All posts for the month June, 2013


Published June 24, 2013 by Johanna

We’re all sick and suffering. Dead mind inside live bodies, longing for the next drink to kill ourselves a bit deeper. Without a tear, I want to finish it all off. My feelings shut down the second I turn off the switch. I can’t love myself anymore. This story of mine won’t be funny. 

I try to laugh at myself. What a fool I am. Not so tough, not so smart, not so good looking. Just someone climbing up the invisible walls of her prison, day by day, until a potential relapse. 

I pace through the rain. Drops hit my face like a cleansing slap. I gotta let it all out. The angry voice inside my mind has to shut the fuck up and let me breathe. I’m panting. Running away from my fears. As my heartbeat intensifies, I try to slow down but can’t. This race I must win. Petty arguments won’t make me fall. Emotions running wild keep hiding me from the truth. 

My steps become quicker. I’m almost running. My thoughts take me back to the friends I used to have, liars and cheaters, who manipulated me and abused my trust. 

Break the mold. Break the fucking mold and get out of your own skin. You can do this. You’ve been through tougher crap and always made it out in one piece. 

Deep breath. Your mind likes to play tricks on you. But it’s all an illusion. An act of despair taking you down a road of nonsense. 

I hear words. Insults. “You fucked me over. Are you really my friend?” I am your friend. “You’re mean.” I am not mean. “You’re selfish.” Sometimes I am. “You’re angry.” Yes, I admit I’m angry. “You love your anger more than me.” This I’m not sure about. How much can I love my anger? It’s like a tempo in my ear, a drum beat that doesn’t stop. These words keep coming back. A loop of “yes” and “no” answers to questions that require a lengthier explanation. No one cares about my reasons for acting one way or another. I am my own judge and ruler. I know when I fuck up. I can feel it in my guts. The guilt grows, crawling up to my brains. “Let me out! Be honest for once!” I scream. How can I lie to myself? I’m used to lying. I’m used to hiding behind secrets. Do they make me a better person? They just spread like cancer, killing me softly. 

The rain pours and washes over me. Drenched in my own denial, I must accept the ugly truth. I’m only human, born with a disease that will get the best of me if I don’t accept to change.

I’m my own soldier. Fighting for my life with every breath I take. As I stand above all, I lose the weapons that made me braver than I thought. There’s no middle ground. Either I surrender or die alone. 

That rain feels warm on my skin. Just like a hot shower stream. The battle is almost over. I can sense it deep down in my heart. 

Close your eyes. Think of the world as a place where life never makes sense. You gotta adjust. Find the perimeter of your own dominion and exercise caution when using willfulness. More often than not, you must hold back. Catch your reaction before it turns you to ashes. There’s a reason why the sign “Think” is upside down in the rooms. Because your thinking process is fucked. You move sideways instead of forward. You’d rather stall than shift gears. This process will teach you how to be an adult for once. Accept it. Just give in.

There’s so much out of your control. You gotta let go. Let the stream of consciousness take you down a path you didn’t venture exploring until now. What will you find? God only knows. But at least, you’ll be alive.

Even if I don’t believe in God, the universe will give me the answer I seek soon enough. 

The rain has stopped. I’m soaked to the bones but feel better now. This sense of peace is lingering, providing me with serenity.

The fight is over. For now.

To be continued…


Julie Jones

Published June 24, 2013 by Johanna

I met Julie two years ago at a white party in the Hamptons. If you don’t know what a white party is, no need to wonder if you’ve missed the best time of your life. A white party is a party where everyone dresses in white. Easy enough. The rest people do at a party is the same. Lines of cocaine, lots of drinking, fucking in the bathroom, and being assholes all together – no matter the place, that’s a given. Especially in the Hamptons. Rich assholes are the worst. Wearing Prada and Valentino as your underwear doesn’t excuse horrible manners. 

Julie happened to be there because of her boyfriend Mark. I happened to be there because I had never been to the Hamptons before. We bumped into each other while waiting at the bar for our overpriced drink – and have remained friends ever since. I must admit Julie enlightened my life like no other person before. 

During our numerous conversations, she told me she was dealing with many issues of her own, including serious anger management. She never went into detail. All I know is that her on and off relationship with Mark doesn’t help.  

