on the other end.  I cringed.  He sounded terrible.

“Call in sick and go to bed,” I told him, worried. 

“Did you go to a meeting tonight?” George asked ignoring my last statement.

“I went to the afternoon meeting in Lagrange,” I told him.

“I just can’t go to those meetings,” George told me much to my dismay. “I just don’t believe in all that Godspeak.”

I could only just hope and pray.  The rest is up to George. I can only lead by example.

George coughed again and sniffled. “I’ll see you in the morning.” I cringed at the thought of George coming by here sick.  If I got sick then it would work wonders on my mental illness. I have to be so careful.  George finally got off the phone and I was so worried about my friend.  He needs bed rest and some of Mrs. Florene’s tender loving care.  

Showing Interest…

Dad was very interested in what went on in AA yesterday.  He asked me all kinds of questions.  He wanted to know all about the dynamics of the program.

“And this is free?” dad asked.

“Well, you are supposed to leave a dollar donation at the end of the meeting,” I replied.  “It embarrasses me greatly that I can’t give.  It is a roadblock to me going.”

“People pay lots of money to a therapist for stuff like that,” dad said after I discussed what we talked about yesterday.

“I know,” I said proudly. “That’s the magic of the program.”

“Well, I think it is a good thing that you are going.  I support it.  I just hope you can keep it up.  You will start out strong and then your interest will wane.”

Dad was right.  It is going to be interesting to see how long I go.  I will quickly grow tired of those long drives to Lagrange.  I need all your prayers to help me keep going.  Gasoline is going to be another issue in a few days.  I have a half a tank.  Dad only buys me a tank every three weeks.  I am going to have to ask for more and it will be a source of contention.  I only pray that dad will understand my need to go and that God will provide. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Helen Friday…

Helen cooks much the same things every week, but I love it.  It is comforting.  Today, we had fried pork cutlet, yellow saffron rice, butterbeans, baked sweet potato, green salad with ranch dressing, and cornbread.  I don’t care for the yellow rice so Maggie got that.  Everything else was delicious!

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Are We Ready for a Meeting?

“Are we Ready for a Meeting?” the chairperson’s voice rang out in the old church that is an AA meeting hall this afternoon.

A cacophony of voices rang out, “Yes!” and “Hear! Hear!”

We went through the usual twelve steps and traditions and the daily reflection.  This always tires me and all this stuff we have to read, and I want to get to the meat of the bone: the confessionals and discussions.  We talked today of how us, as alcoholics, must be ever mindful of what we say and do to others – that conflict breeds resentment and that can lead us back to drinking.

As I was walking out of the meeting hall, a very portly man said to me, “Glad you came and I am glad you were here!”  It surprised me.  Not too many people in my life have been glad I was there in my using days.  I am still always amazed at how happy Helen, George, or Mrs. Florene are when they see me.  I had terrible self esteem issues for years.  

“Thank you,” I told the portly man. “I got a lot out of what you said and what happened to you at church the other day.”

He had spoken about doing service at his church – passing out coats, gloves, and refreshments to impoverished people.   He said he resented the people for having to do all this on his Saturday and wished he was somewhere else.  He realized the error of his ways and remembered that gratitude was an attitude.  He was once one of these impoverished people.  He said he started to hand out extra coats, shirts, and hot drinks.  

It is a long drive home from Lagrange and I thought long and hard about where I was going.  Does all this matter?  I am but one insignificant speck in the universe.  I then thought that if one thing I shared in today’s meeting touched someone in need then I made a powerful difference in the life of another.  That settled it in my mind that I was doing the right thing and to not always just think of me, but what I can do for others.  A powerful concept that can be hard to grasp for a recovering alcoholic.  A concept I want to learn to master – the art of giving of myself.     

Breakfast with Mom…

“Come and get your cokes!” mom exclaimed over the phone this morning.

“Woo Hoo!” I replied excitedly!  I was surprised she was up so early.

