February Is A Great Month To Surrender

Did we miss last call?

Did we miss last call?

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the surrender at Stalingrad.  Today marks ten years since my last drink.  Hard to believe, eh?  Someone like me not drinking for that long.  Imagine my own disbelief.  It’s almost unnerving.  Upsets my whole paradigm.  Not drinking for ten years.  In a row.


It’s fucking nuts.

Seems like only yesterday that I punched out the glass of Spike’s front door.  Because I forgot the keys and didn’t want to wake him up.

By knocking.

So I did the polite thing instead.  Put my fist through one of the panes.  And then quietly let myself in.

Turns out it was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had (at least while in a blackout) because that little episode was the final straw for Spike.  He dumped my ass off at rehab the next day.  And I’ve been sober ever since.

Punch out glass.  Save my ass.  Pretty sweet deal.  I knew there had to be some magic to punching stuff out.  I just never got the timing right.  All those times.  Before.

Of course, I had to have a few other good ideas along the way.  Non-blackout ones.  Not drinking anymore was up there.  So was hanging out with other alcoholics who weren’t.  Observing what they did to stay that way.  What others did not to.  That’s seems to have been a good idea.

Trying to be the complete opposite of what I had become.  Was another.

Big job.  That one.  A lot of headaches.  Goofus wasn’t going to hand-over his decision-making authority to a sissy like Gallant.  Unless he was zip-tied and held at gunpoint.  Which early on in my recovery he was.  He had to be.  We needed a revolution.

Gallant became shot-caller and pretty much made Goofus his bitch.

He had us making our bed.  Pairing socks.  Separating whites.  Opening bills.  Working at a job.  Showing up at events we said we would.  Getting people’s presents sent out on time.  Writing thank you cards.  Keeping dental appointments.  Scrubbing soap scum and tile grout.

It seemed to never end.

Goofus and I remember it as The Terrible Times.  A sad epoch in the history of our brotherhoodship.  But we endured.

We weren’t going to let staying sober kill us.  We would trudge this tundra together.

“Chin up,” I’d tell him, “Turn your thoughts to Stalingrad and sing the sadness from your heart. Remember that somewhere a pretty girl mourns your loss.  Warm your hands on that small fire.  Besides, it’s not like it was any cake walk before.  Any gulag has to be better than what we’ve been through.  Alright then, one foot in front of the other, my glum chum.  Don’t look back.  Don’t look front.  And don’t make a break for the woods.  That’s certain death. ”

And so I marched out of captivity.  Into a new life.

One decade at a time.

Ventura Beach, by Marius Gustaitis

Ventura Beach, by Marius Gustaitis

42 responses to “February Is A Great Month To Surrender

  1. I did not make my bed today. And blew off a dentist appt last week. I’m doomed. I have been opening my mail cuz I found out every once in a very great while it can actually be good news. Con granulations my friend and thank you for all you do and the example you set

    • Thanks Terry, it’s been great being able to make the journey with you. Whenever I’m at a loss, I ask myself “What would Super Terry do?” He’s my hero. Regular Terry’s not so bad either. Love you, brother.

  2. Holly cow! A decade! Awesome! Congrats Marius! – ok enough with the exclamations! lol (oops did it again) Anyway, that’s how excited I am for you and thank you so much for being here and filling the pages with your amazing sober adventures and such! You are a great inspiration. 🙂

    • Thank you, Maggie, and you’re welcome for any inspiration you might’ve gleaned from my stories. Makes me happy to know somebody gets something out of them. Even if it’s only a few laughs. I also wanted to tell you how very much I appreciate your exclamation points. I recognize the good spirit from which they sprung. Sprang? Sprunged? Spranged? Came from.

  3. It is amazing how one day adds up to ten years, and one more and one more and voila another bit of sober time. Keep Goofus in line, he has been known to play the squirrel game, he is just waiting for some get back (I’ll show that @#$! to make me clean soap scum). Praying for ya+++

    • Thank you, my friend. I’m letting Goofus move around a little more freely these days. Well, as freely as a shock-collar and house arrest ankle bracelet will allow. But I’m watching him very closely. Unfortunately, I think he’s watching me even more closely. Learning my routine. Noting any blind spots on the monitors. Patiently waiting for an opportunity…to spring!
      He usually doesn’t have to wait too long.

