Sunday, October 23, 2016


Regular readers of this space know that I read a lot. They also know that the book reviews I write are often a sort of break from composing major pieces, that for many books that I read, a pedestrian review is really all that my interest in it warrants. But Jillian Keenan's Sex With Shakespeare is different. I have rarely been this interested in a non-fiction book, and it has an amazing amount of relevance to some recent developments in my own life.
Of course, it helps that I am familiar with Shakespeare. I took two classes of Shakespeare in college, and have watched a few other plays performed that weren't covered in those classes. And as Robert Graves once said of Shakespeare, "he really is that good, in spite of all the people that say that he is that good." I can think of at least five plays-- King Lear, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Othello, and Macbeth-- that would make my personal top 20 of best works of literature I ever read. And the thing is that they are plays, and are even better when performed. I have read over half of the canon, and I thought myself well-informed and cognizant of Shakespeare's magnificent insight into human nature. But little did I know...
One of Keenan's unique viewpoints is that she is a serious fetishist, and this book is on one level a memoir of her coming to terms with her sexuality. Her detailing of the serious relationships in her life and trying to find a workable arrangement between the emotional aspects of a good relationship and her sexual pleasure--her sexual needs-- is the overarching theme of the book, and corresponds to its importance in her life. We all like what we like, but there are people out there that really experience sexual pleasure more or less only through their particular fetish. On one level, independent of the Shakespeare connection, this book was extremely informative of what it is like to be with someone that is not "vanilla" and the unique challenges it poses. And this is much more relevant to my current life than I ever thought it would be. One part of getting to know someone really well is that eventually, what really turns them on, what does it for them, comes out. Regular readers here will probably guess who I am referring to, and over the past few years, I am sure now that I know things that no one else knows. But knowing and really understanding are different things, and understanding that what turns her on affects just about every aspect, either directly or less directly, of her relationship with not only me, but the world, is yet another animal, too. Recently, I have been coming to terms with my importance and my role in her life--and yet, until reading this book, I did not really grasp that the knowledge I have 1) had to have been terrifying for her to disclose to me, and 2) that once the knowledge was gained, I really haven't done much with it, and it likely has been very disappointing to her and has had an effect on some of what has transpired in the last year. And I also have come to understand, just in the last few days, that I am not as "vanilla" as I would like to think I am--or perhaps more accurately, as I would like you to think I am. And I have thought, in the last 48 hours, more than I have in 20 years about how my own "kinks", as the author terms them, have affected my relationships. It's heady stuff. And seriously, my mind has absolutely been blown open by what I have been reading. We all project ourselves into our expectations and views of those we are attracted to--but when we gain knowledge of their innermost secrets, we usually do not make accommodations to the importance that those things occupy in their life, primarily but not entirely in the sexual aspect of their life. And the feeling that the one you love does not "get" what really unlocks your sexual essence, your pleasure, puts boundaries and walls up that are inevitably affect every other aspect of a relationship. I really had never seen this sort of view articulated so well before, and it's one of those things that is absolutely going to leave its mark on me. You can't unlearn something that you know is right and true, that is obvious--once someone else points it out.
The second unique viewpoint is that this sort of stuff is all over Shakespeare--if you are looking for it through those lenses. King Lear is one of my favorite works of literature of all time, and I thought I had a great understanding of it--but the Lear chapter in this book blew my mind apart. Lear does come off as an abusive parent, once you are looking for it, and the reactions of his daughters do make perfect sense considered in that light. Romeo and Juliet is often presented as one of the ultimate love stories--but it isn't a love story, it's a lust story, and one with two rather immature and unappealing protagonists at that. The irony of Antony and Cleopatra is that Antony is more Egyptian than Roman in temperament, and Cleopatra is more Roman than Egyptian. The complicated sexual dynamics of the comedies--A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, are given all sorts of new windows and interpretations that I am still processing. The Tempest will never read the same for me again, because of the way Caliban is treated and resigned to his nature by a force more powerful than him that only turned malign when he acted out on a desire that was both natural and a violation of trust. And on and on I could go, but believe me--if you love Shakespeare, you need to read this book. It's mind-blowing, and some of the insights revealed will have you re-evaluating every relationship you have had and are in. Every one.
