28 June 2022

MY OBSCURE BRUSHES WITH FAME

 


The letter pictured here is from August 25, 1980, BEFORE "Private Dancer" turned Tina Turner into a Megastar. She had dinner where I then worked at Le Grand Fromage restaurant in Atlantic City. We both drank yellow and green Chartreuse after the second floor emptied out and it was just me and Tina.
She sat on my lap in her sports car. Her driver took us to a Disco.
It would be silly to document more than I have here at this point, after so many years,
After dancing and before the August 25th letter, I wrote a song for her titled "Get Me Out of These Clothes." 
I had more success with my song for Joe Frazier who had retired from boxing but was performing at Resorts International in a Casino Lounge there. His Musical Director, Richie Daniels, and I worked together on a song I wrote for Joe called "Storm Warning." My New York copyright attorney drew up a Songwriters' License for me and Ritchie. Joe rehearsed this song in Resorts, but it never came to fruition.
My WORST Failure was a song I wrote for the Village People with a co-author from Pennsylvania. "RCMP" stunk, frankly, but by sheer coincidence, I did end up having dinner with one of the Village People when, both single, there was only one table open at Moma [that's how Billy, the owner, spelled Momma] Mott's Restaurant one hot summer night. So, we shared the table and wined and dined discussing Can't Stop Productions. We knew attorneys in common. Big Whoop!
ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal is really not about the successes and failures of Jim, the budding writer. The STAR of this Autobiographical Fiction REALLY, is Alcohol. What it Does, what it Did, how it changed me.
Even Tina Turner is mentioned only in passing in my book.
If you are prone to CHASING AMBULANCES, don't read it.
It's not like that.
I'm not like that.
Check out a few of the 60+ Five Star Reader Reviews, below.
You'll see what I'm driving at.
******

Immerse yourself in my Descent into Addiction and eventual Recovery in my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 

(Find it on Amazon. Book it here): http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO

#alcoholism #addiction #recovery #books


24 June 2022

"WISDOM IS KINDNESS INTELLIGENTLY EXPRESSED"

 

The Earth takes one full spin upon itself, and the day is done.

One trip around the Sun and a New Year has begun.

I Spin and Spin and Spin (sometimes with no direction), and with some fair regularity, lead myself to Sleep.

"OK, Sleeping Brain, now it's your turn. I have neither the time nor inclination to toss and turn for hours before I sleep. Sleeping Brain, DO YOUR JOB! Solve my problems, calm my doubts, help me find new ways to shine when I arise!"

My Waking Brain is fairly inept and too easily distracted. My Sleeping Brain does most of my heavy lifting. 

THAT'S GRATITUDE #1.

GRATITUDE #2 is for you, Gentle Reader. This list will be short and sweet and surely incomplete.

I appreciate the Show that Life presents to me. Gratitude is Contagious in a warm and nuzzling way, changing Smell and Taste in newfound, Comforting Ways. It rubs off whether or not that was your intention. Time seems to take the day off in Gratitude's Neighborhood. 

Gratitude, a small child eyeing you on the doorway's edge. "Peek-a-boo. I'm here."

It shows itself in Selfless Compassion and Joyful Awareness. It wants to have Fun on the most Serious of days. Drop your masks of Anger and Frustration when Gratitude enters or it will strip them from you, like it or not.

Let's call that GRATITUDES #'s 3 & 4. Or 5. Whatever you wish. Gratitude does not keep score.

Gratitude both Calms and Heals. But don't forget what Grief it may Prevent. 

Gratitude will inspire Patience, Courage and Confidence.

Trust it. 

"The World is Still, and I am Moved. Now is a Food and I am Full."

GRATITUDE IS INNUMERABLE. COUNT ON IT.

