The Quotidian…

Wow, Dec. 19th?  Seriously?  That was my last post?  Am I really going to start every post amazed at how long it has been?  Probably……I think I’ve slipped into that vortex that seems to be the norm for every civilian blogger.  I can’t think of much beyond everyday stuff that is impacting me, and therefore that is all I can think of to expound upon.  So here you have the regurgitated laundry list of shit that will sound like your Aunt Betty yammering on about the impact of the sugar diabetes on her life.  And you know what I’m going to do to make it a TOTALLY legit “blog” post?  Oh, you’ll love this…..I’m going to publish this AS SOON AS I FINISH IT…..I’m not going back to check spelling or grammar, and when I find all of the mistakes later, I’m not going to fix them!  How genuine is that?  Hell, the screwups will make me sound as smart as one of them Fox News correspondents…..

So things are good. Still job hunting, which sucks, but now that it’s the first quarter of the year a lot of employers are actually posting IT positions.  I got a ton of new cookbooks over the holidays, so I’ve been cooking more.  I don’t know how many people have come up to me recently and said “maybe you should be a chef”….and I’m nice about it when they say that, but that is the ultimate rookie mistake.  People who love cooking at home becoming chefs….a recipe for disaster.  Sure Pioneer Woman has an interesting angle and got lucky with her celebrity, and her book is good, but first of all, cooking for a living is real work.  And I hate real work.  I don’t think I’d like it if I had to do it for a living. The magic would be gone.  So my friends at AA will have to settle for my monthly potluck contribution of bacon sauteed brussels sprouts.  And how gay am I to be so excited that the new issue of Bon Appetit arrived in the mail today?

So things to pass the time…..meetings, of course.  I just passed the six month mark on January 12th and got my coin at my home group as well as the hospital where I went for treatment.  I got to speak to a group of people who are completing the outpatient program as part of the six-month routine, and I’ll get to do that again at the year mark.  I haven’t been sober that long, but it’s still strange to speak to people who are so fresh into recovery.  As you look around the room you can tell who is hearing what you have to say about the necessity of AA for long term sobriety, and who is hoping you shut up soon because they are either agnostic, don’t think they are bad off enough to need aftercare, or they have some cool new program that is an alternative to AA but only meets once per week at an odd time in an inconvenient location.  The sad fact is, the majority of addicts relapse, and the goal is just to be the one who doesn’t.  As far as my loyalty to AA and its efficacy, if you know me and have read even a fraction of what I have to say about religion, for me to be this dedicated to it should be proof enough of what is referred to as “the miracle of AA”.  Drunks and addicts talking to drunks and other addicts, with the chief goal of not drinking today.  So when I talk to the outpatient people or to newbies at meetings, what I have to say is pretty simple….keep the pain you found at your bottom fresh enough to draw from it from time to time, and hold onto any feelings of hope or love you felt for any of the people who were in treatment with you.  And keep going to meetings.  Don’t worry about the God shit, the mysteries of “the twelve steps”, or how you feel out of place at first.  As long as you dedicate the time to find a good group and you keep coming back, all of those things will work themselves out.  I’m no prophet and I only have a few months of sobriety, but I know that everything in me was built to detest something as cheesy and church-like as AA, yet it is working for me and I haven’t had a day since I came home from detox where I had to “white knuckle it” to keep from using.  So that’s my soapbox….if substance abuse has continually spun your life out of control and you have been unable to stop on your own, and you get sober long enough to figure out why AA (or some similar longterm program)  isn’t for you, it is a statistical fact that you have an 85-90 percent chance of relapsing.  And when you relapse, it is never, ever, ever, prettier or gentler than it was the last time. 