And on a topical note, my spirituality is based in Twelve Step recovery, and a big part of that has been the belief that God puts what you need to hear and see in front of you when you need to hear and see it. There were two plays discussed by the author, regarding various points in her life, that deeply affected me. I read A Midsummer's Night Dream and The Taming of the Shrew in college, liking the former and feeling kind of meh about the latter. But taking the latter first, after thirty years and the experience of maturity, I now understand that the author has an extremely valid point regarding Kate and Petruchio-- that Kate's shrewishness is the only avenue to any sort of power over her own life that she possessed, and that Petruchio saw through that and loved her anyway. Similarly, my last three significant relationships have all been with women that live with PTSD in some fashion. How they act is almost entirely not due to "character defects" as much as attempts to have some sort of control over their lives and the trauma that has damaged them. I could not abide one at all because of the malicious dishonesty and manipulation employed--but the other two women are women that I learned to care about and loved because I was able to understand that the actions and characteristics that I found so frustrating were manifestations and coping mechanisms re the PTSD, not personally directed at me. And that in spite of what may have seemed to be on the surface, that my willingness to try to accept them and their behaviors anyway was a major, major factor in their attraction to me. One is long gone from my life, unfortunately, bent on a self-destructive course that I don't think she will ever emerge from--but the other still is trying, is still coming to terms with what has happened to her, and is still deeply involved in my life. I have been writing for weeks and months about how it is possible to care about and love someone even as behaviors seem to indicate otherwise--and this is absolutely the dynamic of Shrew. Do I have some Petruchio in me? Sometimes. I struggle with it, to be sure, but there is a part of me that knows that the seemingly inexplicable is actually a logical result of the trauma, and it helps me to deal with the consequences. It's not a completely blank check; I am not going over the falls in a barrel on account of her trauma. But I do understand it, to a greater degree than all the casual observers that like to pass judgment on both her for doing what she does and me for not cutting the cord with her do.
And that leads into the Helena/Demetrious dynamic of Dream. Demetrious treats Helena absolutely abominably in the play, yet Helena always comes back for more, to the point where it is often uncomfortable to watch and hear. And yet, there is a sort of nobility to Helena, and in the end, there is a commitment there that is awesome to contemplate. She never gives up on Demetrious, never walks away--because she is convinced that what she sees, what she loves, is real and will eventually become clear to him as well. We all know people that stay committed to the one they love, to the point of obsession, long past the point where it seems the pain would be great enough to let go. It's been my view, when I see other people in these situations, that they are foolish, that they need to get a grip, that they are co-dependent or sick or some other judgmental thing... and now that worm has turned. Because I can certainly identify a lot more with Helena, in view of what has been going on in my life recently. Helena is never taken to task in the play for staying constant and consistent in her affections.
And now that I see a bit of her when I look in the mirror, I understand why. It is ultimately a choice, and even if we do not get what we want in the short term, and even in the long term, it does not mean that the effort has been wasted. I have opined many times that I do not regret one minute of the effort I have made in the last couple of years--because I like myself more for having been constant and faithful, even if the person I was faithful to has had a lot of trouble keeping her shit together. And I have seen a few--enough, truthfully--examples in my life of someone finally turning it around, justifying the faith and the perseverance that someone has had in them. It's a principle of recovery, among other things-- "We will believe in you until you learn to believe in yourself;" "I will have faith in someone who believes in me."
And even if she never does get it, I have. And that is an unequivocal blessing. When it is time to let go completely, I will know... but that time probably will not come. Because despite all our difficulties, my attraction is not based in lust or other less-than-savory factors. What attracts me is there; that it has not come to the surface often enough to this point is not my issue, but rather it's a part of her journey. And ultimately, it is a test, a proof, of my own judgment and my own heart. There are many, many good qualities to her.
