First Ninety Days of Sobriety
|Introduction after Collingwood Arts Center reading:
Well you seem to be forefront. I did a reading tonight. Your name was mentioned. You command respect in certain circles. I will be up front. When I first left Breadth Recovery , I dropped your name to Mitchell Strover. You mentioned him. During the reading, Mitchell told a couple poets I was familiar with you, and how. I made it clear it was a broach of anonymity to discuss your business. I refused to comment, yet the cat was out of the bag. The men said complementary things. They were concerned about you, wondering what happen to you. One insisting, I must view a movie you made with a director, a one man skit, I do not recall details. One thing, if things advance, your discretion, I understand if you choose to have nothing to do with me. I have done everything to make things about as complex as they can get. Yet saying that, I will assure you in artistic circles I am humble and a good friend. I care nothing about being identified as an artist or writer. Reputation honestly means nothing to me. Artist, to a large degree, I mistrust, believing most damage more people than they inspire. In fact, to the opposite extreme, I find it advantageous for spiritual growth, to keep a serious distance from the pretentious, those attaching too much regard to their identity. I prefer fools—images and ideas detached from identities. Fools and a lack of names are kinder to the soul.
I seek assistance. I have nowhere else I see to go for a specific need. Please be kind, attention is my necessity. You are an extremely intelligent man. The gifts God has graced, I attempt to utilize. I ask nothing except a witness.
I am working with a sponsor. I am doing everything I am supposed to in regards to recovery. I cherish my recovery. Overall a sense of well-being permeates. I wanted to establish the fact before moving forward in true intent. I never felt so positive, so focused, regarding recovery, the eliminating of alcohol from my life, the righting of wrongs psychologically, spiritually, socially, and financially. I hope you feel the same. Above everything, we should honor one another’s recovery, one another’s soul condition. I approach you with the idea of stripping my life of everything, laying bare inner workings, surrendering in every aspect, exposing everything down to the core.
My son, hold fast to your duty, busy yourself with it,
grow old while doing your task.
Admire not how sinners live,
but trust in the Lord and wait for his light;
What, I ask, is more wonderful than the beauty of God? What thought is more pleasing and wonderful than God’s majesty? What desire is as urgent and overpowering as the desire implanted by God in a soul that is completely purified of sin and cries out in its love: I am wounded by love?
St. Basil ‘Detailed Rules for Monks’
It is now the hour for you to wake from sleep. The night is far spent; the day draws near. Let us cast off deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us live honorably as in daylight.
The last quote is from the Divine Office morning reading. It sets up perfectly where I want to go. I am not going to try and be overly clever in approach. I feel good. Everyone comments on how good I look. I am still running. The right words come forward easily, with meaning. However, and I feel you knew this was coming, I cannot sort out what happen to me with Cassandra—a name change.
Abram becomes Abraham when God establishes a covenant. Sari becomes Sarah as God brings forth children from the elderly one, a nation burgeoning. Jacob becomes Israel when God establishes a nation. Binding within a covenant, a name change is significant in scripture. Now a former counselor attains a mythical status as I approach mystically.
I am not trying to be cute or clever. I need to exorcise. My sponsor is an amazingly bright younger man, intense logic and confirmations. I am pursuing further counseling through my Recovery to Work advocate—thinking about dropping all professionals also. I am taking all the steps necessary to ensure proper psychological care is put into action. I still feel the need to turn to you. I understand through talking to Rick Sheehy you are completing fifty-four days in treatment. Be clear, I speak to no one regarding what happen between Cassandra and myself—my sponsor being an exception. Her dignity I will protect. The entire episode is an issue touching the core of my being, a place few are granted access. It is a place I do not fully comprehend myself, the emerging writer finding his place amidst the world. I invite you in, paying tribute to the man observed in rehab and on the internet.
The specific reasons for typing right now to you, in the morning before daily mass, is because of an intense panic attack—an extreme overwhelming demand to go into action. Convinced something was not right with Cassandra, passionate anxiety flooded. However, I cannot approach her. I cannot speak to her. I cannot write to her. I must leave her alone. I accept the matter. It was insane how I conducted myself regarding her. I offer no apologies.
Within the overwhelming effort of recovering from alcoholism, I attribute my insanity to an overall insanity. I came to believe that God could restore me to sanity. I embrace the powerful concept, comprehending that to be restored to sanity is to say I am insane. That awareness is the foundation upon which I turn my life and will over to God. Tonight I meet with my sponsor regarding the fourth step. I am going to daily mass, my prayer life is back.
I have explained my devotions and methods, utilizing the Catholic method of daily prayer: the Divine Office, daily mass, communal Rosary, communication—a one-on-one relationship with a priest. I am doing these things, making every effort to bring sanity into my life. I accept everything I am feeling about Cassandra to be part of the insanity, something my alcoholism, evil, is using to attack the well-being I set into place. I demand to understand it.
