Sunday, November 30, 2008

Starting to pack and plan my escape from Surprize!

Day 124 and I survived my ass falling off on Thanksgiving by picking it up, dusting it off, putting it in a paper bag and taking it to an NA meeting then going to McCormick and Schmick's with my sponsor for two "single guy Thanksgiving specials" and washed it down with a big glass of milk and all was well with my world as I know it once again. Then I spent yesterday afternoon meeting with some fellow members of my new 501(c)(3) non-profit expressive art therapy project down on Roosevelt Row looking at buildings and coming up with a target area of where we want to be located. Then in the late afternoon I met up for coffee with a gal pal of mine who wound up going with me to my weekly alumni group meeting out at The Sundance Center. Afterwards we went out for matching his and her crocks of French onion soup at Mimi's Cafe the out to the El Chorro Lodge for coffee and a little slow dancing on the patio under the stars which was quite a nice way to spend Black Friday.

I must admit that it was nice to have a beautiful woman in my arms again and slow dancing to all the standard "Rat Pack" tunes but walking her to her door and kissing her lightly on her cheek and locking her within the safe confines of her condo for the night was totally a new experience for this old horndog currenltly celibate by choice. This whole "celibacy deal" that I've been struggling with on a daily basis and going out on platonic dates with drop dead gorgeous women is a bit akin to me locking myself in a Motel 6 with a quarter ounce of meth, an eightball of crack , two fifths of Crown Royal and attempting to work on my 4th step and reading the Big Book without touhing any of it but I had a wonderful evening and I was able to wake up and look at myself in the mirror this morning so that is a good thing....I guess....LOL

So now I have a ton on my plate with getting the non-profit set up asap so I can hopefully get out and beat the streets for endowments, grants and donations to get it funded, lease a building and start hiring staff before the end of the year now just a scant 30 days away all at the same time I'm looking for a new personal residence, pack and move as close to the center of Phoenix as possible on or before December 15th when my lease out here on the edge of civilization expires and my rent shoots up from $725 to $1,100 because all the "snowbirds" come out from the ice pack states like the swallows annual return to Capistrano. No great loss there as I hate the cultural, architectural, political and just about every other type of vacuum that exists out here but I'm sitting here with a mere c-note left in my jeans, one carton of smokes, two months upside down on car payments (but it is now insured!) and just enough gas for my daily trips back and forth to my po box to look for the check that's been "in the mail" to me from my one and only social media marketing client that's been on it's way now for oh, about 9 weeks now and trying not to panic and starting to park my car in different places at night to hide it from the repo man who's already starting to call my brother up in Sonoma County looking for me as he's listed as my next of kin on my car loan application. My next address just might be my license plate number if you catch my drift but I ain't sweating just quite yet. That in itself is a tad bit worrysome however I'll discuss that with my therapist on Tuesday right before I hand her that last c-note and go pawn my watch.

It's "rough out here I tell ya!" but what else can I do? Going backwards is not even an option so I have to keep rowing this boat forward even though it continues to be sinking faster than it's moving ahead but that's what it's all about I'm coming to realize. There is no deserted island paradise to row to with my Bukowski book and Miles Davis CD populated with brown skinned, post-pubescent, nymphomanics in heat. There's just this endless rowing.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My ass fell off today....

Today is 121 days clean for me and it's been a very hard day for me since it's also the 6th anniversary of the day I brought my Pop home from the hospital after his stroke and began my journey as his caregiver and the first Thankgiving without being by his side on this special day as he lies in a hospice in Upstate NY and I sit alone in little furnished studio on the edge of the open desert feeling sorry for myself most of the day unable to get my skinny ass out of bed or stop crying until 5:00 this afternoon until I got a text message from my sponsor, Mike N. to write a list of 10 things that I was thankful for today so I am going to get in the shower, shave and drag my ass to the 7:00 NA meeting at the N. Scottsdale Fellowship after I write and share that list here with you:

I am thankful for:

1) Being 121 days clean, alive, and unicarcerated.

2) Having a roof over my head and food in my fridge.

