Trick or Treat?


I am not feeling Halloween, or perhaps I am the basis of a good Halloween Horror Story. My body has been hi-jacked. My room has become a house of horrors; the person in the mirror has red eyes and a puffy white face like that of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. I cannot breath. My voice is stifled. My bed is littered with white snot-filled tissues. Yes, a virus has taken over my body, the most likely culprit being the common cold. This is no treat. I have been looking forward to seeing a man I like, who I have not been able to talk to all week and have not seen for two. Realistically, based on how my body feels, I just don’t think this date is going to happen tonight. Feeling more tricked than treat.

Based upon past Halloweens when I’ve felt tricked, perhaps there will be a lesson learned. The first Halloween I distinctly felt tricked was in 1998. I took a pregnancy test that turned “positive”, as in with child. At the time I was shocked and had yet to see the positive in this turn of fate. I was on the pill, I really felt like it was some sort of trick.  Either the test was wrong or the Gods had an odd sense of humor. It ended being the latter, and now 16 years later I could not be happier with the outcome. What I thought had been a trick that Halloween really turned out to be the biggest treat of my life. My son is the most amazing twist of fate I have experienced.

Fast-forward to 2010. I had only been in Med City for a few months, and sober for six months. I just moved into a townhouse with a friend I met in recovery and she was out with her boyfriend. Something was wrong. There was a pain in my chest and soul. I deeply longed to see my son who was in North Carolina with his father. I had no idea what was wrong or what to do. So I called my sponsor. After speaking with her for 15 minutes she said “Violet, you are sad.” I asked her what I could do about this. See, as an active alcoholic I drowned all feelings, good or bad. I had no idea how to feel in sobriety. She assured me that this too shall pass. I rented a DVD which I watched while eating one of my favorite treats, popcorn and raisinettes. Something miraculous happened. The feeling passed! I thought it was a Halloween miracle. Another trick turned into a treat of a lesson learned. Feelings, you can feel them, observe them, and yes, they will pass!

Halloween of 2012 may have been my bleakest yet. After work I went out and boozed it up. All night long. It was a horrible night of debauchery, which left me feeling shameful, empty, guilty and extremely miserable. I had only fallen off the wagon the first week of October. The depths I had sunk in less than 30 days were horrifying. That Halloween was more evidence which proved I was an alcoholic. There were three more months of misery, until I found myself in a hospital February 1, 2013 with a day sober.

So although now my body aches and I cannot breathe, or even taste the deliciousness of Halloween candy, I am hopeful. When I look back at Halloween 2014 in the future, I will be able to see the positive treat of what now seems a trick.Today is a gift, even if my body has been jinxed.


Dangers of Chasing the Light: Creativity and Dual Diagnosis

CREATIVITY is GOD Energy, flowing through us, shaped by us, like light flowing through a crystal prism.
…. Every creative person has myriad ways to block creativity.”  ~ Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way,  Week 10,  “Dangers of the Trail

I have always considered myself a creative being. But as an active alcoholic with untreated bi-polar, my energy was warped by my misshapen or covered prism. Now sober and semi-sane, it’s easy to see how my creativity was not only blocked, but self-sabotaged by my addiction and depression.

However, when manic, my light was so bright, but coming from many angles refracting off my mirrored prism into far more hues then Newton’s component colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. My prism reality was illuminated into a blinding florescent disco-ball world. It was wondrous. The creativity seemed endless. Until the lights went out.

Alcohol clouded my prism, but eventually blocked the light. I was left in an endless abyss of disparity nearly ending in my death. Depression disabled my creativity.  A black hole prevents everything, including light, from escaping.

Like physicists studying light theory, I have had to come to terms  that there is a wave-particle duality to my existence. As Einstein wrote: “It seems as though we must use sometimes the one theory and sometimes the other, while at times we may use either. We are faced with a new kind of difficulty. We have two contradictory pictures of reality; separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do“.

Initially wanting to discard both diagnoses of alcoholism and bi-polar, in the past 10 years I have clung to either theory; I had a booze problem or a depression disorder. The bi-polar diagnosis was not pushed hard, and as a creative being was not something I wanted discovered. Although I know it’s toxic, I’d be lying if I said I did not miss those disco-ball creative days. In fact the present longing is causing a pain in my chest.