For years, mom put my cokes out at night and I drove over to get them very early in the morning often at 4am or 5am.  This changed a few weeks ago.  I was sleeping most of the night and mom started to put them out in the day.  I told mom to let Helen do it, but she insists on doing it herself.

Helen was cooking breakfast this morning when I arrived.

“You’re just in time to eat,” Helen told me.

Mom was putting on her makeup in the bathroom and soon walked out to greet me.  We sat and ate pancakes and sausage.  I wish mom would realize how lucky she is to have these meals.  I am lucky to get them two days in a row.  I guess I could drive over every morning and eat.  Helen would love that.  I will think about it.  I don’t want to be a bother, though.

“I am driving down to the bookstores this morning,” mom told me as we sat at the kitchen table. 

I cracked open a diet Coke from the fridge and savored it.

“I am so glad you’re just not laying in that bed,” I told her in response.

“Your father thinks I am getting on a high.  He is growing concerned.”

“Don’t you worry about him Mrs. Martha,” Helen chimed in.  “You’re doing good!”

“I want to go to an AA meeting with you some day,” mom told me.

“Today is a closed discussion meeting meaning only alcoholics can go,” I told her. “But I will look for some open discussion meetings.”

“I’ve just always wondered what went on.  You seem so much better.”

This got me excited!  I want mom and dad to take an active role in my recovery.  They usually only get involved when something is wrong.

The first thing I did this morning when I got out of bed was to start a gratitude list and to thank God for all the good things in my life.   Top of the list was Maggie.  I am so thankful for that little dog.  She slept with me all night and brought me so much comfort.  It was cold in the house last night and Maggie got as close to me as she could for heat.  She finally got under the covers and snuggled up to me.  I smiled, buried my head back into the pillow, and went sound asleep sleeping like I haven’t slept in years.   Another gratitude was for dad.  I have put him through hell over the years with my mental illness and various addictions and he has still stuck by me.  I have a home and a car because of him.  I would be homeless in Nashville if it were not for my father’s expense and efforts.  I do have so much to be thankful for these days and I hope I don’t lose sight of it all.  That would be the biggest travesty of all.  

My Thoughts for the Day…

Mom Arrives…

I am very glad mom is getting out of the house.  She was waiting on me last night when I got out of my AA meeting.

“I thought we would watch some TV,” she said cheerily.

We watched the weather channel and then some Law and Order: Criminal Intent.  Oxygen was having a marathon.  Soon, mom was on the bed in my spare bedroom asleep.  Dad arrived and thought mom sleeping on my bed was interesting.

“You and your mother sure are doing some interesting things,” he said.

“We’re branching out,” I said jokingly, but dad didn’t laugh.

Maggie was hyper last night and wanted to play.  Dad plays this game with her where she jumps on and off the couch.  I watched and smiled at their antics. 

I am feeling okay tonight.  I am up entirely too early and will go back to bed after Coast to Coast AM.  I’ve been doing lots of praying.  It is so novel to me to talk to someone who isn’t there, but I guess he, God, is.  I asked for the strength to make it to AA last night.  I wanted to just stay at home and not deal with all the social aspects of the program.  Time arrived for me to bolt out the door for the fifteen minute walk and I made it.  I was glad I did.  It was a good meeting.   

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Midday Report…

Hi, I am Andrew.  I am an alcoholic.  I am trying to better myself by going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and developing a sense of spirituality.  Today, I ventured to the 12pm meeting in Lagrange, Georgia.  We discussed our actions and emotions and how they can effect others.  It was a good meeting.  I have another meeting in town tonight.  It is the 7pm Big Book Study.  The AA Big Book is like the Bible of AA.  The AA meeting hall is just a few blocks from my house.  I will walk if the rain holds off.  I will reconnect with people I haven’t seen in years and hopefully a few new ones as well.  All of this is so new to me.  I am really pushing the boundaries of my social anxieties.  It gets easier as I get out and go, though.  Let’s hope I can keep this up.  I already feel one hundred percent better.  I don’t feel so alone.  