So the program is taking up enough of my time for me to be one of those AA droids….and I’m okay with that.  The people at the hall become like a second family, and much like I describe a fraternal organization that I belong to, it’s kind of like hanging out with a really great group of church people minus the politics or religion.  In fact, and this is a stretch of the imagination you may not be able to handle….I joined the citywide AA bowling league.  I’ve never really bowled a day in my life, so the score for my first game was something like 34. But in three short weeks I managed to bowl a high game of 123, but my average is probably somewhere around 7o or so.  It’s crazy, but I do look forward to bowling every week.  And joblessness aside, I’m pretty happy and calm, my wife is happy, the animals are happy, and no matter how shitty a day can be I know that I’m not going to have to deal with the pain and guilt of blackouts or hangovers.  BUT the shitty thing for any of my friends who read this, especially after these increasingly long breaks, is that I just don’t have that pop,  fuel, or whatever you want to call it, that has been the muse for most of my legendary posts.  I guess I’m just not that angry, and I don’t obsess on one thing ad nauseum until I’m able to get fired up and craft something substantial.  Anger wasn’t always the catalyst, booze wasn’t either.  And don’t get me wrong, I’m not some gentle pacifist now, trust me.  I still come up with some insanely twisted shit, but it’s mainly shared while watching tv.  A fleeting feeling or thought, and then it’s gone.  It doesn’t hang around long enough for my standard 2000 word post.  But oh my God, the things I’ll say…..and reality TV is such great fodder…..that Toddlers and Tiaras show….my lord….I have strong opinions that are very off color at best, illegal at worst.  Don’t worry, I’m not stopping the blog, I’m just trying to find a way to happily and constructively contribute on a more frequent basis.  I do spend time thinking about it, trust me. I’m not one to quit anything once I start….even to the point of my own demise.  A more “recovery-centric” blog?  Not sure, maybe.  I figure my honest take on it could be of some help to someone somewhere.  At least more help than an explicit post about the remake of “Behind the Green Door” starring the cast of Toddlers and Tiaras and Dog the Bounty Hunter.  Not as hilarious mind you, but perhaps more constructive.

Oh, so the other biggie is that I’m back in school.  Kansas City Kansas Community College, to be exact.  Yes, after an illustrious career as a summa cum laude student all the way through grad school, it’s back to Junior College.  Why, you ask?  Well, it’s because I want to become the ultimate cliche…..the guy new to recovery who is going to become a certified addiction counselor and set out to save the world!  Just kidding, about the cliche part.  Honestly, I’ve made peace with the fact that I’ll probably be in school in some form for the rest of my life. I like school. I like a challenge.  And I’ll tell you exactly what I told my concerned sponsor when he found out what I was doing (he’s seen the cliche about a million times during his decades of sobriety)….I’ve always loved to study behavioral sciences.  I love them enough to have spent my time in grad school studying org psych, because I realized long ago that I didn’t give enough of a shit about people to do something noble like help them or counsel them (and yes, I know I was a minister, the irony is not lost on me).  So organizational study I could get into…you don’t have to constantly deal with individuals in your face with all of their crap.  When I was sitting in detox and attending meetings, it was the first time that I truly cared about a stranger. And as I’ve attended the many meetings I go to, I find comfort in the empathy I feel for people who are suffering in the exact same way I did in coming to terms with this disease.  So maybe counseling will be for me, maybe it won’t. I’ll find out. Until then, it’s cool to learn the science behind addiction and its many counseling theories.  Understanding about the “old brain” and the need for relearning habits by going to meetings, for example.  It’s interesting stuff, and it keeps my brain busy.

