Friday, May 15, 2015


I've been feeling down for a while now, and I know some of it is stemming from my injury.  My life was starting to be slightly content after so much upheaval last year, and then bam!  Invalid.

(for anyone that doesn't know, I broke my left shoulder in March.)

I had started to rely on exercise to help keep me sane (and sober), and for the last two months I'd been unable to even take walks, because any sustained repetitive movement jostled my left arm too much and left me in pain.  Plus, feeling completely helpless in many daily routine tasks does nothing for the ego.

Thankfully, yesterday my physical therapist cleared me to start walking again.  So, there's that. But I still have many weeks, if not months, left of physical therapy before I'll have full use of my left arm again.

I find lately that old destructive thought patterns have begun seeping back into my brain and it scares me.  Back in March when I first injured my shoulder, the doctor wanted to prescribe me pain meds.  Of course my addict brain squealed in delight but I turned it down (how's that for growth?) knowing it would only end up with me spiraling out of control again.  I've relied on nothing but Advil and ice/heat to get me through this.

Going forward with physical therapy, it's going to get a lot more painful because the soft tissue around the bone and joint have become frozen and we're going to have to manipulate my arm quite forcefully to loosen things up.  So my brain has been trying to convince me that I NEED painkillers now.  Real painkillers.  Narcotic painkillers.  The kind of painkillers that I used to buy illegally and snort or inject.

This, of course, must not happen.  I know I'm not strong enough in my recovery yet to be able to take pills as prescribed.  Doesn't stop my brain from working in overdrive, though.  And the depression is intensifying those thoughts, looking for relief.

I don't think I'm in any real danger of relapse.....which means that I'm probably in trouble because it's always the times when I'm most complacent that I slip up.  So I'm reaching out to my sponsor and my support system to keep me in check (this includes you, dear readers).  I have no intention of diving back into that pit of hell, as appealing as it might be some days.

So that's what I'm dealing with at the moment.  Taking it day by day and doing everything I can to get this damn arm healed, which unfortunately involves a lot of waiting and patience!  (not things I'm good at, lol)  I want to get back into writing even if it's just word vomit.  I miss blogging.

Catch you on the flip side, as my lovely friend Tai says.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Blogophilia 51.7 Lessons From The First Year

As of today, I have been clean and sober for one year.  

It's been a helluva year.  If you're a friend or have been reading me for awhile, you can understand the significance of this victory.  

What does the first year of sobriety look like from the inside?  

1.  Expect to cry.  A lot.  If you're a man and think crying is for wimps and women, take note:  crying is a human thing, not a gender or a strength thing.  Man up, and just let those sweet emotions fly.

2.  The world, and your life, does not get better or easier if you're sober.  What changes is your ability to navigate the shit and make it through to the other side without completely derailing.  A lot of addicts think that if they get sober, life will automatically be rainbows and unicorns.....and when rainbows and unicorns fail to materialize, they give up and pick back up.  What they don't realize is that the rainbows and unicorns take the shape of staying employed.  Not having to take constant piss tests.  Waking up not hungover or shaking in need of a fix.  Not having to wonder how you're going to rob Peter to pay Paul in order to buy drugs that day.  Seeing that you actually have $20 or $30 leftover from your paycheck after all your bills are paid, and you can use that extra to put away, or pay for something nice for yourself, instead of heading straight to your dealer.  

3.  This isn't just some quadragesimal vacation, this is for life.  Yeah, we say "one day at a time" and "just for today" because the thought of never taking another hit of your drug of choice for the rest of your life is way too much of a mind fuck to contemplate when newly sober.......but deep down, we know it has to be for life.  There is no such thing as a "time out" for your addiction.  I tried to play that game for 20 years.  I went back and forth, back and forth, endlessly trying to pretend that I could control it, jumping from sobriety to using, sobriety to using.  Where did it get me?  Twenty years older, in ill health, bad finances, and suicidal.  After hundreds of attempts at staying sober, I finally committed to the change that needed to come from inside.

4.  Your friends aren't really your friends.  Addicts don't like to be alone, they congregate towards each other like a moth to the flame.  They become your new family.  You laugh together, cry together, and weather the storm together......but try and leave the fold, and they'll turn on you like a pack of rabid dogs.  They don't want you to get well, they want you to stay there in the pit, with them, because they aren't ready to make that change themselves and they're too selfish to want to see you succeed without them.  Especially if you're romantically involved with an addict that doesn't want to get clean with you.  Expect much drama, tears, sleepless nights, broken car windows, and being on the edge of giving in and going back.  Sobriety can be a very lonely road, until you make new friends.

