drink u pretty

Godwin Austen (K2) - 8611 mHe sang

He couldn’t drink the girl pretty

She really wasn’t it, I guess.

I tried to drink her pretty,

And I failed too.

Her name was Life,

Her last name was On-its-terms.

Must be French.

I was stubborn though.

I tried, and I tried, and I tried.

She wasn’t. Stubborn, I mean.

She just was.

She sat there like a rock

And smiled sadly,

Probably hoping I’d get it,

But it took me a while:

Years of anger,

Brain cells wasted in millions,

And hope in fellow men – in shovels,

Only it wasn’t their fault.

False hopes and unrealistic expectations did it.

I cared for things that wasn’t there,

Although all that time I had people

Telling the truth to my face,

Truth I didn’t like.

I always thought Plan B would work,

But I got to letter Z and I was still profoundly fucked.

Now I look at the sky with eyes sober

As the morning dew,

(unless the air got drunk on a whim)

And say “thank you” a lot.

I still try,

You know, coffee it pretty.

But I think it’s a different kick –

No one gets hurt,

And the bills get paid.

She still sits there like a rock,

But I know her smile is happier now.


the front image was copied from https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/03/k2-last-problem-of-the-himalayas/554618/. thanks.

Smoking Open Lights

20190223_145531 9I’ve just realized that I’ve made it for ten years without smoking tobacco or any other substance this past month. I used to count them, but this year it somehow crept up on my unexpectedly.

I most likely wouldn’t be able to come to not smoking at all if thirteen years and nine months ago I didn’t make a conscious decision to quit… drinking. Weird? No anymore, not to me anyway.

I came to the recovery fellowship and I’ve learned plenty of skills. As the result, I’ve quit drinking which would not work if I didn’t acquire a certain program of thinking and being, a life style that pushed for a healthier life in spirit, body, and mind. Thanks to that, I managed to see clearer some other unhealthy things that I did in my life, behaviors that didn’t help, such as isolating and judging others. A couple years after, “doing” the Steps, I came to the realization that I could quit smoking cigarettes with the help of the Steps wisdom since nothing else worked. This worked out successfully, as some other things. Some didn’t, but that’s life. I keep trying and among other things, I keep saying “thank you” when things work out, whether it is small or large.

“Thank you” is something so easily said, as well as “sorry” or “how are you”, and I think often we don’t really think about it, as we say it to others, or when they say it to us. I try to think about it lately, though. There are lots of things to be grateful for, even if life is not working the way I would prefer it did.

In the Fellowship I was taught to be grateful for every day. It worked when I tried it in my morning prayer. Yet I still resisted being grateful throughout the day. I was happy for sobriety yet I often resented people around me. My first couple years in sobriety were of solid sobriety but at times I felt miserable, because… well, I don’t really know why, but I think I was not there spiritually as much as I could have been. What I decided I’d start doing is saying thank you to people who did the jobs that I knew I would never do successfully. They did their service and I paid for it and I’d say thank you. Within less than ten days my outlook on life started changing for the better.

Soon after that I started working at a homeless shelter. There I met people who were angry about everything, dissatisfied with anything, and it used to distress me, but with time I learned to think they were not having a good day lifetime long. There were also people who woke up and said thank you to anything, to every little thing others did for them. I felt connected to these people, and years later I wrote a novella about that spirit of open-mindedness and gratitude for life.

I don’t think I’d be able to come this far in life and doing reasonably well if I didn’t push myself out of the dark room and allowed myself to have a different life. I used to isolate so much I’ve become a professional isolationist and procrastinator with a diploma hanging on the wall. Even in an active community of recovery with so many things happening, with so much positivity and vigor one can still live a stagnant life. I could have easily slipped through the cracks in these rooms if it wasn’t for the man named Ted. He not only welcomed me into recovery, he also gave me a good kick in the butt to live my recovery actively, and he did it with a cheer and I appreciated that. Years later our paths separated due to disagreements which is still upsetting to me, but I hope he is doing good and maybe one day we will be talking again.

Ted had a vibe full of life, and that vibe infected me, wanting more of life than just living sober. It brought forth the fruits of labor that was sober living, joyful life of recovery that keeps going on, like a wheel turning. There are many people in rooms of sobriety that I’ve met over the years. I am grateful to them all and I hope many others that are in need of help will be able to open their spirits to gratitude and trust to the world wide fellowship of AA and as the result will heal and expand their lives for much better than they ever knew was possible.


instead of a diploma, enjoy the front image that was taken by me. the punctuation (or the lack there of) game made me capture the sign and then inspired me to write this. so, thank you to whoever designed the sign ignoring the (un)holy laws of English punctuation and those who put the sign up.

Rain People

rainSo, I changed jobs recently and now work directly in the field with people who have serious mental issues and because of that their independent life is limited to zero. It’s a challenging job, even compared to what I used to do before, which was similar, but now the level is more acute. It’s a good challenge for me to stay objective and caring in the face of the intensity of the issues these people experience on 24/7 basis.

Some of my patients are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, and this is something I have never worked with / faced before, except for hearing some stories about family members of one or two of my friends or classmates. And then there was this movie.

