Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good Riddance 2011

I'm so ready for this year to be over.  How about you?

But I don't see that 2012 is going to be any better.  I hope I'm wrong.

I don't want to deal with any more death, financial woes, depression, and job loss.  I've had enough.  The world has had enough.  It's going to get worse before it gets better....isn't that always the way of things though?  So in the immortal words of Margo Channing, "Fasten your's going to be a bumpy night."

I've been reposting some writes from my old Myspace blog.  I kinda regret deleting it so rashly, but then, I was so pissed off at all the changes they made it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.  I backed it all up to Word so I still have all the posts, just not online, which is why I'll be reposting some to this blog as a sort of archive.  I'm trying to get back into writing mode after dropping off the face of the planet for the last few months.  Starting in September with the death of my dog, then one bad thing after another seemed to happen to me with no letting up.  I had nothing good to write about and I was too depressed to even share what was going on in my life.  Yeah, I'm so over 2011.

So on to 2012, may you be a brighter, more hopeful year for me and everyone on the planet.

The Mirrors Of Our Life

Another repost from 2009.

The Mirrors Of Our Life

A troubled man went to a carnival and saw a fortune teller in her tent. 

She said, "That which you seek is not far away.  All you must do is find the reflection within you, and remember that we need never be ashamed of our tears."

He left confused, and pondered her words as he stepped into the funhouse.

Children and adults all around him were laughing at their images in the wavy mirrors, seeing their realities distorted.

Upon stepping up to the first mirror, the man didn't see his distorted reflection, but saw a child of 10 staring back at him. 

The child had red welts around his neck, and his eyes were wary and haunted.  The man recognized himself with a shock as he stared back.

He stepped to the next mirror and again saw a child, a child of 13 with the vacant but giddy expression of one who has just discovered the joys of illicit drugs.  Behind the eyes lurked a truth that belied the grin.  He hesitated before going on to the next mirror, for he was afraid.

He next saw a young man of 18, belligerence and agression stamped all over his face as he leered out of the mirror.  The man stared at the angry eyes of his younger reflection and saw that same truth behind them, present though more disguised.  He didn't want to go on but now felt compelled to learn more about that truth.

He walked on and now saw himself at 25, dismayed but not surprised to see the festering sores of track marks lining his arms and dead eyes looking back at him.  The man could feel the anguish and despair coming from his younger self, and could feel the truth still simmering there even through all the layers of denial. 

The next mirror showed a man of 32, for all appearances on the outside a man who has it all together and is happy; but the eyes never lie...and the man could see how feeble his attempts had been at trying to convince the world he was recovered from his past self-destruction.  He could also feel that other truth hovering near the surface, waiting for the right time to make its presence known.

The man walked on to the next mirror, expecting to see himself as he is now but he was met with blankness; absolutely nothing was reflected.  He was dismayed....why would the mirror not show him anything?  He was desperate for the mirror to reveal the truth; he had been so close. 

He closed his eyes and the fortune teller's words came back to him. 

"That which you seek is not far away.  All you must do is find the reflection within you, and remember that we need never be ashamed of our tears." 

He thought about what he had just seen in the mirrors, all of those moments of his life captured in time.  He realized he already knew the truth, had known it all along.  All of those moments in time going back to childhood flashed through his mind; his eyes opened with a snap.  The truth, at last.  Tears flooded down his face, and he was not ashamed.

He looked back at the mirror and was shocked to now see a reflection; not of him in the present, but a vision of a slightly older man.  The older man was smiling...not a fake smile but a truly joyous one.  Tears stood out on his face too, tears of knowledge of what trials the younger man had yet to endure; but also knowing he would come through them all the peace.


This is a repost from my old Myspace blog in 2009.