Nowadays, talking with Julie helps me figure out solutions to my own problem. Julie did drugs to cope with her troubled past. Although I never killed my best friend for a boy… She says she didn’t do it but knowing her I’m pretty sure she did. 

Julie is a bit extreme. I’m extreme too but she’s just ten times worse than me. She’s like a time bomb ready to explode at any given moment. No warning. Just a plain loud boom that makes building collapse in fifteen seconds. I’m more like a pressure cooker that hasn’t been adjusted right and suddenly blows up – without shrapnel in it though. I’m not the terrorist type. Far from it. Terrorism actually makes no sense to me. I find it stupid and pointless. Ball-less too if you ask me. These mofos oughta get their balls shredded by a flying bucket of shrapnel for all I care. Maybe then they’d understand the stupidity of their actions. 

But to understand stupidity you must be pretty smart to begin with. And I doubt terrorists are smart. Topical conversation for another day… Right now Julie is the center of the attention. 

“So what’s up with you girl?” she asks as we sit across the table at Schnippers, ready to attack our burgers. 

I slurp a sip of my diet coke. “Lots of stuff. Probably too much stuff. Can’t be summarized over lunch. Good stuff overall though.”

Julie nods. “Oh good. At least you’re not in hell anymore, huh?”

Ha, she’s funny. After she spilled a few beans about her story, my jaw dropped so low it almost dislocated itself. I never thought she’d be part of the program. Actually, I thought she’d crash and burn before ever trying to save herself. 

The girl hasn’t revealed everything yet but I expect the rest of the tale to be juicy – juicier than what I heard so far – given the craziness she already put herself through. 

“So girl, what’s up with you?” I ask while chewing on a sweet potato fry. 

“Fighting with Mark. Arguing over bullshit mainly. Accepting certain things doesn’t help with relationship problems. Guys are just so dumb, I’m amazed how I haven’t become a lesbian already.”

I laugh. “Oh stop.”

She shakes her head. “No seriously. I’m at the end of the rope here. What’s going on with you? Any love interest?”

I laugh again. “Nope. None in sight.”

“What about your minion? You liked him. I remember you talking about him a lot.” She winks. 

I snort. “John isn’t who I thought he was.”

“Why? He turned out to be a big goo monster?” 

“Speaking of experience?”

She sighs. “Yeah that was fun while it lasted. So why don’t you like John?”

“I’m just not feeling the vibe anymore.”

She raises an eyebrow. “What vibe?”

“You know the flirtation vibe. I thought he liked me in that way, not just as a former alcoholic slash addict trying to help me.”

“Ah yes. I’ve met a lot of those. They’re the worst.”

I laugh. “Yep.”

“So he never had any intentions to date you, huh?” 

“Not even fuck me, no.”

She laughs. “That’s sad. The world we live in…”

I nod. “Yeah. It’s pretty pathetic.”

“So you wanna hit a meeting later?”

“I guess.”

She smiles. “You can vent about John all you want in your share.”

“And you know I love to vent.”

“Haha yes I do.”

Going to meetings with Julie is always an adventure. She picks the most random ones downtown, usually dark rooms filled with old timers. Thirty if not forty year recovering alcoholics who’ve been through hell before finding the road to salvation. I can’t say I’ve experienced the same hardships. But I’ve reached the gates of hell just like they did. 

And so did Julie. I like her company. She soothes me. I don’t need shiny people around to make me believe in recovery. What she gives me is a ground to build my strength back up. And for that, I must say she’s the only one I trust.

When we met, she was a lost soul. Her progress over the span of two years is tremendous. I look up to her. Want to be like her someday. Will I ever manage to reach that level of self control? Only time will tell.

Right now we’re eating burgers, enjoying each other’s company. Julie is my best friend, and I must admit I love her to death.

To be continued…

Minion quits

Published June 7, 2013 by Johanna

It has been several months since my first AA meeting. Six to be exact. John has served as my sponsor for the first four months but stopped shadowing me after I asked him to give me some room to breathe. His methods were more than extreme. One meeting every day, plus two commitments and fellowshipping – I couldn’t do my work anymore. Getting sober almost felt worst than getting hammered. Never in my life did I have to subject myself to such torture. Many predicted I’d relapse after dumping John. But I’m still here. Perfectly sober and sane. Step work? I’m doing it in a healthy rhythm. Some people need structure to stay afloat. I try not to pressure myself unreasonably. Right now my focus is to remain on track with cruise control.

