Okay, when I can’t think of a snappy title from now on, my default action will be to grab something from my dashboard that someone googled to end up at my site…..this one was pretty unique (close runner-up was “Pastor Being Fucked”). My favorite one as of late though is when people type in “unsaved pussy” and get here…..my guess is they mis-keyed (I was going to say fat fingered….but too easy of a joke) “unSHAVED pussy”. And I get way more hits with unsaved pussy than I am comfortable with….but welcome to you!
So I’ve been cooking a lot…..trying to find stuff to do with my time during my favorite time of the year that doesn’t include obsessing on getting shitfaced with all of this free time on my hands. I’ve pretty much got the daily job search streamlined, so it only takes up so much time. So cooking is something I enjoy, and I can make a passable dinner. This week has been chicken and noodles, homemade pizza and risotto. I’ve never made my own pizza dough or sauce, but now that I’ve done it I have no idea why I waited this long…maybe because I finally have a pizza stone I can use. Biggest revelation was how great sliced and sauteed (in bacon fat) Brussels sprouts can be on pizza, not to mention the combo of Thai garlic chile paste, ricotta, caramelized onions and mushroom soy sauce marinated chicken breast. The bacon and Brussels sprouts combo will be debuting at the monthly AA potluck tonight…..but not on pizza (UPDATE: the people at the potluck lost their damn minds over those things….they were gone almost instantly, will have to make a double batch next month). Today I went out and picked up 20 pounds of beef bones for stock. The meat department just got a bunch in this morning and cut them up for me fresh……I’ll be testing my limits tomorrow, seeing if there is such a thing as eating TOO MUCH bone marrow on toast w/some sea salt and a little parsley. My gigantic stockpot will be chock full, simmering all day tomorrow after I harvest the roasted marrow….and as usual, I won’t have any stock when all is said and done….I go ahead and reduce it until I’ve got about a gallon of demi glace!
Anyway, enough of the Suzie homemaker crap. Like I mentioned before, this really is my favorite time of the year. USUALLY it’s the kickoff of the real party season that slides on through to the New Year. So this is about as different as it gets. An alien planet. I’ll try to keep things on point, especially if I’m going to burn up blog space with these revolutionary AA nuggets on a regular basis.
Usually autumn just gradually creeps up on me, I take it for granted and there isn’t ever a singular moment that says to me “it has begun”. This year was a little different. We were at the movies last weekend doing a I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell/Zombieland double feature (and by double feature I mean walking into the second movie for free), and at some point in the first movie some guys were walking into a bar…..and whammo, autumn was upon me. No suffering, no booze craving, nothing dramatic at all…just a subtle click in my brain as I pulled up an old image I’ve lived a thousand times; walking into a bar way before it got busy, the air conditioning set to arctic in anticipation of the drunken hoardes, bellying up to the bar and ordering the first drink, chatting with the bartender in the relative quiet, and feeling the first sip work its way into my blood. That first drink always kicked off a cheesy carnival music version of “The Sound of Music” in my head, as my body welcomed the dopamine rush and I settled into the safety of the knowledge I was on my way. There’s nothing like that first ka-pow that hits your brain during the first drink…you can follow it up with a hundred more and you never, ever get that first rush of happiness and comfort back again. Until the next first drink. So yessiree, the electric crispness of autumn air, comfy in a bar, cruising through the top shelf bourbons for hours….praise God from whom all blessings flow.
I don’t spend too much time thinking about it, when I do I can’t say it’s torture. It’s just a reminder of how different things are for me this year, and this is not a bad thing. I went to a really good noon meeting yesterday that helped put things into perspective when the wandering mind begins thinking too hard about this alien planet. We talked about the second step, coming to terms with a greater power having the ability to restore us to sanity. To seek sanity, you have to admit that there was insanity…..no problem there. BUT much of the insanity was triggered by the religious insanity, so coming to terms with a higher power that didn’t want to crush my spine could be difficult for me.
