I Quit Drinking 8 Years Ago

I quit drinking any alcohol 8 years ago on August 12, 2010. I wasn’t a staggering around “drunk,” but I had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and it had the potential to get worse. I totally missed my quit day this year. I quit smoking on May 12, 2004 for some of the same reasons.
Not all people who quit drinking are what we call “drunks.” We have a ton of misconceptions around drug and alcohol abuse. But alcohol has a powerful negative effect on the body – worse than any other drug. It ages you, ruins your skin, rots your organs, it is horribly toxic. I never regret stopping and I will never drink another alcoholic drink again. That is the way that worked for me, to say, “I will never drink again. It does NOTHING good for me.” A day at a time gave me too much wiggle room and no one should judge how you quit, if you do. We are all totally different creatures.
Since stopping, I found my creativity, my spirituality and my soul. Life is tough for sensitive people – it is, no lie. Alcohol acts as a film between people and the pain of the world, a temporary balm. But there are better ways to deal with the pain of living that bring great joy, as well.
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If you need help, please reach out. I am always happy to share what works for me.

The Mediocre Man and the Box Dwellers: A Short Story

The Model of Mediocrity and the Box Dwellers

A Parable

There once was a man who wanted to be a leader. He attained a leadership job but found it very hard. People wouldn’t follow. You see, the man was mediocre in every way. In fact, he was the “Model of Mediocrity.” So he had to find a way to get followers.

The man decided that he would stay in his teeny, tiny little box at work and at home forever. He loved his box!! It was warm, safe, and protected from the outside world. Person by person, he invited people into his box with promises of grandeur, protection and warmth. Little by little, the sycophants, the outsiders, the weak, the scared and the “yes” men joined his teeny tiny little box. The teeny safe little box was getting fuller and fuller.

The Model of Mediocrity was so happy!! Yes, there were those who wouldn’t join the rest in his teeny tiny little box, but the man trained his Box Dwellers to ignore them, marginalize them and mock them. It was working so well, well enough that the Man and the Box Dwellers were able to ignore the outside world: the falling numbers and failing bottom line. It was worse every year. The Model of Mediocrity knew these things, but promised the Box Dwellers that he would keep them all safe from harm as long as he was in charge of the teeny, tiny little box.

But then a person from the big scary Outside World came knocking on the box. This person wanted to help the Box Dwellers get smarter, stronger, more like their colleagues in the outside world. The Model of Mediocrity went out to chase the Outside World person away, but immediately failed. So he then told his Box Dwellers that this scary Outside World person wanted to destroy the box. Wanted to smash that box into tiny smithereens and harm every single Box Dweller. They were scared. And then they were mad so they came up with a plan.

The Model of Mediocrity armed them. He armed them with muskets, swords, cannons and lies. He sent them charging out against the Outside World person and all those people who wouldn’t get in the box over the years. They charged and they charged: some were harmed, some might die. All while the Model of Mediocrity planned and plotted, safe from harm, hiding in his teeny, tiny box.

Time passed and the Box Dwellers fell off one by one. Some passed away. Some were injured. Others left due to age and weariness. Some actually found that the scary Outside World person was nice and kind and only wanted to help the Box Dwellers escape the box that the Model of Mediocrity had coaxed them into. Finally, the Model of Mediocrity found himself with a mostly empty box. He was scared. He felt alone. He knew that his Mediocrity was no longer valued, and he thought of ways to move on. He finally did, dragging his teeny, tiny little box with him to the next adventure.

A new way of relating

I have spent this year working on a new way or relating to others in conflict. I have several friends who have helped me do this in a very stressful situation this year. And I have relearned a saying that I have not mastered yet – and may never master. It goes like this and is from Victor Frankl, who wrote Man’s Search for Meaning, a book I must read before the end of this year. 

In between the stimulus and response, there is a space. And in that space lies all your power. 

I always have given away my space, my power, by reacting right away. I have learned this year, through great struggle, to sit with the anger, discomfort, fear that have made me give away that space in the past. That the situation will still be there in a minute or an hour or a day. That letting it sit and giving it time gives you a better perspective on an appropriate response or no response at all. I have also learned, through doing this, that sometimes silence is more powerful than anything I can say, and says more about what I think than anything I can say.

This has been one of the most painful years of my life. The feelings for me that had previously been kept under a false politeness have broken into the open. Blatant hostility is not easy to sit in the midst of, but I have done it. It helped that the sources of hostility are not people I have trusted or wanted in my life regardless of what this year brought. We are on different levels of the universe plane: just ships passing in the night. So I didn’t suck in the dislike, etc. But it still wasn’t comfortable to sit with.

