And then...

September of this year marked 30 years of being sober. I had quit counting the years a while back but I'd been gong through some files and ran across the Visa Slip for the rehab place and it had the date of my admission. Honestly, it doesn't seem that long ago...

...But then everything doesn't seem that long ago these days.

Anyway, back to rehab. They put me into the 'Quiet Room' as I sweated the last bottle of booze from my system and then we got down to business. I won't bore you with the details so if you want to know about what happens in rehab watch the Michael Keaton movie 'Clean and Sober'...My experience was pretty much the same. Only one thing different. They gave me a little notebook and told me to write down every illegal thing I'd ever done and I wrote down on the front page in large letters: NOT IN THIS LIFETIME.

They weren't amused.

Then came the whole group therapy part. They kept asking me why I was an alcoholic and I kept saying 'Because I drink too much.' They'd continue with 'Buy why were you drinking?' 'To get drunk.' 'Why did you want to get drunk?' 'Seemed like the best thing to do at the time.'

They really wanted me to put the blame on some incident or person or event and I refused to do so...Believe me, I could have given them a list but, in the end, nobody made me drink except me. All through the 80s I spent most of my time being stoned or drunk or somehow otherwise distracted and the reason as to why I wanted sober was an easy one: My art was suffering. I found I didn't really want to draw or paint or be creative and that scared the living daylights out of me. So, I quit. When I left rehab they told me I really, really needed to go to AA meetings or I would start drinking again. I didn't...But what I did do was get this large message board and every day I went without a drink I'd put a hash mark. For the longest time that was one big, blank white space and it was kind of depressing. 
Finally I reached my first year sober and I took the board and tossed it. I was pretty certain I could survive without booze.

Those around me, not so much. 

 The think about being sober you're going to be surrounded by those who aren't. I found my own pagan faith was enough and I found friends who were supportive and life went on. It wasn't easy and I'd lost a lot of valuable time but I rediscovered art and writing.

We write because we're not happy with our surroundings. We want to be the 'God' of our universe so we create one where we are accepted and, sometimes, we can have our happy endings. There's a whole lot more stuff in there but I'm going to do the whole 'Time Passed' and move up a couple of years. I was kind of lost. I honestly didn't know where my place in this world was and I was almost afraid to find out. I spent a summer in my dad's place outside of Casa Grande while he was in Wyoming, turned off all the noise, the television, radio, phone, and began to find myself.

And more than a few ghosts.

Literally.

Here's hint for you: If you see dead people, don't tell your doctor because they will start you on a whole list of medication, the sole purpose of being the deadening of ones brain cells. 

But I have a sister...And I almost felt sorry for the doctor who challenged my sanity. 

All that is to say that I'd been given a second chance at life...My real life...No more lies, no more hiding, no more guilt. And I reinvented my artistic dreams and made a few waves here and there. When I was young all I ever wanted was to know the 'Truth' and like a lot of people I looked toward those who always claimed to have the answers...None did. 

No one does.

I've gotten close and the 'Truth' doesn't live up to its hype. Bottom line: There are things in this world that humans hide, lies that we believe are truths, no one has the answers and strange shit will always happen and we will probably never have the answer to as what they were. 

I've discovered, for myself, this life is probably all we have and I have no time for fairy tales or false doctrines with no proof of their origins. For me, this is okay. This makes the love I have for those in my life all the more real and precious because it's here and it's now and if I'm remembered when I'm gone that's cool. If not...

...I won't know about it.

 I will leave behind a ton of art, pencil drawings, ink, paints (Not all of 'em good). Eventually they'll be gone too. My art has always been a gift of time for those who see them because of the hours and days I've spent on them and this has made my life worthwhile. Art has been my purpose in life and I've been lucky to have achieved all I've done because it was done before the internet, before everyone can simply post something they've done and be validated for whatever. I spent years trying to become a professional and most of those around me were always trying to dissuade me of my ambitions save for a few.

All this is to say I love you guys. All of you. And I'm fortunate to know this love is real and not a fantasy (As most drunken loves are) and I thank you all for being in my life. 

It's raining outside right now and I'm fighting a lung infection which is dangerous for a person with a compromised immune system. So, in case I don't get a chance to say this later:

HAPPY HOLIDAY'S. I hope you get all you ever wished for and to know love. Especially the love part.

Until next time.
Peace.

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