I guess John got upset with me for a little while. Unless it’s all in my head. Anyway, we don’t talk as much anymore. Yesterday, he came to see me in my office.

John doesn’t even knock and barges in like a canon ball.

“What’s up?” he asks.

I glance at him and rotate my chair ninety degrees.

“How may I help you?”

He sits down in the guest seat.

“I got something to tell you,” he says.

“Spill it out.”

“I’m leaving in one month to work for this retail company.” Smiling like a clam, he expects me to congratulate him with a big jump up in the air.

I don’t do anything but stare back at my computer screen. Deep inside I don’t want to deal with him anymore, and am relieved he’s the one to go. John has been a good friend but our time is over. Or at least, our time needs a well deserved break.

“Congratulations,” I blurt. Nothing else to say. “When’s your last day?”

“September 10th.”

I nod. “Will you finish all your projects in time before you go?”

“Yeah, no worries.”

He says that now but I know he’s going to be slacking until the last minute. I know him. He might not be smoking weed anymore but his brain is still like Swiss cheese. And being forgetful is another character trait I can’t stand.

“I want to see the spreadsheet on my desk before the end of this week,” I say.

“I got you, Kiki.”

Right. You got me in all the wrong ways now. Ouch! I used to like John. What happened? I learn quick. All the bitches of New York City can’t take me as a weak link anymore. Kiki has come back, and stronger!

John is only twenty-two dammit. What he experiences through AA doesn’t mean squat in this world of sharks. At least not in my playbook. I yearn to hit hard, make the world shake until it screams. Kiki isn’t scared anymore. Six months of sobriety will do that to people. Maybe not to everyone, but works for me.

“You’re gonna keep in touch once I’m gone? Go to meetings with me?” he asks. “Or at least hang out?”

I laugh. “John stop the propaganda bullshit. I’m sober. I’m fine. I got your number in my phone – right here. I’ll hang. Don’t you worry your pretty head about me, alright?” I wave my phone at him. “Unless I lose this baby, I call you, deal?”

He smiles. “Sure. Okay. Just be sure not to relapse because you think you got it. And also because we’re friends. Let’s not lose this bond over bullshit.”

I nod. “Do you have it John? After two years?”

“No one has it. Especially not me. One day at a time, remember?”

“Loud and clear.” I smile. “You’re a good guy. We’ll stay friends. I just need some room to explore I guess. See what life’s made of after I dropped the booze. Being clear headed is probably the best gift you could give me, so for that, I thank you.”

No reason to burn bridges. I might be pissed at him now, but deep down, I still love him like a brother. He was there for me when no one else showed up. I respect him. I listen to him. His opinion matters.

“You know I’ll get around all the crap I say just because I’m frustrated. I’m not going back out. This time is over. I’m sober now. Just learning how to deal with myself,” I say.

“I feel ya. We’re all going through this. I’m always here for advice, you know that.”

I sigh. “Yep, you’ll be missed. But you already screwed up one good opportunity because of me. Don’t let this one pass.”

“I’m good. I know you’ll be okay.” He stands up and walks to the door. “Okay, I’ll see you later?” he asks as he exits my office.

“Sure,” I say.

This departure feels bittersweet. On one hand I need a break from him. On the other hand, I still want him in my life. I don’t hate him. I don’t hate AA. I really don’t hate anyone. I just need some girl time.

Speaking of which, I wonder what my good friend Julie is doing tonight.

To be continued…

Here and there

Published June 3, 2013 by Johanna

I never was the sitting for hours on a bar stool type. My drinking happened behind closed doors. At home, at the office, in my car even. I chugged vodka and scotch out of empty water bottles. The drunk never lasted long enough. I chased the first high I felt when young that truly made me whole. I’ve never reached that level of pure bliss all those years after. Finishing bottles doesn’t make me fly anymore. Yet, I drank my life away because scotch had become my best friend. Isolated from the rest of the world, I waged war on my own. I thought I could beat everyone with my willfulness. I am strong. I always achieved everything on my own so why not continue now? But I got defeated. Despite my best efforts, I lost the battle against myself. And accepting that defeat is the best thing that could happen to me.

