Monthly Archives: January 2011

Winter Life

A wise friend taught me the practice of looking at something beautiful every day. Today, on a brisk walk through the wintry neighborhood, there was much to admire.

The sky at noon was a rich turquoise blue, a gift blown in on a cold front from some faraway place up North. The bark on the apple tree shone silvery red in rays of sun that for a second warmed my face. Bright red nandina berries, fiery in the light, ignited a cluster of frozen shrubs. Sweet round dogwood buds and tightly furled rhododendrons curved in the direction of the light, like open hands at the altar, awaiting Spring with astonishing faith.

The rustling feathery stands of bamboo towered glamorously above their  frozen neighbors, laughing at winter. Their glowing greenery evoked warmer times to come: soft scented nights, bare feet, the song of fountains and cicadas.

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Posted by on January 20, 2011 in Meditations on Nature, Winter


Anybody Seen My Wagon?

Call it crazy. Blame it on denial. Or maybe you are too drunk to notice.

Sometimes it’s hard to know for certain if you have fallen off the wagon.

To help those who might face this brain teaser, I have compiled the following list of Surefire Signs You Are Drinkin’ Again:

1)OVERCOME by intense feelings of Universal Love and Understanding, you call an ex who left you for dead and tearfully proclaim your deeply spiritual and unconditional love.

2)LOOKING in the mirror, you wonder why you never realized how fabulously perfect your features are.

3)FEELING gorgeous and confident, you call your ex again and leave the meanest message in telephone history.

4)TURNING your Ipod up,  you agree with John Mayer that your body “is a wonderland.” You realize that you must hook up with someone immediately even though it’s 4 in the morning and there are no hunks on your speed dial.

5)FEELING like a hot mess, you call your ex a third time and offer a saucy invitation to spoon–NOW or NEVER.

6)SWOONING at the prospect of an imminent assignation, you undo a few buttons, spritz on a quart of cologne, dance around giddily, sit down on the couch and black out.

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Posted by on January 16, 2011 in Recovery Journal



When I saw Mark Zuckerberg in the grocery line recently I felt a sense of outrage. As I caught his pale eyes staring out cooly from that impassive baby face, I wanted to march right up to Mr. Moneybrains and shriek into his ear: “MZ, if I catch the flu today, I’m gonna blame YOU!”

Mark ignored my hostile vibe. He was frozen on the cover of Time Magazine: The Man of the Year.

You may be wondering what connection could possibly exist between the Facebook Founding Genius and my fear of influenza.

What I am talking about is a dangerous detachment from reality, abetted by Zuckerberg’s Social Network, that is causing armies of people to cough in public without covering their mouths.

Cyber space may be buzzing with communication but humans are losing our sense of connection. We drive around in our teeny cars-for-one, guided by electronic navigators. Our friends, thanks to MZ, dwell in an imaginary world known as Facebook. We write notes to their mute images from our cell phones and Ipads. Groups of us gather to ignore each other as we happily twitter, text and email the hours away, lost in the ether created by the Harvard Hacker and his partnahzz in crime.

As we go about our errands, our MP3 players create personal soundtracks that block out everything else. Even while driving, our eyes are focused on cellphone or laptop screens, hands happily tapping. We barely register our fellow humans: the touch of an elbow, the sound of a voice, the sight of a face, a car merging in front of us. Screeeetch!!! Yikes!!! Our predicament is perilous indeed.

This ominous alienation is, in my opinion, the only possible reason why this flu season folks at my grocery store are coughing and coughing, practically retching, into the food on a daily basis. None of my ailing fellow shoppers seems to have the slightest sense that other hands might touch the items on which they have excreted a billion virulent particles. Not one of them bothers to cover a nose or mouth. Indeed, in the meat and vegetable aisles, people bend over the packets while they hack away, examining–and contaminating–container after container of germ-welcoming food.

O M F-ing G!

Yes, my BBFs, we no longer seem to care about how we interface in our everyday lives.

To break it down for you, let me explain the crisis in cyber terms:

1)There is no secure password protecting you against germs that might otherwise hack into your body.

2)Nasty disease bugs don’t have to friend you before invading your tissues.

3)There is no germ-i.d. implanted in your body. No warning bell will ring, no screen will identify a virus wanting to fly into your mouth or nose. It will just wing it.