  4. I guess you weren’t the type to see the glass full or glass empty, but glass intact. Shattering all graven images, reflections and one-way distortions. Plexi is the play type, and Homey wasn’t playing, was He? Made sure you hit the right glass at the right time of the right hombre to get your on-fire ass to a nunnery. Or a tumble and dry. Jitter joint. You know the place. You kept my bed warm 7 1/2 years before I needed it.

    Thanks for that. I knew we’d meet up again in another time-space continuum.

    Marius (may I be so informal?) – I can’t say how proud I am. I may not be in the position to be proud. We have known each other for a short while, and I am the novice here, and we have yet to break bread together (save for the ocassional shit-eating grin we get when yapping it up…or eating crow), but man, I would give ya a big squeeze if you were right in front of me. You’re great peeps. You know the score and are willing to bleed out for us…to show us the way, your way, the way, a way, to get back into skin and feel right with Gallant’s world. You have shown me, personally, how to be Mucho Hombre without being Mucho Shithead. Shed a tear, play the harp, share a sandwich.

    I can honestly say that you are one of my role models. I know we don’t do this sort of thing at the Ego Shrinking Bed and Breakfast here, but you certainly do show me how it’s done. You do inspire me, kind sir. I mean that with all my heart.

    And for the writing, well, you know where I stand with that. Laurels and wreaths your way, sir. Gold pen. Gold standard. You write like a king. It’s part of the bleeding and healing process we all go through. We all have our millieu, and this is certainly your path. I am honoured to have crossed your path.

    The Germans met their match so long ago, and you did too. I did as well. Lots of belligerants gone down during that surrender there. They waved the white flag, and so did we. But we grew, didn’t we? Glad to have you on my side, Marius.

    Blessings, love and hugs and a big congrats on your decade of continued sobriety.


    • Thank you, Pablo. I’ll tell you what, amigo, if you got to watch me today, you would have been very inspired–to look for another source of inspiration. Oh man. The shit came at me today on a conveyer belt, and like Lucy, I tried to keep up as best as I could. But it was the one after another that started to get to me. It started to wear me down. I started getting pretty upset. For a multitude of reasons. The fact that all this was happening on my sobriety birthday being one of them.
      I figure I’m going to spend the day looking back on how far I’ve come and instead wind up having to look at how far I have to go.
      However, it was the fact that all this bullshit was so well-orchestrated, so precision tailored, so effectively coordinated to push my particular buttons that I realized it too, was perfect. Perfectly awful, but perfect nevertheless.
      I guess that’s progress. It’s certainly progress that I didn’t let any of it drive me to drink. Because back in the day, if I had a Feb. 1st 2014, I would have been shit-hammered blind by now. And busy creating things to suffer about tomorrow.
      Instead, I’m quietly tapping this out. A fire in the hearth. Both cats and Lori sleeping the sleep only the dead can know. The television is on mute. Only the sound of the refrigerator humming. And a feeling of gratitude that today is almost done. Ready to go upstairs and zone out playing Fable 3. Make some pretend money making pretend pies.
      But before I do I gotta share with you the final little episode. Just to see how this wonderful day was topped off. To see some of the scripting.
      Tonight, I’m at the candle-light meeting. There’s a guy there that’s a little cantankerous. A wee sour. Inventory-taker written all over his face. The kind of guy I desperately want to like me. (I have know idea why) Anyway, I’ve gone out of my way to try to demonstrate my goodwill towards him. I think you know this gig, right? I want him to know that he doesn’t have to dislike me, that whatever misanthropy stew he’s got cooking doesn’t have to include me as an ingredient.
      Anyway, tonight during the meet he pipes up and congratulates me on my ten years, and then says some really nice things. Wow. Totally unexpected. It makes me feel really good. Feels like my good mojo is working. At least here. With him.
      When it comes my turn to share, I piggyback on some of the things he said about the topic and basically try to demonstrate that I understood what he said, and that I agreed with it. My intention was to show kinship with his ideas and maybe add some of my own takes. That was my intention.
      Well, he gets up just before the meeting ends and starts walking out. As he’s passing me I extend my hand. He takes it and leans in. Whispers to me. “I feel that you totally cross-talked me, and I’m really offended.” Drops my hand. Leaves.
      Well alright then. Because that’s so exactly what I wanted to do. Make you regret the nice things you said about me.
      Thing is, by now, Pauly, I’m just shaking my head. It was so par for the course that it kind of didn’t phase me. Not as much as it would’ve on a good day. My first thought was “Of course.” Of course, he would be offended. At me trying to be his friend. That’s what friends are for.
      I don’t know. I can only massage the furrows out of my forehead and hope tomorrow brings a less crowded conveyor belt. But if not, I’ll be ready for it. I’ve been through some shit in my day. I can take a lot.
      A lot more than I did today. This was nothing.
      Okay, time to start dragging my tired and sagging millieu up the stairs. Thank you for liking me. And for not getting offended when I try to make you like me more.
      You’re a good comrade to trudge next to. I have a chunk of pork fat hidden in my sock. I’ll share it with you when we camp for the night.

