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!"