There is no off season

*it’s worth watching this trailer to hear Ryan Bingham’s fantastically creepy version of Bowie’s  The Man who Sold the World.

If you’re like me you’re following Marty Byrde and his family, friends, and foes through Season Two of the brilliant Netflix series, OZARK. Holy shit balls, it’s intense, isn’t it? I haven’t finished the season yet and I’m reluctant to because I’m not sure my feeble heart can take it. Binge-watching is my jam but I’m slowly languishing on each episode because I’m horrified to see where it’ll end, but I also don’t want it to. Rumor has it there will be at least one more season, so I don’t have to prepare for withdrawal just yet.

The other night I watched a touching scene between Buddy and Wendy, and Buddy said something that immediately got my attention. And FYI, I’m not giving anything away by relaying this scene to you, in case you yourself are watching and in mid-season.

Buddy is totally the real deal.

Buddy:  “There was a French writer, a long time ago – he was old for those days and very sick, lungs and ticker all going, and he was stuck in bed. Now, this guy’s a loner all his life. But he tells the lady taking care of him that he wants to see his friends, say goodbye. So she sends out word, and all his friends come to his little hovel, gather around his deathbed, telling stories. And you know what happens?

He doesn’t die.  And then after a couple days, the friends, well, they leave. They have lives. And then he dies. Sad, but sweet. Because, when you think you’re gonna die yesterday, today is sweet.

So, hang in, Wendy. Lose your shit tomorrow. Today’s no day to fall apart.”

Lose your shit tomorrow. Is it just me, or is that a way more kick-ass interpretation of ‘one day at a time’?!?  Sure, one day at a time may sound more acceptable and pragmatic, but isn’t that really the gist of the message? Hold your shit together for ONE day, won’t you? Just try to keep it in a pile for today.  Just for today because that is truly all we really have. I know people in recovery that have had to choose sobriety one MINUTE at a time and that’s absolutely the truth. Sometimes that’s what it takes, and when you are holding on like a hair in a biscuit, that’s all you have. Stay sober for this hour, this morning . . . this day. You can lose your shit tomorrow. And if you’re really lucky, tomorrow never comes. Well, you know what I mean.

I hated hearing those adages and cliches when I first found myself in recovery, but the universe adores irony and I hear them bursting forth from my own lips, at least once a day. Because, well, they’re true. One day at a time isn’t the shitty transparent trick I once thought it was. Again, I was one of those folks that found myself to be WAY too intelligent to fall into the traps of alcoholism, but as some folks are quick to point out, my best and smartest thinking is what landed me in liver failure in the first place. That annoying little fact still sticks in my craw a wee bit.

When alcoholism has you in its talons, you can’t imagine (nor do you want to) not drinking for any amount of time. You certainly cannot think of never drinking again because if you did, your head would just pop off its mount on your neck and roll down the street while imploding simultaneously. The mere thought will break your brain, trust me. BUT, if we allow ourselves to believe that it may (and it’s a BIG fucking *may*) be possible to go ONE day without alcohol, well then, that’s a start, isn’t it?

So, in effect, to me, that’s what Buddy is trying to tell Wendy. You have today, and that’s it, and I know that’s a recurring theme in this blog, but again, it’s simply the truth. That’s all any of us have and some days I do better than others, of course. Some days I can almost taste an ice-cold (slightly dirty) martini on my lips, and those are really difficult days because as we all know, no one graduates from alcoholism. You get to keep it for life. You know, like herpes.

And that’s okay, as helps to serve as a constant reminder of how desperately bad things can get, and how beautifully phenomenal they are now.  Another annoying little saying is “this too shall pass” and that’s the hard times, as well as the happy. That’s right, the good times pass just like the bad and sometimes we tend to forget that.

Next time they do, I suggest we all take a page from the Book of Buddy and remind ourselves; Lose your shit tomorrow. Today’s no day to fall apart.

 

So, tell me – are you watching Ozark? Do you love/hate it? Is it just me that wants to crawl Jason Bateman like a cat pole? Will Laura Linney ever wear mascara that compliments her fair complexion? Where in the hell did they get those baby bobcats? I have a lot of questions.

 

Hear me roar

I admit, these days I’m playing a wee bit loose and fast with my posts while searching for gainful employment that doesn’t make me want to drink myself onto another transplant list and/or hang myself.  Blurgh. However, I must pull my cranium outta my rectum and get on the bus for the month is closing in on us and I still haven’t covered Step 4 in my monthly series.

To recap, we’ve covered honesty, hope and faith so far – step four, simply put, is courage.

COURAGE IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF FEAR, BUT THE TRIUMPH OVER IT.