Breakfast with Two of my Favorite People…

Helen was cooking mom breakfast when I arrived for my cokes.

“Pull up a seat and eat,” mom said.

Helen placed a plate of fried eggs and toast in front of me and I hungrily ate.

“I feel good this morning!” mom said happily. “I think I am getting a bath and going to the library.”

I looked up astonished.  Mom never gets out of the house before lunch.

“Your momma’s been telling me all she wants to do today,” Helen cheerily chimed in. “I have been encouraging her.”

“I get so tired of laying in that bed.  I know I am wasting my life away,” mom told me.  “You’ve inspired me to do better with your day yesterday.”

Last night, I called mom so excited about my day and all I was able to accomplish.  The words just came pouring out.  I know I sounded like a babbling fool.  I was just so excited though.

I left mom as she ate.  Helen gave me a hug and said she would call me later about lunch. 

“Baby, you’ve done more for your mother than I have seen done in years.  Good for you!”

I smiled.  I hope mom doesn’t get carried away, though.  Mom and I have been known to overdo it at times.  I am excited for her and do hope she gets out this morning.  I have great plans for my day as well. 

My Thoughts for the Day…

God Speak…

“You’re not devolving back into your schizophrenia are you with all this speak of God?” Dad asked warily last night.

“No,” I replied. “I don’t think so.  It is hard for me to tell.”

“What caused this sudden change?”

“I just thought my way wasn’t working,” I replied. “I decided to try something different and AA is a deeply spiritual program.  I want to embrace it wholeheartedly.”

Years ago, I was very religious.  It drove my wife crazy.  I thought God was talking to me through various means.  They put me on medications for my schizophrenia and I lost all interest in things religious.

“Be careful, but I am intrigued.  If it will help you, then I am all for it.”

“What caused you to call County Mental Health?” dad then asked me. “Your mother told me about that and it surprised me.  You hate talking on the phone.”

“I want to try everything I possibly can to help me,” I replied.

There was an uneasy silence.  You could see dad was deep in thought.  I knew what he was thinking – that I was getting manic and needed an adjustment in my medications. 

We took my medications and fed Maggie.  Dad told me he loved me as he was leaving.

“I am going to trust you, but tell me if you feel things are getting out of control.”

I assured him I would if I could catch it myself.  Dad left and I will never forget the concerned look on his face.  The status quo had been shattered yesterday and it put him on guard.  I just hope what I am doing is the right thing.  If I am doing too much, then I hope my body will tell me.  I don’t want another flare up of my schizophrenia by any means.  It can be so hard for me to discern reality, truth, and mental illness sometimes. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Thoughts at the End of the Blogging Day…

I’ve had a long day.  I’ve pushed my boundaries today and I think for the better.  I made it to Lagrange for the 6pm Big Book AA study.  I was extremely nervous.  I managed to make it to the 45 minute mark when I thought I would have a panic attack and drove the long drive home.  I was proud, though.  That was a big accomplishment for me.  AA is very scary – a social nightmare for me.  I am now going to lay on the bed and rest while I listen to the radio.  I am tired. 

Beautiful Weeds. Boy, am I Glad It’s Spring!

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County Mental Health Part Deux…

Well, I got up courage to call and they directed me to NAMI, The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.  I have two numbers to call to set up meetings.  They are both long distance so I can’t call on my home phone.  I will have to use mom and dad’s.  I will get to that tomorrow.

Today, I am still waiting on mom to come with my groceries. She is very, very late today.  Must be because of her birthday.  I am thinking dad took her out to lunch.    I am starving and can’t wait until she gets here.  It has been a long day and I need some comfort. 

