An Artist Identifies His Muse

Long have I known that I come off as a flirt, oft even when speaking to those I have no such intentions with. I suppose I hadn’t given this much thought until a sense of value I was able to attribute to the consideration by way of a mentor figure—today, as a matter of fact!

And what I discovered is this: language is my muse.

That is whom all this flirtatious activity can be attributed, and why it is indeed so transcendent of specific interactions!

That guy that had looked long into my ground floor apartment window in a seedy part of town, ogling my body much to my appall. Why did, when I finally encountered him in the narrow constraints of the back entrance, did I not tell him off and instead flirted with him?

It was because it was not with him at all but a case of my ongoing attraction and love-play with language!

He was merely the moments vessel through which I was able to connect with that deep-set desire.

I chatted him up just like anyone else for that reason.

At the time I had questioned myself inwardly; did I really require that ego boost of his infatuated eyes as I weaved poetry through his ears?

Fuck no I did not!

Well maybe… but that can now be seen for the minor player it is.

Is it an innate need to be loved do to a cold childhood?

Maybe, but not by that particular person.

And why too has every roommate heard my hearty chortle through the walls, triggered by the presence of no one and no thing?

I mean, sometimes it is a show or something—someone else’s language.

But even then the case can frequently be seen as one triggered simply by the self-pleasuring of thought.

I just love language and I thought you all should know, should I meet you in the street and talk you up, I’m sorry it’s not you, and it’s not even me—my own brooding insanity crackling to the surface—nope, it’s language, the eternal bae.

See even that bit about an “eternal bae” had me going!

What a stupid concoction of this omnipotent power.

god bless Her.


I would be remiss to omit that this can sometimes be hijacked.

When someone flirts back, that is. Without realizing it I end up in these spiralling situations where the intent changes unbeknownst to me and suddenly I am in trouble with my partner!

Well, now that I know who I’ll be with forever (re: eternal bae), I need not fret nor frown about such instances. I will simply understand my true calling to the moment, take a deep breath, and not damage any commitments I’ve made. And for this reason she, and She, need never question where my mind goes at those times, and we can all be happy together!

But would you call it monogamous? Ahahaha, that’s not one I care to hassle out the answer to.

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The Hemorrhaging of a Crystal Soul

I suppose it’s his swarthy complexion that leads men to offer him drugs.

He is my friend and I am his sage and thus his recent acquisition of meth came into my hands.

Yes, meth.

The big bad.

In spite of my experience it scares me.

The state of instability one must find themselves in to encourage use of such a compound is surely severe; I believe a past self would ask no questions.

I do have questions, however, and thankfully the gay scene—the scene in which my friend of ambiguous exotica was offered the small baggy of chemical achievement—is rich with nodes of experience.

So was the man that approached me as I breathed a contemplative cigarette on the 2am curb of this twilight hour.

From Halifax, a formative ground on which my memory falters and emotional resonance dictates the account, he entered my abode.

Invited, of course. I needed a sage myself; I needed a man mentored in the minefield of meth.

Trouble is, I don’t have a pipe because I’m not a meth user and the inclination was not rooted on my radar. Yet circumstance took its course and so was I, Halifax man, and an Indian man with earrings sitting in my bed and desk room on what is thankfully a weekend.

The man was of a peculiar sort, yet absolutely recognizable to me.

He was a Halifax gay.

His wife knows of his craving for cock and his children will surely piece it together as the teasing intensifies.

A jolly banter of Reflections and The Fruit Loop ensued! Only in chastise had I mentioned these names before — to be a part of the culture and identify with another member, what a thrill!

I found myself conscious of where my knife was in the room.

Indian man left on an excuse less viable than a damp cigarette.

You give a man drugs, drink, and conversation, and still they want more.

Acceptance is an all or nothing package, apparently.

Halifax man probed and I parried; he groped and I guarded; he insisted and so did I.

You have a story, I told him.

Is that not better than a piece of ass?

He did not seem to agree.

I asked him what I liked.

I had told him I liked to read and write. I had told him I was a bottom.

He told me I liked to bottom.

Misfortune lies in the ear of perception.

An objective reading of the evening would highlight a net win for the man who dared cross the street. His objectifying reading came to a different conclusion, although came is perhaps not the right word.

I fed him a grape and directed his hand towards his own body.

Like a child at a toy store told firmly and finally by that all too engaged parental voice—you are not getting that, you have plenty of toys at home—I lead him outside to his quickly cooling friend.

That was the end of eye-contact and civility, but perhaps the beginning of courteous behaviour reciprocate.

It’s okay to have urges, wants, desires—passions of a moment. But if in following those most carnal impulses you find yourself in a position lacking empathy and consideration, then the best recuperation is found in withdrawal. Pressing forward with an acknowledged mistake is surely the most egregious path a person may take. I know; I am the sage.

And so I sit now at desk and laptop, wondering: What will wear off first? The meth or the man’s impression on my soul?

First times have an uncanny knack for imposing titular dominance and alas, I have forgotten his name.

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the puzzle, The Puzzle, THE PUZZLE!

Last year I started doing the city paper’s daily crossword. It was free to pick up on campus and I found it a useful way to occupy myself during long lectures in a manner less consuming than the internet i.e. it allows me to multi-task faithfully. Furthermore, being an English student, it was not a non-academic diversion and the pseudo-learning aspect gave my enjoyment of the practice more legitimacy.

And it was a simple engagement! Availability on campus was not only convenient and free but it also naturally set the sort of parameter a man of my appetites finds useful, nay necessary, by being a regimented dose so-to-say. One a day; no more, no less. It was indeed a finite source of pleasure that I looked forward to as a part of my day.

