Tag Archives: alcoholism

Today is November 27, 2017. I am alive and well.

Like usual, I have no idea what I’m going to write on this blog. Of course, I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving. I love the holidays and don’t experience them as stressful. But then I don’t cook and the only gift I buy is for my roommate.

I have thought much about my sister who’s a crystal meth addict and homeless. I actually dreamt of her last night. In the dream she was showing me her teeth, of which she only had a few, and the sores on the inside of her cheek. She told me that the infection from her sores would ultimately spread to her jaw and then follow her bone to her ear, making her deaf in that one ear. I asked my sister what meth did for her. Her response, “I’m rocketed to a new dimension, much like what happens to people of faith visiting with God. It is thrilling. My trip is thrilling.” That was the end of the dream.

I haven’t given up on my sister. I know the truth currently is that my sister has no desire to give up meth. I found a place where she could live for free for a year and they would provide for her all her meals. All she has to do is give up the drugs and get sober. She said no. She is three years younger than I am, 50-years-old, and I would guess that she has been using drugs for over 25 years.

With sobriety, I am safe. I am a sober drunk, 24 years sober,  with a healthy fear of drugs. My drug use amounts to me trying marijuana once. It left me paranoid and rocking in the corner of a room. Thirty years ago, this same sister told me I just smoked it wrong. Ha. How does a person smoke it right or wrong?

I am completely aware of the fact that I could be her. I don’t know why I was led to sobriety and she wasn’t. Out of desperation, I latched on to a program of recovery. I’m certain my sister has felt desperation at some point. I’m certain she suffers. Neither of these two things have brought her to her knees.

I will be warm this holiday season. I will eat good food. I will be physically clean. I will surround myself with people I love and who love me. Life is good.


Today is September 14, 2015. I am alive and well.

There was two liters of frozen beer awash in the kitchen sink. She was ready with her straw, the kind that bent at the neck. In three days, she was to celebrate 22 years of sobriety. What’s a little beer among cats. The beer was frozen with the hope that by the time it took to thaw she would come to her sobriety. She always said beer was a waste of time. It wasn’t high on alcohol points, not like 151 Bacardi Rum.

She was naked. Another way to buy her some time to think should she abandon the beer and go to the store for rum, she would have to dress. She imagines herself slowly pulling on jeans that were in need of a belt. She would forego the bra, putting on a loose T-shirt that hid her breasts. Shoes and socks could be done in a snap.

This all began with a dream she had while she slept. She was at a bar ordering a Long Island Ice Tea, heavy on the rum. The bar was one with many mirrors. She could just make out her reflection between the Creme de Menthe and the Bourbon. Her eyes were flat. The sparkle had left even before the drink. She felt hollow like a broken clarinet. The music on the juke box singing of dying from the drink couldn’t stop her. The Long Island Ice Tea came with a little umbrella. “Aloha,” she said as she wrapped her gloved hand around the glass.

And then she felt her cat lick her face. Not even the beer was real. It was a first dream. She shivered under the air conditioner like a cat stuck in snow. In three days, she would celebrate 22 years of sobriety. For that she would dress, wearing something that flattered her six feet and a hat. Dreams be damned. She shook them off like a dog getting rid of its pony tail.

Today is June 13, 2015. I am alive and well.

Excerpt from my second book—–

I want to have a party with fake alcohol and see how many people act like they’re wasted; rum, not rum, roars through the thin man who pinches the breasts of the host. She giggles, then slaps him after coming to her senses–the slap smells of beef, a fingerprint left on his cheek.

I want to repay all the kindnesses my friends have shown me all their lives. A sunflower bends at the neck in welcome. I hand out handkerchiefs, love wrapped in knots of stripes and polka dots–it is simple.

I want to travel the world bagging people’s groceries. A stick of butter rubs skin with a potato in London. The jolly man in Brazil grins with green jello the color of palm leaves. Canned beets are slippery in Seattle, a banana rots at the foot of an onion in Germany. Radishes remain the dirty spice that they are everywhere I go.

I want to say meow durning a speech. All the dogs will riot when they learn the bill won’t pass the Senate; it’s a matter of people fighting while wearing helmets in the ring. The blood loss would be cut in half with the ear out of the way.

I want to believe in God. God has come to me in the form of a twisted branch in a tree three stories high. Leaves rejoice!

I want to have a story worth telling. I wake to the woman mowing the grass outside my open bedroom window, smell the grass, chamomile with a touch of honey. Paint a purple mustache on my niece’s doll. Ask her where Ken’s head is.

I want to take a cute girl to the moon. She smiles as I strap her into the card board box. The stereo explodes with the sound of flame. I tell her “close your eyes and imagine cheese.” In no time, we hear mail being dropped through the door’s slot and know we are still grounded. The moon was another dream, like cows pirouetting to Greenday’s Awesome as Fuck.