County Mental Health…

Well, I just drove out to county Mental Health.  I asked about support groups and the lady babbled on about some counseling groups.   Then she handed me a card and told me to call a number.  Sigh.  I wish it could have been easy.  I’m okay talking to someone in person, but I have this deep fear of calling on the phone.  I hate the device.  Let’s hope I get up the courage today to call as I am really interested in these groups with Beth’s help and encouragement.  I fear they will be in Opelika though and that is a long drive and I only get one tank of gas every three weeks. 

Midday Report…

I am feeling better today.  More positive.  My old pastimes of listening to the radio and getting involved with the computer are bringing me satisfaction and joy again.  For a few days there, a week, I was so out of sorts.  A throwback to my days of wanton addiction indulgence.  I realized all areas of my life spiraled out of control.  The drinking.  The bulimia.  I hadn’t eaten a good meal in over a week!  I had made myself sick.  I also started to take Benadryl again and would take 18 or 24 at a time until I was out of it.  During all of this, I lost my glasses.  I don’t know where they went.  Luckily, I had some hard contacts and have been wearing them since despite the discomfort they bring me.  I have a very old pair of glasses, but they are like looking out the bottoms of fish bowls.

I just took mom her birthday card.

“I love you more than anything,” I told her.

She have me a big hug and I kissed her on the cheek.  She handed me my six diet Cokes and I smiled feverishly.  I couldn’t wait to get home to drink them.  I really needed a pick me up to get me going. 

I am debating on going to an AA meeting in Lagrange, Georgia tonight at 7pm.  We still have very few meetings offered here in town.  I am worried about the gas cost and if my car will break down on the long drive.   I guess I am trying to find any excuse to not commit.  I am scared.  Very scared of what someone may say to me or just a furtive glance in my direction.  That old social anxiety is holding me back.   Going to AA is a very social thing and that scares me to death.  I know after a few meetings I will feel comfortable again.  I just have to make myself go!  

Interesting Radio…

I found myself praying yesterday.  I am desperate.  It is probably the first time I have prayed in a decade.  I prayed for the good sense to start back going to AA.  I prayed for mom and dad to love me and for our relationship to improve. I prayed for some kind of reprieve in my obsessive compulsive behavior and the drinking, bulimia, and the drugs.  I prayed that Maggie continues to have good health.  I prayed for a great deal of things.  Tears rolled down my cheeks and wet my shirt.  It was like this great outpouring. 

This morning I am listening to Coast to Coast AM about entities that attach themselves to people with mental illnesses and addictions.  How these entities entice us to drink and to have delusions and aberrant behavior.  It is so interesting and intoxicating to think that all this time I may have had a malevolent entity attached to me all these years causing all my problems.  I have been possessed.  There was even the phrase “fallen angels” bantered around. 

My Thoughts for the Day…

George agreed last night to stop drinking today.  It took a lot of peer pressure, but he’s done it once and can do it again.  I need his help and friendship.  He has been trying to hide his drinking from his mother and told me it had grown entirely too tiresome.  I smiled.  I know that feeling all too well from being an active alcoholic and being married for two years. I used to hide my bottles everywhere around the house and would eat toothpaste to hide the smell. 

I slept well last night.  Dad was in another great mood lavishing Maggie with attention.  I also managed to get dad to remember to bring me a birthday card for mom.  I felt much better.  I can’t do much for her under my current living situation, but i could at least give her a card telling her how much I love her.  I asked mom what she does with her days last night on the phone and she discouraged me from going her route.

“I sleep all the time,” she said. “I sleep all night then just lay in bed all day until late in the evening and I read books.  TV completely doesn't interest me.”

“I want to emulate you, though,” I replied. “You seem to do so well most days and me and you are a lot alike.”

Mom chuckled. “Yes, we are a lot alike.  I still don’t suggest sleeping your life away, though.”