People would comment when they saw me doing it too. Saying things like ‘I don’t know how you do that’, which was all the reinforcement I needed to further associate joy with my crossword. This joy, however, was of a different nature than my own self-assertion, it was validation, it was recognition that I stood out and above and it was addictive. Hooked, I started directly affixing my identity to completing the crossword. No longer was it one of the ways I manifested my love of puzzles and games, it had become the way. Strategy games, video games, these things are nerdy. But the crossword, that’s smart.

In tandem with my developing social views on the puzzle, I was also just plain getting better at it. When I started I would be happy with, say, 50% completion. Then I started picking up more ‘crossword-words’ and completion rose to 75% and so did the standard. Then I was at 90% until finally I fully completed my first puzzle with minimal assistance (my rule is that, if all other avenues are exhausted, I may Google a biographical clue – the type that you can’t logic out – to give me some fresh ground to work with). Either way, it was a terrific feeling, one that redefined my relationship with crosswords, as now, as I’m sure you can guess, the standard became perfection.

Perfection(ism) has plagued me throughout life, starting in elementary school when we had weekly spelling tests. The feeling of teary Thursday nights where all I wanted to do was be done with school but was not permitted to leave the kitchen table until I could spell all the words accurately (and then again, just to be sure) stays with me. It was not a standard I imposed on myself but one levied by caring parents who just wanted the best for me. I learned that 100% is on the grading scale and so must be achievable and I learned that I was a special boy so 100% I must achieve.

It’s all well and good to strive for such a grade in the case of a 15-20 word spelling test where it’s not only achievable but also pretty reasonable (although I remember my teacher accusing me of cheating after a streak of perfection). Unfortunately, I did not take away from the experience an appreciation for knowledge as the reward of study or any other positive growth. Instead, what I had learned was that 100% was good – it met expectations – and anything less was not-good or, bad.

For grade 7 I moved from the public school system to a private school and this standard became crippling. It soon became apparent that I was not to be a standout in this environment, in fact, I was very average (if not a little below), and nothing I could produce would meet this engrained expectation. So I stopped. Stopped studying, stopped paying attention in class, stopped engaging with school altogether, because if I wasn’t putting in effort how could you hold my sub-perfect grades as being representative of my abilities. Alas, the point of this long tangent is that, that mentality took me years to break out of. I am indeed still working on it to this day (maybe one day I’ll be able to write without rereading and rewriting every sentence along the way) although it no longer impedes me quite so significantly.

So back to the point then: with the crossword I was beginning to find myself back in the spelling test space. Here was something 100-percentable, and I had just 100-percented it. Of course it took some time to achieve this reliably but the more times I did the more painful failure to do so became. Achieving far more than I was capable of just months before ceased to satisfy me. On particularly bad days where the clues just didn’t fall within my wheelhouse I’d get angry. Angry at my super fun puzzle game! But still, it just meant learn more, pursue more, keep at it and more 100s will continue to fall. And this is the way it was until midsummer.

For whatever reason part way through this last summer the paper stopped being delivered to the school – and yes I had still been going to campus over summer just to pick up my game damn it! I was made to adapt or let this newfound and prideful part of my identity die at the hands of unknown forces. Fuck that! The subway in my city has a free paper as well and it too has a crossword in it and that is where I started going for my fix. The crossword in this paper is markedly easier, thus providing a weaker dose of those feelings I was all too hungry for. In actuality, this was probably the worst direction for my pursuit to take at this time. Diminished was the feeling of accomplishment upon completion while heightened was the sense of failure if I couldn’t complete it. Furthermore, as with any poor quality drug, I started looking to quantity to make up the difference.

In my search I found that the city paper had an online daily crossword as well but this was not the end of my issues for the fiend in me had already been set free. The seeking nature, alongside the euphoric hit from completion, set me on a treadmill. Now whenever I complete a crossword the pleasure is immediately followed by a desire for more. I started recognizing problematic habits forming; it was no longer something I did just to get through class, now it was almost always my preferred activity. Many a time I’ve gone to the library with schoolwork in mind… but first let me just quickly tuck away that easy crossword – some mental flossing before the real work began – and two hours later I’d be chain smoking away the nagging feeling that comes when you take adderall and fail to apply its energy to work. And to make matters worse, it was about this time I found the holy land: the 5th floor of the library. Not only did it still got the paper daily, but it also held onto weeks of previous issues – a puzzle junky’s paradise!

I’d like, at this point, to analogize crosswords and working out. When I started my journey doing the puzzle, it was supportive and supplementary to my assigned studies. It was perhaps like physiotherapy, stretching or even the choice to take the stairs over the elevator whilst intentioning to better one’s shape. It did not impede the progress of my true pursuit but merely complimented it – like an extension of my English major lifestyle. However the occurrence of fixation has shifted this dramatically. I’d now liken it to obsessively flexing in front of a mirror. I go to the brain-gym and sit placated by the mirror of my intelligence, so engrossed and narcissistic as I am. No longer does it support my development but instead impedes it.

My infatuation is so, that, throughout writing this journal, there’s not been a moment in which I was unaware and un-wanting of the crossword waiting for me in my bag. For context, I’d also like to smoke a bowl, but the pull of the puzzle proves stronger… and this is after 4 hours of doing nothing but whilst in the library. Worse still, I’ve noticed the compulsion ramps in kind with the importance of the docketed work, confirming its position as an exercise in escapism – all this as I head into crunch time.

I’ll need to get on top of this soon or my semester will suffer. But before that happens, I have a paper to attend to, and I’m sure as shit not talking about my essay for Caribbean lit!

