[$$] chappelle // you got it

From the Grave

Well, I haven't taken the first drink that gets me drunk in three-and-a-half years. That is to say, I've been sober for a while now. A lot has happened. A lot hasn't happened. And that is to say, God's will has happened [like I had any control over that one].

The biggest news, perhaps, is that I got an Associate of Arts degree and am continuing my higher education at Harvard University. Yeah, that's Harvard with an "H." I currently have a 4.0 GPA. Not bad for a five-time community college dropout. I've been fortunate enough to get to take courses online until this coming spring semester. In January, I'm moving out to the Cambridge/Boston area to take classes on campus. Slightly terrifying to know I'll be living completely on my own so far away from Mommy and Daddy. I'll have to be the one to bail myself out of any scrapes. It's about time I take all the stuff I've learned about how to be an adult and actually start living fully as a real adult. What a concept!

I thought I had more to say, but I guess that's all for now.
[$$] chappelle // you got it

So I used to have this Live Journal...

7 months sober as of September 16.

Got a crush almost 7 months ago, said it was love a month later, realized it actually is love about 6 weeks ago. Still single - not ready yet.

Selected for church choir at the beginning of July.

Unemployed as of a week ago. Best decision for all who were involved. Being guided by the universe. Huzzah.

Learning some serious leadership skills, learning tolerance, learning to phone a friend before busting out the Hulk-like rage.

Loving the good times, appreciating the bad.

Logged on to turn a community over to emmademarais. Figured an update might be in order.

[$$] chappelle // you got it

Is there such a thing as a morally-conscious rap song?

I left work an hour and a half later than I was scheduled today, but I didn’t mind. It actually ended up being an okay thing because when I revved up my Lexus, the radio station (B96 – We Are Hip-Hop) played a song I hadn’t heard before – “Day Dreaming” by DJ Drama featuring Akon, Snoop Dogg, and T.I.

The track grabbed my attention from its first lyric:

Shirley Temple on ice

Pardonnez-moi, s'il vous plaît, I believe I may have misheard you, Monsieur Akon. Surely that frosty beverage was the oft-celebrated top-shelf champagne Cristal, or the urban-iconic cognac Hennessy, or Fergie Ferg’s beloved Grey Goose vodka, perhaps even a good-spirited reference to co-collaborator Snoop’s 1995 gin and juice homage. Ready to Tanqueray?

She makes it just right.
That extra grenadine got me feelin’ so nice.

Oh, you’re fucking serious?

I waited for the inevitable label-drop or even mention of nondescript rum or whiskey or whatever additive was sure to become the backbone of the next big gotta-order-it cocktail sensation, any excuse to “blame it on the a-aa-a-aa-alcohol” like Jamie Foxx and, you know, everyone in hip-hop.

It didn’t come.

But the chorus did.

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[h:md] house // life sucks

"Well, baby, I'm a put-on-a-show kind of girl." - Britney Spears

I went to dinner with a group of friends tonight, and during the course of conversation, I realized that it’s probably not appropriate for me to be publicly disclosing all the aspects of my recovery journey on this online journal. In times past when I’d heard the tradition of maintaining personal anonymity at the public level, the crazy person in me had interpreted that to mean “when I go on David Letterman, I won’t tell the world that I’m a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.” Never did it cross my mind that this tradition meant that I probably shouldn’t be identifying myself as an AA member to those outside of AA. Never did it cross my mind that, gee golly, maybe I shouldn’t be discussing my personal AA experience in a public venue. Obviously, I have problems with, like, thinking reasonably about things.

Honestly, it does kind of upset me because I am, notoriously, the chick who knows no boundaries when it comes to personal disclosure. Granted, I have gotten better at drawing the line; it’s been a few years since I updated the online world about my pap smears (you’re welcome). Nevertheless, I do have that weird, self-obsessed sense that I’ve got, like, this obligation to be a cautionary tale or martyr or role model (what?!) and expose to everybody the trials and tribulations of being me. And, you know, it’s not for any sort of reason of wanting to help or inspire others; it’s totally about having an interesting blog and getting page hits and figuring out any kind of way that I can profit from my life experiences because it’s totally unfair that I should have to struggle without as many people as possible paying attention to me. I mean, isn’t that what is really my issue here? For pretty much the last decade, my attitude has been, “Well, if I can’t put it in a book and make money off of it, then I’m not going to do it.” For years, my entire purpose for participating online was the hope that somebody “important” would notice me, offer me the contract of a lifetime, and make all my dreams come true.