I sighed.  Back to the drawing board.  I listen to entirely too much radio these days.  I spend most of my days pacing the floor as I listen to old shows of Coast to Coast AM.  I got a Streamlink subscription for Christmas for a year.  I will get tired and then lay down on the bed to watch Twitter and listen to more radio.  Then up and at it I am again pacing the floor.  It does get old, though.  My legs can grow to feel like Jell-O. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Beaten and Battered Yet Still Beautiful…

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The Pennsy Model Railroad by Tim Gardner…

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Midday Report…

“Let’s Get Back on the Wagon,” I Said.

“How can I help you and me get back on the wagon?” I asked George at lunch. 

He had brought us two chili dogs from Sarah Jay’s eatery.

“You get out of control,” George told me accusingly. “You can’t handle your liquor. I can.”

George was right.  George is what you call a functional alcoholic.  I am not.  My life, in all areas, spirals out of control when I drink.  George still manages to avoid the law, go to work, etc.  

“Would you go to some meetings with me?” I asked.

I have been of the mindset that if you can’t beat them, then join them lately about Alcoholics Anonymous.  And besides, I badly, badly need a healthy social outlet in my life.

“You know our misgivings,” George replied professorially.  “We don’t believe in all that religious bullshit.”

“We will use the group’s conscious as our higher power,” I replied.

George looked up at me defeated.  “Life was better when I didn’t drink.  My money I’ve saved is getting eaten alive!”

“Let’s make a pact and a truce,” I told him. “We will help each other.  We can be our own little support group.  You know I can’t drink for obvious reasons.  You’ve seen what it does to my life and my family.”

George sighed. “I really didn’t want to have this conversation this morning.”

I could smell alcohol on his breath from the distance from my couch to the lounge chair.

“Just think about it,” I finally said as we turned to eating our hotdogs.  

George left to get some sleep.  I hope he does think about it.  I had never done better than when my best friend quit drinking as well.  It gave me something to strive for.  George can be my best friend and my own worst enemy at times as well.  I need his help and support.  He needs mine as well.  Together we can do this I hope.  

I am so Lucky!!!

It is easy to get down if you suffer from a major mental illness on top of addiction issues.  You can get into the doldrums quick like I have the past week!  I’ve been thinking positively today about how lucky I am.  For years, I have measured myself against Kevin “The Homeless Guy” Barbieux.  It makes me thankful of all I have. I’ve lost track of doing that.   I have Maggie.  I have a comfortable if somewhat dilapidated home in a relatively safe neighborhood.  I have all the food I care to eat when many people in our modern world go starving every day.  I have George, Mrs. Florene and a family that still loves me.  I have all the cigarettes I care to smoke if I smoke them judiciously.  I get six diet Cokes per day when I could be getting none.  If I am cold, I turn up the heat and vice versa.

Tomorrow is mom’s 65th birthday.  If I can only just live so long I thought today.  There was a time in my life I didn’t want to live past thirty and go through the hell my life currently was.  See?  It is so easy to dwell on the negative.  Today, I choose to embrace the positive.  I hope you will see it in my writings for the upcoming weeks.  We are getting back on track.

(Just as I was writing this, Maggie came bustling in the room wagging her tail something fierce.  She was wanting some attention.  I smiled and rubbed her back vigorously.  It is a good day to be alive!!!!!!  For her alone, I should be living every day with gusto.)

My Thoughts for the Day…

Calls of Caring…

I called dad last night before he got off of work. 

“I don’t need anything,” I said. “I just wanted to call you and tell you I love you and I am so thankful for all you do for me.  I wouldn’t be where I am at if it wasn’t for your help.”

“Well, thank you!” dad replied enthusiastically. “It is nice when you call like this.  You should do it more often.”

“I made a point of telling mom this as well,” I told him. “You two mean the world to me.”

“We just love you,” dad said. “I know I can be tough sometimes, but I do care.”

I felt so much better.  Dad was in a great mood when he arrived with my medications.  We got in this involved discussion of religion and it’s effects on Southern culture and politics.

“Watch as this health care bill gets all the religious people up in arms over abortions and whether the government will pay for them.”