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Dirty Mind Tricks

As is oft the case, I found myself musing on the potential benefits of a DMT experience to my ever present desire for self growth and development into a more spiritual being, one grounded in expressions of love, acceptance and understanding, as opposed to my more familiarly indoctrinated tendencies towards greed and selfishness. It’s an urge representative of discontent with the materialistic and shortsighted, emotionally driven, nature I succumb to regularly, an urge easily seen as harmful to my relationships with others and, ultimately, myself.

In following this fantasy, which need not remain a fantasy as – and this is often the trigger of such imaginative wanderings – the chemical is available to me, I found myself spelling it out in practicality. From what I’ve read I understand that the trip quickly overcomes the individual’s abilities of regular motor function and thus ought to be conducted in a safe and unchallenging environment, with certain safeguards in place. For example, it’s likely that upon smoking DMT, as per the desire to allow the drug to have the strongest influence possible, the pipe will still be in the hand as the effect takes place and will be dropped as a result of the aforementioned loss of control.

I just moved into a new apartment and am not fully comfortable with exercising such behaviour around my roommates, with whom my relationships are still in their infancies. The other indoor space available to me is the house of my parents which, in my idyllic mind, is the perfect place for such an activity. Who else but your parents should be supportive of your endeavours for personal growth, especially when it takes the direction of expanding one’s capacity for love and compassion? But unfortunately this is not the truth of the environment in question, and here we see a lovely chance to use a great word from the Greeks: Pharmakon.

Pharmakon is the notion of duality between what is a medicine and what is a drug; what is remedy and what is poison. It’s a concept I, and I’m sure only I, find interesting. The notion of the power of context: morphine on the battlefield is an essential anesthetic that serves great benefit to the wounded and those trying to tend to them, while morphine on the streets of Toronto is fuel for addiction in service of self-medicating issues the user faces, likely to the tune of emotional pain, not the physical pain intended as the target.

This framework becomes more intricate in the personal case outlined above because the ‘correct’ use for the compound is less clear. The medicinal quality of DMT is a more difficult argument to make than the blatant value of morphine to battlefield medics, although the drug quality of DMT, the potential for harm, carries a latent acceptance. Being on DMT will objectively make carrying out normal life tasks very difficult, however, the question to DMT users is of course the effects rendered from the drug trip, not the effect of the trip itself. It’s a means to an ends, not an end in and of itself. This seems logically simple to grasp, yet the emphatic emotional response of people such as my parents keys off what can be witnessed from the outside during the twenty minute trip and nothing more, thus spawns the tension – a tension of perception.

Now I suppose the easy solution is to just not do it at the parents’ house. If the twenty minutes is the trouble, extract that part from their experience, exact your means in privacy, and share with them only the ends. My trouble with this approach though is the narrowness in the potential for change it offers. Here I can ostensibly achieve my goals but the potential ripple is managed unfittingly. It would be like throwing a rock into the stream feeding the pond instead of the pond itself. Sure the stream water that experiences the ripple will eventually come one with the pond, but the pond will lose the chance to experience the ripple directly. Well I’d rather like to change the pond if that’s where my stream of conscious is to end up, so a spot of trouble we now have on our hands.

Taking a turn, Takashi 69 taught me something of value in understanding this predicament, something to do with perception and indeed the root of his rampant 69 tattooing. The purpose and meaning of the 69 symbol to him is far from reciprocative oral pleasure, however I still think that misunderstanding is itself illuminating of the value of his philosophy. No, the 69 symbol, to him, is a characterization of the power of perception; where you see a 9, I see a 6, and visa versa, and in 69 this truth is constantly present and unavoidable: there is no angle to take in which someone across from you will not see the reflection.

This can be related back to the idea of pharmakon, where you see a drug, I see a medicine, or visa versa. I remember having the argument with my parents, as I started smoking weed, that, while they villainized my smoking habits, I could just as easily villainize their coffee consumption. Oh you need it everyday to feel normal do ya?

If the idea of pharmakon is thus dependent on at least the two variables of context and perception, then it would seem the best approach to my DMT pursuit problem would be to define the context before trying to sway perception. If it can be agreed that the nature of the pursuit intrinsically carries the objective of long term benefit, and that the short term disabling effect is not the totality of what is desired, then there is hope of bringing the outside viewer to share in the same perspective.

Now the question comes, is this mutual understanding to be achieved through convincing factual presentation or a more Freudian meddling of the unconscious to the tone of Edward Bernays? This is the question because the qualms of my parents do not lie with my goals of self-betterment, but with the representative quality of undermined progression their perspective lends to the act of mine taking drugs. They’ve seen me in the trough of my addiction, which could not be easy for any members of a love based relationship, and to act as what, in their eyes, would be the same way now – now that I’ve shown many signs of improvement – would be devastating. Thereby the difference in perception roots itself in emotional disconnect, not a logical one. So the task becomes aligning DMT with a notion of positive growth and not malignant addiction.

At this point this feels impossible, yet in the search for evidence of its achievability I need not look further than myself, for within me it holds the metaphorical 6 value, not the 9, or whichever way one wishes to artificially ascribe the digits. It’s curious too that we’ve both experienced my addiction but in different ways. Let’s say I saw my use, at the time, as the 6, and they the 9, yet now we stand closer to sharing the same outlook on it; I still hold out that value did come of it, despite the egregious costs, but ultimately our perspectives are close enough to read the symbol the same, despite one of us perhaps reading an italicized version. Either way, it is clear that such perceptual shifts are possible, and it is indeed for that reason that I wish to throw my rock in the pond – do the DMT at their house with their knowledge – for I want to feel loved, accepted and supported in what I hold as a valuable pursuit. I want my perspective to be shared by my family.

