I haven't felt like blogging lately, at least in the vein that I normally do in this space. That's not to say I haven't been writing, because I have. And it's also not to say that there's lack of things to expound upon and I haven't developed a case of apathy for the general state of the world. But I am aware that just having a blog, a slightly above average vocabulary, and a need to string words together just to feel like I'm not wasting space on the planet are not enough to drive me to comb through all of the comb-worthy things happening in the world to lay out my opinion on them.
This could have something to do with the fact that I just turned 45, or with the fact that I recently got my 90 day chip from AA.
From Inferno, Canto 29, engraving by Gustav Dore'
Part of the process, other than being able to sit in a room of other People Like Me and say "Hi, my name's Mick and I'm an alcoholic" is examining both the impacts and causal relationship of drinking in your life. It's taken me forever -- 90 days, actually -- to get a sponsor I trust enough to let be my sponsor... which is to say, I found someone whose experience and opinions I trust so that I can release myself into the life-long process called sobriety.
My sponsor is the Virgil to my Dante in this journey. And yes, being in the process of maintaining my sobriety feels more like a circle of hell than a ring of paradise these days. Even though I've been really productive lately in my professional life and doing a pretty okay job of keeping my house in order, the fact it there isn't a day that I don't obsess over drinking... even if I'm just obsessing over not drinking.
When you're not in recovery, or if you're not one of the 10% of the population with this particular allergy to alcohol, it sounds absurd. I know that. I also know it sounds equally absurd that as I am engaged in the process of my sobriety, I know that relapse is built into the disease.
As Virgil says... my sponsor, that is ... it's never a question of IF we will relapse. It's a question of when.
In last two weeks, two people I care about very much, people in my recovery community, have relapsed. They both struggle hard with their addictions... for them it's drugs and not booze, but the disease is fundamentally the same. The most recent of them relapsed on his 90th day of sobriety. It's hard for me not to think about that in terms of the dumb luck that's kept me sober for 90 days. Dumb luck or faith, depending on what day it is, how I feel, and how I feel about myself. Today it feels like dumb luck. Tomorrow, with any luck, I'll still be sober and feel differently about it.
Part of being sober means I feel things differently... which is to say more. One of the reasons I drink is that I get really worn out on feeling things. Working in homeless outreach and seeing what people go through, or what they put themselves through, or what they have no control over, hurts my heart. It makes me angry when politicians and some so-called religious folk dismiss, ignore, and erase the suffering of people. School shootings make me scared for my friends who are teachers, for kids, and for their parents. That people place the need to own a death machine over the lives of children enrages me. That Kentucky's governor can only dismiss violence by blaming video games, only to commit economic violence upon teachers and students in the name of a balanced budget deepens my mistrust of governments, of institutions, and of people in positions of power.
There's so much to write about, but I'm not convinced that being one more blogger in the blogosphere makes a damn bit of difference. I'm not sure this is a time for bloggers. But I know it is a time for poets and artists. That's one arena where the fight is and that's where I'm going to be... and yes, some of it will get posted here. It's not like I'm going anywhere. I'm just shifting my process and step work to something more productive.
I've written before that everyday is a title fight. And it is. I've written before about fighting my demons, and I'm sure I'll write more. But no one talks about the fact that we end up fighting our angels, too. And contrary to popular belief, angels and demons aren't always on opposing sides. Sometimes they tag team. And sometimes faith wins. Other times it's dumb luck. Because we're just people, and flawed, though, it's sometimes damn hard to tell the difference.
But the fight goes on, anyway.
By Gustav Dore'
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From Gustav Dore's drawings of Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
I haven't had much in the way of time or energy to commit here lately, so I wanted to stop in during a lull and say "Howdy" and "I'm still here."
My energies these past few weeks have been spent on teaching my three classes at UofL and on writing for LEO. My own work, writing and otherwise, has fallen by the wayside of late as I try to adjust to a teaching regimen again. The teaching goes as well as can be expected in huge machine of a university. I find myself reaching back to methods taught to me by my friend and mentor, George Eklund. In my mind, I don't teach at the heartless, soulless meat grinder that is a large and parasitic university. I teach at the community college in my mind, the Parsons School of High Creative Humanism. I value my classroom time and hold faith in the potential of actual discussion, intellectual inquiry, and a genuine creative social critique.
I'm still, as you probably expected, banished from the harrowed halls and campuses of the Kentucky Community Technical College System -- a system, which, from what I can tell, is still on an increasingly speedy downward spiral into University of Phoenix infamy. The fat cats are still fat. The lackeys are still latched onto the corporate tit, and adjunct instructors are still ritualistically exploited for the enjoyment of Jay Box, the Board of Regents, The Office of General Counsel, Lisa Brodsky, Shawna L. Anderson, and Emily Belswood*.
Some progress is being made, of course. That the entire institution hasn't ground to a stop because adjuncts are tired of their ritualized dehumanization is proof there isn't enough progress -- but there's always next week, I suppose.
As for the long war back, I suspect, like Odysseus, I suspect my journey towards vindication, if any exists, will take longer than I'd like. My next step, if there is one, is legal action; but my financial situation, and my desire to do more than simply make them pay for a moral affront and attack on my livelihood makes me wonder of there's even a point. Sure, they might pay me off -- but until then I'd be unable to write about them, tell the tale, and sing the songs of their misdeeds, which are many.
And if I happened to win -- that is, if they offered to pay me off -- there would certainly be some attempt to script my telling of the events. And, truth be told, I'd rather be able to continue to call them out for the scam artists they are than get a large payday.
So, keep reading, Dear Friends and Readers. I'll be stopping by here more on the regular. And when I am not here in person, rest assured I always near the dirty sacred river in my heart of hearts.
________________________________________________________________________ *Lisa Brodsky, a sham of an incompetent administrator, Shawna L. Anderson, a lackluster and bitter lackey hiding in Institutional Research, and Emily Belswood, a lowly public relations peon are three of the four people who I have, in the past, written about as #respondent53. I know who the 4th is but can find no proof. Open records requests show the three miscreants listed above did maliciously track and trace my social media life -- which, if the NLRA was any damn use at all and included "public servants", would have caused for them and the college to be sanctioned -- from The Cone Man Saga until I handed them a loaded firearm to shoot me with. Way to stalk. I'd call you ladies, but I've known too many real ones to insult the term.