The problem here is that it would seem that maybe I’ve been using AA for extremely selfish and profit-motivated reasons. That isn’t to say that, on a personal level, AA hasn’t been the key in keeping me alive and hopefully leading me to a better life; what I’m saying is that, by talking about the experience publicly, I’m a total asshole and betraying the fundamental principles that make this program work. To have complained to the whole world about my former sponsor is outrageously disrespectful. I should have my ass kicked.

Personal evolution is excruciating when you’re going through it. As I wrote in one of my fan fics, “self-awareness of this shit sucks.” I love my ignorance. I love being completely unaware of how my behavior affects others. I love it because being aware means having a conscience and having to make difficult changes, and that isn’t fun. I don’t like having to give up what’s become comfortable or pleasurable to me.

I am at a place in my life where the decisions I must make very rarely result in an immediate feeling of satisfaction. Tonight, I’ve come to the realization that I really shouldn’t talk about AA on here anymore and for a number of reasons, especially the fact that I have not been a good example of how this program works or should work or whatever, and that is totally unfair to an organization that’s responsible for saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Tonight, I decided that I’m no longer going to do my little “AA updates” on this journal. And, no, I’m not happy about it. What am I going to write about now??

This is the next step for me to take. I’ve been challenged to think about something other than my own interests and aspirations for the sake of that which is larger than myself. That’s uncomfortable for someone as self-absorbed as I.

So between practicing personal anonymity at the public level and not trying to have sex with someone I’m attracted to (no matter how much I fricking want to), my definition of “things I do for enjoyment” is pretty much shot. That doesn’t mean I’ll never have fun again; it just means I need to reevaluate. Redevelop. Discover. Venture. Grow. I’m not thrilled about it, but there are plenty of new opportunities to have a good time.

Like having dinner with friends.

P.S. Today marks 30 days of sobriety. What up?
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[$$] never ending story // childlike emp

"You can no longer deceive yourself as sincerely as you could before." - Ouspensky

I still can't get over the fact that things aren't better than they were before, and at least before, I didn't have to feel it.

This is the last thing I wrote on Live Journal a little over six months ago. The flaw in this statement’s logic is that it doesn’t take into consideration the issue of progression.

I’d heard a thousand times that alcoholism is a progressive disease. I never really took the time to think about what that meant because I’d assumed that I had this thing licked. I was cured. I didn’t have to consider what would happen if I drank again because I was, simply, never going to drink again. And if I did – God forbid – drink again, then I’d surely see the error of my ways and immediately return to working a stellar recovery program.

When I wrote my last post, I had this thought in my head that my sober life sucked, and if I started using again, I wouldn’t have to feel any of the anxiety and sense of incompetency I was experiencing. As far as that whole “progressive” thing goes, I figured that just meant that I’d build up a greater tolerance and have to drink more. No big deal.

So a few hours after I wrote that entry, I relapsed. I drank three big glasses of vodka and Red Bull. And it was fucking incredible. It was amazing. It was the best I’d felt in a long time. Immediately, all the reasons I’d drank like a fiend for three years came back to me. I had no anxiety. I had no fear. That hole in my gut was filled. I felt happy and social and perfectly content in my skin. I felt smart and witty and creative. I was invincible. I could accomplish anything I wanted, and it was only a matter of time before all my hopes and dreams would come true. With alcohol in my system again, I’d write the greatest story, and then I’d win that Pulitzer or Academy Award or whatever. At long last, I could once again breathe and dream and do. I could be. I’d go on Oprah and David Letterman, and everyone would love me, and I’d have riches beyond my wildest dreams, and everything would be the way it was supposed to be. Finally, I was me again.

Five and a half months later, after losing all my friends, destroying my reputation at work, failing in numerous romantic endeavors, attempting suicide five times, being committed to a psychiatric hospital, narrowly escaping abduction and rape after I’d impulsively hopped on a plane to South Florida, and being told by my parents to find somewhere else to live because they didn’t want to see me again, I was drinking shots of Captain Morgan while listening to a recording of my favorite Alcoholics Anonymous speaker, Earl H of Studio City, giving a workshop on the Twelve Steps. I think that says it all right there – that despite living in an endless hell, despite wanting to hear the hope of a sober life, despite listening to the things I had to do to be happy and joyous and free, I still had to drink. And drinking had ceased to be fun. I was miserable when I drank. I was a wreck. I created chaos and filled my family with fear. More often than not, drinking led me to cutting or swallowing lethal dosages of pills (being forced to vomit all night long isn’t fun). When I wasn’t drinking, my whole body ached, and when I was drinking, my heart ached. I hated everyone and everything.