3) Having a new source of of subsistence level income from my hard negotiated contract with Hythiam, Inc which was finialized this week.

4) Having the ability to talk to and help three people today who are newer to sobriety than I am.

5) Having the continued support from many people in the program as well as my professional counselors like Paula Artac, Annette Pucia, Kirby Maus and Ana Gomez.

6) Knowing that when I walk in that door in one hour at the fellowship hall that someone will be there who has walked the same walk I have and that the lights will be on.

7) That my vision of creating a 501(c)(3) nonprofit art therapy program and foundation for recovering addicts is now a reality as of two days ago and that we're now in early lease negotiations for our own building in the Roosevelt Row arts and cultural district.

8) That my lifelong dream of a career in politics to make a difference in this world is one step closer to becoming a reality and that I'm in the final consideration to receive a fellowship ino the 2009 program at The Center for Progressive Leadership.

9) Having a sponsor like Mike N. who seems to know exactly what I need to do and the exact time I need to do it and be willing to gudie me through it no matter what.

10) Having a higher power in my life who loves me unconditionally and gives me the strength at times such as this when my ass falls off to quite simply bend over, wash it off, put it in a bag and take it to a meeting!

Happy Thanksgiving! I am truly blessed today!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The story of my life...

Towering Fool (Warren Haynes) Buzzard Rock Music (BMI)

Yeah, somebody somewhere must have hurt you
You must have been really abused
A victim of your raising
Isn't that your excuse
Towering Fool

In a dream I watched you inflict yourself
On everyone within reach
Now frozen in time I see it still
Like a movie
How long has it been since you shook the hand
Of those who fell under your feet
And how long has it been since you washed yours clean
From the blood and the dirt of the street
Did you really think you could just fly away
Fly right out of those blues
Did you towering fool

Don't you know greatness comes to those who can hold it
Did it slip right through your hands
Did it brush your sleeve as it passed you by
Do you compare yourself now to then

All this pent up anger
Don't you feel alone ranger
Don't you towering fool
So you use every ounce of your energy
To keep those around you down
But there is a tear in the eye of the ring master
And a smile on the face of the clown

Yeah, you couldn't see through your own arrogance
To what the whole world already knew
You had to keep pushing it past the point
Till it all crumbled down on you
Didn't you towering fool

Saturday, November 8, 2008

102 Days and a very good week....

Well, I crossed the 100 day hurdle on Thursday and am feeling stronger and stronger in my sobriety and have had many very good things happen this week. First and foremost I received a call from my missing friend I was worried about last week stating that he was out of the country and that he's still sober and doing well! Whew! Tuesday's election was a mixed bag of wins & losses for the four campaigns I was working for this election season so I batted .500 Tuesday evening with Barack Obama winning the Presidential race and Harry Mitchell winning relection to Congress although Tim Nelson lost his bid for Maricopa Couny Attorney and Dan Saban lost his bid for Maricopa County Sheriff and I attended the Obama victory celebration downtown at the Wyndham Hotel then Harry Mitchell's out in Tempe at the Fiesta Resort. My grassroots political group, Code Blue Arizona now has 39 members and will continue on to assist the Arizona Democratic Party spread news and events between election initiatives.

Last but not least I put together a last minute opening exhibit for last night's "First Friday Artwalk" down on Roosevelt Row for Rehab Arts Studio and Foundation at the kollectiv art and design group gallery featuring Paula Artac's and Diane Dillon's work and it went very well and was attended by an overwhelming number of several hundred visitors and I'm very pleased,humbled and encouraged by how well this first event went and have already posted our next exhibit which will feature the works of local artist in recovery Roger Erby as well as my own photography exhibit and I hope that some of you can attend. I realize that these "First Friday" events are in conflict with the Sundance Alumni meetings on Friday evenings but the exhibit hours run from 6:00pm until 10:00pm so there's plenty of time for you to attend the alumni group then come on down before we close and I can't tell you how much I'd love to have some of you to come down!

Here is a link to the December event information. That's about all I have to report for now. Have a great week and I'll see some of you at the N. Scottsdale Fellowship NA meeting this week!

