Joyless, “’Beware the Hazel-Eyed Monster!’”

Saturday, Jan 17, 2015

Saturday morning: Yesterday was an interesting day. I spent the majority of my pre-work time typing out “the typical Friday” which was wonderfully conducive to ignoring all the little aggravations going on internally. My post-work time was short. I ate my pizza (these are “small,” 10” pizzas, usually) and a handful of convenient snacks while the pizza reheated, dozed on the couch and in bed by 1:20am, which is early. As day three closed, still no cigarettes, I ate only that food before bed, rampant media-use still reigns. I feel a little better, certainly not pain-free, worry-free, or cured by any means.

However, some strange things occurred yesterday and their odd nature bids me bear them mention. Went to work as usual, a coworker offered me a cigarette as usual (I accepted again, but I believe it has kept me from buying a pack), and then I went about my routine as usual. I noticed some commotion going here and there about the store (it’s a tiny, open, poorly defendable location), but I assumed it was related to the catering order due at 7pm.

It wasn’t. I was hailed and the group traveled over. I knew everyone – some of my coworkers, my boss, and an attractive older woman I knew as a semi-regular at the store. When my initial question regarding whether or not this powwow was about the catering order was dismissed, I learned that the lady was a new hire.

She and I have no personal history. I’ve interacted with her maybe 10% of the time she’s come into the store, but there’s an attraction on my end and her presence there gives me something new to think about, which is needed in a liquor store when one is trying for change.

But then, later, (I don’t even know what time it was, the event put me so out-of-sorts!), another woman who I admire deeply came in. There can be no short paragraph on my thoughts on her; to be uncharacteristically succinct – she’s my muse. She’s a semi-regular as well and with no regard for my own personal safety, I have managed to talk to the beauty, although the attempts have been poor – colored even more so by my poorer perspective(s).

That doesn’t matter; I haven’t seen her in about six months, but I saw her last night. More, she touched me on the arm to guide me over to talk to her. I tried to stop myself from rambling by asking her an involved question, but she gave me the simplest, vaguest response I’ve ever heard and then fired a question back at me.

I answered it at length (rambling). I don’t know how to talk to people and I can only hope I was coherent and my language was clean, since I was concentrating so hard on not making a fool of myself that I have no idea what I said.

It was a long minute before she wished me luck and took her turn at the registers, but it was probably the best minute I’ve suffered in a while, let alone since renewing the struggle for self. As mentioned before, this beauty-bright was my muse in a time previous (say, early 2014) for this same recovery from my addictions and with just her as an inspiration, I did pretty well for a span of about two months.

I’ll make the easy-to-accept argument that it isn’t coincidence, then, that she appeared now, while I have those old feelings of “doing something right” again. To further help etch “change!” in my mind, I’ll also state that it’s no surprise she was absent when my frustrations got the better of me and I resumed my addict-life.

I didn’t “need” that boost yesterday, but what a welcome surprise! It just compounds my thoughts on the strengths of conviction and “luck,” though. The act of waking up Wednesday morn feeling terrible, making the decision to change that behavior, leading to a goal that acts as both a target for ridicule (mostly from me) and something to live for; the same goal being a target for cosmic/divine influence. If I didn’t have that or any target to aim at, what boon could I ever expect to receive?

This stems from something else: the concept of belief, or the power of it. Without going into too much, one’s belief in something strengthens one’s mind against failure. By pleading to the source of belief (in some way or another) and then believing in the response, the mind can overcome an obstacle that would have otherwise been impassable. It sounds crazy to type it out like that, but there’s a surge of willpower not found in people who aren’t using this sort of mental aid.

They teach this in church, it’s in Mathew’s Gospel (14:28-35). They teach this at AA meetings. I haven’t read the handbook, but there’s something in the charter to that effect. It’s not wrong, but the particular chapter-house I visited emphasized that “something” to be God and only God. To me, that’s not how it should work, or, I was offended by that. I went to 11 meetings all-told, and that was a common theme: believe in “God” and let “God” have all your troubles.

I couldn’t accept that. Whatever my views on God, my alcoholism and other addictions aren’t His fault. I have this problem with science, too. They still classify alcoholism as a disease and this does seem to take away from the “it’s my fault” feeling we should have to help enforce a distance from these things. If we understand this is all our own doing and we can accept that, that’s when the change can earnestly begin. That’s when God is on our side.

However, it must be said that I am not qualified to argue against any and all institutions that have any success and if any or all methods work for anyone seeking help, I would encourage them to run that course wholeheartedly.

Science holds the position of “disease” because of the behavior of the alcoholic. Gripped in madness, we eschew all things (survivability included) to pursue alcohol. Alcohol is a toxin, which means it will end up being its own cure.

I can say with honesty that each time I’ve tried to change, I didn’t wholly want to. Last year, I made a wonderful attempt, but I crumbled rather easily, the feeble excuse being akin to “I made my point.” Once the smoking, drinking, and video games resumed, all other progressive activity ceased for a time until I (again) had to balance my life and frustrations. This balancing act lasts forever, because I’m always frustrated since I can’t drink, smoke, watch TV, surf the web, and abuse stimulants, pain-killers, and marijuana 24 hours a day. Especially all of this at the same time.

Every one of those things provokes a mental reaction, even if it is the loss of future mental reactions. Like all mankind, I live to be stimulated! Once upon a time, my food and drink were stimulation enough – I had to harvest/hunt what I wanted to eat, I had to collect and prepare my drink, and I had to learn from these experiences so that the next day’s gains could be greater.

A million lifetimes later, that need for stimulation remains, but the basics are taken care of. Without a spear in my hand, a feast in my sight, and a stratagem in mind I’ve grown bored.

Today’s effort at writing seemed a little less infuriating. Or, maybe I was just less aware of all the rambling off the subject. Was there a subject? I did take a misguided stab at AA people, but that’s just because that sort of thing wasn’t for me. I understood that first lesson, though.

I feel good enough to tackle another project as there’s still about three hours before work, I’ll do some work on my sister’s map, a project that has its own place in these pages. Perhaps I’ll go over that tomorrow since the act will undoubtedly stir up some feeling today.

Yours,

Justin Lehman

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