I wasn’t afraid that I would die; I was afraid that I wouldn’t.

I guess that’s the progression they were talking about.

Today, I am three weeks sober. I don’t have a post for you about the wonderful things I’ve learned since my last drink, or my hopes and dreams for the future, or a sense of limitless possibility just beyond the horizon. I don’t have that post for you because I’ve got none of those things. The last time I got sober, God allowed me to feel joy and hope and potential so that I’d want to stay sober. My ego grabbed hold and demanded that I feel nothing but happiness, never again experience discomfort and disappointment, and when it became clear that this isn’t how life or recovery work, I decided to quit the game. My ego has always been my downfall. This time around, God isn’t giving me any illusions. He’s saying, “You know what, you are a miserable person, and your life does suck, and if you don’t like it, then you’re going to have to do some things to change it.” God’s on my team, but He’s not going to hold my hand and gently walk me through this. That approach obviously didn’t work.

Alcohol has beaten me into a state of reasonableness, which is to say that I got my ass kicked so thoroughly that I give up. It’s become clear to me that I have no idea how to live or think or feel in manner that would suggest sanity, so I don’t get to make the decisions anymore. When my previous sponsor told me to do something, I thought it was stupid, so I didn’t do it. Now when my new sponsor tells me to do something, I think it’s stupid, but I do it anyway. ‘Cause I obviously don’t know what works. Before, God would tell me, “Don’t be a whore,” but I’d think that surely I could make my own rules. Now when God calls me to do things – like looking at getting involved in ministry (what?!) – I say, “I think You’re crazy and I’m totally wrong for this, but it’s Your call.”

I’m not for a second going to say that this is easy because it’s not. I’m not going to say that I like it because I don’t. I’m a very stubborn and self-involved person, so I struggle every minute with trusting other people to make my decisions. Most of the time, I fail. Most of the time, I walk around feeling bitter and irritable. And, of course, when I feel that way, it’s a red flag that I’m trying to control things again. I can then choose to let go, or I can choose to stay pissed off. More often than not, I choose to stay pissed off. But maybe one of these days, I’ll figure out that it’s easier the other way.

I’m not happy to be sober, but I’m happy to not be drinking. Or maybe I’m not happy to not be drinking, but I’m happy to be sober. I don’t know. One of the two. I’d like to drink. I’d like to not feel discomfort. I’d like to feel those things that alcohol used to make me feel. But somewhere along the line, drinking stopped being fun and started being the opposite, and it took a lot of hard hits for me to finally figure out that it’s never going to go back to being fun. Believe me, every time I drank, I thought that maybe this time it would be fun again. It never was. And once you get to that point, there’s no turning back. So, you know, I’m happy I’m not drinking because if I were drinking, I’d be feeling a lot worse than I do right now.

Nobody said it was going to be rainbows and glitter, but that doesn’t mean it has to be gray clouds and thorns. Or whatever. I just come up with random bullshit sayings to try to sound clever and existential and cool. And that’s not exactly the way I wanted to end this post, but that’s the ending I’m going with.

[ETA]: I'm grateful I've got enough humility now to not praise myself for being God's gift to recovery. Was I a fucking douchebag or WHAT?
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[$$] missy e // white hat

Right before the fall

The first week of school isn't over yet, and I already have this sickening feeling that I'm going to fail. I don't feel like I'm performing to expectations at work. The boyfriend who was saying he wants to marry me and have kids now isn't returning my phone calls after I left him a voicemail saying I got the time off from work to go see him. My ex-love interest called me today and yelled at me for being rude (if anyone's ever yelled at me for being rude, I wasn't fully conscious while s/he was doing it) and hung up on me. My psychologist said that something's going to give, and it's going to be my recovery. I'm so tired, irritable, and discontent, and I'm trying really hard to still give a fuck, but the reasons why I should keep going like this just aren't coming to me. The biggest thought that keeps rolling around in my head is that I never wanted this in the first place. I was forced into it, and I only stuck with it because people were making all these promises to me about how good life was going to be. It's not good. It's not fun. There's no joy anymore. I feel like I got sold a shitty deal, or this is some bait-and-switch bullshit. No matter how much I tell myself that I knew this wasn't going to be rainbows and glitter, no matter how many times I hear my counselor saying that this is about learning how to meet life on life's terms, I still can't get over the fact that things aren't better than they were before, and at least before, I didn't have to feel it.
[$$] missy e // white hat

Looking for feedback on fic...