I chuckled.  He was right.  It is going to get interesting.  Us hapless bystanders in the minority can only just gawk and watch.  I worried how socialized healthcare was going to affect dad and my brother and sister, though.  There is always two sides to a coin. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

It’s Going to be Okay!

That’s what mom told me tonight.  I was down and out about addiction and mental illness.  Earlier in the week, I submitted to a drug test at my father’s request and it came back negative.  He was just sure I was on something, thus causing my problems with mental illness.

“I love you momma,” I told mom tonight. “You’ve all I’ve got.  Dad hates me.”

“He doesn’t hate you!” mom said. “He is just hard hearted in his elder years.”

“Get in the car and let’s drive around,” she said, as I sat down in the passenger’s seat.

We drove out Spring Road far out into the countryside out of the town’s limits.  I ate my two burritos mom had bought for me for fast food Mondays. 

“Seeing you upset makes me upset,” mom told me as we pulled back in front of my house.  “You’re my son.  I want you to be okay!”

“I’ll be okay,” I replied. “Just being with you tonight made me feel better.”

I shut the door and watched mom drive off into the drizzle that was now falling.  I had never felt so alone in all my life.  I only had one choice.   To get back on the straight and narrow and to try and win my father’s trust if such a thing could be won.  I just want his love and affection.   I want back the father that would used to hold me in his lap and laugh.  What we’ve all been through with me and mom has us all jaded, cynical, and hard.   We are all victims of the battlefield of family that can be mental illness.  Can such things even be undone?  I don’t know.  I really don’t want to think about  it now that I’ve written this.  I just want to drink my two cokes and get lost reading about other’s lives on Twitter. 

After the Sneak Attack!

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A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed!

“I am fixin’ to hit the bed,” George told me after stopping by for a moment after work.  He yawned loudly stretching his arms in the process.

“Here!” he said, handing me a bag of Sprites and some candy bars.  “I didn’t think you would want any caffeine after yesterday’s attack.”

“Thank you!” I told him with the utmost of sincerity.

“What are you feeling today?” he asked.

“Just scared,” I replied. “Just scared those attacks will start back.  I am so nervous and it feeds upon itself.”

“Well, don’t you have some medications to take?”

“I have my clonazepam,” I replied. “My psychiatrist prescribes twenty extra per month for emergencies on top of the two I take nightly.”

“Take them then!” George exclaimed.  “Get to feeling better.  I hate it when you get like this.   You’re such a stick in the mud!”

“Dad has them and I can’t bother him at work.  He will get angry.  They are effectively useless to me.  He will say I just want to get ‘high.’  I guess he believes I have cried wolf too many times.”

“I still want to give your father a good ass kicking sometimes,” George replied in a huff.  “Someone needs to bring him down a notch.  Doesn’t he realize you are completely dependent upon him?”

I shrugged, not wanting to get into a ‘let’s degrade my father session’ that can happen sometimes between George and I.

“Call me if you need a drink, okay?” George said. “We will get drunk and I will call into work.  I bet that will make you forget about your mental illness for a few hours.”

“It certainly would,” I said, shrugging again. “You need to sleep, though.”

I didn’t tell George it would make my life ten times more complicated this morning.  I would have to worry about sobering up for dad tonight.  Hiding the smell on my breath.  Discarding of all the cans in a way they wouldn’t be detected or found.   Worrying about George getting home and going through the whole process of hiding his keys from him. 

Just then, Maggie jumped up into George’s lap without warning.  I died laughing.  The first time I had laughed in days.  George spilt the Coca-Cola he was drinking all over my lounge chair.

“Goddamnit, that dawg does that every time!”

George was holding up his arms as if Maggie couldn’t be touched.  I had the biggest grin on my face.  Maggie will only jump into the laps of a selected few people including mom. 

“She just loves you, man,” I said. “She trusts you.  It’s a good thing.”

George pushed Maggie off into the floor and got up to clean up the mess him and Maggie had made.

