Saturday, January 22, 2011

Salvation Diary 46

"Salvation" artist Amanda Milke

August 7 Wednesday Day 330

Overall, I believe today was rather sad.
A couple of very nice things did happen though. First let me point these out.
My counselor, Richard Purdy, dropped in this morning. He has shaved his beard. He is now beardless. He also can't seem to find a job. "Resumes are everywhere," he tells me. He did have one offer, to counsel adolescents, but refused the position on the grounds that he'd "wind up killing most of them within the first half hour."
So he asked Ed Reitz if he could come back here and counsel once a week, and Ed, being the lazy scum that he is, said sure.
Ed even had the nerve to state that he needed more counselors to help take the load off of him. My God! The man can never be found when you need him, he constantly combines his Monday's and Wednesday's 6:30 and 7:30 group counseling sessions into one so he can take off early, or lets Barbara take them so he can split altogether, or just out and out cancels them! Lately he's been showing AIDs videos in his groups. We've had about three combined AIDs videos within the last month. Learning about AIDs is fine, of course, except that learning about AIDs is not the reason why we came here.
Ever since his sister-in-law came to this country from the Philippines, Ed's been acting like a madman.
The second good thing that happened today was that lovely lady Jeanette came by and dropped the printer off that she and my mom got into their lovely heads that I needed.
Oh boy!
She also brought with her about 2,500 sheets of special computer paper. Now I am forced to learn how to use all of this stuff.
On to the sad part of this day.
My good friend Tom Rotsch, one of those genuinely nice men, took about all he could from his supervisor, Frank Corona, and walked off the job, going over to the park to cool off. In the forty or so minutes that he was gone, Ernie Sens called and told me, "As of twelve noon, Tom Rotsch has been terminated. His behavior is intolerable." Tom came back to my office and I had to tell him that he'd been fired. He appeared to take it well. He certainly was not mad at me. I let him know I would look after the beautiful doll house he had been working on for months, which was intended for his little girl. A 3 foot by 2 foot handmade structure, that stood a good 2 feet high. He had almost finished putting the shingles of the redwood roof on. I would make sure nothing happened to it, or his other possessions.
The third to last thing he said to me was, "I really feel like punching that Mexican drunk out," and the second to last thing he said was, "But I will not drink or use over it."
The last thing he said to me was, "Rick, hold my guitar and books for me. I just punched Frank out." He had to repeat that statement because after he said it the first time, I said, "Whaaaatt?!"
He then took off as fast as he could, before the police got here.
See what I mean about clients becoming drivers. Tom, like Dennis before him, didn't even want to be a driver in the first place. He was perfectly content to keep working in the Carpenter's Shop. But Frank and Ernie wooed him away with a lot of "we really need yous," and "please help us outs." A bunch of crap! They needed him so much they gave him the boot the first time he told them what he thought of their feverish slave tactics.
Tom had been planning to begin Trade School next month, and be our night relief man on Thursdays and Fridays, then work nightcrawler on the weekends. . Now that's all shot to hell.
And the second sad thing that happened today... maybe not sad, but very frustrating. Or maybe it is very sad.
Cathy. I didn't get a chance to talk to her hardly at all. She took forever with her clients, counseling them I suppose, and didn't finish until 10:30, and then I only had the chance to return her two books and thank her for their use. She had brought some John Bradshaw video tapes she lent to me. We discussed the books a little bit, and then she was off. She seemed to be in a hurry, not like someone who was interested in talking or getting to know someone else. More like I was one of her clients.
I guess she did have to go to work in the morning, and it was late.
As I said, she terminated the conversation and drove off, waving as she left.
I don't know, I just don't know. Maybe she's not the one.
She's awfully cute though.
I'll tell you two things; I'm not going to spend another week mooning over this little girl, and I'm not going to spend another week worrying about it.
Life goes on.
And one day, maybe, if it is my fate, I will find the one for me.
If I stay sober.
After Cathy left, one of the guys came up and told me that he had seen my friend Tom Rotsch standing on a street corner nearby, looking very dazed, and quite confused.
I wish him well.

