Sunday, August 26, 2012

Using Dreams

I´ve been having a lot more ¨using dreams¨ this past week than I have in awhile. At first I had no idea why but as I sit here at work, stressed, it made more sense. I´ve worked more this week than I have in awhile which is not good for me physically or mentally. I didn´t get to go to my normal amount of meetings this week because we are understaffed and my co-worker and myself were basically the only two people able to work. Only having two guys doing this at our job is fucking ridiculous and it´s starting to take it´s toll.

What I´m concerned with was my lack of sleep. I am not used to working the hours that I did this week because as I stated I am physically unable to do so. Also, I don´t work afternoon shifts so that I can get to the AA Meetings I so desperately need for my sanity. So while preparing myself for the busy work week I had ahead of me I figured I would at least be so exhausted from physical labor that I´d at least get some good sleep when I got home.

Apparently that wasn´t the case.

Now this isn´t even counting the fact that I started this crazy week going into the store at 2am for an installation process that took 3 hours, the night before I´m supposed to pull an all day shift at work. But thats a story for another time.

So let me first explain what a ¨using dream¨ is like for the unfamiliar. It´s exactly what it sounds like. A dream in which I ¨use¨ my drug of choice, in this case alcohol, and the experience is so vivid you actually believe you have failed. It´s the absolute most horrifying thing for me in recovery. I don´t know how realistic other peoples using dreams are but mine can be intense. Luckily they don´t happen that often. Maybe once a month, if that.

But this week was different. I had 3 in a row, which is a new record. Maybe that doesn´t sound too bad to some but let me go a little deeper. My dreams are so vivid that I wake up in the middle of the night, scurrying around in the darkness looking for the empty bottles of vodka that I finished drinking and hid... in my dream. Because Dream Sean actually hides the bottles. He´s covering his tracks so no one will find out he´s drinking again, which dives into how realistic the dreams are. Dream Sean isn´t out partying and going crazy. He´s doing exactly what I used to do during ¨The Downfall¨ which was hiding in his room, drinking in secret and disposing of the evidence and eventually blacking out. Its at this moment reality kicks in and I jolt awake believing everything I just experienced was true.

To give you an idea of the anxiety this brings on I always compare it to when you are napping during the day and you wake up at say, 8:00pm, and you have the quick panic attack where you think you´re late for work so you scramble to shower, get dressed, etc only to realize, OOPS, it´s night time. Whew! Crisis averted.

Take that feeling and multiply it by about 50. The reason it´s so painful to experience is because during that moment, however brief it is, you really do believe you failed. You were weak and you caved and you threw it all out the window. I don´t wish that feeling on my worst enemy...

As painful as these nightmares are they are few and far between. This is not a regular occurrence. Sure, it sucks total asshole, but although my subconscious still latches on to the disease while I sleep, I´m in control when I´m awake.

I fear The Disease. Downright fear it. The Disease knows that it´s at it´s weakest when I am awake and in control so it lays dormant during the day. For the most part that is. He sends in his associate, ¨The Craving,¨ every so often to fuck with me at random times. The Craving is a dickhead, plain and simple. He´s the obnoxious friend you have that always chimes in at inappropriate times and you wish would just shut the fuck up. ¨Hey look at that beer on TV. Remember when you were able to do that? Remember that? Huh? Huh? You remember? Remember?¨ He states the obvious just to get under your skin.

But it´s when the lights go out and I´m at my most vulnerable when The Disease creeps out of hiding and begins whispering in my ear as I sleep. I never want to go back to the way things were during The Downfall. If I shared all the stories from those times, which I may some day, you wouldn´t be surprised as to why I am so terrified of succumbing to The Dark Lord´s will.

Sobriety has it´s ups and downs but the positives far outweigh the negatives. At the end of the day I´ll take the occasional nightmare over the ACTUAL nightmare that was my life just a short time ago...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fun at work

So today I knew I had a long day ahead of me at work so I mentally prepared myself to have a lot of fun albeit at the expense of one of my new employee's. It's nothing mean or rude or anything like that towards him. No, what's fun to me is just fucking with someone without them even knowing that I'm messing with them.

Often times when there is a new employee, usually a younger high school kid who doesn't know any better, I slip into a certain "character" when I work with them. This character doesn't have a name. This character is me. The only difference is that it's an extremely ignorant version of myself. I love pretending I'm ignorant. Don't ask me why, I just find it incredibly hysterical. Luckily I have acting skillzzzz which enable me to keep a straight face even during the most ridiculous of conversations. What follows is a series of vignettes of my time today with one of our new hires, Danny.

