White-knuckling his way through sobriety was burning him out, until Erik Christian returned to his youthful creative passions.
Things were changing fast. Life didn’t wait for me while I got drunk all those years. Friends were starting families, or ending their lives. My body was different now. I hadn’t noticed, but my bladder couldn’t hold as much, and when it came to climaxing, I could forget about a “quickie.” All my senses were duller, but I had something that I didn’t have all those wasted years, appreciation and gratitude. I didn’t soften, I just laughed harder when given the chance.
I ran into Sady at the supermarket. She was shaky and had extra makeup on. She hesitated to get out of her car when I reached out my arms. Her body was foreign and squishy in my arms. My mind raced back to remember what I had seen in her. It was cloudy, snippets of intoxicated passion and the smell of beer in my nose, it seemed like one drunk summer, and one lost winter. It seems most relationships hold the same ingredients, just rearranged on the plate, like Mexican food.
“I gotta go to meetings, or something.” She held out her hand. “See?” Her hand shook.
“You need some Xanax.” I said. The doctor had prescribed Xanax after my heart attack. It worked wonders on anxiety. I wish I had it when I was shaking with fear every morning before work.
“Yeah, I gotta just get out of here. You know, I’ve been here my whole life.” I felt sorry for her. “Hope you feel better.” I said.
She got in her car and sped off. I laughed, thinking about how she was hard on cars, furniture and men. No one could last with her. My laugh turned into a whimper. As easy as she sped away, I was pushed into another direction. Life was a riddle, if given enough introspection. There’s no time to play the victim.
I focused on work and took extra hours wherever I could. Work was the easiest way to hide from myself. I asked for my old job back where I had the heart attack. He knew I had drank from the Keg and had closed the restaurant in a blackout, because the place was dirty and the steamer was left on. He warned me, “No drinking.”
With my energy exerted until exhaustion, I didn’t worry about drinking. Things were fine, until I found myself hitting a wall. I had no life. I was hiding from life. I avoided stores where I had bought beer. At the end of the day I had nothing worth more than a few bucks.
I was a worker bee. My sense of humor was snuffed from the drinking, now it was dulled by work. There had to be something more. The world hummed along with billions of underlying currents from billions of people. If I deduced myself in the grand scheme of things, I would look as important as a tiny ant.
There had to be something more. After reading Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie, I realized I had total control over fate. If they could create concepts out of nothing, except from their intellect, I could do the same. I began thinking Rich.
Realizing that slack time is wasted time, I began to produce content. If it was just one song line, one line of writing, or a music piece, I was creating something tangible. I began stacking idea upon idea until exponentially vast opportunities began to form. Years of writing on napkins and singing song ideas landed onto format and leaped into Digital. The digital revolution had dumped all the tools into people’s laps, now it was our turn to take back from the huge corporate conglomerates.
There was a reason not to drink. During the ten year blackout, I had forgotten to look on the internet. It seemed everybody was ahead of me. As I flipped burgers, I was thinking about creating. Everything I created was an ember that ignited my enthusiasm. That twelve year old boy who had a sparkle in his eye, as he drummed along to his sister’s records, had a reason to carry on. Even if nobody looked, I would still be out there, holding a ragged flag, stained with beer, tears, blood, delusions and paranoia, but the boy would kick through. The light prevails through that shit.
After two years of being sober, but basically living a “dry” drunk, I jumped off the worker bee wagon. I began to live off my savings and produce as an artist. Without looking for it, Mia ran into my life. Mia worked at the convention center where the Bull worked. She seemed to be above the other waitresses in rank, but I found out later it was just her attitude. When she walked by, there was a stillness in the air. It felt like I was near a lake when I was around her. The other workers ran past her to get utensils and ice for the servery while she looked into their souls with a smirk. I knew she was different. She looked like she was looking for the meaning, as I was.
Mia invited me over and slowly broke down my ego. It seems that people hid behind jokes, talk of the weather, aggression, whatever, I had no curtain to hide behind. Without a beer by my side, for the first time in any relationship, it was just her and I.
Image courtesy of the author