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Drop Out, smoke crack, Get MBA (part of story ….finally getting back to it)

Welcome to my blog. This started as fb posts about 5 years ago and then I started to hear from fellow addicts and started this blog. thank you and please start with the first post and go in order if you can.

written over a few days, then posted without edit.

Living this way is weird for an addict. Eating lots of veggies, fruits, grains, lean meats, and repeat. Yes, it’s still going on. It has gotten to a point where I can’t imagine not eating this way. The benefits of not eating like shit outweigh my curiosity regarding the chicken sandwich wars. I love chicken sandwiches, but I’ll be fine with the fried memories. Ain’t it a bitch though… pimple on my lip. I’m 50 years old and I have a pimple… while eating the healthiest I’ve ever done. I’m going to miss social distancing… someone was waking close to me at the store and I almost yelled “I don’t know you… that’s my purse!” and ran off. Looking forward to the thought of going out, having anxiety about it, finally doing it. Feeling great about doing it, feeling as if progress was made, then make plans to do something else. Get excited, then back out due to anxiety. I kid I kid… no, it sucks. Trying to get through that though. 

            Sometimes I feel like I made the most of my youth and then sometimes I feel like I wasted a decade or two by doing stand-up comedy and drinking / partying almost every night of the week. It’s a cognitive dissonance clusterfuck. Have you seen Mike Tyson lately? Holy crap… I saw a picture of Mike right now, next to one of Mike in 2003 and he looks like he’s in better shape right now. Mentally, he is so much stronger it seems. Age is really good for some personalities. Age can mellow the harshest things or it can bring moments of doubt that things will ever change. 

            I interviewed for a job that I didn’t get. I was referred by a friend so either I really blew the interview and/or he’s about to get fired. Ha ha. Good fuck. It was for a phone sales job that would have ended up being relatively awful, but a decent chance of advancement. Well, not for me. Not even a second interview. It stung, but maybe most of all because a friend had gone out of their way to help me just to get to the end of the formula, the equation to find that the answer all along was that I’m a loser. That’s how it felt. When a friend recommends you and there isn’t a second interview? Fuck man… that ain’t good. If I keep repeating this process, I’m just going to get bitter. Time has a way of doing that. I don’t know exactly what yet, but I’m going to try to make something grow. I would really like some of these blog posts to be pictures of me rolling in some cash. Ha ha. JK. The money will follow… I just don’t want to feel like I’m wasting time that I’ve already wasted by being a waste. So, I guess it’s gig work and dream chasing for a bit. Solid plan when you’re about to turn 51. Looking outside as the tomato plants grow, the morning rain steams from the warming roofs just slightly or is it just my eyes playing tricks. The sound of the neighbors WRX starts up… harmonics are no match for a 94 Chevy 350 I think to myself as I imagine the rumble of my engine. I love my Suburban. Fucking love it. Sitting in my Suburban feels safe. The seats are still so comfortable, and it has that “I could almost live in this feel.” 42-gallon gas tank that allows the brain to imagine all the places that could be seen in a tank or two, and the thoughts of changing it to electric one day, huge area in the back to store batteries… I start her up and smile. 

I’m writing this is two sittings so far… just for transparency. I really want to write about my time in San Diego and finish or complete some stuff about my time in Austin, but I really want to protect those who were around me at the time. People grow up and shit changes. I’m going to be very general regarding the supporting characters in this by design. I feel better now about proceeding but that will probably be saved for the next post. Writing for me… I hate feeling pushed or rushed but I don’t want to just procrastinate either. 

As I saw the familiar face and began to call her name, I realized that my mask was on as I was in the grocery store at the time. She turned around not wearing a mask and looking the exact same as the last time that I saw her. By the look in her eyes I could tell that she couldn’t recognize me without the facial bloating left by the alcoholic residuals that pay off in bloating and that alcoholic stare. “It’s Steven… we used to be neighbors…” Oh, wow or something like that sputtered from her mouth and we enjoyed catching up for 20 minutes or so. My eyes teared up when I explained that I hadn’t had a drink for over four years. I hate that about me. My emotions… the sadness, the inability to not cry sometimes. I really just wish that it all would go away. I apologize many times, not sobbing, not really crying, just welling up and wiping off. And apologizing as if I just shit my pants. Trying to apologize to myself while driving home and trying to figure out what that strange noise is when the Suburban gets some gas. Maybe the exhaust hitting some metal, maybe the transmission… again. 4L60E… a transmission so bad that the owners know it by name. 

Seeing someone from my past can be emotional, especially since I’ve made so many changes, so many positive steps, just waiting and trying to figure out my next move. Gotta have a dream. Gotta have some ambition. 

I’m taking a break from FB right now. It’s been a week and I’m not sure how long I’m going to stay off of it, but I had to step back from it. I found myself reading posts that my friends would write on various dumbshit threads. Holy fuck… I kept finding myself repeating that and just getting too much negativity, arguing, fucked up debating of some sort. Just a mess. Had to step back. I think I might start trying to post on Sunday nights. Maybe work on something throughout the week and post on Sunday. I’m feeling like writing lately. Artistic as fuck playa. About to jump on my Digitakt. 

Memories can just flood the brain like a fucked up reverse dopamine feel of anxiety and regret. Remembering stupid decisions and the lines of cocaine after performing at the Comedy Store in La Jolla in front of a crowd of 12 or 200… didn’t matter. It was weird how your brain could almost make you believe that everything was great. How everything was going to plan and comedy was about to work out. In the middle of addiction, having no idea if you’re even going to wake up the next day. Somas in the system, given to me for free from another comic, doing a line of coke from someone else and a free drink from the bartender. Working the door… on the fucking clock drinking followed by an after party. It can feel like everything is ok. You’re working at the Comedy Store the voice inside my head will tell me. Well, in La Jolla. Not, quite the same as working at the one in Hollywood. It’s weird how in the middle of shit you can feel like everything is ok. Like you’re living the dream. Night time is a dream and daytime is a nightmare.

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Function of Addiction / Great Quote I Heard

            “When you make certain lifestyle choices…”

Lifestyle choice… Choosing to live a certain lifestyle. It’s the choice part… the choosing part that I am beginning to see as highlighted and something that should be really thought about when you’re an addict or alcoholic. There are choices that are made and even little thoughts and voices telling you to stop, just to put the glass, bottle, cup, straw, pipe etc. down. A moment or two when the faint whisper of responsibility blows gently passed your ear of consciousness asking you to just call a cab or a friend if you still have any left and leave your surroundings. There are those moments, but they are all in the f(x) Addiction or the function of addiction.    

            There was something that I learned while studying mathematics at the Uni… (sounds so cool to say Uni… I saw that on Reddit somewhere). So stupid, but I’m laughing at the thought of me saying Uni in a conversation just waiting to see if someone will laugh at me. So funny. Anyway, there’s something in math where it doesn’t really matter what the formula or problem says.. if it has this f(x) by it… it is in the function of whatever is listed for the value of (x) or close to that. Look, I’m not a mathematician by any means, but choice or choosing implies free will. 

Does an alcoholic or an addict have free will? Yes, but only as the function of an addict can. There is always that underlying issue of limited and restrained choice. We battle our choice, because our choice was to get too fucked up, too often, too many times… because we found ourselves at a point where we couldn’t stop.