Listening to Black Eyed Peas "Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night"

Me: You know, tonight IS going to be a good night!
Danny: Oh yeah?
Me: Of course. There is a special on Doctor Who tonight on BBC America at 9:00. Then after that is the Nerdist Show on Time Travel. I'm fucking pumped. *singing* Cause tonight's gonna be a good, good niiiight!"
Danny: I thought you were gonna say you were gonna have sex tonight.
Me: *serious* What the fuck did you just say to me?
Danny: That's what this song is about. It's about people having sex.
Me: I do believe you are wrong, sir.
Danny: What?! You don't think the song is about them sitting at home watching Doctor Who, do you?
Me: Of course not, don't be ridiculous! The Black Eyed Peas are smart enough to enjoy the genius that is Doctor Who.... No, I'm sure they're singing about watching themselves on MTV Cribs.
Danny: "Let's live it up. I got my money" That's about buying whores.
Me: Noooooo, it means they are going to splurge and indulge in some Pay-Per-View. A Boxing Match, perhaps?
Danny: Are you kidding me?
Me: Are you kidding ME? I think you have sex on the brain, my friend. You are reading way to deep into this.
Danny: Why would anybody write a song about staying home and watching television?
Me: Why wouldn't someone write a song about watching television? It's peaceful, it's relaxing, it's a fucking delight!
(Break from arguing to help customer and as soon as the door shuts I get right back into it.)
Danny: Movel Tov!
Me: What's your point?
Danny: How does it fit in with your "watching TV theory?"
Me: I'll have you know I have a number of Jewish friends that love to watch television.
Danny: You're serious, aren't you?
Me: Danny, if there's anything you'll learn from working with me, it's that I'm always serious.

Some Selena Gomez song...
Danny: You can't tell me you like this.
Me: Selena Gomez has the voice of an angel
Danny: The voice of a--
Me: Shhh! You don't speak while Selena is speaking...
*For you Seinfeld fans, I basically acted like Elaine's boyfriend Brett who was obsessed with the song "Desperado"*

And here are just the random things I would spout out in response to his criticisms...
"Vanessa Carlton has more talent in her pinky than all the tool bags of Linkin Park combined"
"Colbie Caillat is a dream! How dare you!"
"Demi Lovato is the Pat Benatar of this generation!"
"This is the original 'rapcore!'" In reference to "Bye Bye Love" by The Cars
"You are out of your fucking mind if you think Linkin Park is better than Carly Rae Jepsen."
"Who doesn't go GAGA for Lady GaGa?"
"I'll have you know listening to JoJo got me through some really difficult times in my life."

There were more but I can't even remember. I had about 2 extra large coffee's today and an Energy Drink so I was pretty off the wall. Poor kid was stunned I had a response for everything he threw at me but hey, I gotta get my kicks somehow, right?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Day Sean Met Horshack... and Boba Fett!

Yesterday the actor Ron Palillio passed away. The show Welcome Back, Kotter was before my time but I had seen reruns on television with my mom when I was a kid. Growing up my mom would always do this ridiculous laugh just to annoy me and when I asked what it was she explained it was "The Horshack Laugh." It was sad to hear about Ron's passing for me because even though I don't even know the guy, he gave me one of my favorite Mom Stories ever.

This was about 15 years ago on my mother's birthday. It was a Saturday or a Sunday morning and my mom was laying in bed with the paper. I remember going into her room to ask her what the plans were for her birthday. I know for a fact she wanted to do something special but til this day I will never actually know because before she could answer me she read me the something from the morning paper. She said that Jeremy Bulloch was going to be at the County Fair right down the street from us signing autographs.

Name doesn't ring a bell? Well it did for me. Big time. That my friends, is the actor that played Boba Fett in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

And my mom knew this.

She encouraged me to go and see him because as she said "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity." And she's right, it was. A completely random but unique opportunity. Ever since I was a kid I was obsessed with Boba Fett and never being able to go to any sort of convention growing up this was my first ever chance to meet somebody that had anything to do with Star Wars. And of all people that could have been there it was fucking BOBA FETT. I kept asking my mom if it was okay for me to go and she kept pushing me and pushing me to go. I felt guilty being her birthday and all but she was insistent. She also noted that the actor who played Horshack was going to be there as well and all she said was that if I do meet Horshack to "ask him to do the laugh." That was it.

 So I called up two of my friends and told them the awesome news. I don't even remember if I was driving yet at this point. I think my buddy Doug actually had to drive us which would put me at about 15 years old or so. My mom warned me ahead of time that it would cost money to not only get in but also to buy a photo for Mr. Bulloch to sign. I had absolutely nothing to my name but remembered I had a bunch of 2 Dollar Bills saved up that my Nana gave me every year. Not wanting to pay for a photo I decided to grab a Boba Fett action figure for him to sign. When we arrived I'll always remember paying the lady for my ticket with the 2 Dollar Bills and her just laughing at me. Not in a mean spirited way, but over the fact she never actually seen someone use them before.

Things get fuzzy here as I was in full on Boba Fett mode. From what I recall this was a very tiny event. There were no lines and it all took palce in a small room in one of the buildings. Apparently Boba Fett and Horshack aren't big enough names to bring out the big crowds.

But I was in heaven.