The mechanics of effecting this shift evade me still. Perhaps it’s a matter of exposure similar to Bernays’ Easter Sunday stunt; I must construct DMT as a torch of freedom, I must show them individuals of merit who, to some extent, credit DMT for their desirable psychological position.

It seems to me I have reached a research phase and that hypothetical musings can take me no further. I will let y’all know of the successes or failures of which I am met. Hopefully I am on the right path despite the painful irony: I bet DMT could help me figure this puzzle out! But then again, where’s the glory in chemical solutions? The saying is mind over matter after all.

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Medication Mancala

Today I was prescribed Adderall in the manner you might hand someone Advil. It was an absolutely bizarre experience, as Adderall is something I have been asking doctors to allow me to try for some time, to no avail. I guess it’s no more the job of the doctor to know the literature supporting a correlation between untreated ADHD and drug addiction as it was my job to know myself enough not to engage in non-regimented drug intake. Regardless, having struggled myself into sobriety, the potent amphetamine medication was handed over to me with few more than five sentences – almost none of which were questions about my history of use.

The message behind this seems clear, put yourself together and we will support you with the tools at our disposal, come in depressed, anxious, and addicted, and you will leave the same way, perhaps with the addition of a mind-numbing SSRI that will no more help you get a hold on your life than smoking weed will.

It is now my duty to manage this privilege of power – the trust bestowed upon me – so as not to revert back to the confused and frustrated state in which support is hard to find.

To achieve this, I think I will get one of those days-of-the-week pill organizers intended for the overmedicated oldies; play some medication mancala. My dose is low, only 10mg, so there will be days on which I want to double up. I don’t need to dose on workdays, as stock work already requires a laughable level of engagement from my mind. Pills from these days can be carried into the week to bolster heavy workload days, so long as I stay mindful of ‘spending’ saved days as opposed to ‘indebting’ myself against the upcoming week.

Perhaps a curious outlook I have on receiving the prescription is that I finally feel as though I’m on a level playing field. I remember overhearing a group last year before walking into a final. The word ‘Adderall’ caught my attention and the next thing I heard was “Does anyone have any more notes?” Sniiffff – laughter. It was a disheartening and revealing experience. The abuse of medication is common social currency. Who doesn’t know people using it? And yes, I acknowledge the hypocrisy of my outrage; here’s my proposal.

Taking Adderall should not be a doctor’s decision, it should be adopted as an opt-in/opt-out component of university life. In September, along with the dental plan and medical insurance pestering, there should be presented the simple option: Would you like to try using Adderall during your studies? Here are the benefits and side effects; take it at your own discretion (like all the other drugs you’ll encounter at university – you’re an adult, do what’s good for you).

The standing system, although veiled by regulation, does not, in practice, seem altogether different from this implementation, it merely encourages doctor shopping and the sourcing of ‘Adderall Doctors’, who will dispense, as mine did, without careful consideration. In truth, these doctors seem to see it the way I do: the medication helps people with school, you are a student, if you think the help would benefit you, here, have the help.

Furthermore, it seems a strategy that supports self-accountability and discipline, traits surely acknowledged as part of the skills learned at, and necessary for, university. If you abuse the privilege and university becomes unmanageable, you lose your access. However, everyone enrolled participates in the same, honest, academic arena. The system is understandably not without downsides, but it seems to alleviate the problem of disempowering committed students unwilling to doctor shop. And would we rather have policies that attempt to protect degenerates from themselves or that propel successful students to greater accomplishment? I think the latter. I’ve been the degenerate, it doesn’t hinge on Adderall control, it is a path forever available, and relinquishing the quality relies entirely on self-imposed will, not law. It’s time to let the path of empowerment be of equal access.

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“Could You Not Be Fucked?” – Step 2, Considering Life Anew

“Do I believe that I need to change?”

Yes, I need to change, RE: Step 1 – I am not happy!!

“Do I accept that change means I must think/feel/act differently?”

Change means that I must think/feel/act differently or else this would be but a hollow gesture. My primary focus in this regard is to be more forward-looking, less of a whiny sentimentalist, one only interested in life that’s already been lived. I need to see today and tomorrow to make them better than yesterday.

“Do I know people who have made comparable changes that seem quite radical?”

Yes, I am aware in an admittedly removed sense that this program has and continues to work for people, with Russell Brand being my most familiar case. I would like to establish more intimate connections with other established 12 Step workers.

“Is this change likely to be easy and driven by ideas I already have, techniques I already use and support systems that I already have access to?”

Effecting the change I seek will require a departure from the techniques I already use and it will not be easy. I have started the process by removing myself from enablers and subverting my more caustic mental tendencies but more work needs to be done – this is a matter of upkeep and sustained effort. That’s how it works and it does work.

“What is my conception of a Power greater than me? Is it nature? Is it consciousness beyond the individual? Is it the power of people coming together in the pursuit of a noble goal? Describe your personal understanding of a power greater than yourself.”

I believe a power greater than myself lies in the natural expression of the human genome. An expression that is diverted, controlled and otherwise intentionally ill-served by modern power structures. I believe a power greater than me lies in understanding that I feel powerless in my life because to live a standard western life is to play someone else’s game, an unnatural sort of game, or at least a game of abusing nature. I believe that a power greater than me is what’s written into all of us and is there to be connected with only by the individual of clear mind and surrendered purpose. This is my higher power.

“Do I have doubt and prejudice about spirituality and the power of a new perspective to solve my problem? What are those doubts and prejudices?”

I understand spirituality to be separable from religion and for this reason I am at ease and welcoming of such a pursuit. I do not posit to know the extent of understanding that can be derived from such a pursuit but I am ready to start my journey.

