Sunday, September 9, 2012

It´s Over 9000

Actually it´s pretty well over 9,000. Over 13,000 to be precise. Since I´ve started this blog back in December of 2008 I have had over 13,000 hits. That might not seem like much but to me thats pretty sweet. Factoring in about a year absent: I´m including the 6 months in the sober home, rehab, and long periods of downtime cause I was too drunk to write anything. Technically it should be over a year but for simplicities sake we´ll leave it at that.

So without going into the math that I was so bored to actually figure out ( and I hate math!) I concluded that over 2 1/2 years of on and off again, a large percentage of views came from this past 16 months I´ve been sober.

That is awesome.

Before Blogger didn´t have a means of tracking views and such. Or maybe it did and I was too drunk to notice. The latter would not surprise me in the least. Looking over the numbers since it´s birth I would get about 15-20 views TOTAL per blog. Nowadays we´re looking at more around 90-100 on JUST their initial posting. That´s pretty solid.

This information means a lot to me considering the subject material. Not a lot of people are as open about their recovery as I am but as long as I am reaching people and they are getting something out of it, then I´m going to continue. I love hearing from the people who contact me about their own addiction problems. I was a coward that hid from everyone because I didn´t want my ¨Precious¨ taken away. I wish I could have made the decision to get help on my own but I was too weak.

Jesus Christ... I am just now realizing that I was Gollum. It took me 16 months but it literally just hit me as I was writing this. Wow....

 Thank god for my friends and family.

Well I´m going to end on that realization. Ewan McGregor just acknowledged my sobriety on Twitter and I think my heart just stopped...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sober Home Living #1

The other day my friend was encouraging me to download a song she thought I would like. I knew I wasn't going to like it, I even told her so, but she insisted. No surprise, I hated it and took great pleasure in rubbing it in her face. It was a techno song that I don't even remember the title to but it reminded me of some things from my stint in the Sober House.

For six months I lived among 15-25 people at a time. Those that know me are more than aware that I can't stand people so this was a true test of my patience. The first 3 months I had a great group of friends but once they all left I still had 3 more months myself with a bunch of new people I really did not care for. As someone who tries to stick with the "winners" I found myself becoming more friendly with the staff then the actual clients themselves. It wasn't anything personal, but I can read people really well and the majority of them I felt weren't taking the program seriously.

This one younger dude Alex killed me. He was 22 years old and this was his second time in this house. The first few days Alex was without a phone so he was constantly asking to use other people's. That's fine and all, but after lending it to him twice and he proceeded to have a 20 minute conversations I banned him.

"Not cool bra," he would say.

"I am not an undergarment, sir," I would explain.

The moment Alex got a phone was a glorious day for him apparently. That was the day he became a music producer.

Say what?

We were in our house meeting and had to go around the room and talk about the things we enjoy doing that keep our mind focused and distract us from addiction. When it came around to Alex he responded with a straightforward answer, "my music" and leaned back with a cocky grin.

"Your music?" the counselor asked.

"Oh you don't know?" a random girl exclaimed.  "Oh man, Alex is a producer! He makes all sorts of great music!" Alex is pleased by this girl's reaction and smirks even more. Borat's "King of the castle" rang through my head as I looked at him.

The counselor was impressed, "I had no idea you had such talent Alex. Do you play guitar? Drums?"

Alex scoffed, "No. I can do it all from my phone."

"Well that's very impressive!" the counselor said. I looked around the room at the wide-eyed addicts, all impressed that the young man before them was an honest to god music producer. Right here, in our very home, and at the ripe age of 22. Clearly, this kid was the shit. I tried my best not to roll my eyes at the ridiculousness of it all and just went back to what I did best. Ignoring all of them and hanging out with the staff.

But sometimes avoiding would only get em so far. At this point I had seniority in the house so I had my own room to which I could retire and get away from the insanity. There was one major problem. There was a couch in the hallway of the Men's Floor. That couch was strategically placed near my door so that I had to pass it anytime I wanted to go to my room. Alex had taken it upon himself to make that couch his "studio" instead of the privacy of his own room. To the untrained eye anyone who saw him would think he was just sitting on the couch with headphones on playing with his phone. When in reality he was creating art.

The art of techno music.

Each day I would return home, exhausted from work, and just want to go to my room and relax before dinner. But Alex was always there making his music. But why should this bother me if he's not really hurting anyone? Simple. Every single time anybody would walk by he'd act "surprised" like he didn't see us, and then pull of his head phones and insist we "check out his latest track." Now, I had witnessed this happen to a bunch of people since he was perched right outside my door, so I used that knowledge to form my own strategy. Every day I came home from work I would have on my sunglasses and be listening to my iPod. This was as I walked down the hall to my room I could keep my eye on Alex while pretending to listen to music. He would call out my name as I passed but because of the ear buds I couldn't "hear" him.


