Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Salvation Diary Nineteen

"Salvation" artist Amanda Milke

March 19 Tuesday Day 188

Up early for work. I hadn't slept very well the night before, but I wasn't tired.
Work went by quickly. I had a lot of energy today, and I kept myself busy doing some writing and running urine tests.
Richard, my counselor, gave me a new book to read. "Essentials of Chemical Dependency Counseling," by Gary Lawson, Don Ellis, and P. Clayton Rivers. I suspect it deals with counseling chemical dependents.
Mr. Vasquez and Ed Reitz went to the hospital shortly after lunch to move Jan Skiecicz to another facility. They had not returned by the end of my shift, so I started pulling some overtime. Ernie Sens called to find out if Robert was aware there was a 2:30 safety meeting scheduled for today. I told Ernie that it may have slipped his mind, and that he wasn't here anyway. Ernie said that he needed a representative from the residence, and that I should fill in for Robert. I promptly found myself in the boardroom with the Major, Ernie, Pattie Orion, Frank Corona, and Ron Collins. Most of what was discussed had nothing to do with the residence, so my major responsibility at this meeting was to stay awake and look alert. Robert showed up at about fifteen minutes into the session, after which, I felt the responsibility to stay awake was now his. I then felt free to doze, keeping my head in a perpetual nodding motion, as if agreeing with everything that was being said.
Don't get me wrong. Safety is very important.
After the meeting I went to my room and changed clothes. I then went out to the front parking lot and sat on one of the benches while reading about alternative cosmological models, and watching three little girls playing by the trees by the walkway which leads to the front door. I admire their youth and innocence. I do not envy it.
One of the little girls had just finished calling Bill Rausemplat a "Pendejo," (which according to John Nichols, "translated loosely means, 'idiot,' or 'fool,'-- or translated more literally means, 'pubic hair.'") then I returned to the lobby to write before Jill's group.
She picked me out to start tonight. I let her know that I had continued to write throughout the week, gone to the V.A., gone to the dentist, and stopped smoking. Everyone in the room chirped, "Again!"
Jill said that I had made it sound like it was easy to quit. I insisted that it wasn't, that it was very, very hard.
She gave me a job market projection sheet for substance abuse counselors. This was part of what Maggie required. It was surprising that Jill gave this to me even though she had said she would two weeks ago. She is a busy lady and has a hard enough time remembering my name, let alone any extracurricular activities.
This should impress Maggie, and shut her up for a while.
The group ran a little long. We kind of hurried through the goals for next week. Jill looked at me and asked, "And what are your goals for next week, Tom?"
I'm going to have to think seriously about continuing on with Jill. I mean really! After three of four months the least you could hope from your counselor is for them to remember your name. Especially when you're hopelessly in love with them. Maybe I should have her call me Rick, instead of Richard. It should be easier to memorize. Less syllables.
Anyway I went upstairs, had a cigarette, then went to bed.

March 20 Wednesday Day 189

Today is the Vernal Equinox, the "first point of Aries," the beginning of Spring in the northern hemisphere. Today's day and night are of equal length in all parts of the world.
Wolf woke me at five. I got up at five forty-five and showered and dressed for work. After thumbing through the Encyclopedia Britannica, I went downstairs and was at work by six. I gave Kevin Rockoff the traditional deskman greeting: "Hello my fellow laid-back coffee drinking brother," while simultaneously initiating a mutual over-head, back-handed slap. The above greeting seems to be more effective and meaningful if uttered with a slight Jamaican accent.
People kept blaming me for all of their problems this morning. Roger Collins thought it was my fault that nobody would give him a ride to the hospital. I tried to explain to him that after seven o'clock I had nothing to do with transportation. That it was Frank Corona's department. That was why they had given him the title of "Director of Transportation." Roger didn't care about all that. He said he couldn't take the bus because it was raining. He didn't want to get his stinky, rotting, putrescent leg wet, and felt, due to the weather, it was my responsibility to get him to his doctor.
The rain stopped before I took the morning paperwork across the street, and resumed right after I returned to the residence. This type of thing happens to me a lot. At movie theaters especially. No matter how late I may be, only after I have found a suitable seat, am comfortably situated in it, and have taken my first bite of sweet, hot-buttered salty popcorn, will the film begin. Richard, my counselor says this happens to him quite a bit. We both attribute this to both of us being in tune with our respective higher powers.
We had to write up Reuben Smith (half of the famous Zulu Brothers) last week for never making his bed. The good folks at the Gratuity Board meeting decided to take away $5.00, or 25% of his weekly pay for one week. Accordingly his bed looked very nice today. The best in the residence actually. I would have given him the Best Bed Award, but Ed Reitz didn't think it would be appropriate and we would be sending him the wrong message if we did.
I took a little nap after lunch. When I came back down at 2:30, Eddie Gillespie reported, "I vacuumed the rug and cleaned the windows while Clarence just sat there and read the paper."
Clarence Bliss looked up from his paper at me, then at Eddie, "Fuck you Gillespie. I hope your horse loses."
These guys are both over sixty years old. So much for graceful maturity.