“What is my conception of a personal Higher Power? Describe it here.”

I am recycled energy; a blip in the timeline. I am only important in that I do with my blip what is important to me. For this reason, I want to be engaged and wakeful in my time, not a bleary-eyed passenger but the purposeful conductor of my consciousness. I feel great capacity for connection with the people around me but am only sometimes personally available to harness this power. Regardless of what the purpose may be, I wish to be a part of it, as I know the capacity is within me.

“Can I now accept there is a power greater than me at work in this cosmos?”

For consciousness cannot be accounted for as human invention, nor do we know how it moves between bodies, we must be more than a series of individuals.

“Do I know people who have changed their lives and live according to spiritual principles who are connected, happy and real?”

I do not know such spiritual beings but I would like to. Perhaps Gary Toope (a philosophy professor) is my closest example.

“Is this how I’d like to be?”

I would like my future self to more closely resemble Gary Toope’s presentation and perspective. He does not seem to be disoriented by the daily fanfare of modern life. He is in command of his mind and that allows him to pursue and embody a life that is important to him, a commendable quality in any person.

“Do I know people who have engaged with a new Power and used these techniques to induce revolutionary change in their way of living and thinking and have found a new peace and direction?”

Maybe. Or maybe I associate myself with people who are either none too concerned with how they live or none too willing to do anything about their problems. Perhaps time will reveal those people in my life inclined to, and willing to work for, such change. Perhaps through my own efforts I can inspire those around me.

“Is this what I want?”

Yes. I may not need such a change right now, as I rest privileged in the pillow of my parents’ support, but I do want to change now. Better to change when it is comparatively easy and a choice than when it is necessitated by changes in my external environment. Or worse still, not change, find the pillow pulled away, and learn just how difficult and far from peace and happiness a life lead through intoxication can be.

“To reiterate, is this how my life is now? Or am I struggling with relationships? My emotions?”

I am certainly far more helter skelter in my mind than the balanced, pensive, souls I idolize. I have flashes of clairvoyance but then, once again, I return to the dark brood of my mood. Using serves only as barrier to the existence I seek.

“Do I lack purpose and drive?”

I do lack purpose and drive. Not that I need a quest ordained in divinity but there are things I’d like to have done that are too easily superseded by compulsions to drink and use. Oftentimes I find myself intoxicated for no better reason than I didn’t know what else to do with my evening.

“Am I creating conflict and chaos?”

In the past, I have created great conflict and chaos outwardly, although these days it’s largely internal – still there though, and still damaging.

“Even beyond my primary addictive behaviour (drink/drugs/food/sex/spending/technology) are things hard?”

My primary addictive behaviour makes things hard that would not otherwise be. My life has no other superfluous dramas, such as chronic illness or being homeless, that carry difficulty by default. In other words, I have no excuse.

“Am I getting depressed?”

I been depressed! It’s an ocean of swells and, although I sometimes sputter, I always remain afloat. Even when I tried to drown, life would not leave me. I guess if I’m stuck here it’d be better to take full, dry, breaths, as opposed to those smokey chokes and poisonous gulps that have sustained me thus far.

“Am I afraid?”

I am afraid mostly of remaining addicted and thus not getting what I want out of life.

“Am I helping others?”

I help others less than I hurt them – not a good look (to see in the mirror).

“In other areas of my life have I exhibited behaviours that if repurposed could serve me now?”

Certainly some such behaviours as making people laugh or offering strong advice have made me feel better in a generally less destructive manner than drugs and alcohol. Practicing these behaviours and feelingly resultingly rewarded would surely result in a dampened experience of loss from giving up drugs and alcohol. 

“Have I kind of worshipped drugs…?”

I have worshipped them. At points, I’d only leave my house to embark on the pick-up pilgrimage. I’ve sacrificed a great deal to them. The plate is my alter, my nose the connection to meaning. I’ve sung songs of their glory and defended my beliefs above all else. My use a ritual within which I find myself. It’s a sick sort of comfort – like the zionist who refuses to leave his war-torn land.

“Can I see that this impulse applied to something less mundane, materialistic and shallow may motivate change?”

Such dedication applied to a pursuit of true meaning could part seas and level mountains. Certainly a change worth working for.

“In fact this problem I have could be seen as the misdirection of a positive impulse if I look at it differently, couldn’t it?”

Not only could this problem I have be seen as the misdirection of a positive impulse, but that is in fact how the snowball started. I was idle in life, just going through the motions; a video game addict. I was sad then too, and felt there should be more. I elected to try new things, diversify my experiences, hopefully find a more meaningful use of this blip of life. I found drugs and they opened my eyes to a whole lot – but I was greedy. I was not tempered in my approach and once the floodgates opened I quite quickly found myself drowning. New experience gave way to whipping routine as my addictive tendency grew a new head. However, I never forgot the purpose of trying – to defeat idle sadness and live a life of meaning. That is why I write today, I have not given up in my search nor on myself. It is with a positive impulse that I embarked on this journey and it is with that same positive impulse that I will move past it and closer to that actualized life of meaning.

“Can I connect to this love within me that I sometimes misdirect?”

I am connected to this love within me now with a clarity previously found foreign; its articulation and inscription has made the message clear, as if piecing together a grand puzzle for which there was no box set.

“Can I connect to the love outside of me that I see in others?”

As I love myself more and more I find myself more and more ready to be loved as perhaps now I feel I deserve it or am worth it.

“Can I connect to this Power that I see elsewhere in my life?”

I am likewise situated to connect to the Power described previously.


Freed from my bindings of child to addict, I am ready to take on a new way of being that has been the shape the power of nature intended for me all along. I am ready to be lead to the truth of me.