Friday, October 31, 2008

94 Days...I'll be at the Sundance Alumni Meeting Tonight...Will You??

I took my 90 day chip at my NA homegroup "Step In Time" meeting Tuesday night at the North Scottsdale Fellowship Hall on my 91st day clean. I was hoping to take it along with "someone" who's been one day behind me all this time who was conspicuously absent from the meeting and who hasn't returned my voicemails and texts since. I am trying not to read too much into it but I've been around the rooms now for over 30 years and the writing's on the wall that this person is no longer one day behind me in sobriety and it makes my heart cry. I've left enough messages that the individual knows that I'm looking to connect and yet nothing in return so if you're out there reading this and you've relapsed please, please, please call me at 602-793-7890. I promise not to beat you up or be judgemental in any way! Lord knows, I've done the same thing more times than I can remember so I know EXACTLEY how you might feel right now. If you're still sober and haven't returned my calls THEN I'm going to kick your ass!

While I'm on this subject, there has been quite a few people this week that I've called or sent text messages to that haven't returned them that makes me worry but I pray that you're ok and just simply busy with life on life's terms and it makes me think of one person who I was in treatment that left Sundance AMA early and has relapsed off and on ever since that has been reaching out to me for the past two months that I have not returned his calls or emails because I knew he has been loaded many of the times he's called. He hasn't been calling me for help with sobriety but rather regarding some business plans we had discussed while in treatment together or has he??

Maybe he's been using the business plans as an excuse to call me when he really wants help staying sober and just can't say it? Duuuh!!! I'm an idiot sometimes huh?? Just sent him a text message.

Ok, well, enough said I guess other than to say to everyone out there that I'm always here for all of you, clean or loaded and do not hesitate to call me. I haven't had a a solid trigger to use yet but I realize all too well that's a very big "yet" and that it may hit me around the next corner like a 2x4 smack in the center of my forehead so just call me ok? Hey, if you're still hanging in there and doing well let's go to a meeting together and hang out and eat some greasy tacos or something ok? It saddens me that we spent the summer together laughing, crying, laying out on the lawn in the rain, sweating together in the "Druggie Buggie", baring our souls to each other and have so quickly fallen apart as a group and many on the fringes have been picked off from the herd.

I was going to update you all on my daily struggles, successes and challenges out here in the "real world" but I guess this post morphed into something more important, much more important. My life continues to go on, one day at a time, one struggle at a time and I've accomplished some miraculous things in these short 94 days but I think I'll refrain from boring you all with all that because that's just "stuff" you know?


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 85 and a mix of "Life on life's terms" at opposite ends of extreme.

Well, ok, it'll be day 85 by the time I hit the "publish" with the artist! Things are going far better than I ever dreamed of in my professional life. I've come to final terms with Hythiam, Inc on building and managing their social network but I'll be signing a confidentiality agreement once they cut me a big fat check so this will be the last time I'll be able to mention anything about it but I'm here to tell you that anything is possible if you stay clean and sober and live by Ruiz's "Four Agreements" and the "12 Steps" as we were taught at Sundance and I'm living, walking & breathing proof because as I shared with those of you who attended last Friday's Alumni group at Sundance I'm now also working for a candidate in one of the biggest local election races and also now assisting with a few of the state and national level election campaigns as well which if you know where I came from prior to Sundance is downright surreal!! I won't be able to make this Friday's alumni group as I have a political fundraiser to attend but pray that I don't say nasty words in front of a roomful of senators, congressmen, assemblymen and other politicos who will be there. I sure would not have been on the guest list a few short months ago that's for sure; pehaps a topic of conversation granted, but certainly not on the guest list...LOL

The other really good thing going on is the amount of support I'm getting from both the private and public sectors for my Rehab Arts Studio & Foundation plan. (Just added the "foundation" part this week for legal considerations) and I'll be presenting my plan next Wednesday night at the Ignite-Phoenix event via global podcast and Ive been working very hard on my presentation and think it'll turn out killer but I only have 5 minutes to do so and any of you who've ever sat in a group or meeting with me know...."brevity" is not one of my strong suits to say the least so it will be quite a challenge for me and I hope to see some of your smiling, supportive faces in the studio audience. You can register (free) for the event at

