The Fragility of Sobriety…and some other horse shit.

Hey all,

Thanks for stopping by.  Wednesday I’ll be getting back to the micro stories, but today I felt like I should post something a little more serious.  Just for today then it’s back to the usual.

I had a bit of an odd weekend, but before I get to that I think I should fill you in on who I am and where my life is at.  For those of you who are new to my site and for those who may enjoy my posts but not know what’s up with me.

So the long and short of it (and we’ll get to the long) is that I am sober.  On the 22nd of May I will have exactly 3 and a half years of sobriety under my belt.  While I’m extremely happy with that and really can’t believe on a daily basis how much better my life is now than it was, I am also very conscious of the fact that when it comes to being sober I am still in the very early stages and don’t know shit.

I try to keep this in mind daily while not letting it overwhelm my life and thoughts.

When I first got sober I was incredibly embarrassed about it.  Hell, when I got out of rehab I told my neighbors I’d been away at a writer’s retreat for 30 days.  Over the course of my journey I’ve become very comfortable with it.  Who I am, what I was and of course what and who I’ve become.

I really try not to be that guy. You know the guy that just talks about his sobriety all the time…I hate that guy.  I’m sure I bore the ever loving fuck out of people sometimes, but I really try to not let it define me as much as I let it define my life.

And it should define my life, and of course it does.

Sobriety is a tricky mistress.  No two people can do their sobriety the same way.  I know people who never go to meetings and they’re doing great.  I also know people who hit 3 AA meetings a day 7 days a week and they too are doing great.

The main point here is what works for one person definitely will not (or more accurately will probably not) work for someone else.  For example, the thought of hitting 3 meetings a day every day really makes me want to drink.  I don’t know why but that’s just how it goes.

I’ve come up with a routine that brings me much peace, keeps me humble and more importantly helps me live a happy life as a sober person while not simply being sober.

The gist of that is that there is a difference between living a sober life and just being dry or “white knuckling” it through the day.

I have joined a great gym called Systems Training Center that really fosters a sense of community.  I do combat conditioning twice a week and Brazilian Jiu Jitus twice a week at STC.  The professors, instructors and fellow students have become friends and for a guy my age that’s a really nice bonus.

I meditate almost every day, do a little yoga once a week or so and do a very mild workout at home on the weekends usually just hitting the heavy bag for about 20 minutes.

I don’t go to meetings often but I know they’re there if I need them.

BJJ has been a really important, new aspect to my sobriety.  Staying humble is one of the best things for a degenerate alcoholic.  And nothing keeps you humble like getting the ever loving snot choked out of you on a regular basis.

Having said all that I also need to be careful that I don’t replace one addiction with another.  My body has been telling me for about a month to take a little time off but I haven’t been listening.  Which is stupid.

So this week I’ll be skipping the gym to let my body heal up, while still concentrating on my spiritual development.

This isn’t all for my sobriety though if I’m being completely honest, though it just happens to work out with the timing.

I’m in the last stretch of finishing my novella The Eastern Road, which I plan on releasing in August and it is hard to lose yourself in writing when you know you have to be somewhere…like the gym.

So this week is a double bonus.  I’ll be finishing the novella and let my body rest so that next week I can go back in full bore.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking.  You’re thinking “Wow Jonathan I do not give a fuck about any of this boring ass, self aggrandizing horse shit!”

Fair enough, I get that but now we get to the point of the post.

So, this past weekend (Saturday to be specific) my friends Ben and Keith came into town.  They’re two of the nicest guys anyone could ever meet and I’m grateful they came into my life.  Plus we’re all just massive nerds so hanging out with them is always a total hoot.

We met up for dinner and it was just a great fun evening.

I got home and there was an email waiting for me from an old friend and drinking buddy who wanted to let me know that he was giving up the booze and wanted to live sober.  He even stated that I was partially responsible for this change in attitude.

I was humbled by this and reached out to him, just to let him know that I was here for whatever he needed.  We’re exchanging emails and hopefully I will be able to help him.

But, after I read this email I went to Facebook and there was a post about a friend of mine who’d been found dead in his apartment on April 28th.  I met this guy in rehab and we became good friends.

He’d struggled with his sobriety and I’d received maybe 5 or 6 drunken phone calls from him over the past 3 and a half years when he would relapse.  Some of the relapses were singular events but some lasted a month or more.