Too many to give up on her.
I realize that I have written a couple thousand words and not named the fetish that dominates the author's life. And I have to say that although some may find the focus on that fetish titillating, and others may find it somewhat repulsive, the book is an absolute gold mine of information of how we deal with the obsessions we all have. I was fairly open-minded about this kind of stuff even before reading this--but I now realize more than ever before that 1) people really can't help their obsessions,, and 2) while my own interest\ may not rise to the level of "fetish", honesty compels me to admit that the major one has had much more of an effect on my relationships and my decision-making process within hem than I was willing to credit even a week ago. And I cannot ignore, cannot unlearn, what I know now going forward.
This is a remarkable book. I can't recommend it enough.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Starting To Figure Out Some Relationship Mysteries

I am grateful that I am by nature inquisitive and verbose. I have found these traits to be necessary for me to contemplate, initiate, and embrace changes in myself and in my life. I've learned over the years that while simplicity is often a good aspiration and often the solution, "simple" answers in analyzing relationships often are lacking or wrong. I am sure that there are times when an honest look at a failed relationship brings the answer "the other person fucked up"-- but still, even in those cases, there is usually a part that I played that I am not willing to see or take into account.
I've written often over the past few years that the one undeniable benefit about the time I've spent involved with the former Queen was that I made a lot of changes to myself while I was with her. I became trustworthy, loyal, patient, understanding, forgiving--all things I have had a lot of trouble being over the course of my life. And even though the ostensible "reward" may not have happened while I was making changes, I'm not sorry I did evolve and change. For one, I am much happier with myself than I used to be. Two, in a situation where there are really only two people involved, someone has to take the lead--and it has become clear to me that she has noticed the changes in me and is feeding on those as fuel for starting the process of changing she knows she needs to make if her life is ever going to turn around. Everyone learns, in the long run, by following an example, and that is as true for adults as it is for children.
And few if any things turn out to be totally one-sided. One of the benefits of staying involved with someone after the "relationship" ends is that you get to see and know the person without the blinders of lust and passion interfering quite so much. And one thing that has become much clearer to me recently is that our dynamics were a lot more complicated than I thought previously. It never really occurred to me until recently that when someone reveals aspects of themselves to you that they have never revealed to anyone before, I really need to incorporate that information into the way I interact with that person.
Because if I don't, I run the risk of the person thinking that failure to act on the knowledge means that I am rejecting her or thinking that she is too weird or broken to want to be with. While I didn't think that was true, the fact is that not acting on the knowledge, especially with someone that is emotionally fragile and has been through a great deal of trauma in their life, leads to not only a reluctance on their part to commit further, but also a withdrawal, to the point where the relationship is imperiled and they start looking at and implementing exit strategies. It's been six months since the relationship ended, at least in the "dating" sense. But we remain a part of each other's life, and I am only now beginning to understand and process much of what happened in the winter and spring. It takes an insane amount of courage for someone to open up to a partner about not only secrets of things that have happened, but also of what one likes, what turns one on, what one is afraid of, and what one feels like when confronted with situations.
And sometimes, we get so caught up in our own stuff that we miss the cues and the hints that the other person is looking for something else. We really do view the world through our own lenses, because we see most clearly through them. But sometimes it doesn't hurt to put on someone else's glasses--because you get some idea of how the world looks to them. When someone is generally passive, reluctant to say what they want, and has major self-esteem issues--well, acting like a gentleman or keeping a detached distance and not being forceful about showing how much you want to be with them may not be the right move. In a perfect world, yeah, it is and would be--but to someone that is carrying the baggage that I just described, the message received is "you don't really want to be with me. " And that's how the door gets propped open to walk away.
