Friday, July 29, 2005


Today was a day that seems like it never really happened. I was having lunch in the staff lounge and was stricken by what felt like an aneurysm or stroke at my table. It was as if someone had taken 1000 volts of electricity and run it through my brain. The pressure was unbelievable. I was immediately kicked into a panic attack and began to lose conciousenss. Some people came over and helped me. I took some deep breaths, but that was not enough. Later, after the break, I was in class and a new attack happened. This one much more severe. They called the school nurse and my boss came in as I lay on the floor in the book room. I could barely stand up and was shaking uncontrollably. It was a panic attack, that's right, a full blown panic attack, coming in waves, after 15 years of not having them. If you've never experienced one in your life, I certainly hope you never have the displeasure of doing so. The only thing you can say about them is that you are utterly helpless and know that you are going to die. It becomes a physiological representation of a psychiatric/emotional disorder.
But my co-workers responded with love and compassion. The nurse sat with me and let me hold her arm. She comforted me with calm reassurance. My boss, normally distant and aloof, well I complained about her earlier this year, got past whatever we had and drove me to the ER at Kaiser. The teacher in the room I worked came along. They actually stopped at Thrifty and got cat food and Kitty litter for my cats. These were actions I was absolutely astounded by. The office manager told me I would be paid for the whole day. I can't express how humbled I was by the humanity that came all around me.
ER was convinced it was Panic and gave me Atavan, which seemed to work. But the physician would not order a CT scan of my brain. I asked him again to do so, he refused and said "call your psychiatrist". I did. He referred me to my internist. I saw a different one who took all the time in the world and has ordered a scan for this Sunday. He wants to rule it out.
Stressed out perhaps. Faithless and afraid. Overwhelmed. Need more evidence of the divine. I was helpless for an hour at work. I am at home, resting comfortably after going to an AA meeting with a friend, he drove me back to HH to get my car. I'm okay. As the nurse said to me before loading me into my boss's car "It always ends up OK you know". That was the last and most important thing I could hear.
More after Sunday.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


I went to the Arlington Group of Alcoholics Anonymous last night. One of the oldest meetings in Los Angeles. My new "tough guy" sponsor picked me up and took me there. I ran into my friend Patrick M, one of the most intelligent people I have ever met, who had a relapse after five years three weeks ago, ran over two people in a blackout and ended up in Twin Towers where he was looking at a year or more. They let him out for lack of evidence, his head is shaved, he has three weeks. I look into his eyes and I see my own. The eyes of "I'm not REALLY an Alcoholic though". The eyes that purvey the ultimate disorder of denial, the prime directive of the ism. My new "tough guy" sponsor has told me that I'm a dead man unless I give myself over completely to this program. COMPLETELY. Meetings everyday, working with others, doing the steps, AA first and only for one year minimum. I don't believe him. I want to believe him. I don't need to believe him. I need simply and honestly to make this committment to the program.....OR ELSE. Facts are facts. In my case I have to have the faith to have faith. It doesn't matter what I do at this point but only that I do it. That is the surrender right now.
I AM GOING TO DIE OF THIS DISEASE! I write these words and they appear rather dramatic. Not me, come on. Silly. Those AA'ers. They're so DRAMATIC.
Who will come to my funeral. Even these thoughts will not keep me sober. ONLY what every other alcoholic before me has done will do that. I am no different. I don't believe any of it. I still believe I will be struck sober and my career will finally take off. AA is just a stop on the way to stardom. I'm a fucking dead man.
I don't know shit because my disease blocks me from knowing. That's why we need each other. I'm saying these things but the disease laughs at them and is searching for the next time to attack. It blacks me out, literally, from knowing what is happening.
Vigilance and willingness to do whatever is necessary is the only solution today. All I have is today. I want to live some more Rebecca. I want to experience what I see is possible. I want, so desperately, for the disease to not take my body before my soul can get to me. I need help!
The art is that part of my soul that will be rewarded after the surrender. But the surrender must happen. The only alternative is the unthinkable.
I love you,

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Monday, July 25, 2005

Clinical Depression and Self Sabotage

So some things became very clear after my latest slip. I indeed am an alcoholic, no question. However, I think I have underrated the extent of devastation that Clinical Depression can affect in a life. I have definitely been minimizing the nature of my own depression. The current medication works quite well, but I need to keep exploring the various possibilities of a treatment. And I need to really be kind to myself. I mean, Tom Cruise, of all people, has no sympathy for me or my kind. But, I'm sure that there are a number of folks who can relate very much to this. Those that get uptight, I suspect, might be frightened by their own potential for such a malady. Think Virginia Wolf, Anne Sexton. It is no less than a cancer to the soul and one of the hardest most unimaginable things to have to deal with on a daily basis.
Self Sabotage is one of my oldest companions. I often wonder if it's always been there, or if it raised its ugly head around the time of my first drink. My life has been an endless merry-go-round of building a life while having the absolute certainty that it will all be taken away from me. I think the whole wipe out the sandcastle aspect of this is very revealing to see. I actually have no idea what causes it. Is it also a product of depression. I'm not so sure. I do see that as I have gotten closer to my dream for my life, happiness and joy, I have panicked and knocked down the house of cards. I have put far too much of my life into the hands of other people and their ideas. I have been overwhelmingly susceptible to letting other people dictate the course of my life. Only I can do that. I really need help. I feel like a leaf in the wind right now. Extremely vulnerable, terribly fragile, and also very close to letting go of my preconceived notions of reality.