But, he would always get back up and recently seemed to be doing well.

The odd thing about this is, we had been playing phone tag over the past month or so.

I actually called him a few times in early April and he never returned the phone call.  Then, a few weeks ago he called me back but I selfishly didn’t pick up.  I was working on my book and part of me was annoyed that he took so long to call me back.

I didn’t return his phone call until early last week.  Not knowing that he’d already been dead for two days when I finally returned the call.

This hit me pretty hard last night.  Not the death itself which is heart breaking.  He was a young man and a father.

No, what hit me was the guilt. Did I let my friend down?  Did my selfishness contribute to his death?  Questions with no answers but a lot of blame.

I know enough to know that in all likelihood no, my not taking his call and not calling him back for a long time had nothing to do with his death.

But then again, maybe it did.  I wasn’t his sponsor but I was the one he seemed to call when he was in trouble.

These thoughts in and of themselves may seem selfish to you.  The fact that I’m making this about me and not about my dead friend.  Well, if I’m being honest with you dear reader, drug addicts and alcoholics are a selfish, narcissistic lot.  That’s one of the defects that tends to contribute to alcoholism.

But to be way more specific, I am fully aware that his death is far more important than my guilt.   But my guilt is what’s important to me, as selfish as that may sound.

I believe 100 percent that a person’s sobriety is their responsibility, but no one can do it completely alone.  A good support group be it AA or family, friends, gym mates is incredibly important.

But routine, humility and honesty with yourself are just as important.

I keep to my routine but don’t let it rule my life.  I have a great support group but don’t rely on them to keep me sober.  I stay humble as much as possible and at times can be a bit too honest with myself.

My sobriety is my responsibility.  Should I fall it will not be anyone’s fault but mine.

However, I will always wonder how different things would be at this very moment had I picked up that phone.

Did I help bring someone who thought of me as a friend to his death?  I just don’t know.  I’ll never know.

But I’ll live with it.  Try to make peace with it and move forward trying to be better, and more understanding of my friends who suffer.

If you think you have a problem there is help out there.  If you’re sober, remember to work your routine without letting it rule your life.

Stay honest, stay humble and live.

No self promoting links today, no plugs, just a weird post by someone trying to be a better man than he was who may or may not have failed a friend in need.

Best,

Jonathan

Oh Good We’re Going To War…Again.

Well there’s nothing like ending the day with a missile strike.

I was already very annoyed yesterday, so this was just the icing on the shit cake that was Thursday.

Well I shouldn’t be so overly dramatic, yesterday wasn’t too bad for me, in fact it was all in all a good day.  But, the news outlets really pissed me off.

And it isn’t necessarily the actual missile strike that annoyed me.  While I think it was a stupid thing to do and at this point a bit of a futile move by a man unqualified to be President of the United States.  I can’t get past the timing, because it seems to me this was done (more than likely) to distract everyone away from the mounting evidence of all the Russian connections to Cheeto Jesus’s campaign.

But it’s also an idiotic move.  Because to do just one airstrike doesn’t do anything.  All it does is set us up to either look ineffectual, or set us up for war.

If we strike once and do not strike again, then the enemy knows we were just grand standing.

However, if the past is prologue we’re heading into another war.  Republicans and most corporate democrats love war.  It’s good for business and good for the economy and really helps fill the 24 hour cluster fuck news cycle we’ve all become accustomed to.

Now, while I make no bones about the fact that I think President Trump is nothing more than a spoiled child with the attention span of a spider monkey on a cocaine bender, do not make the mistake of thinking about how different things would be if Hillary Clinton was President.

If Hillary Clinton was in fact the President, we’d have been in Syria by now.  Hillary Clinton is not a dove, she’s a total war hawk.  I believe we’d have been at war with Russian within a year of her administration and I do believe that if we were not at total war with Syria this would not have been the first missile strike by her administration on Assad’s regime.

The big difference here in my mind is that if Clinton was President I’d have a strong feeling of knowing that while she was going to do it, she is in fact the one who’d be making the final decisions in these matters.

With President Trump I really don’t know who made this decision, what was whispered in his ear and what the real reason for the strike is.

Because President Trump is not a smart man.  President Trump is not an intellectual.  I will say he certainly understands social media and really has some amazing gut instincts on how and when to use the bully pulpit and twitter to his advantage, but that doesn’t make him smart.  It makes him savvy.  Those are not the same thing.