If there is a lesson I am beginning to understand about all this, it is that while it is important to be true to your own values--you have to, have to, take into account who it is that you are interacting with, and give their preferred view as much priority as you do your own. If you don't,. you risk losing the relationship, often in a very painful way. And I can attest that what happened in the spring followed that pattern. To my mind, I was acting in the "right" way, not being pushy, not being controlling, not being aggressive. In the long run, or if I had been dealing with someone coming into the relationship with a healthy sense of self, that is the way to be. But with someone in early recovery, with someone with major self-image issues, with someone who is unable to put more than a toe in the water at a time and is deathly afraid of rejection--not being pushy can be viewed as not being interested. Someone used to controlling behavior can and often will see being allowed to feel and think for themselves as frightening and indicative of a lack of interest. Someone who has never put themselves "out there" in their life is naturally inclined to respond to those that are not shy about pursuing what they want, even if--maybe even especially if--what they are pursuing isn't all that healthy or nice or respectful. And when someone is not that way, the natural belief is that that person really isn't all that interested, or is too "together" to want to be with them.
What I am seeing is that I had an assumption or maybe even an expectation that my current value system is what every woman is looking for once the fog of addiction clears up. And that simply is not the case, not in the short term and probably, for some, not  in the long term, either. As far as a takeaway or a solution, it is not that I need to engage in dick behavior or be what I used to be in order to reach and stay connected with the other party. But what it does mean is that actively asserting interest, and being a little more aggressive about spending time together, and acting on the knowledge grudgingly given to me, is necessary to build up from the foundation of a relationship.
It's  knowledge and insight that is too late to salvage this relationship, at least in the romantic sense of it. But the knowledge will serve me better going forward.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Book Review: APOSTLE

Over a decade ago, I read and thoroughly enjoyed Tom Bissell's Chasing the Sea, a poignant, informative, and wry account of his travels in Central Asia and the shrinking Aral Sea. Bissell's most recent effort is another travelogue of sorts, Apostle, where he attempts to visit the purported tombs of the Twelve Apostles. He ends up all over the Old World, and in the process of his tourist information guide gives, as all good books of this sort do, an amazing education on a variety of subjects, such as early Christianity, relations between various ethnic groups all over the world, Jewish history, modern issues in developing nations, and how tourists get by in places where they do not speak the language. And Bissell is a participant; the chapter on India and his search for the tomb of Thomas is alone worth buying the book for.

I love books like this; I'm not likely to travel much in my life, but if I did, this is what I would seek to do--not hang out on beaches, but try to find out as much as I could about subjects that interest me. I'm a voracious collector of information, and also have a fair amount of identification with this subject--like the author, I lost the faith as a teen, but remain fascinated with the spread of Christianity and the persons that comprised the early Church. And Bissell's experiences in the Orthodox churches he visited reminded me of my decade as a convert, when I was married, and how new, strange, silly, and awesome it all was at once. This is one of the best books I've read this year.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Direction Becomes Clearer

I'm not going to put my ex's business out here, at least not now. But a great deal of my thought process and my prayers have been devoted to her recently. Whatever has gone on between us in the past, it is clear that I do occupy a place in  her heart and soul that no one else does or ever has before (and for those that may think otherwise, I really don't care what you think). I've discussed several times recently, with both my current and former sponsors, what has been going on, and both of them said essentially that it has been God's will that I have had a big role in her life, and most likely that I should continue to do so. Whether it is the role I want it to be or hope it will be has really become secondary; what really matters is that it is not possible, not now, to just turn away and say, "It had its moments, but we're all done now, and have a nice life."

I would like to, at times; I'm not going to lie about that. Especially since there is a lot of stuff between us that caused pain, and I am not sure that there is ever going to be any way to ease some of it. But today, she learned not only her destination for the next few months (which was not a surprise) but a new condition of life when she gets released. And suddenly, the question of what role I am playing and am going to play in her life just became magnified.

There's not really  a way to talk more about it without giving details. But I'm going to try. Even families that others regard as "dysfunctional" are all that the people in them know, and they love the members of those families as much as you or I love our family members. And when their presence is removed, it leaves a void. A big one. And to make a long story short, my support and love (on whatever level it is) for her went from desired and appreciated to all she has for the foreseeable future. Do I really want to take on that kind of role?