The choice or act of choosing was made for us, already in our DNA… it just needed a trigger. Is that first drink a choice? Is that first drink free will? Is that first drink a trigger? Where did the desire for that first drink come from? Was the desire a one step process or was there a seed of desire already inside of us as alcoholics that just needed to be watered and fed by commercials, music videos, imbedded into sporting events, live entertainment sponsored by… Maybe that first drink there is some remnants of free will, but like any other drug I’ve tried… I kind of wish that I never flicked that switch in my head to know how good it felt. If you never flick that switch… you’re still an addict, but you haven’t caused that switch to become a trigger.

I like a really good quote. I heard, no read one the other day on FB of all things but it really stuck with me.

“By letting go of what you thought was going to happen in your life, you can enjoy what is actually happening.”- Taylor Negron

I read that on the FB of a comic from LA… Melinda Hill. I really don’t know her but wanted to give her props. She seems really nice, and I might have met her before, but the memories associated with my nights at the Hollywood Comedy Store are really hazy. I remember some stuff, but some details are missing. Triggers are lacking. I’ve thought about that quote a lot in the last couple of weeks. A lot.

Phineas Gage was someone that we learned about in various classes while I was earning my bs in psychology. His case was fascinating for many reasons, but he basically had a steel rod blasted through his skull, but he survived. In psychology we learned that yes, he did survive, but the damage to his brain changed his personality.

That’s fascinating but it’s not why I bring it up now. I bring it up now because he survived a horrible injury, when other people can die after a small injury becomes infected or they get what appears to be a minor injury, but they bleed out internally… you never know what small injury or small event can actually take you the fuck out.

Moments in life can be like that. Huge obstacles can sometimes be easier to deal with than the smallest things. You know how to deal with big issues. Hell, they’ve been played out on television in different sitcom or drama plots or storylines. Sometimes the small things can mean a lot… a lot more than they should. The way something was said, the phrasing…. semantics. Perhaps those small moments get magnified by other variables, but they can sure get infected quickly in another way.

Someone asked me recently if I still enjoy writing. Not always, but I love it when I need it and it’s always there just waiting to be started by a thought or a question that comes to mind. When did having fun doing something become the only reason to partake…? I think that my long absences from it, how I took a long time off, continue to post without a schedule, my inconsistent style, etc. can contribute to that opinion. I don’t always like it.

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becoming the one looking at me (not part of ongoing story… just a post)

            I can remember hiding behind my mother as a child, around the age of three or so and not wanting to talk to the strange adult that was trying to coax me with baby talk. My mother would make up some excuse I’m sure so that I wouldn’t seem rude, but this basic scenario played itself out for years really, until I got a little older and would talk to others even with my numerous speech impediment type of issues. But in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade I pretty much just sat quietly by myself. I just sat there being scared and anxious. I can still remember a few of those moments, but when my mother discusses it, she begins to tear up. We don’t discuss it much, my early speech impediments. My mother would go with me to school as an interpreter until we moved to a new town during the middle of my fist grade year. When I saw my new school for the first time… it looked like a huge piece of shit compared to my shiny former school. Fuck this place.

           I’ve been diving into my anxiety recently, I do that from time to time, try to get better, try to understand a little bit clearer of where it comes from. It’s gotten much better recently, but I’ve also had huge dietary changes. Very low sugar, lots of veggies, almost no oil, no dairy, sounds boring but I’m feeling great for what I’ve done.

            Every conversation that I had until the 8th– 9th grade was a potential disaster, huge failure, possibility of teasing, bullied, and not being understood, not heard. Spoken to in a condescending manner, the look of impatience staring at you while you begin to stutter…

As I’ve mentioned before my speech issues were letter and word mispronunciation and then stuttering when I got stuck on a word and anxious regarding looking like a dumb shit. 

            I was in speech therapy for years working on how to speak, but never a single lesson or therapy session to help me deal with the constant rejection, teasing, bullying, and the look of impatience in everyone’s face as I try desperately to make my voice work like yours, but I just can’t. I had years of that and never any guidance of how to deal with the underling feeling of not being understood or heard. Then how to deal with the old feelings of social inadequacies and how to program my body not to feel the anxiety that had become just part of basic communication.

This all dawned on me while picking up after my dog while taking a walk. I laughed because I audibly said, “no shit” while I was holding a bag still warm to the touch.

            My addiction monkey is in its cage… it stopped eating cheesecake and well, maybe in its cage is a little inaccurate. Well, in the cage, but the cage door is wide fucking open. Like off the hinges and sitting over in the corner. So, I’m doing the really low sugar, lots of veggies, lean meat, extremely limited oil, no dairy… well yogurt. No butter, milk, milk, lemonade. No desserts, no fudge from the shop around the corner. I’m sorry for that. But please know that I’m smiling like an idiot right now.

            I’m eating a lot of kale, getting a farm share from the local coop and I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight. I fucked up my left wrist and my go to of doing some push-ups hasn’t been available so it’s time to ride my bike more. I’ve got to incorporate more exercise into this in order for it to work. I’ve honestly thought about trying to find some type of martial art to study in case I run into a gang of young punks as I get older. It’s weird to be able to plan for the future as if it might actually happen. I can remember being in my 30s and just knowing I’d die any day from my demons. Any fucking day, there are a couple, well a dozen or so times when I look back and wonder how I ever survived it or what I was thinking. Time can give an insight where past depressions seem so silly, as you talk them out, discuss them with yourself. It’s so difficult sometimes to just give yourself the opportunity to heal from a really old pain. Being 50 doesn’t mean that you’re still not hurt by something that happened before your teens or after, time doesn’t heal all wounds, some wounds are still there, you’ve just walked around it in your journey, but it’s still there, and that path isn’t necessarily linear in its destination and certainly not when discussing the articulatory rehearsal loop and that little voice in your head. We all have it. Look it up.

            I’ve noticed lately that I’m impatient with people… as they talk to me. If they don’t speak clearly enough, fast enough, but not too fast. I can become impatient. I need to really check myself on that, but we sometimes become what we despise, or if not become then we certainly can pick up some tendencies from the despised traits in others. Time can do that. Time can turn the child begging for patience into an impatient adult. Not remembering for a moment how it felt to receive the same treatment from others. That look from others while I spit out a collection of an unintelligible garbage mix of pig Latin toward some unsuspecting adult, them trying not to blurt out “what the fuck did you just say?” as polite as they can. I need to work on this.

 

 

 

 

 

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Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA, Post 1, Pt 1 (Austin)

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA Post 1, Part 1 (Austin)

When I started pre-school as a kid it wasn’t long before I knew something was different and wrong with me. I was broken.

I didn’t know how to talk. I would say things, but people would just look at me, and then my mother would translate for me. I would end up participating in multiple developmental reading programs and I would have many private speech tutors until the 7th grade.

By the 7th grade, the only letter that was still fucking with me was the letter r. I hate the letter r. Fuck r. I love the word kangaroo though. Kangaroo was the first and last r-word that I pronounced correctly during my experience in institutionalized speech therapy. It hasn’t occurred to me until this moment, but I said kangaroo and then I bounced out of that program. Ha ha.

It’s terrifying going through life as a young kid when there is only one person that can understand you. I would talk incoherently, and my mother would translate for me. This went on for years to a degree, but there was slow improvement over time. Very slow.

