Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Lost Weekend

September 16

[Posting Schedule: This weekend, and other weekends sometimes, I'll be putting in a number of "days" in on one posting. This weekend, for example, I'm going to the Miracle in Alfred, Maine so today I'm posting four days worth. ---In case anyone cared. bbl]

My spiritual awakening had a snooze button. —Overheard

Today's Wisdom: The Parable of Willy the Unasker

“Why ask for help and listen to these old geezers? Clean time means nothing,” declared Willy, a ninety-day wonder, at a meeting. “It’s all one day at a time, right? And my day began at the same time as everybody else’s, so that means my clean time is as good as anyone else’s.”

After the meeting, two old-timers glanced at each other. The one called Pete asked his friend, “Harry, should we invite him to go fishing?”

Harry nodded in agreement. “Out at Old Bluff Pond.”

The two old-timers asked Willy if he wanted to go fishing with them. “I don’t know,” answered Willy suspiciously.

“Is it because you aren’t very good at fishing?” asked Harry.

“I can fish just as good as either of you two,” Willy declared.

“Then come along,” said Pete.”

Willy agreed to come. Early the next morning Willy showed up at Old Bluff Pond with his fishing gear, and the three of them got in the boat and paddled out to the middle.

After a few minutes Pete said, “Harry, I feel like a fool. I forgot my tackle box.” As Willy watched wide-eyed, the old-timer stepped out of the boat, walked across the water to the shore, picked up his tackle box, and walked on the water back to the boat. He got in the boat and began fishing. Willy stared at the man, but refused to ask what he wanted to ask. He gripped his fishing pole tightly and remained silent.

About an hour later, Pete broke out his lunch and began eating. Harry looked around in the boat and said, “Now who's the fool, Pete? Would you believe I forgot my lunch? I must've left it in the car.” With Willy looking on in amazement, Harry got up, climbed out of the boat, walked across the water to the shore, got his lunch box from the car, and walked back to the boat across the water. He got in the boat, sat down, and began eating his lunch.

Willy stared at the two old-timers. He had his lunch with him in his tackle box, but he was determined to show the old-timers that he could do anything they could do. With his eyes narrowed and his jaw set, Willy said, “I must've left my lunch in the car, too.” With that, he stepped out of the boat and went into the water right over his head. He came up, gasped for air, struggled forward another step, then went under again, just a few bubbles coming up until the next time he broke the surface gasping for air, his arms flailing at the water. Refusing to look back, Willy struggled toward the shore, every now and then going in over his head, choking and coughing for air.

As Willy fought toward the shore, Pete said to Harry, “Think we ought to tell him where the rocks are?”

“When he asks," replied Harry.

A thought for those thinking about getting clean:

"To achieve the marvelous, it is precisely the unthinkable that must be thought." —Tom Robbins.

"Man, you just don't understand. I can't turkey it out and get clean. I can't even think about it."

Actually, man, I do understand and so do the hundreds of thousands of addicts who are clean today because of rehabs and Twelve Step programs. You don't have to "feel" it or "believe in" it. All you have to do is do it. The only thing standing between you and a whole new life is your attitude.

Pick up that phone book, call NA and AA, find out where those meetings are, and go.

Barry B. Longyear

September 17

I saw a vanity tag on a car that read:


Now, does that mean I am blessed, I am blasted, or I am bullshit? It matters. Either the driver has placed his higher power in the driver’s seat, the driver is sauced out of his gourd, or he is going postal. In any case, I got the hell off the road until he was long gone. —bbl

Thinking about not getting clean?:

"Well, you see, I'm probably not an addict. I'm really not that bad."

Yeah, right. And Al Capone's business card said that he was a used furniture dealer.

Barry B. Longyear

September 18

Drug Problem: I put including this one before a couple of meetings, and both times the vote was unanimous: Include it. This was sent to me by a fellow out there in western Maine.

In pharmacology, all drugs have two names, a trade name and a generic name. For example, the trade name of Tylenol also has a generic name of acetaminophen. Aleve is also called naproxen. Amoxil is also called amoxicillin and Advil is also called ibuprofen.

