drug counselor

here’s to life

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No complaints and no regrets.
I still believe in chasing dreams and placing bets.
But i have learned that all you give is all you get, so give it all you got.
I had my share, i drank my fill, and even though i’m satisfied i’m hungry still
To see what’s down another road, beyond a hill and do it all again.
So here’s to life and all the joy it brings.
Here’s to life the dreamers and their dreams.
Funny how the time just flies.
How love can turn from warm hellos to sad goodbyes
And leave you with the memories you’ve memorized
To keep your winters warm.
There’s no yes in yesterday.
And who knows what tomorrow brings or takes away.
As long as i’m still in the game i want to play
For laughs, for life, for love.
So here’s to life and all the joy it brings.
Here’s to life, the dreamers and their dreams.
May all your storms be weathered,
And all that’s good get better.
Here’s to life, here’s to love, here’s to you.
May all your storms be weathered,
And all that’s good get better.
Here’s to life, here’s to love, here’s to you.

i wrote about an encounter with someone who was deeply lost in his drinking last week. 4 days later he had died. i was very saddened by it all. feeling quite helpless and ineffective is just a fraction of the things that i have tried on. it’s better today. i am accepting and letting go. it is a process though.

the flip side of course, is that the struggling soul- my friend- is struggling no more. he doesn’t have to hate his hiv and his hep-c any longer. he doesn’t have to deny that he doesn’t feel his best.any more. he doesn’t need to imbibe till the blackness rolls in any longer. and he doesn’t have to hide who he is and how he is. he is free.

this space i now find myself in is part of my reality. strangely, it has been for half my life-in one way or another. in the 80’s and 90’s it was the virus that was taking out many of my contemporaries. drugs and alcohol took out a few too, but it was mostly aids. now i find the opposite to be true. working within the hiv field, the virus takes out a few, but more than anything else, i see multiple earth departures fueled by substances.

i am practicing staying grounded as i continue to remember that people die. this death is not an isolated incident. thankfully, it is not a daily one, but it happens more than i would like. i am thankful i am able to available for others. the 80’s found me numbing out myself. today i am listening.  i honestly am changing. one day at a time.

“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.” 

the gift

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image credit…. kristofj and sean
I need to go outside
I need to leave the smoke
’cause I can’t go on living in this same sick joke
It seems our lives have taken on a different kind of twist
Now that you have given me the perfect gift
You have given me the gift

today someone told me a secret about their life. they clearly didn’t want to talk about it, but at the same time they really really did want to talk about it, too. i let them make up their own mind without asking. and i didn’t press for details.

it was painful for me to watch and listen. it wasn’t my pain, but it was full of pain none-the-less.  it wasn’t a pretty story. nor was it happy. it didn’t have a happy ending and it’s doubtful it ever will.  there is much shame and guilt around it. there were first pleasures and lost boundaries. and  left on the floor are broken thoughts and jagged memories.

i watched tears roll softly and pointedly as the details unfurled. the teller kept reminding me how okay they were with everything- which couldn’t be further from how it seems. what seems more likely is that the teller has become accustomed to the twisted feelings and somehow thinks (as survivors do) that this is how it always is.

i inquired about whether this wounded one had ever considered self-forgiveness. i was answered with a seesaw response of “i have forgiven myself” followed quickly and painfully by”i don’t know how”. from what i could surmise, both are true, with the latter overshadowing the former in accuracy.

today, i am reminded once more that the bullshit i ran away from in my childhood, used anything and everything i could heavily to drown out reminders, and then uncovered very clumsily in early sobriety has been transformed. i no longer lead with shame and self-degradation as my calling card. though they are definitely still there, they have been recessed to a back shelf where they provide backbone for empathy and and echo chamber to help me listen when working with others.

i understood today’s fractured fairy tale quite well. i felt blessed that i could be with someone as they allowed themselves to remove some of their armor and feel.

i am not the man i had mostly planned to be. thank god. i am just the guy i have become. it truly seems a gift.