Every day, the Universe teaches me another lesson. Painful though they have been, I am grateful for every one.

Still thinking of great meal down on LBI

I wrote this review on Trip Advisor after a meal at Yellow Fin Restaurant on LBI. It has gotten some bad reviews recently, which I don’t understand. It is expensive and noisy, but the food was spectacular!

My mother and I went as a special night out, as we don’t see each other that often. We made a reservation and were seated immediately. We started with the fried tomato topped with guacamole and lump crab meat – spectacular!!! I had the halibut, served on a lovely lemon beurre blanc sauce and what seemed like a carmelized yucca, topped with lump crabmeat. The halibut was cooked more skillfully than any fish I remember: flaky, moist and delicious. My mother had seared tuna on mashed potatoes with bok choy, served in a very delicate sauce. The mashed potatoes are generally wasabi mashed potatoes, but she got regular mashed potatoes. She almost licked her plate clean, but I convinced her it wouldn’t be polite. 
We split a piece of key lime pie for dessert – it was creamier than the usual key lime pie,but absolutely outstanding – tart without being puckering tart, with a crust that held its own. Really an excellent meal!! 
I recommend this place highly. The only negative is that it is tight in there and very noisy. A few times I had to yell for my mother to hear me, but it is a holiday weekend, so it is probably not quite so packed most nights. The restaurant is also pricey, but worth it.

When down on LBI, give it a try! It is really wonderful!

I am truly shaken by Kelly’s Press Conference

I am not one of those who think that Gen Kelly is some sort of a savior. I know that he had a terrible record at DHS. I know he enabled Trump’s lie about 3 million illegal voters. I know that he “joked” about using a ceremonial sword on the media. I thought he was probably more like Trump than most thought. I have seen this, and know who this man basically is.


But still. I didn’t expect that he was such an aggressive racist, a vicious woman hater, a bigot who was either proud of his bigotry or so ensconsed in it that he doesn’t even understand how his words would sound. I listened to Gen. Kelly’s defense of Trump yesterday. I have to be honest: I haven’t been this upset since we were lied into the Iraq War. There are many reasons for this, and many layers.

First is that Trump didn’t ever know Sgt. Johnson’s name. This was obvious, even the day after he was called on for his horrendous phone call to Mrs. Johnson. He still didn’t mention Johnson’s name, or Mrs. Johnson’s name. That seems to be OK with Kelly.

Then Trump went and attacked a US Congresswoman. Typical Trump. We expect this from the sociopath. And it barely registers anymore, which is upsetting. But then Kelly came in.

When John Kelly, ex-General of the USMC, got up and viciously, forcefully, almost gleefully ripped apart a member of the US Congress, a dear friend of a dead soldier, a mentor, a woman, a black woman, I wanted to throw up. I am still somewhat nauseous. The hatred and vitriol in his voice, calling her an “empty barrel,” (which Lawrence O’Donnell has noted is racist) then calling her “this woman” and refusing to use her name, further dehumanizing her. Lying that she was somehow “spying” on the phone call. Lying about her involvement with a building she was instrumental in naming. Saying she came out back then in “her all that” or something close (I can’t find the quote right now) which I took as his mocking the way she dresses, as though he is the arbiter of women’s dress.

He was “stunned” that Congresswoman Wilson was listening in. Let’s put aside the fact that a 4 star General was stunned at such a normal thing and what that tells us about his experiences in life. Let’s focus on the fact that it is the widow’s choice who to have with her. The mother’s choice. And they chose Congresswoman Wilson. Then he implied that the family just didn’t understand what Trump said, as if the fault lie with the poor, dumb (black) widow, and not the POTUS, who should know better.

There was more that made me sick.

Women used to be “sacred.” Notwithstanding who Kelly works for, and what he has said and done to women, this was proudly and arrogantly stated by Kelly, as though this is something lost. Sacred? Like we should be put up on a pedestal, fragile little flowers, protected by the big strong white men, who kept us out of colleges, out of management positions, at home, pregnant, barefoot. He is such an old white sexist he didn’t even understand how offensive this was. (and I’m older, so I am not being ageist about him.)

