Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The astronaut

I will begin now by speaking to you of the view. To me, it resembles nothing so much as 1998, or at least how I remember 1998 looking. There was no tether in those days yet the view was very much the same.

I pray this analogy works, by the end. I, whose analogies so rarely work. In it – in this analogy of mine – I am an astronaut and you are all standing there in amazement, looking up, wide-eyed at my record-breaking feat.

At my spacewalk, I mean.

And this is the way that it always feels, exactly, for me, after a fourth day of sobriety. The distance between my spaceship and me, it’s so great now as to seem nearly as though I might never return. I will return. But with each of the moments that pass, it feels like pushing the record that much further.

Perhaps one more night!

Perhaps even one more night.

“In science news this morning, Harry Hamid has spent his fifth consecutive day floating in space outside his spaceship. It’s now his longest spacewalk since September 2014. Should he manage a sixth day, it would be his longest stretch since way back in 2009…”

I take these spacewalks of mine with one hand always on the tether. Firmly. See? On the tether. The cord that connects me to my spaceship.

My spaceship being a bottle in this analogy, it is supposed, and my great accomplishment not really an accomplishment at all to anyone but someone like me. Someone trying to remember what the view in 1998 looked like.

I am an astronaut. I am five days out.

Watch me go!

“Oooooh!” “Aaaaah!”

34 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks.

      Last night was not a spacewalk. But tonight might be.

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  2. Replies
    1. I'm glad someone is. Bragging about being able to go 4 days without a drink apparently doesn't sound very impressive to most people.

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  3. ha ha craze,nice story.I see a slight streak of sadness in this funny story.I love that newspaper part ha ha its really nice.Congrats that u r back on track in writing.Be a astronaut who returns back to earth.

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    1. I'm not sure that I'm back on track. I'm hoping to get there. I'm going through some crap right now.

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  4. I think it's easy to say 'whoopty do' when you haven't had any kind of addictive struggle. I know I hear that idiotic phrase thrown around plenty. Something like, "Well I'VE been sober for 33 years! Where's MY parade?"

    Now me, I thought that was damn impressive. But my cohort here, he was actually back at the concession stands buying a Harry Hamid jersey and the big foam finger and he missed the whole thing. So you should probably do it all over again. Maybe longer this time. My cohort would love to see it.

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    1. That makes me feel so good that I almost want to get addicted to something else just to enjoy the applause when I kick the habit.

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  5. I think it's impressive because it means enough to you for you to write about it. Forward, and steady as it goes.

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    1. Thank you! I've been wanting to address this on the blog for a while now.

      I'm told keeping at it will have benefits. I hope so.

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  6. Not wanting to be addicted is different from not wanting to get high.
    I don't want either of them any more, but it took having a stroke in 2008 to get me to this position. I heartily suggest finding a different way, as having a stroke sucks donkey balls.

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. Mostly, I just want to know whether my thinking gets any clearer if I go a couple weeks. I've read that alcohol can screw with memory. How would I think if I went three weeks?

      I've had people in my family who have had strokes. They vary so much that it's tough to make generalizations about the effects. Fortunately for me, my body produces almost no platelets, so a stroke is unlikely. Cancer, on the other hand...

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    2. Well it looks like you're getting your wish: Roger Waters' new album "Is This the Life We Really Want" drops May 19.

      -Doug in Oakland

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    3. I saw that! It's his first real studio album since 1992. It's ridiculous to expect exciting things from an artist in their seventies, but he's shown that left to his own devices, he's basically Noam Chomsky set to music. I'm ready.

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    4. Jeff Beck is 72 and his new album is pretty good...

      -Doug in Oakland

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  7. That's a super analogy. I hope you're getting encouragement from a 12-step program or from some other support system. Or is that what the spacesuit represents?

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    1. Well, I'm just experimenting with sobriety at the moment.

      But admitting it's an issue is a first step. Or something like that. I've heard things...