He looked down at his hands
hands that had done so many things

Held beetles and frogs in his youth
and made snow forts in the trees

Hands that flew to his face in oft-learned reflex
to protect him from his father's rages
and wiped tears from his eyes in the aftermath

Hands that yearned for a comforting touch
but instead learned comfort at the plunge of a needle
with blood on his hands, robbing and cheating others
to feed the demon

Shaking, clammy hands when the needle betrayed him
and taught him the meaning of mortality
and humility

Hands holding on for dear life
as his world crashed and changed around him
forcing him kicking and screaming into living

Fingers that came alive in an unexpected way
once a keyboard was under them
and his mind was free to express itself
without repurcussion

Hands that still shake sometimes,
longing to hold that needle and
feel the plunge

Hands that search to do something meaningful
to keep those old demons at bay
and give his life purpose

He looked down at his hands
hands that had done so many things

And wondered what they were
going to do next

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Judgement GBE 19

Last week Jamey Rodemeyer, 14, committed suicide after suffering being bullied for years.  His tormentors bullied him for his sexual orientation.

Earlier this year, he made this video as part of the It Gets Better project after coming out as bisexual.

Unfortunately, the bullying became too much to take and he ended his life on his terms.

When are we going to grow up?  When are people going to accept that being gay or bi isn't a choice, but the way people are born?  When are people going to accept that being gay or bi isn't the result of a moral failing, a mental disorder, or a deviant perversion?  When are people going to stop judging others based on their sexual orientation?

I have little hope that it will happen in my lifetime.  Last week's official end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the U.S. military was a huge step forward, at least I thought.  Until it became clear from the jeering of a gay U.S. soldier during the most recent Republican debate in Florida, just how many people still have this archaic idea of what it means to be gay.  Rick Santorum responded that he would repeal DADA, that he feels sex has no place in the military.

Well, yea, sexual intercourse has no place in the military.  But would he go so far as to prohibit heterosexuals from talking about their wives or girlfriends?  Putting their photos on their desk or beside their bed?  Talking about their kids?  Talking about loved ones with their coworkers?

I hightly doubt it....yet this is the kind of double standard that homosexuals put up with everyday.  The fact that there have always been gays in the military seems to escape peoples' memory, yet read the online comments following any article about the end of DADA and one would think there are none, and we must keep them out before all hell breaks loose!  Give. Me. A. Fucking. Break.

It's this kind of judgement, discrimination, and outright bigotry that our children have to face every day.  Can you imagine being a gay, bi, or transgendered child, knowing you are different, but not daring to acknowledge it?  Feeling like you have no where, or no one, to turn to to talk about it, knowing that this difference is perceived of as wrong by everyone around you.  Most kids go to great lengths to hide it, to deny it, because this feeling of wrongness is so indoctrinated into our culture that even kids as young as five years old can sense it.  Yet their heterosexual counterparts know no such feelings of wrongness about their existence.  They don't go about their day trying to hide their core selves, for fear of retaliation.  They don't even think about their just is.

Wouldn't it be great to see a day when all children, no matter their orientation, can just view their sexuality as just is and not question it, not feel shame about it, and not fear what others will do to them over it?  A day when a child doesn't have to go to school full of dread and shame, knowing the taunts and abuse that will take place before the end of the day?  All based on the way that person was born.  I really hope I live to see that day.

Lady Gaga, at a recent concert, paid tribute to Jamey.  Mid-song, she pauses and states, "Bullying is for losers."


This is for GBE week 19, "Judgement"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

One Year Ago GBE 17

This week's topic for GBE is confounding me.

Do I go literal and talk about where I was a year ago?  Not in a good place, but I'm not much better now so do I keep beating that dead horse?

Poem?  Nah, would just be dark and cryptic anyway.  Fiction?  Eh, haven't written any fiction since almost.....a year ago!  There we go.  A re-post!  

But a re-post....isn't that lame?  Admitting that you can't come up with anything new and original?

Eh, fuck it.  Deal with my re-post.  

Ok, it's stretching the "one year ago" topic a wee bit cos I posted this on October 28, 2010 on my old [now deleted] Myspace blog but it's close enough.  It's almost Fall, and the store I work at already has Halloween decorations up.  But it literally was the last piece of fiction I tried to write so, without further ado.....

A Spooky Graveyard, originally posted for BFF (Blogging For Fun)

An eerie mist spread over the cemetary as the shadows of the trees lengthened in the twilight.  All was quiet except for the muffled footsteps of the last visitors, walking quickly back to their cars before it got too dark to see.  All except one.

