I remember decades ago when I would get dropped off at night and I would become panicked with idea of being alone. I couldn’t wait to be around people again, for I could only think when I was by myself, and to think is to fear.
Now I cherish the alone time. We were going to record a podcast today, and then we had to reschedule, so I sighed a sigh of relief and went for a walk with my dog, Rufus.
Today I celebrate twenty-four years sober. Most of those twenty-four years were spent in the crowds of people suffering from the same thing I was. I was taught to build a fellowship. Create the fellowship you crave. (It only works if others crave the same fellowship, so sometimes it’s find the closest thing to the fellowship you crave)
I remember sitting with a group of guys yelling about one thing or another, and they were wearing similar outfits, and I was not into it. I didn’t want to be that anymore. I didn’t want an identity to be my badge. I didn’t want to belong to anything that requires a costume – except softball, because sports should be the only time an adult wears a costume.
I remember not wanting to be apart of that anymore. It’s not me. I was so scared of being alone. I was so scared not being apart of something.
I searched for friends and a community. I knew what I didn’t want anymore. I didn’t want to be a boy being boys anymore. I wanted to be a man, but on top of that, I wanted to be anonymous and an equal. I wanted to be me.
There was some growing pains. I was lost. I bounced around while I tried to find a place where I fit in. Sometimes I just didn’t jive with what people were up to or I wasn’t accepted. Luckily there is a home for everyone.
It also was about being able to be by myself. I think having a fellowship around you is great, until that fellowship isn’t there anymore. Some day the party is over. People move, have kids, die, or walk away. I would rather be happy with both.
It took a long time, but now I love being alone. I was so scared of it for so long, but now I crave it. I love solitude.
I think the dog is the motivator. I used to date a woman who had a dog, and I would walk that dog all over Portland with my iPod shuffle. I let me creep around neighborhoods staring into windows. All the dog wanted to do was walk and smell things.
Now I have a dog, and I have a better music device, and I have new neighborhoods to slither around in. We walked 3.5 miles. Portland is having it’s annual false spring. Crocuses were blooming everywhere. It went from cool to warm.
And now I can think when I’m alone without this heavy shadow smothering me. I can breath and let the thoughts rotate through.
Now don’t get me wrong, I can get worried, anxious, and believe you me, I fear for this world, but it’s not this selfish prison I built around myself, trapping me from any light of hope.
I still think about drinking. I don’t ever spend too much time wishing I could take a drink, but every once in awhile I would love to get shit faced. The idea of complete self-destruction crosses my mind once in awhile. Not when life is hard, or the news is too much, or if Nicole is grumpy with me, it’s when I am bored. I think oblivion will always be attractive.
I spend more time wishing I was a social hallucinogenic drug user or that I was impervious to cigarettes’ side effects.
Weed never crosses my mind, despite it’s legality. The culture seems pretty Sacramento to me. When I say Sacramento, i’m talking about jeans with glittery crosses on the butt pockets, a fedora, and anything to do with MMA, motorcycles, or that hillbilly meets gangsta culture that Idiocracy warned us about. (Lot’s of offense, Sacramento) Remember that guy Jesse James that did the choppers and was married to Sandra Bullock? He looks like a weed shop clerk and owner.
So what I’m saying is that I’m not interested in becoming that after a few tokes of the weeds.
Here is what I have at twenty-four years: I am fine being alone. I am fine with people. I have an awesome relationship with someone that I love and loves me. I have the best fucking dog ever. I am going to Europe. I have a great job. I have a great family. I have an awesome host of friends. We work together to find a way out. I like where I live. I get to hate shit without it not destroying my life.
I get to have integrity today. I get to be me. I get to be comfortable by myself, with my friends and family, and with strangers. I get to be me.