Friday, July 22, 2005

more on Faith and Gratitude

Okay, it's fucking tomorrow and that half a fucking egg salad sandwich doesn't look to fucking good to me right about now. Mother Fuckers! I work my fucking ass-fucker off every slime ass fucking day and I am soooooooooooo looking forward to my two weeks of noodles and canned spagetti sauce and the rest of my fucking cinammon Life cereal (Mikey likes it! Yea-up the butt!).
So, what the hell happened to my faith and gratitude? Let's just say it got gobbled up by my visions of a Big Fucking Mac sandwich, fries and a "cuul" drink. Assholes! The stinky tards I work with have more fucking money than I do. The idiot boy with the $five dollar bill stuck in his crankhole, who has no idea that's its there much less what to do with it. Maybe I should just stuff my fives down his pooped pants and grab that 1/4 of a double sawbuck. Shove him down while doing it, make it look like an accident, then race across the street to the In-And-Out-Urge and shove vast quantities of Mad Meat down my gull hole. Just a fucking binge-o-rama as my students sad expense. Shit, he's gonna be downin every kind of fast fuckfood and sugar shuck that his ol' nasty mumsies and dadsies can shell out. While me, heh heh, me....Well, let's just say I'm lookin at my cats a whole lot different right now. There! There's your fucking gratitutde DUDE!
Hell, my weekend looks just GREAT. So, what the hell am I gonna do? Trust God? Trust all the purveyors of God who tell me that they don't have the answers just gotta give god a phone call again. Okay. You win. Hey GOD. Big Guy. Listen, this is little Ol' Tony and I'm fucking hungry right now. "So why don't you eat", uh yeah I know but I got this egg-salad sandwich and uh it..." "Stop complaining. What did they eat at Auschwitz? You think an egg-salad sandwich might have looked okay to them Anton? And spagetti and sauce!? Are you out of your cotton fuckin mind, pal? A feast for the feasty. Pop Tarts you say, or a pop-tart. You grateless, ungrately piece of human filth. You greedy pork filled heeb. You call yourself a jew and talk this shit!? On the SABBATH no less! WHYIOUGHTA!"
I know God. Yes, I know. I am sludge. I'm the worst kind of man. Taking little autistic boys cash. But, like they say at Rally's "Hey, you gotta eat".
GET ME SOME K-RATIONS NOW GOD-O-GODEEYO. I'm fucking hungry down here.
And while your at it, give me some faith with those fries.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Faith and Gratitude

I'm broke as hell right now. Again. I'm broke and can't see what to do. My little tiny eenie teenie human mind has no idea what I'm going to do to feed myself and put more gas in my car. I'm going to myself for information. This can only happen if I go either to the past or the future. The only solution to my problems are spiritual in nature. The only place this information can exist is in the present moment. I cannot go to "me" for a solution. I must go to my higher power, as it were, my higher self. My god mind for an actual solution. When I do this, truly, something remarkable happens. A change in perception occurs. From a place of hopeless emptiness and lack, I am made deeply aware of abundance. I am given instructions on how to tend that abundance, even if it exists in a half carton of eggs. I am given a spiritual recipe for my evening feast. Eggey woggys. Delicious and meaty. I then begin to see what the hell I thought was absent. There! Hey, that's an air conditioner I have. It's keeping me from the unmerciful deadly crisping going on outside. My kitties have clean litter today, albeit a sample of natural papier Maiche litter that only hippies would use, but it's God again. And samples of natural hard food, with substances. All from the liberal For Pets Only people in Los Feliz. God bless you, you commies.
And more, and much more, there, a can of german potatoes, hmmm good. Guess what this is? That's right. It's Gratitude dude. Gratidude. I walk through 98 percent of my day ungrateful because I don't see. To see, one must go to one's real seer. Then, do not shame oneself for "knowing" these things intellectually and not being able to do them 24/7. It's like meditation. Just bring your mind back home. It's simply a correction. And fear of tomorrow, lack of faith, needs a correction. The millionteenth times I have been mystically taken care of and forget, needs simple correction. It starts with being in the present moment. It grows into Gratitude and becomes Faith and, if one is so blessed, Grace. The masters make it look so easy. The reason they are masters are because it is so amazingly hard to do. But, the masters reveal the simplicity. Tonight, its been made simple. What a gift.
Now, tomorrow...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