Ok now for the "life's terms" part. I just got word today from my sister back in NY that my Pop is in the hospital for now the third time in the month they've been back home in NY with Pneumonia and other complications and is slipping fast and not expected to last much longer which saddens me beyond belief yet I know at almost 87 and having suffered numerous strokes over the past six years his time here on earth with us is coming to an end. I know that I gave him all that I had in me these past six years as his live-in caregiver to a point of almost losing myself in the process (what almost? I did lose myself who am I kidding?) but yet there's a big part of me that feels guilty and ashamed that I just couldn't see him all the way out as I promised him I would at the start of this journey. In my head I know that's bullshit and I did more than most would in similar circumstances, but my heart aches deeply with sorrow and regret that I just couldn't manage to hang in there with him through his last few months. The facts are the facts and the simple fact of the matter is that if I had attempted to keep on going as I was going I most certainly would either be locked up or dead by this time anyway so my emotional struggles are really a moot issue when looked at in the light of "reality". Novel concept that is....."reality" huh??

I guess I'm not too old and beatup to learn new tricks afterall, anyway, please include my Pop in your daily prayers please and know that I know just where to run as fast as I can when he does indeed pass...I'm bee lining it out to Sundance!

Thanks for giving me a safe haven to go at times like these for I surely can't and won't attempt to carry the weight of this pending occurance alone...I've learned that much at least and am grateful beyond words for all every one of you has done to literally save my life!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

79 Days....Going well but still frickin broke!

Yes, that's correct, seventy nine days clean & sober and nobody's handed me my million dollar prize for staying clean yet....damn-it!!! What's up with that anyway??

I'm hanging in there though and am very busy with setting up the board of directors of the">Rehab Arts Studio and will be attending Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon's "State of Downtown" address & reception this evening at the Sheraton downtown and participating in all events this weekend at the Roosevelt Row 3rd Friday Artwalk and Harvest Fesitval.

I'll also be attending a political rally & barbeque tomorrow hosted by Congressman Ed Pastor at Encanto Park.

Next weekend is packed with downtown events as well down at Copper Square and rehersing for my global podcast presenting my plan for Rehab Arts Studio at Ignite-Phoenix on Wednesday evening October 29th. It's open to the public so it would be great to see some smiling faces in the crowd. I'm a bit nervous about doing a global podcast live to be honest with you as "the globe" is a prety big frigging room ya know??

Other than that I've been busy setting up the social network I've been hired to build and maintain for">Hythiam, Inc for their">Prometa Alumni Network which is pretty much the same as what I'm doing here except that I actually get paid to do it!

I've also started looking for a new place to live downtown in the Roosevelt Row section which just draws me like a magnet and will hopefully find a place and move down there next month. This living way out in Surprise is such a drag! I'm at least an hour's drive from anywhere I need/want to be so I have to get out of here or go insane!

I've also now had two sessions with my new EMDR therapist,">Ana Gomez that Annette referred me to and we're getting up to speed and all I can say is that I'm very glad that I saved my lifeline from Sundance as it's saved us at least 2-3 additional sessions telling her my history.

That's all for now except to let you all know that I've started adding "events" to the website and invite you all to start checking in on here by posting your own blogs so we can all see what you're up to and also invite you to also post events so others can possibly attend some of them with you. I know for me isolation is a relapse trigger how about you?

Monday, October 6, 2008

69 Days Today...."Quittin Just Ain't My Stick"

So I had to mark the day given the number and all...LOL. Today has been "a day" that's for sure. I woke up this morning all set you make the hour drive over to Sundance to help Paula out with art hot water...great! I figured it fitting given my number of days sober (and also something else) and that my higher power was just telling me to take a cold shower! No, Kabe, your head won't explode!!