I found this step to be trying beyond anticipation. In the absence of solid examples of successful 12 Step performers and spiritual revolutionaries, I felt myself to be standing at the foot of Mt. Sobriety with a hazy notion that there must be attainable plateaus along the face – for I’ve heard tale passed down of people climbing the behemoth – but lacked confirmation in the faces of fellow climbers looking back to me, inviting me along. However, in this isolation is where I learned reliance on the Power within my nature. Ain’t no mountain high enough to keep me from getting sober, from getting to myself, babe. Forgive the cheese, but I am white and I do love it.

The point is, no matter how daunting the task and how vague the approach, with the end goal firmly held in mind it is conquerable and that the power to overcome lies within you. I know I was not always an addict, and I know other people never become one, so it follows, logically, that potential for a sober state is present. Furthermore, the path is not so obscure as it may appear from the base of the mountain, in fact, the life I want is ready for the taking, just so long as my decisions support that want. If I want to live a sober life it’s as simple as never using, and that’s a choice entirely in my control.

Want a beer? Yes. Want to be sober? Yes. Want a beer? I guess no then…

And just like that sobriety is achieved – no magic necessary (and certainly no specialty climbing equipment). So long as the goal is cemented and properly prioritized, achieving it is a matter of no more than one step at a time, and just like that, I’m on to Step 3!

**Following the framework presented in Russell Brand’s “Recovery”.

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Share Now Lest You Slave in Peace

People seem to know about as much of sharing as they do of the planet we will one day inhabit. In particular, sharing seems to become exceedingly difficult on rainy days such as today. Drawing an image in stark contrast to the fires around which civilization revolved long ago; places where people gathered to share in community, food and speech – ideals humorously thrown out the window when the weather gets wet. Days in which adopted comes the mentality of ‘every man for himself’. Or should I say every person – wouldn’t want to exclude anyone from criticism now.

It’s an important shame to identify as we will need this skill of sharing when we come to that next planet, if there is such a thing, lest it fall to the same selfish and destructive rule that so plagues the planet we know today. Perhaps it is necessary to slow down our advancing minds aimed toward space travel and return to a consideration and mastery of the fundamentals, not just individually but as a collective. If people like Elon Musk are on whom we rely to take us to a new earth, and thus with whom we bank our hopes of species survival, their values should be under as much scrutiny as their science. This is the guy that sent a Tesla into space for the fuck of it. So many ways that resource, the resources that go into such a thing, could have been shared.

Is there such a threshold as giving back enough? I would argue not.

If you have what you need, why not invest in the novelty of giving away what you don’t?

A podcast, Under the Skin #46, I was listening to came to bare an idea of the Kwakwaka’wakw Tribe, brought forth by Jordan Peterson. In this tribe, the social problem of the inevitable concentration of resources, of excess, was managed in a most curious way, one worthy of our capitalist consideration. When a member of the tribe found themselves in this position of privilege, (the privilege to draw suffering from members of their community?), they would throw a ‘potlatch’. Described as a giant party, the ceremony functioned as a giving back and a dispensation of wealth across the community. It was not a painful or resented type of tax orchestrated by a distant and impersonal power structure, one designed to force the successful into supporting another group’s goals, but an internal opportunity presented to wealthy members the allowed them to garner social favour and demonstrate their commitment to the continued success of their people. It was a commitment to sharing, sprouted from the understanding that sharing is quintessential to longevity.

Although I know in no specifics the workings of such ritual, or even that it properly exists for that matter, the concept is certainly worthy of attention. Say a new, life-sustaining, planet IS found tomorrow, and Mr Musk has all the spaceships lined up, and he’s ready to take his billionaire buddies and a few of us nobodies to this sci-fi world. What will our role be? We didn’t contribute anything to the arrival at this possibility.

From my perspective, it seems foolish to assume this world will be the saving hope so many wantingly believe in. My sister, an engineering student who praises Elon Musk for all his futuristic pursuits, exemplifies this belief; my friend Haeleigh, a server who touts him as the hero of tomorrow based on the scientific news available through Instagram, serves as lulu to my hypothetical. They both celebrate the man without considering his character. If this is where our hopes lie, in Mr pour out a Tesla for the dead planets, then don’t be surprised when on the next planet you are slave. More slave than on commercial Earth. For all the next planet will hold is the same power structures, the same people with the same greedy values, but without laws to protect the powerless. If society does not realign with community, with values like sharing and mutual benefit, then the only reason to bring a nobody along is to do the work Elon doesn’t want to. Bleh. Why waste hope on the chance to build the same, when there is currently available the possibility to build anew?

In conclusion, the next time you have a spare Tesla around, send it to me. (DM for info)

Or, if not that, don’t buy it to begin with! Realize your excess and redistribute your resources. This principle stands on all levels. It will be better for all of us and there can’t be that many suitable next planets to find before we end up encountering brain-eating aliens. However, not one of us – certainly not me – will follow this advice, so all hail Elon, King of planet Greed Before Need!

**written on my MacBook whilst sitting in front of the idle family iMac**

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Reflection ft. Mac Miller

Mac Miller is dead. I always said if I’d heard his Delusional Thomas album when I was suicidal, in the throws of my addiction, I woulda been pushed over the edge. I would be dead. Now he’s dead. He was getting better. Not sober. But better. More connected to positivity, to reality. At least his music reflected as much. Maybe reality is not so positive as it’s given credit for. Maybe I read too much into his music. But surely any departure from that sick psychopath I connected with in Delusion Thomas has to stand for improvement.