Saying all of that I cannot eliminate the penetrating intuition that something is dreadfully wrong with Cassandra. If it is a part of the insanity I am working through I can accept that. If my spiritual perceptions are correct and I did nothing I could not live with that. Whatever it is I am hoping to expose it through my interaction with you. I tried forcefully through my will and effort to reach out to her. It was made obvious, the sheriff becoming involved, that I must leave her alone. It is not out fear from the law, rather respect for her wishes and actions that I will refrain. I heard her command. My intent is not to possess Cassandra, but to ensure her happiness and spiritual welfare. If this is not about her then it is wrong.
The heart of the matter, I am hearing something else in spiritual perception regarding Cassandra. This is what I open to you. Willing and ready to allow what time demonstrates to be the truth. I submit myself completely to your observation, willing to uncover this turmoil I am experiencing. The panic attack was horrible this morning. Something is wrong with her. I feel it so deeply. If it is not, I need to root this feeling out. It was too powerful to ignore. I plead for your help.
This part will become a bit difficult in regards to maintaining dignity and properness. I go into prayer first. Please Harry employ wisdom. I must be honest in order to reveal. God allow me to open myself to Harry in a way that brings understanding to both of us. I offer myself to thee. Let Harry and I get to the core of this situation, make clear Your will. Relieve us both of the bondage of self so that we may be of greater service to others, take away our difficulties in that victory over them may bear witness to Your power, Your love and Your way of life. May we both always do Your will.
Attempting to cleanse in motivation, I want to make clear what happen this morning—the overwhelming panic attack, the sensing of Cassandra’s soul being in serious difficulty. This is demanding upon me. Please be kind in perception, allow me even if I am completely off base, to be granted dignity. Judge by my intent, the behavior allow patience to tender mercy.
I have abstained from sexual activity for over twenty years, something I believe graces through spiritual power, insight shall we say. Regarding self-pleasure, I administer severe restraint. There are moments a powerful abstaining builds to the point of necessary relief. This morning in the early hours around four thirty in the morning, I experienced such a moment. I held thoughts of someone. It is improper and a disrespect, yet I conducted the effort with a complete reaching out to the soul.
Afterwards, resting, reposing to submission, a sense of suffering swept over me. I prayed through it, recalling Frankle’s expounding upon suffering, comprehending in truth my suffering was not so great. Others endure cancer, the loss of a child, debilitating and constant pain, serious mental disabilities—the setbacks life offers are bountiful. Let me, a mistaken fool, not be too arrogant in my sense of suffering. In the grand scheme of things, it is not so great. Let me not take myself too serious. There is a Donovan song from the quirky St Francis movie by Italian director Zeffirelli ‘Brother Sun, Sister Moon’. Follow the words through, a Viktor Frankle message: interior complexities are overcome by going out to the world—self-transcendence leads to greater awareness. Donovan sings:
Brother Sun and Sister Moon
I seldom see you seldom hear your tune
Preoccupied with selfish misery
Brother Wind and Sister Air
Open my eyes to visions pure and fair
That I may see the glory around me.
I am God's creature, of Him I am part
I feel His love awakening my heart.
Brother Sun and Sister Moon
I now do see you, I can hear your tune
So much in love with all that I survey.
I am trying my best to put my thoughts in check. The panic attack cannot be discounted. That was penetrating. Inflicting the punishing awareness something is not right in Cassandra’s soul. I was positive of it, feeling so helpless. Forced to stand, pacing, grasping there is nothing I can do. All I could do was calm myself and pray, while also bringing to mind the fact that it might be nothing more than a part of an insanity I am overcoming. Whatever it is, it has to be dealt with. Overall, I knew she must remain central in my prayer life. She needs spiritual protection.
Overcoming the absolute terror, I discerned I would start corresponding with you, linking through your Facebook page. I had to deal with this through my writing. I am not afraid of revealing the fact I am insane. In fact, I am willing to be exposed, for the sake of declaring what I perceive. Recovery forefront, I have to shed light upon myself. Head bowed, I depart for mass.
I am now at the Kent Library, daily mass completed. Today, Tuesday, starts with a Latin mass, a traditional Tridentine Mass, followed by a litany of prayers, a devotion to St. Anthony of Padua, and of course starting things off a communal Rosary. I would like to note the library’s Art Tatum display to my right. Without prejudice, experiencing your creative efforts, admiring the pianist, it brings comfort. Here was an artist who lived and created through passion. I will borrow from the library several of his CDs.
This morning, the Rosary was led by Elizabeth, a woman suffering from Cerebral Palsy, a native of Kenya. She has a wonderful voice and performs excellently as a prayer leader. Her physical motion is severely hampered, yet she gets herself around with a walker. The church is located on Lagrange Street, St. Adalbert amidst the old Polish district of Toledo. Its Polish roots are extensive.