“Don’t forget to call me if you need me,” George told me as he was leaving to go home to sleep.

I was still smiling ear to ear, but I mumbled something incoherently and said goodbye.  I won’t lie and say I didn’t want to throw caution to the wind and get rip roaring drunk.   I would have been so nice, yet so damned complicated at the same time.   The better Angels of my nature prevailed.      

My Thoughts for the Day…

One Big Bundle of Mental Illness…

I had my first real panic attack in months last night.  I lay on the bed with my heart thumping in my chest uncontrollably.  My vision got all squirrelly.  I was scared to death.  It took a complete hour for me to get over it.

I had put on my contacts for the first time in months last night.  I could actually see for a change and noticed how dirty my floors were.  I got in this cleaning frenzy, doing laundry, vacuuming floors, polishing furniture.  Suddenly, the room started to spin.  “Oh, my God, NO!” I thought in a panic.  I guess I just tried to do too much.  This completely dashed my hopes of returning to work.  How can I not clean my own home and hope to work an eight hour job filled with social and work stress?  I wanted to cry and I did after dad left last night from seeing me.

“How was you day?” dad asked me last night during Maggie’s food ritual.

“I’ve had a bad one,” I told him. “I had a panic attack.”

No consolation.  Nothing.  He was only concerned about feeding Maggie.  I have never felt so alone in all my thirty seven years on this Earth.  I realized the only people I had to turn to were the people on my blog and I still hesitated to write this. 

I finally went to bed very early at nine thirty and slept until four thirty this morning.  At least, my sleeping habits have somewhat normalized.  I am sleeping more hours at a time for a change.  This morning I still feel shaky though.   I thought of pacing the floor for hours hoping that would chase away the blues.  I couldn’t do it, though.  I have this supreme feeling of restlessness with no outlet.  Here’s to hoping the day gets better as it progresses.  I certainly don’t want those panic attacks to return in force.  It would be one of the most devastating things to happen to me in years of recovery. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Thoughts for the End of the Blogging Day…

Good Vibes!

George is doing exactly what I would be doing if I bought an old car and had some expendable income.  Today, he bought a mechanical buffer and spent the afternoon buffing his paint job on the Caprice.  It looks really good and he may not even need to repaint it.

“You should have come with me last night!” George said of yesterday’s poker night out.  “We had a good time.”

I’ve told George many times I’ve always felt uncomfortable being the only white guy there and I always have this feeling that the shot house is on the verge of being invaded by the police.  It is a den of unsavory sorts and illegal opportunities.  

Charlie’s been by with my medications.  I gladly took them.  I had told him yesterday of my new love for Snicker’s candy bars and he brought two king sized bars and two Coca-Colas.  

“You look so good!” he told me before leaving. “And I just love the way you’ve redecorated the den.”

Charlie is a kind soul and a good friend.  He is more like family to me than my own uncles and aunts on mom’s side of the family. 

SHE’S ALIVE!!!

I’ve called mom and dad’s house all day hoping they would finally be home.  I finally left a message telling mom to call me when they got in.  Mom called just a moment ago.  I have never been so relieved in my life.  I always feel out of sorts when they leave me here at the house by myself.  I worry about mental illness emergencies. 

“Your father left without me yesterday,” she told me. “I’ve been asleep all day.  Sorry I haven’t answered the phone.  Come and get your Cokes.”

“Yee Haw!”  I exclaimed.  I was so excited.  Mom laughed.  I have such a simple and base life.

I drove over and mom was on the back porch still in her pajamas putting out my cokes.  I told her of all the hamburgers I had left over from last night.

“Will you go bring me two so I can warm them up?” she asked.

I laughed, glad to help her.  “I will be back in a second.”  I went and got mom two double cheeseburgers and took them back to her.  I sat at the kitchen table and watched her hungrily eat.  I was hungry for company myself.  I sometimes wish Maggie could talk.  I felt a hundred percent better just knowing mom was home.

The Feather River Canyon…

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