Anyone who lives with addiction, writes about addiction or studies addiction knows a lot about failure, a ton about false starts and too goddamned much about death. Today, though, I want to tell a happy story, and one I wasn’t expecting. First, though, I’ve got to go back to a speech I gave on Memorial … Continue reading Lazarus and the Prodigal Son Got Nothing on Joe–Recovery Can Work!
I just got off the phone with a dear, dear friend. Larissa is in her late 30’s, holds a graduate degree and works as a teacher, where she is seen by her students and peers as insightful, creative and a dynamite professional. Her classroom is always abuzz with excitement, and her students routinely say she’s … Continue reading Too Smart and Charming for Our Own Good
As a jackass, I’ve no right to use Chinese ideograms. They should be reserved for Zen practitioners, restaurants serving fried rice and college students searching for just the right tattoo. Don’t worry. I’m not going to be deep here, although I do wish I had wisdom and depth as an option instead of a promise … Continue reading I am a Field: What Flows through Me Enriches Me
In the past 10 years, I’ve spent a lot of hours in church basements, meeting halls and classrooms. This time was shared with other drunks who’ve given up drinking and chosen a more life-affirming way of life. I am my own kind of madman, and many other alcoholics are crazy people; in those subterranean rooms, … Continue reading Spiritual Wisdom Distilled from Those Who Have Left Distilled Spirits
Last night I talked with a friend who’s struggling to stay sober. Larry, as I’ll call him, still has a house, a relationship, money in the bank and good looks. He just lacks a non-alcohol way to fill the emptiness inside him. I’ve cried out in that cavernous space, and I know the heavy reverberation … Continue reading A Regional Distributor of Gratitude
Well, I’m not dead. That sentence is such a great start it deserves its own paragraph. In fact, it deserves to be said again. Well, I’m not dead. After I posted yesterday’s column, a car pulled into the cutout in front of the Tiny White Box around 3. Since he’d first called at 8, I’d … Continue reading The Hermit with the Pastor’s Heart (or How I Managed to Avoid Death, Make Some Jokes and Maybe Help a Veteran a Little Bit)
I don’t often write these things in real time, but today I must. It’s 10:08 am, Monday, January 8, I’m sitting inside the Warriors@45North bunkhouse, a space I’ve never been in alone. After talking with Doc and Chief this morning, I came in here, started the fire and now I wait. For what? I don’t … Continue reading Today is Not a Good Day to Die—Waiting for a Murderer (or a really sad man)(or no one at all)
I really like Christmas, but I know not everybody does. One group that Christmas can attack with a vengeance is people who are early (for this, let’s say 1 day to 2 years) in their recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. Another group in danger is folks who are solidly recovered and at an intermediate … Continue reading Swimming Together, Not Drowning Alone
My problem has never been alcohol. If alcohol had been the problem, I wouldn’t have needed to recover. I would have just quit drinking and my problem would have been put on the shelf. There it could stay forever—never again would it need to trouble me as long as I didn’t drink. My problem was … Continue reading Between Tide and Traffic: Alcoholics of My Type
I’m not sure how one goes about declaring the discovery of a new disease, but I imagine describing its symptoms comes near the front of the train. The other night, sitting in a meeting, I mentally coined a word, alcohypochondria. While playing with the pleasing sound of it, I realized I had hit the triple … Continue reading Alcohypochondria–You Saw It Here First!