I have a special friend, Janette, a ninety-four year old woman. I visit her at a nursing home in Oregon, Ohio. She tells me stories about the early days of St. Adalbert, a time gone by. Our connection was made through the Rosary. She used to lead. She would say the first decade of five in English, with alternating decades concluded in Polish. I came to cherish the prayer form. During the Polish, which I knew nothing about, it was time to hold silence. Be still and know that I am God. Staying attuned, Here am I, I became attached to the Rosary prayed in this manner, bonding with St. Adalbert and Janette. Now someone else has entered my prayer life.
Prayer has always been my refuge. The one resource I hold above all others. I mentioned I was stripping my life down to nothing. I am counting on those things that are true and good to reemerge. I am looking myself in the mirror, demanding to know if my ways are errant in perceiving myself as a mystic behind closed doors. Deconstructing I ask, the austere life I lead does it truly lead to spiritual insight? I throw it out to you, that in younger days, I experienced a vision, a diminutive Virgin Mary visiting one night. There have been other moments. It is the reason for my extreme conviction to my faith. I possess no doubt whatsoever. I recognize personal weaknesses, my powerlessness, in regards to a lack of fruition, an incomplete flowering in the fullness of faith, yet that faith is indisputable.
Now Cassandra enters my prayer life. I cannot extract her from my soul. It is bewildering. She is there within my deepest recess. It baffles me. It hurts. No one has ever burrowed there before. I must understand, forced to question my very prayer life. I admit I was reckless I opened the door, allowing her easily inside my deepest form of solace. She never asked for entrance. I simply provided access—careless and irresponsible. I have to be penetratingly honest.
During rehab, I was praying with her in my heart, mentally holding her hand while opening myself to my deepest moments, not acknowledging even to myself what I was doing. Most hurtfully, I must admit I was trying to force my will upon God, trying to manipulate God to grant me her heart, to give Cassandra’s hand to me. Now do I suffer from my errant ways? Or was there a reason for the first time in my life someone became so entrenched?
I think of my family, my sons. I have to call them to consciousness in order to pray to them or through them. I can tangibly bring them into being yet it is an effort. The brothers from the Friary, praying amongst them in the chapel, seated at my choir stall, reciting and chanting the Divine Office, I could feel my brothers at times. Father David, a powerful spiritual presence, our leader, I could feel, yet that was induced by a physicality, a nearness of body and voice. With Cassandra, since my time of release from rehab, and after the stupid handwritten letter you read, she is there. I do not have to call her up, nor can I remove her. She is flat out present. If it is insanity, then I must expose it for what it is. I must be rid of it, if it came into being through errant ways.
I reflect upon my time in rehab. Cassandra established the room across the hall from her office as a library, a quiet room dedicated to reading and meditation, a special place for men to spend time alone in quiet contemplation. I took to the room as my prayer room. Outside the window, kneeling or sitting, I could observe a large concrete wall sculpture of Our Holy Mother. I mentioned this in the mailed letter to you Harry. The room became a powerful refuge, a place of solace and contemplation. Did I error in my prayer life by situating myself across from Cassandra’s office, in the library provided by her, reading her nameplate upon her door entering and exiting the prayer room?
She became a part of my prayer life and now I cannot extract her. Is it all insanity? I need to discover what is behind everything. Right now at the library, and I will touch on this in a moment, I am fine. This morning I was out of my mind. I want reality to emerge regarding Cassandra. Everything was too powerful and extraordinary. Back to rehab, investigating, being honest, her presence in my prayer life was simply an escalation of her presence in my daily routine. I was performing for her in everything I did. Running on the treadmill, she was there watching, my constant audience.
How did I go from not dating in eight years, to allowing a woman into my interior life so deeply? The dating experience ended without incident. Hanna, a librarian, did not want to get involved with any one due to a recent divorce and trouble with her teenage son. It was no big deal. I still see her socially. We exchange hugs. What in the world is with the madness involving Cassandra? How did I go from such stark solitariness to having someone, a professional in my life, so firmly planted into my soul?
Slow down drama queen. Be honest. Think of your Lavinias. Though you do not fantasize about a future with either, you keep them very close to your heart, and daily deeds. It is not often you are without either one’s presence. It comforts you immensely to keep them close to your heart. Even if not communicating, they are accessible to you emotionally. Acknowledging them, I easily comprehend neither has entered the interior of my prayer life. I have to call them into being to access them while immersed in prayer.
I am going to end this Harry. I do not want to ramble. I have a story and poetry I want to work on. What I want to establish in this first approach is the fact I want to expose myself to you over time. I will submit, only through prayer and moments of intense feelings that I am called. I had to write this to you today. It had to be done for the sake of sanity. An intelligent artist, I think you will understand. Recognizing a poet, I will submit a poem to you. I have not written it yet, although ideas came strongly during morning mass and prayers.
Trust me, I am struggling mightily through prayer, turning everything over, begging for relief, the elimination of obstacles, the removal of an individual. Through humility, surrendering, and powerlessness, it actually adds to the solemnity of my efforts. Ironically, prayer partners observing are amazed. After rehab, I come so strongly back in to prayer. I catch them watching. I am so confident, assured, and purpose driven. They observe a man reduced to the Open Door, following a two month stay in rehab, a man battling alcoholism, and I think it stuns them to see me so filled by the Holy Spirit. That is the truth, not at errant perception.