A Marine joke, by Eddie Gillespie: On a flight to Boston, a Marine PFC sitting in first class was asked by the young stewardess if he would care for some coffee.
"I don't want any fucking coffee!" was his reply.
The young lady was clearly shocked at such rude behavior. She thought the gentleman had somehow misunderstood her question, and determined to fulfill her duty, she tried again a short time later.
"You can take that coffee and stick it up your ass!"
Now hurt and offended, the stewardess noticed a Marine Captain sitting nearby and tried to enlist his aid. She asked him to observe the private's response when she tried yet again.
After receiving the usual scathing retort, she looked at the Captain with a see-what-I-mean expression on her pretty face.
"Well don't give the son-of-a -bitch any fucking coffee, you meddling bow-legged whore!"

Oh my, that was so disrespectful. I in fact would like to salute the fine job our flight attendants do on a daily basis. Fine job. Remember, that was Eddie's joke, not mine. If I had anything to say about it, it wouldn't even appear here.
And what can you do with Marines? They're just so irrepressible.
We experienced hail today. Great showers of gravel size ice came raining down.
I was safe inside, of course.
Mrs. Johnson brought us at the desk a nice Easter basket, with an Easter Egg Tree in it... and a stuffed bunny.
Very nice.
In chapel, I was sitting in the last row with Clarence Bliss when Ed Reitz announced there were three beneficiaries eligible for program graduation certificates, but only one was present at the time. The other two were either at work (Rico Montgomery), half of the infamous Zulu Brothers, or at school (Anthony Rutherford). I knew that I was eligible, and that I was there. Clarence looked at me as he heard me groan.
After Ed announced my name, I walked up from the back to where Major Johnson was standing holding my certificate. There was actual applause.
"Rick is a man of few words," the Major said, "and tonight we're going to give him the chance to say both of them." The Major was referring to the fact that I have never given a testimony during services.
"Really though," he continued, "congratulations Rick. You've done a great job in the last six months. I'm sure that those of you who feel the need at times can go to Rick for advice when you feel it necessary to talk to someone about the problems currently facing you. I'm sure he'll be happy to help, if he can."
I nodded my head in an up and down manner.
"Keep up the good work Rick, and thanks once again." I gave the Major my thanks and returned to my seat. More Applause.
After chapel the Major congratulated me once again on the outstanding job I was doing.
It's very nice to be appreciated, and I do respect the Major (even though he did threaten me with physical violence once), he has an extremely difficult job here, and I'm sure he's an outstanding person and all. I like his wife too. He is ultimately my real boss, but I don't really know the man, and I don't deal with him on a day to day basis. I couldn't help but wonder how much more the praise would have meant coming from Robert Vasquez.
Robert being Robert, was no where around.
Tonight was also my last night of the Transition Group with George Plick. I had graduated from it. I had graduated right on up to Graduate Group with George Plick.
I think you have to die or something to get out of that one.
Anyway, during the group, I stopped listening to George talking about how our minds must dictate our actions rather than our emotions, and began to realize that I have become comfortable with the notion of not living up to the expectations of others, even my own. I' not saying that I do not care of what others think of me. I do. Everybody does, no matter what they say. I was thinking specifically about returning to school, and being anxious about it. I realized I needed to relax when I returned, and just do the best I could. I must give myself permission to fail occasionally and accept that it is within my nature (being a human type person) to make mistakes, and that I can learn in my own way the knowledge that I can utilize to my best advantage. I know I should not do poorly in school, and probably will in fact do well, especially for a person with a twenty year history of drug induced stupor... plus an organic brain syndrome to boot! I also became aware of how I am applying this acceptance to other aspects of my life, and I felt comfortable about feeling comfortable with that.
We had a new female type counselor person here tonight. Her name is Cathy, a demur brunette, with a pleasant figure, and I should say somewhere in her mid-twenties. However I did not actually see her face as she was walking away from me when I first noticed her. I suppose I should at least get a good look at her and maybe talk to her once or twice before I go to all of the trouble of falling in love with her.
You can't be too careful these days.
Near the end of the shift I walked outside and gazed up at the starry cloud-framed sky, and it was beautiful.

