Thursday, March 14, 2013

6 Months.

My back and shoulders are killing me, and I'm exhausted. It's the end of an 8-hour shift of dishwashing during SXSW, and it's my first night at my new part time job. It's official...My ass has been kicked.

I'm perfectly comfortable with it.

For the past 140 days I've been in a treatment facility run by Travis County...not a privately funded rehab, but a weird mash-up of jail, alcohol/drug seminars and daycare. Before that I was a trustee in Travis County Jail downtown for a month and a half. 6 months of no internet, cell phone, cigarettes or real coffee.

I've been out of the loop.

Last summer, I was arrested for public intoxication at the end of a 14-hour string of alcohol consumption during my 20-year high school reunion. Arrested in Luling? During the Watermelon Thump? It was a dream come true. It was shortly afterward that I quit drinking...see my August 7th blog (or don't...your web surfing is your business).

Karma came calling. FYI, you shouldn't get arrested when on felony DWI probation. Motion to revoke probation, so I turned myself in. I left for what I thought was a couple weeks...I haven't been back to San Antonio since. That was September mother drove me...on her birthday. I changed my sobriety date to 9-12, because I want my 1-year to make her next b-day better than the last. That was just shitty.

In jail, I became resentful that I was waiting around for multiple weeks to go to a 5-month treatment when all they needed to do was put an ankle monitor on me! I only had a year of probation left. I've been doing really well...if you ignore that whole "heroin addiction" thing and drinking.

I lucked out and had great counselors in that treatment center. Despite being run inconsistently and sans logic, I worked on myself, my control issues and my fucked-up thinking. I thought I was ready to go back to my life...and then 4 weeks ago I found out I would be staying in Austin.

Fear hit me. Hard. All the old memories, old hangouts...14 years of craziness, and I'd be right back in the middle of it. I wasn't happy.

But the more I thought about it, I needed to face this city, my history and the burned bridges. The old drug contacts were gone, I'd be under supervision and I'd have some serious support. So I mentally prepared myself, and so far it's working out. I've never lived in south Austin before, and I moved into a sober house on S. Lamar. (The term "soberhouse" means "the state of smoking cigarettes in awkward silence with other guys who have fucked shit up as well".) This city has changed in 2 years...and there's a bunch of things here I never checked out in my previous lifestyle. It's like a different city...or a different perception of this city.

I've always been honest about what's been going on with me, so I wanted to explain the last 6 months. Sure, I didn't relapse on needles...but I went back to booze like that wasn't a bad thing. Socially acceptable self-destruction is still self-destruction.

I have to complete 6 months of meetings and probation. I have to use this time to develop the clear-headed me, and I'll have help: good friends, family, a portable breathalizer, classes, meditation (I'm Zen as fuck) and desire. I have some work ahead of me. Expect to see me out and about as you drive around in south Austin. I'll be the skinny older guy on the skateboard.

Don't know what else to tell you. I need to look for more work, play some chess, learn some Tai Chi, smoke less, pay off Travis County, read, write...