‘Raw, Unmedicated Heart’

I have a mad crush on Macklemore.

Yup. Me too.

I suppose that’s why I feel entitled to pilfer his lyrics and convert them into the unauthorized title of this post.

Yeah. (And, you can insert that wide-eyed, close-lipped head nod that means “Sure I did it and I should probably feel bad about it but I don’t really feel that way so what are you actually going to do about it?”) Yeah. The words that make up my title are not my own. They come from the song “Ten Thousand Hours” from which also hails the inspiration for this post.

Thank you, Macklemore!

So, ten thousand hours? I’ve been sober for 736 and some odd moments and seem to be getting my kicks from juxtaposing a nip (or two or three) of late night coffee with a mug (or two or three) of Sleepy Time Tea and from journaling about spiritual texts while listening to Chris Brown’s “Loyal.” And, after all that caffeine-high, herbal-low, I also seem to be passing the time by pissing a whole awful lot. Detox, I think they call it.

If that doesn’t sound like fun, what does?

Fun. I’m somewhere between rediscovery and re-creation. It absolutely is fun to drink hot tea, hot tea, hot tea past my bedtime and write and write and write. I love it. But, I also loved being buzzzzzzzed. And the grainy feeling I get on the nights that I do imbibe a caffeinated beverage as well as an herbal one, does not light a candle to the sometimes giddy, sometimes sloth-like, dulling sensation that multiple drinks-with-a-capital-D can bring. But, let me tell you something you don’t already know.

I’m being serious.

What you might not know is that Macklemore’s song “Ten Thousand Hours” is apparently based on Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 hour rule” (Yeah, I can Google shit!) which apparently poses the idea that anyone can become an expert in any given subject with 10,000 hours of practice in that subject. So, in short, I am only 9,473 hours from being a skilled master in sobriety. (I subtracted the estimated of hours of sleep time in the last 30 ½ days making my total waking hours of non-intoxication 527.)

“Obsessing,” you say as an uncanny fear slides its icy tentacles into your mind forcing you to wonder what would happen if you stopped drinking completely. “Would, I, too, sit in the melodramatic darkness, fueled by now lukewarm tumblers of benign beverage, only to count the minutes since I had released myself from the chokehold that a substance once had on me while typing frantically on the keyboard of a cheap laptop?”

No. Everyone’s journey looks different. And, no one is, in any way, asking you to stop drinking.

Honestly, I haven’t really been counting hours or fixating on days. Most of the time anyway. Instead, aside from the uncomfortable feelings that have arisen through what I recently referred to as the “once muddied stream of my psyche,” I’ve been feeling really damn good and have been having what seem like little big triumphs.

And, here’s where the tone of this post shifts. You see, I was going to write, in an attempted humor sort of way, a little about difficult emotions, a little about how I had spent years doing the hard work necessary to expand the container needed to deal with those difficult emotions, and a lot about how well I am doing.

In fact, I was going to– right here, right now– celebrate a night of sweet little Mocktails at a swank little bar with the best of the best of company! (You know who you are!) I was going to talk about how this venture into the land of the Booze-free Tiki (complete with paper umbrella), seemed like a multifaceted victory proving that I could not only behave myself but could still be my bubbly, intelligent, funny self without alcohol.

But, I have to get real for a moment. (Funny, I was just reading something I had written about being a realist when today a friend told me that 1.) I didn’t like to be grounded and 2.) I was not a realist at all. Ummm, bubble burst.)

I must share another thing that you might not know, that I don’t really know, that Macklemore, being sober for a good streak now, certainly does know, and that is that it is considered almost dangerous to feel too good during your first months trying to quit a bad habit. They, the powers that name these sorts of things, call it the “Pink Cloud.”   Two sweet, swank little words that my therapist casually dropped when I almost maniacally, or at the very least with great speed, attempted to linguistically toast my achievements. Talk about deflation. But, I needed to hear it. I then needed to read about it. And, I then needed to listen to more of The Heist.

You see, without knowing about the “Pink Cloud,” I knew about the “Pink Cloud.” And you, if you have been reading my blog for a while and have, out of utter boredom or curiosity, psychoanalyzed me at all, you also know that I knew about the “Pink Cloud.” You can easily trace my riding and falling from that cumulous see-saw.

If you look back, and I am not asking that you do, you will see that in January of this year I wrote a post about cultivating joy that said: “In the last, maybe ten days or so, I have been conscious not to numb. Self aware. Alert. I have sat silently with myself. I have read. I have written… I have been more present with my son. And, with all of this, I have also cried and felt a bitter sense of loneliness and, yes, grief… [But,] I am tapping into the authentic me and not creating a false sense of happiness by escaping my truths…”

Sound familiar?

I then went on to write several months of posts about being “High on Life!” and about a positively blissful emotional apocalypse, and about Bukowsi and the calling to use my voice to “impact the lives of others as all of our voices inevitably do.”

Hmmm….

Then, sometime in March, I fell apart. I ended up writing a post entitled “The Sea of People Who Encircle Me” in which I talked about feeling gratitude for the friends in my life who were constantly “pulling me from the powerful undertow of my own seeming self-destruction.”

Okay.

I wrote three other bits of fluff between that time and my recent “Dos Carnations” post in which I (once again) said “I am sensational. God did not put me on this Earth to anesthetize my life away.” Three posts. That’s it. In six months. For me, that’s dead silence. And, oddly enough, after that silence, I came around 360.

If you are a close friend and are privy to the specifics of what I have been going through, the changes I have made, the lengths I have come, you may know that this time it’s different. This time it’s for real. This time. This time.

In an interview for mtvU, Macklemore said: “So, I’d go a month and be sober, make a bunch of music and then fall back off and vanish for a couple of months and then go back and forth like that.”

Wow.

But, Macklemore is doing it. I’m doing it. I’m a few rungs further down the ladder, a few steps lower on that crystal stair, but I am doing it. I may have a lot to learn. I may not know what looms before me. (Who does?) But, for now, for this moment, pink cloud or no, I am feeling with my “raw, unmedicated heart.” And, I am feeling good.

So, back to my mad crush…

Damn, he looks good in that leopard-print jacket with the faux fur collar. And, damn, he looks good in a black wife-beater with black jeans and black sneaks and black sunglasses. And, damn, he looks good in that pink button up, standing in a puddle with his buddy Ryan Lewis. And, damn again, as he stands next to the mic with his eyes cast down and his hair slicked back.

Damn. And what an inspiration. Says the girl with the mug of now chilled Tulsi Rose and the soul full of hope who is up way past her bedtime.

Damn.

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