Writers & Books, 740 University Ave, Rochester, NY [Photo: David Kramer, 2/17/20]
Recently a friend of mine – “landing like Dorothy” — moved to Rochester, a city she hasn’t lived in for over 50 years. As part of her recovery, she writes of her experiences and impressions. So far, “Rochester feels exotic to me, what I imagine Oregon to be like minus the ocean. Grey skies and friendly people. I bought a new bicycle and have high hopes.”
Waiting for my outpatient orientation. Shit, I’ve done this before. I’m right back where I was last year. Just a different city. Another different city. I’m trying to be grateful but I am hating that my meds are making me gain weight. I’m going to stop taking the Zyprexa. It makes me calm but fat. I can’t stand being fat. If I start to feel crazy, I’ll go back to it but I don’t want to. I should be happy to be calm, not sedated but calm. I’m scared that the shift I’ve had in my perception of AA is due largely to the med. I’m supposed to use every tool I can find to stay sober but being fat?
I’m sitting in the waiting room across from a bar called Axes and Ales. Now that sounds interesting. I’ve never thrown an axe. A bunch of Vikings is what it sounds like and I find myself being pissed that I can’t enjoy drinking an ale and throwing an axe. Shit. Another life experience that I’ll have to miss. Can I not focus on how much better my life is at 45 days sober. A month and a half ago I was throwing up into a waste basket and unable to walk. I have never been that sick and I’ve been pretty sick. I couldn’t even drink. I’m craving it today probably because of the unseen Norseman across the street.
The people in the waiting room are making me sad. Especially the fat girl sitting next to me who is lonely and awkward and breaking my heart. I don’t want to be sad but she keeps asking people if they want gum and then whispering “my name is Jennifer.” Now she’s kind of crazy and talking to no one in particular. So many lonely people. I don’t want to be like these sad and lonely people. I don’t look like them or sound like them and yet I’m just like them. I’m just like them.
Sometimes I just miss drinking. Stopped the Zyprexa, thank god. I couldn’t take getting fat. I’m going to go to bed and watch Dirty John. Making some tea. Chai with milk. I was imprisoned in the wilderness of my addictions. Alcohol and drugs and men and fear. I was addicted to fear and now I find that I have none. Do I really believe this? I do today. For today I will believe this. My father had a friend who could walk a whole block on his hands. He could balance chairs, one in each hand, on their legs. He was married to a woman whose mother carried her money in her vagina. My father knew some interesting people.I am so depressed that I never went to school. Never accomplished anything. Anyfucking thing. Am I stupid? I’m afraid I’m limited. How do I write something good? Something real. When my mother uses my addictions in her writing, I feel horrible.” Why don’t I write? I have to write.