5.  You aren't immortal.  When you get sober, you'll have to face the sad fact that you have abused your physical body to the Nth degree, and maybe possibly, to the point of no return.  If you're lucky, you will have done nothing more than simple time, abstinence, and a healthy lifestyle can't fix.  If you're not so lucky, then you need to live with the consequences...and still make the commitment to staying sober.  This can sometimes be the "deal or no deal" moment for a lot of addicts.....I'm going to die anyway, so why not use?  Thankfully I'm not at that point, but it was very, very close.

I don't have any Eureka! moments of staying sober this first year.  Mostly, if I'm honest, it's been a tedious, emotional, tiring slog.  I've been to five funerals of friends this year, and lost my cat Max in September.  I'm tired of death and despair.  But I am at a point that I am grateful to not have to slog through the kind of life I lived as an active addict.  Because I wasn't throwing all my money up my nose or up my veins, I was able to save up and buy a new computer.  I moved out of the slummy trailer park I had lived in for years and am sharing a house with a (sober) roommate.  I'm gainfully employed.  And I'm slowly beginning to see glimmers of real hope and happiness.  

I have a lot of shit to wade through and sort out from my life, but it is becoming a tiny bit easier for me to see the forest for the trees.  Even after one year, it is still one day at a time, sometimes still one hour at a time.  But I'm still here, alive and kicking, and walking forward.

Submitted for:  Blogophilia 51.7  topic:  Time Out
bonus (hard, 2 pts): use the word quadragesimal
bonus (easy, 1 pt):  incorporate a line from an Aerosmith song (Sweet Emotion)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Blogophilia 47.7 Across The Universe

Blogophilia 47.7   Across The Universe
(hard, 2 pts)  Incorporate a Taylor Swift lyric (Shake It Off)
(easy, 1 pt)  Use the word "saunter" in your blog

"Tap, tap, tap......this thing on?  (echos) Hello?  Yo!  Oh there we are."

*clears throat*

"Hello, my name is Steven, and I am a former Blogophiliac."

(Hi Steven!)

"Uh, hi.  It's been.....eight months since my last submission to Blogophilia.  *hangs head in shame*  But I want to change, I really do.  I just sorta got lost along the way.  Life hasn't been easy the last few months.  Instead of writing, I've been......watching tons of TV."

(collective gasp)

"I know, I know, but I just got sucked in and well, addicted to several shows that I just can't quit.  Instead of facing my own creativity, I took the easy way out.  I....even stopped reading my friends' blogs."

(horrific cries)

*chokes up*  "I have no excuse!  I'm sorry!"  *runs back to seat*

*Marvin Martian saunters up to the front*

"Now listen here Clarkster, I didn't come from halfway across the universe to hear some half baked excuse as to why you haven't been writing!  TV my Martian foot.  You get your Earthling ass back up here and tell me what you plan to do about it!"

*Steven slowly stands up and makes his way back to the front*

"What do you want me to say, sir?"

"I want you to shake it off man, and get back to writing!  Remember the steps?  Step 1:  when you feel powerless, pick up the pen.  Step 2:  come to believe that there is a group of people who want to read you (and want you to read them).  Step 3:  Make the decision to turn your will over to writing a little each week, even if you don't want to.  Step 4......"

"Ok Ok, I'll.......think about it."

"Don't think.  Just do.  And if you balk at writing, just remember WWSSD?"

"WWSSD?  Um.....huh?"

"What Would SassySue Do!"  You remember, your good friend in Blogophilia who was always badgering you to write no matter what?"

"Yes, you have a point, sir."

"Good.  My work here is done.  I expect to see you bright and early next Sunday when the next topic is revealed."

"Yes, sir, thank you sir."

*Marvin whistles to Commander K and hops aboard their spaceship*


Steven woke up, finding he had dozed off on the couch while watching TV.  He had a nagging feeling that there was something he needed to do, but the thought eluded him in the vestiges of sleep.  Something about W and S and K, oh and writing......yes, that was it, writing.  He looked at his new computer, all fast and sleek and waiting for him to put it to the test.  A gigantic yawn put to rest any thoughts of starting anything tonight.  Tomorrow.....I'll do it tomorrow, he thought, and went to bed, a faint storyline starting to emerge from the deep.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Blogophilia 17.7 Please Say It Isn't So

[Please] Say It Isn't So

Say it isn't so, that
I can no longer see the lust in your eyes.
My heart yearns for the time
when my merest touch was enough
to set your body alight; 
the merest whisper from my lips enough
to fill your soul with greed for more.

