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El Loco Llegar


Ah, my favorite subject, about which I seem to ramble on and on, investigating all the past, wondering about the future, and searching for the answer to the question that I had not yet properly formulated.  How else to work hard and not get to the point, and more importantly, the answer?

And so, let me summarize where I am right now, which is where I have been many times before, which is:  The Answer.

The Answer, no matter what the question, is to stop attempting to solve a seeming problem by repeating the same process that has failed to answer the question before, many times, and that is:   "Stop Drinking Alcohol."

However, I have an agile Irish temperament and flexible mind, and like to play with ideas and thoughts, always intending to find the answer buried somewhere in my distant past, amongst the dark corners, cobwebs, rusty memories, and uncompleted actions from my very fluid and gradually fading past.   

I prefer to remember my past as a story to be told, sometimes accurately, sometimes embellished to make me look better and smarter than I am, with a bit of humor to take the edge off the dark canyons that I have tried many times to leap over, mostly unsuccessfully.

However, I have succeeded at many other things (I say to myself), and shouldn't that count for something?  I mean, give a guy a chance, for crying out loud!  (I also concurrently and parenthetically wonder where that old phrase came from.)  And then I realize this is all pop-cockery, bullshit, and deflection.   I have always - always - come to the conclusion when the inevitable failure happens, that the only way to stop is to - wait for it - actually stop; really STOP.

So simple, so hard.  I have tried every method, system, and process to do just that, except the only one that works:   Simply, Completely, and Fully Stop.  And so with lots of "encouragement" from Liz, I did do that, and have continued for two months as I write this in the early part of November, 2021.   I intend to continue in the same direction forever, or until I get a sign from God.   (She is a very crafty and somewhat obtuse God, in my experience, and speaks often in parables.)

That is it, and that is what I did and am doing.   It was not even hard, nor difficult, because "this time" I really meant it.  I mean, I really meant it.  Lots was at stake:  My health, my relationships, my attitude, and my life.   That seemed to be enough, at least for now, and with good fortune and a solid commitment, that is what I did, and will continue to do.

And so I, after much reflection, inner work, and a major attitudinal shift, decided that the easiest way was to always remember not to have a glass, jar, bottle, dropper, or syringe of alcohol enter my lips and allow the alcohol to proceed down my gullet to my stomach.  What had I not thought of that before, I recall wondering.

And so I did, and in fact I stopped, and with a bit (okay, a whole lot) of commitment, it worked beautifully.

The problem is:   Stopping is easy; staying stopped is quite difficult and hard.  The devil is invariably, and always, always, in the details.  However, it is self-reinforcing, since I have discovered a "self" that I did not think possible:   light, playful, content, open, funny, perceptive, and happy.  I write this so that I can refer to it when the "devil" comes lurking, which he/she/it will invariably do, and I will have a reminder.  Hopefully I will listen to me, this time.

It has been pure bliss since - this is not an exaggeration - and I came into a place within myself that I had almost never visited before.  As I write this, it has been maybe two months since that time, and I think I might be on to something.

Now, my mind was saying, why did that not happen that way before?  Well, there is this entity we humans have called a "mind," which should never be confused with a "brain."

And so, as a reasonably good - if old - engineer, I decided to actually look up a definition or two in the time honored spirit of cognitive scientific research, and here is what I found, literally, from my old friends, Mr. Merriam and Mr. Webster and all the editors following in their wake:

      Brain:  An organ of soft nervous tissue contained in the skull of vertebrates, functioning as the coordinating center of sensation and intellectual and nervous activity.

      Mind:  The element or complex of elements in an individual that feels, perceives, thinks, wills, and especially reasons.

I then began to see the problem.   It was clear as a bell.  It was the epistemic difference between "thinking" and "doing."  And it was also right out of Werner Erhard's "est training," now modified and reconstituted as the Landmark Forum.  (This is a shameless plug; check it out.)  I received great value from all of his programs, and they continue after many years (through my memory) to produce remarkable and impressive breakthroughs in mine and even everyone's abilities to make a huge difference in both their professional and personal lives.  And you may therefore consider this a hard-core sales pitch, although I never was, nor am I now, on the payroll - always an unpaid volunteer.   

What I have experienced in this last period is a greatly improved ability to communicate, a huge reduction in worry and effort about accomplishing what I wanted to do, a seeming levity and lightness in the face of adversity, and a much closer relationship with the people and even animals and plants with whom I came in contact (truthfully, and said as an engineer).

My mood is lighter, more playful, I talk about twice as fast (no more southern drawl, it seems), I seem to think more quickly and accurately, and I have much more levity, openness, and am light hearted about most things.  When on those rare occasions I get angry, it is sudden, penetrating, strikingly focused, does not demolish my protagonist, and disappears immediately.   Should this be mental illness, I am happy that I have found it, as my relationships have improved greatly.  And my most important relationship - with my Self - has blossomed and come to full fruition - so far.

In short, I became the person I always thought I could be, wanted to be, but thought not possible.  Life has been a joy to experience, my sleep has been much sounder and better, my dreams are wonderfully pleasant, and almost ecstatic.  I had never experienced this before, except perhaps as a young child, and yet it was a place and experience that I knew might be possible, but not likely to be achieved in this man's lifetime.  Sounds sort of like a pitch for a new drug, I suppose, and likely it is, in fact.  Free, awesome, and readily available, with a bit (okay, perhaps a lot) of commitment and purpose.

I would not trade this life for any other that I have yet experienced, and I recall wondering as a child if something like this was really possible.  And as I re-read this, it seems unbelievable to this engineer steeped in hard data and raw experience, but it is what has actually has happened, and does not appear to be transitory, at least for now.   When the old me reasserts its ugly head, I pat it kindly, smile, and ask that he go away from me.  As the old sarcastic joke goes:  "Now I get high on life."   I have become as a child, once more, and am forever grateful.  The devil, however, continues to lurk in shadowy and dusty corners, mostly in my memory, but he is now my friend and protector, not my adversary.

And if it all goes away, so be it.  At least I experienced this bliss at some point, it was real, I remember it, and shall always be appreciative, regardless of what happens in the future.

And so there it is, hiding in plain sight, as always.  Who knew?