I’m so very thirsty. Somebody get me some water. Just kidding. Gotta soda right here. I have to admit, I feel a little proud of myself, which is weird. I’m patting myself on the back for something I didn’t do. Something I really had no business doing. Something that almost killed me. A bunch of times.
It’s like being proud for not bludgeoning yourself with a ball-peen hammer.
“Hey Eddie, how’s it hangin’, bro?”
“Slightly left, Ace. How you been, Goon-o?”
“Not bad. Got an easy gig at a tool rental place. New woman, too. It’s still in the sheet-burning stage, so that’s good. You know. Basically kicking the shit downhill these days. You?”
“Well tomorrow will be nine years since I stopped beating my brains in with a ball-peen hammer.”
“Holy shit. That’s really great. Is it hard? Like do you still miss it?”
“To be honest, sometimes. After a hard day, I’ll come home and think how good it would be to have a nice cold hammer. Just to beat the shit out of any consciousness floating around in my skull. Ah well, those days are over. Now I think it through.”
“Glad to hear that, dude. Good for you.”
“Yeah, I couldn’t stop doing it on my own so I had to summon a praeter-natural force to take over my entire guidance system.”
“Dude, that sounds like some crazy shit.”
“Tell me about it. Now I talk to the invisible and it talks back to me. Through everything.”
“Uh, yeah…that’s cool.”
“It tells me what to do so I wont want to start hitting myself again.”
“Everything. Everything that comes from nothing, which is one.”
“Huh. Yeah well alright, you crazy fucker. It’s good to see you’re doing…okay and shit.”
“I’m just grateful to have been restored to sanity.”
“Oh for sure, bro.”
Silence laden with subtext.
“Alright, well… throw one to your new old lady from me, Eddie.”
“I will, Ace. From behind.”
“Nice. Take it easy.”
Only another recovering Hammer Head gets it. The miracle of it all.
It’s a miracle alright. An absolute miracle that I’m sucking down a Diet Hansen’s ginger ale while typing this. With no looming court date. In a house without bullet holes.
Oh, I know. I’m not out of the woods yet. I guess no alcoholic is, until they’re dead. That’s sliding into home. In the meantime, try to be an alert base-runner. Don’t let your ass get picked off between pitches.
I remain a deeply-flawed individual, but I now realize that the measure of just how much, is based on arbitrary judgements. How fucked up I think I am, is always relative to a bunch of different moving targets. I am free to choose any measure. Some days I cut myself slack. Other times I roll out the Iron Maiden and really torture myself. Depends on the mood I’m in.
I seem to do better with slack. I wish I picked it more. What’s wrong with me? What kind of fucking idiot won’t pick slack over The Rack?
Okay, there I go again. Man, it’s a slippery slope before hammer time. Got to stay all present and shit.
I’m okay with the spiritual component to recovery. That whole “came to believe” thing wasn’t too much of an issue. I always enjoyed contemplating stuff. I’ve been a closeted mystic my whole life. In fact, at one point, as a young man, I actually thought about joining a monastery. It was just that whole celibacy deal that killed it for me. Certain haircuts too.
So I embarked on a different course. Hell yeah I did. Kind of opposite of monk-like. About as.
Dionysian abandon was to be my path and I tried to make the best of it. Hey, you play the hand you’re dealt. It wasn’t doing white martyrdom on Skelig Michael, but it had it’s challenges. But where it would lead was surprising.
A while ago, I read in Jung’s letter back to Bill Wilson. He recalled his diagnosis of Roland H., the alcoholic Jung had to wash his hands of as hopeless, leaving him only the thin straw of spiritual redemption as cure. He wrote, ” His craving for alcohol was the equivalent on a low level of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: the union with God.”
I dig it, Dr. Jungy. That’s it, baby. I had a thirst for union with God. Can’t blame a guy for that. Shit, all this time I thought there was something wrong with me. Does that include the wanting to be with chicks part too? That’s all part of that union stuff, right?”