So after my fast cold shower, cold shave and a cup of cold yesterday's coffee I was out the door at 8:00 on the dot and got to my car only to find the driver's window busted out, glass everywhere and everything inside tossed. So much for the $599 extra I spent on the alarm! I've lived in NY and LA where you expect things like that to happen but the Sunridge Retirement Condominiums in Surprise??? Being that it's a ragtop and only one slice away from entry anyway I don't keep much in it other than a pair of sunglasses, a few CD's and maybe half a pack of smokes and some gum but the fuggers got two things that pissed me off.

First, I had kept my Sundnace "coin" from my coin out in the ashtray as a reminder to:

A) Not to smoke in my car (I got one of thse butt buckets in the cupholder anyway).

B) Not to stop in for a cold one as I pass the seemingly endless numbers of bars on my two hour roundtrips out to Sundance and back! I swear they must have opened up a few hundred new bars in the seven weeks I was tucked away all safe and sound out at Sundance!!

So, I'm sure I can get another coin but it won't be "the" coin that was passed around to everyone to charge during my coinout on my 50th birthday so I'm kinda bummed about that; especially, given the fact that it's probably just tossed in the bushes somewhere. I worked damned hard to earn that coin and it meant the world to me! Oh well!

Second, the got my friggin Barry White's Greatest Hits CD!! How's a guy supposed to break his "other sobriety" without a Barry White CD??? I still got my Al Green CD but there's just no substitute for making your moves with the top down blasting "Never Gonna Give You Up" now is there?? Chances are that was fliped like a Frisbee down into the Aqua Fria "river" bed to the east of the parking lot.

That's another thing, while I'm in my Andy Rooney mode here. Why do they call dry gullys out here "rivers"?? I don't see no fuggin water in there??? Ah, but I digress.

So, then I cleaned up the glass, most of it anyway (just found a glass "cube" in my back pocket) and headed eastward towards Sundance while calling my dealership to schedule it in tomorrow for the window replacement, tune-up and oil change which was needed anyway. That's another first for me, oil changes. I never got the oil changed in my cars. I'd just add a quart when getting low but when they really needed an oil change I'd just trade them in. Coming from the life I used to lead before Sundance whatever car I owned was generally getting pretty "hot" around town by about the 10,000 mile mark anyway and was starting to get a nice collection of bullet holes in it and it was time to ditch it anyway...LOL (PMPN8EZ). I finished the drive out on the phone with the Director of Web Services at Hythiam, Inc trying to see if he had approval on my proposal to build and manage their social network all the while kicking myself for countering their intial offer and asking for more money and breaking my "First one to speak loses" rule by being the first one to call the other after submitting my counter offer last week. "Does he smell my desperation?" Does he know I'm at under $500 to my name with rent, insurance and a car payment coming up next week?" Does he know about my innate adversion to having to get a j-o-b where wearing a name tag is involved?" Well? Does he?? I hung up without revealing any of these grim realities of my current situation and pulled into Sundance.

So I get to Sundance about an hour late but it was with a sigh of relief!! Got hugs from Melissa, Jamie and Susan, poked fun of Dr. Ravi's shirt, the white hair in Chuck's reemerging facial hair and all was well with the world once again...I was! Then back ino the art room where I got to see you guys, kiss Kimberly on the cheek, share a moment with Matt and his "inner thesbian", Kabe's latest clay phallus, Kathy's hand holding the world, Susan's jeweled heart shaped box, Hailey's beautiful mushroom painting and see her finished drama masks drawing which I had helped her with two weeks ago (it turned out killer!), Danika's pink box and Sandy's radiant & sparkley sun and top it all off with seeing Jon and Marina and a big old nurturing Paula hug!! I was recharged and ready to get back out there and complete my day out here in the hinderands of my new reality! Bumped into Chris in the parking lot which was cool as he said how good it was to see me and to see me doing well out here....LOL...I spared him all of the above and joted myself a note to start working out so I can look a bit more like the big guy....LOL...I'll start tomorrow (or NOT!).