There is a woman I admire, a strong Catholic conservative homeschooler, raising twelve children. Her children specialize in serving during the Latin mass. The entire family is fluent in Latin liturgical matters. The woman is crazy smart, so filled with thoughts when speaking it takes restraint on her part to contain the amount of words spilling forth. Some consider her an insane fanatic. All respect her piety and children. She waited for me to leave today, in order to say good morning, expressing how pleased she was to see me. I have been catching her watching. How could I not notice two of her younger ones running and playing before me as I concluded prayers? She knows something is going on, something deeper than a man struggling with alcoholism. I smiled to her. It is a matter of time before she corners me. I can feel it.
What others don’t know, observing me praying, and celebrating God, is the fact my extreme nature is truly battling everything internally happening through Cassandra. It is important to understand. I know I must keep silent, allowing time to work matters out. If it is insanity so be it. Though the suffering is sincere, acute and immense, I am feeding off of everything; amplifying my spirituality and creative efforts. This is no joke. It is producing magnificent, even if somber, results. I cannot stop now. Thank you for allowing me to visualize you as an audience. It means a lot. Be kind.
There was a term presented to me through AA. The term comes from a controversial man Gene Horst. Loud, a self-anointed AA guru, nonjudgmentally stating a homosexual, he proposes the idea of inbred knowledge tainting the rooms of AA. Inbred knowledge stunts the growth of individuals. Let me recruit you on the idea. I understand what he is saying, as I think you will also. Inbred knowledge refers to people absorbing AA knowledge without conviction, the knowledge actually deforming spiritual growth. As inbreeding deforms through birth, the individuals acquire the means to thrive within the rooms of AA, however their social and spiritual skills are demented. In truth, when they should be in the back of the room remaining silent, not polluting the minds of newcomers, they are forefront damaging with no reserve or conscious. I think anyone who has thoroughly experienced AA rooms can appreciate the idea, can see the necessity of acknowledging the idea.
I present the idea in order to demonstrate a point. The effort I extend to you, inbred knowledge would shut down. Spouting indisputable words, it would thoughtlessly resort to the easy path, detouring from the one less traveled. Truth, spiritual growth demands more, a bit of insanity, pushing past norms, fearlessly treading into the unknown. It is obvious as a Catholic, I submit to the hierarchy of the Church, the authority of others as guides and instructors due to the fact insanity can destroy one, eternally damning, yet I recognize the need to extend past societal norms to experience enlightenment. Nobody said it would be easy.
It is a serious game I embark upon. Sincerely, within the deepest honesty, I demand intensely. In my deepest prayer moments everything is calling me not to let Cassandra go. I present it to you, understanding possibly I am wrong, I have misinterpreted everything. I will not allow the possibility of being wrong to stop me when my conviction is so strong. Without questioning, I hear her authoritative demand to stay away. Once again, I honor her command. Yet to the place I go the deepest something strongly tells me not to go away. In fact, it tells me she calls. To be patient, do the right things, keep her close in your heart, and embrace her tightly within your prayers. She needs you.
Always ending in prayer. “In the Name of God, most merciful and most compassionate. May His will be accomplished.”
James A. Hofbauer
I finished the poem, two parts, not able to move on to the story. I committed that I would only approach you if I sincerely felt a call. I did not, yet I feel this is not complete. There is more I must spill forward. I was flippant earlier, in a good mood from mass, plus the Kent library is a favorite place to write. Several of the librarians I am familiar with. I enjoy the public environment, children coming and going, acting disorderly, the human traffic I find inspiring.
I do not think I have expressed properly how troubled I am by what happen with Cassandra. The dimension broadens to spiritual matters—hence the mythical name change—touching upon the Anima the female, creative aspect of the inner unconscious self. It is not just the sobering up. It is not being lovesick. It is not about Cassandra. While embracing so many levels, the deeper it goes the truer it becomes. Something tremendously powerful happened, is happening, centered upon the ordeal. I considered suicide, easily dismissing, yet shocked at the authenticity of desire, and the fact nothing ever truly happened between Cassandra and myself—perplexing to the highest degree. Name an emotion and you will find it boiling in the cauldron of my time since realizing I must make a play for Cassandra: fear, anger, shame, remorse, excitement….It has completely overwhelmed me emotionally, and spiritually—strangely in both negative and positive aspects, extremes in every regard. I cannot even figure out how everything happened. I am honestly bewildered. It is penetratingly and absurdly real.