I remember my friend Ron and I standing in front of the table with the name plate "Jeremy Bulloch" on it. He was no where to be seen but there were glossy Star Wars photos strewn all over the table with price tags ranging from $20-50. Wowzers. Ron made a comment about one of the pictures with Fett and IG-88 and suddenly, out of nowhere, we hear a British voice come up from behind us, "That was an odd day, filming with IG-88..." or something along those lines. We started freaking about as Jeremy Bulloch told us tales of wearing the Boba Fett costume, Lucas being annoyed that IG-88's head wouldn't turn properly, and so on. Major geek revelations here. Afterward he tried to sell us on buying a photo so that he could sign it. I told him I didn't have enough money to buy one but that I brought a Boba Fett figure for him to sign. This is where I would love to say Jeremy was super awesome and gladly signed my figure. But he didn't. Something about a strict policy on only signing the photos that are purchased.

I was heart broken.

But Ron never took no for an answer, God bless him, and he explained to Jeremy Bulloch that I was the biggest Fett fan out there and that I was even missing my own mother's birthday to be there. He hesitated a bit but then graciously took the figure from my hand. He wrote "Jeremy Bulloch" on the inside of one of the legs and "Boba Fett" on the other leg. My dream had come true!

As we were walking by we saw Ron Palillio sitting at his booth, kinda chilling by his lonesome. I didn't really know what to say to him but figured it couldn't hurt to say Hi. He was super nice to us and was surprised someone my age had any sort of knowledge on Horshack and Welcome Back, Kotter in general. I explained my mom had shown me episodes as a kid and would always mock me with the Horshack laugh. My friend Ron pointed out that today was my mother's birthday. He looked around and asked where my mom was but I said she stayed home with my brother but that I should ask him to do the laugh. He searched through his bag and pulled out his cell phone which, back then, was like "Wow, this dude has a cell phone!" and he looked me dead in the eye and said, "What's your phone number?" I was dumbstruck but I gave him the number to my house and he dialed away. Holding the phone to his ear he gave me a quick look and asked for my mother's name.

"Patti," I replied.

His eyes perked up as my mom had obviously finally answered the phone and in his best Horshack voice said, "HELLO? Is this PATTI?"


"It's HORSHACK! I'm with your son!  Happy Birthday!"

He proceeded to do his famous laugh over the phone to my mother. My friends and I just kinda sat back and watched. The conversation was brief and I don't remember all the details but I was so happy that he did that for her. Plus, as a teenager, this gave me bonus points for not spending the day with her. I couldn't afford an autograph but I thanked him endlessly for what he did. Returning home my mom was in hysterics, laughing, absolutely dumbstruck by the phone call she received. Her immediate thought was, "What did you do to that poor man?" as if I had to blackmail him or something to call.

He's not a huge celebrity by any means but when I heard of his passing it brought back this memory that I hadn't thought about in awhile. And it's a fantastic memory of her that shows what our relationship was like. I love Star Wars and she went out of her way, on HER special day, to make sure I got to meet one of my heroes. And 15 years after this event happened I STILL love Star Wars. Christ, I photoshopped myself into a picture with Boba Fett not even two days ago which now serves as my Facebook Banner.
The autograph itself has long faded away and as a teenager that drove me up the wall. I stupidly made it into a key chain that I hung out of my pocket and strutted around school showing it off. Cause ya know, there's nothing a high school girl loves more than a man with an action figure dangling from his pants.

But while the autograph is long since gone the memory remains and it's one of my favorite stories to tell people.

Midnight Massages

I'm still alive people and no I didn't forget about Reminiscing on Rehab. I just haven't had proper time to sit and write about it and sometimes looking back on my time there, even though I had a great time, can still be tough.

So anyway, for the past month or so I've been babysitting my friend's cat. Now I haven't had a cat in well over a decade so I'm not accustomed to cat behavior. This cat, Midnight, loves to knead and I mean LOVES it. While watching the television or playing video games he will always jump on my lap and start kneading my legs. Which is fine, for awhile, but eventually it can start to hurt.

Given my major back problems I figured I would take advantage of Midnight's kneading abilities and trick him into giving me a back massage. On a day when my back was feeling particularly shitty, Midnight had been kneading my leg so I decided to lay down on the floor to see if he would hop on my back and start kneading. Alas, this was wishful thinking and much like the Seinfeld episode I couldn't trick a house cat into submitting to "forcible massage." Who knew...?

That all changed one night at around 3am as I tossed and turned in my bed. I heard a loud "purr" and felt a sudden weight on my mattress. I opened my eyes to see what was going on but trying to find a black cat in darkness is, well, hard. I turned my body to lay on my stomach and my head on it's side. Lo and behold, the cat stepped up onto my back and started kneading away! He has magic paws, there is no question about that. While the majority of my pain is centralized in my lower back region the cat tended to favor my upper torso. Disappointing yes, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. A free massage is a free massage.

After about 10 minutes of this I opened my eyes to realize the ridiculousness of the situation. Being the summer time I had on just my boxers and a thin white sheet as a blanket. The sheet was only covering my legs so just my back was exposed. I realized if anyone was to walk into the room at that moment it would seem as if I had opened up my own little massage parlor and trained a house cat in the ways of the Masseuse. This has become a regular routine between us and while some nights he jumps on the bed and drives me up the wall so I can't sleep, the majority of the time I embrace it.

Now if I can just train him to get my lower back I'd really be in business...