God, it’s a beautiful day.
I know, I know, and I’m on my laptop writing this instead of outside enjoying it, right? Let me explain. Anymore, Sunday’s are typically the day I set aside for either going to the Buddhist temple for services or doing a little laundry first thing in the morning while I write a blog post where I pontificate on my newest invention or a poem or some such concoction. But today is different. I’m leaving this house soon, and because it’s such a gorgeous day, I’ve been thinking of writing a post about new beginnings, spring on the earth and the dawn of a new time in my life. This, however, is not that post. I just haven’t really come up with an idea that is uniquely “Andy.” I hate clichés and don’t want to write a post about new beginnings because I mean, wow. Yawnsville, right? Spring on earth? Man, Jesus H. Hockey Pucks or whatever the expression is. I might as well right a “dogs are nice” or “I like sleeping a lot” post. At some point, I’ll write a post about my profound thoughts on gettin’ to gettin’ again and the dawn of a new era in my life. This. However, is not that post.
And at some point, I’ll write a post about Him and the menacing presence He has in this chapter of moving out of this house and out on my own. This too, however, is not that post.
No, today, I’m keeping it simple. That is, after all, the moniker of my home group meeting, K.I.S.S.. Keep it Simple in Sobriety. See, living in the ¾ house has been great for me because it allowed me a couple opportunities. First, I have seen just how bloody horrible and pervasive the specter of addiction is. You, dear reader, have someone, maybe yourself, in your home life, work life or social life that has been deeply effected by addiction and it has shaped you and others behavior in drastic and subtle ways. It may be your superior at work who is difficult to work with because he is constantly haunted by what his meth head son is doing to piss his life away. Or it is your good friend who is currently beating the crap out of their alcoholism and you just had lunch with them and you get a really big smile on your face and go through the rest of your day making other’s days better with your pleasant demeanor. It’s happening. You may not see it or know about it, but I’m telling you, it’s happening.
I lot of things about living here have been really hard and I can’t bloody wait to leave. I mean, I have had my own room in this house for several months and it’s become like my own private ecosystem. I have, within an arm’s length of my bed, rudimentary medical resources, an entertainment center, a mini-sweat shop, a library, food storage/pantry, bank, climate control, home office, church, wardrobe, and some nicotine lozenges and e-cigarette I never use because you try living in a sober-living house with 10 other guys and quit smoking at the same time. Can’t be done.
So today’s post is simple. Just a few things I’m going to enjoy the hell out of when I relocate. And I should clarify that I haven’t regretted at all this experience and the “living like a grown-up” traits it has instilled in me. A lot of them are things that normal, non-alcoholic/addict people have done for most of their adult life. I am not that person, never had a reason to be that person and in fact, whether I lived alone or with my blessed enablers, thought I was just being a Bohemian artist/writer type like Tom Waits circa Nighthawks at the Diner. Really, though, I was just a pig.
1. No shoes, no shirts. A stipulation of this house is the wearing of shirts and shoes at all times in “common areas.” I may walk around my new house with nothing but a loin cloth and a beret for a month, just because I can.
2. No curfew. I realize that, for their own sake, most alkies and addicts need structure if they’ve taken their addiction to the level of rehab and/or jail time. However, it’s been a real drag not knowing that I can stay out as late as I want and go wherever I want. Granted, at my age and given my fledgling social activities, there is no conceivable place or activity that I’m going to be engaged in that requires me to be out until all hours. It’s just the principle of the thing, dammit.
3. No gambling or pornography at the house. Now, in my sobriety, I have developed a friendship with some guys who maintain a steady Saturday night poker game. The buy-in is $5 and it’s really more about enjoying yourself in the company of other sober guys just trying to grow up than the game itself. That said, it would be nice to have the freedom to play cards in my own home and not worry if the games of chance might be a trigger for some guys.
And I’ll just come out and say this. One time, a guy was caught watching porn on the big-screen TV in the living room and had to zip up and vacate when he heard the key in the front door. The other guy walked in to a living room with the DVD player open, the shades drawn and a bedroom door closing quickly off in the distance. Men must abstain from even having a woman (or man) in their rooms with the door closed and certainly patronizing the ladies of the night. My first weekend at the new place, I’m going to host a strip poker game with my roommate and a bunch of hookers.
4. No television. I have come to love reading again and it’s because I can’t watch TV. At all. At any given hour of the day or night, there is somebody watching TV and it’s never something I want to watch too. Whether it’s The Big Bang Theory or the remake of The Lone Ranger, I can so live without it. As a result, I’ve read 3 times more books in the last 21 months than I did in the 3 years prior. It’s an addiction I sorely missed.
5. Not marking my food with a Sharpie. One of the first things we tell guys when they come here is mark your food. The reason is simple, few things are more important to a guy in recovery than smokes, coffee and food in that order. And I have a tendency to shop according to what I have at home. If I have half a bottle of cocktail sauce, I buy shrimp. If I have half a bottle of Thai peanut sauce, I buy more peanut sauce, potsticker sauce and potstickers. As a result, I have more food in the house than almost all the rest of the guys. We recently experienced a food thief who, among other items, ate the last of my Take 5! candy bar and I reacted by throwing a brief but dramatic tantrum and putting all of my dry goods in my closet. This was met with intensity only by my outburst a few weeks back when I reacted to one guy’s traipsing up and down the hallway outside my room and shouting F-Bombs while I was trying to catch a nap. I bolted upright, threw my gym clothes in my bag, slammed a few doors and sped off to the gym. It’s very fortunate that I didn’t thrust the garage door off its track because that is in fact what I tried to do. I started going to the Zen Center the next week.
The list could go on, but I’ve made my point I think. The day when I muse about the significance this house has had in my new life in sobriety is coming. And as I said, He and I are going to have a big throw-down. But not today. I’ve spent enough time inside already and my laundry is done. I’m going to go to the gym, have some lunch and attend the house meeting tonight with the much welcome knowledge that said new beginning is here.