December 2000

You need a sponsor like a jellyfish needs a can opener.
For Those Who Still Wish to Go -- AA Attendees' Mental Health and Survival Guide, by Joe Berenbaum
Read the whole guide at

I've been delaying writing and doing anything lately. I've been in a funk. I hate that! Curses! So to feel like I am doing something I've been annoying people on the Cat Power E-mail list (who I might add mostly hate me) with posts about furbys singing Cat Power lyrics, faux Chan sk8er videos, and assorted other unremarkable crap...and when that doesn't fill the yawning vaccuum I post fake posts to our guestbook. Loser, right! So, the reason I am in this funk is (not listening to too much Cat Power but Chan M. is becoming known as Our Lady of the Tears to me because whenever I listen to MoonPix I cry. Why? I don't know.), right the reason for the funk: 1) it was birthday on the 23rd and I would post my age but everyone who needs to know, knows, and the others would be shocked that I am not 12 by the reactions to things in this here Brokedown Palace (and sometimes I feel maybe a bit older than 12 anyway) and 2) I've lately been really MAD at 12-step stuff.

So since I can't do anything about getting older, I will have to deal with the MAD at 12-step stuff. Yuck! I was really really mad and I was like ready to be one of these crusaders against AA/12-step, but then I was like, screw it, if it helps one person, it is worth it. I guess some of it might be of interest to anyone who stumbles across this blabber and might feel the same way (see I am still 12-step programmed I think I have to give away)...but first before I spew check out Recovery Liberation Front,, and the previously mentioned Cuz they are a bit more out there than I think I want to be, but I do think it is a crime that people are FORCED to attend AA. AA says it is not religious, but spiritual, but that is bullshit, it is a "faith healing" group (I might agree with the cult thing because it does sort of grab people when they are at their most vulnerable). And as such any court that sends someone there is violating their constitution rights, in my opinion.

One more disclaimer before I start my NA "horror" story, that is that I think that NA/AA can probably be used as a social network as a way of meeting sober and clean people when you are trying to rebuild a group of friends that aren't oriented toward using and stuff. Some of the people I have met in NA aren't totally 12-stepped out and seem to be interesting people, so I think that for me, I have to realize I am never going to buy the bullshit and just leave it alone and not worry, but yeah that is like telling a cow not eat grass...worry that I am not fitting in, gee that is my whole life...

I have been clean for a while now (I am not counting days any more, I think that is so ridiculous because one day clean is the same as 1000 days clean...) and I've been trying to work the steps with a sponsor. I got up to Step 3:"We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him." AND I came to a grinding halt. I can't turn myself over to any God, whatsoever. I tried to find some kind of a higher power (read earlier entries re:Denis Johnson) and the most I could come up with a kind of skepticism that certainly does not guarantee I will be returned to sanity because faith can lead as much to sanity as to insanity (God is a wall and a universe). And so, how does turning myself over to the care of a higher power guarantee anything? And when I was reading that book and thinking about it, I realized that dope was sort of a "god" to me, I felt like it was ruled my life, defined everything I did, everything I thought, and made me feel loved, well then it told me to go fuck myself, but everything spurns you when you heap unreasonable expectations on it. And so I felt powerless in relation to dope (yes, I know that is a step thing) but then how does being powerless in relation to a higher power guarantee sanity? You are being told to adopt the same powerless prostrate posture before your god (whatever HE is) me what is the difference between dope and god (especially when it is whatever you define it long as it loves you? get a furby). So there is a fundamental contradiction there. Which a contradiction alone does not frighten me, it is unacknowledged contradictions that do. Cracks in the walls are fine, as long as everyone sees them.

Me: I want to be powerful, I want to make decisions, I want to be in charge of things, not letting pain and ickiness rule my life, so you say that is your higher power...let your higher self be your guide, but what is the point of having distinctions between high and low and all that crap? I mean I'm sorry Bataille affected me, the whole thing about the Big Toe (I studied with Rosalind Krauss I think I read that essay more times than I did NAs "Blue Book") and the big toe is what allows humans to stand upright to maintain a "vertical" attitude (i.e. let your head swim in the clouds) and meanwhile the big toe is the most unglamourous thing, ugly, knotty, wallowing in the mud and shit of our existence. So this higher mind bullshit is really a farce as far as I'm concerned. I haven't really figured out a life philosophy based on the big toe and I probably won't but suffice it say that if anyone spouts God, Higher Powers, and steps at me, I'm running as fast as my big toe will let me.

The other thing with NA is that I was happy when I first got clean, I was like I am free, and I started reading and watching video tapes and listening to music and stuff and I pulled out of the hole in major ways, then I started thinking I needed to work the steps, go to meetings, and I felt guilty because I was neglecting my "recovery" and if I didn't do step work and stuff I'd fall back into using since that was the only way to do the work on myself that I needed to do to stop using. The steps and meetings make me miserable because I don't feel like I really connect with people because I can't find the handle on the NA belief car and I can't get in and motor down that clean and serene highway with them. So I get mad, and alienated and then when I was working the steps I was never so depressed. I was like I am clean and sober and why am I miserable (almost as miserable as I was before I got clean when I felt so goddamned trapped)? And why when I went to the Kiki and Herb show did I feel so much more alive? And when I was reading stuff other than NA stuff I was inspired, drunk (in a good way), passionately obsessed, smitten, pissed, rather than mournful, scared, and diseased which is the way that the steps were trying to make me think was the way out. And the thing is that I asked some NA people about reading and generally doing the stuff that makes me feel most alive and they said concentrate on recovery and the rest will come. Okay...

Then I discovered this web site for LifeSavers Secular Recovery which is eh gads, a secular recovery group! And their site is awesome. The part about building your recovery toolbox is just what I needed to read (especially Craig M.'s "Monday Nite Recovery Toolbox" where he suggests building a boat in the basement) because here are people recovering outside of AA/NA (I didn't know this was possible) and doing it in creative ways that don't involve countless hours reading step stuff. So now I realize that I am the chief architect of my recovery (not god, not any higher power) and while a step oriented person once told me that I needed to fire myself as the head of my recovery because it was my using mind just finding ways to fool me, I do not buy that anymore (and I was mad about the years of distress that were caused by the simple idea that my own BEST thinking threw me into using when I've now learned that in point of fact it was my own NON-thinking that did. Thank you to the guy on the LSR e-mail list who pointed that out to me)and I am not going to feel guilt about not working the steps, not going to meetings, not counting days, not thanking god for every milisecond I am sober, not thinking thank god I am not the man in the wheelchair begging for food when I am upset or depressed (because really step folks do we know that guy is really unhappy? and isn't that sort of unempathetic to base your happiness on what you are NOT?)AND I am just going to live my life aware that I have within me the potential to get so upset and so self-destructive that I can tear anything apart in seconds (I am literally Wonder Woman I can rip up anything in seconds...sometimes it is fun to watch people go but, uh, um...and then like hours later figure out what to say to me)...and I am going to try and not worry about this crap anymore than I have to. But this is junk that I spew is definitely part of my toolbox. Uggh...

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