      Cross-talking all over your ass,

      • It’s a big funny world full of funny people. In the past 2 weeks, I have been chastised for holding hands wrong at church and for not honestly telling parents if I think their baby is funny-looking. There’s always going to be someone to tell you that you’re doing it wrong, as long as we all shall live. So let’s get all Zorba the Greek and do our crazy dance and let the people in the background shake their heads. I’m not trying to stomp any toes, but if it happens, I’ll say I’m sorry and keep dancing and hope the onlookers realize I’m clumsy sometimes, and maybe they should watch their toes, too.

      • How dare you not tell someone how funny-looking their baby is! And then wrong hand-holding? In church no less. You are fucking out of control, woman.
        Balls-out bull-in-a-china-shop bat-shit ballistic.
        And I am extremely delighted by it.
        I’ve taken what you’ve said to heart, Suebob. I really needed to read this. Boy did I ever. Gotta get my Zorba on. So thanks.
        the toe-stomper

      • I didn’t reply to this right away because I was on a mission to hunt down this Grumpy McTightsocks. He doesn’t know it, but he’s on double secret probation. I sent my boys, Lefty (he’s got one arm), Wheezy (asthma that is triggered by anything that starts with a vowel) and Prince Charming (he’s an asshole of the Level 31 Dungeons and Dragons kind) down to your hood. Ingognito. That is, in true Canadian style, with full passports, written letters of intent (“harm”) and a bushel of maple syrup (B grade) to fluff the pot up at the border. Just in case.

        I was in radio contact with them. Played it sweet and light while they did the heavy lifting. Asked around. Pounded doors (Canadian style – knocking gently and removing hinges with proper Robinson screwdriver [invented by a Canadian by the way] so that it can be safely put back on) and interrogated a few ruffians in the hood (asked politely). Rough shit. Stuff that even Steve McQueen would have to turn away and forcefully vomit into his own hands.

        But it was all a bust, Marius. The guy was a no show. Lost in the muck and mire of the hubbub. We debriefed at a Tim Hortons while watching our whacky mayor doing whacky things on the Canadian television. This is what we came up with – we were looking in the wrong place. The shit that eats us up is an inside job. We didn’t read the clues in your telegram above. We gleamed the surface and forgot to cut through to the earth’s core on that one. “An inside job!?” Lefty said and he slammed his head onto the table (he lost his other arm on this mission). “When I find that scumbag…”

        Bummer on the dude who felt ya crossed talked ya. Can’t say that has happened to me, but I know the kind of guy you talk about. We have several. The one I know most is George. Cranky East Coaster. Never seen him crack a smile once. Ever. He has what the ladies now call “Bitchy Resting Face” (not making that up, Mr. G – the ladies have names for *everything* – even their lady lumps). He is familiar with the book that we tend to read from and use as directions. Never actually used the directions, but likes to give sound bites and throw in a bit East Coast flair for effect. He’s got swooning fans who eat it up. I don’t bite, but then again, I have my own thing going.