My mother became the “room mother” for my pre-school class that year and then she assumed the same role at the various schools until my family moved to Georgetown. Then, I was on my own and really, really scared to talk out loud. At my new school when the kids began to look at me funny, I told the other kids that I was from another country. They soon found out that I was lying, but what an imagination for a silent kid.

I needed speech therapy badly, but in order to participate, the children with the speech issues were herded together and removed from another required and fundamental class, like math, reading, or English. So, you have the slight improvement in speech, but now you fall behind in other classes. Now, I couldn’t talk correctly, and I started falling behind my other classmates. FML wasn’t evented yet, but I must have felt the equivalent.

For example, I was too scared to go trick or treating. I couldn’t say trick or treat correctly, and I didn’t want to be made fun of. I skipped a year, but the next year I ended up just growling at people. I could sound like a little monster and growl, so I was one for Halloween. I went as a little monster and growled for candy.

I’m just now beginning to focus on this part of my life and how the process of institutionalized speech therapy, and just having the inability to communicate with others, has correlated with my anxiety, but I think it needs to be done.

Thank you for listening.

My parents never owned guns and that’s why I’m still alive.

My sophomore year in high school was and still is the worst year of my life. Four classmates of mine stole a boat from a house down the river. I saw them in the boat that day and they told me that the boat belonged to one of their uncles. Later that day, I saw someone towing that same boat down the river, but the boat was in really bad shape now, like it had been looted. The person asked if I knew whos boat it was, and I told him that it belonged to my friends.

About a week later the police came to my school and I was interrogated by the police and the principal regarding the boat. The next day I showed up to band practice in the morning and my life changed. My seat was with the other tuba players, but this morning my chair was pushed away from the other chairs and directly on the chalkboard behind me, written in huge letters was the word “NARC”. The kids that stole the boat had told everyone that I had informed the police that they were smoking pot and that in turn, the cops had busted them for weed.

Then it started. The threatening phone calls to me. the sexually violent calls to my mother, the dead cat on my yard, being punched in the halls, slapped on the back of the neck, kids would sit behind me during football games, while I’m holding my tuba and threaten me. It was hell. All my friends left me, I was sometimes even escorted from class to class by an assistant principal and sometimes a teacher, but nothing happened to the children that were doing this to me. The scariest part was lunchtime at school. I couldn’t leave campus and I had nowhere to go to, but I found a place to hide.

I made my lunch every day and then I would open up the band hall door with my knife, by moving the locking mechanism with the blade. I then opened the door, closed it and locked it behind me. I would find an empty up-stairs practice room in the adjacent choir practice hall and I’d step into the choir practice room, lock the door behind me, turn off the light, and hide in the dark shadow, where no one could find me. I felt so safe there. I would eat my lunch in the darkness all by myself. Just me, the narc that everyone hated, alone in the dark shadows of a locked practice room that was not big enough to fit four adults. That lasted for months, but the kids were looking for me and they knew the band hall lock trick also. I would hear them hunting for me as I sat hidden in the darkness eating my sandwich. No chips. Chips make noise.

Then, a band director caught me, and I got into trouble for breaking into the choir hall. I began to miss a lot of school, I stopped marching in the band, claiming a back injury, and I had to go to summer school again. But summer school was in another town and they didn’t know me. I made some friends and having that time in summer school really helped. I was liked again and met friends that were nice, but I had changed and my trust towards people had been altered. I started to drink and experiment slightly with drugs. They made me feel good. Finally, something made me feel good.

Why didn’t I fight back? I was under 5 feet tall and scared. My parents obviously knew something was wrong, but I didn’t tell my parents the extent of my abuse and what was going on, because who the fuck wants to tell their mother and father that they are getting beat up and are too scared to go to school. I’d rather have shot myself in the fucking head. Better yet, I would have loved to have shot those four motherfuckers in the head. I’m so glad that my parents didn’t have guns.

I’d be dead and so would those four other kids.

During my mid-20s I became a real-estate agent. It was the perfect plan. I had just flunked out of college and I was lost, depressed and about 6 months away from my first weekend long coke binge.

This was B.C. (before cameras), so you could get away with murder if you worked in a bar (late night parties until the morning with the doors locked) or in real-estate, it basically meant that you were never going to be homeless, but not necessarily due to personal monetary gain. When I became a real-estate agent they gave me an MLS key that would open the lock boxes all over Austin, of any vacant house that was on the market. I fully took advantage of this.

I had parties in a few vacant homes and met my first big dealer, who is dead now. That was the worst decision of my life, getting hooked up with that dude. That’s the closest that I ever got to being a straight up bad guy. I was right there on the edge of no turning back. He was out of Tarrytown in this crazy house where a local, bass playing legend was dealing heroin in the basement apartment.

I saw kilos go in and out and beatdowns every once in a while. I fucked up once and got beat down in front of about 6 people. I did the last line of coke that was on the plate and apparently that was a no-no. That house was part of my life for about 2 years until the dude got busted. I overdosed in that place once, but I was lucky and came out of it.

Well, gotta hit the books.

The difference between crack and freebase is zip code. I learned that in Austin. If you were using cocaine that way, back then, it was crack on the east-side of town, but in Tarrytown it wasn’t crack. It was freebasing. It wasn’t a crack house. That was a big house with a Porsche 928 in the driveway. Yeah, the one like in Scarface with those fucking headlights that flip around crazy and shit.

This wasn’t crack head central. This was a house with drug-addicted call-girls (heroin) going in and out of the residence for Mike to fuck. This was a house where local musicians or a random local celebrity might be seen at some weird hour. Mike was a weird guy. Mike had been burned over a lot of his body during a misunderstanding involving a mason jar full of gasoline, a match, and Mike. Apparently, Mike had pissed some people off years before. They rang his doorbell and when he answered the door, they smashed a mason jar, that was full of gas on Mike’s head and lit him on fire when he was out cold.

Mike had burn scars on his body that would poke out from under his shirt and reach toward his missing ear. Mike had scars, bitches, cars, coke, and everything figured out. Mike knew it all. I was set playa, I knew Mike.

I’ve never known depression like what I experienced when I flunked out of college the first time. I was a budding alcoholic that didn’t understand the panic attacks, what they were, or even what to call them. I was just crazy.

I would sit in my bed at night and rock back and forth with my eyes closed, but they never really closed. The light always was able to shine through my eyelids. Not really of course, but that is what it felt like. These bright lights going off inside my head while I tried to sleep.

As I was laying still under the covers my body felt as if it was inside one of those parking lot, amusement park rides called “The Zipper!” That is what it felt like. A less violent version of “The Zipper!”, but while trying to sleep and with a job to try to find the next day.

I tried medication, which just made me a zombie. I loved it for about a month or two, but believe it or not the zombie life has its drawbacks. Booze helped a lot if I drank enough, but I couldn’t drink enough and function, plus it didn’t help me with the depression.

The depression was the loneliest time of my life. High School sucked, I had made some friends in college, but fucked that up, and in my mind EVERYONE was doing better than me in life and now the Dallas Cowboys are doing training camp in Austin and throwing another hundred or so well-paid young men in the mix to fuck up the already dwindling possible female alcoholics and soon to be addicts to party with on 6th street.

I was 23 years old and I was just over it.

I was always a Bar-back, never a Bartender. Well, I did bartend, but not for very long and not very well. I don’t perform well when people are looking at me when I’m not 100% sure of what I am doing. I get distracted and so nervous during those close encounters with people.