And before I go, I have one final word……Haiti.  I am not a fool….yes, I realize that we have our own problems here in the U.S., and yes, I am aware that with millions of dollars in aid pouring into a third world country, there is a huge chance for the mismanagement of some of it.  Those things aside, I still cannot get my mind around the conservative backlash.  Apparently, Obama doesn’t feel like he is black enough, so he has to boost his political profile by helping “for real” poor black people….he has no feelings whatsoever for these people, it is solely political.  And, as always, he cares about every other country before this one.  I think that about sums it up, and I’m pretty sure it’s what that dipshit Palin will open with when she joins the Fox news team.  Yes, abandon your post as governor because the media “was mean to you”, and proceed to join the media.  She’s just another reality TV star, and unfortunately there are people stupid enough to ignore the fact that if she looked like Janet Reno, we would have absolutely no idea who she was.  She will never hold a national office. All she has is her reality TV fame, and by that I mean her “I’m not ruling out 2012” tease that is the only thing extending her 15 minutes of fame.  She’s a real politician, and she’s making her buck off of it while she can, but that is forgivable because she ain’t about to go murderin’ no unborn babies I tell ya!  But oh yeah, I forgot, I voted for Obama….which means I also possess a hatred for democracy and this country, and I’m probably one of the idiots who gets on the George Clooney bandwagon and sends money straight into the pockets of Haitian politicians.  It’s just awesome to know that there are big enough pricks out there who can completely overlook the fact that an earthquake hit one of the poorest countries in our hemisphere and killed over 100,000 people (numbers that I’m SURE are trumped up just to get more of our money, right?), basically decimating the quality of life for years and years to come, and the best you can do is sit on your ass, politicize it, and continue to do ZERO for the people in this country you say should get the money before the Haitians.  The type of people who, when I say bring the troops home from Iraq (or send them to Afghanistan where the real war is happening), are quick to tell me…”if you don’t want to stand behind our troops over there, feel free to stand in front of them”…or one of those dumbass finite black or white bumper sticker sayings….yet they’ll still find a way to poo-poo people who want to do something for another person because they are probably a liberal.  As always, when I write about these things I fight fundamentalist stupidity with fundamentalist stupidity……and no, the irony is not lost on me that 99.999% of the party-line discussions we have in this country are nothing more than a tennis match of “your guy did the EXACT SAME THING that you’re saying MY GUY DID!”.  Those discussions go nowhere, and when I talk to some fundamentalist conservative face to face I can’t hate them nearly as badly as I want to, because neither of us can hide behind a keyboard and we usually aren’t smart enough to quote the studies and statistics we THINK we know about….and that is my little secret in life these days…put yourself in the other guy’s shoes.  Despite my ramblings, I really try to do that in my daily life.  If my brain functioned like this blog I would drop dead of a stroke.  My liberal and sarcastic viewpoint isn’t some passive aggressive stab at the people in my life who believe the opposite.  If you think that, all I can say is, you’re so vain, you probably think this post is about you.  In fact, if you’ve spent three seconds with me you know that I’m comfortable saying these things to your face.  Even worse, in fact….if you were here you know how I’d relish the picture of the Palin homestead that I paint for you….where Todd snorts up all the book profits and forces Sarah and Bristol to do a mother/daughter spread for Playboy, followed during the second Obama administration by a full-on Palin women gang bang video.  SO ANYWAY….all I’m saying in all of this is, before your retarded dittohead ass says another negative word about the outpouring of time and money to Haiti…write a fucking check or donate a few fucking hours of your time to something that you feel deserves it.  Chances are probably about….oh, I don’t know….100% that you won’t.  You’ll just have some HILARIOUS remark you weren’t original enough to create yourself like…”I don’t have any money left after your savior Obama went and quadrupled the deficit like he did!  HYUK! HYUK HYUK! “.  Face it dickhead, if those were little white kids they were digging out from under those buildings your opinion on the matter would be completely different.  And don’t act all horrified, or blow me off telling me Obama would never help white kids…..I’m white as hell, live in an all white neighborhood, so I don’t have the ammo to play the race card….but you know deep down in your heart where nobody else can see it…if those were little white kids in that rubble, you would not be talking so much shit. 

So cool, pulled it off in the clutch….a little sarcastic angst for you anyway.  But that’s about it. Wife just got home and I started dinner late.  Man am I going to be pissed when I go back and see all the mistakes I’m not going to correct…..

Carry On.

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9 Comments

Filed under Addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bariatric Surgery, Blogroll, Christianity, culture, dating, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, howard stern, Recovery, religion, Tent Revival, Weight Loss, weight loss surgery

9 responses to “The Quotidian…

  1. Hey Jerry… it HAS been a while.

    Congrats on the milestone. You get to become very protective of sober time as it grows.

    Life’s way better sober.

    A few comments to follow on the rest of the post.

    Ciao.