        Nonetheless, he’s got 18 years. Can’t say how those 18 years are for him, but their’s no poison in the blood. Maybe it’s his poker face. Said hi a few times, but never got anything in return. I used to feel this was a slag, that I wasn’t good enough for a hi. Tried to rewinding the video to see what I did wrong. But the evidence is clear – nothing. I can’t have my expectations about this guy or anyone trounce me. I was Elite level on that in the past. Just having no expectations now sounds like something Paul Lynde’s evil twin may shower you with, but it works for me. No harm no foul. No dirty or missed handshakes after.

        But you know all this. That’s your secret Ninja power. I am sure you shook it off with the only way a Decade Man can. With humility. With wisdom. With Wondertwin Powers. Nothing a good chinwag with the Supreme couldn’t hammer out.

        Gonna keep the boys over this weekend. Lefty needs a new nickname. Maybe spoon feed him some empathy. Give him a nice fat pillow with a straw built in. See if we can’t find his arm on Google Earth. As for you, my friend, I know you’re ok. You’ve been though tougher missions. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting still.

        Flying paper airplanes,

  5. Hot damn and hallelujah!
    Peanut M&M’s for everyone!
    Couldn’t be happier for you.
    Beautiful picture, beautiful man.
    Congrats my friend,

    • Well hot damn, Viet Nam! I’m a nephew of my Uncle Sam! Thanks Christy. Especially for the Peanut M&M’s. My favorite fruit. And not addictive or harmful if consumed in large, large amounts. We can pass the bowl around, but I’ll hold on to it after it goes around once. Decide if it runs another lap.
      In the meantime, do any of you ladies feel like putting some of these between your toes? Don’t worry, they won’t melt. That’s what they were invented for.
      Hallelujah right back to ya,
      PS Glad you liked my picture. It came out good, que no?

      • Que si! It did! The colors are beautiful. Next time I need an accompanying “graveyard western sky” photo, I may ask you about stealing it. Or would that be borrowing, if I ask?

        M&M’s between the toes? Ummmmm. Normally I would say no, but since this is a once in a decade type of thing, why the hell not? Pass me that bowl.

        Love! C-

      • Now that’s what I’m talking about! Lets get this party started. Just stick your feet in. Trust me, I’m a professional.
        Oh, and in regards to the photo, in the immortal moaning of Robert Plant, “steal away.”

      • Awesome, thank you. I never steal without credit though. So I thank you and Mr. Plant in advance.

        “Trust me, I’m a professional …” Seems like I heard those words before I woke up in jail one time. But, hey, at least I’ll have my own snacks if I do.

        just kidding. 😉 Congrats … and thanks, again!

  6. Congratulations, Marius! Thank you for sharing this and the rest of your journey! Loved your response to Pablo, man, I relate…all the more reason we keep our butts in the chair. You are simply wonderful and I wish you many more happy, healthy and sober years … Happy Birthday!

    • Thank you very much, Ms. Robin. It’s been great trudging alongside you all these years. We’ve had some laughs, eh? Some very specific ones. Anyway, I’m grateful there have been people like you around to brighten the scenery, if you know what I meanery. Glad you’re doing the deal.
      your “friend” Sanchez

      • Ha! Now there was a conversation! Still waiting for my trip “around the world!” My cat is looking at me like I’ve lost my mind as I laugh with myself (get in line)…love you! Hugs to Lori!

  7. I just realized today is Imbolc, or Candlemas, or Groundhog Day. Imbolc is the pagan holiday dedicated to new beginnings and new dedication. Getting to be new is the greatest blessing. Keep getting up and keep enjoying those sunsets. Muchas smooches.

  8. Ka-boomski! I just shot off the big cannon to salute you, you know the one on the lawn next to gold bust of Marx (Karl). The funny thing was my pet magpie had been stuffing it full of stolen silver service and I broadsided the private rehab clinic at the bottom of the garden. “Now they’re forked.” I quipped. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. In fact, lots of them were bleeding. It’s hard not to with a bit of gypsied solid silver cutlery in your mince pie.
    Ah well, in ten years time they’ll look back, or at least think back, and wish that I’d stayed sober too. Tally-ho. Off to gas some Badgers.
    Lord Carnstairs.
    Did I tell you I’ve been sober for over a month? Or was it you? Ah, whatever. As long as one of us is, all’s well in the world.