Yes, I hate AA but not because of AA itself. I hate the people there. The preachers. The sinners turned saints overnight.

My eyes are closed. Taking a slow inhale of cigarette smoke, I hold onto the cancer stick like a lifeline. I never understood why former alcoholics and addicts usually develop an addiction to smoking. Now I get it. One addiction is being replaced by another. If it isn’t booze or drugs, it’s food. Sex. Exercise. Work. Art. Writing away until my brain is mush, and then writing some more. Words have become my therapy.

Words draw magic back into my life. Expand my imagination. Help me reach worlds I never believed existed but only inside an insane mind. And I’m insane. I made peace with myself, realized there is no way backwards. Returning to booze is like signing my death certificate. I thought I wanted to die at thirty. But I only wanted to find a way out of the pain. Booze takes me back to the dread. Writing allows me to escape. Anywhere I want to go. Travel through my mind to unknown destinations, that exist only in my dreams. I don’t need alcohol to help me stop thinking. I can only think more and break boundaries. The rest is trivial. The only obsession that keeps me alive is my own thirst for love. Love for life, love for words, love for myself.

Writing. Thinking and writing some more. I can’t stop. My mind explodes and I breathe in the creation – my creation – every thought I touch with a word runs freely on paper. Freedom at last. Acceptance of the past. Understanding of my future. Living in the now.

I don’t believe in God because I don’t believe in a deity who lets mankind die and kill out of greed or for pleasure. Evil means nothing when innocent children are murdered. Why would a god allow blood to be spilled if he’s so good and forgiving? Why should I let go of all the control to God? How will letting go of that control help me stay sober? I can drink whenever I want. Ruin my life whenever I want. God has no say in my sobriety. John tries to convince me God has everything to do with who I am, but is it really the case?

I doubt. Question everything. Putting my thoughts in words helps me understand better why I started the journey.

Here and there, I see why I’m better off clean and sober. A few weeks of not drinking gave me acute self-awareness.

Maybe too acute. I feel raw emotions and I don’t know how to deal with them. Can’t shut them down anymore. Need to deal with them. How? I can deal with hate, but how do I deal with love? Am I even capable of loving anyone? I despise myself for all the wrong I caused. My dead marriage, my ex, feelings drowning me under more pain with every memory. John – the cute twenty two year old I have a crush on – do I love him?

Nonsense. I don’t love anyone. I can’t love anyone. John means nothing to me. He’s just a friend. Former alcoholic friend. Probably in his kindness is acting like a sponsor too. I’m a good guinea pig to test his knowledge on. Do service. John doesn’t love me like I love him.

Argh! I don’t love him! Stop trying to love and be loved. Romance never took me very far. Only crushed my heart a million times! Ha, fuck romance! I don’t want to feel any love. Ever. Can’t deal with sadness, can’t deal with happiness. Just want to be numb. Feelings are poison. They torture my mind, and prevent me from sleeping.

Look at what you’re doing to yourself? You still live in denial. Feelings aren’t toxic. Your state of mind is. Change your vision and things will appear smooth. It doesn’t matter if you feel love or hatred, what you need to find is a happy medium that won’t push you into the ground.

Deep breath. Here and there. Look for peace. Easy to look for peace when you don’t have a clue what peace feels like! But I gotta go on. Here and there. Grab the pieces and keep them together. Just like a puzzle. The puzzle of your life. You’ll see the big picture when the time is right. Water, an oak tree, and a chair facing the platitude of the lake of your emotions. The storm shall pass. You will vanquish and become one with yourself again.

Learn to forgive. Learn to pray. Meditate. Breathe in and out, live in the moment. Here and there you’ll understand why you made certain choices and you’ll accept the consequences of such decisions. Not all of them were wrong. Not all of them  were unwise. Some belong to the realm of mistakes you’re supposed to make in order to grow up. Just don’t be scared anymore. Take a leap of faith. Stop listening to the voices inside your head – too much ruckus. Silence is key.

Here and there – get a grip. Follow the road and don’t panic. Life has much to offer. And John will get a slap next time I hear him speak about a higher power. And God. And how late he’s on his assignment due tomorrow. Being sober doesn’t excuse laziness dammit.

Being sober doesn’t stop me from living my life the way I choose to do. My free will is all I got. All I’ve ever had.

To be continued…