    Chaz

    • zeemanb

      Hi Chaz, thanks for stopping by. Time really, really flies…..getting a new job is totally going to screw up my schedule.

      Thought for today from this morning’s meeting….. “excitement, depression, anxiety”……the all-encompassing triad that is the addict/alcoholic rollercoaster. Pretty simple and obvious, but I hadn’t thought of my entire life prior to six months ago as consisting of a constant cycle of those three elements, until someone brought it up. Lots to learn, I take the lightbulb moments whenever I can get them, and yes, protective is a very, very good word for how I feel these days.

  2. Well Jerry… more people DON’T get and stay sober than DO.

    So it is worth feeling good about that you have.

    Yes, the roller-coaster. Been on it a long time. It is finally slowing down. Taken a lot of work, but it has.

    We alcoholic/addicts seem to be more prone to emotional swings than many other samplings of the populous. Hey… Check out this post I read recently on another blog. I liked it so much I copied it to a word doc and saved it. http://lonelydancer.wordpress.com/2010/01/29/attending-a-a-meetings-may-reduce-depression-symptoms/

    Not sure how it strikes you, but it really describes my experience.

    Will pop back again soon.

    Ciao.

    Chaz

    • zeemanb

      Thanks for that link, it’s nice to read about data related to that “intangible” feeling that most AA’ers I know talk about….even in today’s meeting, someone said “I don’t have a word for it, but after I spend an hour with you people I feel happier and more content”. We had no idea how to manage our emotions without substances before, and now I think we’re able to reap the benefit of breaking loose from the isolation that is the cornerstone of what we used to be like. I’m actually going to copy that article and use it for part of a paper I’m writing about relapse and an addict’s need to “find their bottom”.

      Weird and cool confirmation during and after a meeting today….since I have this huge egotistical brain I try to keep things as simple as possible, and in the 4th step I’m trying to break down the defects to their most basic elements. My sponsor gets a kick out of it because I’ll come to him with these deep, huge revelations like….”I’m very selfish”. During our Daily Reflections noon meeting we started talking about sobriety as just the beginning and I got another lightbulb….”I have trust issues”. In the big picture, as far as a higher power goes, I have to believe that if he/she/it allowed me to live through the hundreds of times I should have died from using, it’s not so they can drop me on my ass now…I have to TRUST that. Simple stuff, but I feel like Magellan when the light goes on. THEN I wasn’t home for five minutes before the phone rang and it was a recruiter talking to me about a job I was up for several months ago….this time it sounds like it could possibly happen, and if it does it would be a very substantial increase in salary. I don’t want to overthink it or believe it until it happens….but at worst it’s a nice confirmation to know someone up there is keeping an eye on me, and at best I’ll have a job in a terrible economy. Anyway, I’m rambling, thanks again for writing….time to make the donuts…

  3. Hey Jerr…. funny thing happened yesterday.

    I was making references to God in a conversation with my wife who then says to me, “do you ever think you will go back to church”?

    I thought about it and replied that I do not see a place for me in the church culture as I have experienced it to date.

    Funny how the more I learn in the painful journey of life, the more I am amazed at what the Bible has said for centuries. Yet, I feel an alergic reaction to having those same truths served up by someone from what I would call North American church culture.

    I find it curious that Jesus never came out of the religious estalishment of the day. He was not a ranking priest or leader of the religious community. And he did not chill with them. Instead, he hung out with many people who were far from the establishment and culture.

    I feel that is where I am at…. far from the establishment and culture. Yet here I feel I am finding truth of what Jesus taught.

    Funny how so many people can’t handle the fact that this kind of thing happens. Seemingly that if not endorsed by the established church, then it isn’t valid.

    Not all express this notion, but many. Then again, the religious establishment were to busy being the establishment, I believe many if not most missed who Jesus was.

    Ciao.