    • Most excellent. Thank you for the celebratory cannonade. I’m sure it won’t be the last time silverware flies through the air in that rehab. Those places tend to draw an edgy crowd. Actually, when I look back at the characters I encountered during my two stints, I can see enough to cast three Tony Award-winning musicals. We’re talking extravaganzas.
      As I’m sure you very well know, it helps to be surrounded by nutty people when you’re drying out. Sets the sanity bar low enough to step up to. But sometimes dealing with all the madness, while trying to ween off your teat of choice can be challenging.
      I remember at my first rehab they brought in a blue-haired granny. Must of been 80. Stabbed her husband while drunk. I would watch her sweet-talk the staff, then snarl wicked witch ugly at them, the second they turned their back. I gave her wide berth when passing in the halls. It would be just my luck to survive Central America to wind up getting shanked by Granny Smith.
      Then there was a guy who stabbed both of his parents while they slept (they lived) I know this because he gave me an old Newsweek article that wrote all about it. He was my bunk-mate and trusted me enough to confess that he had a history of torturing animals.
      Another big crimson banner unfurled. To join the other red flags. Fluttering in North Korean pageantry.
      He also told me he was on one of his bi-polar “highs” and that he would more than likely stay up all night listening to music on his Walkman.
      I stayed awake too. With a cake knife from the kitchen wedged between the mattress and box spring.
      Yeah. Good times. I miss ’em.
      Anyway, I’m sure staff and clients (at least the un-maimed ones) will look back at your cutlery cannon blast fondly. You just appreciate anything that breaks up the boredom in there. Like living with stabbers.
      So once again,
      dear Johnny,
      in your inscrutable way,
      you have shared with others,
      the blessing,
      that is you.

      Congrats on the month. I can’t imagine doing it. Over there.
      Yer Marius.

  9. Wow. Ten Years. Congratulations doesn’t feel adequate, though it’s all I’ve got. Thank you for making sobriety look cool. Props also for working in Goofus and Gallant.

    • Thanks Kristen,
      I’ll take your congratulations,
      inadequate as they be,
      and steal them off to my trophy room,
      to treasure them with glee.
      Huh. I think I did that in limbic pentameter. That’s why it doesn’t work. Regardless, you’re welcome for any veneer of cool I could epoxy onto being sober. It’s good to know all those years of concern about coming off cool enough have paid some dividends. God knows the toll they took on my mental health. Well, not just God. I’m sure a lot of others know too. Anyway, grateful many of them are still standing by me. Ready to change my spittle cup. You can’t buy friends like that on Craigslist. Not anymore at least. Since they cracked down.
      As for working in Goofus and Gallant, well who doesn’t love it when I trot out those two tired caricatures? Except the people who’ve never read Highlights magazine while waiting for the dentist. And maybe a lot of the people who have.
      Come to think about it, I don’t even know why I bothered even mentioning those two. Their mention sure doesn’t drive the stats up. Not like “freckled breasts.” (nothing will touch that) And what about my one reader in Malta? He or she won’t get the reference. Not unless there was a Maltese version of Highlights, and even then they wouldn’t have named them Goofus and Gallant. They’d be something like Gasciulli and Gauci. So they even they wouldn’t know what the fuck I’m talking about. Do that enough to your foreign readers and eventually they get tired of Google-translating your work. Well I’m not about to lose an entire audience of international readers just because of those two burned-out has-beens.
      That’s it. This shit ends now! From here on, any mention of Goofus or Gallant is strictly forbidden. As far as Trudging Through The Fire is concerned, they are dead men. They no longer exist.

      Okay. I think I handled that well.
      But I better get to a meeting.

      • Did everyone read Highlights at the dentist’s office? I was blessed with strong teeth, or maybe it was just those flouride tablets I took from a young age, which granted me the superpower of strong teeth. Anyway, I have no unpleasant associations with going to the dentist. It was more like an ego boost, ie “your teeth are looking good…you’re no fun at all. Tell your dad I’ll see him tomorrow for the root canal!”