You wouldn’t think that working on 6th Street would be so stressful, but back then you would generally be working with an annoyed bartender who knows EVERY line from the movie “Cocktail” and sits there practicing bar tricks, discussing the importance of well cut bar fruit, making sure the bar-back had enough Zima stocked or two rows of Corona, labels out, ice topped off in the well, and making sure that the bar-back is in pain by the time that the shift is over. Then you have to worry about the roided-out security guy that wants to play “nut-check” as some type of non-erotic testicular tapping that is prevalent in these jobs. It’s just stupid.

I could make a drink so smooth at home, but if I was on 6th Street trying to bartend I just had such a hard time remembering what and how much went into a drink that I just couldn’t do it under the allotted time. According to the regulation Olympic stopwatch that was usually being used for some reason during a bartender test.

Why do I mention my inability to bartend under pressure? I had just flunked out of college, which is a shame that resonates within the family and spills out of the house into the street for everyone to see and discuss. Loved ones begin doing amazingly fast calculations regarding how much money they spent and wasted in order for the college dream to be crushed by my alcoholism and these panic attacks that weren’t called panic attacks yet. It was called I’m really broken, and I don’t know why. It’s important to emphasize the destruction of self-efficacy. Self-perception and self-efficacy is where “fake it till you make it” can really fuck you up. It’s like a cat pretending not to look hurt, so that it’s not mauled by other animals when it’s assumed weak. If you fake it till you make it when mental health is concerned, the ending can be really fucking bad playa. The end. The inability to bartend wasn’t the only issue.

My first impressions are just awful. Multiple Migs has a better first impression than I do. I now just try to say as little as possible without seeming like a complete douchebag and I’m not doing well at it. I need more practice, but I don’t like meeting people. It’s scary as fuck to me. I have to practice first impressions due to my anxiety.

Then, when the meeting happens things need to be very close to how I imagined it, while practicing it. Everything in its place during that. Nobody just coughed or said something just before I said hello. I have their name written down three places, but now my shirt is stupid and I picked up a snail on the sidewalk outside and moved it to the bushes so that it wouldn’t get crushed, because since I know it’s there and it does get crushed then it’s the same as if I just crushed it, but I didn’t wash my hands before I shook his hand. His hand will smell like a snail. I hope that wasn’t a stinky snail because then he’ll think that I have stinky snail hands. How do I bring that up in a casual way? “You know I actually pick up snails to save them from getting crunched. I’m a good person. That’s why your hand smells like snails.” “Smell your hand. Snail?” “No, I actually asked if you were able to find parking ok.”

Unfortunately, that’s not far from one of my first impressions. It’s just awful.

So, I barely graduated high school, flunked out of college, I’m having panic attacks, ulcers, and I can’t bartend. I’m not smart enough. By this time, I’m just panicking. WTF am I supposed to do? I’m worthless and my first impressions are horrible, which leads to fucked up interviews. I have no chance in life, matter of fact, the only time that I’m cool and fun is when I’m drunk, but that’s only until I pass out. Then I’m just me and I suck. I can’t do anything, and I shake sometimes while trying to sleep. I’m 23 and I just hate everything that there is about being Steven Kendrick. Why did I have to be short, stupid, balding, and without anything in the world that was going to turn it around. So, I just drank every night until I blacked out, until the next day started. Then I would put my dirty Maggie Maes shirt back on and go to work as a barback. There was this girl that I met though, and she knew this dude that would make money taking polaroid pictures of people while they were on 6th street. He sold all types of things.

I want you to know how I got to where I did. How I ended up at Mike’s house and how I eventually became a crack-head (or Freebase Fanatic on the nice side of town) for a few years. Don’t worry, the ending is really good. I end up getting multiple college degrees, but the path is fucked up and scary as shit. I have no idea how I’m still here in this world. It just doesn’t make sense. When thinking back to those days, I’m about to start my real-estate career and perform stand-up comedy for the first time. Well, the second time, but I never told anyone about the first time when I was 19. I’m also about to become roommates with John Rabon and move next door to a one-stop shop of 24-hour drugs.

BTW- I talked with Rabon before I started writing about our time as roommates and he gave me his permission. Yes, I asked for his permission to discuss that time in our lives. John is a great guy and I feel a lot of guilt in regard to John. A lot.

Drop Out, smoke crack, Get MBA: Wait, do kittens eat depression?

Thank you and welcome to my blog. This all started as random posts discussing my addictions. Please start with the first post and go in order if you can.

I’ve really grown to like more music than I used to, but I still don’t like a lot of popular bands etc, that I actually hesitate to mention because people take that shit crazy personal. Like they were playing the bass themselves or had a family member who wrote the songs for the band. I’ve enjoyed making music and being part of some forums etc. Online groups or forums can be hit or miss depending on the subject. Anything car related is a bloodbath, way beyond the RTFM of some groups, some can just be brutal. I belong to a Chevy group and some music related groups, instruments and shit, but I’ve joined many for a week or less. Hop into a group about cars… good luck… depending on what type of people in there but damn it can get rough. Funny, funny as hell sometimes, but bullies can be hilarious at times. That sucks. When you’re getting bullied by someone that’s actually funny while doing it. Weird to get punched or wedgied while your bully has set-ups, punchlines, and impeccable timing. Mom jokes are usually a great opener for a bully. I love mom jokes. 

I tend to get up early, I think that goes with getting older. Looking at the dog napping on my knee brings a slight bit of playful jealousy to my mind just watching him breathe and then as fast as that he heard something and was awake. He’s a good boy. I’d hate to think of where my life would be without a dog. I wouldn’t sleep as well. I’m 50 and I still get a little scared at night. “what was that?” going through my head. I’ve seen too many movies, news stories, documentaries… look dogs are great for walks, sitting on the couch, playing with outside, but also just to be able to fucking sleep a little without waking up to every fucking noise. It’s like there’s no break from the worrying. There’s always something to worry about. A dog takes away so many worries. “What was that noise?” The dog seems fine… his eyes become a litmus test. But then you have to worry about the dog, but those thoughts are best to be explored when the moment demands it and really not much before then. Plenty of time later.

Music creation can be extremely rewarding. I don’t know any full songs on guitar, but I know some cool parts to songs… a riff of this… a chord of that… it’s enough to feel kind of bad ass for a minute. It works amazingly well for a short-term good mood boost. I’ve enjoyed every groove box or drum machine that I’ve touched, but I’ve sold the vast majority of them. I’m not a collector… I can’t afford to be a collector. I might mess with one for a month, week, day, year, two years and then sell it. I usually make a few bucks, but not much more to be honest. I’m not moving the type of volume or quantity of gear for profit really… just a short-term relationship with a neat guitar pedal or low-level sampler, drum machine, but my experience with these things and seeing what works for me has been worth it. Trying to develop musically is difficult when you’re a hater. I don’t like most of my music. I like a bit of this or maybe how I did something on a track, but I love the process. I love that there’s still so much to learn and that I can do it all by myself. 

I’m sure you’ve heard the Dick Clark quote that goes kind of like “music is the soundtrack to our past… or to our memories” or fucking something close to that. It’s true. That can be good and bad. Songs can trap moments with them… almost like a weird time capsule or Hellraiser box… filled with who the fuck knows. A song can bring a smile or an eventual flood of emotions either happy or sad. 