The FDA has been looking for a generic name for Viagra. After careful consideration by a team of government experts, it recently announced that it has settled on the generic name of mycoxafloppin. Also considered were mycoxafailin, mydixadrupin, mydixarizin, mydixadud, dixafix, and, of course, ibepokin.

Get clean? Keep picking up? Get clean? Keep picking up?

A thought:

Science has shown that, if you run in circles with sufficient enthusiasm and speed you will eventually run into your own ass—an extraordinary accomplishment of limited practical application. —Anon

September 19


Thomas was about to lose his job and his family because of his drinking and smoking. He tried to stop many times, but was never successful. Desperate for an answer, he walked into a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. In the meeting he was told to get a sponsor, so afterward he asked a serene looking fellow named Roscoe to be his sponsor, and Roscoe agreed.

“Thomas,” began Roscoe, “If you want to stop drinking and doing pot, it will be necessary for you to turn your will and your life over to a power greater than yourself.”

“I don’t believe in any of this spiritual crap,” said Thomas. “What should I do?”

“Are you willing to go to any lengths to recover?” asked Roscoe.

“I think so.”

“Very well,” said Roscoe. “Until you can come up with a higher power of your own understanding, you can borrow mine, the Great Juju.”

This sounded very weird to Thomas, but he asked, “So, how do I use your higher power.”

“It is very simple,” answered Roscoe. “First, go pee in a cup. Take that cup of urine to the Juju. I keep it in my back yard. After you give the Juju your gift of urine, it will tell you what your problem is and what you can do about it.”

Thomas thought this sounded ridiculous, but he had agreed that he was willing to go to any lengths to recover, so he decided to try out his sponsor’s higher power. He peed into a cup, took the cup of urine to the shrine of the Great Juju in his sponsor’s back yard, poured the urine into the receptacle, and stood back as the fires of the Juju consumed it, its eyes, fangs, and horns glowing bright green. Just then a deep, booming voice came from the shrine.

“Thomas,” it said, “you are a druggie and a drunk. Don't pick up, go to meetings, and ask for help.”

Thomas thanked the Juju, didn't pick up, went to a meeting, asked for help, and had his first day of abstinence. Thomas came to believe in the power, the mercy, and the wisdom of the Great Juju.

Sometime later Thomas had a sore elbow. He was thinking about taking some pain killers for it, but asked his sponsor instead. Roscoe told him to consult the Juju.

Thomas took a fresh cup of urine to the shrine and poured it into the receptacle. The flames consumed it and the Juju spoke: “Thomas,” it said, “you have tennis elbow. Ice your elbow, wear a pneumatic armband, and avoid heavy labor.”

Thomas did as the Juju commanded, and in two weeks the pain in his elbow was almost gone. Instead of praising the wisdom and power of the Juju, however, Thomas began to doubt. It was, after all, just an ugly statue in his sponsor’s back yard. What if this was all coincidence or a hoax? He half suspected that it was his sponsor’s voice he had heard when the Juju spoke. Thomas decided to test the Juju to see if it could be fooled. He mixed some tap water, a urine sample from his dog, and urine samples from his wife and daughter into the same cup. Finally, he masturbated into the concoction. He took the mixture to the shrine, poured it into the receptacle, and stood back as the flames of the Juju consumed it. Then the Juju spoke:

“Thomas,” spake the Juju, “your tap water is too hard—get a water softener. Your dog has worms—get some pills from the vet. Your daughter is into cocaine—send her to rehab. Your wife is pregnant and it isn't yours—get a lawyer. And if you don't stop jerking off, your tennis elbow will never get any better.”

A thought to think:

Pick at it all you want, but as far as your recovery is concerned, the important thing is asking the question and getting the right answer, not our knowledge of the power that answers. You're an addict. You need solutions, not credentials. —Anon

Barry B. Longyear

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The NA meeting was large for our rural area, 20 to 25 recovering addicts on an average Saturday. Those who attended regularly took the num...