That I Would Be Good

It’s Labor Day, and it’s broiling hot outside. I only know this because when I opened the door to let the dogs out this morning, a wall of heat almost knocked me over. I’m staying inside today. Not because of the air conditioning (though I thank God for that), but because I’m still in a […]

Goodbye, King Cone

Oh we never know where life will take us I know it’s just a ride on the wheel And we never know when death will shake us And we wonder how it will feel Saturday night, over 75 beautiful sober men and women gathered in my backyard to help me usher in my one year […]

Better Every Day

Once I believed that when love came to me It would come with rockets, bells and poetry But with me and you it just started quietly and grew And believe it or not Now there’s something groovy and good ’bout whatever we got And it’s getting better Growing stronger, warm and wilder Getting better everyday, […]

Sick F@ck

2006: I’m sitting at the kitchen table, a plate with a few remnants of toasted bread in front of me.  This is one of my props, because as usual I have no appetite. One of my more clever tricks: toast the bread, butter it, break it into pieces – biting some for authenticity – and […]

Countdown

Rapidly approaching my one-year sobriety “birthday,” I’m overwhelmed by feelings. Gratitude, because I’ve learned this year how to actually sit with these feelings and not seek to dull or obliterate them with drugs or alcohol. Anxiety, because this means that I will have to speak…if only briefly…in front of large gatherings of the recovery community […]

Die Another Day

I think I’ll find another way There’s so much more to know I guess I’ll die another day It’s not my time to go Reading of the NSA domestic spying scandal, and of the fiery Highland Avenue 4 AM car-crash death of investigative journalist Michael Hastings – who was reportedly writing an expose on the […]

More; Revealed

There’s a saying in the recovery community that used to perplex me: “I’m grateful to be a drug addict,” people will often say. There was a time when I would hear these words and cringe. Who in their right mind would be grateful for this disease?  Maybe, I thought, poor communication skills was the issue: […]

Like a Book I Wouldn’t Read

“I wish that confidence was all you could see in my eyes / Like those interviews in locker rooms with talented sports guys / I wish I had no self-awareness like the guys I know / Float right through their lives without a thought / And that I didn’t give a shit what anybody thought of me / That I […]

The Dating Game

Yesterday, I attended Gay Pride in Los Angeles for the first time in over 12 years, and for the very first time completely clean and sober. It was an interesting day: I spent much of it volunteering for a recovery-oriented organization: setting up and decorating this organization’s booth, stringing twinkle lights, handing out pamphlets. It […]

But For The Grace of God

I’m in a sad place today. I was going to write about this last night, but changed my mind. This morning, still sad, I changed my mind again:  I’m going to write about this because I need to write about this. I learned last night that a man I knew in recovery died after relapsing […]

Smoking on the Devil’s Johnson

In June of 1993, my friend Eddie and I made a road trip to San Francisco to attend that city’s Gay Pride festival. The night before the festivities kicked off, we discovered that a favorite new band of ours, the industrial/alternative  ‘Ethyl Meatplow’ was playing a gig in a small venue in Berkeley (or was […]

Power On Little Star: sober musical interlude #9

“And if you only make it one more day Well it’s one more day than you threw away Power on, anyway “ This song, by the prodigiously talented Maria Mckee, is one of my go-to recovery songs. I listen to this on repeat on those particular days when it all seems like it might be […]

Diary of a Teenage Alcoholic

I came out of my mother’s womb a shy kid. Even the earliest photos of me as a toddler show me peeking out from behind my mother’s legs, one hand half-covering my face.  If there’s a yet-undiscovered ‘confidence gene,’ mine was certainly missing or at the very least, tragically mutated. For a long time, I […]

War of the Tug (NSFW)

War of the Tug 2006 My addiction had long since chased away what had once been a large circle of friends, even the most tolerant and empathetic among them having run for shelter. There are a finite number of late night, meandering phone calls about phantoms hiding in heating ducts or people living in the […]

Life Giver, Life Saver

When I was ten, my mother walked me and my sister down to the small playground of the apartment complex we were living in. There, we witnessed two young boys…maybe five or six years old…. fighting, clumsily tugging at each other’s clothing and trying to land punches from the odd angles they were contorted into. […]

Moonlight, Machete, Madness part 3

Moonlight, Machete & Madness Pt. 3 (conclusion) read part one read part two Walking quickly, I soon reach the perimeter of the hospital.  Huntington Memorial is a fairly large complex, and I am unsure of exactly where I am.  The streets are dark, and very few vehicles are out.  There is a slight chill in […]