I don't feel like I have a choice (although my inclination, my choice, would be to do so, regardless). But I simply cannot conceive of any way that God's will in this situation is to make someone feeling abandoned feel worse and more abandoned. I can make sure that appropriate boundaries are in place, and I can make sure that I do not lose my own way down paths I have already discovered hold no lasting value. But I simply cannot, and do not want to, walk away and leave her to face her fate and to try to forge, yet again, a new way of life without the guidance and support of the one person she has come to rely upon, the one person that has always been there for her no matter what the troubles may have been.

I'm a better man than that. And God's will, I am reasonably sure, is not to turn my back when she most needs help. I may turn out to be wrong. But if I do, I know I did what I am going to do with not only good intentions, but after praying and reaching out for help and input about the matter. Which is one reason why I am reasonably sure I am doing the right thing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Odds And Ends, Mid-October 2016

In no particular order:
1) It was a year ago that my life went in a new direction, when my program's funding officially ended and I stopped working for my former employer. I have one regret: the amount of money I was making was considerably more than I am making now and can hope to make for the near future. It took a while, but I did land in a good place. I get frustrated at times with the agency I work for; I just got a reminder yesterday that ineffective IT departments apparently are endemic in the non-profit world. But just like I was and am grateful for my former employer allowing me to build a career, I will always be grateful to my current employer for giving me a chance to continue it. And while I certainly would like to enjoy a higher standard of living than I do, I am making enough to get by. For now, anyway.
2) On to larger concerns. Apparently there was a debate last night between the two candidates for county executive. From the news accounts, there didn't seem to be anything really worth nothing that occurred during it. I don't know why the Democratic candidate isn't hammering the corruption issue--and the hypocrisy that underlies it. But even more so, I don't understand why he doesn't jump on the incumbent for consistent problems since she took office--the mess that the budget is every year because no one in the administration is able to accurately forecast sales tax revenues; the obstinate refusal to face facts about the heroin epidemic; the fact that her proposed solution for most social issues--making the jail bigger and arresting our way out of problems--is a miserable failure; the gutting of virtually every program that serves youth and those with mental health problems; the fact that DSS' rent assistance policy is an absolute shambles and needs to be completely revamped; and that the county is consistently dilatory in its accounting of the money it does disburse, leading to major issues with the state. Several of these aren't even partisan issues--they're competence issues. I really sometimes wonder if this guy actually wants to win the election.
3) I've briefly touched on this before, but one of Preston's primary initiatives was to privatize the food services the county provides to its nursing homes and jail. The results are in. My mother volunteers at the county nursing home--and reports that the food being served there is, charitably, awful. My ex has landed in jail again, and I do speak with her regularly--and she reports that the food being served there is, charitably, worse than awful. I realize that to a 34YO with a steady job and no legal involvement living out in Harpursville, these are probably not major concerns, and that's the base of Preston's support. But to those of us that are affected by it--this isn't a luxury issue. This is food, for God's sake. I don't think any of us want our parents to come to the end of their life and be forced to eat substandard food. I don't think the many thousands of us that know people that end up, temporarily or less temporarily, as guests of the county that get slop four days a week, never see items like bread, and are borderline malnourished. It's disgraceful.
4) Lost in the noise of the Presidential and county executive elections is the contest to replace the retiring Republican Richard Hanna as our representative in Washington. This is a pretty important race in the national scheme; it's one of the few opportunities nationwide to turn a red seat blue. And man, the more I find out, the more imperative it is to make sure the Democrat wins, because the Republican candidate is a straight-up Tea Party fool. Claudia Tenney sounds, acts, and votes like Sarah Palin. There's an independent guy running, too, that's one of these "taxes are bad" libertarians, and I am hoping that he appeals to enough of the rural conservatives to ensure that the Democrat wins. And I have to say that I am not impressed with the Democrat; she seems one of those pro-business types that have flushed this country down the toilet for forty years. Even more than the Presidential contest, it's a hold-your-nose vote...this system is broken, beyond doubt. Voting has become an exercise in stamping out little brush fires, not in building anything constructive. How in the hell do we get out of this bind?