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  8. So bring on a spacewalk means the opposite of your being spaced out? Maybe you could find some inner space. I am of course no spiritualist, but a little inner peace never harmed anybody.

    We all love you.

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    1. Yeah, it sounds counter-intuitive, but it's not. The only other comparison I could make is to holding your breath - you might be impressed by how long you've held your breath, but you know you're going to breathe again eventually.

      Thank you. When I add up the few moving parts in my life, the group of people I have around me online figures in more prominently than I'm entirely comfortable with!

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  9. My late mom was an alcoholic, so I have some idea how hard the early days in recovery can be. Stay strong my friend.

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    1. That would be terrible in someone you rely upon. My grandfather was a hopeless alcoholic. Couldn't even hold down a job because of it. Fortunately, nobody relies on me for anything, so I don't hurt anyone but myself!

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  10. Your sobriety is like my walking - something done with conscious effort. So maybe I do have it easier. I have a chair.

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    1. We all have our burdens, I know. I pray that your recovery doesn't start and stop and then start and stop for years.

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    2. Good Luck, One of the problems I've had with 12 step programs I realized after being in and out of the program a number of times, follows. It was best expressed by an old timer who had 30 something years. It took him 20 some years to finally get his thirty some years. His view which I now subscribe to, is that if you sober up and stay sober the first half dozen times you tried, you weren't an alcoholic to begin with. You just had a drinking problem that You were able to overcame. It took this guy over 20 years of trying to finally get his thirty plus years. I believe he was honest so I don't mind using it as my excuse. I certainly don't recommend it for you. You have no idea of what you mean to your disciples. I hope and believe that you'll do fine. Frank

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    3. Hi, Frank!

      That's an interesting perspective on it from someone who has been there.

      Yeah, I hear stories that alcoholics have and what they went through, and I am not sure I'd even use the term for myself. I am not sure I've earned it. I've never woken up in a strange city only to find out that two weeks disappeared and I've lost my wife and my job or something.

      Like with everything, there might not be one right way to come at the problem. There are usually some definitely wrong ways, though.

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    4. Yeah, hopefully my hip won't go in and out of function, but I will have to have the other hip replaced soon.

      I'm not an alcoholic, but I can relate. As you might have noticed, I'm a choco-holic. :)

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  11. We all have addictions, some more dangerous than others. I was watching an interview with Boy George the other day. He's been clean for 9 years now and he was saying how much better he feels. I've got to say he looks better but I can't help wonder if that's more to do with the plastic surgery. Okay I'm waffling on now... Good luck. Not that I believe in luck.

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    1. Thanks. I think most people get better after they quit. There are exceptions: The old country singer, George Jones, never seemed to get his wits about him after he quit. But I've never been a 24-hour-a-day drunk, so I am hopeful real damage hasn't been done...

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  12. Good for you, I'm proud of you! I understand all about addictions! It's like me and food! I have always went up and down my entire life with weight! Not anymore, I am just going to go down. Believe you me, it's hard! I wish you all the best! Big Hugs!

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    1. I wish you the best too. It's tough - even when I make strides, something happens that stresses me out and I go back to it.

      I try not to be too hard on myself for occasional lack of progress.

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  13. Harry - please know that we are all rooting for you. We are rooting for you to be happy and healthy and to thrive. Whatever and whoever else you might be you are an extraordinarily talented and fascinating person - a very precious commodity. So please take care of yourself - and value yourself.

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    1. Wow, I can't believe the words of support I'm getting here.

      I'm doing well - I just think that with a little work, I could be doing better. This is part of that!

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  14. Two years clean. The part that helped me the most was finding a good group. Hearing about the success of others and having a great sponsor to guide me made it possible. I had a year of occasional relapses before I was able start my current string of days. Now what keeps me clean is going to group and seeing new people come through the doors. Talking with them reminds me of what I have been through and have no desire to return. Good luck in your journey.

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    1. Thank you, Bryan, and congrats. Maybe I should change my approach and try something like that. I tend to try and do everything on my own, with very mixed results.

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