Why I didn’t go to Stoicon ’16

“When circumstances force you to some sort of distress, quickly return to yourself. Do not stay out of rhythm for longer than you must: you will master the harmony the more by constantly going back to it.” (Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations 6.11)

Hey all. It has been a few months since my last entry. I’ve been busy living, and painfully so at times. Around mid August (9 months as non-drinker/user) I discovered a dating app called TINDER. Yikes! Swipe! I went on my first date with this smart lady, who was my age, and  everything generally went as well as possible within a first date context. Something was awry though, behind the scenes. I had become complacent in my GROWTH. I asked for an O’douls non alcoholic beer. When I found out they didn’t carry it, I cracked under the pressure OF THE GODS (which all live and die within my head anyway), and asked for a Stella Artois, opposed to a soda water. Hrmmm…  “Cheers, new date friend!” …and subvocal “Hail Self Sabotaging Demon Dioynisis,” toast to myself. :/

Fast forward to September. At this time my vice humping is full blown. I basically gave away a fine dining job. I was tearing away on my rental car I had rented to go to Stoic camp. Maybe I slept in a graveyard one night. No, I think that was a dream. Hood-rats wanting so painfully to phone home, but weren’t lucky enough to get a signal. I had a signal though. My Dad was dying rapidly back home (had been steadily declining for three months) and my Mom needed me there. I came home and spent two hours with my Dad who was able to mutter “I love… (you)…” before he took his last breath.

Let’s just say the rest of September was a shit storm. Can you dig it? Intellectually I was able to prepare for my Dad’s death, but emotionally I wasn’t ready to see him go, over those last few summer months. Now, between six and nine months, the growth in MY recovery lifestyle hit a plateau. I grew complacent. Landing a great fine dining job as a Server boosted my confidence – I was on more of a success and ME-ME-ME, financial trajectory. So as these things were happening, my self awareness took a back seat, my support groups were in the trunk, and I was dragging my meditation along like “just married” tin cans painfully fucking the gravel. That in combination with seeing my Dad dying was what it took for me to not put up a bigger FIGHT to prevent September’s shitstorm. But you know what? Always start from where you are.

“DIG INSIDE YOURSELF. INSIDE THERE IS A SPRING OF GOODNESS READY TO GUSH AT ANY MOMENT, IF YOU KEEP DIGGING.”  (Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations 7.59)

Now, after dealing with consequences I’ve never dealt with before – hanging out with King Vice, I can safely say,  I’m in a new, more authentically healthy place. The self is discontinuous; we change daily. I don’t agree with some of the things I was enthusiastic about a few years ago, and in a way, moments are discontinuous too. Each moment is simulated differently in your brain than it is through the next persons, as life amorally flows into us all, sometimes screwing us before getting us off. You have a choice whether you want to be a dominant aggressor or not. Meow/Roar. Be what may, this business of HABIT CHANGE is hard work and recovery is a PERSONAL JOURNEY. I’m convinced now, after years of this, that if I’m not pushing uphill, then I’m asking the wind to strike up a partnership with gravity and knock me back on my angus. Sigh.  Getting up this time, I made a pact with myself: that I would stay as conscious as possible, so to arrest, with REASON, any self sabotaging thought-emo-behavior patterns, which make living stupid, seem like a good idea. What better tools to do this than a daily mindfulness meditation practice and living Stoically!

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I’m currently living and working in Cary NC these days and am taking a much more eclectic approach to eudaimonic living and recovery: therapy, 12 steps, SMART rcvry, Tai Chi, Meditation, Songwriting, Theater, Service, etc.

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