Acceptance of my dual diagnoses and reliance on a power greater than me has allowed my creativity to flow again. The pure white light comes from a source I cannot explain. I am the clear prism through which the productive particles are dispersed into a rainbow of creative expression. But my creativity, like light, also travels in waves. Due to medications my wave length and depth is not what it used to be, but the creativity still ebbs and flows. And the block to the vibrant violet laughter that is my life source has been removed.


Where is my Couch? Musings About Dating in Sobriety.

purple couch 1

One of the popular sayings I’ve heard not only in 12-step programs, but as general advice from loved ones, is that “when one door closes, another one opens.” I’ve hung plenty of hope on this door theory.

As an impatient recovering alcoholic, I have a natural tendency to yank that hope coat off the door, put it on along with my steel-toed boots, and kick that damn door down. This has not resulted in great success relationship-wise. The outcome has caused me to be banned from many buildings, or find myself in relationship rooms that definitely should have stayed locked and bolted.

The brightest doors are opened through prayer and meditation. But like waiting in the ER on a busy Saturday night, when I think I need attention NOW, I get frustrated by the process.

“Where is my couch?” I asked the Universe a couple weeks ago. There is a discomfort in waiting for doors to open. I want to run down the lonely hallways, knock on every door yelling “TRICK OR TREAT? ANYBODY HOME?!?”

Instead, I have had to build my couch. Right now it’s lumpy, but fairly comfortable. I realize I can’t just sit here, but I can’t run the hallways either. I am dating. Beginning to start friendships that may or may not be the basis of a relationship. I am smart enough to not walk through every open door, but willing to peak through doors ajar even if I find its outward appearance unappealing.

And between the dates, the standing in doorways, I have found my couch.

Wonderful Wandering: Lessons on Love from Steve and Sam

Learning lessons in love from my parents’ relationship was nearly impossible. They were a couple if ever in love, fell out of it long before the sperm hit the egg that created me.

But my father, Steve, has taught me much about love. That it is a force of nature, learned through our adventures in woods and canyons. If you get caught up in the storm, make sure you have a sturdy Hefty trash bag to wear, a flashlight, and wait it out under the trees or in a cave. Always carry toilet paper because you never know when you will have to clean up the crap you’ve created. In other words, like nature, love is unpredictable; it’s best to prepare logically.

This brings me to Sam Cooke’s “(What A) Wonderful World”, a song which deeply perplexes my father. Growing up, every time this song came on the radio, Steve would begin a conversation; I was unsure if he was speaking to Sam, God, the Universe or me. Steve has a tendency to think aloud, usually the same string of comments or questions sparked by the same stimulus. Sam Cooke ‘ s “Wonderful World” is one of those stimuli that leaves Steve baffled.

“Don’t know much about History? Don’t know much about Biology? This song is an anthem for ignorance.” Steve would declare, “I do not understand how one could boast such lack of knowledge in a love song!”  I believe his hope was that I would take this message to heart, and logically choose my love partners. But my heart is illogical, and most of the time so is my head. I’ve found that my mind is a place best traveled with a guide. And my heart? It simply wants “one and one is two” and ” if this one could be with you what a wonderful world this would be”.

Logic, love, and Sam, however, have either all failed me, or love is so vast and mysterious that it will never be solved by an equation. One and one does not always equal two, many times in love it ends up equaling one, and one. I’ve gone through a tree’s worth of toilet paper cleaning up mine, or the others’, emotional crap left behind in relationships. Many times I’ve illogically and willingly wandered into love’s wilderness, without flashlight or rain gear, knowing I’d end up lost in a storm.

My ability to break my own heart is infinite. The only loves I know to be unconditional are that of my father, my son, and my creator (whoever she is). And like Sam, I still don’t know what a slide rule is for. I do know that if my father could compute the outcomes of my relationships in an excel spreadsheet, and graft the probabilities of success, he would.

Until love and logic fit perfectly on the spreadsheet of life, I will continue to illogically wander in the wild, prepare for the outcome but be open to amazement, which means I’ll open myself to heartache too. Like Sam, “I don’t claim to be an A student, but I’m trying to be.” And like Steve, I’ll continue to carry toilet paper in a zip-locked bag, just in case.