    Chaz

    • zeemanb

      That’s a pretty cool place to be, in my opinion. I totally relate to what you are saying about going to church…. a lot of people ask me if I think I’ll ever go back into ministry, or what type of church I attend. I’m not AGAINST going to church, my wife has expressed some interest and I’d happily go with her. My personal restriction, and this is what I tell everyone, is that I won’t go to a church where “people raise their hands”. No loud music, hyper emotional worship service, none of that sort of thing. That type of church culture is dead to me…if it works for someone else, that’s cool, but there is the tendency to look at the gung-ho evangelical way of worshipping as superior to all others. A ton of smarmy, condescending energy, not to mention the “Jesus was a Republican” spirit of the day.

      I too feel far from that culture, but I don’t feel lost or bad about it. I don’t need to belong to a club or get that rush from going to a place where I can be a leader… it’s kind of like AA, if I feel like I need it I’ll go. However, church doesn’t define me. It didn’t define Jesus. It’s all about “attraction rather than promotion” to me….people naturally gravitated to him because he had something they wanted or needed, it wasn’t about duty, guilt or social pressure. I’m not a great example most of the time, but if I’m living right and putting some focus on helping others, to me that’s what it’s all about. Love God, love your neighbor as yourself….that’s the goal, and I feel like the socialization process many churches provide becomes a replacement for the great commission. The mission of the modern evangelical establishment is so skewed towards fitting in to modern culture and “re-branding” every facet of society…politics, literature, music, etc., that there is no time for gut level one-on-one spiritual connections that shape people.

      Anyway, great stuff as always, I appreciate you coming by and sharing, Chaz.

      Jerry

  4. Hey Jerry…. sounds like we are on a similar page.

    I was just conversing with my teenage daughter tonight about church culture. She has been raised in charismatic christian cultures much like you describe. Yet even so, on her own, she is able to see when things are less than authentic to her.

    I was also just talking to my wife further about this. It is amazing how much Jesus did live by the law of attraction (rather than promotion). He in fact often told people not to tell anyone of the miracles they just witnessed. Yet the crowds grew bigger and bigger. He was anti-promoting himself by telling people to keep it to themselves. Yet has become the most renowned man in all of history.

    All that without a TV show, resource table, and promotions department.

    The crowds seeking him got so big, that the most famous sermon ever preached had to be preached while he climbed up the side of the hill in order to address them. And what was the sermon on the mount all about anyway? Mostly simple truths for living humbly, honourably, and non-judgementally, and non-hypocritically.

    A far cry from what I had experienced in much of my time amidst western charismatic mega-church culture.

    But as you say…. maybe it is effective for some. I just know not me for now.

    I am strongly considering starting an Oxford Group style gathering once a week (aka: church). No formal leadership. No assets. Not titles. No rank. Just a bunch of people on an honest journey to work participate in the power of getting together and seeking God together without a lot of fanfare or drama.

    Keeping it simple.

    Refreshingly simple.

    Ciao.

    Chaz

  5. Kim Shook

    You really nailed it, Jerry! Non food people are always urging me to become a chef or open my own restaurant or bakery. It’s hard to explain to them that they are being ignorant when they are just being nice and supportive.

    You also nailed the whole Haiti thing. Mike and I have said for the past year that the right just cannot get their heads around the fact that the US has a black president and yes, it IS about being racist for so many of the folks who hate him.

    Is it ok with you if I link to your blog on mine?

    • zeemanb

      Hey Kim, long time no speak! Very glad to have you stop by here, and of course you can link it…the more the merrier. Be sure to email or call my ol’ lady, she’s going to be in Richmond next weekend for a visit. BTW, got one hell of a meal brewing…having 2 folks over for dinner who won a meal I raffled off. They decided they wanted Asian, so (by their request) I’m starting off with my great cream of mushroom soup..will try to Asianize it somehow, already doing homemade shrimp toasts with it. Then the wife is doing a Vietnamese rice noodle salad, and for the main dish it’s lettuce wraps with “ghetto sous vide” flatiron courtesy of the Momofuku cookbook. I’ll detail it in my next post, but I have to say, David Chang’s bag-in-the-sink sous vide method has completely changed the way I’ll ever cook steak.

      Anyway, don’t be a stranger, gotta go get cookin’ and then some quality time with the wife…..

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