*****

Check out my NEW Non-Fiction, BECOMING UNBROKEN: Reflections on Addiction and Recovery 
(Find it on Amazon, Book it here): https://lnkd.in/dkF767RT 

Immerse yourself in my Descent into Addiction and eventual Recovery in my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 

(Find it on Amazon. Book it here): http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO

#alcoholism #addiction #recovery #books

I hope you enjoy BOTH of my BOOKS on ADDICTION & RECOVERY! (Print & Kindle Versions of Both are Available!)  

23 June 2022

NUMB DUMBNESS: NO WORDS, NO FEELINGS, DEAD.


"When we allow ourselves to feel our feelings, what should be intolerable becomes intolerable." - Kenny Loggins

Truly, this is where alcohol and drugs took me. Never was Numb Dumbness (No Words, No Feelings, Dead.) my chosen destination, but it seems to have been the destination of my addictions all along.

Calling a Dead-End Dead may sound redundant to those easily fooled (me, me, me), but images in the Mirror called Time are sometimes Closer than they appear, sometimes Further. Beware. 

CUT TO THE CHASE: When the Chase was Done, I was Done in. There was No Way Left to Win.

Admit Complete Defeat.

Not knowing what was possible, if anything else was possible, I did.

Addiction was Impossible. Life became Possible. 

Even knowing that, I also know: Addiction is "a Subtle Foe" (as A.A. correctly proclaims of Alcohol). Dumb. Numb. Drugs.

My Addictions had become Intolerable: "When we allow ourselves to feel our feelings, what should be intolerable becomes intolerable." - Kenny Loggins

Throw what is left of your life into a box. Sort it out. Life starts living here.

WORDS, FEELINGS, ALIVE. 

Find the space between my words.

You are there.

*****

Check out my NEW Non-Fiction, BECOMING UNBROKEN: Reflections on Addiction and Recovery 
(Find it on Amazon, Book it here): https://lnkd.in/dkF767RT 

Immerse yourself in my Descent into Addiction and eventual Recovery in my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 

(Find it on Amazon. Book it here): http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO

#alcoholism #addiction #recovery #books

I hope you enjoy BOTH of my BOOKS on ADDICTION & RECOVERY! (Print & Kindle Versions of Both are Available!)  



19 June 2022

"IN RECOVERY, WE ARE ALL RICHER THAN BEFORE."


The Rich Man and the Poor Man May Never Be Even. But let's take a moment to look at it through the lens of Addiction: The Rich Addicted Man and the Poor Addicted Man will eventually reach similar ends. The Common Ground that they share on Addiction Road is not at first known to them. 

In Recovery, both the Rich Man and the Poor Man will find a Richer Life than they ever knew possible.

If that sounds like mere puffery to you, perhaps you've not been Clean and Sober long enough to discover it for yourself.

Row your Sober Boat on the River of Recovery for a bit longer. You will find the Wind at your Back and the Common Goals of you and your Fellows in Recovery with you.

Your Sober Boat will find Fellow Ship (horrendous pun absolutely intended).

We, in Recovery, are all Richer than Before Addiction took its Toll.

"For Richer, for Poorer, in Sickness and in Health," I've crossed some kind of line here, but won't give up the Ship! Silly me. 

In Recovery, I will allow myself such silliness. 

I am free.

We are Richer than Before.

*****

Check out my NEW Non-Fiction, BECOMING UNBROKEN: Reflections on Addiction and Recovery 
(Find it on Amazon, Book it here): https://lnkd.in/dkF767RT 

Immerse yourself in my Descent into Addiction and eventual Recovery in my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 

(Find it on Amazon. Book it here): http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO

#alcoholism #addiction #recovery #books

I hope you enjoy BOTH of my BOOKS on ADDICTION & RECOVERY! (Print & Kindle Versions of Both are Available!)  

16 June 2022

"W-H-O-A!!!" MEANS NOTHING TO A SWEDISH HORSE

Letting go is hard to do.

As a child, I saw a chicken get its head chopped off and its body slip out of my uncle's hand. That chicken ran headless, down a steep slope and into the swimming pool. Blood everywhere. My uncle's hand let go.

