Went to San Diego last night with a short request list. That Kai Bleeze, my oldest dearest friend on this earth, not get fucked up while I stay down there. This request seemed small, seemed as though it was an appropriate thing to ask. But many things over the past 48 hours have proved quite large things to ask of people, and I suppose I should start at the beginning, and when I get to the end I will stop.
Bleeze came to visit me in rehab. He was kind enough to drive up from San Diego, to watch my dog while I was in the big house, and to come see me every visitor day he could. I never required he be there, only asked for his support, and he would gladly show it. Granted, every time he showed up he was high on pot, which is something I expected and wasn’t angry over, but there was one time he showed up and was flushed from drinking on the train, his allergy to alcohol is a dead give away whenever he takes up a cup. There was a point where he was speaking with Drew, and it was obvious to me (and Drew) that he was buzzed, so I quickly guided him away and introduced him to other people that wouldn’t mind his intoxicated presence. And still I didn’t mind. I didn’t appreciate it but I didn’t mind. He is a human being, doing, and that is what he does. Gravity, grant me the serenity….
When I got out, I intended on spending a couple recovery days at his house, but promptly upon being released, realized this would not be possible considering his habits and desires to drink and smoke. Again, that’s fine. The whole serenity thing comes into play quite a bit when it comes to my loving Bleeze and nothing I can do will change him, so I must accept him as he is, flaws, pot, booze and all. After 53 days of sobriety, I was feeling strong enough to go visit him, to stay a night or three so the dogs could play at the beach and run like animals while he and I spoke of the change in the tides, or the clouds floating by. When I told him I wished to come visit, but felt unsure because I could never ask him to change his habits to accommodate my newly vowed sobriety, he was quick to say he will have no problem not getting fucked up around me. For some reason, I took this to mean that while we hung out, he didn’t mind being sober. They say alcoholism is a disease of perception, and my perception of the possible situation was completely wrong.
When he arrived on the train Thursday, he did so 30 minutes later than his train was scheduled to arrive. Now I’ve known Bleeze since 13 years of age, and I know what he was doing. He got off a stop or two earlier, smoked a joint or a bowl or part of a blunt, and hopped back on the next train thinking I wouldn’t be the wiser. Well, again, wearing a sober hat allows you to see through sharp focus glasses, and when he didn’t show up on time, I knew exactly what had held him up. That was fine. I accept.
Then we went to hear Duncan speak at a meeting, an AA meeting, and Bleeze had himself a little panic attack halfway through the meeting, he felt better once the lights went out, but something hit him (whether it was the low supply of marijuana running through his veins or words that resonated in his soul, I’m not sure), hit him hard in the glaring harsh light of the room, and I could see in his face the panic and need to escape. And later that evening, before bed, I knew what was running through his head as he lay on the couch trying to get comfy. “Gotta smoke gotta smoke gotta smoke.” I’ve taken him on the road with me when I go and dance, and he always has panic attacks until I manage to find some pot for him. He gets this look on his face, and starts hyperventilating, and I know exactly what is missing from his daily meds. He had the same look as he laid on the couch Thursday night, and finally I told him “If you need to smoke pot, you can go outside. Just don’t lock yourself out” and he replied with a sigh of relief, saying he was trying to figure out how to sneak outside without me knowing and he’s so glad I said that. Again, I accept. He also has a habit of waking up around 3am with a need to reintoxicate in order to continue sleeping, whatever it is wears off around that time and his panic wakes him up. Every single night. So I have no doubt he slipped from my home somewhere in the early morning to re-medicate. And again, this I accept.
The part that struck me as difficult was that once we got down to San Diego, to his home, he shut himself in his room for a good 30-45 minutes so he could smoke and not offend me. When he went to work, he stayed an hour after his shift to get drunk, even though I had asked if he’d like to go to a comedy show up in La Jolla 30 minutes after he gets off, and being that he only works 15 minutes away this was plenty of time to make it back and make the show-even if we were late, I told him it didn’t matter. I fell asleep on his couch, after a wonderful conversation with his girlfriend regarding my sobriety, and moving forward, and awoke to him getting me a pillow and blankie. Nice gestures, but he stank of booze, and I was already over hanging out, or taking him to the show, and so I just passed back out, thanking him for bring the water I requested and saying I’ll see you in the morning.
Morning hit, and he spent another 30-45 minutes smoking holed up in his room before making it out to greet me. I knew he was up, the gurgle of one of the five bongs I gave him were a dead giveaway. Throughout the day, there were other breaks where he left me alone in the living room, or out front smoking a cigarette, while he went inside and got high. Finally, it got to the point where I decided it was worthless for me to stick around for tonight’s shift if I’m only going to hang out with a figment of the friend I once knew, in a contrived fabrication of the friendship we once had, and I took off. Thanking him for his kindness, kissing his girlfriend goodbye, and avoiding my rearview at all costs.
And driving back on the I-5, doing 77 on cruise control to sidestep my heavy foot, I couldn’t help but feel pissed. Pissed that I am the only one changing. Pissed that he is either so addicted to being fucked up, or so disrespectful of me, that he wouldn’t spend 24 hours without getting ploughed or lit, and what really hurts is the notion that he can’t hang out with me without getting fucked up, that that is the foundation on which our friendship was built, and now that I am changing out my corner stones for more sturdy and trustworthy ones, he refuses to do the same. And how silly of me to ask this of a dear friend. To require him to get his shit together just because I am. To demand he change his life in the profound and meaningful way I am attempting to change my own. How fucking dare me. And I say this with all sincerity.
I couldn’t figure out what feeling precisely pissed me off so much. Is it that he still gets to get fucked up and I have to accept this? Is it that I see the same qualities in him as I do myself, and see him killing himself and every flower he walks near? Is it that this means we must go separate ways because I cannot and will not have this kind of living in my life? Is it because I feel like our entire friendship consists of smoking weed and avoiding actually feeling….feelings?
I went to a meeting to collect my head, and of course heard exactly what I needed to hear. The topic was acceptance. And a few shares touched on the feelings I’m experiencing, but the one minute burning desire summed it up. Just about every person in the meeting gave this bullshit, whoo haa share, “oh, I couldn’t live right until I started accepting that I have a disease, and accepting that I must change, and take action, and now, fuck, I accept every fucking thing and my life is fucking grand.” Capital bullshit. Then two people shared, back to back and parts struck me as true. As real. One: “I kept saying to myself, ‘why do I have to fucking change all the time? Why can’t these fucks ever just man up and change?’ and my sponsor told me, ‘if YOU don’t change, YOU will die. You will keep doing the same shit and die.'” and two: “It was like when I first got sober and tried to hang out with all the friends I used to drink with. I kept saying to myself, ‘These are my friends though!’ but I had to accept that things, and I, had changed. But they hadn’t.”
The one minute burning desire struck it right on the nail, for me, and it helps that he called out all the bullshit whoo haa I’ve mentioned. He said “You know, all this shit is bullshit. All this accept this, and accept that, accept your disease, other people’s faults, and now I’ve accepted my life and other peoples and everything fucking rocks now. It’s all bullshit. It’s hard to accept things. You gotta talk about it. That’s how it starts. You start by talking to people, people you trust, about shit that is UNACCEPTABLE. And only from that can you start to feel acceptance, because you will quickly realize where you stand, and what it is you can stand against.”
And my friends……this shit is unacceptable. It was my fault for for expecting something different… So I’ve got to let my winds of change blow me where they may, and it may just be away from my Bleeze.