Archive for the addiction Category

I Seem to be Taking a Break

Posted in addiction, alcoholic, alcoholism, anxiety, creative writing, sober, sobriety, social anxiety, Uncategorized, writing craft with tags , , , , , on December 5, 2017 by Robert Crisp

A break from creative writing, at least, and I’m good with that. It all started a few weeks ago when I received the weekly poetry market update newsletter from Duotrope. I scanned the list half-heartedly. The idea of going through poems to see which ones would be a good fit for a particular market made me tired. When I sat down to write, nothing came. I shrugged and moved onto other things.

I’ve been shrugging and moving on since then, and I’m not worried about it. I’ve spent many years in anxious turmoil over my writing, pressing myself beyond healthy limits to produce. When I turned thirty and hadn’t published anything, I went into a tailspin of depression. Ditto that for when I turned forty. Then I got sober, went into therapy, and discovered an effective combo of meds with the help of a wonderful psychiatrist. These days, if I skip a day or two of writing, that’s just the way it goes. I’m on the hunt for a full-time job, I’m raising two young children with my wife, and I have a lovely coterie of animals I care for. I have a full life. And I’m sober, to boot.

I’ve been thanking God lately, in particular, for the ability to let a particular story line go. I don’t mean fiction; I mean the story line of my life that dictates that I have to a Writer. The capital letter is important. I’m already a writer and always will be, but I’m also other things. Robert the Writer, though, is hyper-focused on getting published to the exclusion of other things. Rober the Writer won’t rest until he’s exhausted himself mentally and spiritually, racing to beat the clock, up against self-imposed deadlines. Also, Robert the Writer is a selfish bastard. I have no more use for him, so I’m letting that story line go (for more info on story lines and attachment, check out this article by Pema Chodron).

I couldn’t have been this kind to myself without getting sober, and I also imagine that I couldn’t have done it (sober or not) in my thirties due to a stunning lack of emotional maturity. Not that I’m a paragon of emotional maturity these days, but I’m a hell of a lot easier on myself than I used to be. I accept and deal with my anxiety which springs from a variety of sources, but I no longer give myself panic attacks for missing non-existant milestones in my life. I don’t have a book deal at 43? Fine. I only publish poetry on web-based journals? Cool. I can look at other aspects of my life and celebrate them and not dwell on things I thought I needed.

Over the last few days, I’ve been thinking of myself as more than just a writer. Currently, I prefer the term “creative.” I’m a creative. I write poems, stories, and songs. I draw cartoons. No matter where my life takes me, I’ll always find ways to express creativity. Writing this blog is another way.

So I’m going to take a break from creative writing because the still, small voice inside me says it’s time to. I spent many years ignoring that voice and drowing it with alcohol. These days, I do my best to listen to it.

That Time the Can of Paint Wasn’t Having It (poem)

Posted in addiction, alcoholic, alcoholism, creative writing, poem, Poetry, sober, sobriety, surreal, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , , on September 30, 2017 by Robert Crisp

I’ve been sober for almost three years, and every now and then drinking and/or sobriety show up in my writing. When I first got sober, it was all I wrote about…mainly stories but a few poems, too. This poem is more or less based on a factual event (painting the dining room while drunk and doing a terrible job of it). It’s supposed to be funny, but I’m not sure if it is.

That Time the Can of Paint Wasn’t Having It

“You’re a bold motherfucker,”
the paint can told me one night
when I couldn’t sleep and grabbed
a brush, thinking I was the shit
and could paint the dining room.

“I’m drunk,” I told the paint can
and took another shot of courage,
as they say (whoever they are).

“Tell me something I don’t know,”
the paint can retorted and scooted
away, like I had a disease or something.
“You come anywhere near me, I’ll
explode and paint this room my way.”

I prayed to the god of Glidden, but
he wasn’t interested, and I implored
the god of Smirnoff, but he was three
sheets to the wind just like I was.

“Tomorrow,” I vowed and tossed the
brush at the paint can, who dodged it easily.
As I climbed back into bed in my hot room,
I heard mocking laughter, and I dreamed
of bare walls the color of absolutely nothing.

Temporary Survivor (poem)

Posted in addiction, alcoholic, alcoholism, creative writing, poem, Poetry, sober, sobriety, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2016 by Robert Crisp

I haven’t had a drinking dream in quite some time (now watch me have them for a week straight), but I heard someone on a podcast discussing dealing with such dreams. I wasn’t consciously thinking about drinking dreams, but it was certainly banging around in my brain because this poem came to me as I was driving to work. This one needs some tweaking (I may settle on a rhyme scheme, which would be different) but I wanted to share it.

Temporary Survivor

She shook me hard, and I rose
like steam from the arena of my dreams
where I faced off with my father again.
Freud, who had season tickets,
shook his head and relit his pipe.