August 8 Thursday Day 331

This morning I felt really good, better than I had in weeks. Liberated from the nagging feeling of enslavement by my emotional involvement with Cathy. I still adore her, but now realize that my desire to get next to her was changing me into something I'm not. I was becoming subtly manipulating (with no results!), and I'd really rather not be that way (especially with no results). If Cathy has a part in my life, well that would be fantastic (she's so cute!). But if she doesn't, she won't. I'm not going to kill myself worrying about it anymore.
I wish her well.
I wish myself well too.
Kevin Rockoff told me that as he was asking Michael Vallee and Charles Parsons for a clothes washer replacement for the residence, he smelled alcohol on Parson's breath. I passed this information on to Clarence Orion, but nothing will come of it.
Harold Eversley moved out of the residence today. He moved into a one bedroom apartment with his beautiful Ellie. He will still be working here as the head cook.
As he begins his perilous journey known as domestication, I wish him well.
Something seems to be wrong with good old Don Erwin. A paramedic unit needed to pick him up from the Transition House to an emergency room. No one knows why, or what happened. Clarence Bliss said, "If you ask me it's alcohol poisoning!"
I took two hours in the afternoon to watch a couple of John Bradshaw PBS sessions of "The Family," which were companion pieces to one of the books I had just finished reading. Cathy had lent these to me.
A curious idea came to me while I watched these videos. What if I had drank and used drugs not to anesthetize myself, but to actually expel the feelings I could not express while sober? A frantic attempt at release.
Probably a little of both. No answer is simple in this world.
Marvin Gardenhire, my friend and canteen relief person, managed to get something in his eye, so I drove him to the USC Medical Center. While he was there I analyzed a sample of his urine, along with four others, and found his to be laced with high levels of cocaine metabolites. So were some of the others, but they were brand new members of the program and were rather expected to be dirty, not like an old program graduate like Marvin. His last test before this one, done on July 4th, indicated a level of 0.01, barely there. Today's sample was that of a man doing a back flip into a swimming pool filled with the white powder.
Poor Marvin. I shall miss him.
Do I sound callus?
Maybe I'm getting to sound that way... to be that way a little.
But I definitely feel that the sooner Marvin faces up to the fact that he has relapsed the better it will be for him. The faster it will be that he can stop lying to himself and begin to deal with his addiction again.
Denial is a killer.

August 9 Friday Day 332

I slept in until about nine, then went downstairs to the lobby to write.
After getting dressed of course.
After lunch (cheeseburgers) I quarantined the small T.V. room and watched the last half of "The Family" tape Cathy had lent to me. Very interesting stuff. I have seen the process Bradshaw describes in which alcoholics and drug addicts jump straight from using those substances into a rigid religious or spiritual structure or program, giving up all responsibility for their own recovery, letting "God" fix them, thusly substituting one addiction for another. These desperate folks tend to ignore any aspect of the A.A. 12 Step program (despite the fact that A.A. has a huge spiritual component installed within it), cutting off a valuable source of help and placing limits on one's own chances of successfully recovering from their primary addiction.
After two hours of watching the tape my lunch had finished digesting so I went down to the weight room and worked out vigorously. Then I showered, read some from the "Book of Proverbs," and went to work.
The usual Friday afternoon madness ensued, and when it was over, at six o'clock I presented new client orientation to four men. Three of them had recently been here before. I dismissed them. Tracy Alexander was one of them, which means he was back for those of you readers who may have been worried about him.
Now I had just one person to explain the house rules to. His name was Ted. Robert Vasquez came in during the middle of my speech, so poor Ted got the rules from both of us.
About thirty minutes later the police came and took Ted away for child support violations.
Such is life.
I spent much of the evening reading a novel that Charity had lent to me. "The Present Darkness," by Frank E. Peretti. Adequately written, a very Christian oriented work, depicting lots of foul demons battling beautiful angels. Based on a true story she told me.
I will finish reading it since Charity lent it to me and thought I might like it.
Charity is such a nice person. I like her a lot.
After work I watched two more hours of Bradshaw. This time from the "Homecoming" series, in which he demonstrates some of his techniques to bring out hidden and repressed feelings caused by abuse within family systems.
One thing bothers me while I watch these tapes. One item that doesn't seem to be addressed, something of particular interest to me... what happens when a person begins to get better, begins to heal and gets in touch with all of the aspects of their past hurt, shame, and pain? After they are on the road to recovery, their addictions arrested, how do they come to terms with, how does anyone learn to live in and be accepted by a still very sick, very dysfunctional and greatly disturbed world?

