A Free-Association Scream (900 or so Words of Id-Driven Rage at Addiction Poured onto the Page without Editing or Re-Reading)

Larissa’s had another red-letter day/week/month with the same red-letteredness I brought on myself near the end of my drinking. Moving from mid- to end-stage alcoholism is distinguished by increasingly common losses (or throw-aways) and satisfaction with less and less and less in life. The border between the stages may come with the recognition that buying … Continue reading A Free-Association Scream (900 or so Words of Id-Driven Rage at Addiction Poured onto the Page without Editing or Re-Reading)

Lazarus and the Prodigal Son Got Nothing on Joe–Recovery Can Work!

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!

Too Smart and Charming for Our Own Good

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

I am a Field: What Flows through Me Enriches Me

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

Spiritual Wisdom Distilled from Those Who Have Left Distilled Spirits

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

A Regional Distributor of Gratitude

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

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)

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)

Today is Not a Good Day to Die—Waiting for a Murderer (or a really sad man)(or no one at all)

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)

Swimming Together, Not Drowning Alone

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

Shooting a Chickadee

George Orwell wrote an essay, set during his days as a policeman in colonial Burma, about having to shoot an elephant, a beast that, by the time Orwell arrived with his gun, was doing no one any harm.  Orwell, as the armed white man representing the Crown, knew he must do something.  He fired, repeatedly, … Continue reading Shooting a Chickadee