I’ve been wondering if I should change the titles on my blogs. I thought of using “Year 2 – Day x” or giving them logical titles like “Drink less, pee less, a win-win for everyone!” but I think I’ll stick with what I’ve been doing. It’s worked so far and I don’t want to break the streak.

As I look back, I realize year one was a selfish year. I worried about me. I wrote about me. I spent a lot of time in my head. Then again, maybe that’s what I needed to do. I’m still in survival mode, which I guess, turns the gaze inward but this journey has taught me many lessons. Maybe I can use those lessons as I turn my gaze outward. It’s time for me to rejoin society and, hopefully, make a positive impact on it.

So here’s my plan. First I need a long term job. I’m currently working with my friend. It’s great but the work is seasonal. Soon the season will end. Also, while this job has been fun, it hasn’t really lifted me out of poverty. I could use something a bit more stable and lucrative. I’ve had one interview and I have a couple more next week. Wish me luck. If I can stabilize my financial situation, I can finally shift of out survival gear and into living gear.

Stability leads to the second item in the plan – give back to the community. Unemployment and debt lead to a financial abyss that swallows too many people. If I can find my way out of that abyss, maybe I can help others find a way out. I hope that doesn’t sound presumptuous. I’m not a saint or savior. I just realize that despite my struggles I’ve been lucky because, even though I denied it, I’ve had a safety net all along. Not everyone does. I want to change that.

One year anniversary! I’m sitting in front of a fake fire listening to Christmas tunes with my dad. It may not be applause and fanfare but it’s a fine way to celebrate year 1.

I wanted to write something profound but I just can’t muster the diction. Instead I’d like to thank all of you who’ve shared this journey. And I wish you all the best on your own journeys. I’ll see you in year 2.

Love and respect,
Sam

Closing in on one year. Woot! At least this week I didn’t have any drunk revelers pontificating in my ear. That’s a bonus. All in all, life is good. I’m still looking for a long term job but I’ve survived up to this point. Year one was the year of survival. Here’s hoping year two is the year of living.

If I titled my posts this would be called “Brushes with Drunkness”.

It began last weekend when I went to my brother’s Octoberfest party. (Oh yeah, that’s a healthy social choice for someone on the mend but I was, via the obfuscated politics of family, obligated to go. So I went.) I spent several uncomfortable hours watching the men in my family get drunk while the women in my family rolled their eyes and got slightly less drunk. Good times. Despite the copious flow of intoxicants, I wasn’t tempted. In fact, I just wanted to leave.

My second brush with drunkness happened last night. I played cards with some friends. Or rather, I played cards with a friend and his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s friend. And lucky for everyone, girlfriend decided to get wasted. At first it was amusing but she kept going. Let me add that I never wanted to be one of those self – righteous, “drinking is evil, you should be sober like me” types. I try to have a live and let live attitude. If someone wants to drown the uvula, who am I to judge. God knows I’ve done it enough. But OMG! (in the parlance of today’s youth) this women drove me up a wall. She spit out nonstop word salad. I wanted to slip her a roofie just so she’d shut the fuck up. I don’t think she even had time to breathe between her relentless snippets of drivel. To say she almost drove me to drink would be a lie. To say she almost drove me to murder would be closer to the truth. (No, I’m not homocidal I’m just trying to make a point.) Perhaps it bothered me so much because I used to be like that. Yet there I was, sober as a newborn, watching the ugliness of former me play out in dolby sound. How poetic. How sad.

For two weekends in a row I’ve been smacked in the face with drunk people. It’s been a blessing. Seriously, that wasn’t sarcastic. It’s been a blessing because it’s strengthened my resolve. At this point I’m not worried about caving in to temptation, I’m worried about complacency. I fear that at some point I’m going to say, “I can have a drink. I’ve got this thing licked.” But my latest brushes with drunkness have reminded me just how ridiculous and defeating that attitude can be. I guess I owe my drunk relatives and my buddy’s wasted girlfriend a debt of gratitude. 

I have the day off. I work with my friend. He’s a gardener/garden designer/landscaper/etc. But today it’s raining so we’re not working.

All in all, things are good. My job is temporary but I’m making enough to keep my head above water for the time being. Unfortunately, I’m on my own once the winter rolls in. Too bad because the job is a blast and it’s keeping me in shape. I don’t weigh myself but I’ve gone down 2 belt loops. Woot! And I’ve learned a ton about plants. For instance, each plant has a cultivar in addition to its genus and species. The cultivar is to a plant what the breed is to a dog. Here are some other things I’ve learned: corn is a type of grass; there are more deer in New England now then there were when Columbus crossed the ocean; juniper bushes will give you a rash if you handle them bare handed; poison ivy flowers when it gets big enough; earthworms came from Europe and were not native to America in the time of the pilgrims; and boxwood bushes smell like pee, that’s why they fell out of favor in French and English gardens.

I haven’t verified the thing about the deer population or the earth worms but the rest is true.

On a completely different note, I’m sitting 10 feet away from a fully stocked liquor cabinet and I have no desire to drink. Life is looking up. Now if I cold only get a permanent job….

PS – I’m building a fire in my buddy’s wood stove. I love hearth fires. Makes me want to live in the woods.

Met a bunch of college buddies in a bar. Drank water all night and still had a great time. Woot!

I hope I have my days right. I keep thinking how embarrassing it would be if I got to my one year anniversary and posted it as “Day 350″.

I apologize for my lack of posts lately. I don’t have Internet access which means I have to post via my phone and I’m not a big fan of thumb typing. So here’s the readers digest version of my current situation: arrived in MA a few weeks ago; started working for an old friend; living with Pa; and I’m still drink free.

All in all, life is good. I work a lot. It’s strenuous labor but I like hanging out with my friend. He’s a good guy and the pay is reasonable for the work I do – gardening and landscaping. I’m still looking for a professional gig and, hopefully, something will happen soon. But even if it doesn’t I’m getting by. That’s good enough for now.

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