        My point is you take away Goofus and Gallant and next thing you know you’re telling Lurchy the Organist he’s no longer welcome at the roller rink. You might get more Maldese followers and surely you won’t lose me either, so who knows what my point is. Sometimes I feel so much like Goofus with Gallant’s nerdy underpinnings.

      • Okay, they can stay. But they have to get jobs. I’m serious. I don’t care if they’re beloved icons. They need to kick in some rent.
        I swear. I can draw all the boundaries I want, but I can’t enforce any of them. Not when women get involved.
        Always with the loving common sense.
        I wish I had strong teeth. Maybe I had them, but all these years of hanging by the skin of them, must’ve worn them out. Had to pay for that.
        Spent a lot of money on my choppers in sobriety. Sure, it was worth it. But watching so many of those early pay checks evaporate wasn’t easy.
        “Hey, where’s my fun money?”
        “Your fun money isn’t going to mean shit if you smile like Shane Macgowan.”
        So poof went my fun money. So I wouldn’t look funny.
        So consider yourself blessed.
        Hold on. That’s what you were saying. Nevermind.
        Okay, I need to pull out the couch bed for my two new room-mates. The G-boys. No big guess which one is going to take up all the blanket.
        Highlights issue number 113. It’s all there.

  10. Поздравляю с Днём рождения! 10 years! This is an amazing accomplishment, as anyone who’s been there can attest to. As an avid fan of “All things Marius” I salute you and look forward to trudging the road (a little to the back, not looking up and muttering to myself) with one of my heros!

    • Thank you very much kind sir. You know, Ace, one of the things I like about the Russians is they way they keep things simple. The AK-47 being an enduring testament to that. Also, when NASA needed a pen that would write in zero gravity, they spent one million dollars developing a space pen. What did the Russians do? Handed out pencils to their cosmonauts. Pencils that work just as well in space as they do in some birch log and sod hut.
      But Поздравляю с Днём рождения for Happy Birthday is where they err from the rule. Can you imagine having to squeeze that out in frosting? Frosting they had to obtain by trading black-market pantyhose.
      Nobody suffers like the Russians. Nobody.
      Except maybe a suburban Lithuanian-American with a potentially fatal disease of mind and body.
      I suffer too, Ace.
      But you know that.
      And that that’s where the best laughs come.

      Chuckles the sad clown.

      • Поздравляю с Днём рождения… Yeah, that IS VERY Russian…something like: I congratulate happy birthday. Yep. How about congratulating ME for making it TO a happy birthday? although my birthday appreciates the sentiment.

  11. Pingback: So I Said I Wanted to be Brave. (My Interview With WordPress.com) | Running On Sober

    • Wow. Brittny. You so get me. I know you’re just spam. Okay, maybe to all the other guys. But I feel we have something real. Like we were in a past life together. Is that too crazy? Maybe it is. Maybe this whole thing is crazy. Me, desperately trying to preserve the preciousness of our unpredicted feelings. You, doing the dirty on some Romanian web cam. Driving me mad with un-ambiguitous material. How is that going to work? In the long run. After the initial thrill runs out.
      That’s what I’m worried about. This is not moving to Australia with a stripper I just met. This is some heavy duty shit you’ve just bomb-shelled on me, my Vulcan-haired Romy. I’m going to need a little time to think about this.
      I say we turn the dial to simmer and see what kind of flotsam we can scrape from the top. By the way, feel free to use any of this in your next spam, to your next wordpress stud. Be sure to mention Freckled Breasts. He’ll know what that’s about.

      Suddenly rueful,

  12. Marius,

    Someday, just for you-know-what and giggles, you should go to the center of the comment section of your blog, start reading there, and see if you can figure out what’s going on. It’s a bit like stumbling upon a secret language!

    So, at this point, due to my tardiness, I will wish you a happy 10 years and 3 days sober (is that anti-climactic or what?!?) I’m sorry I did not get over to this slice of sober paradise in time to celebrate the actual day, it sounds like you could have used an extra pat on the back (I have some choice words for the “gentleman” at the candle light meeting, I can tell you that much).

    I will echo Paul’s sentiments and say that you are a real-life (cyber life?) role model for me. I read what you write, and I take it with me everywhere I go. I may not follow the advice so sagely given (I am, after all, a hard-headed alcoholic, so it takes time to drive it in), but I know, deep down, that the pearls of wisdom that come from you are priceless, and I need to hold on to them.

