Downtown…

Downtown, having had my fill of swill, I watch. I watch the young couple flitterpating between them, I see the way overweight guy coming in for even more — pizza.

And then the owner is fawning over his beautiful Japanese girlfriend who just came in, trying to swoon her with some sort of wings, in a foil pan.

He looks at her with great hope and expectation. She gorges, casting no glances towards the one who, now obvious to me, kept her alive for yet another day. Food first! Sex later, I suppose.

Were I younger, or in power like this fellow, I would be tempted to do the same…until…until I watched her so desperately, voraciously devour the food….

And then he asks her for $3 so that he can tip the server. What??? She meekly agrees and digs into her layers of purse and pockets to find it.

Hunger — for food or sex or in my case alcohol, surpasses everything. Tonight I see both sides of a coin that should not be tossed.

Nelson.

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Lackluster…

Lackluster: lacking in vitality, force or conviction; uninspired…

lackluster

It’s just after 9 pm. I watched a little TV tonight, but after a bit I realized that out of the 158 channels that I get, there was really nothing interesting to watch. Not interesting enough to keep me up anyway. I had only 3 beers tonight. That’s a record! So instead of watching TV, I thought I’d read a book. But alas, that thought vaporized before I reached the bookshelf.

Is this old age, or is this the ravages of my alcoholism? My life has no color to it. It’s all a dull stone grey. Outside, despite the sunshine, it’s forever raining. Inside, I look at the pile of dishes in my sink and wonder, “why bother…really, why?”

I remember the day, not too long ago, when I looked forward to watching a good TV show, or reading a good book. Now? Meh… This is life? This is living? I want to believe it’s not. Not life, not old age. Not, not, not and most of all not because of my drinking!? It can’t bethat — can it?

I was reading a book this morning about the “A.A. Promises”. It said that the drinking could be — no, IS — at the root of my apathy, my pale grey sky syndrome. While I want to disagree — holy crap — I do hope that that’s what’s going on here. I want to feel alive again, I want to find delight again in the simple things; a beautiful flower, a child’s smile, the taste of ice cream, the hug from a friend or even just the warm lick from a wee waggly tailed fuzzy puppy. Oh, to be able to enjoy the scent of the rain again, the sound of the symphony, the summer fireworks, the buzz of a bee, chirp of a bird, scent of an apple pie. A walk in the woods, a ride past the lake, the crash of mighty ocean waves…or just the tick of my departed mothers watch. Is it possible to see, to smell, to taste, to hear, to feel any of these simple things once again?

I do hope. I truly do hope…

Nelson

Nod of approval…

Tonight I was at my usual watering hole quaffing my way to the usual oblivion when a Chinese couple I know well wandered in and sat down next to me. We didn’t talk for some time, but eventually did. They bought me another pint. 3/4’s the way through that, they suddenly ordered hot water and lemon, for all 3 of us. We spent the next 15 minutes or so chatting. Meanwhile both Mr. Kay and myself sipped on our hot water and lemon and both completely ignored the 1/3rd left in our beer.

And then Kay leaned over and said to me, “You know Nelson, I have a lot of friends who, if they had a little beer left over like that, would never let it sit there. They would drink it up and order another, but you didn’t….” Then he stopped talking and gave me a nod of approval. I didn’t know what to think or say. I just nodded back.

Then Kay’s take-out order arrived — two bags. He handed one to me and said I might enjoy it for breakfast. Whatever it was. I gave them my many thanks and we all departed. When I arrived home, I opened the bag and found the most lovely and delicious pound of wings in there, along with fresh celery sticks and dip, which I most gratefully devoured.

What a nice gesture, and what a nice thing to say…especially with that wee nod of approval. Perhaps there is hope for me yet.

Nelson

Little hope…

I wrote this in response to someone here going through her own hell — as the spouse of one of we drunks. I think it can stand here as a statement of the devastation that alcoholism can cause in families.