Say it isn't so, that
I can no longer see the love in your face
as you witness my transformation;
the swallowing of my pride
to become the man you wanted,
free from the gluttony of the needle,
free from the wrath of my past.

Say it isn't so, that
our paths cannot continue,
you must go your way, and 
I must go mine.  I envy
the person you have chosen in my place
even as I wish you happiness.
Bitterness threatens to engulf me.

Say it isn't so, that
you never loved me in the first place;
that your choosing me was a result
of spiritual sloth that made it OK
to settle, until better came along.
Those words, meant to sting,
did their job.

Copyright Steven Clark 2014 

"And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me....."
~~Tennyson's Morte d'Arthur

Written for:
Topic:  Please Say It Isn't So
bonus points:
(hard, 2 pts:  use a line from Tennyson's Morte d'Arthur)
(easy, 1 pt:  mention one of the 7 deadly sins)

Bonus picture guesses:
windswept, runaway, gone with the wind, pretty as a picture, waiting, leaving, loss, traveling, moving on

Topic submission guess:  Tyler
Picture submission guess:  Violeta

Monday, June 2, 2014

Blogophilia 15.7 Fire And Ice

Fire - Sassysue King.  Flaming red hair, spicy personality, short but never, ever underestimated.  A sure spitfire.

Ice - me.  Dead inside.  Seeking numbness from emotion.  Given up on life, always looking at the negative.

I didn't want to do a write for Blogophilia this week.  Even after I promised Sue and Marvin that I would try harder.  The news of Sue's death has devastated me.  But I feel I owe it to Sue, to honor her, by putting this out this week.

I met Sue as most of you did, through Blogophilia back in the Myspace days.  From the start she was always encouraging me to write, even if not for an audience, but to write for myself.

Most of you Blogophiliacs know of my struggles over the years with drug addiction and my journey to live a sober life.  For those of you that are new - well, there you go.

Some of you may not know that at the time we met, Sue did volunteer work with a needle exchange where she lived in London, Ontario.  She worked with addicts and the police force, and I guess because she read my writings of my struggles with drug abuse, it caught her eye and we became fast friends.  We communicated by email and instant message, never met in person or spoke over the phone, but that didn't diminish the depth of our late night conversations or our friendship.

She told me of her nephew who also struggled with drug addiction and coming to terms with his own dark demons.  She told me his story and I told her mine, and she would give me advice about, oh, everything.  Most recently I was asking her advice about therapy.  And always, always she kept at me to write out my feelings, whether by blog or by personal journal.

She was always there to hold me up through the dark times, with an encouraging word or a funny tidbit to make me laugh.  Lots of times over the years I've been unbalanced - no equanimity there - but even when I went silent for months at a time in the depths of my addiction, every week she would message me encouraging me to do that week's Blogophilia prompt.  Or to just write, "just fucking write it out for god's sake!  No matter the subject, Just Write."  And if I did write, she would always message me with an ,"oooooh, you wrote, good for you!!!!! :)   "   Often, she would be the only one to comment on my blog.  She was recently encouraging me to branch out with my writing, to try some of her flash writing groups.

The last time we communicated was Thursday, May 29.  I knew she'd been fighting a cold/flu for weeks but she said she was hopeful to find relief at her accupuncturist's, who at the next appointment was also going to give her some natural remedies to try.

I'm still stunned that it happend so quickly.

I hope that she knows how much she meant to me.  I didn't tell her nearly enough.

So Sue, in answer to your unspoken question, yes, "I did Blogo" this week.  For you.

Blogophilia Topic 15.7:  Fire and Ice
(Hard, 2 pts:  incorporate the opposite meaning of "equaniminty")
(Easy, 1 pt:  include dark demons)

Topic guess - Sandy Glenn

bonus pic phrase guesses:
red hot
too hot to handle
on fire

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I came across a great analogy recently, from a support site for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse:

"It occurred to me that Superman is a great allegory for what we are, who we are forced to become. We are forced to become Supermen, or die.