August 10 Saturday Day 333

The first thing I did today was breathe. The second was to wake up. Then I got dressed. After that I walked around the block to the thrift store a bought a nightstand with three drawers for my new printer to sit on, considering the laws of gravity and all. With my cool employee discount it came to only $6.75. Very nice.
I carried it back to the residence and settled it where I wanted it, right at the foot of my bed on the west wall. I placed the printer on top of it and plugged it in. Several little lights began to shine from the control panel, a good sign. I patched the parallel feed line from the printer to the word processor (computer). It continued to sit there quietly.
Now all I have to do is read the instruction booklet and find out how all of this stuff works.
But that can wait until tomorrow.
I went to the lobby to write until lunchtime. Then I grabbed my blanket, radio, sunglasses, and the book Charity had lent to me and went to the park.
I felt very good today. Ever since last Thursday when I made up my mind to stop pursuing Cathy, stop demanding that she perform to some desperate fantasy of mine, I have felt... released.
And that felt rather good. I liked everything today!
Except for the things I didn't like.
It was nice in the park. Hot and sunny. Reuben Smith came out and sat down next to me after I had been there 37 minutes. I knew that it had been 37 minutes because Reuben asked me how long I had been there.
"Thirty seven minutes," I told Reuben.
He rolled out his little orange blanket and laid down and we talked for a while. Abruptly he said, "I'm going to tune you out now, Richard," and put on his Walkman radio headphones. I followed suit, and tuned him out as well.
I discovered that Reuben does not turn over when he lies out in the sun. He allows his chest (if you can call it that, it sort of looks like a shallow depression in a road) to tan deeply while his back remains completely white. This, coupled with the fact that he still wears his sunglasses while sun bathing has the overall effect of making him look decidedly odd.
At work, I read during most of my shift. I did sneak into the small TV room a couple of times to see parts of the Saturday night V.C.R. movie, "The Punisher," with Dolf (Dolf) Lundgren. One of Robert's picks. Stupid movie , but with lots of gratuitous violence.
One of Cathy's clients, Ray Trujillo, came back close to midnight and blew a .03. I wish him well.
After midnight when my shift was over, I retired to the small T.V. room and tried to watch two more hours of the Bradshaw tapes. They're very good really, and I recommend them to anybody who's ever been in a family. Maybe the reason I've felt so good for the last couple of days is because I've been finding out so much about families, my own included, and about myself as well.
I fell asleep a little more than three quarters through the first tape. When the static noise from the T.V. woke me I went to my room and to bed.
I had weird sex dreams.

August 11 Sunday Day 334

The days are getting hot, like they were in the Park a year ago. I was there this time last year. The nights were warm and it will be chilly, if not down right cold by the time morning comes.
All I had to look forward to a year ago was a lot of loneliness and uncertainty. The lot of the homeless. Today I have all sorts of good and interesting things to do.
But before I could get to those things there was chapel to contend with. I had no responsive reading to worry about this week at least. Just passing around the collection plate at the appropriate time.
It went smoothly.
Lots of pretty girls at the Sunday morning A.A. meeting at the American Legion building in South Pasadena, which always makes this gathering very... intriguing. Devon, the Newport Beach suffer girl, and Angie, the quiet brunette who starts us off on the "Happy Birthday" song each week (Birthday Songleading Chairperson), are Ron's and my favorites. Especially Angie.
The girls from Casa de los Amigos did not show up though, which was just as well since about half of our folding chairs seemed to be missing.
Are these two events connected somehow? Who knows for sure? One can only speculate.
Skip was kind of glad the Casa girls were not around. "Those Casa girls sure absorb a lot of sound," he said. He could hear better when they weren't there, he said.
Ron and I had an enjoyable walk back, telling each other stories about how stupid and fucked up we were when we used to drink alcohol. We laughed about it. Most people overhearing us, I believe, would think us sick, or at least very sad.
I went to the park for an hour. Reuben Smith came by after a while. He did not sit next to me today because the grass was too hard where I was, he said. We left together though, deciding it was getting too cloudy.
Damn water vapor.
I took a shower, then watched a great episode of "Star Trek, the Next Generation."
I think this show should be mandatory for all recovering people.
I wrote in the lobby afterwards. Since Robert had picked the week's V.C.R. movie I felt no pressure to save myself a seat, or even attend.
I played with my new printer for much of the rest of the evening. I had gone to Vons earlier and bought some shoe polish, so I polished my shoes as well.
I haven't the faintest idea of how my new printer is supposed to work. I did discover the self test mode, after which being engaged the printer head went crazy and gave me a full page of every character the printer prints, in four different styles.
Very exciting.
About the dumbest Arnold Schartzennagger movie yet to be made was on T.V. I watched part of it of course. "Commando." 80 million guys shooting straight at Arnie and he never got even a nick.
Movie magic.
I read after the movie ended, until I felt tired. When I began to feel tired I turned out the lights and rolled over on my stomach.
I wondered what Cathy was doing at that moment, and I wanted her next to me.

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