return to oz

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image credit… jasper goodall
He said is this the return to Oz?
The grass is dead
The gold is brown
And the sky has claws
There’s a wind-up man
Walking round and round
What once was Emerald City’s
Now a crystal town
It’s three o’clock in the morning
You get a phonecall
From the queen with a hundred heads
She says that they’re all dead
She tried the last one on
Couldn’t speak, fell off
And now she just a’wanders the halls
Thinking nothing
Thinking nothing at all
(lyrics.. scissor sisters)

today i talked with someone who is in the middle of the insanity of cravings. she has been substance free for about 2 months and has found herself adrift in her own emotions. the waves of feelings were visibly crashing upon her self-esteem. she seemed worn out from the pitching side to side that she must have been feeling.

i felt unequipped to console her in her process. one can’t continue to pick a scab if one wants it to heal without scar. but this message may not have been heard. there is not much ease in sharing logic with someone who is wearing their “emotional” outfit.

i recognized the combination of frustration and fear that she wore. it didn’t fit, but it looked familiar on her. she ended our chat abruptly and escaped as quickly as she could.

yet again, i understand that i am not the great and powerful oz.

mercury in retrograde

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image credit- stephen beckly


MERCURY RETROGRADE: The purpose of Mercury retrograde is to review and revise our life and our connection with reality. The timing of this universe is geared toward the Sun as it moves through the zodiac. Mercury has an orbit that at times gets ahead of the Sun allowing us to look into the future toward new and innovative ideas. However, we cannot continue in that vein until we come back to the present designated by the Sun and put our new ideas into manifestation. During the time that Mercury jumps ahead, we ultimately have to bring the ideas back into the present to test and evaluate to see how they fit into our life. As Mercury retrogrades back into the present, the connection with the Sun happens as we test drive our ideas and re-align with reality and the natural timing of the universe.
Mercury itself rules how we think, we will be adjusting everything related to thoughts, concepts, ideas, and communication, especially how technology and material elements play a part in the physical manifestation of ideas. When Mercury retrogrades, we find that many parts of our life are being revised. Often these revisions can be a surprise or throw us back a step. However, these revisions which occur during a Mercury retrograde, are a “course correction” and provide a stop gap measure until we can review situations. During this time of revision, change is compounded and confusion is created by our reactions to the ever-changing situations. Thus anything started during this time will ultimately be taken back or even revised further, making for a high-frustration time. This will be especially true with changing our minds, reviewing new ideas and our communication being improved and honed so not to be misunderstood…. read the rest of this post at alphalife

in 2011, mercury went into retrograde just about august 3rd and will start its arc back around august 26th. the technical insanity of my weekend would attest to the inside out quality of this phase. so many things seemed to cease operating and i found myself drifting into a communication void. it was frustrating, humbling, and overwhelming. nothing but surrender led me to peace. now 3 days later, my life is once again connected and at peace, but the nightmare that was this weekend left an imprint. 

i have so many very big changes in front of me and i am completely leery of making a decision during this retrograde period. i am often so fueled by impulse and do not think out my moves. this is precisely one strong explanation for the financial predicament i find myself. i have been told that fear of economic issues will fade once sober, but i believe i have to grow up emotionally before that will happen. and i hope that is what i am doing. 

i have started working with the hep-c+ patients at our clinic. now the intakes are being testes for most sti’s and i will be delivering the test results. surprisingly most have remained sti-free through all their marauding. but every now and then, as in today, there is a person who has no idea that they have been exposed to something and need to consider taking care of themselves in a new way. the woman i informed today teared up as we talked. it didn’t seem as if she were devastated, but perhaps more that this was one more trauma or burden that she found herself having to bear at this point in her life. i am scheduling follow-ups with all the positives in 1 month and then 1 month later. it is my experience that a person’s brain goes numb when they are told, and are unable to take much of anything else in. a month should give that numbness a chance to subside. 

i continue to wait to hear about my transfer at work. it always seems to be such a long wait for these transfers to happen for me. waiting is not my strong suit. and yet i have been doing it for at least a season every year for the past 3. there must be deeper lessons here. 

i read about this remix at andy towle’s site. it’s a remix of poly styrene’s “ghoulish”  with hercules and the love affair. it’s etheral and i  really kinda like it.

 Poly Styrene ‘Ghoulish’ (Hercules & Love Affair Remix) by Poly Styrene