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.

 

My Stolen Life

what was SUPPOSED to be. i’m not kidding, even down to her Chucks it’s perfectly me in another lifetime but in THIS lifetime that brown bag was filled with rotgut whiskey instead of fresh daisies and the bike was actually a police squad car

Of course sobriety is awesome, and of course I wish I had found my way here sooner . . . MUCH sooner.  I try very hard not to play the “what if” game because that ends well for NO ONE but as a flawed and imperfect human being, I cannot help but obsess over what COULD have been sometimes, instead of what was and is, even though I’m beyond grateful that my story is one that I’m still privileged to be here to tell.  That is, I’m alive.

While in Germany I was able to escape to Amsterdam for a few days and it was mostly awesome, when it wasn’t completely chaotic and anxiety inducing.  Busy folks everywhere.  Tourists and locals meshing together through the canals and side street eateries.  Pungent and competing smells from every bodega and bakery. Public trolleys and trains whizzing by with spaghetti-like crossing tracks and no discernible patterns. I watched a young gal peddling her bicycle through the cobble stone streets, with her groceries placed neatly in her front basket and a small short-haired dog in a little seat on the back.  She donned a straw hat and was wearing a vintage yellow embroidered dress.  She looked carefree and full of promise.  Naturally, my first instinct was to quickly glance around for the movie cameras that were surely going to be visible to me at any moment, as this scene was just too sublime to be real, but I assure you, it was real, and my disbelief quickly turned to jealousy and simply put, sour grapes.

You see, THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ME.  She is clearly living MY LIFE.  You know, the one I pictured in my head while I was sitting upon all those bar stools, spending money I didn’t have, telling tales that weren’t true, sleeping with people I didn’t know.

My gaze burned holes in her as I recalled every single minute of my life I’ve spent sitting behind a desk staring at a clock and willing it to move faster.  I quickly recounted all the days and months and years collectively I’ve spent hungover and ridiculously useless. How pathetically accurate AND ironic is it that the word I’m using is wasted? Time I’ve wasted, money I’ve wasted, and that doesn’t even touch the POTENTIAL I’ve wasted, and save getting me started on opportunities. They were wasted, because I was wasted.

my amsterdam bicycle experience was a tiny bit different

Some people never recover so in the great big scheme of things, of course I’m grateful for every single second of every moment, but I also can’t help but look in the rear view mirror and wish hopelessly for a “do-over”, and I know that’s not a notion specific to drunks.  I’m certainly not saying my life is one big regret, not at all – quite the opposite.  My life is so freaking ass-kickingly awesome that I am furious at myself for not getting to it sooner.

And here’s the thing, I’ve done my share of living, believe you me.  The point is not that I wish I could go back and make completely different decisions, but of course that is absolutely true as well.  No, what I want is to go back in time with the knowledge, compassion and clarity I have now. I want to see those “missing” years through SOBER eyes, not just as blurry memories like dirty streaks on a window where you can only see the vague outlines of what actually happened.  If only I had hit rock bottom sooner.  If only I had given sobriety a shot years ago.  If only I had LISTENED to all the warnings and advice.  If only.  Let’s also remember that I am still new to sobriety.  I don’t have everything figured out, not even close. Many would argue I wasn’t near ready back then and I wouldn’t have listened, anyway, and they are one hundred percent correct.

It’s not that I think if I’d gotten sober years ago I may have invented the fucking Kindle or cured Cancer or anything as fruitful and contributory as all that, but I can’t help but wonder how different my path would have been, if we had been introduced earlier.  As it turned out, I had to be introduced to some policemen, a few jails, multiple courtrooms, a few counselors, and ultimately some grim yet realistic liver Doctors who told me I was going to die before I would hold out my thin yellow hand to shake hands (tentatively) with sobriety.

Here’s my simple summation; my fear of dying outweighed my fear of living sober, but ONLY JUST.  It was a barely discernible amount, but that was all I needed.  A half ounce of hope.

It’s hard to forgive myself, but most days I still try.  Some days things still just aren’t far enough away in that rear view mirror, you know?

*sigh*

I’m not unique.  We all have a little bit of “woulda- coulda -shoulda” in us, I believe.  But I also believe it’s where I go from here that counts now, and that’s a darn good thing because as luck would have it, that’s all I have; this moment and forward.

That’s all we have.

So, tell me.  Do you guys lie awake at night and re-live every regrettable decision you’ve ever made and replay things over and over in your head like a terrible b-grade movie until there are tears running into your ears as you stare at your ceiling fan and wonder where thirty years of your life went?!?

No!?

Never mind.

I won’t take the easy road.

One of the awesome benefits of having your own blog is sharing stuff that you dig. This is my favorite song right now and I pretty much just listen to it over and over all day long. Remember the show Ally McBeal? In one episode her therapist recommends that she get her own “theme song”. I like that idea, so here it is. I’m not sure if it’s the galloping melody in a unsettling minor key or their siren like harmonies or the tapestry of the dream like video or the raw girl power or just the stirring lyrics themselves. . . which are filled with regret, remorse and worry, but it’s an ethereal tribute to hope and we could all use a little more of that these days. I present to you, First Aid Kit and their gorgeous song, My Silver Lining.  Enjoy.

 

“I’ve woken up in a hotel room, my worries as big as the moon, having no idea who or what or where I am”