I’m deactivating as much social media as possible. Well, I’m deactivating it for a while. Or at least the ones that are just poison for my sanity. FB and Nextdoor. I feel like I’m doing ok. I’m fine, but with a slight bit of not fine. “Everything is good”, but I feel like things being good is surrounded by a glass bubble and on the outside of that glass bubble is an infinite amount of space occupied by “everything is not good”. It’s fragile. I’m working hard to try to strengthen that. Eating right, trying to get sleep, but I’m getting a little less than usual. 

I went out and saw some art. At night… ahh yeah. It was an outdoor thing with art for sale that had price tags that were out of my budget. Like the tag itself. Couldn’t afford the tag right now. Ha ha the ebb and flow of life. Getting through the pandemic it feels, I’ve had the funky cold moderna shot twice and will miss that joke immensely. Funky cold moderna… I’ve been trying to be positive as I mentioned above. I’m doing good, but I’m having to keep myself from dwelling on the past, which is difficult when doing this… but I like writing. And I’ve missed it. But it can take its toll due to the nature of memories. Time can fuck with your head or can really clear the clouds away where the reality of the former situation becomes clearer. How nice you were one day… or how truly mean a comment was that you might have said to a person or 2… in front of 200 other people… while being on stage. Some people can gloss over their past actions or indiscretions but mine haunt me like a motherfucker. It’s awful. A lot of the memories that play in my head day after day are bad little comments that I’ve made to people or times that I’ve fucked something up. That happens a lot and honestly I don’t know if everybody else has that much of a negative loop of self-hating content consisting of past times where they were the bully in a verbal sense. I miss stand up, but I don’t miss the atmosphere and culture of it. I don’t miss who I became when I was getting ready for a show, during, or afterwards. I do miss feeling that special. The temporary love from a stranger that doesn’t know your name, but is wanting to buy you a drink because you made them laugh. I really miss being told by a stranger that I’m good at something. Maybe that was something about school that I liked. I haven’t really thought about it until now. 

Oh yeah… I’m leaving FB and Nextdoor. FB is toxic as fuck. Rowdy Rebel is right about computers man. No shit. What he says can be applied in different scenarios, but holy fuck I’m tired of FB. I look at my feed and its filled with comments that friends of mine have made on different opposing viewpoint pages, groups, whatever the case may be. So, now I get a brief snippet of their argument or debate on whatever the fuck it might be… political usually… and both way off base… according to me (not an expert) then I get trapped into reading, get pissed off and find myself having an internal argument, in my own head mind you… with someone from the FB chat that I’m not even part of… but now my imagination is going wild, I’m in a fantasy debate with two people, one that I’ve never met and now Oprah is moderating? What the fuck and how did this happen? And please remember this is all just in my head… mental theater that is written, directed, and produced my myself in my cranium. Fuck… yeah so Oprah is making me give up FB. Good fuck. What is wrong with me…? 

Oh, Nextdoor… got to GIVE that shit up. Holy fuck I hate Nextdoor. It’s nothing but sadness, madness, stupidity and a few nice posts about dogs finding their way home. I’ll give ND that for sure… it is like a fucking Disney movie sometimes… Lady and the Tramp type of shit, but… that is the outlier. Nextdoor is filled with hate, small mindedness, awful fighting, and abandoned dogs… maybe your neighborhood is different, but holy fuck I just can’t take the arguing anymore… Honestly, I don’t want that shit in my brain. I don’t want to know the political thoughts of my neighbors or what they wanted to share… every ten minutes, of what they’re interested in… I like my neighbors to smile and wave if they want to while I’m walking my dog. That’s it. Well, if they have a dog and it’s nice, cute, and gets along with my dog they can butt sniff and we can chat about their flowers or yard or whatever college team is represented in their front yard by a banner, flag, gnome, bumper sticker… I’ll find something to break the ice while my dog starts to poop. I’ll be picking up brown eggs left by my fuzzy bunny while scanning like The Usual Suspects movie… looking for something… oh, you went to Tech? My brother… blah blah blah… did you ever go to Fat Dawgs? Blah blah… speaking of fat dawgs I better get this little guy on the rest of his walk…

I want that relationship with my neighbors. That or just nothing. No talking. That’s cool as fuck to. ND sounds cool when you first start using it. Get to know your neighbors… community… fuck that shit… 

I’m just going to take some time away from FB and ND for a while. Probably never go back to ND, but we’ll see. Having so much information about friends and neighbors allows for this magnified micro judgement to occur, but it’s really not accurate. The accuracy is dependent of the information. The information is just comprised of posts from friends and neighbors. Can friends and neighbors articulate their true feelings in an effective way? Probably not. I know that I can’t a lot of the time. We all spew shit from time to time I think. 

I have so much to write about and I want to get back to some San Diego, working at The Comedy Store, Ocean Beach Comedy type of stories but I also don’t want this post to go on forever. 

Holy fuck I found a tiny kitten trying to cross a stretch of road that is usually quite busy… there was a weird lull in the traffic as I saw a piece of black plastic bag, or maybe one of those small, really small black plastic shopping bags that get handed out by the clerks at a head shop right after they pack the bowl or pipe in a paper bag rolled up around it, maybe some tape to attached the very end of the rolled up paper bag with the pipe inside for there to be a seal, then the pipe inside the paper bag is placed in the small black plastic bag. I thought I might have seen one of those crossing the road, but then as I got closer it looked like a rat. “Holy fuck, a rat” I was thinking to myself… “even in the nice areas” I think again. Then a car almost hits the rat… I turn and glance over but it’s not a rat… it’s a little, tiny, teeny, kitten. It has tiny teeth and can bite the fuck out of a nipple. Probably the nipple of a bottle also… ha ha I kid… I kid… no, she / he (not sure) is bottle feeding but has tiny teeth. I saw that it was a kitten and I turned my truck around as fast as I could… stopped the truck diagonally intentionally blocking two lanes of traffic. Now, I was going to grab the kitty… I grabbed it off the street and it hissed at me, I laughed a little, saw its eyes and knew that I had a new kitten. “Do you have a towel?”

I look over to the left and there’s a car  slowly stopping, but not really. “Do you have a towel” and from inside this well taken care of, but just regular maintenance, cheapest oil changes, fading paint older Mazda 626… 90s model. It’s only still on the road because she has always paid for the regular maintenance to be done, cheapest tires, drove slowly, and took the bus mostly… biked around town when she could probably. Low miles, but sun damage as if it had been parked outside of an apartment complex since it was new… maybe it was a graduation present from grad school many years before… the face without makeup or features that I can remember, but with a welcoming sense that exuded an empathetic  aura, as if she had been the first responder to a kitty in the street situation before… she also seemed busy… on the way to a meeting of fellow whatever she did… artsy… maybe… I’ll never know. She handed me the towel and I wrapped it around my new friend. In all of the stress, in all of the chaos, the moment of trash, rat, tiny kitten face I had forgotten that I was depressed. I had forgotten that I was busy being down about what I had thought was going to be happening in my life right now. I’m still working towards a business goal that has a good chance of failing as businesses with very little capital tend to do, but I’m going to enjoy the moment whatever it is… because it will be gone and will be turned into a memory. I’d rather remember failure than remember me be too scared to fail. I should have that down by now. Debating whether to proofread. Probably just listen to it. 

