Monday, October 14, 2013


It was a stupid nightmare. Somehow I had managed to lose the top of my skull, exposing my brain, and the first thing that pops into my remaining gray matter is: "Now my sponsor and me will have the same amount of hair."

Then I'm stumbling around the corridors of some sort of hospital trying to get someone to do something about what seems to me to be a significant injury, but no one seems concerned about contamination, infection, blood loss, or my continued existence!

Then I'm tired, but I can't risk lying down to sleep in case my brain rolls out of my brain pan, and then I woke up. I looked at my nightstand clock and it was a little after three in the morning.

I try to get back to sleep.
Back pain. I roll over
Neck twinge. I adjust the pillow.
Someone is snoring. It's the dog.
I'm wide awake and getting really bored.

My brain starts wondering about the dictionary definition of "Honor." In my latest novel, the word "honor" figured significantly. I know what the word meant to me during the writing, but I never looked to see what the dictionary definition was. My pad was there on the night stand, I turned to my dictionary app, and looked up the word.

Yeah, it pretty much meant what I thought it did.
Now I'm really awake.

Me, alone with my own thoughts, in the dark. These were the hours I feared the most back when I was using. I hardly ever experienced them because, between the pills and the booze, I pretty much went through my nights in a coma.

Sometimes I would awaken. Then it would be a frantic search for something to put me back into that dark unfeeling nothingness. Pills, the bottle, food---anything to numb my brain so it couldn't think or feel.

When I got into the program of Narcotics Anonymous and got clean, funny thing: I couldn't sleep more than an hour or so at night, if that. It was me again, all alone with my own thoughts, in the dark. Eyes-open nightmares, and there is nothing that wakes me up more thoroughly than trying to go back to sleep.

So the pills and potions were thirty-one years ago, and packing my face with food would only distress my cardiologist and physician. So. What do I do?

I reviewed some of the feedback I got at meetings and from my sponsor three decades ago:

"No one ever died from a lack of sleep."
"It's amazing what you can accomplish working twenty-four hours a day."
"Read some N.A. literature."
"Write on some of the Step work you've been putting off."
"Take the opportunity to meditate."
"Do a gratitude list."
"Take up a hobby." (I began wood carving)

The one that is working for me tonight is: "Patience is not waiting; Patience is doing something else."

Well, now that I finished that super long novel I was writing and the publication is complete, I could continue with the mind-numbing chore of rebuilding my website, I thought. On the other hand, I could read this morning's meditation in "Just For Today."

I called up my "Life Sucks Better Clean" blog, clicked on the "Today's Just For Today" link, and read the piece on loneliness, and how once we become part of the fellowship of a Twelve Step program, loneliness becomes a choice rather than a fact of life.

Those in recovery are men and women, young and old, from every walk and station in life, who basically do every day what my friend Jay calls "the most unnatural thing an addict can do: I didn't pick up." It comes from a conscious choice each day to stay alive and live life.

A number of them read this blog, and the stats show that "Life Sucks Better Clean" gets page views from all around the world just about every day. Some days fifty page views, some days a hundred and fifty page views. That's a pretty good-sized meeting.

As long as I had my blog open anyway, I wrote this posting. It's almost time for my alarm clock to go off, I made it through another night without using, and---wherever you are---I wish you a day clean, productive, and filled with gratitude and hope for the future.

Somewhere in the world it's still the middle of the night. Let's hear from you.


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