Letting go is hard to do.

A pool of liquor awaits me.

"'WHOA!' MEANS NOTHING TO A SWEDISH HORSE" 

The Language of Addiction Goads You. "Go ahead. Have another drink. You've got plenty of time. You can sleep when you're dead. Go ahead."

All-consuming Alcohol consumed me.

Thirsty little fucker.

From the beginning of my 30-year drinking career to the end, my friends and co-workers intuitively knew that if it was suggested to me that I stop drinking, I would have laughed in their faces. The best worried advice anyone ever gave me was to cut down, to try to control my drinking.

I didn't know then that "by the time I had a reason to stop drinking, reason no longer had anything to do with it."

I was a Social Drinker. A very, Very, VERY Social Drinker.

"'WHOA!' MEANS NOTHING TO A SWEDISH HORSE. 

I had no clue and could not stop.

Letting go of addiction is hard to do.

*****

Check out my NEW Non-Fiction, BECOMING UNBROKEN: Reflections on Addiction and Recovery 
(Find it on Amazon, Book it here): https://lnkd.in/dkF767RT 

Immerse yourself in my Descent into Addiction and eventual Recovery in my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 

(Find it on Amazon. Book it here): http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO

#alcoholism #addiction #recovery #books

I hope you enjoy BOTH of my BOOKS on ADDICTION & RECOVERY! (Print & Kindle Versions of Both are Available!)  

15 June 2022

RECOVERY is Possible, Doable and Irreplaceable.

 



"Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is." - Erich Fromm

KNOWLEDGE, EFFORT & EXPERIENCE are Writ Large in Erich Fromm's take on Achieving Human Potential. Addiction slowed my Personal Growth, if not bringing it to a Full Stop. Essentially, after 30 years of Daily Drinking, I emerged as a 46-Year-Old Teenager Battered by Addiction. Not a pretty sight. That I survived and was able to give birth to a New & Sober Being took Time, Patience and Shared Courage.

Today, I have come to believe that RECOVERY is Possible, Doable and Irreplaceable.

*****

Check out my NEW Non-Fiction, BECOMING UNBROKEN: Reflections on Addiction and Recovery 
(Find it on Amazon, Book it here): https://lnkd.in/dkF767RT 

Immerse yourself in my Descent into Addiction and eventual Recovery in my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 

(Find it on Amazon. Book it here): http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO

#alcoholism #addiction #recovery #books

I hope you enjoy BOTH of my BOOKS on ADDICTION & RECOVERY! (Print & Kindle Versions of Both are Available!) 

10 June 2022

RELAPSE PREVENTION


I was a CHRONIC RELAPSER. Oh, how my brain seemed to want what I knew I could no longer allow my brain to have. I knew that alcohol was Toxic. It was killing me, so I guess it fits snugly into the definition of a Poison. Just as snake venom is used in the production of antitoxins, alcohol seemed to me that it could salve the wounds that it created.

After all, although rare, there are documented cases of death resulting from severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Conversely, experience had shown me, the Relapse King, that so much as a single drink could set off a chain reaction that would have me passing out at the Underwood Hotel (a euphemism for people living under the Boardwalk) again after perhaps days or longer of immeasurable drug use. 

As heard many times at A.A. Meetings, if one is run over by a train, it is not the caboose that kills you, it's the first car on the train that does the job. If you don't have the first drink, you can't have the second, the third or the one that kills. For me, in recovery, it's the first drink that could kill me. 

Let me note here that I am not an Abstinence Only kind of guy. Drink as much or little as you'd care to. I don't prescribe behavior for others. I abstain and that's the end of the story.

The beginning of my recovery story is captured in the pictured quote: "Every Recovery Meeting is an Intervention between Me and the First Drink."

A child can drown in a few teaspoons of water. I am that child. Alcohol is that liquid. Even if I'm wrong in that assumption, absence of alcohol has led me to an Abundant Life.