I want to go to a city where nobody knows me and act like a completely different person. My name will be Charlie, an easy name, one I will recognize on a stranger’s tongue. I will wear boots and smoke cigarettes and smile only in the grocery store from where I buy slices of cake. My downfall is butter cream, I like it on toast in  this new life of mine.

Today is March 22, 2015. I am alive and shaking…

…I won’t be going into why I”m so rattled, though.

I laugh because when I brought Grams and Annie home from the Humane Society they were basically feral. Now Grams is all over me most of the time. And Annie will come and snuggle up to me if I take a nap. Grams is a black fireball, always wanting to bring heat to my body. Annie is the soldier at the window, making certain we are safe. I am their mom, watching them prance around. Cats are certainly grateful.

I did not prance and was not graceful growing up. I was a gangly 6′ tall girl at 13. I left my body to spend time in my mind. I would appear to be sitting at my desk in ninth grade, but my eyes took a bow and I would be traveling by flight to Switzerland. I picked Switzerland because the Swiss seemed so beautifully neutral and anonymous. They don’t make the newspapers. There is no war in their country. I love chocolate and have a great respect for money.

While in Switzerland, I dreamt i covered huge canvases in bright colors. Today, they would be considered sister canvases to Rothko’s work. He the dark colors and me the bright. He the solemn one and me the free spirited one, a fly landing her and there and everywhere, terribly curious as to what the spot of life I live in brings. Rothko came to  a tragic end; he took his own life at a young age. I have had over ten suicide attempts in my lifetime. I am really bad at dying. It’s amazing that I will be 51 on Friday.

I live in my body today. I don’t need alcohol to do that for me like it did for so many years. My height at Christmas time is a beautiful thing; I can be in a crowded shopping mall and not suffocate.

Today is March 14, 2015. I am alive and well.

Mom, why did you go? Was it Johnny tugging you into the grave. Yes, I know your liver quit…just like that, just like the pop of a champagne bottle, a very expensive champagne in the hands of a small child wed to the bottle because you can’t get off the couch for more booze. The child makes certain the ice trays are filled. I would fill a freezer full of ice for a conversation with you. Do they have nail polish where you are? Hopefully, Johnny showed up in briefs, welcoming you to the unknown–drop your skirt, unbutton your shirt, follow Johnny into the nearly naked.

I was there when they shut down the machines, keeping you lonely in a bed unable to squeeze a hand. Why did you go? Was it Johnny tugging you into the grave?

I’m glad you are free from the shackles of bourbon. I loved being your side kick…I had no idea I was poisoning you. Your reply, You couldn’t have known I was drowning. All you saw was a bed and no river.

She would say, I love you sweet. I have stopped looking in the mirror, stopped looking for the hand on my shoulder, nails painted a deep blue red.

Today is February 9, 2015. I am alive and well.

Today, I will leave for work at noon. I want to stop and get a sandwich from Subway. I like the egg, ham, and cheese on flat bread with two scoops of avocado. Egg whites, please. It is four dollars and eighty three cents. I know this like I know I have two sisters, one of whom I don’t talk with and have no idea if she is even in Arizona. Hunter. She is a paper bag who has been ripped open from the weight of all her own misgivings. Being a drug addict is easy. Being a drug addict is hard. I really don’t know which is true. I have never been a drug addict. I am simply an alcoholic in recovery. A drunk who has a great shot at living a happy, joyous, and free life as long as I stay sober and maintain some sort of spiritual life. God is good to me; I know there will be a next loaf of bread.

It has been good to write today. I miss Guy and the two little dogs. Writing pulls me away from missing and plops me into a dream of letters. The letters are lovely, forming words such as chocolate. Laurie, my friend and supervisor, keeps chocolates in her desk for me. Laurie is like a motorized cat, always moving quickly from one task to the next, never batting the ball entirely out of the room, but tracking it so it stays in play and ultimately gets where it needs to go even if it lodges itself beneath a shelf of books. Laurie will know what to do when this happens

Today is February 8, 2015. I am alive and well.

excerpt from my book, Mind Without a Home

A steady breeze of smoke carries Rose to a small table in front of the stage, a leaf carved into the top. Rose puts her cigarette out on its vein.

Rose was close enough to Paul to smell his sweet, an odd mixture of alcohol and mint. Paul winks and drums charm. Rose vibrates from his gaze. Later, they will make love in the alley, Rose’s small size thrown up against graffiti, her slender legs wrapped around Paul. Their baby, Frankie, Would be conceived here.

Paul had drummed with the best in his youth. His gentle spirit and large hands beat sweet cream into rhythm that buried itself into the souls of audiences. He was sought after and he sought the high  applause  gave him. When this high was not enough, he moved on to find laughter and contentment in a battle of whisky.