Then it was off to my storage unit up in Fountain Hills to get some stuff out of there then back down the hill to mid-city for my first therapy session with EMDR therapist Ana Gomez who Annette referred me to and made it at 1:00 sharp! Annette didn't tell me that Ana is like my dream woman in living flesh. Oh my God!! After I stoped drooling I signed the client agreement and thereby erradicated any possability whatsoever that she'd ever consider going out with me for LIFE!! I felt somewhat relieved and actually grateful for that cold shower earlier...not that this incredibly hot and intelligent professional woman would go out with me anyway but humor me here ok??? Work with the artist!!

Had a great session with Ana and I think I actually heard a few words she said by the end of the hour and made a regular standing appointment for Monday afternoons. I feel good about her and think we can continue the work I started with Annette out at Sundance but there's a lot more inside I need to look at. Annette and I really only cracked the door open, dusted a few cobb webs out of the way and let a few "bats" fly out of the recesses of my soul. Suddenly I'm thinking that between Paula's art classes and Ana's therapy sessions I'm atually gonna like "Mondays" which I'm sure will start to change once she starts my EMDR therapy sessions and I ball like a baby and get snot on my shirt in her office every week.

Quick zip up to Lenscrafters at Paradise Valley Mall to pick up my new prescription and sun glasses and I can "see" again!! Turning fifty is a dual edged sword. On one hand I had to increase the bifocal prescription so I can read but on the other I did get to whip out my new AARP card and get a 10% discount!! (Just wait, you'll get there yourself and think of me whne you whip out yours too!!).

Back in the car and drive through late afternoon crosstown traffic on Cactus all the way out to Glendale & 67th Ave just short of my 4:00 deadline for my regular check-in meeting with my Probation Officer which went well but not as well as I anticipated because she informed me that she was not going to be able to submit my case for early release on October 17th because she wants to keep me under supervision "for a few additional monhs" to see how I do in the real world outside of Sundance. Shit! That means another few months living out here in East Jesus and now I have to start looking for another place to live (again) since this studio jumps up from $725/mo to $1,100/mo on December 15th when all the "Snowbirds" flock back out here from Wisconsin or where ever the fuck they come from every year like the swallows returning to Capistrano but I still have to reside in Surprise unless I want to transfer to another probation officer which I do not want to do with 18 written violations in my file over the past 12 months. Mine has been very cool with me giving me second, third and fouth chances and has not sent me back to the judge so rather than take my chances with a new PO I guess I'm loking for another place to live out here in Surprise(aka:East Jesus) starting in a few weeks and sucking it up and living life on life's terms. Novel concept although quite foreign to me.

Then a long drive into the direct setting sun further westward up Grand Avenue made only bearable due to my new prescription Ray Ban's and ino the safe confnes of my little furnished studio here at the glorious "Sunridge Retirement Condos", pulled the Murphy bed down out of the wall and flopped down for a two hour nap and writing this as my Banquet meatloaf, mashed potato and corn TV dinner cooks (Hey, they were only $1.00 a piece last week as I shopped at Walmart after being greeted at the door by my Ghost of Christmas future....and NO I don't want help out to the car you old fuck!! Get away from me you creep!).

Oh well, it could be worse ehh?? I could be busy covering my windows with aluminum foil and hand "cleaning" my carpet right??


In the imortal words of the late, great Barry White (*sigh*). "Quittin just ain't my stick!"

Monday, September 29, 2008

61 Days and Doing OK...

Yesterday I crossed the 60 day mark for the first time since I went out with 3 years clean to the day on 12/19/99. I was in Hollywood on assignment for the music magazine I was associate editor of at the time in the VIP lounge backstage at The House of Blues on Sunset with the band Type O Negative interviewing Peter Steele and there was food, booze, blow and broads galore and I was away from home (then Santa Rosa, CA) and I remember thinking to myself: "Today you have 3 years clean, you've proved you can do it, it's all here laying at your feet, you're out of town, no one will know, you can handle it for just one night, slip back home in a day and no one will know, you deserve it, you earned it, go on, celebrate, go on, just a little drink and a line, go it!"

