Wednesday, March 17, 2010

'Brutal Honesty'

Today was one of those days where you don't feel like even getting up but you do it anyway? I can feel the shift begin, as I have six weeks left in Austin. I thought of just staying here longer, returning to Boulder to do my two months like I used to do, and then come back to Austin. I really like Austin. Austin speaks my language, but Boulder speaks an even a deeper language. In retrospect, my six months last year in Boulder was not my best, but I feel as though I need to go face whatever demons I have left there and begin to bury them. I say begin, because burying demons is not an easy process. If I waited another year, many of the issues I have there would probably be easier to deal with on the top of a year, but I've never been someone to shirk away from my psychological responsibility. I came to Austin to do my show, and to make it succeed at all costs. Wow, that was a reality check. I'm leaving Austin, however, with much more of an understanding that I thought possible. I failed pushing the 'show biz' boulder up the mountain because I was moving against a force so much bigger than I am. I failed because I failed to listen. I failed because no matter how hard you may work, there are forces in the collective nature of man that are so much bigger than you are. For now, I see this: The work is very good but the plan is bigger than I could have imagined, but completely out of my realm to work it. However, here is the good news. My life was saved here. I'm on my way back to sanity. A sober person. A person back into the 'solutions' of coping with life, and less about creating some kind of romantic chaos. Romantic chaos kills. I feel at last I will leave my 'first love' here in Austin, and will need to end the relationship I've had on and off with her for the whole of my life. There were those who cautioned me that perhaps I would fall to failure here, but Austin really saved my life. I know, I'm not being as clear here as I could be, but those of you who know me know what I am talking about.

I know it's sometimes uncomfortable when I talk about my alcoholism, and maybe its best put into my private journal, but if it makes you uncomfortable, you don't have to read further. As a theatre junkie, I love going to AA meetings. Every city has a certain collective vibe with the AA groups. Phoenix had a 'speaker' meeting vibe, for those of you who don't know what this is, it’s a meeting whose focus is on a speaker who gets up and tells a 'monologue' or story of 'what it was like, what happened, and what its like now'. I used to sit in those meetings and think, "Wow, if I taped that monologue and wrote it out, with a little re-write it could be a perfect monologue." I really loved those meetings for the seven years I attended them and remained a sober member. Here in Austin, the meetings are more discussion oriented which I love for different reasons, because that is exactly what I needed. My ten-thirty (pm) meeting is heating up. I love the ten-thirty meetings because it brings in a 'cutting edge' kind of junkie and drunk. Many of them are chronic relapsers, much younger than I am, and every couple of weeks, you hear of another death amongst the group, which is especially sobering. Its during these meetings that you really get that this is an affliction that kills people, everyday. It is an affliction that nearly killed me, and trust me, it wasn't angels that I saw in those 'cutting edge' moments. As disturbing as it might sound for some of you, two years ago, as I was de-toxing from a horrible pain medication addiction I had picked up from my hip surgery, I saw my death as clear as I saw the clouds over Austin today. I thought I would never be the same after I was clean. I knew exactly how and where I would pull the trigger on my gun, (the tag on my gun said, "pull trigger in case of emergency"). I was experiencing an emergency of the most profound kind, where body, mind, and soul converge to say, "this isn't working…" I will spare you the stark details of how I saw this play out, but it is always, emphatically, where addiction leads. Don't worry here, I've moved this vision far away from the reality I live in now, and as odd as it may sound, I am grateful for the opportunity to share it, not for the blood and guts of it, but for the truth of it. I hear people in life (and in meetings) who are severely addicted say, "I was brought up in a strict religious environment, and I just can't take the 'God' stuff…" Its so illogical to me that someone whose liver is about to explode, or getting very near succumbing to a horrible alcohol related death cannot consider that a 'spiritual awakening' could be a softer gentler way to ease back into life and eventually out of it. I've been angry at the outcome of situations, and have been angry at how 'the rules of man's God' have played out, but I have always been open to collaborating with God. Okay, I collaborated with God but still wanted to run the show. I'm taking a break from the long run of that show, so I've hired God as a full time producer. And guess what? It wasn't that hard, in fact, it feels so good to not have to hold the world up any more. Which brings me to two items I'm going to mention.

The first item: If you are suffering from an alcohol or addiction related illness, I can and will talk to you. And if you are one of my former students, 'Shurtz' will keep all of this in confidence. You can write me at Or, you can always call me at 602-653-0337. Our conversations will be anonymous. I wish I could say its all 'for you', however, in making this call or contact, you are helping me, and I selfishly want to survive, just as I want you to.

Second: My ego remains alive and well, and I am looking for a personal manager. I have twenty-five years of work that I think is very good, and believe I am poised to spring this work upon the world. I am very good and disciplined at creating the work, but as I have discovered, I need someone who is a 'business head' and someone who understands what this work is: There is risk involved, but the odds are 2 to 1 to at least 'show'. If you have been to the horse races you will know what this means. You need to be optimistic but grounded, tough but smart. The end game: You and I will learn something we both need. I have a plan… same contact information as above. Yes, we are both applying for a job. Your first assignment, 'The Boulder Heritage Festival'. You will learn the ins and outs of production, how to hire and manage talent. You will learn things that I have learned from many years of experience. The first assignment will be fun and profound, after that, back to Austin and taking over the world. Oh, I am sober, so the odds are really 2 to 1 and a half. Pretty good odds in a 'show' race.

Postscript: Okay, there are plenty of issues and stories that I sometimes wonder whether I should have posted, but in the end, I'm usually okay with the post. I'm not really sure who is reading this, and so it occurred to me that there may be someone out there who is looking for an opportunity. I think my 'job post' has some to do with a story I heard this morning on NPR. Because of how tight the job market is, its forcing people to see creating job opportunities in a different way.


Seein' Double said...

Sometimes it's through the tough times that we find God has never left us and turning to him really does help our lives have more meaning. I enjoyed reading your articles and especially the one about guns. Growing up in the country a gun or two just seemed like a part of the truck. It's tough to see Mason and Stacy in such a fix, and so many others gone.
As much as it used to miff me then, I thank God I had a brother that sheltered me. Sometimes I can't believe we lived in the same place. said...

You seem stronger and more able to 'cope'. Good things will move you to more work that needs doing.
I can only surmise your journey in bits and pieces, but I support a sober you. Who knows? you may find your agent where you least expect one. All journeys are distinctly unique!

夾克 said...