March 21 Thursday Day 190

Another nice and early 5AM start on the day. Not much happened compared to yesterday.
I gave Rockoff the traditional Deskman greeting, then began to write. I wrote for most of the morning, whenever people were not interrupting me, asking me for insulin and stuff like that.
I did my laundry and took a nap.
Pretty fast paced I admit. I read a lot about drug counseling and reexamined my motives for entering that field.
I would like to help other alcoholics and drug addicts who really want to stop drinking and drugging, and don't know how. I want to try and help those who aren't quite sure if they want to stop, but suspect they have a big problem. I want to help them learn how to really want to stop. And I want to help people learn about their defense mechanisms, how they can continue to keep you sick for a long time. While doing all that, and by doing all of that, I hope to help myself keep sober, and if I'm being paid for it I can continue to go to school. Continue to study psychology, sociology; how the brain works, i.e., the mind.
I do not perceive within myself the desire to have power over others, or wish to escape feelings of guilt, or make a lot of money. I believe these perceptions to be sincere, and my motives satisfactory.
Very nice.
Charles Parsons, the Transition House manager, was caught with alcohol on his breath today and has now moved back in with us. Dorm 4, bed C.
John Ritchie and Ray Hunt (who had been thrown out of the residence, but still worked in dispatch) quit their jobs across the street, and are said to be headed to Vegas.
The men were relatively well behaved tonight, going to their meetings on time. And everyone made it back by curfew, including Art Svensk.
I had earlier scored a copy of Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End," and reread that book until 2:30 in the morning. Then I slept, dreaming of the Overlord's giant ship projections and mashed potatoes.

March 22 Friday Day 191

I had intended to get and go to the 7:30 Big Book study meeting at Union Station, but had to change those plans due to lack of motivation. I slept until lunchtime.
After lunch I practiced various forms of advanced yoga techniques while reading some of "The Milagro Beanfield War," "Childhood's End," "The Bible," and the "Twenty Four Hour a Day" book. After which I wrote, then got ready for work.
Mr. Vasquez stuck me with handing out the gratuities again. But after dinner it was kind of slow, an even keel sort of night. I gave the New Client Orientation, and put up the damn bar in the thrift store parking lot, and besides from selling a few canteen cards and handing out straggler's gratuities, my evening was fairly free.
I had time to read, read about drugs.
I have often thought, along with many others, that the simplest way to crush the black-market in drugs would be to legalize them. Addicts who given the choice between securing their supply of the drug they are addicted to from government or private industry at low cost; or paying the high prices the black-market demands, would choose the former. Economics 101. There would soon be no black-market. The demand for its products would not exist. The addicts lifestyle (that famous "drug seeking behavior," or criminal patterns needed in order to purchase drugs) would decrease substantially. And added revenue from the taxation of the now legal substances would be one of the benefits to this country.
Nothing would please me more than to pull the rug from underneath the drug lords.
Of course, much like the bootleggers of Prohibition days, the drug suppliers of today would still be armed with nation threatening amounts of cash to do with as they please. The locating of these ill gotten gains, it seems to me, to be an ideal project for our law enforcement agencies to be concerning themselves with. Much better then the hopeless task they have currently set for themselves (or the politicians have set for them), attempting to stop the importation of drugs.
And I do understand that supporting the legalization issue is tantamount to political suicide. I am not interested in politics though, or furthering politician's careers.
Human life interests me. The negation of pain, misery, degradation, and torment interest me very much.

March 23 Saturday Day 192

I slept in again I'm afraid. I knew they would be having chicken patties for lunch, and I like chicken patties... so I got up to eat.
Afterwards I returned to my lonely, Elviraless room, and read. I read from "The Brief History of Time," book, a very depressing part. I used to not have an opinion regarding the Second Law of Thermodynamics, but now I think it's a real bitch. The way Hawkins explains it, or rather the way I understand what he's trying to say, life will not be feasible in ten billion years or so when the universe starts to collapse in on itself (if indeed that is to be it's fate). Something to do with time being equal to distance in space, and moving backwards toward The Big Crunch. Of course life would end in The Big Crunch anyway, but at the end of it all when everything gets squashed. I had at least thought we would have all of that contraction time (10 to 20 billion years) to play around in. It just goes to show... it's always something.
Worry, worry, worry.
I completed my work as fast as possible so I could write most of the night. Edward Taylor, who had recently escaped the jaws of death due to medical difficulties, did not return for curfew this evening. If he starts, or has already started using again, it will most likely finish him off.
Even armed with that kind of self knowledge it isn't enough to make a lot of us stop using.
I wish him well.

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