Nelson Mandela

I’ll be the first to admit that when it came to courage in MY story, I’m not sure that I possessed it, but I wasn’t really given a choice.  One could argue I was given a choice and I could’ve chosen to continue to drink myself to death in the summer of 2015, but I guess the universe had a different plan for me.  I guess I also had a different plan for me – I really didn’t want to die. I don’t know if that’s courage or survival instinct or just stubbornness, but I do know that giving up wasn’t ever an option and I’m genuinely not saying that because I want a slap on the back, I’m saying that because it’s the truth. Also, in absolute candor, I don’t think I realized just how sick I really was back then. I know – you would think that lying in a hospital bed having your abdomen drained repeatedly after having a shunt inserted INTO YOUR LIVER that you’d think perhaps a problem was afoot.  Not this dumbass. You couple a slow learner with a late bloomer and you’ve got…well, me.

Of course, courage doesn’t always have to be so grandiose and epic. Courage can just be getting out of bed some days, amirite?!?  I recently shared a fantastic life-affirming breakfast with a dear friend who I don’t see nearly enough.  We covered the usual topics, i.e;  what we’re reading, our current president quite possibly being the antichrist, and incorporating trans fats and avocados into our daily diets. As we were chatting she expressed some anxiety over a new water aerobics class she had just signed up for. We both commiserated about just how nerve-wracking it can be to try something new. Especially alone.  Now, let me just remind you that we are two grown-ass accomplished women, as if that matters. I shared with her a recent story from my own experience.

Since returning home from my GOLDEN JUBILEE (read:  50th birthday extravaganza) my yoga practice has been reinvigorated and it’s really about time. I had let it slip down the priority chain as finances are abysmal fleeting these days.  In an effort to try different types of yoga and additionally save money, I found a hip and highly regarded yoga studio in my city that offers donation-based “Karma” yoga. Perfecto!  Well, kinda.

As I drove up to the studio I noticed a gaggle of young and taut gals decked head to toe in trendy yoga wear heading into the building.  They were smiling and laughing and EVEN THEIR PONYTAILS WERE PERFECT.  Instant insecurity made my stomach plummet and my throat tighten. I started sweating and pitting out in my generic yoga-wear.  I quickly glanced at the clock HOPING that somehow I was late for the class and therefore it would be RUDE to interrupt it and I’ll just come back some other time when I’m feeling a little better. Like in fourteen years.

If you know me in real life you know that I have never been late in the entire capsulation of my existence. I’m dead serious, and if you DO know me in real life feel free to comment below with one of the times I made you damn near murderous because of it.  So, I knew before looking at the clock that tardiness was not going to be the case so I quickly began reciting the litany of other reasons I could tell myself why I wasn’t going in.  As I started to spazz out I realized my reaction for what it was;  fear – plain and simple.  I’m too old, too fat, too uncoordinated, too farty and entirely too out of style to join that yoga class.

I looked at my reflection in the rear-view mirror and I could see the miserable and familar panic in my own eyes, and just like that, I was sick and tired of being afraid. The reality of the situation hit me and in a flash of mock bravery I opened the door to my Jeep and before I knew it I was standing in front of yet another beautiful gal with cheeks the color of pink rose petals and eyelashes like the open wings of angels, asking me for my name and donation.  “Jesus Christ, what is this . . .yoga for supermodels?!”, I asked, only half-way joking.

“I know, right?”, she replied. “You should try working here, it’s enough to give anyone an inferiority complex!”  I let THAT SHIT sink in for a moment and said, “well then, I’m obviously in the right place”.  She nodded vigorously in agreement and we both laughed.

Guess what happened?  NOTHING.  Well, yes, something DID happen – I went to said 90 minute yoga class, met some other kick-ass gals, LOVED the teacher and walked out of that hip and trendy bonsai-zen-incense burning studio with my head held high and my body energized. If only I had a mic to drop, I would have dropped it. That’s how good it felt to conquer that insecure and scared voice inside of me.  I can only imagine how it might feel to live your LIFE that way, and I’d like to think that some days, I’m on that path.  I relayed this story to my sweet friend and she and I too shared a laugh at how NO ONE feels completely self-confident and cultivated and proficient and has their SHIT TOGETHER all of the time.

I received a note from her yesterday. She went to her water aerobics, despite the voices in her head that tried to convince her otherwise.  She admitted she was fearful but she plundered forward and you know the rest, don’t you?  She enjoyed the class, met some other fantastic ladies like herself and can’t wait to go back. COURAGE, guys.  It doesn’t have to be thunderous and monumental. It can be the quiet and sometimes fragile voice inside of you that is just one damn ounce braver than your fear. Courage is changing your trajectory.  Courage is being honest with yourself, and your addiction.  Courage is facing down your demons and confronting what needs to change, head on. If nothing changes, nothing changes. Courage is recognizing the patterns in your life that aren’t serving you anymore.

So, if you have a chance sometime soon, step out of your comfort zone.  I promise you won’t regret it.  You may even have fun, or learn something, or discover something new and wonderful about yourself, or the world.

But remember, there’s a very fine line between courage and stupidity.  Please don’t cross it.