Turns out, you don’t need nineteen Heinekens and a shot of Crown Royal to find God. Apparently there are other ways. A spiritual solution you say? Okay, fuck it. I’ve tried crazier shit. It’s got to be better than listening to me when I’m drunk. I’ll get us all killed.
I figured I’d try being a spiritual dude, especially if I could still bang it out. I didn’t really have anything better to do. I guess I could’ve built a tool shed or something instead. But I didn’t need one. So I decided to do the prayer and meditation bit.
Look, if this lunatic is going to make it through an average day without his amber anesthesia, I’m going to need some other kind of strong medicine. I’ll gladly dip into my mojo bag. Whip out my Obeah and Wanga. My consecrated wand. Anything to flag down a passing avatar to ask directions.
The crazy thing is, it works. When I ask, I get good directions. Something out there steers me right. If I pay attention. And follow them.
So yeah, now I talk to the invisible, and the invisible talks back to me, using everything…created by nothing, which is one. You see it’s…
Ah fuck it. Disregard.
Anyway, it makes for some pretty weird days. And I love weird. As long as sober can be weird, I’m good with being sober. And being sober has been good with me.
Besides not pissing my pants all the time, I’d have to say the best part is being available to my family and friends. I’m glad they don’t have to worry about me anymore, and that by not having to deal with the old version of Marius (Marius 0.24) their individual burdens are a little lighter. They deserve better.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s bring them out right now. My family and friends–
My mom, Chicken Head. My dad, Bodine. My sister, Inski. My friend Keller. Spike. Mike. Emmitt. Spudman. Sue Bob. Mad Dog. Marko. Sir Douglas. Riggsy. Ripper. Ramona. T-Bone. Tony. Todd. Tommy O. Timmy. Yimmy. Youngy. Danny. Frank. Garth. Gurz. Dez. John ‘Carnak’ Carnell. Johnny B. Justin O’Kane. Bubbles. Lili. Ruta. Red. Aida. Swell Mel. Flat Matt. Marsh. Max. Mugs. Mahoney. Stacey. Siggy. Sammy Pajammy (and her mammy). Gregula. Super Terry. Alexa. Davey. Candice. Peachy Peter. Guy Thomas. Judy. Ginger. Bobby. Ben. Eme. Ace. Felipe. The Mystic Man. The Plaza Rats. The Fellowship. The Hidden Chiefs. The Bang-Bang Girls. And my cats, Bugsy and Louie, with Terry Bozzio on drums!”
(The stage parts to make way for a drum kit the size of an off-shore oil rig, with two black and white cats running around inside the double bass. The crowd goes wild)
“And the guy nobody ever thinks of except Riggsy…Hot-Link! That’s right everybody, Hot-Link is in the motherfuckin’ house! Let’s bring it!”
(Polite applause sputtering to silence.)
“And of course, finally tonight, certainly last but not lost, my girlfriend, Lori Lee, the Sleep Pea. Let’s give it up for her long-suffering ass! She deserves a medal everybody. With oak leaf clusters. And caramel!”
(People rise to their feet. She greets them like Evita. It’s a long ovation. Very pointed, and she’s milking it)
“Okay, honey that’s good. Take your bow. Alright. Very nice. Okay. That’s good. That’s…just…just go stand with everybody over there. Right there. Over by the kitties. Very nice.
It’s not like I don’t have to put up with anything either.”
(Silence. Scattered coughing)
“Well there they are, Ladies and Gentlemen, just a few of the oh so many who have brought me joy in sobriety. Thank you everybody for making my world a better place. I’ll do my best to pay you back. Including the vig.”
“Now let’s all pray I make another year without beating my brains out with a hammer.”
(The crowd bows their heads. I think about the traffic getting out of here. It’s going to be murder)
“Okay, I guess that’s enough. I still don’t really know how long a prayer is supposed to take. But that seemed like the right amount of time. Anyway, thanks for coming tonight to our nine year gala extravaganza sobriety celebration. Please be sure to drive home safe and embrace the ineffable mystery of the infinite as you stumble blindly through your lives. And good night Austin Texas, where ever you are!”
The audience filters out, some hurrying to make last call.