I watched Rain Man for the first time when I was 13, I think. And I thought it was funny. Well, up to about ¾ of it. And then it started to get more emotional, and I thought it was a great drama. It challenged something in me, and it felt good. But when I watched it again, I thought it was funny, again. The way Ray acted/behaved, it was hilarious. It became one of my favorite movies.

“Are you taking any prescription medication?”

“What?!”

“That means he likes you.”

Up to that point I watched the movie and for many years after I haven’t met people with any kinds of mental disorders, and I never heard of autism and of what it does to people. I had no family members who had a mental illness. I knew no friends who had it either. If I saw a person on a street or on a bus who was exhibiting a strange behavior, which was rare back in Russia, I just told myself they were “not all there,” and I just stayed away and didn’t make eye contact.

So, Ray The Rain Man was funny. To me he wasn’t one of thousands of people in the world afflicted with a debilitating disorder. He was just one unique fellow from a movie. Good story. Funny movements and peculiarities.

“Hey Raymond, am I using you? Am I using you, Raymond?”

“Yeah.”

“Shut up! He is answering a question from a half hour ago!”

Time passed. I finished school, changed work places, battled addiction, and came to work at a downtown city homeless shelter where I witnessed people behaving in every way imaginable. There was addiction, grief, loss, behavioral issues, and there was mental illness at all stages experienced by people from near all walks of life. I worked at that field and some other similar ones for over ten years. Around the time I started that journey, my brother started experiencing serious issues which were eventually diagnosed as the bipolar disorder.

Now, as I said earlier, I changed jobs again and now work with folks, among whom there are people diagnosed with autism. And though it hadn’t happened before, on the second day of working there, I recalled Rain Man movie. The scenes from it started jumping out at me. I was amazed how little I knew about something that I was directly dealing with. So often I had no idea how to be of help to my patients, sort of glad that I was not a nurse or a doctor.

“What is the issue?”

“He lives in his imaginary world.”

“OK, but are there any issues?”

So, I went and bought the movie to watch it yet again, because it’s been a long while. Had a great time watching it, but it didn’t feel the same. I mean, it was still fun, but it wasn’t hilarious anymore. Now that I have experienced, from a spectator and mental health worker point of view, the tiny bit of what people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder go through, there wasn’t as much roaring laughter out of me as it used to be. I then knew he was not a peculiar funny guy. He was one of so many rain men and women who were terrified of the world around them if one small thing was altered, rules changed, new people appeared. Ray as played by Dustin Hoffman was the person with a high functioning form of autism, but in my eyes, he still suffered, which is something I didn’t realize for a very long time.

“Raymond, do you know what autistic is?”

“Yeah.”

“You know that word?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you autistic?”

“I don’t think so. No. Definitely not.”

Still, I had a great time watching it and telling my partner who watched it with me about my few experiences at work regarding the behaviors Ray was exhibiting on the screen.

This time the movie has taught me something else about mental health and people. We’re all vulnerable. We are imperfect, and we hate to show it. We can be affected by events out of our control so often and so quick. And this movie, although I didn’t realize that for a long time, showed me that. The fragile sides of human personality. The sides that push away our inner desire to be caring for others. And that when we don’t understand something, we laugh at it. That laughter can be endearing, but it could be hurtful, especially if one misunderstood stranger is faced with a group of the ones not in the know. Now because I know how addiction affects mental health, I can understand how people can feel when they are ostracized, laughed at, shamed, and persecuted for something they have no power over.

Thank you yet again, Levinson/Hoffman/Cruise team. I learned something again. And thanks for the laugh again, but with no roar this time.

“Well, Raymond, aren’t you more comfortable in your favorite K-Mart clothes?”

“Tell him, Ray.”

“K-Mart sucks.”


Quotes used in the post are from the movie, tracked by memory or copied from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095953/quotes/?tab=qt&ref_=tt_trv_qu . Front image was copied from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095953/?ref_=tt_mv . thank you.

 

Anybody Coming Back?

Oops! Road Sign with Dramatic Blue Sky.Crappy choice,

Unfair word,

Heard or said.

Bad time,

Wrong place,

And you fall.

Happened before,

But it hurts more this time.

Now you’re back,

Sitting in the back of the room,

Hoping no one notices you,

And yet

You came on your own,

Knowing well it will help

To get back on your feet,

Fix the problem,

As you’ve learned

Or are ready to learn from the error.

You hear that call,

That is there every meeting,

That question that you hoped all this time

You didn’t have to answer.

Your knees tremble and your mouth is dry

As you’re about to reveal to the crowd

Of friends and strangers

That you are coming back from the war zone

Where your addiction and weakness rule.

You expect judgement and pointed fingers,

But what you get is a hug and a welcome

That you need the most.

It is here each time, whether it is the first time, or one hundredth,

As there is hope

That this is the last time

You’ve spilled nearly all of your blood on the way in.


the image was copied from http://hub.yourtakeonwords.com/hub/humanistring?w=1366;rh=http%3a%2f%2fhumanisthappiness%2eblogspot%2ecom%2f2013%2f06%2fwas-it-my-fault%2ehtml;rd=1#.W5MKIehKjIU thanks.