Last night, I received a message from my ex. It was the third time she had called me this month. I consulted my friends about it weeks ago and explained to them all the reasons I had not called her back after about 8+ months of absolutely no communication. Then, I told them the minute reasons I might have to talk to her and it pretty much came down to one thing. Unless she had decided to get sober too, there was about a 6% chance I really needed to hear what she had to say. Otherwise it would have been one of those really awkward “catching up” calls ( a fairly common occurrence as I understand it. I wouldn’t know as I’ve never kept up with my exes) that would have gone something like “Yeah, I have a crappy job right now that I am looking to get out of once the opportunity is right, but otherwise I am 100 times happier than when we were together, I have many sober friends that I play cards with once a week, I write for my blog, I chair my home group meeting, I’m thinking of getting a digital piano, I have a mild romantic interest and I’m a practicing Buddhist who meditates daily. How have you been?” And past experience dictates that regardless of what is happening in my life, rest assured things are twice as bad with her. No, but thank you though.
In last night’s message, she asserted that she had spoken to someone that had “seen me drunk” somewhere and she wanted to know if they were lying. I posted as much on Facebook, pointing out that the above activities pretty well comprise my life at the moment, so unless that person was peering through my window to see a hammered Andy sitting at my meditation altar or watching me at the store buying eggs and Oreos in a drunken stupor, I don’t know quite where this mysterious drunken version of me is hiding himself but I would certainly like to talk to him, by golly.
One of my friends pointed out just how ludicrous the idea of meditating drunk sounded. But then I thought about it and it really does kind of make sense (Just roll with me on this one). I mean, think about it. The Buddha always has that little grin on his face, right? Maybe that is the face of the Enlightened One. Or maybe he’s just freakin’ plastered. Before I got sober and before by brain surgery and Him and all that, I was a pretty happy drunk. Honestly, I was affable when tipsy and just a buffoon when I was lit. Many is the friend who could relay stories about many nights I was so gone that I did and said things that were of questionable social, moral and legal taste. But I was almost always grinning when I did them.
The Buddha reportedly meditated for 7 days or 7 years or something until he achieved enlightenment. But it’s also possible that he was just a blackout drunk and that one just lasted a really, really long time. How are we to know? And a lot of stories I’ve read in Buddhist lore concern a Zen Master giving a student a rap on the wrists or something to prove a specific point. Or maybe those same masters are just surly from a hangover. I mean, I’ve had plenty of day-after bouts when I was so consumed with guilt, shame and regret about the night before that I shuffled off to consume a greasy bacon-and-eggs breakfast before I slept off the rest of the hangover in lieu of a little hair of the dog, y’know? Maybe those Masters just had too much wine the night before and mucked up a floral arrangement or puked on their calligraphy and took it out on their budding scribes. Trust me, I’ve talked to enough teachers that cued up a video in class the next day (hello? The room is nice and dark) to know that this happens with some degree of regularity all over the country.
And what about all the images and statues we’ve all seen of the Buddha over the years? Sure some of them are historically accurate and depict the Buddha as a slim, serene guy. But some are like one at the top. And that man has a big ol’ beer belly if ever I saw one. And I’ve seen one because I have one even 2+ years sober. And that smile? Please. Change those clothes and give him some hair and the Buddha becomes a jovial Irish drunk before he crosses over to a mean Irish asshole (usually about 10-12 drinks in).
I guess the tragic comedy of the whole thing is that earlier this week, I posted on Facebook how happy I am right now to be so busy with everything in my life and how far a cry it is from where I was 3 years ago at this time when me and my ex lived together, I was drowning in the quagmire of misery and self-destruction that is chronic alcoholism and had the sense of impending doom many alcoholics know well. All talking to my ex would do is rouse up old emotions and old scenarios I have labored to bed down like a blissfully sleeping dog.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a blissfully sleeping dog I’m gonna cuddle with for a while before I go to the gym.