I’ve been better too. Been sober a week. He was a source of comfort for me, a source of inspiration, now he’s dead. What do I do with myself. An overwhelming feeling. I did so many lines listening to his music. Now all I wanna do is drown in a pharmacological sea. I guess you can only swim so long. Was ‘Swimming’ a cry for help? I’m treading water, someone throw me a fucking floatation device PLEASE!?! I was so excited when the Ariana break happened cause I thought it would be a return to his drugged out reckless rap. I separated the art from the artist. I didn’t think this is the extent we’d reach. I guess it’s the classic trope really. How do you kill a junky? You get him briefly sober then he doses to the tolerance he’s accustomed. Is that what happened?

He promised his mama that he’d bless her with some grandkids. What kind of promises, what kind of goals, do I stand to lose if I pursue his path. Certainly nothing I’ve expounded so publicly. It’s insane to the literal definition how much I’m reeling over this. It’s not like I knew the guy. But the personal connection I felt through his music – this is my Kurt Cobain. I knew where the guy was at. I was there too. I just never thought this. Perhaps I should heed that as warning to myself. I never think I’ll overdose I’ll just get unspeakably high. But that’s how it happens. Certainly every girl I’ve called girlfriend has had the experience of not being able to sleep beside me after a heavy night of use, as she waited for each breath, her’s baited.

I can’t imagine the result was an intentional one. We use and use and use and we do that to cover our pain, to dull our pain, but not to eliminate our existence. The only time I tried to kill myself I knew I was doing it and I was scared. I ordered Clomethiazole, a divergent compound from my usual cocktail. I hid it. I put it off as long as I could and longer. Kept using ‘normally’, which is to say at incredibly high doses but still within the realm of ‘I expect to be alive and conscious again at some point’, the Clomethiazole tucked harmlessly in an apartment light-fixture. Then, the month coming to an end, my father entering the city to help me move, the time came. And still it sat there. He started the process and I lost days. Then the day came. Time was up. It was now or never. I can’t so much remember but I probably did drugs just to get myself in the spirit of doing this one. I knew the intention when I purchased it and I knew that day what was on the itinerary. When the opportunity arose – when my girlfriend left the apartment – I retrieved the substance and fixed myself what I conceived to be one last cocktail. Stimulants, dissociatives, alcohol, benzos and finally, the fatal Clomethiazole. Known only as the drug that killed the drummer of The Who. A fluke of barbiturate banning. Still easily available for internet order. Still as deadly. The only reason I am here to type this out is I spilled that cocktail. Having drunk half I became immediately too intoxicated, too outside my senses, to continue the task at hand. It’s not like my plan was to sip at it over the afternoon. It was a direct rush and a potent one. I laid out on the bed, covered in tarot cards cause I’m an aesthetic fuck, and passed out. The rest of that day I know only through accounts passed down to me. That’s it. That’s how a plan to die works. Perhaps today was similar for Mac. But more likely it was an accident. And that’s perhaps more frightening than anything.

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First Day Sober

Today is my first day of sobriety so I’m drinking.

It’s not the first time I am writing this nor is it the first time this has happened. It always seems like making the right choice will be easier tomorrow but it’s not, it’s easiest now – the now before I was drunk.

Now when I have the ambition. Now when I have the intention to improve myself, because tomorrow, tomorrow doesn’t always come. Today is all that exists. Today is when I must make the change if I want tomorrow to be different.

Tomorrow will only ever be realized as today.

This is why I struggle to see improvement when adopting this ‘tomorrow’ mindset. When I drink today, tomorrow will just bring regret and shame that feeds further use. If I don’t drink today, I may carry with me the ambition, the good intention, until tomorrow, unsure of what it will hold but ready to seize the possibilities.

Tomorrow forgets yesterday if done right – or so I say.

So it’s about today. Today is the domain of the living. Tomorrow is a realm of potential that never quite enters reach and yesterday is an education I hope to have studied.

Tomorrow, today will be yesterday. Will I have learned? Will I live better?


Five days sober and I am hit with the greatest compulsion to drink or smoke yet. The last few days have featured occasional reflex thoughts to partake in my negative behaviour but all have been easily cast aside.

Today’s is markedly different. Off the heels of better getting to know a previous acquaintance I am shaking on my five-day stack and feel it threaten to tumble down.

Why is today so different? The urge so much harder to fight?

The afternoon was spent pleasantly, a familiar face in a new class, a delightfully spicy Thai meal that didn’t break the bank (at which not drinking was not an issue), fascinating conversation and overall general pleasantry. It even eased the stress felt last night as I looked upon the course syllabus to discover 30% of this grade would fall to group work, or what usually amounts to a group amount of work being done by one sucker – me.

So why then?

Because this girl with whom such a brilliant afternoon was shared is just that, so damned brilliant! Taking eight classes to my five (which already seemed a daunting load) while working more jobs than I could keep track of and, what’s more? She’s doing it all at 18. At this rate, she’ll have bum-rushed her degree and be done by 22, the age I finally got myself together enough to start mine – at a two class-a-term rate to boot.

Crushed under a grand feeling of inadequacy I am driven to the bottle, to the pipe, to both. Who cares? I am crap already, I may as well have a reason for it.

It’s amazing to me that this reality had escaped my attention before. I was familiar with the pitfall of getting too comfortable, of looking back on a successful week of sobriety and figuring “oh well I guess I could treat myself to a beer now, I’ve got what I needed to done and in what tremendous form! Surely a singular solitary celebratory beer wouldn’t be the end of me” only to wake up on Wednesday with a half-full $2 Pilsner on my bed-stand, the other half filled with regrets.