My sponsor, an intensely intelligent young man, early forties, spoke to me about when he first sobered up. He told me how he was writing these lengthy letters, rambling apologies and explanations to friends and families; day after day, mailing all these letters to people. In his kindness, utilizing his penetrating insight, he was explaining to everyone how he had changed, while gracing them with the understanding of the part they played in his demise. Once the letters were mailed, he was filled with extreme shame. He responded by writing more letters to explain the initial letters which led to more shame. More letters erupted until finally he was reduced to such powerlessness, he could no longer write a letter. He had to stop writing letters or he knew he would take his insanity to a depth he could not afford.
He looked me deep in the eye after telling the story. What could I do, but admire the man, feeling providence guided me to him. I heard him speak at a meeting, and for the first time in my lengthy experience in AA intuition told me to approach the man about working together. I want to present to you an e-mail I sent to him. I think it will allow insight, help you to comprehend how thrown off track I am regarding everything involving Cassandra. It also demonstrates my commitment to truly deconstructing my life, disassembling my ways and attitudes—constructing from ground zero.
E-mail to Andrew.
I have been writing at the Kent Branch library. After a solid hour and a half of working, I looked up and there is a younger librarian watching me, looking my way. I am familiar with the librarians, joking and friendly with the ones close to the public computers. This young lady is new. I smile and she returns the effort. I observe her, attractive in appearance. Feminine in make-up and attire, the pleasantly plumb young lady captures my attention. I ask for her assistance, inquiring how I can print from my laptop. Polite, professional, smelling of perfume, I looked deeply into her eyes as she assists me. I was testing myself. A deep longing emerges. She is pretty, so bubbly, and excited to help. I remain professional, not allowing her to develop an awareness of how complex I am internally making the moment. She goes overboard assisting. Once everything is setup, she allows me to print without paying a fee.
I spent the time with the librarian observing myself. Something has happened since rehab. I am so off center around women. I am not in a position to answer. I ask though: was it all Andrea? Is it sobering up? Do I have too much free time, so much focusing upon myself in recovery that it is becoming detrimental? It amazes me that as I reflected the young librarian, sitting directly behind me, walked away from her desk. Panic seized me as she moved away. I fear her departing. I went back to the Open Door for lunch. I decided to return to the library, to test myself some more around the young lady. Returning, I discovered she was no longer working. Disappointed, I took to writing. I was struck with the reality that possibly I might not be mentally stable enough to be around an attractive female, at this time.
The young librarian comes back. She was out to lunch. I am relieved to see her, yet not preoccupied. I am putting in check the way I interact and treat women. What I did to Cassandra was so absolutely demented. This is a proper test. I am comforted merely by the librarian’s presence, knowing I can look up and she is there. I must be able to be around an attractive woman without fantasying, even to innocently run personal scenarios through my mind is not appropriate.…to practice these principles in all of our affairs. I have been celibate, yet I treat women immaturely, teasing and mentally playing with them if they are willing. It is reckless behavior, a demanding and fragile attitude. I want to change my attitude toward women completely. What happen with Cassandra has roots I am not extracting.
I want to stop looking at women in public places, leering, believing they are taking pleasure in being admired. It is not about them. It is about me—the sanity of not carelessly expelling energy. I am going to look to my sponsor for inspiration regarding the attitude change. My first lunch with Andrew at Rick’s Diner marked me. I identify a deeper meaning to the event, impressed with Andrew when he made the point he does not enjoy looking at lascivious women. He erred in this regard when younger, therefore he now puts defensive measures into action. He did not place himself in harm’s way. The waitress at Rick’s, a stunningly beautiful young blonde, sexy in erotic pantyhose, truly served a demeaning purpose for all of us in regards to fulfilling our deeper purposes in life. She was a pleasant woman, yet all the trappings were there for improprieties, and the fact she was sincerely sweet and nice even made the dangers greater.
I am utilizing Andrew to further the psychic change in regards to my attitude towards women in his harsh remark regarding Andrea. I mentioned that if she were here right now she would find something amusing. I forget details—not important. The point was I assumed I knew her mind based upon previous experiences. Andrew stressed people change in their feelings. What I did was extremely serious. Her feelings have every right to change toward me. In reflection, he might have been right in two serious regards. First, where I thought she would be amused if she were there—still obsessing about her as an audience, he said maybe if you are involved in anything her first thought is to call the sheriff. Digest that one fully. You know yourself, and sometimes when writing you scare yourself. Imagine the way she could have taken everything. You go on instinct, not fearing to be perceived as insane, yet she is elegantly naïve; smart, classy and sophisticated, not a street smart person, nor hell-bent upon enlightenment type either.
That leads to another Andrew comment. He said I disrespected Cassandra, looking down upon her intelligence. Something, I did not consider. I self-righteously, arrogantly assumed I was doing her a favor when I diagnosed her strengths and weaknesses, analyzing her. Maybe she honestly sees herself differently. Possibly, where I sincerely saw a broken, unfulfilled, purposeless, needy, insecure woman, she saw a confident, intelligent, fulfilled purpose driven woman. It does not matter who is right if the difference exist. Let’s face it my assessment is a harsh pill for anyone to swallow. If the difference exists, it is a severe problem. She has a legitimate reason to despise me. Turn the table, swap roles. What if she analyzed me? How would I feel, especially if I thought her opinions were not valid. I must accept the fact where I thought I was doing her a favor, I may have been completely insulting her. I made the comment in one e-mail: Sweetie, whatever you are doing for romance is not working. Really? You don’t think that presented the possibility of totally pissing her off?
