visceral, terrible dreams and makes it so that we either don't have them or at least don't remember them. Lately though, with having lost my job
and my income the Magnesium no longer works. Add to this the fact that I have never really found myself in such a serious lifestyle--being breadwinner
and father to the two small children that live with me--my psyche is literally going ape shit. The closest metaphor I could think of is feeling like the captain of
a ship that is taking on water.
It is really not part of my modus operandi to play the role of the victim, so I have voraciously been reading books that I feel will inevitably empower me and
stimulate an idea or a passion inside of me to climb up into the next level. One such book is Anthony Robbins' Awaken The Giant Within. Now my hope, as I
just articulated was to find an esoteric answer but what I found, totally unexpectedly, was a passage that almost--word for word--spoke to my exact situation:
"To remind yourself of the power of persistence, consider the metaphor of the stone cutter. How does he break open a giant boulder? He whacks it as hard as he can. The first hit doesn’t leave even a scratch, but he strikes hundreds, maybe even thousands of times. He persists even when his actions seem to be futile. But he knows that just because you don’t see immediate results, it doesn’t mean you’re not making progress. So he keeps striking the rock. At some point it doesn’t just chip, but literally splits in two. Did the final blow break the boulder open? Of course not. It was the constant pressure being applied to the challenge at hand. "
It is, of course, a great and powerful analogy but more than that, it describes the incongruent situation I presently find myself in. For forty years, that ugly building in East Hampton on Long Island has been withstanding the blunt force of tractor trailers backing up to it and dropping off the processed crap that those people shovel into their bodies--and I happened to back under the existing trailer and the thing just fell apart. So again--was it my getting underneath the trailer that caused the ridiculous amount of damage I am being accused of? Of course not. But in business, as in life in general, everyone feels better when there's one person to single out and blame. I just happened to draw the short straw.
Being clean for the years that I have been, my life has traveled up a pretty straight trajectory in both income and quality. Year after year things seemed to improve by leaps and bounds. I have no history to draw on that reminds me of anything similar to this--except before I got sober and serious. In other words, this is freaking me out so bad because it reminds me too much of the unmanageability that I subjected myself to when I was in a very different place and I can not describe how much I dislike being here right now.
I have sat through plenty of recovery meetings where old timers would talk about how they "hit bottoms" clean and I must admit that I sat there listening patiently and thinking to myself that that will never be me. I know what I am doing. I work hard, I show up early everyday, I am a safe driver--maybe not the fastest, but if it takes me twenty minutes longer to do the same store as these other guys, at least I know I'll still have a job tomorrow.
Yeah, there's not a lot of hedonistic joy being a parent of small children. You don't really converse with your partner unless you can squeeze it into a quick sentence, intimacy is something you sort of remember, you've basically taken a vow of poverty and some days you will swear these little beings scream and cry more than they talk. So there have definitely been times when I was pretty low down-- but with a clear mind, you lumber through this stuff with phone calls to friends and music and plans for the future.
But here I am--another old timer with a story about how I hit bottom clean. It's difficult to reconcile. I guess I always kind of suspected, in my darkest moments, that things just don't travel in one direction forever. But again, it's one thing to grapple with this as an intellectual riddle and quite another to be actually living in it.
I drove up to my old work site this morning to take the mandatory piss test to begin another job for a different company who happens to be housed in that same building. The safety manager from the company who just shit canned me came up to me to offer his condolences and an explanation as to how something like this could be allowed to happen. I felt it'd be an opportune time to explain to him the stone cutter theory but he is clearly one of these endearing people whose idea of listening is waiting for you to stop talking. You could tell that his response was ready for launch way before you finished your sentence.
But that's the way it is some days on this planet of ours. I, however, am going to take advantage of this unseasonably warm February day and lay this burden down for a few minutes.