4)Norton Antivirus is for computers, not people.

Here’s the bottom line: We need to pay attention to our bodies, and to our flesh and blood brothers, not just to those typing fingers in trendy fingerless gloves. Hygiene and thoughtfulness in public are still important.

What to do? I suggest the following New Year’s resolution: When you go out and mingle with your fellow humans in flu season COVER YOUR MOUTH and NOSE. Or, better still, skip the grocery store when you’re sick. Order dinner online and have it brought to your home. Put a scarf gently over your nose and mouth prior to opening the door. Finally, before you grab your Chicken Kickers and rush back to your beloved laptop to read Ashton Kutcher’s latest Twitticisms, remember that delivery humanoids prefer tips to tweets.


Posted by on January 7, 2011 in Essays, Net Chicks


Myths and Monsters

The harm that alcoholics do to themselves is obvious. It is easy to pity them and see them as helpless victims of trauma or bad genes. Indeed, many alcoholics view themselves and explain their behavior in precisely those ways.

As a person who has loved and depended on alcoholics, as well as struggled with my own addiction, I can say that this perspective is only partially true. It leaves out a huge part of the story, which is the devastating effect of alcoholism on loved ones.

It may seem to those inexperienced with problem drinking that the alcoholic is alone in the world with only a barstool and a few bottles to comfort him. It is easy to perceive alcoholics as weak and helpless:  We are so pitiful, so pathetic as we stagger around saying crazy things. Many of us feel terribly sorry for ourselves.

If only we were pathetic pariahs.  The fact is that most alcoholics do have people who love and depend on us. Our isolation is usually self-imposed and intensified by the antisocial effects of our chosen drug. Far from being impotent, alcoholics wield plenty of clout in our relationships. People care about us. We have the power to hurt others, knowingly or not, and we are experts at wounding.

Another myth is invisibility:  Alcoholics believe that we don’t matter to anyone and that nothing we do, however reckless and inconsiderate, is noticed. This is a dangerous form of low self-esteem. The truth is alcoholics are highly visible. Loved ones worry about us constantly.

Alcoholics don’t leave other people alone. We depend on others and allow others to depend on us. In our desperation and loneliness, we learn to manipulate people into taking care of us, although we almost never reciprocate their love.

One of the most difficult aspects of recovery is not only facing the emotional pain we have been trying to mute but also realizing that using alcohol as medicine turns us into dreadful human beings. Alcohol in large doses induces depression, rage, cruelty, violence, poor judgement, and lack of impulse control. The misery that we try to mask with liquor is agonizing for us. So is the fact that abusing alcohol tends to repel the very people we might turn to for love and help.

When we are not raging, we tend to be so passive and withdrawn that we become useless lumps of humanity, taking up space on a couch. How can we be a reliable part of family or community life when we wobble between the paralysis of hangover and the craziness of inebriation.

The good news is that as soon as we stop medicating our pain with alcohol, and  start getting help from sobriety programs, our relationships tend to improve. With better relationships the temptation to drink diminishes. Life spirals upward instead of down.

Although I am relatively new to recovery, I know this much: There is nothing shameful about feeling emotional pain or experiencing difficulties. There is no crime in wishing for support or relief during tough times. Even dreaming of a magical panacea is human. Our hearts go out to people in pain and most of us want to help friends who are suffering.

The mistake is thinking that liquor is the magic. Alas it isn’t. Although it may seem like an idyllic escape at first, alcohol betrays us in the end and makes matters much worse. We become nightmarish to ourselves and to others.

Dealing with life’s dark corners and obstacles is hard enough. We don’t need to combat our problems by turning ourselves into monsters.


Posted by on January 6, 2011 in Recovery Journal


2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,900 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 61 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 65 posts. There were 359 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 6mb. That’s about 7 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was May 28th with 72 views. The most popular post that day was About This Blog.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for resiliant organ woody allen, snow patrol, being devoted to someone, learning to fall in love again, and woman having orcism.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


About This Blog February 2010


The Act of Praying June 2010


Falling December 2010
4 comments and 2 Likes on


The Other F Word May 2010
1 comment


Bad-Behavior Tag June 2010
1 comment


Posted by on January 2, 2011 in Blog Stats