Tonight's meeting had to do with the nature and behavior of a sober person having to deal with situations where there is alcohol. As I sat there and listened, I became aware of my own association with these places. I was thinking... I love a honky tonk bar. I love the smell of them, I love the music, I love the impending sense of danger towards the end of the night. As I thought about it, I realized that these are the places where I found my comfort level, (with alcohol of course), these are the places that I developed my drinking behaviors. I reveled in the romance of cowboys, bohemians, and writers. The rationalization of the drinking muse. A dangerous game for me in reality, for there was always the notion of death for me in these episodes, as if death would take me when I didn't expect it. The alcohol the anesthesia for the operation that I would never wake up from.
I can remember from a very young age I was always to preoccupied with death, even though most would think I had a 'sunny' personality. The first taste of beer I had was with my Dad in Page, Arizona, when I was about five years old. He took me into the 'Page Club' where he ordered a beer and let me taste it. Why is that memory so vivid? Was it because my body had an initial reaction to it that I didn't understand? Or was it because its one of the earliest memories of me with my father? Or is it a combination of both of these things? I do know, however, that this was my first drink of alcohol. I don't really want to bore you with a drunk-a-logue story, I only write about it because it was such a realization for me tonight, I always started out drinking with a celebratory motive and never knew where it was going to end. In many ways for me, that was the allure, that was the adventure. Would it end in my death? Would it end in another city? Would it end in a hospital? Would it end in jail? Yes, the hospital, jails, other cities, were realities that came to pass, but death? She escaped me. You know that moment that happens to all of us, that miraculous unexplainable happening where we wished someone could have experienced it with us--so we could explain it? Or, those moments where the irony or the black and white paradox is so distinct that it could never be explained as some kind of coincidence? How do I explain so many times that I cheated death? How is it that I survived when so many of those I grew up with didn't? I AM humbled.
Perhaps this is why I chose the life that I did. The paradox of cheating death leads to the eventual revelation that you are unafraid of it. The paradox lies in the idea of being so unafraid of it that it causes you to live in a way that is liberated. Being unafraid of it doesn't have to beckon it, it can serve to make you unafraid of most of the other insecurities in life. Let me explain something. I am making a choice that I must begin to be even more honest with you than I have ever been. Although there are stories that must come out that will probably cause my mother some anxiety, I feel that I must be honest. Why must I do this in such a public forum? Because that's what I do, I am a confessional--ist. It something I must do to stay alive. It's something I must do to tell my story. What will my critics say? They will tell you that I am breaking down the confines of restraint. They will tell you that I am sick. They will tell you that it doesn't serve anyone to open up the dungeon and let the demons come out. Let them rail. Let them wail. (I feel a little like I'm regurgitating 'Notes From the Underground') It's liberating! It's liberating knowing that I can tell my story without restraint! Okay, I need to stop here. I'm getting a little carried away, all in good time, my friends, all in good time... goodnight.