Opinion

Larissa’s story, Part II: No more crises because that’s all life is

In a perfect world, I could have driven the four hours to see her, whispered magic words into an amulet, placed it around her neck, and she’d never drink again. In a perfect world, Larissa could have met me at her door, asking to go to an AA meeting, where she’d meet a woman who’d offer to walk her through the 12 steps of that organization as Larissa got used to living without booze. In a perfect world, Larissa could look at the mess she and her drinking had made of her life, put the plug in the jug and move on to a life without alcohol. READ MORE
Columnists

Larissa, a Fairy Tale of Sorts – Part 1: Too smart and charming for our own good

Larissa will find another job. She’s insightful and gifted and attractive, and that’s what her references will say. They won’t say she’s a drunk. They won’t want to damage her opportunities because “She’s so great when she’s not drinking. If it weren’t for that . . .” Unfortunately, those ellipses never end without change, and that change doesn’t seem to come without work on our part. READ MORE
Opinion

Shampoo, booze, and reciprocating saws

Alcohol and drugs may at some point have been razors for me, although I couldn’t remember that time.  I’d misused and abused powders and liquids and pills and herbal supplements  long enough that I had transformed them into a Sawzall, a reciprocating saw.  For those not familiar with reciprocating saws, here’s an apt description from handyman.com. READ MORE
Opinion

I don’t know horses, but I know people in recovery

If I had to place money on either a horse race or on picking winners from early recovery, I’d be a better bettor at Pimlico or Churchill Downs than at a church basement or outdoor All-Recovery meeting. At the track, at least I’d have luck on my side—along with a little bit of information about the horses’ previous record. In early recovery, where most folks look like they’re way below down on their luck, appearances can be are deceiving. READ MORE
Opinion

Perspective: What recovery looks like

I’ve been down many times in my life, looking up at people in the power structure, whether case managers, or food pantry workers or just someone to bum enough money for smokes off of. That stinks. They didn’t seem fully human to me when I gazed up the nostrils of privilege or stared hopefully at the chin of pride and arrogance. At least, that’s how people above me always appeared, no matter what they did to try to establish “rapport,” which all too often just made me more suspicious of them.  READ MORE
Opinion

Spirituality and Recovery

I am one of the last people you should listen to on issues of spirituality. After all, when I first got into recovery, my higher power (Higher Power for those of you for whom higher power is a substitute word for God) was an imaginary number—i is the symbol for the square root of -1, a value that does not exist for square roots must be positive. Although imaginary, i is indispensable in solving some quadratic equations. If math problems can be solved with a nonexistent value, then it was good enough to help me solve the problem of my life. If nothing else, it placed something outside my will, ego and appetite at the center of the universe. READ MORE
The Thinker
Opinion

Over time, little by slowly, recovery becomes who we are

Theories offer only a half-constructed bridge to reality. Put another way, I’d rather learn about combat from real soldiers who have fought in real wars than from military theorists. Give me Norman Mailer, James Jones or Tobias Wolff over von Clausewitz, B.H. Liddell Hart or even Lao Tzu. The man who has been to war knows combat in his bones and heart; the theorist only in his mind. READ MORE