Isabelle is her name. My new cat… kitten. Tiny kitten meow meow face might be said every once in a while. I love making up little songs that have my pets names in them, and I guess that most pet owners do. Isabelle is 4-5 weeks old and eating a mother -babycat food regimen. The vet recommended it. This tiny little kitten face looking up at me has been really good… therapeutic. I react well to tiny kitten depression therapy it seems. I’ve been remembering and thinking about San Diego and Ocean Beach a lot in the past week, but then Isabelle happened. Now, I have this tiny, helpless, kitty… but not for long, I mean I’m keeping her but she will grow up soon and then become a spoiled demanding kitty. That’s kind of the plan so as I’m getting meowed at several times a day by the other cats that I’ve turned into family members, I’ll try to remember that this was the goal… to spoil a kitty that needed to be spoiled… they had already been through enough really scary shit for a little meow meow face.  

Cheesecake Monkey and Houston Ice (not part of series)

            My addiction monkey found cheesecake… then he found out that there are amazing bakeries all over Houston that feature all kinds of cheesecake and other delicious things… cookies, tarts, holy fuck my addiction monkey went fucking crazy for a little while there. Calling my favorite spots… “What type of cheesecake do you have today?” oh…. Not my favorite, but it will do. Then as I get there the last piece gets taken. Stolen… the last piece… even though being purchased with a valid credit card from the person in front of me… she just stole my cheesecake… “but I called and asked…” I thought about saying, but did I really want to get that crazy? How bad is this going to get? Is it like cocaine where I’ll eventually be walking 4 miles to a spot because I’m too drunk to drive, then ask a stranger in a bathroom “that I heard he sells cheesecake… can I have a slice?” Maybe. The answer is a definite maybe.

It’s both entertaining and frightening to notice some of the same behavioral patterns develop with cheesecake and then later cookies, and really good cake from small-batch bakeries as would with trying to score an 8 ball or tasting an expertly cooked rock of crack. The pride in knowing the difference between small-batch cake and the defrosted from frozen store-bought bullshit that really is only around for kids, office parties for “those people we don’t care for much and thanks for leaving before you got fired” and then I guess people that don’t just dive in and wonder… how good could a piece of cheesecake be though? And then start chasing it. 

Slice after slice for months this went on… gaining a little weight but not much really… still a 30 waist. But I think I liked letting my addict side just go run around the park and play for a bit. “Go play in Cheesecake Park for a little while, you cute little addiction monkey!” It’s relatively safe if you can remember to step back… or if you have someone there to help you notice that your monkey has escaped its cage and has been calling the same bakery now in month 6 of this binge of bountiful baked goods, the drive-thru Black Forest at Common Bond is so playful and fun I just want to shove it in a glass pipe and grab a bic lighter. There’s a Yelp.

Now, with an abruptness that would cause waiters to spill their trays on a sailing vessel I am now eating healthy again. Crazy so. It’s a healthy heart diet type of thing. I’m getting older and my youth took the brunt of the storm so now I’m eating things like butternut enchiladas, tiny smoothies, and steel cut oats. Lots of fresh veggies, low oil, and lots of coffee.

I love being able to write whenever I want to. Hmmm actually I don’t always make it to the keyboard in time to write when the urge hits to be honest.  

No power for a couple of days in Houston… cold, but manageable, base layers, wool socks, and at least there was a gas stove. I’m sitting at my desk wondering about the cold and its victims, but I can’t stop thinking about Vincent Jackson. He was a player with the Chargers while I was working around the organization in San Diego, and I never said more than a few words in passing here and there. He was always nice enough. I never would have believed that he had and alcohol problem. To read that it was longitudinal and chronic enough to be a factor in his death just makes me extremely sad. I worked for a radio show in San Diego that was trying to make the jump to internet TV before it was huge. It was a small staff, like 6 or 7 of us… and I was right in the middle of having a horrible drug habit mixed with a voracious appetite for alcohol and cocaine. Doing lines in porta johns while attending a tailgate party… and it got worse than that at times. Fuck, it hurts to know that VJ was an alcoholic, going through a lot of the same things many of us have, plus whatever trauma he was going through every season being a professional football player, and wasn’t able to get to the other side of addiction / alcoholism, where you can mark the years since your last drink. Or maybe he did and relapsed… there are so many ways it happens… a few months of going to AA can fill your brain with hours and hours of stories about former alcoholics that just didn’t make it. So sad. The commercials for alcohol will be aired during the next NFL season either way. 

Houston is cold and dark without the electricity flowing through the city, lighting up the night, warming the homes, waking up to the eerily silent sound of having your power shut off. It’s an odd quiet, noticed by the lack of sound coming from a ceiling fan, confirmed by the absence of the clock belonging to the microwave. I have familiarity with this sound from my many years of making minimum wage and performing stand-up comedy. I know this sound well. I know this silence well I should say. It’s a trigger… it brings me back mentally to struggling with other minimum wage-earning roommates as we try to figure out what we can pawn or what the others might not notice gone. 

I have a different understanding and philosophy regarding technology, business, and life in general, the rule or roll of government in our lives etc. Technology should serve us. When a robot or artificial intelligence has developed enough to do your job then you should still earn ¾ of your wage, get lots of time off and be happy that you won the robot lotto, and some free training and job placement… maybe just a part-time since you’re still getting ¾ of your paycheck. “Mr. Kendrick… this robot and technology in general has made your job obsolete… here is ¾ of your salary per year, but for the other ¼ of your salary please come in and oil the robot here and here every other Thursday and enjoy your week.” Woo-Hoo! Maybe that could work.

Houston is cold, but I’m in my bedroom with an extra-long extension cord stretching out the back door all the way towards the backyard, under a patio umbrella to protect it from the occasional rain, sleet, snow, etc is my Champion 2000w generator / invertor. It helps keep my space heater going, a coffee maker chugging, a lamp, and an ability to charge electronics. I bought that thing years ago just in case. It was ready to be a hero. It was ready to shine. It had a full tank of premium gas and Royal Purple synthetic oil in the chamber…6hjyg is what gets typed when your cats jumps on your keyboard.

I’ve been taking a break from writing, but not from being creative and as I gain more time away from drowning in alcohol my mind continues to get a clearer and getting through another circumstance such as this winter storm only adds to the self-efficacy, making it seem a little easier to keep going down this path. I like writing in bursts.

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA…Four Years Without Alcohol

(written over several days  weeks… short bursts of writing) (not part of ongoing series)

Four years! I’ve made it without a drink for four years!!! 

I couldn’t make it past four hours, unless I was sleeping, before I finally decided that I had enough of that lifestyle. Now, I’m making it past yet another annual reminder. It feels amazing to have accomplished this goal… but I’m still an alcoholic and I’m still in recovery. I dove too deep when I went exploring… I’m still fragile. I told someone the other day that I still feel like I’m in recovery. They looked back with a puzzled expression… The wandering mind of an alcoholic…

I was just kind of staring out into nothing, thinking about the abuse… the torment. It just flashes so fast when I see the name of some of them. It will happen every once in a while, on Facebook. I’ll see the “suggested friends” or whatever it says and then the name and a much older face, sometimes an older version of the same bully or sometimes I can’t even tell who the fuck it is, even though for whatever reason they were one of my bullies. I had quite a few.