It makes him a 21 year old bikini model with a few million followers on instagram and twitter.

At best it makes him Dan Blizerian.  And while Dan and others of his ilk can be very entertaining and savvy, that does not make Dan, the bikini model or Donald Trump qualified to run and protect The United States of America.

So whoever told President Trump this was a good idea (President Bannon?) has more than just a single missile strike in mind.

Ivanka must have been out of the room when this decision was made, cuz she never would have let this crap happen.  However, she could be behind the latest rumors this morning about Bannon and Preibus being on their way out of the administration, which would actually make me feel better.

Seriously, I don’t care if those two morons are replaced with Gary Busey and Omarosa, it’s better for everyone if they’re out.

In fact bringing in Busey and Omarosa would probably make me feel more safe on a daily basis than I do now.

And that is really sad.

So mark my words folks, we’re going to war, at the very least we’re gonna start bombing the shit out of Syria; but boots will probably be on the ground in a couple weeks as a “relief effort” or “Peacekeeping Force”.

But enough about all that, I want to end today on a story, something that happened to me a long time ago and has become a cherished memory.

Don Rickles passed away yesterday at the age of 90.  I did not know Don Rickles but was a huge fan and did have the pleasure of meeting him.

A very long time ago I was an usher at an AFI dinner honoring Kirk Douglas.  I was maybe 22 years old and pretty overwhelmed by the number of celebrities I was in the presence of.

As the job title implies, one of our main duties was to escort the celebrities to their respective tables when they entered the ballroom.  By absolute pure luck I had the honor of escorting Don Rickles and his wife Barbara to their table.

The table was near the front of the ballroom and that 2 or 3 minute walk with Don and Barbara was epic.  From the minute he saw me it was a non-stop barrage of insults about my looks, my rented polyester tuxedo, my sexuality, my intellectual capacity, basically anything he could think of in the short walk from the ballroom doors to his table.

I think part of him just couldn’t help it, this was who he was.  But I also truly believe that he knew instinctively, from looking at the ridiculous, ear to ear smile on my face, that this short little walk and barrage of non-stop insults was the highlight of my day.

Well he was wrong.  It was the highlight of my month.  To be a young man who grew up watching Don Rickles and now I’m being insulted by him?!  This was amazing!  It was incredible!  It was, to this day, something I think about and the memory always makes me smile.

I got the two of them to their table and wished them a lovely evening and also said how great it was to have met them.  Don turned to me and asked if there was a bar.

I said yes.

He said “Great!  Go get me two Martinis.” He then turned to his wife and asked “And what do you want honey?”

I was not supposed to serve drinks, but when Don Rickles asks you for two martinis you get that man two martinis.  So I did.

I walked back to the table, drinks in hand and placed them in front of Don and Barbara.  Barbara said thank you, Don smiled.

He then motioned for me to bend down and come close, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but he patted me playfully on my cheek with his hand, told me I was a good kid and asked me, very kindly to bring them two more in twenty minutes.

So I did.

At the end of the night as they were leaving, he and Barbara approached me, they certainly didn’t have to, but they did. Don Rickles again patted me on the cheek, wished me luck in my career and then let me know it was just too bad I had a face for radio.

It’s been 20 plus years and I’m smiling now as I recall the encounter.  He was a very sweet man and in his way made it very clear that his insults were not insults and honestly how could they be.

The only time an insult doesn’t hurt is when you know for a fact it is not said with malice.

I truly believe, even though I only met him once, that there wasn’t an ounce of malice in that man’s heart.

Rest in peace you epic, beautiful, bald son of a bitch.

So that’s where I’ll end today, there’s a new podcast up next week.  Angie and I will be talking about Roswell, but you can still listen to the premiere episode before then on podbean, iTunes and a few other places.

Also why not follow me on twitter and instagram, don’t cost nohin’

And stop by facebook, somebody really should.  All links are right here:

Instagram http://bit.ly/1XgDJfc

Goodreads http://bit.ly/1XpMF4k

Amazon http://amzn.to/1MwzPG6

Twitter http://bit.ly/1YIWqZA

Podcast http://bit.ly/2och5LE

Facebook http://bit.ly/fnbrjwp

Take care everybody, see you all next Friday.

Jonathan