I will from this time forward, consciously, change my public behavior toward women. It is an amends I can make for the Andrea situation. To treat women as God’s children, created in the likeness and image of God, is sincerely practicing these principles in all my affairs. It is not cute to tease and flirt with women. I did not do this with Andrea. In fact, I never thought about her in an overtly sexual manner at all. Her dignity in this sense I always have and do respect. She is truly a noble lady. I exploited her by emotionally dumping on her, demanding an insane amount of response. I absolutely had no right. Women who enjoy flirting and being perceived sexually are the type of women I should be avoiding if I want to grow spiritually. Women like Andrea, I must learn to make friends with--to grow spiritually with. They are truly my sisters in Christ.
Finally, I turn to my Catholic devotion to St. Joseph—husband, father, provider of the holy family. Joseph married a woman pregnant, informed she was miraculously impregnated. He loved and cared for the most blessed amongst women. He raised Christ, the Divine Son of God. A humble simple blue-collar worker, he never complained or strove for more than he could attain. He kept his expectations simple, not coveting, bragging, or dominating, while always handling his responsibilities, working with attention, devotion, and care. He did not fulfill the insanity the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions defines on page 76: Living upon a basis of unsatisfied demands, we were in a state of continual disturbance and frustration. St. Joseph is an excellent example of the proper use of self-will for a man, a profound inspiration in regards to fulfilling our true purpose in life, a man who kept his demands reasonable and met his responsibilities.
Catholic prayer: St Joseph, father and guardian of virgins, to whose faithful keeping Christ Jesus, innocence itself, and Mary the virgin of virgins, were entrusted, I pray and beseech thee by that twofold and most precious charge, by Jesus and Mary, to save me from all uncleanness, to keep my mind untainted, my heart pure, and my body chaste; and to help me always to serve Jesus and Mary in perfect chastity. Amen.
Final note and I will leave you alone. That e-mail is older. Since that time I have introduced myself to the young lady. Her name is Grace. If you ever go to the Kent library you will see she is a wonderful young lady. I am using her as a gauge. She is a woman I am attracted to, yet desire nothing from. That means I do not speculate about her thoughts, sexually fantasize about her, nothing. The young lady deserves her space. That also means that I enjoy seeing her. That she is a part of my writing world when I go to Kent library, just as the other librarians are. I have fun teasing with her in an innocent way, sharing my joy when I work after morning mass. It is a time I am always elated, overflowing with the Holy Spirit. That I will share with her.
I cannot stress how much everything that happened with Cassandra has absolutely discombobulated me. It is good in the sense it helps me deconstruct myself, yet it is extremely demoralizing. In an egotistical sense, I worry that in reality it was nothing more than a serious fuck up, an extremely wayward effort by a man doing nothing more than embracing sobriety and reality. The spiritual thing I am concentrated upon, while acknowledging a part of me is desiring to attach something special to my absurd behavior in order to justify it. It too easily fits into an artistic nature. No matter how unique everything has been, it still is nothing special. Possibly something I felt so strongly is nothing more than self-will run riot. Even the invasion of my prayer life, my most sacred sanctuary, could be a false alarm.
The panic attack this morning was intense, and it is not the first time I have felt her calling in a spiritual sense. There is no doubt, I take great pride in my mystical side. There is no doubt, I humbly feel blessed in the arena of prayer. Contemplatively, I can go deep, driving within and toward God strongly and with tremendous passion. However, I have to create the space to be wrong regarding Cassandra. Everyone involved deserves it. If I feel as strongly about her as I do, I have to respect the fact that like my sponsor, the only right thing I can do is to leave her alone.
This is from what many, including myself, interpret as powerfully mystical writing. The Canticle of Canticles (Song of Solomon) is properly understood when the lovers are seen as God and a mystic intertwining. Through prayer and meditation, a mystic goes to God as a lover goes to his beloved.
The voice of my beloved, behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills….Behold my beloved speaketh to me: Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come.
The Twelve and Twelve literature tells me in the Step Ten chapter: Nothing pays off like restraint of tongue and pen….When we are tempted by the bait, we should train ourselves to step back and think. For we can neither think nor act to good purpose until the habit of self-restraint has become automatic. I cannot do it Harry. Please forgive me. I have to write this all down.
Rereading, I am going to write more, amazed how much I put down yesterday. Harry, you do not know me. You have no idea how out of the ordinary this is for me. I detached so much from life. I cannot believe I am going through this. I am out of my fucking mind. My sponsor is really special, able to assist me, treating this thing seriously, penetratingly insightful, while being realistic. He went through some difficult times. One thing I admire in the man is the fact it is obvious he fought hard for his sanity and peace of mind.