I can’t say that growing up in a works-based religion MAKES you an addict, but it definitely helps. By that I mean, once you accept the fundamentalist/Biblical literalist version of Christ…..who IS the loving deity of John 3:16 (at first anyway), THEN it’s time to get to work and make sure you STAY saved, because faith without works is dead. So even though salvation and grace are free gifts and you could never do anything to be worthy of them on your own, you still have to attach a blue collar work ethic to your faith and cowboy up and EARN it. That’s a lot of pressure, and is completely at odds with the “Jesus as your personal savior” evangelical banner ad because it creates a system where the WORKS create the RELATIONSHIP instead of any works/growth/learning, etc. happening as a natural and logical result of the relationship. It’s the red blooded, blue eyed Republican American Jesus phenomenon….if you work hard enough you can have or do anything, and if you AREN’T working hard for it then you probably aren’t really saved. And that begats the “members only” club mentality, which begats the arrogance, which begats the isolationist attitude and the greatest religious motivators of all…..fear and guilt. If people can’t accept the definition of God’s love on YOUR terms, then maybe you can scare them into loving him.
Sorry, I know I go on those religious rants all of the time, but I say all of that to say this….works were always easy for me. When I was working at a church I could always do as much or more than everyone, and the more things I did to make me feel guilty, the more work I could do to make up for it. And the more I offset guilt with works and jammed all of those conflicting feelings down deep, the more judgmental I became because everything had to be black or white. Guilt doesn’t work. The same goes for my post-pastor life…..I never really had to work THAT hard to get by. School was easy for me, I was a quick learner at work, and when it comes to people I can generally find a way to get along with or befriend almost anyone….especially if there is something in it for me. But with booze comes that same teeter-totter effect that is found in the works/faith dichotomy……working harder to get over the issue of drinking too much, and ultimately watching things come to a critical mass that I couldn’t schmooze or intellectualize my way out of.
This is an example of what a lot of AA’ers call “my best thinking”……the trap of trying to think your way out of the cycle of addiction. Then you are well into the insanity. Oh the insanity and all of the tricks you use to rationalize it or just gut it out. For me, it was falling back on all of the behaviors that made things so “easy” for me in the past. I’d use my willpower, stoicism, intellect or charm to make it into a period of sobriety….and honestly, most of the time I probably WAS a manageable drunk. I never fucked up too badly for a very long time, but I didn’t realize that part of the “unmanageability” of alcoholism was the planning that went into it. So I’d take it too far, go to a few AA meetings and think I could pick up some tips to either drink properly or stop all together. Hook right, hook left…..switch it up, try it again…..but over time it never gets better.
So here I am at the end of all of that, during my favorite drinking time of the year, and it was during the aforementioned meeting that something really hit me. I’m a very visual person…once I can put some kind of picture around a concept I’ll usually be able to internalize it. Back to the higher power……what is that REALLY? It’s not the fundamentalist tormentor of my youth, and it’s not some kind of cosmic feel-good fairy. So how could I frame it in an understandable manner….in a way that it could be some kind of tangible icon to help me into longterm sobriety? And when did my writing become so gay?
I’m rambling, so here it is, the visual……when I tried to use all of the tools and tricks that got me to where I was, to no avail, I was like a billionaire with a huge steamer trunk full of cash….on a deserted island. The money, ego, popularity, charisma, and intelligence at my disposal…..meant nothing. The God of my understanding was the one standing on my deserted waterfront property going “so where did all of THAT get you?”. Things can be just as easy as they were before, as long as you surrender all of the old behaviors and replace them as you learn. It’s kind of like my dog and her pinch collar…..you don’t have to strangle her to walk her properly, it just takes a little tweak with the collar once in a while. That’s me now, constantly correcting my mind to put it in check….as long as it isn’t allowed to get too far out of whack, you’re restored to sanity. I can be all happy now doing a ton of gay crap like being productive and dependable.
That’s about it, sorry for the lack of depraved humor and unbridled ill-tempered hilarity. Overall I’m pretty calm and happy, living the dream of unemployment checks, job listings and MySpace Poker.