Our home planets were destroyed by disaster (our childhoods were ripped apart from us).

We had no identity (we are aliens), and we're forced to hide (Clark Kent) behind a self imposed veneer of ridicule and shame and embarrassment. We stumbled around mankind attempting to awkwardly fit in by mimicking others. Interestingly, we're seekers of the truth (news reporters @ the Daily Planet).

But we discover, sooner or later, that we have super powers. We have incredible insight. Incredible empathy. Incredible understanding of the depths of the human soul. We'll see things about humanity that most people will never see (X-ray vision).

Unfortunately, we must battle all these evil creatures, and endure through them. We must fight, we must be Supermen. It is our destiny.

I proudly claim this as my own heritage. I AM SUPERMAN!

I Survived Hell. My little one made choices the resulted in my SURVIVING. I'm alive, and now I'm waking up to who I really am. The incredible strength, the incredible passion, the incredible insight.

I spent most of my life thinking I wasn't human. I was sub-human. Now I'm starting to see it -- because of my abuse, I am destined to become a Superhero.

I forged through the depths of hell alone, and came out ALIVE! I'm HERE! I somehow navigated through the psychological labyrinth of mayhem and confusion and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I CAN CHANGE! I HAVE POWER!


I've been working through my "issues" for several years now.  Well, sort of.  Mostly I've been giving myself permission to acknowledge to myself, and a few others, what happened to me......and then either trying to forget it via drugs/alcohol, or allowing myself to wallow in negative emotions over it all.  Or both.  

I've struggled greatly with seeing myself as a survivor, rather than as a victim.  Survivors move forward, not backward.  Survivors don't try to kill themselves rather than face the truth.  

My perspective has been changing lately though.  Maybe I had to go through all of that to get here now.  I did what I had to, to get to this moment.....even though I almost killed myself in the process.  I survived the only way I knew how.

Knowing that I have the power to choose how I move forward from here on out is humbling.....and scary.  I've done a lot of bad things in the course of my "survival".  I've hurt people, irreparably.  I've stolen from people I loved.  I've committed crimes.  I've debased myself and let others treat me like shit they've stepped on.  I've treated others like they were shit I stepped on.  I blamed all of my problems on everyone else....and to some extent, I had every right to blame my parents for screwing me up so badly.  But for so many of the choices I made, I only have myself to blame.  So, I don't really trust my judgement too well.

When I think about that now, I get very angry at myself for allowing it all to have so much power over me, for so long.  I know there's no point in staying mad at myself because (see above) I was doing what I had to survive, the only way I knew how.  Does that justify what I did?  Yes and no?

Not really sure where I'm going with this, if only to say that I'm still trying to figure all of this out.  One step at a time, I'm getting to know myself, and the man I'm trying to become.  Superman?  Not really, but I'll settle for just a better man.  


Friday, May 16, 2014


*interviewer cautiously taps mic, warily looking at Steven for any signs of snapping*

"Uh yes, hello there listeners, we are here once again with Mr. Clark, who, the last time we checked in, wasn't too thrilled at us doing so."  *clears throat*  "And so, tell us how you've been doing Mr. Clark.  What have you been up to these last few weeks?"

"Well Bob, I've been contemplating the meaning of life and my existential role in it.  Who am I?  What does all this mean?  Where do I go from here?  I've also been eating a lot of Cheeze-Its.  And yogurt."

"Cheeze-Its and yogurt.....yes, I see."

"Not at the same time, you understand.  Separately.  When the feeling hits."

*looks uncomfortable*  "Go on.  Does this help you think about your purpose in life?"

"No.  I just like them."


"I feel as if there must be something more out there for me, I just don't know what it is yet."

"Granola bars are nice."

*stares at Bob*  "No, something more meaningful in life."

"Oh yes of course.  What about going to school?"

"I don't even have time these days to blog, when would I do homework?"

"Yes, that would be a problem.  How about traveling?"

"No money.  I just want to find something I can really sink my teeth into."



*crickets chirp*

"Mr. Clark, do you want to do something with your life, or do you just want to eat?  I can't keep up with you."

"Can't I do both?"

"I've got it.....go to cooking school!"

*crickets chirp again*

"You are out of your bloody mind.  I'm done here."   *walks off*

"And there you have it folks, an update with Mr. Clark.  Have a fantastic weekend."