The next thing I remember I was tossing my bags out a second story window of the luxury hotel suite the record company had put me up in having racked up the bill with room service charges, porno, booze etc. about 4-5 days later coming off a severe binge of booze, crack and hookers, you know, the usual! My Hermosa Beach AA buddy George who I got sober with 3 years prior catching the bags, tossing them into his car while I shimmied down a drain pipe and jumped into his car and he peeled off down the alley whisking me off down La Cienega to LAX where he poured me onto a late night flight to Oakland for what was to be yet another "Escape from LA" for me. It was not to be my last by a longshot. It was only the start of what turned out to be an eight year, seven month and ten day run until I landed on the front doorstep of Sundance on 7/29/08.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One week out of Sundance....

Tonight makes one week out of Sundance for me. It's been a busy week for sure! I left Sundance basicly homeless, unemployed and all my stuff in a storage unit in Fountain Hills with no clue what the future held for me. My PO told me I had to continue to live in Surprise or else transfer to a different probation office and with only one month left prior to being able to submit for early release I chose to stay way out here almost one hour away from Sundance.I spent the first night at my friend Judy's house in Desert Ridge and found a furnished studio just inside the the eastern border of Surprise along the western bank of the Agua Fria river on Bell Road. It's totally furnished down to towels, dishes and silverwear and has a murphy bed in the wall. I settled in over the weekend and it's now home until I can get released from probation.

I've lived in worse places!

I attended four twelve step meetings (two AA & two NA), Sundance alumni meeting as well as the Art of Recovery Expo at the Phoenix Convention Center on Saturday and been calling into probation every night and went in last week once for UA testing at TASC (clean of course). I also went to Sundance on Monday morning for my first day as art mentor for Dr. Paula's expressive art therapy group and will continue to do so weekly.

I've also been going over to my parent's home in Sun City West daily to assist my sister pack & clean the house in preparation of them moving back to New York with my sister this Thursday which most likely be the last time I will see my folks. Pop is nearly 87 now, in very poor physical health from a series of strokes over the past six years and rapidly declining mental health due to a recent diagnosis of dementia. Mom is 82 and also in very poor health, had spinal fusion surgery in March and knee replacement surgery one month ago as well as several other progressive health conditions.

I have very mixed emotions about my sister taking them back to NY after having been their sole live-in caregiver for the past 6 years. On one hand I am vey relieved to be free to get my own life back (such as it is) yet I will miss them very much and probably won't see them again before they pass. At this stage I'm not allowed to leave the state to be able to visit them and their health conditions and advanced ages don't make the odds of them living much longer very good, especially Pop. The moving van arrives in the morning as well as my nephew and he and my sister will drive them back to NY on Thursday morning.

Then end of an era, The beginning of another.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

First day out....

I'm 24 hours out of Sundance and it's been a very hectic and stressfull day but I'm actually feeling strong and proud of the progress I've made. I'm sitting in my new apartment writing this on my new laptop via my new wireless card. This time last night I was leaving Sundance with my car packed to the gills with nowhere to live, a broken computer and no wireless connection. Spent the night last night at my friend Judy's house in Desert Ridge and got up at sunrise and hit the ground running. I spent the early morning online at Kinkos searching for apartments then went to the folk's house which is now listed for sale and in major "move" mode as my sister is preparing to pack them up and move them back to NY next week, then picked up my Pop from his nursing home and drove him down to his Dr's in Peoria for a final physical and record transfer to his new Dr in NY. I spent the rest of the day looking at a few apartments but grabbed one where a friend of mine stayed last year. It's no palace but it's a large, fully furnished studio with a murphy bed in the wall but it's "home". Tonight I'm setting the apartment up, going out to dinner with a friend, getting a haircut nand crashing out here. Tomorrow I start the job hunt!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The child I've found again inside....

Through my work with Annette and doing EMDR therapy I have found this little guy again and I have discoverd that I have been living my life as best I could with his heart and mind instead of my adult heart and mind. I had some dramatic PTSD issues that he suffered in very early childhood resolved and I feel that I am now able to take his hand and bring him into my adult life without fear.

One week and counting...

