Thursday, August 15, 2013

Whitney Houston, We Have a Problem

Since I think "Honesty" is the third-best policy (after "Never Put Tomatoes in the Refrigerator" and "Don't Negotiate With Any Neighbor While Either of You are Wearing a Bathrobe"), I've decided to go ahead and talk about what's going on in my life.

Thanks to the prompting of a few (ok, 514) friends, I've elected to enter rehab tomorrow morning for a short stay to help clear out the corkscrews and cobwebs in my brain and emerge with a clear head and a toolbox full of tools to help me navigate the rest of what's ahead. It's hard to talk about it all without dinging the (as my friend Beth says) cliché bells, so if that atonal ding-donging makes you itchy, you don't have to read any further.

I've been a drinker for a long time, and a pretty heavy one for over half of my life. Things have ramped up over the past year - and especially over the last six months or so, since the loss of a job I loved. I'm not blaming that loss, just identifying it as a trigger. But for years now, I would accept each and every invitation I received if there was the barest hint of a promise of noon wine. (I think that might be a Tennessee Williams quotation, but I'm lifting it for my purposes).  And oh, I was FUN! Fun fun fun! I could always be relied on to be the fun one. My friends got tired of it before I did - by a long shot - but everything coalesced last weekend when just the right people were in my orbit to help stop the hurtling asteroid. If I have to sacrifice being "the life of the party" to being a "party to my life," well, then that's what's going to happen.

It's been four days in between the decision and now - it took some time to work out the financials of going to get help - and that's a lot of time to get scared and second-guess and think non-stop about the liquor store, all of which I've done. My only serious regret about last weekend is that my final glass was Corbett Canyon boxed chardonnay. If that's not a sign of a cry for help, I don't know what is.

I'm nervous about 12-step language and method because so much of it is faith-based, and the only thing I have faith in is Cate Blanchett's talent. But I think if every time "god" comes up, I just think of a pretty path in the woods or the crackly poppy sound a campfire makes late in the evening - you know, my particular brand of religion - I can get through even that.

I'm scared to death and practically haven't stopped sobbing for four days, but it's Time, and I use the capital letter on purpose. A capital letter comes after a period. A long, terrible, period.

Think of me when you can and I'll be back soon, better than ever.


Kaethe said...

Oh, sweetie. I'm sorry. This must be incredibly hard for you, but it sounds like a good thing. If there's any help or support I can offer, you know I do. And yes, Cate Blanchett's talent is a higher power.

elizabeth wilson said...

our mutual friend hannah just posted this on FB. not sure if you will read my response there, so i wanted to share here:

"amen. beautiful. love it! there is something so powerful when we get to the space of 'somethings gotta change' and then take the effort to actually move towards change! yipee! thanks for sharing."

also to add that recently i realized that i was choosing to hide in alcohol rather than face some of the uncomfortableness of my life. so with the help of a counselor and great friends, i quit and am now on a 100% fast from it.

if it is any encouragement, this is the best i've felt about myself and my world in a long time. :)

also, even though we differ on the God thing, i want you to know that i am praying for you right now.

excited for ya!!

Kate Maloy said...

DG, I'll be sending all the light and energy and warm thoughts I can possible muster, and then some more. Doing this while you're scared to death just shows how brave you are. That's your higher power, even if the campfire dims.

Alan Herbers said...

Hey DG,
I went to rehab at recovery ranch outside of Dickson TN in February this year on Februrary 11. I was the best decision I made for my life and was there 9 weeks. I've heard good things about where you are going. Regardless of any spiritual qualms you may have about 12-step process, work the program the best you can. Most attending AA have issue w the "GOD" thing and most refer to him/her/it as the Higher Power.
Work their program the best you can and question everything. If you get answers you dont like, suck it up and accept the answer and play the fucking game.
I hit 6 months clean and sober on Sunday.
You can do it; they are not going to do a mind meld and change your precious personality.
If I can help in any way shape or form, let me know. my phone number in the 901 area code is 299 * 0982.
Take care my friend.
with love,

kmbutrfly said...

thanks for sharing this DG! we'll be thinking of you!!!