5) And yet, as bad as some of our choices are around here, I am reminded on a daily basis that the rest of the country has some real, real fucked up people in elected positions. This clown that is governor of North Carolina persists in his demented crusade to demonize and criminalize homosexuals. Ted Cruz was in the news today; apparently he sent out a Tweet that said if Clinton becomes President, there will "mandated sex change operations." The Republican vice-presidential nominee is also governor of Indiana--and has pushed a law that requires all miscarriages and abortions be given death notices and funerals. This is the Republican party, folks. This is one of our only two feasible choices to vote for.
You can stop with the "I'm glad I live in a democracy and I'm glad I have freedom" bullshit. This is not anything worth celebrating. You should be outraged that the level of "choice" comes down to the lesser of two evils on every level, in every election, for years running. After every election, I muse about the Carlin Option--boycotting and not voting to register my displeasure with a system that gives me "choices" like this. And every election cycle, I end up so frightened by at least one of the choices available that I end up holding my nose and voting anyway. But God damn, I'm tired of this. This will be the 35th year that I have had the ability to vote--and I can count the number of times that I have actually been enthusiastic about someone I was marking a ballot for (I wanted to say "pull a lever", but that's not how we do it anymore--and don't get me started on that crock of shit) on one hand. Thirty-five years, an average of let's say eight races per election--so out of 300 races I've voted in, I've been genuinely excited about four of them. That's 1.25% of the "choices" available.
That's not democracy. That's bullshit.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Spike In Traffic

I have things to do and places to go this morning, so I am going to keep this short and to the point. After years of publishing this humble little blog, I have seen a gradual increase in page views to the point where I am reasonably sure that I have a regular audience. I don't do this exclusively because I want a lot of other people to read it, but it helps knowing that a number of people out there are reading what I write every day. And some days, it's the reason I put something up, even if I am not bursting at the seams to say something to and about the world.
But in the last month or so, my page views have exploded upwards. To the point where I am starting to wonder what's going on. I at first thought that somebody overseas had latched onto my site as a portal to an American network; that has happened before. But this has been consistent, this has been growing a little each day, and, checking what posts are getting read, it looks like a goodly number of people have discovered the blog and have gone back through the archives seeing what I've written in the past.
And it is a measure of what has been happening in our country recently that I am at least as much worried as overjoyed about this. If I had been getting thousands of page views five years ago, I would have been doing handstands and cartwheels. Now, though, I'm wondering if I have gotten the attention of one of our myriad "security" agencies, or if one of the politicians I regularly excoriate in these pages has decided to do some research on me. I would love to think, frankly, that I have gotten under our county executive's skin so much that she is wasting time and energy checking me out a few weeks before Election Day, but somehow I don't think so. I've been very vocal recently about how dangerous I think Trump is, and if I had to bet, I'd say that got someone somewhere's attention. Whether that's good or bad at this point, I don't know.
But my point is this: an explosion of interest in what I love to do should be--should be--an unequivocal positive development. That I am concerned about it instead is an indictment of just how far down the 1984 path we have already traveled. I have lived life aboveboard long enough that I am not really afraid of increased scrutiny--if everyone plays by the rules. But I'm not so naive as to think that everyone does. And also, with the violent fringe being given voice and cover to act on their fantasies by one of the major party candidates this year, it isn't completely out of the realm of possibility to wonder if me or my loved ones are going to be targeted in some way.