    Here’s hoping that the conveyor belt has slowed down a bit this week! Eternal thanks for sharing your experience, strength and hope with me!

    • Oh I know. It can be plenty surreal, even if you’ve been following along. But just air-dropped in? That’s gotta be disconcerting. I can blame Paul for that. That guy. Man. He is into some crazy- and I have to nod along, because frankly, I’m scared. So it might seem like I’m agreeing with him, but I just don’t want him going wide-o. Have you ever seen how Canadians act when the win a hockey final? Yeah, that’s when things are going their way. Imagine how ugly they get went things aren’t.
      Loose cannons, those Canucks. And then Pauly’s got that hot Latin blood. Where’s his family from? Uruguay? Ecuador? Doesn’t matter, one of those places that grows pirates and revolutionaries. You add that to the mix and you’ve got a volatile cocktail, sister.
      He’s got a message in a bottle, alright. One he’ll deliver across my teeth. After he breaks it off at the neck.
      Dangerous snake, that one.

      Anyway, I thank you kindly for wanting to stick up for me, against that meany old grouch at the candlelight meeting. I really appreciate it. And don’t worry, I won’t hesitate sending a woman in to fight my battles. Because A) They’re better at it. B) I get afraid real easy.
      So show no mercy.
      And thanks also for the kindness. About my writing. I’m glad some of it inspires you. Don’t worry about getting it all.
      Because I’ll just be here,
      continuing to drive it in.
      Because I ain’t got nothing better to do.
      Loads o’ Love delivered on an ever-speeding-up conveyor belt,
      PS There is no secret language. We’re just making stuff up. Come join us. It’s fun. C’mon!

  13. I don’t want to feel out of synch here, most highly esteemed frater…so I’ll try just saying my piece as it shows up and moving on.

    I’m not a substance type addict, though I strongly ‘spect that most if not all normal humans are addicted to one thing or another… If you’re the type to think you’re not, look closely and you will find a few special things you won’t consider giving up or otherwise being honest about. But this isn’t about that…this is about one of the great teaching that recoverers render for us all… the value of living in the present.

    Oddly, I will start this about 20 years ago when Michele, my wife or ‘SO’, and I had just moved to San Francisco from the Great East Bay. On our very first night there we came home about 2am and were faced with the near impossible task of finding a parking place within the city limits.

    Whoa! Found one! (Something must be wrong– we’re within 4 blocks of the apartment). There ARE parking signs…in fact, several DIFFERENT models of them posted. We read all of these in the area for the next 15 minutes or so, finding them quite puzzling and cryptic (‘when parking under a full moon, while transporting virgins, rotate to the left, blah blah…’), those that can be read through the haze of graffiti.

    Then we go home…

    Next morning, we’re up early and headed to work. Walk over to where we parked the car and walk, and walk, and….”Wait a mint…I swear we should have passed the car by now…”, double back. Long story short all the cars that had been parked on that street were gone; including our car. But we’re not IN our car (like everyone else) because in the wee hours, it had been towed.

    Panic! The cost of getting the car back in SF would be WAY over our means… we’re going to lose the car (like losing your horse in the old west… that could mean death!) Insides begin to collapse…we’d graduated to ‘sinking’ panic.
    Then, suddenly, it hits me (like divine intervention) ‘take it ONE step at a time,’ don’t WORRY about it; don’t try to figure it all out…just take this ONE step.

    By remembering this All Day Long, we made it through one situation after another; each promising to be impossible to handle. At any moment, looking beyond the immediate brought with it a flood of despair and hopelessness…and yet, to regain focus on the moment was instant redemption.

    It’s still that way.

    Yes, we got the car back in the nick of time…evading an extra million dollars in reaver fees. Just enough to keep that horse…

    OH… speaking of which… Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy year of the Wood Horse!

