Today is my wife’s birthday. She was killed just over seven years ago. It really sucked. After she died I went off the deep end, and I did a lot of damage on the way down. Not just to myself, either. I permanently scarred my children, destroyed what little we had managed to build as a family, hurt the few family members I still had and burned essentially every bridge with the few friends I had, basically I was like a shitstreak on the underwear of everyone in my life that remained and attempted to help me, or at the very least gave a shit. And I’m still dealing with it.
I’ve been sober for the last five years or so; my addiction was never a desire to just get fucked up, but a desire to find peace through oblivion. Once I resolved not to kill myself, yet anyway, I sobered up and started over again. Here’s a secret, folks, if there is anybody in your life who struggles with substance abuse, it’s a good chance they’re trying to suppress or even destroy something inside themselves, so rather than taking shit personally or assuming they’re just an asshole, it’d probably be really helpful if you were to try and find a way to help them recognize and process that shit, rather than just leaving them out to dry. Every time I’ve encountered substance abuse, both as an abuser and a person attempting to help another abuser, there has been a reason, and even if you don’t get it you can still provide help if you understand that it’s actually an illness and not just hedonism.
Substance use, on the other hand, is actually fucking awesome, but I haven’t found enough stability in my life to responsibly use substances yet. Judging someone for something outside of their control is not cool, though; and don’t think that you’re not a substance user just because you don’t do drugs, or maybe you don’t even drink, or maybe you’re super clean and super straight edge and you don’t even eat anything unless you picked from the ground yourself, we all have our workarounds, and drugs are nothing more than chemicals that interact with our brains, and you can alter your brain chemistry by simply adjusting your behavior. We all do things to please ourselves, we all do things to assuage our feelings when times are hard, we all lean on things, and things can only get better if we all realize this and treat each other accordingly, like fellow travelers on a sometimes dark and lonely road. I’m not really into talking about this shit, at least when it comes to my own bullshit, because there is just so much better shit to talk about. But, I think it should still be said, and I guess it does give me a bit of catharsis to tickle my own Id.
I am currently reading People Get Ready by Robert W McChesney and John Nichols. It’s a good book so far. I’m on page 117 and I have only set it down twice, once to shower this morning and once to start typing this. I discovered the book one night when I was looking at random shit on the internet, something called Catalysta popped up and it really caught my attention. Apparently it’s an activist production company dedicated to revolutionizing the way we not only live and work, but see the world and interact with it; people before profits and all. That’s something I can get behind, shit, that’s my whole jam! I have found myself unable to fit into the standard role laid out for me pretty much my entire life, and it seems to me that it has always been because I just couldn’t come to terms with the way things are done. We all have to delude ourselves to some degree in order to participate in society with the way things are currently organized. The extent to which one does varies, but it is impossible to remain true to your principles in modern life, unless you either have none at all or are living separate from larger society in some primitive, for lack of a better term, arrangement. The plight of modern humankind is that we all sold our soul for rock and roll, and also fast food and Marvel movies and quick access to anything we can afford. At least from my American perspective, I have been to parts of the world and seen firsthand that things are an awful lot worse than they are for me here for the majority of human beings living on this planet. I don’t want to get too doomer right now, I’m working through some shit and I know that ultimately I’ll be better off finding a way to be positive and productive, but I do feel like too many people have managed to ignore these things, and they need to be front and center because we really are running out of time to fix these problems. Anyway, this organization Catalysta is doing an open-invite art program with this book as a base for inspiration. I’m reading the book in the hopes of coming up with something to contribute. You should too, if that’s your thing, you know?