I coin out next Tuesday September 16th on my 50th birthday which will be my 48th day of treatment at Sundance. One week to go and I still have no clue what lies ahead for me except for continued sobriety. I am very grateful for that and am keeping that as the center of my day to day existence yet I am growing impatient and a tad fearful of my future beyond these sheltered walls and I find myself falling into worry more and more as my discharge looms closer on the horizon. I have pretty much concluded and presented all the assignments of the Sundance program, except a few RRA letters which I still need to present in group. I have a few more sessions with Annette & Kirby and sooner than I can imagine I'll have this little coin in my pocket and sent on my way. Forty eight days is hardly enough time to compensate for thirty eight years of addictive living and relapse prevention is at the forefront of my aftercare plan.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Thunderstorm in the desert night.....

I just laid out on the grass lawn during a fantastic thunderstorm in the desert night spread eagle on my back with five dear friends and allowed the raindrops to wash away my past in a deeply cathartic momemt of harmony and oneness with the spirit. Today was a special day for me in my journey and one more step of my catharsis has been completed. The raindrops were big and cool as the fell from the sky onto my face and I opened my mouth and tasted a freedom of my soul alongside my dear friends and fellow souljourners Clint, Jenna, Marina, Kabe and MJ......


Saturday, July 26, 2008

The first place I'm starting is with the physical....

Excerpt from an email to a friend explaining the basic premise of the next month which really is preparation for the journey rather than part of the journey itself:

Of course you are correct about my journey. The first 30 days is primarily a physical cleansing. I have struggled with substance abuse issues since the age of 13 and I've developed a rather nasty meth addiction the past few years here in AZ but that's just what's around....if they make it I've abused it. I am being sent into residential treatment by my probation officer in lieu of spending the summer in tents out in the desert with Sheriff Joe....I have been unable to stop totally and have had a few "dirty" tests while on probation over the past year and my PO has violated my probation. She also caught me associating with known criminals. Most of my friends are known criminals so it's not hard to do. I found it odd that the typical punishment for this was incarceration with? Yup you guessed it..."criminals". They expect perfection instead of progress (must be Virgos).

Now not to rationalize my drug abuse as I know all of it is horrific abuse to my brain, body and soul but I HAVE cut way down and the amount I use in a month is what I used to use in one big night. Plus this will now be the 5th time I'll have been in a 30 day full rehab and I was a drug and alcohol counselor myself for a few years in the mid 90's so it won't be anything new to me really.

This program "IS" different in that it is in a very luxurious facility and I will have a personal trainer, dietitian, chef, masseuse, counselor, shrink and maid. It appears to be a more holistic approach to treating addiction however I look at it more as a nurturing environment for me to heal myself rather than to be healed externally. As they say in 12 Step programs, "It's an inside job"

I've climbed so many "steps" in my lifetime, beat drums, done sweat lodges, medical model, social model, cold turkey, rehab, detox, halfway houses and even a few psych wards and jails but I know that the answer lies from within.

I just completed another program in May called the Prometa program that consists of massive IV drips of brain chemicals and amino acids....I was high the whole time. Both are mostly just my way to avoid being tossed into general population as a 125lb white boy....not a healthy prospect.

The good part is that 9/16 is my 50th birthday and I am ready to stop abusing my body and am internally prepared to put down the drugs, booze, smokes and my favorite.....dirty, greasy, gratuitous sex with as many women as I can get into bed which is somewhat legendary in scope and proportion. The "number" is in excess of 5,000 women and I have yet to even come close to filling whatever void within myself is that I've been trying to feed by such acting out.

This has all been driven to a head by my care giving for my father these past 6 years and my duties are coming to an end as my sister is here now breaking down my folks household and taking them both back with her to upstate NY while I'm in treatment...LOL....I went to rehab and they moved away I will relish saying I think.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Yes, I'm starting yet another blog....but....

...this one will be different from the other 16 current blogs I have in syndication. This one will chronicle the profoundly personal journey of self discovery and emotional & physical cleansing I'm about to set off upon in five more days. Sit tight if you will as I finish packing for the trip as I have no idea of how long or how far this one will be!