    • Loved this Frater. Duh I would. Great story. And such a great example of The Solution at work. This old guy used to tell me early on, “Just put the cap back on the toothpaste.” When I heard that, holy shit. Well you know, M., how it is. You can be hearing “Wholeness is Love which is One,” spiritual proclamations all day long and feel or get nothing but a “Meh, it’s probably true, but I don’t know how that would apply to my current woes.” Then some cranky old Italian guy tells you to just pay attention to getting the cap back on the tube, and gongs go off. Psychic pyrotechnics. An electric fire seems to have animated the world around you, turning everything into glowing stained glass. You don’t quite see the 12 hooded wise men overseeing the insight, but you know they’re there. You can smell their beards. They’re that close.
      Because it’s absolutely perfect advice. Like you said, don’t try to figure it all out, just take this one step. Just do the next indicated thing, bringing your entire awareness to the process, and beyond that, trust in the benevolence of the unknowable.
      Now that, my friend, that is some crazy-ass shit right there. And I think that’s the big appeal. For me. The bat-shitness of it. To our socially conditioned way of thinking, not stressing beyond the toothpaste cap…well…it seems downright reckless. Talk about edgy. You are actually living life on the ultimate edge. The present moment. Doesn’t get any more razor sharp than that.
      “But what if? What if some unexpected shit blindsides you, say, while you’re transfixed by putting the toilet seat down. What if Cato drops from the ceiling and starts karate chopping you?”
      “I’ll be fully present then, too. Maybe even more so.”
      Fuck yeah. Sign me up. Daredevil trust. Balls to the wall, pedal floored faith. In things unseen? Oh, that’s just…so…insane.
      Seriously, get me the fucking iron-on patch because I’m so in.
      Choosing to believe that the entire Universe is cemented by the adhesive property of Love. That Love is the Law, if you will. (heh-heh) And then acting accordingly. Just to see what happens.
      Well you know what happens, brother. It talks back. It too starts to act accordingly. Acts all instant redemption-like.
      You and I talked about this on the phone, about really looking at our relationship with The Everything Out There.
      What’s the status of this relationship?
      What’s going on between you and It?
      Where do you stand these days?
      Are there any trust issues?
      Any shameful little secrets?
      Are you part-timing it?
      Not all there?
      Well no wonder.
      Things are all fucked up between you two.
      I remember we talked about actually addressing this Other, this All. In various particular manners and means. And discussing which ones seemed to elicit the most favorable response. The most loving one won. Hands down. Love It. And It loves back. Not only that, but you realize It has always been loving you. Again, it’s just like in a lot of relationships. If one party is blind to the fact that the other one loves them, or can’t/won’t let that love in, well, it pretty much makes it seem like there was no love there at all.
      And then the garden withers. And then starved-out Trolls emerge from their caves. To eat the little squirrels and birds. And everything starts to suck worse from there.
      Ah, but it’s nothing that a little couple’s counseling can’t put back together. Let’s say, starting with opening an honest dialogue. Between you and It.
      Add a few tablespoons of trust. A few dropper squirts of unconditional love. Powder up a few crumbs of hope. And warm up over a small flame of faith.
      Then ingest liberally.
      And hang on.
      Because everybody’s going to be feeling real groovy gooey in no time.
      I’m reading The Synchronicity Key, by David Wilcock. It pretty good. I got it from the library. It’s got some juicy tid-bits. But basically, he talks about there being a Conscious Cosmos, and that It attempts to get our either bovine or gnat-like attention through amazing coincidence. “I’m over here. I’m alive. I can see you. I’m nice,” It’s saying. Waving all kinds of flags and banners. But most people are too worried about Cato falling from the ceiling to notice. Or they think it’s some kind of trick. Shrug the shit off. Don’t believe it.
      Don’t believe it? No worries. It can make things so fucking weird for you that you will either believe It or lose your mind. It’s pretty relentless, The Universe. Trust me.
      I think that’s why you and I don’t lose too much sleep over people not getting It. They will. Or Else. They will.
      Okay, I’m done preaching to the choir and I can’t beat this horse any deader than I done did. So I’m going to roll it up.
      Thank you for the well-wishes and of course, the wisdom. Always wisdom. –One of my Big Three life mentors, ladies and gentlemen, this guy. Right there. Kung Fu-fighting dude with the salt and pepper hair. He’s one bad-ass mother. From another mother.
      I love him very, very much.

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