That worked for about a month until he started pulling late nights at "The Studio." I came out of the shower one night, right before bed, and there he was on the couch. With no tools at my disposal to hide from him, I sucked it up and charged into the storm.

"Sean! Dude, you gotta hear this track I just layed down," he insisted, shoving the ear buds in my face.

"Alex, you should know I'm not really into techno so I'm probably not the best person to review your music," I told him.

"Oh man, you say that but I bet this shit changes your mind," he gives me the ear buds and I reluctantly put them in.

As to be expected the track starts with a few techno beats. Not getting into it I give him a look and he says, "Just wait for it." I continue to listen and sure enough after 60 seconds an additional "noise" is added into the mix, a sort of "ting" sound. So now he have 3 different noises. I reach to pull the ear buds out but he stops me, "it's not done yet. It gets better!" After another 60 seconds a 4th noise is introduced, another 60 seconds a 5th, and so on...

It all just keeps building on itself. When it's all said in done I am very polite about the whole thing considering he's forced me into a situation I didn't want to be in and I'm also still in my towel from the shower.

"That's great man. Really."

"You don't sound that impressed," he replied.

"Like I said man, techno is not my thing. I warned you I wouldn't be the best person to judge this."

"You just don't know good music"

"You're right, I have terrible taste in music. Can I go to bed now?"

As I closed the door to my room and let out a sigh of relief. Not five seconds later I hear Kevin, one of my older house mates scream, "Holy fuck Alex! I told you I don't like that techno shit! Leave me alone!"


Monday, September 3, 2012

Bad Thoughts

A few months back it was brought to my attention that out of all the friends I had made in rehab, I was now the only one who hadn't relapsed. That was a tough pill to swallow as it only proved to me how much the statistics are stacked against us. The hardest was hearing about my best friend relapsing. Luckily, he immediately went back into treatment as is doing fine now, but it was still rough to hear.

I hadn't heard from him in months until this morning. He went into more detail about his relapse and what all had happened. Apparently he had gone to a wedding. He didn't have anything while he was there but it had put ideas in his head. That maybe, just maybe, things would be different now that he had a year of sobriety. That maybe he could handle just a few drinks. Here is a summary of what he said to me...

"It was so fucking stupid man. I can't even believe I thought it was possible. You know how they say alcoholism is a progressive disease? You really don't consider how accurate that is until you relapse. After all the time I spent sober I stupidly thought maybe a few drinks wouldn't hurt me but fuck man, I couldn't have been more wrong. It was like nothing had changed and I was back to EXACTLY where I left off. Only worse. I'm fucking disappointed in myself, dude. Don't you EVER think you can handle it because you can't. WE can't. I had to learn the hard way..."

The timing of his phone call was impeccable. Last night during the Breaking Bad season finale there was a commercial for Ciroc vodka that just made my mouth water. All it was was a bunch of celebrities partying and having a great time. It just looked like so much fun and made me miss those wild and crazy times. Plus, Diddy was in the commercial and as everyone knows I, as a fellow Sean, have an enormous respect for Diddy. Who doesn't want to be like Diddy? He calls him self Diddy for Christ's sake, I mean, what could be cooler? Diddy is the epitome of cool...

*end sarcasm*

Where were we? Ah yes. So the commercial really did make me crave vodka. As I sat and watched my mind began to wander and my thoughts became just like my friend's thoughts...

"I am doing so well! I have never felt better in my life. Maybe things will be different now. Maybe, say, in a few years, I'll be able to drink like a normal person again. And have fun partying like my good friend Mr. Diddy."


Sure, these were just thoughts and I would never act on them but it was incredible to me that the night I have these thoughts I get a call the very next morning basically slapping me in the face and saying, "No. Don't even think it. Bad." But I do like how my brain was smart enough to say "maybe in a FEW YEARS." Like you aren't really ready now but in a few years you'll be strong enough.

What a crock of shit.

This made me take a look back to when I was first sober. Back when mom was sick. I stayed sober for 20 months, the difference that time being I didn't go to AA Meetings as I always knew I was going to drink again. I was absolutely shocked that first night I started drinking again and became aware that my tolerance had not changed in the slightest. I still needed copious amounts of alcohol in order to even feel a buzz, even after not drinking for over a year! So when my friend mentioned today alcoholism as being "progressive" my mind immediately went back to the last time I was sober. It's true what they say and I've already experienced it without even knowing.

I have to always remember...

"Alcoholism and addiction are progressive diseases, and unless the user stops completely, the disease will always worsen in severity over time. The intensity of this progression varies considerably, and while some people may drink or drug for many years before things get noticeably worse, they ultimately always do."