Here's the next (final?) part of my Sorkin/Cheno fic. I don't know how I feel about it. I don't think it has all the punch and pizzazz of the previous two. It's not bad, but it's not great. There's just something about it that's off, and I can't figure out exactly what it is. Feedback appreciated.

Unrelated (or perhaps related... whatever)... I was reading Sorkin's Wiki page, and he went to Hazelden. *smiles* Of course he did. You know that feeling where you've gone to state school and you feel like a schmuck because you didn't go to an ivy league? That's the feeling I've had for a while with regard to Hazelden, and this just perpetuates that. There's kind of an attitude in Minnesota about Hazelden, like if you meet someone who's gone there, you're like, "Ooh, well aren't you special?" Or maybe that's just me. Because I am an asshole. (For those who are confused, Hazelden is pretty much the Harvard of rehab facilities. Their faculty produces tons of treatment literature that's used all over the world. They publish for Dr. Stephanie Covington, who revolutionized women's treatment and literally wrote the book on recovery for women.) Really, pretty much everyone I've met who's working a great recovery program went to Hazelden. The rest of us? Relapsing all over the place. And if that just sparked a moment of concern for you, no, I haven't relapsed. Though last night, I really wanted to. Appletinis and a bump (or three). Gah.

Anyway, here's the fic-snippet:

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[misc] watch tv


School started on Monday. Is overwhelming. Doing lots of homework, did a lab, studying, test prep, was going to take a test today but the testing center was closed. Work in a few minutes, corporate is visiting right now, working 44 hours this week, want to die. numb3rswriteoff due Friday, numb3rsficathon due... sometime. Fics for eppescest due whenever I can get around to them OMFG. Toooo much. Supposed to fly down to Miami in less than two weeks for the weekend. Will need the mini-vacation, but God knows that weekend is going to end up being stressful.

Here's the next part of my Aaron Sorkin/Kristin Chenoweth fic:

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[$$] never ending story // childlike emp

The better angels

There are two wonderful men that work at Life Time Fitness in Lakeville, and I want to take this time to give them both a shout-out.

The first is Dan Blustin. Dan has become someone very special to me... not quite a father figure, not exactly a role model (not for any reason of defect but because I don't have a proclivity towards idolizing men outside of the literary industry), but something very close to those things. He's an amazing person. He knows about my past as an addict and a stripper, and we have commonalities when it comes to those two aspects. Today, I told asked him if he's ever worked with anyone involved in The Emily Program because I've lately been strongly considering making that phone call for professional help. I said that I don't think I have the desire yet, and I want to see if I can beat this on my own, but I recognize my powerlessness, and in the case of my chemical addiction, it did take going to treatment. I hope this isn't the case with my eating disorder, and I said that I'd first like to try working with a nutritionist. Dan then pointed to Matt.

Matt Berri is a personal trainer, and he's got to be one of the nicest, most real dudes. He spoke to me for an hour about my eating disorder and said some very profound things. He asked me if I like being alive (not asking me to answer to him on this), to think about what I enjoy, and to realize that if I don't repair my relationship with food, I'm not going to be able to enjoy those things (or that one thing) anymore. I told him that I've gotten to the point where the thought of food doesn't do anything for me anymore, I don't crave food, and I eat only when I have to, taking little pleasure in it. He told me that I made myself think this way, and I can reverse it. I have to start thinking about food as fuel, and the reality is that, in starving myself, my body isn't only storing fat, it's actually creating fat. My brain is starting to shut down (true dat). He asked me what's the worst that could happen, and I said, matter of factly, that I'd get fat and disgusting and no one will love me. So he made an amazing deal with me, and I am very grateful. In with that deal, I'm going to start keeping a food journal again - focusing on what I'm eating and how/what I'm feeling. I'm optimistic.

The Emily Program is still on the table if it gets to that point, but right now, I feel like I'm taking steps in the correct direction, and I am getting help in a professional capacity from people I value. Now, don't be confused and think this means I'm going to stop losing weight; I'm just going to go about it in a healthy way. Besides, the route I'm going isn't doing what I want it to.

And I'm going to attempt to write a follow-up of sorts to this post on the subject of weight and fatness. I was going to write it in this post, but I feel that would take away from the point I'm making here, which is Dan Blustin and Matt Berri are lifesavers. Thanks, guys.