"Who could ask for anything more?"

*****

Check out my NEW Non-Fiction, BECOMING UNBROKEN: Reflections on Addiction and Recovery 
(Find it on Amazon, Book it here): https://lnkd.in/dkF767RT 

Immerse yourself in my Descent into Addiction and eventual Recovery in my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 

(Find it on Amazon. Book it here): http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO

#alcoholism #addiction #recovery #books

I hope you enjoy BOTH of my BOOKS on ADDICTION & RECOVERY! (Print & Kindle Versions of Both are Available!) 

ADDICTION IS GODLESS





Surely, Addiction is progressive in nature. The substances used may start out harmlessly enough, a Fun and Frivolous Escape from the Daily Grind. But slowly, insidiously, the chokehold begins. Reality begins to be filtered out and only Addiction remains. Self-assured, predictable outcomes morph into catastrophic consequences and total loss of control.

This is no way to live.

All of the above, in black and white, is a reiteration of the pictured quote but using slightly different words.

I, for one, must reaffirm my Recovery Daily. My 50,000 drinks over a thirty-year period were a similar repetition, but more a sort of dying on the vine that is Addiction. In Recovery, I vow to find 50,000 ways to state that "Recovery is Possible, Doable and Irreplaceable."

Life is short and sweet. 

Addition is Godless, Headless, Insane.
You know the rest [see picture].

*****

Check out my NEW Non-Fiction, BECOMING UNBROKEN: Reflections on Addiction and Recovery 
(Find it on Amazon, Book it here): https://lnkd.in/dkF767RT 

Immerse yourself in my Descent into Addiction and eventual Recovery in my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 

(Find it on Amazon. Book it here): http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO

#alcoholism #addiction #recovery #books

I hope you enjoy BOTH of my BOOKS on ADDICTION & RECOVERY! (Print & Kindle Versions of Both are Available!)


09 June 2022

SIMPLE TRUTHS MAY REQUIRE COMPLEX BEHAVIORAL CHANGES



"If I simply remain clean & sober, everything will turn out fine" may sound good on the surface and "Nothing changes if nothing changes" may sound redundant and bordering on meaningless, but like in The Wizard of Oz, the curtain must be lifted to see what is behind, underneath and within such statements.

Addiction to alcohol and other substances is irreducibly complex. 

I can clearly remember asking and sort of begging at the same time "Can't I just stop drinking and drugging?" My A.A. Sponsors answer was a simple "No, you must replace all your hours and days in addiction with days and hours in recovery." Presumably if I simply stopped drinking and drugging and replaced it with nothing, I would be sucked up into a Black Void never to be heard from or seen again.

It might be that same place where missing socks go.

There are no "One Size Fits All" solutions. What works today may not work tomorrow. I have no secret agenda or snake oil to sell here. I have my experience and the experience and outcomes I have seen in others striving to stay sober and live in recovery. Quite simply, I would have to change in the innumerable ways that pertain to me. It takes, time, patience and shared courage. 

"Simple, but not easy."

I am coming up on 18 years of continuous recovery in just over a week and I live in a Sober House. (How that came to be is a long story I'll save for another day.) Some of the men who live here betray their wishes to appear that they are in total control and that recovery is a gentle breeze that is easy to handle. How some wish to appear that they are on Easy Street may make their struggles to remain clean and sober more difficult. Boys will be boys is an easy response to separate myself from their struggles. I find myself staying at a comfortable distance. Sometimes emotional barriers should be dismantled carefully. I don't want to appear to be coming off as a know-it-all. 

Life (theirs and mine) is a Work-in-Progress.

HERE'S THE THING: Despite my 17+ years of recovery, I, too, am an arm's reach away from a drink or drug. The majority of men staying at my Sober House are in the very early stages of recovery. They have (unbeknownst to some of them) reminded me how fragile recovery can be, especially in the early days, months, and even years of recovery. THEY ARE HELPING ME SOLIDIFY MY RECOVERY.