The redness in my face, the fight or flight racing through my body, the anxiety rush, all hitting, but then subsiding as it does. It subsides faster as the years go by, I hypothesize. Seems to anyway. I just stare at the face and then click on the profile… looks like an idiot. Trump flag flying idiot, still in the small town, no chance of ever leaving, escaping, but blissfully posting about “libtard dems” etc… I think about how lucky I am that I wasn’t welcomed into the group back in school. Thinking internally, “Thank God that I had been abused and bullied enough that staying there, in that small town, made absolutely no fucking sense. No fucking sense at all.”

When you’re a tiny kid with a speech impediment… and you’re the new kid in a first-grade class in some small town in Texas, it’s amazing how a tiny brain knows that they are in a bad situation. You know that shit just aint right. My new school and I was already in two fights my first day. Well, I was getting punched. Not really fighting. I couldn’t speak correctly; I was broken, and those kids beat me up because of it. I was in speech therapy until 7th grade. That’s a lot of hell… and High School was worse. The abuse that I endured for years, the heavy drinking beginning, the hard drug use, the anxiety, the suicidal dreams. It was so bad, but it began to get easier to process as an educated adult with a degree in psychology and a desire not to drink. A desire not to die. 

It’s been four years since my last drink, but I still feel like I’m in recovery. No relapses, but still on thin ice. Strength through fragility… just knowing how weak I am makes me stronger. I know that I’m damaged, in need of repair, shouldn’t be pushed too much… even with the passing of this anniversary I’m an alcoholic that doesn’t drink. I’m an addict.

The time that goes by heals slowly and the days that pass without drinking tend to accumulate like snowflakes or like resin in a pipe… my life has been so fucking weird, so destructive, so anxious, so nervous, so scary to be a part of and to watch from afar. Addiction and education are what stick out when I think of the last decade, the last four years have been just hanging to a life preserver… feeling good about my chances but knowing all the stories about the circling sharks. 

I try not to think about the past too much unless I’m writing, but I think that we all have moments where we drift away, thinking initially about good thoughts… presents during a special Christmas or some crazy times with friends, but then the thoughts begin to become dark… sad, thoughts of abuse, embarrassment, times when I was mean, times when I was victimized… it’s difficult to go there… to that place in my brain, but it’s a bit more familiar now at 50 then it was when I was in my 20s… I’d just drink it away back then, but now it’s almost like I’m thinking about a different person in my thoughts of how I processed life as a drunk. My alcoholism is a war. My war. I’m winning right now… strength through fragility.

This post took a long time to write for very little content. I kept waiting to have something deep to write or some huge epiphany, but instead I just ended up writing short bursts of thought, thinking, “no, that’s not quite it.” And then stopping.

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA: San Diego post 2

 That drive from Austin to San Diego was a really long drive. We were in a mid 80s Subaru wagon that had just had some work done to it and the mechanic promised us that it would make it, but we were still concerned. Going across Texas, seeing the hill country turn into the desert… trees disappear for a while replaced by shrubs and cacti, different colors, landscapes, all contributing to the minds ability to wonder… my mind usually goes to self-abusive inner dialogue really fucking quick.

I’ve learned kind of how to spot it now when it begins to manifest and usually I can stop that inner dialogue from becoming the precursor for possible depression like symptoms or, especially when I was younger and certainly at this point in 2002 my mind and inner dialogue could easily contribute to depression. I still have to stop that inner dialogue… which is much easier with a few degrees under my belt. “You’re so fucking stupid.” “You’re completely worthless.” are both things that I catch me saying to myself still. That’s no way to talk to yourself. If I can just remove that negativity… which is a tall order, I’ll be doing so much better, I keep thinking in my head as if those positive thoughts somehow push out the harmful negativity. I have though reduced that inner dialogue simply by not being afraid to spot it, address it, think about some academic accomplishments, and laugh it off. That’s what I do.

Back in 2002 it was hard to laugh on that trip though, but if you ever have to drive across the country with someone, Man-Boobs is your guy. We had some joints rolled up, ready to eat if needed, but we didn’t bring that much weed. Shit, we were pretty broke overall… we had worked at this phone survey job together, saving for an apartment’s deposit and first months rent, deposits for lights, etc… just trying to somehow make it to San Diego where we could just start over.

We were both running away from shit… trying to escape from Austin, from our old lives, old way of doing things. On the way there we keep ourselves busy by listening to Man-Boobs amazing cd collection filled with jazz, beastie boys, tribe called quest, and all kinds of other artists, or by plotting how we were going to become great comedians and meet lots of cool people, do amazing shows, and hang out in Hollywood. Our friend Mack was still in Austin though, he was on probation for shrooms so he couldn’t leave yet, but we were starting to talk about him coming out to California also. The drive was usually fun, full of joking around, but it was a veneer for us both since it’s not like we were leaving Austin the right way. 

Man-Boobs was running away from local notoriety in a way. Everyone in Austin knowing him from the morning show… from being the morning show dork that got made fun, ridiculed, and then eventually publicly fired. This was a new opportunity, but it was still an escape. 

My experience was different. I had pissed off so many different people in Austin that I couldn’t even keep track of it. I learned later from Mack that there was actually more heat on me at the time than I really even knew or was aware of. It seemed like I had left just in time, but I was running away from myself and my problems without really knowing or addressing my problem with alcohol. I knew that I was a heavy drinker, but an alcoholic? No… my problem was cocaine. Now, yes sometimes I would say to myself “Steven you have a drinking problem.” But that would get lumped into the same category of internal dialogue where “You’re stupid.” or where “You don’t do anything right and no one really likes you.” live. I just lumped any internal dialogue regarding alcoholism there. Now, it’s hard to do that with crack or heavy coke use. It’s hard to not see the potential problems or obstacles created by becoming a coke or crack addict with crack addict really taking that number one position, but I was pretty sure that part of my life was behind me. 

I was leaving Austin under really bad circumstances. I owed people money, a couple of people wanted me hurt really bad… two girls that I had dated were really pissed off at me and their boyfriends were even more so. I’ll never do that again… be that dude. I knew it was wrong at the time, I knew the dudes would get mad. I knew that eventually shit would hit the fan and that there was a good possibility that one of two, not huge guys, but bigger than me and I was a heavy smoker, coke user, alcoholic… not that hard to kick my ass at that point. It’s hard to leave with that much baggage. I found myself looking over my shoulder all the time, wondering who was going to find me out at a show somewhere, it was just awful, but I did it to myself. Well, that’s true but I did these things while really being knee deep in alcoholism. Alcoholism is really bad when it’s not the focus… when cocaine abuse is taking center stage and alcohol seems like a safe alternative. Everything seemed like a safe alternative. Hell, powder cocaine was a safe alternative to smoking crack. 

When I think back to 2002 it’s difficult to admit many of these moments and thoughts but the anthropology of my addiction is fascinating to me. The way that the relationship with cocaine and alcohol resembles a bell curve with their tales ending together, but how do I even think that way? Thinking of Bell curves? Education… going to the University of Houston, so is education the missing variable? No, I was exposed to education as a young man at the appropriate college age… maybe the missing variable is time, experience, but thinking back I’m still glad that I left Austin when I did. I couldn’t escape my problems or run away but I was able to breathe a little easier once my nerves began to settle, but that took a while. Man-Boobs and I had been in Ocean Beach for 12-14 hours or so already I guess and I had already had a panic attack, thinking I was having a mini mental breakdown, in the middle of our new apartment, which wasn’t really an apartment like the advertisement had described it to be. No, this wasn’t a one bedroom… it was one-room, and it wasn’t technically an apartment since they had weekly rates instead of monthly rates… and the neighbors weren’t so much neighbors as they were just out of jail or waiting to score some tweek from next door. 