He told me that drunkenness was like having a million women gently stroke his face, tickle his face, love his face.

When he saw Rose, he wanted her. His mama said “to always leave the ones alone who cast spells; don’t let your heart leap on a first glance. This kind to woman will eat you up.” Paul thinks “What does mama know? She jumped in front of a bus two years ago”. Paul didn’t make this up. Mama’s as dead as the goose that came to Christmas.

(names have been changed)

Today is October 28, 2014. I am alive and well.

excerpt from my memoir in progress

My character in the story “A Meditation on Panty Hose” speaks to perceptions being not what they are. Perceptions shape our experience of things. My perception camera was broken for many years.

My broken camera accelerated my alcoholism. I believed when drunk, I was really sure footed although I was falling all over myself. I believed when drunk, that I was artistically brilliant even though I could not decipher my scribbling from the afternoon or evening before. When drunk, I was more social. When drunk, people tried to avoid me because I was stumbling all over myself with words that made no sense. When drunk, the world was right even when I came to on the bathroom floor of a bar having passed out and puked all over myself. I was beautiful; just misunderstood.

When sober without a 12 step program, I was terrified of everything. I knew people were talking about me behind my back, even strangers. I knew snot was hanging from my nose. I knew the government would come knocking on my door. I was important; I was a nobody. It was impossible for me to differentiate the false from the truth. Both my alcoholism and my schizophrenia kept me from seeing the truth for years.

Today, truth matters to me. If I have a problem standing in the truth, I reach out to friends who provide me with strong legs and broad shoulders. I have no need to be sheltered from the truth today. The truth will always set me soaring.

Today is May 16, 2014. I am alive and well and a bit sad.

Mother’s Day has moved on like a semi, all gears engaged leaving a truck stop. The soup at the cafe was good, but not good enough to keep her off the road for another three hours, when her hunger returns.

My mother lost her hunger to a coffee cup filled with vodka. There was no Easter Egg hunt the year she died. No hanging lights to entice St. Nick to come down the chimney. Hell, the Fourth of July didn’t even get a flag waving from her crumbled hand. I don’t remember the year she died, but I do know it was bleak. She was only 58-years-old.

I was not prepared for my mother to die; there’s knots in my long black hair that conditioner will not get out. Only a rough combing will help. It hurts. Mother loved brushing my hair. I loved that time with her, alone, doing something ultimately feminine. Her hands were smooth then with polished nails, a deep blue red, and the whiff of berry coming from lotion.

How best is it to remember my mother? Her life was tragic. King Alcohol stole her socks. Her beauty, although still hanging on like a spider to its web in rain, was being washed away. Her inner light was being shut down and I didn’t know it. Her liver was failing. 

That’s what happened, her liver failed her. She fell into a coma and didn’t wake up. All this time later, years, I still feel the brush in my hair, her hand in my hair. Is it too late to light a candle for her? An unscented candle? One that she could have lit her cigarette by?

Mother’s Day is heavy feet on a stairwell. Mother’s Day is a sheet knotted on the bed. Mother’s Day is a day of remembrance–mother on her horse, her hair loose in the wind, nothing any louder than hooves on packed dirt. I loved her. I loved her.

Today is June 20, 2013. I am alive and well.

So, a little bit about myself and why the blog. I am a 48-year-old woman who has alcoholism and schizophrenia; two diseases that tell me I don’t have a disease. Writing the blog reminds me of where I come from and hopefully dispels some of the myths that get attached to these two diseases.

I am in good health. It is possible to live well with these two diseases. It is not easy. In fact, it is quite difficult, but I am up for the challenge. And the pay off is tremendous!

I am a member of a twelve step program that assists me in taking care of my alcoholism. This year, God willing, I will be celebrating 20 years of sobriety.

This year, because of a good medication regimen that I take as prescribed every day, and a little bit of willingness to walk into the day, I will celebrate being hospital free from schizophrenia for six years.

I am a writer, and as such, I don’t usually write in simple black and white ways. I didn’t want my metaphors to cloud alcoholism and schizophrenia. But it is true my alcoholism is a patient dog who will, if not given clean water to drink regularly, drink from the sewer every time, making her quite sick. And my schizophrenia will place me on a runway with an oncoming plane. I will either step out of the way of the plane or jump onto one of the wings in flight to another reality other than the common one in which you and I eat dinner and watch the local news.

I invite you to take off your hat, stand in socks, and journey with me as I slide into truths. Alcoholics are not just men in sheets with bottles in paper bags. Schizophrenics are capable of joining others in the stream of stars that invite love and kindness and compassion. I welcome you. Ride with me. Suspend judgment. Reach out. The world is full of all of us and allows for unicorns. God bless.