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O shit, dawg.

Do you know what today is? It's a really tripped out day for me.

Not cuzza drugs or any particular insanity (as far as I know...). Nope, something much humbler--today marks one year of sobriety.

I generally try not to make too big a deal of it most of the time, mainly cuz, ultimately, it isn't that big a deal. I haven't tried to brag about it or hide it. My experiences & struggles (& successes) in AA and sobriety are woven into many of my posts (which are usually, but not always, tagged "life"). I aim to present those posts 'as is'--omiting direct mentions or specifics as needed to preserve others' anonymity and keep the focus on me.

What has been something of a big deal for me is my quality of life and the work I've put into getting there.

Like, life is actually good these days. I can't remember ever feeling this generally contented with life and upbeat and happy and stuff--even back before I ever drank.

I've gotten better at letting go of worry and acceptance. I've learned how to advocate for myself better and deal with problems when and as they arise. And somehow, too, my mood and motivation have gotten some massive, mysterious but appreciated boost. It's happened, and I can definitely point to these changes and acknowledge them, but I can't really explain where they came from. And I don't mind that, either.

It hasn't been all easy. I've actually been "in the rooms" for a year and a half, but I relapsed last Spring. It was actually kinda of funny, but also stupid. Those first 6 months I was really just "dry", not really sober. I was still giving over to the same old behaviors and habits and ways of acting & thinking, and so I was still pretty miserable. A little happier, sure, but still miserable.

But that's a story for another time.

The experience, though, was humbling. It's why I'm not entirely afraid of relapse--as long as, eventually, I'm honest enough to admit what all was going on & happened and willing enough to learn from it. Since then I've embraced my program in an entirely different way. I take suggestions, I'm give myself permission to be wrong, and I forgive myself and others and life. And I've been happy.

Something that continues to annoy me is when other people take my sobriety more seriously than I do. Like, I take my program and stuff seriously--but I still, as we say in the program, try to "wear life like a loose garment".

But when I'm out with other people, and they order beer and I order root beer or Dr Pepper, and they start feeling all awkward and guilty, it bugs me. Or when people stop inviting me to parties or clubbing because they just assume that I'll be a downer, or worry I'll be tempted to drink, or maybe just make them too self-conscious about their own drinking, or whatever the reasons really are, I get annoyed. or when I'm dating someone, and they find out I don't drink, that I'm sober, that I'm in AA, and suddenly the dynamic between us shifts--for whatever reasons--I get frustrated. Worst of all is when people try to hide their drinking from me--to "protect" me. That just pisses me off.

I don't know what they're motives or reasoning or intentions, and don't really care to speculate (OMFUG--that's progress...), but it sucks that it seems to keep coming up. Honestly? It's probably not worth their worry or guilt or awkardness. I'll say it again--it's not that big a deal. And ultimately, big deal or not, it's my deal.

So put a root beer in my hand, and chill.

I don't know if I'd've "achieved" this--the sobriety, yeah, but really the contentment and satisfaction and enjoyment of life--without the support of my network and my friends and my family. That was a bit saccharine, I know, but I mean it. What happiness is there in life with no one to enjoy it?

But beside that--they've helped me to learn and grow and find the integrity for all of this. And my relationships--both quantity and quality--have improved so vastly it's a bit boggling, really. But good. Really good. I'm still learning to trust people when I'm in trouble and open up & ask for help, but it's so good they're there for me when I can.

With all the good it's brought me, I can honestly say going sober and working AA has been the best decision of my life. I'm grateful. I regret nothing--except maybe never having tried a martini, but then vodka was against my principles even when I was drinking....


Other things that might interest you...

This moment: A tattoo.

So I read Mrs. Dalloway in high school, and it was perhaps the most beautiful thing I'd ever read. One passage in particular, very early in the book, hit me hard with my first experience of the sublime, and stayed with me—and led at last to my first tattoo.
In people’s eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June.  (Emphasis added; full paragraph included below. From the full text of the novel as made available by the University of Adelaide.)

The paragraph this is from, the 4th paragraph of the novel, is the 1st passage with the stream of consciousness the book is famous for; although self-limited here, the flow is no less gorgeous. In the passage, Clarissa is walking on a street to get those famous flowers herse…

Losing Doolittle.

I recently got to spend a few days at the lake house my family used to visit through most of my childhood; we no longer own it, and it turns out I missed it more deeply than I realized.

Anthony and I both got the week before NYC Pride off this year, so I contrived to get us a little time there. The cousins who own Greenshore gave Anthony and me permission to relax there for several days rather than just the 1 or 2 I had expected. Good god, I'm grateful for that.

I missed this place. Standing on the balcony, the porch, or the dock and looking out over the lake, I was reminded of the beauty and tranquility this lake represents for me. The meaning and memories, too.

This was always a place of solace and stability for me. We moved around a lot when I was a kid, but we always came back to this place. It had been in our family for generations before I was even born—if we'd been able to keep it, it would have been a solid 4 generations including mine. This was where I figured out I w…

Sarracenia 'Palmerpink.'

So I posted the other day about my rekindled carnivorous plant obsession—I mean, hobby. I mentioned, in passing, that I had "discovered" a possible cultivar, so here's the lowdown on what that means and what I meant.

The term "cultivar" is short for "cultivated variety," and signifies that a particular plant is so desirable and interesting that people want exact copies of it rather than simply seed from it. Some famous American pitcher plant (Sarracenia) cultivars include the legendary Adrian Slack, the massive Leah Wilkerson, and the classic Judith Hindle.

Part of how these come about is that, unlike horses x donkeys = mules and certain other hybrids, Sarracenia hybrids aren't sterile and can be crossed and recrossed without limit. Further, random chance can create crazy combinations of genes such that even hybrids between the same species—heck, even the same parents—can demonstrate quite the variety. More on that elsewhere.

Depending on how easy…