I had been running away from trouble and when we moved into Ocean Beach, I was about to move next to the last fucking thing I needed to be close to.

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA: San Diego post 1

This is part one of San Diego, but it all started in Austin. To go to the beginning click here

I don’t really like change, but it was 2002 and I was just saying fuck it…I was going to move to San Diego and start a new life there. I had a friend who started to work at the Comedy Store in La Jolla and had been telling Man-Boobs and I about it. Yeah, Man-Boobs from the KLBG Morning show “Dave and Chad with Katie in the Morning” and Man-Boobs was their intern. He was heading out to San Diego with me since we really didn’t have much better going on in Austin at the time and Austin hadn’t quite blown up yet. We were both working at a telephone survey job trying to save money to just get the fuck out of Austin, out of Texas… just to try something else, anything else.  

My anxiety had become so bad though at that point that I remember thinking how nice it would be to be able to go to Tijuana and buy some valium. Like a big bottle… just like the bottles that my friend Art used to bring back and then make a pyramid gluing the bottles together in order to display the valium bottle pyramid on his kitchen table when we were doing lines and pills. I figured that I’d buy valium cheap and relax on the beach. Weird thing is I never even went to Tijuana for any narcotic at all. Not even once in the nine years that I lived in Ocean Beach.

Ocean Beach, San Diego is or was at the time an amazing little hippie town on the coast of southern California. It’s a magical, amazing place full of amazing people, assholes, beautiful beaches, broken glass, bikini clad women, tweakers, kind locals, mean addicts, nice drunks, drum circles, circling helicopters looking for the murder, 2pm… go grab the Hodad burger. 

I feel an instant connection with any person that has lived in Ocean Beach. It’s just that type of place, but that being said I didn’t know that at the time and I was crying in my apartment on my first night there in paradise. Crying and shaking with my anxiety wrapping around my body as my arms grab my folded legs… I just keep rocking back and forth and fall asleep. Man-Boobs had already woken up and was out exploring. I woke up in a sweat induced panic attack and began to swan dive into an anxious moment just rocking to the beat of my own anxious mind band as Man-Boobs opened the door. “Dude! WTF? It’s amazing outside!… You ok?”

No, I wasn’t ok. I had just traveled from Austin to San Diego and I woke up… still a fuck up. No, motherfucker, I’m not ok. 

Why did I leave Austin? I had to. Too many people knew me and for the wrong reasons. I owed a couple of dealers money etc. But I’ll get to that next.

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA: Where are my jeans? Addicts coping with loss…(random post, not part of series)

to read the ongoing series click here

I still can’t find my jeans. These aren’t cheap jeans either, not that you can find cheap ones anymore, but these are above $100 a pair, jeans. I was nervously trying to find them, worrying about it, going through all my stuff with the subtilty of a COPS tv show drug bust, just ripping shit apart trying to find these damn jeans, when it dawned on me… I could snort that, $100, in one night EASY back in the day. I thought about the 8 balls I’ve bought over the years, the money right up my nose or mixed with baking soda… all the drinks, crazy nights… just hemorrhaging whatever cash I had from bar-backing or doing comedy. I stopped worrying about my jeans. Losing some jeans? Pffft. At least it wasn’t money lost doing blow.

Former hard-core drug use, abuse, addiction doesn’t have a lot of upside, but that is one of them and I know that I’ve mentioned this before, but it makes it easier to deal with brief and minor monetary loss when you know damn well that you wasted more money than that in one night of partying many, many times.. My brain always goes to the cost of cocaine, how much I blew on some nights… then I do some mental gymnastics… it’s a lot better to lose money this way than buying coke… this can help when you lose jeans, it can assist in erasing that feeling of stupidity for losing an expensive article of clothing, but that “at least it wasn’t an 8 ball” attitude can be quite the hinderance once you get a Guitar Center credit card. Hmmm nice Strat…at least it’s not an 8 ball. 

Drop Out, Smoke Crack, Get MBA…(random post, not part of series)

Someone very close to me has recently been given a terminal diagnosis in regard to cancer and I’ve written a few posts, just trying to deal with this situation and without the crutch of alcohol.

Ugh… someone close to me that loves life is preparing to die… it makes me think of my own depression and anxiety, how tough life can be, and watching her trying to enjoy every moment has been a very emotional experience. Going to bed laughing and waking up early, trying to cry softly as the mind wanders thinking of Hillary and her road trip, on old highways and backroads in her Ford van, while also stopping from time to time in order to treat a terminal disease.

A brother and sister that had just met a couple of years before her doctor’s appointment, sharing the same father, kind of. They both knew that they had a dad, sperm donor as they refer to him now, even though he passed away a few years before the two siblings had met for the first time or had even talked on the telephone. The father died before he had to face a quick jury consisting of at least two of his…who the fuck knows how many children scattered about. There are stories of other possible brothers and sisters around the world, since he had been in the service and was known to move around about between the states and among females.

The two siblings had just really begun to get to know each other when she was told. He really liked the thought of having a sister… of having a family. But after one appointment things changed…a timer went off, an hourglass just started to lose sand… and no one seems to know how much sand is there. It could be a small beach… it could be a small bag. No one knows. 

A fleet-white 2006 Ford E350 cargo van full of a week or so worth of clothes / laundry and a futon frame with its accompanying mattress barreling down the highway while a brother and sister spend one first and maybe last road trip together. Of course they’ve been in the same car together driving here or there, but this is a semi-planned out adventure, during a pandemic, when a lot of life is frozen while hers seems to be ending… taking turns sleeping, driving, and spending time around the lost sibling that they were only recently given as a gift, just to watch it be taken away in such a cruel and unjust manner. This same scene plays out every day though. Not this kick-ass van road trip, but a brother loses a sister to cancer every day. It really doesn’t hit you until you’re one of the ones about to lose someone. 

This brother and sister that didn’t even know each other a few years ago sharing the last part of an adventure, talking about the food, the sights, and then time for another round of pills or patches carefully placed on her back. The trip goes on, she to Tennessee and he is on a plane going back to Cali. She’ll be in Tennessee going to a class reunion, trying to get her water damaged RV fixed up, and letting the van get a rest for a bit, then back on the road to who knows where for who knows how long.  

            I cleaned the windows on her huge Ford E350 van this morning, looking over at my tiny Chevy Suburban by comparison laughing to myself how bizarre to have the Suburban being the smallest of the two, which is rarely the case. I cleaned the chrome bumpers, even though they are slightly dented from years of regular use… I can’t control the urge…I have to let chrome shine when applicable… I quickly clean her side mirrors and the chrome Ford badge that rests firmly in the center of the towering vans grill. Check the oil, then help load up an igloo cooler filled with leftovers and accumulated snacks from the last few days, hoping that she has amazing days ahead with good weather and safe travels, knowing that she’ll be back within a few weeks and then back on the road to continue her road trip around the country on her last hurrah. I can’t wait to hear more from the blog posts and the texts.

I just received a text that she’s sleeping at an Alpaca farm tonight in her van. If you would like to read Hillary’s blog you can by clicking here.