Park Girl said...

You already know how much I love you but here it is again. You are on my mind every single day.

I, too, was going to mention substituting "God" with something out of nature. Our true religion.

Karen Schreck said...

My Beautiful Friend,
I love you. I have loved you for a long time now. I will still love you in 28 days.
Keeping you in my thoughts,

Eddie Bailey said...

Hey Bitch-

All this sappy stuff's making my junk hurt, so I'll make it brief.

I love you. Even though I never get to see you, I think of you often and have nothing but respect for you as an artist, as a writer and as a man.

You are wise to see your issues and brave to see your way through them. If anyone can get 'to the other side', it's you, DG.

As for the 'god' stuff, I understand too well. No word gives me the heebee-jesusees faster. 'Higher power' is only slightly better. But, for these purposes, god can be your dog, a trail in the woods or the entire Universe viewed while lying on your back outside your tent. Whatever gets you through, as they say.

But however you imagine it, it is your power. You can rely on dogs, family and friends - but in the end, it is you that will make this change. Don't underestimate yourself or give your power away.

Take care, my friend. When you bust out of the joint, Tandoori Kitten is on me.

jld333 said...

That's some of the most eloquent writing I've come across in a long fucking time. You, my friend, are ready to embark on this path.

Be kind to you.

Embrace it all. Even the shit. Darkness and fear will come for you, but you can and will transform it into something splendid.

Peace and love. Jamie

xdru100 said...

You don’t know me, but we have a good friend in common. I got sober in AA and have remained so for over 12 years. I can tell you from my own personal experience that regardless of what the other 12 Steppers and even the AA literature tells you, 'god' is not necessary for your recovery if you don't need it to be.
The important thing is to admit that you have a severe problem and you need some outside help to solve it. For me, that outside help is both the 12 step process (minus the supernatural if you wish) and the other people in the program (who do not judge your conception or lack thereof, of a god or HP). If honestly, thoroughly and continuously practiced, the 12 step process will leave you with a great deal more information about yourself and a more appropriately sized ego.
The upshot is that the steps will allow you to live comfortably enough in your own skin so that you will no longer feel compelled to drink or use drugs. Another wonderful side effect is that most of your relationships will be vastly improved, as will your view of yourself and your outlook on life in general.

jacky dustin said...

You're a total rockstar, DG.

I'm sorry you (and your friends) have to go through this crap, but am so very happy you got the courage to do this noise (and write about it).

I am sending prayers up to my God and positive vibes your way that your strength endures the inevitable hard times ahead. Keep up this positive attitude, and you'll always be the life of the party!

Props to you, DG.

Take care of you.


Katharine Weber said...

Thinking of you, dear DG, with love --


Unknown said...

Take care of yourself, Design Genius! You matter to us. Hear that: YOU matter to us!

Carol hetyey said...

Know that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. (A.A. Milne) Ok, maybe not smarter than YOU think, but you know what I mean.

I love you


Carol hetyey said...

Know that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. (A.A. Milne) Ok, maybe not smarter than YOU think, but you know what I mean.

I love you


Meg Strong said... you displayed just how brave and amazing you are, two things I have always known about you, even when you couldn't. I am incredibly proud of you. My heart ached when I witnessed you regain hope and a sense of optimism. I love you. Always. Forever.
xoxo, sister meg

nashmallow said...

Seeing your situation clearly, doing something difficult to change it, and telling people--that takes a lot of courage. I'm sending great thought waves, clearing out the calendar for an epic hike when you're ready.

Lisa said...

And we're still going to the Lobster Box when you come to New York. The wine there sucked, anyway.

teacher cindy said...

I looked back on your blog to 2010, the last year you wrote here, and found your link to Hard Times. Beautiful sad song, and while I don't know much about you outside of the virtual world, I know enough to see you've had more than your share of hard times of late. Im keeping you in my thoughts and hoping for you that hard times will come again no more.