I suppose time will tell. Maybe in a couple weeks, traffic will return to normal levels and I will go about my mostly anonymous existence in relative peace again. And to be truthful, I am not starting to become seriously paranoid. But I have to tell you that I am a little more aware of my surroundings and the people around me than I was a week ago. And that really should not be the case in The Land Of The Free.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Zombie Effect

This switch of positions and programs cannot come soon enough, in at least one aspect of my life. My usual practice has been to go forward after I get out of work Sunday morning, the end of my work week, like a normal day, crash at night and get a long, good night of sleep, and then live three days on a normal person's schedule until I return to work Wednesday night/Thursday morning. But this week, for whatever reasons, I didn't get a lot of sleep on the days I worked--maybe eight hours total over three days--and I was sleepwalking, essentially, from the time I left the job yesterday morning. I fell asleep in the Sunday morning NA meeting I go to, and I ended up having to watch the Bills game in an upright position because every time I laid down on the couch, ten minutes of game time had passed the next time I opened my eyes. After eating dinner around 4 PM yesterday, I literally could not keep my eyes open, and even standing up and walking around, I was seriously unable to focus on virtually anything. I was going to try to make it to sunset, but that proved impossible; I headed into the bedroom at 6:00. The next thing I knew, it was 7:30, and the phone was ringing. After concluding the phone call, I fell back asleep--and didn't stir again until 3 AM, only because my bladder was about to burst. And then after that, I crashed again until just a few minutes ago.
And I have always been a light (sober) sleeper. One of the reasons I drank heavily during the 1980's and early 1990's was that I was assured, with some alcohol in my system, of being able to sleep at least six hours or so at a time. I've been able, since about two years after my clean date, roughly coincidental with the turn of the century, to be able to fall asleep with relative ease at night--but it is a rare, rare evening when I sleep more than three hours at a time. Most nights, it isn't hard to fall back asleep, but going straight through for hours at a time has never been characteristic for me. For me to go seven hours without waking--judging from how stiff my back is, without moving--is almost unprecedented.
And as people age, they are supposed to be lighter sleepers, not heavier. And what I am finding amazing about this is that I could have easily slept longer; I got up because I have things I need to do this morning and because my back is extremely stiff as it is. But I am still tired, and I have no doubt that if I lay on my couch after lunchtime today, I will doze off, and will have absolutely no issues falling asleep tonight, either. This is uncharted territory for me, and it's a bit frightening. And I don't even mess with artificial stimulants; the most I will do to try to prolong being awake during the work week is drink more caffeinated soda than I normally do. My waistline hates me for it, but I stop at the store and get a Coke or Mountain Dew slushie on the way to work every night now (as an aside--how can anyone actually like Dew? It looks like animal urine, and it doesn't taste a whole lot better). I see a lot of my younger friends in early recovery that are never without a Monster or Red Bull in their hands, and I am very wary of those type of energy drinks, because they sure seem as addicted to them as they used to be to meth or dope or Percs. I used to pick on my friend for buying a case of Monster at a time when she was struggling to make her food stamps last for a full month; she literally drank ten of those tall cans a day. And it's less funny now, because I am sure that her Monster addiction had something to do with her relapse; she had trouble with mood and emotional management, and those that knew her had absolutely no trouble telling when she hadn't had a Monster in a while.
I already have a lower-scale version of that going on with good old coffee. I am fully awake now, because I am on my third (big) cup of coffee (my daughter got me this rather large Tower of London coffee cup when she was in England in the spring, and I absolutely love it). I do not get caffeine headaches or other effects, largely because I stop drinking coffee after the first pot in the morning is gone. But I have to say that not drinking it on the days I work makes its effect on me noticeable. If I do manage three or four hours of sleep in the morning/afternoon, I am sluggish for hours after getting up, because I do not drink coffee at 2 PM, and I don't drink it because I am afraid that breaking that barrier will cause me to start to feel caffeine withdrawals in the future. I'll take feeling like I am walking through a swimming pool for an hour or two over constant headaches and feeling jittery.
And I guess I will take being a zombie on Sundays, for a few more weeks. It's not like, with softball season over, I actually do much of anything on Sunday besides watch TV. But the price is not inconsequential. My back is so stiff it's going to be Tuesday before I can bend over and walk at full speed, much less move around normally.
I have to do the training for the new job tomorrow. Hopefully, the switch to the new position will come within a couple of weeks after that.