No this is a different, more visceral, more root beast. The kind of underlying truth to my relationship with alcohol and weed that reveals why I can never sensibly partake in such substances. The truth that I feel shitty about how much time I’ve wasted, how little I’ve done and that I’d rather not race at all if I’m starting a lap – 4 years – behind.

Absolute bullshit!

The start line makes for a sad finish line when one spends the whole race drunkenly wobbling across it, never bothering with the rest of the track. Surely it must be better to finish last than to be a spectator (an interference of a spectator at that) – to say you’ve done something and not just watched others compete while you wallow in your shame, un-trying.

What’s more is this girl is not getting on so spectacularly thanks to some performance-enhancing drug. There is no Adderall in the equation on which I can blame my comparative shortcomings – no cheat code in her system that renders an effort to compete futile.

There’s just my shortcomings – shortcomings which I and only I control.

In fact, she can even smoke weed and drink in a healthy capacity while retaining her excellence.

A wonder I must say.

What’s wonderful for her need not be a tragedy of mine.

I cannot speak for the validity of this statement although I strongly suspect she does not wish to see me fail, does not enjoy the idea of my submission to myself, does not run to beat me. I’m sure, as I’ve really just met her, she could give a shit less about what the fuck I’m doing and I likewise could benefit from giving a shit less about where she’s at.

The unbearable urge I felt earlier has now passed.

All that has changed is my relationship with myself – my understanding of my feelings.

This is how we win, we compete against ourselves.

To be so caught up in comparing other’s successes is foolish and unproductive and ultimately shortchanges us for who we are, what we’ve achieved and what’s important to us.

It’s an unhealthy practice.

As Mark Manson would say, it’s time to give a fuck less. I’ll go where I go and I’ll get where I get and right now, due to the decision not drink tonight and instead write, I am set to happily fall asleep with no new regrets, just a brilliant new person in my life I am happy to call ‘friend’.

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“Are you a bit fucked?” – Step 1 and We’re Off!

“What do I want to change?”

I admit I am powerless over drugs and alcohol and that my life in this area is unmanageable. I cannot, on my own, with my present understanding, consistently manage this problem.

“What pain or fear do I associate with change in this area?”

I am scared that changing my relationship with these substances will lead me to become boring, dull and generally insignificant to other people.

“What pleasure am I getting out of not changing?”

Not changing allows me to get by and be social with a rotating cast of players. I enjoy the aesthetic, the thought of having a drink or a smoke. Drinking helps me open out in social situations. It often feels like it brings me closer to myself.

“What will it cost me if this doesn’t change?”

If I don’t change I will amount to nothing but a poor, directionless, dullard.

“What are the benefits I could gain by having this changed?”

If I do change I may see clearly and be able to actualize the self I want to be and have the means to facilitate this becoming.

“How has this problem placed my important relationships in jeopardy?”

This problem has cost me my ability to establish deep relationships with friends, my memory of much of my life and most importantly the abuse of my girlfriend’s love. I lost the relationship as I lost control and love of myself.

“Have I lost respect/reputation due to this problem?”

I have lost respect and reputation outwardly and even as I view myself.

“Has this problem made my home life unhappy?”

My home life consists almost entirely of being drunk, high and unproductive. It’s a life of wanting, void of fulfilment, and thus, miserable.

“Has this problem caused any type of illness?”

It has made me ill in that I am sad and slow and have no memory. I have also, at times, physically hurt myself or my environment.

“Do I turn to the type of person that enables me to practise this behaviour or to companions who enable me?”

I will readily accept the call of any friend to a bar no matter my obligations or financial situation; my strongest semblance of resolve overturned by the offer of an Uber ride there.

“What part of the problem do the people who care about me object to most?”

People see in me a wasted potential and I see it too.

“What type of abuse has happened to me and others due to this problem?”

I have neglected my younger sisters and sold my beautiful girlfriend out for cheap trinkets of adoration from affiliation. I have at times found myself senselessly cruel to the ones that I love and have hurt those trying to help me.

“What have I done in the past to try to fix, control or change this area of my life?”

I’ve tried, in the past, bouts of sobriety framed by restructuring and even attended AA but never so earnestly as I write today. I’ve tried therapy and substitution, goals and idols; chasing something else.

“What are the feelings, emotions and conditions I have tried to alter or control with this problem?”

When I started I felt lonely, anxious, depressed and overall defeated by life. I’ve used it to mask painful memories and to ignore difficult realities. I use drugs and alcohol as a cocoon within which I am safe from the world.

“Right now, if this is such an important area in my life, why haven’t I changed?”

I haven’t changed it for any identifiable good reason, just a lack of will and surrender to help.

“Am I willing to do whatever it takes to have this changed, healed or transformed?”

Yes, I am ready to change.


So here we begin, with an entry first penned into my private diary, now made public. Why do this? Well I can’t imagine the motivation behind the initial inscription is the question. Why do this publicly? I suppose to hold myself accountable. I hope for this blog to function as a conversation between myself and my audience. Even if no one stands in the bleachers, cheering for my success or jeering my failures, it is a cathartic act to put one’s problems in the open – to make my soul accessible in a way I cannot achieve in singularity. If I am to be scrutinized in my honesty I will have choices to make: What do I stand by? What must be admonished? These, to my eye, are the forces of growth and that is wholly the purpose of this exercise. Ideally, I suppose, some other wayward soul may stumble upon my practice and may benefit from being privy to the process. However, I will be quite content just to find better myself. So here, I surrender to you – and myself – my story.

“Do with it what you will. Cry over it. Get angry. Forget it. Just don’t say in the years to come that you would have lived your life differently if only you had heard this story. You’ve heard it now.” – Thomas King The Truth About Stories


**Following the framework presented in Russell Brand’s “Recovery”.

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