Sobriety did not come difficult for him. Sanity was the problematic thing. In order to manage sanity, to find God, he had to trudge through hell. Starting sobriety as an atheist, he detailed vividly how in early sobriety he reached the logical conclusion he had the right to kill his neighbor. He sought the assistance of legal authorities, not attaining desired results, so therefore he was going to take matters into his own hands. Since his neighbor continued violating his legal rights, stealing from him, tampering with his mail, he concluded he had the right to defend himself. He had the right to kill his neighbor. He did not want the legal complications so first he took matters to his sponsor. Obviously, his sponsor was seriously taken aback, stressing they had to go right back to step one, the idea of powerlessness and unmanageability. You would have to meet the young man to appreciate his sincerity and seriousness.
It is a blessing to be able to utilize his intellect. No one else I want to, nor can, bring into the picture. You are an exception. There is another. I will meet with her tomorrow. She knew about everything, informed by Breadth Recovery. Your name was brought up, due to my mailing the letter to you. I am even pissed I am involving you. Yet I trust in God that you serve a purpose, even if that purpose is to right my ship by being harsh. I hope it is not a weak excuse to say, I think you understand the mind of an artist, an eccentric, and that I am. I do respect honesty, the voice of those who can penetrate. I am asking to be smacked down if that is what I deserve. The woman I meet with tomorrow has been kind, insightful herself. I do not seek those who will take my side. I opt for those who opt for truth, able to induce healing. Her name is Sandra Kay King. She is my job developer.
Back to my sponsor, one thing that moved me was his willingness to work with the fact I am consumed with the idea of Cassandra moving into my prayer life, a spiritual connection being established. I was embarrassed to admit to the truth, yet it came out in the natural flow of our conversation. Unearthed, he worked with it, stressing he came to respect, trust, and value prayer and spiritually connecting to people. He did not dismiss the matter simply because it was sensational. He informed me as a professional counselor, he prayed and tried to spiritually connect with all his patients, praying especially intensely for those he perceived obstinately resistant and reluctant. Concretely, he stated he must guide individuals to the will of God through the will of God. He stressed this was the true task of exercising one’s faith. Making the profound point, that he would grant me the spiritual connection to Cassandra—due to a prayer life possessing great breadth, praying across from her office, in the library she established, holding her to my heart throughout my efforts, she became entrenched within my soul—however, and this is the key, my actions in response to the act were not the will of God. My actions (e-mails), thoughts, emotional turmoil, were not the proper use of my will power.
My will power was not aligned with God’s. Sanctifying grace freely given can be misused. Going into action, the one receiving grace can error when self-will dominates resulting thoughts and behavior. Allied with the Holy Spirit, remaining in a state of grace, the soul may freely enter into communion, into action, only through love. Self-will manipulating cannot force the hand of love, or the planting of a seed. The word freely must be understood. Imposing the soul into action through any means not motivated by love can only produce enslavement. Erroneously, consequences will be impure, tainted, lacking in freedom, due to the demands bringing them into existence. No matter how pure my feelings for Cassandra were, nothing fruitful, especially regarding the romantic depths I aspired to take matters, could occur through my insane methods. By their fruits you shall know them. Intending to move a young lady’s heart and mind I truly adored, the sheriff being notified was truthfully not producing sweet fruit. I am grateful for Andrew’s challenging feedback.
Do you see why the young man’s keen intellect is such a benefit to me? He was perfectly on target. He was going to give me the spiritual connection. He respected the fact that sincerely I perceived, felt something deeply spiritual regarding Cassandra. Willing to concede possibly I had a gift in this direction. He gave me the right to feel a connection to her soul, while not making me feel the fool. What he was not willing to do was to allow me to act irrationally based upon my spiritual perceptions. That is a serious spiritual guide, someone speaking my language to the deepest harmony. If what I felt was true, I still had to work through powerlessness, still I had to turn everything over to God. The e-mails were not aligned with God. Extreme spiritual perception did not grant the right of self-will running recklessly riot. If prayer is my strength, my vital connection to God, that is where I must go.
The exchange gave me proper exorcism. It wasn’t clichés spewed from inbred knowledge. What happen to me was serious, something extraordinary for myself. I had to deal with it in the serious manner it is dealing with me. My sponsor stressed that I viewed the matter a spiritual plane, yet I insanely came at Cassandra in a demented romantic way, a desperate patient coming on to his counselor. I did not approach her, through a God inspired tendering to her soul that I was now placing before him. How could I argue? I could say you did not read all the e-mails, yet overall he was right. There is nothing I can do, but go away. Prayer remains. The complications I put into place through ignorance cannot be undone. To pursue is to not only remain insane, but to bring trouble with the law into my life.