36 years ago my best friend, who was 21 at the time, came home from university one day. He entered the garage where he expected to see his alcoholic father doing his usual puttering about the garage on his various woodworking projects. Instead, my friend found his father swinging from the rafters. So ended years of living with a relentless alcoholic, so ended the fights between his father and mother, so ended the drunken rants. So ended my friends University studies. And so began my friends own gradual slow but sure spiral down the same path of misery. I never forgave his father for doing that — that way. Sometimes there IS no solution. Only the hoped for better out of nothing but bad options. Living in hell while still alive, not knowing what’s coming tomorrow. How to choose when there are no good choices? We hope for the best, I suppose.

Hitting “Rock Bottom”…

RockBottom

Most drunks like me think that “Hitting Rock Bottom” means being in a situation like the guy in this picture. At least, for many years that’s what I thought. Oh, I felt like I hit rock bottom many times in various circumstances, but that proved not to be so. I thought that my life just hadn’t gotten that bad enough for me yet. And so I continued on my not-so-merry way, drinkin’ and thinkin’ that “One day I’ll finally hit my rock bottom and finally stop killing myself…whenever that happens”. Until this morning.

This morning while I was contemplating the utter insanity of my drinking, I reached for my copy of the A.A. “Big Book,” hoping I might find some solace within its pages. I’ve had the book for about 15 years, but have never read it from front to back, which is what I’ve started doing in just the past few days.

Part 2 of the Big Book has the stories of many men and women who have struggled with their alcoholism and found freedom through the methods of A.A. The story I was reading this morning was about a gal who had been thinking very much the same as I–that she hadn’t “hit her bottom” yet. She like I had been thinking that so many alcoholics do end up like the poor fellow in that picture and that becomes their huge turning point for the better. Just as many people, however, it seems do not end up in an extreme situation like that — and that frustrates us!? Well, someone said to that girl, “You hit bottom as soon as you stop digging“. After reading that, I had a huge “AHA” moment.

What a simple analogy! If we are digging a hole, the second we stop digging we have a bottom right there in front of us. We don’t need to keep digging and wait to hit our bottom. That’s insanity! That’s what I have been doing for years. What a depressing, morose way to live — waiting for the worst to befall me! My “bottom” is right there the second I stop digging/drinking and then take positive steps to get out of the damn hole. My recovery can begin today, then. My bottom is precisely where and when I stop drinking. What a refreshing, hope-filled thought.

Nelson

Morning blessings…

junco

This cute little bird is a “Junco”. Common to my area, they summer in the cooler forests inland and winter back here along the coast. I’ve been feeding them off my balcony for a few years now. The last one I saw was back in May sometime, until this morning.

I was sipping on my morning coffee, nursing my usual hangover, and also feeling particularly anxious for some reason. “Probably just the usual morning hangover paranoia,” I thought to myself. Although, that thought didn’t calm me. What can I expect? Nothing really. Absolutely nothing, or so I thought.

And then, with gazed fixed upon the beautiful Sequoia cedar just outside my patio, I uttered a simple, desperate prayer; “Oh God, please help to not drink today”. Within a second or two of uttering, something flittered onto my patio. Yes, you guessed it, it was the first Junco back for the winter. I gasped. And then gasped again, remembering that the same thing happened a year or two ago, also right after uttering the same prayer. Coincidence? I think not. The afterglow of the moment released my anxiety and my heart was warmed. In spite of my being fundamentally agnostic, God had instantly answered my prayer.

In the A.A. literature, there is a section called, “The Promises”. One of them is, “We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves”. For me, this mornings Junco experience was a direct experience of that, also giving me hope for this afternoon when the ol’ witching hour descends and my cravings kick into high gear. Perhaps today God will give me the strength to not take that first beer.

I have hope for today, and that means a LOT. Thank you also to “whenlifeisgood” here on WordPress for so kindly adding to that.

Nelson

Drunk is as drunk does…

Yes, I’m a bit drunk. That said, I have had some useful direction from a few here. I’m going to rediscover my youth. When I was in elementary and high school (more true disclosure happening here now) I was an amateur Magician, doing magic shows for kids Birthday parties throughout, starting at age 11.

In High-School, I acted and sang in our musicals. Since then–nothing! Time to end that time!! I live in a great city — Vancouver, British Columbia. The theatre and film/TV industry is HUGE here! I’m aiming for that now. Yes, I know alcohol is rife in it. No, I do not plan to engage in that part of it.

Nelson Craig