Shot into Space and Re-Entry


Downtown Portland Tri-Max


The last entry was over a month and a half ago. My literary guns silenced from the end of August till now, the middle of October, as if I had been dropped by sniper fire or catapulted into space.

With no phone, no internet (my system failed) and entering into a Rehab Program that was for four years, including an initial blackout period, I had minimal ways to get any word out.

I thought about catching pigeons with popcorn on a ledge….but how would they know where to fly?

Even prisoners have more rights than some Rehab facilities.

What I was attempting to do is all I had tried so unsuccessfully to do for months in the Bay Area. Unlike the old adage about insanely expecting different results, I was pretty sure I knew the results if I didn’t keep trying.

And you may remember, after being invited to leave for Missouri on the word of a friend and fellow “Christian” who was gonna give me a running and sober start there… that it lasted less than 24 hours. I had not had anything to drink in weeks and was ready, open and willing.

It is not just alcoholics who have a problem with denial and the truth. We all me included this), she is now doing a classic “blaming the victim” ploy where somehow I am suddenly a “scammer”?

Right, I sobered up, packed up all my stuff, got on a flight ready to work…was exactly who I said I was and am and I am a scammer? What did I possibly gain? A one day trip to Missouri followed by an uncertain future in a new town? Someone explain it to me like I am five years old. I must be missing something.

I healed up fast after landing in New York, going to meetings and hanging out with Leslie.  Just as my parents and I had a relaxed and enjoyable time before I left, we had a similar time…one of healing for her I think as she got a totally sober Mac, yet one relaxed and on point.

Both being with my folks, and then with Leslie (and with Jan and Rod’s concern as well) I had enough safe revolutions around the Earth before re-entry in Portland where things heated up considerably and got ugly, cold and terse. I found myself somewhat desperate and doing things I had never done before (nor will again…and no I will not share). I can only say that on my list are some very basic restitution…and that it was very short-lived.

Then the Mission and blackout.

The Mission

I have to be very careful here. Some people assume tha any objection to any real issue stems from a desire to escape the hard and costly parts of a program. Such an assumption is just that and may or may not coincide with reality.

I am certain that those moralists one hundred years ago had their own rationale for trying to enforce temperance on those with the disease…which resulted in an extremely high death and insanity rate.

Now we know more, yet we do not have to jettison all the moral issues inherent or attached to alcoholism…just be mindful of all the issues. In the end, what long-term sober alcoholics in AA says is true: “Only other alcoholics can understand you.”

True. If you do not suffer from it, you cannot understand no matter how hard you truly wish to.

So we talk to each other and we get better.

All programs are not alike. The four-year Fundamentalist program was not going to work for me, but it was necessary triage at the time. I got safe, learned some new things, got to have new metal tested, and gained a greater sense of self, which paradoxically helped me die to myself on a deeper level.

Thus I “slid over” to City Team ready to keep right at it without a hitch.

And so it has been, only better.

At City Team there are about 5 rules…all dead on and sensical. The leader of the mission is a quiet understated man who lives his faith and speaks it clearly and unapologetically. I liked him immediately, and, unlike the previous place that had still not even assigned me a counselor after 31 days, I was set into program that night.

It is not as comfortable ostensibly by far and the mob that shows up each night is pretty rough around the edges, the middle and the core. But I dig it.

Here is how I know I am on the right track and in the right place. Last night laying down on my mat next to fifty other guys off the street on their mats I thought about the job I had seen on Craigslist. Part-time, included a free small apartment downtown and some money. Perfect for me!

But no. Not perfect at all. No, being at City Team…being right there the next 90 days and maybe a year after that…that is where I am supposed to be…not alone in a nice apartment.

I am in no hurry (hey once you accept the possibility of four years everything becomes easy). No, in this program I can work part-time, write, fellowship (checkout with others who love Jesus and listen for the Holy One to move as pleases Him.

I am content and have been. St. Paul said he learned to be content in plenty and in want. I cannot say I want even. I have accepted peacefully no more drink, no more dating, no more really bad food. Hell, I may even work on my language.


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