I am finding it is important to find who I can allow access to my recovery right now. It is even dangerous reaching out to you. Prayerfully, it will come to no harm. The positive possibilities allowed to flower. I have been around enough people in recovery to identify those who honestly possess skills. Accepting blame, I am still amazed how Breadth Recovery so quickly turned on me. Nobody speaking to me eye to eye, no one really interested in understanding what occurred. I honestly believe Breadth Recovery employed no one able to accurately deal with the situation. My sponsor, a professional counselor, although our relationship is through AA, does possess such acute skills. I was comforted when he said ‘wow Breadth Recovery really handled that whole thing poorly’. I did too much good at Breadth Recovery just to write me off, to send me off to potentially kill myself. This is a dangerous and difficult game as I am sure you understand. One has to be deeply solicitous in discerning who one can trust. For the paid to error is nothing more than a professional misstep. For an alcoholic or addict, it could mean death.
Enough. Silence. God please settle my heart. I wrote a Marian prayer. Oh Mother, Undoer of Knots, ease my burdens so I can be of greater service to my brothers and sisters. Do not allow self-inflicted misery to lash me so tightly into paralysis that I prove useless to others. Help me, through the inspiration of your love, Holy Mother, to become useful and whole, grace me with wisdom through the turmoil I find myself embroiled within. Release my selfish heart so it can join in union with your Holy Son, my Savior and Truth, in thought, deed, and word.
I will post two of the poems I read last night at the end of this extremely, insanely, long letter, possibly apropos a diatribe. The poem is negative in my mind. Although aesthetically effective, cathartic, I go to poetry when I need to expel. To write it down and verbalize it is to release it, to purify me, to some extent at least.
I am putting everything I have been spewing out since rehab into a book. It is powerful, even if disturbing. I hope you as a writer, can see the explosion occurring. It is not pleasant, yet is bursting forth with purpose. I see it as an excellent overview of a mind sincerely wrestling with the first ninety days of sobriety, a self-revealing psychological expose.
It has been a day since I put this all down. Today during mass, another potent experience, I am truly peaking spiritually, I felt blessed. She was not there. I am thankful for I prayed hard for her to be removed from my deepest regions. I hope you show compassion in regards that this was something overpowering for me. I was not playing with Cassandra. What I went through was deeply troubling. Obviously, I think. I am convinced she is a special woman, yet it had more to do with me. You are intelligent, a genius, if you need to think so. I think you will understand.
Still, I hold an ace card in reserve, waiting, continuing to observe for stirrings of her in my soul. I myself hold to my arrogance. I say anyone who rocked my world so strongly is someone special. Cassandra to affect me so deeply says something about her. Maybe she is a book waiting to blossom. I am convinced I can assist in the blooming.
Insanity Part One
Having never arrived, you left a wicked fiend upon my brow,
I didn’t know a headache could be so penetrating,
Coward, go away in your incompleteness,
I cannot stand the thought of you,
Your beauty hurts,
Your quintessence the most.
Don’t you dare reach into that purse,
Speaking of the need for an extra pair of socks.
How can you do such little things,
With a complete lack of awareness of their immensity.
Leave me to the mess underneath the sheen of your psychosis,
I can feel it and it hurts,
It calls to me,
I want to heal it.
Here I am.
I am hurt,
Open to oblivion,
Open to my own debris filtered through the years of accumulation,
After so much detachment,
For it was never healthy denial,
A false mistreatment of consciousness expanding tools,
Stimulation is arousing in ways decimating,
Flinching, twitching, spasmodically moving in moments of prayer,
Stillness is not about after you came unmerrily prancing through,
Unable to speak, it was a wonder you made it to the microphone,
Now I speak solemn, reading the Old Testament for distraction,
Fearlessly pursuing the dreaded foe of internal combustion,
Breaking the back of deeds casting on in to darkness,
Recklessly, I called for this and it hurts,
Provoke, bold and woeful.
Antagonize, powerless and meek.
Advance barely crawling,
Cry and weep without a sound,
Through numbness awake,
On in to the nothingness of profundity.
Swathed in an armor of penetrating light,
Wielding a mighty doubled edged sword,
Cut and gouge on in to the madness of displacement,
Induce the necessary havoc of transcendence,
Listen not to the voices on in to unknowing,
Left or right, it matters not,
On in to,
Up or down, pay no heed.
On in to,
Strip it all down,
On in to,
Perfection in misdeeds.
Take everything barren to the bone,
The nothingness of abandoned inner refinement.
Penetrate the assimilation within conception,
It wasn’t so hard when you were young.
Of course nativity assisted the crumbling of dreams,
Root on in to the birthing of well-fed ignorance,
Religiously intent, soothingly divine, splendidly reposed.
Insanity my guest, forced upon, left behind.
Insanity Part Praised
On in to
I dug a pit for my self
I dove into my self
Insanity my plea
Thy will lead
On in to
Bursting through emotion
On in to
Scream for release.
Libera nos domine.
Always end with a prayer: May the compassion of God enlighten, and his anger settle upon mercy.