Leaving the particulars aside, these new living quarters have been a Refresher Course in Recovery beyond attending in-person Recovery Group Meetings could make possible alone.

PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING: "Everything Old is New Again" has been rightly attributed to a multiplicity of sources because Churchill, Mark Twain and a variety of Oriental Wise Men obviously came to the same conclusion. "Everything Old is New Again" might be slightly altered by me saying "REFRESH YOUR RECOVERY" or your recovery will not remain fresh. It will become stale, hard and brittle. 

Recovery will endure by changing with life's circumstances as they present themselves to us.

This Sober House may turn out to be the best thing that ever has happened to me. I read in these guys' eyes the same (or similar) struggles I experienced in my early recovery.

One person helping another. 

Turns out, we humans are social animals and "nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more." It takes, time, patience and shared courage. "Simple, but not easy."

Enjoy.

*****

Check out my NEW Non-Fiction, BECOMING UNBROKEN: Reflections on Addiction and Recovery 
(Find it on Amazon, Book it here): https://lnkd.in/dkF767RT 

Immerse yourself in my Descent into Addiction and eventual Recovery in my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 

(Find it on Amazon. Book it here): http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO

#alcoholism #addiction #recovery #books

I hope you enjoy BOTH of my BOOKS on ADDICTION & RECOVERY! (Print & Kindle Versions of Both are Available!)

07 June 2022

POPPYCOCK! HOGWASH!! BALDERDASH!!!

 


Truly, there was a time when my very own words would have been scoffed at, ridiculed and made fun of by me. I didn't want to be true what my hospital records made abundantly clear: I was "dying from drinking," as my pictured quote clearly states. Despite not wanting to admit it, even to myself, drinking and drugging had torn apart the very fabric of my life until I was nothing but frayed edges, dying in the middle, deep down, far beyond my flesh and bone.

The "Grateful Recovering Alcoholic" that I'd heard parroted at A.A. Meetings at one time repulsed me. A Bunch of Do-Good Know-Nothings is what I thought at one time.

I would come to find, laboriously, that I was wrong. With time, patience and a little elbow grease, I would learn to Live in Recovery, to Love Living in Recovery and to be "Living with Love."

As my third therapist (or was it fourth?) once expressed, "If it took you 30 years to get completely lost in the forest of Addiction, you can't expect to find your way out in 30 minutes or 30 days."

"Time takes Time" as the impactful and sometimes meaningless sounding adage goes.

Today, my own words from 18 years ago mean more to me than ever.

They have passed the Test of Time.

And so have I. 

Today, I am a "Grateful Recovering Alcoholic."

Each day I choose the path that will allow me to enjoy another day of Recovery. 

If my words today do not ring true for you, I have 3 words for you...

POPPYCOCK! HOGWASH!! BALDERDASH!!! 

"Grateful Recovering Alcoholic"

Come Full Circle. 

Recovery is Progressive, too.

*****

Check out my NEW Non-Fiction, BECOMING UNBROKEN: Reflections on Addiction and Recovery 
(Find it on Amazon, Book it here): https://lnkd.in/dkF767RT 

Immerse yourself in my Descent into Addiction and eventual Recovery in my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 

(Find it on Amazon. Book it here): http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO

#alcoholism #addiction #recovery #books

I hope you enjoy BOTH of my BOOKS on ADDICTION & RECOVERY! (Print & Kindle Versions of Both are Available!)

DREAMS, REALITY, ADDICTION & RECOVERY


Most people in the Recovering Communities will immediately know what "You can have Drunk Dreams Sober but you can't have Sober Dreams Drunk" means. 

But it may be a tough nut to crack, perhaps even more so if you're not Squirrely like me.

You can't Drive Sober if You're Drunk. If you think you can, You're Dreaming, But You're Still Drunk Dreaming. Driving or Dreaming, if You're Drunk, You're Drunk.