Not allowing anyone to ask any questions except those who are Gold Star families or friends. Clearly implying that those in service are superior to those who aren’t. Gold Star families ARE sacred. Except, in Kelly’s view, those who question Trump: Mrs. Johnson. The Khan family. Speaking of the Khan family…

Kelly said that Gold Star families were sacred until the convention last year. The bootlicking media is trying to spin this as though he was talking about Trump taking on the Khan family. I had a different read on it. I felt he meant that the Khan family politicized their son’s death, and they were at fault. Oh, and they are also people of color. Like the Johnsons. So at fault. Coincidence? Not likely.

So many offensive aspects to that screed yesterday. So much to unpack. And then the media reaction. The bootlicking. The discussion of how dignified he was. How “presidential.” As thought white supremacy, bigotry, sexism are desirable traits. The media have fed into this belief that Kelly is somehow this Savior of our Republic. The White Knight — literally White. The brave man who will wrestle Trump to the ground when he tries to burn down the universe. They covered for Kelly, they made him out to be somehow explaining Trump to us in a compassionate and clear way.

No. This man, this General, this vile racist and sexist, got up there, used his own son’s death to shame any opponents of Trump, used his supposed reputation to tear apart a sitting US Congresswoman in a vicious, very aggressive way, a Congresswoman who was just helping her friends and who spoke up for the widow. He used his service to belittle anyone who didn’t serve or doesn’t agree with his vile, sociopathic boss.

I feel helpless. Powerless. I feel that we can’t put Humpty Dumpty back again. That we have no voice, that we are being held hostage by a bully who wants to beat our family members and sexually assault our daughters. Who is enabled by white Generals, and a media in love with the stars on those Generals’ shoulders. I am scared. I am nauseous. I am beside myself.

Trump and Puerto Rico

A full week after Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria, Donald Trump finally waived the Jones Act, a century old law that protects the American shipping industry. He waived the act quickly for Texas and Florida, and made sure that aid was sent and distributed quickly. Not so for Puerto Rico. Three days ago, patients in a hospital who were on ventilators died because they didn’t have any more fuel for the generator. 45% of Puerto Ricans have no clean water today. Another hospital that had 13 children on ventilators almost ran out of fuel, and thankfully found some in the nick of time, but they are running low again. Where is FEMA? Not distributing goods. Where is the military? Arriving late. Where is Trump?? Tweeting about NFL players who should be fired,  deleting tweets supporting Luther Strange, bragging about the great reviews he has been getting on Puerto Rican assistance and musing, in complete wonder, that Puerto Rico is in the “middle of the ocean.” Why no help for Puerto Rico? Maybe because they didn’t vote for him? And are “brown” people?? As a NYer, this situation has me planning on stocking up on water, food and medicines. If he abandons Puerto Rico in this way, he will abandon every blue state in the same way.

This man is the worst president I have experience in my lifetime. Not only is he incompetent and incurious,  many mental health experts say that he is suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. Many medical doctors believe he is suffering from Alzheimers disease. Just yesterday, he said that his horrendously harmful health care act would pass but a YES vote Senator is in the hospital. No Senator is in the hospital. Making a mistake like that once or twice is understandable, but Trump has walked away from podiums and handshakes without doing what he went there to do. He has contradicted himself within hours. He lies and lies, and maybe doesn’t always know it is a lie?

But his Deplorables put him in office and until it is proven that he was in cahoots with Russia on influencing the election, the Republicans in Congress seem happy to keep him there, even as he destroys their party. And he is destroying their Party. Bannon cheered that they would do what they did in Alabama in all 50 states, vote in a crazy, lunatic, conspiracy theory loving, racist, sexist homophobe for a Senate race. But Alabama, thank goodness, is unique in that it is one of the most backwards, racist states in the country. Imagine Roy Moore in Ohio? PA? Michigan or WI? They can be racists, but they aren’t completely batshit crazy, as many Alabama folks are. Every crazy who wins the GOP slot in the Senate race will give the Dems a good chance to pick up that seat So as they cannibalize themselves, I can’t help but cheer in a way. The GOP has become a party that deserves a clean, swift end. Put a fork in them. They have had total power and have done nothing but try to take away healthcare, ban Muslims, start WWIII with North Korea, enable a nut in the White House, and many, many more acts that will harm our country and our citizens.

Maybe Puerto Rico will be the final straw. Trump’s complete apathy in regard to the fate of US citizens is deplorable, even for him. Or maybe Puerto Ricans will have to relocate and will turn Florida and some other southern states blue. Or maybe the GOP will elect these Moore-like crazies to the Senate, an they will demand that they secede from the Union.

This time, I say let them. Goodbye and good riddance.