It coulda been me

I just read about the young latino comic who died last week. He had performed at the Laugh Factory on Saturday night, got a standing ovation, and then he was found dead in his bed Sunday morning. Maybe he had a bad heart. Maybe it was natural causes and that was the end of his life. Maybe the obituary sections is just being kind. Whatever the situation, one can read the tea leaves. How close are we from making one crazy, human choice that could make our families, wives, daughters (daughter in this case) have to deal with this completely life changing scenario? You think it can't happen to me. My life is safe. I've got a multitude of things left to do. I'll just try a little of this and a little of that. Hell, it'll take the edge off. The truth about the "ism" is it sounds like a good idea if my life is going bad, and it sounds like a good idea if my life is going good. It waits with a long bony finger, sharp nails pointy, beckoning me to come here. Just a little taste. Just a small taste of that success, or relief, or whatever sounds appealing to make me believe I'm more than what I think I am. Because I'm never that. The standing ovation, see, that's the key, right there. That's the clue that makes me understand what happened. Poor guy, maybe he should have been booed offstage. Maybe he would have standed a better chance. Maybe he would have had "just one" and gone home to sleep it off, waking up to his wife and daughter, breakfast ready, Sunday paper brought in by his little girl, the ballgame coming on later. He would have gotten a call from his friend who told him "screw it. Fuck them" when talking about his tank the night before. Or, maybe it would have been the same sad story. That sad story that waits, long bony finger extended, sharp nails pointy, beckoning me to come here. I'll make what's bad better, and whats better best. I'm fucking lucky today. No, blessed. I better see that today. Then I have a chance. R.I.P. mi amigo.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I stumbled

I stumbled last week. I fell down. Scratch that...I tripped myself running. I stuck out my right foot and kicked the left foot out from under me. My right foot, Lucy, didn't appreciate my left foot, Charlie Brown. My left foot was catching up. My left foot started thinking about who I really was. It started to believe, the gall, that I was not a failure. It began to suspect that I am not perfect and that there is no shame at all in being human. But perhaps the ultimate indignity to my right foot was my recognition that I am the one who I am looking for to take care of me. I am the one who can take care of myself. I accept that responsibility. I no longer needed to hide this. It doesn't matter what I feel about my life, my job, my career, my hopes and dreams. The truth is only that I need not hide. But because I am human, I have an imperfect fear of admitting these larger truths of my humanness. If I leave the domain of limited thinking and awareness, what the fuck will happen to the smaller me that dreams of being the larger one? My yearning to become that which I am strangely perpetuates the status quo by reminding myself that I NEED to be the larger self, of which I already am. Ya dig? That's the victim mentality we hear about and can't seem to shake. Fear and guilt are the language which keeps us hoping for the truth. Hoping for the truth is blocking the truth. YOU ARE THE TRUTH. Please don't stop it by reaching for it. You are just getting in your own way. Once you realize this, the shroud of dread begins to lift and you need do nothing. You are the completeness you seek. Seek no more. That's the key you seek. That's the key you have with you and have always had. Forgive yourself. Be joyful. Love your right foot.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Post by e-mail

This is my first brief post by e-mail to my site. This is a test post. Test post. Test post. Question: Do you eat Total?

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I just watched the movie "Sideways" this past weekend. I was deeply moved by it. The story of the two kindred spirits, who couldn't be more different, moved me more than I expected. It actually set a great many things in motion in my life. I guess no matter what happens to us, somewhere along the line we are going to be forced to deal with our deep regret and longing for a different past. As a matter of fact, that's what the most powerful definition of forgiveness expresses. Real forgiveness is not condoning someones behavior or condemning ourselves for what we've done (the best definition of shame I know), but forgiveness is releasing oneself from the expectation that we may have ever had a better past. Sounds pretty crazy, no? But when you think on it if makes sense. Our past is gone. It is now the water in the wake of the boat. To regret the past, to hold onto it (not forgive) is to violate the authentic self by "staring" into a void, a non-place. Somehow by holding onto it we experience a weird sense of safety, however illusory that is. This places us square in the middle of our lives, here and now, the only real place there is. This is the place of safety and joy. This moment. We have all experienced a sense of this presence called "Now" even if for a brief time. It's when we forget ourselves the most that this happens. How ironic. By forgetting ourselves (losing oneself in present time) we actually find our true nature. Our buddha-hood, as it were. But like good wine, the past gets better with time, if we can savor it like the light from a neighboring star. But if we keep staring, living there, then we've done ourselves a terrible injustice. I struggle with this everyday. I call it the "if onlys". If only I had a better career, if only I was thin, if only I had unlimited wealth, I'd be fine. The hilarious truth is that I do have those right now. I have everyone of them. I'm not being smart here. Take a moment, move past yourself. Inhale the past like a Pinot, as you watch the winds move by you, the clouds of your heart. Remember them. Remember them, right now.