When I woke, I remembered I was drunk.
I was also on the roof and not in bed.
You slept through the flood, she said.
By flood, I replied, do you mean—
I mean the flood!

Other rooftops poked out from the water
like the tops of drowned heads.
I spied Gilgamesh waving to me from one.
All hope was not lost.

She thrust something at me.
I opened the crumpled ball and read:
What the fuck happened? I said meet at the ark.
You better hope reincarnation is real. – Noah

I found a bottle (I could always find a bottle)
and drank it down while she cried.
When it was empty, I lapped
at the water rising higher and faster.

Fear and Loathing in Twitterland

Posted in addiction, alcoholic, alcoholism, creative writing, Uncategorized, writing on March 21, 2016 by Robert Crisp

Since getting sober, I’ve pulled further and further away from social media. It started with checking in less frequently with Facebook, abandoning Instagram (which I rarely used, and never checked it after I posted a picture) and trying Tumblr for all of a day before giving that up (and we won’t mention my brief foray into Pinterest, which just left me feeling weird and somewhat creepy).

And now it comes to Twitter. I’ve tried using Twitter several times and never with any measurable success. By that, I don’t mean a big number of followers; I’m talking about meaningful interactions. I suppose that’s expecting too much from a social media platform. If I get nothing from Twitter, why Tweet?

I suppose I think it’s something I should do as a writer to expand my…I don’t know, circle of like-minded men and women? In the course of Tweeting and reading Tweets, maybe I’ll find a new journal to submit my work to?

I read an interesting article about poets and writers on Twitter, and that started me thinking that maybe it’s worth pursing. I refuse to put Twitter on my phone (same as Facebook and Instagram). My phone, smart though it is, is for calling folks,sending the occasional text to my wife, and playing music. That’s it. So I’ll only Tweet and read feed when I’m at the computer, where the order is: work, email, writing, and then–maybe, if there’s time–things like Twitter.

If the past is any predictor, I’ll be on Twitter for a few days before forgetting about it. In the meantime, if you’re really bored, you can check me out @writing4ghosts.

 

Anytime (poem)

Posted in addiction, alcoholic, alcoholism, creative writing, poem, Poetry, writing with tags , , , , , on March 11, 2016 by Robert Crisp

I believe poems should stand on their own merits and authors should never explain, but it’s hard not to make at least some commentary on this one. Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and John Berryman were all alcoholics. I’ll leave it at that.

 

anytime

Dispatches from Addiction and Recovery #4

Posted in addiction, alcoholic, alcoholism, creative writing, poem, Poetry, sober, sobriety, writing with tags , , , , , , on January 13, 2016 by Robert Crisp

Today’s entry comes from Tabitha S., a Seattle-based freelance writer and poet who struggles with sobriety. Of this poem, she says, “The hardest part for me is always dealing with the damage I’ve caused in relationships. When I relapse, it’s generally over that.”

Sorrow Hangs On

Sorrow hangs on me like an old coat,
finds me in different forms–

a Museum of Tears, Bird Graveyard.

I get drunk and go under the needle
for another fuck you tattoo, chop off
my hair and throw it in the trash.

Love doesn’t come with a warranty,
just an expiration date.

Merry Christmas, or Something (flash fiction re-post)

Posted in addiction, alcoholic, alcoholism, character development, characters, creative writing, fiction, flash fiction, freewriting, writing with tags , , , , , on November 29, 2015 by Robert Crisp

I originally posted this in November 2012, and something reminded me about this piece of flash fiction. Heavens, it’s dark. For the record, I feel pretty good this morning. The speaker’s tone doesn’t reflect my current state…though I imagine I was pretty down when I first wrote this.

Merry Christmas, Or Something

There’s nothing left for me here, but that doesn’t mean I’m leaving.

I’ve grown accustomed to the ache, the longing to be elsewhere, and that’s usually enough most days. The nights are what worry me, when he starts playing that old guitar, the one his father stole for him a thousand Christmases ago, that he doesn’t touch unless he’s been drinking, transforming it from a piece of junk into a troubadour’s dream.

He coaxes such painfully beautiful music from the instrument, it nearly makes up for his caterwaul of a voice, his hesitant delivery, the way he stumbles over words he should know
because I know them and just about everyone who isn’t deaf knows them, too.

“You don’t understand music,” he always tells me, but what he means is, “You know a shitload more about it than I do,” so I keep my mouth shut and listen to him, settling against my longing to leave like it’s another lover, a more patient one than him, this would-be musician singing in a destroyed living room.

The winter night looms outside the windows, waiting to creep in when the lights are off and we’re in bed, clothes scattered through the place, his hands wandering across my body, re-staking his claim to make sure my dream to get the fuck out of this town doesn’t come true, the dream where I grab what I can, cram it in Mama’s pink and brown suitcase and shove his old car in gear, willing it to work at least across the state line.