I had Drunk Dreams Every Day for Months(!) when I first got Sober. But I was Sober. And they were Dreams.

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein

"You can have Drunk Dreams Sober but you can't have Sober Dreams Drunk" - Let's leave it at that.

*****

Check out my NEW Non-Fiction, BECOMING UNBROKEN: Reflections on Addiction and Recovery 
(Find it on Amazon, Book it here): https://lnkd.in/dkF767RT 

Immerse yourself in my Descent into Addiction and eventual Recovery in my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 

(Find it on Amazon. Book it here): http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO

#alcoholism #addiction #recovery #books

I hope you enjoy BOTH of my BOOKS on ADDICTION & RECOVERY! (Print & Kindle Versions of Both are Available!)

05 June 2022

MINIMIZE OR MAXIMIZE. EITHER WAY... lies. Lies. LIES. [ROUGH DRAFT]

 


We have to go back TWENTY=FIVE YEARS on this one.

When I first got sober, a therapist once said that a SAFE BET was to only believe HALF of anything an addict tells you or, in the other extreme, DOUBLE anything they tell you.

"BALD REALITY NEVER CURLED MY TOES"

Drunk as a Skunk.

Reality Stinks. 

No Riddle of the Sphinx.

The Nose Knows.

"What goes on four (4) legs in the morning,

Two (2) legs in the afternoon

and three (3) legs at night?"

The Answer would be Man: a baby in the morning, a man in the afternoon and walking with a cane at night.

Drunk as a Skunk, this is No Riddle of the Sphinx.

The nose Knows that Reality Stinks.

You see, Somewhere between my crawling on all fours and standing tall as a grown-ass man on my own damned feet, addiction set in, addiction crippled me. I never grew up. 

Immediate Reward Replaced Goal Setting and Goat Getting.

The only Getting I Got Came out of a Bottle. 

Instead of 4, 2, 3 as the Sphinx in Truth Would Tell,

I went from 4 to 3 (Addiction, that third and ugly leg) to nearly None. 

Drunk as a Skunk, Reality Stinks.

LIES MY BOTTLE TOLD ME:

1. I could quit right now if you weren't such a Bitch.

2. Twice the Drink = Half the Stress

3. My drinking hurts no one but me, so butt out. 

4. I choose when I drink and the time to drink and drug is NOW

5. My little auto accident was the ice on the road or the ice in my glass. Great Scot1 Don't Blame My Scotch!

6, I drink beer in the shower to sober up for work. You got a problem with that? Works for me.

7. Me fucked up? You want to know who's fucked up? YOU are.

8. You exaggerate my drinking and drugging for God's sake. Take a chill pill. I think You have an Exaggeration Problem.

9. You only think of yourself. Leave me the fuck alone.

10. Don't get technical. Geez! Counting my drinks already. Gimme a break.

11. You're overreacting. It's not THAT bad.

12. I have a problem? Your intolerance is the REAL problem!

13. Everything's a catastrophe to you. What's YOUR problem?

14. You/re hysterical! You're an alarmist! You're a broken record!

15. Your bitching is going to give me a fucking heart attack. Then what? Then who's to blame?

16. Calm the fuck down. I think YOU need a drink. Not me. I'm fine. Have a good day. Leave me alone. Drinking isn't my problem. YOU"RE my problem!

*****

Check out my NEW Non-Fiction, BECOMING UNBROKEN: Reflections on Addiction and Recovery 
(Find it on Amazon, Book it here): https://lnkd.in/dkF767RT 

Immerse yourself in my Descent into Addiction and eventual Recovery in my Autobiographical Fiction, ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal 

(Find it on Amazon. Book it here): http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO

#alcoholism #addiction #recovery #books

I hope you enjoy BOTH of my BOOKS on ADDICTION & RECOVERY! (Print & Kindle Versions of Both are Available!)

(to be continued, ROUGH DRAFT)

8. 

3.