The man had come earlier that afternoon, laid down in front of his late love's grave, coat bundled under his head as a pillow, and proceeded to talk to her as if she were right beside him.  He chatted about the comings and goings of his life, what he'd had for lunch that day and how the waiter had been rude.  After the mundane topics were covered he poured his heart out to her about how much he missed her, how unhappy his life was and how he didn't know how he was going to continue this way.  Tears streamed down his face and fell onto the dry leaves underneath him. 

"If only I could join you, wherever you are," he whispered, "I'd be content."  With that thought, he closed his eyes and dreamed of her face.

He awoke with a start a few hours later, noting that he was laying in complete darkness, the only light coming from the moon shining through the mist.  He couldn't believe he'd fallen asleep in a cemetary....and he was sure the sound that had woken him up was something to be wary of. 

He sat up and cautiously looked around.  Were the gates locked, would he even be able to get out?  He supposed he could scale the fence if it came down to it....or maybe there's a night watchman somewhere around.  As he was contemplating his situation, he heard the sound again....a groaning, shuffleing was coming right from underneath him.

An absurd thought of a mole trying to get out passed his mind and he nervously chuckled....for surely it's a mole.  Or some other burrowing critter.  Yes, of course, it must be, for the alternative was impossible.  He refused to allow his mind to dwell on the alternative....better not let the old imagination start running wild!

But the sounds kept coming, more clear and more frequently.  His fight or flight response was starting to kick in and his mind was screaming at him to get the hell out of here, now!  But he sat rooted to the spot, paralyzed with fear, and with a stubborn need to prove to himself that it really was a mole and that he was just being silly.  Surely he'd be laughing about this with his friends down the pub once it was over.  Just sit here and wait, there's nothing to fear!

But now he heard another noise, like footsteps walking towards him.  He looked up and saw a figure cloaked in black, a hood obscuring its face.  It stopped right in front of the man and stood looking down at him, his breath coming in soft hisses.  It spoke, and the man felt a stab of menacing fear go through his heart.

"I heard your request, and have come to grant it," the figure intoned in a voice that sounded as if its throat was filled with gravel. 

The man sat staring, dumbfounded, for stuff like this doesn't happen in real life, only in cheap horror films!  What the hell is going on here?  Just then he not only heard, but felt something move underneath him.  He started in fright and tried to roll off to the side but as he moved something punched out of the ground and held tight to his forearm....his late love's decayed hand showed blue in the moonlight.

The man screamed and screamed until he felt he would drown in the sound as the hand pulled him down toward the gaping hole that was becoming larger by the second.  He felt as if his heart would burst out of his chest as he tried to wrench his arm out of the deadly grasp; he saw the black figure point at him in condemnation and as he did so a bright light came flying towards his face.  "Noooooo!" the man screamed, violently fighting to be free.....

He came to and realized that the night watchman was standing over him, shaking his arm trying to get him to wake up, his flashlight pointed at the man's face.  "Come along now mate, t'place closed hours ago.  Ye got t'leave now, shhh, stop shouting!  Ye like t'wake the dead if ye keep carryin on like that, come on now...."

The man sat up and looked at the ground; no hole.  No decayed hand.  He looked around; no cloaked black figure.  His sleep-terrified mind was racing to catch up; he stared at the night watchman, confusion written all over his face.  "There's a lad now, ye've jus' had a wee drop too many I reckon, get up and le's get ye on yer way....say mate, you alrigh'?"  The watchman looked down at the man's white face with concern.

"Yeah....I think so," he said.  "It must have just been a dream," he added under his breath.  He took a deep breath to calm his racing heart and slowly stood up.  He followed the night watchman through the winding paths towards the front gate, which the watchman unlocked for him.  "Take care mate, no 'arms been done, ye get along 'ome now," the watchman said kindly. 
The man thanked him, and went through the gate.  Instinct made him turn round and look back towards the spot where he had lain.....he could just make out the faint outline of a figure cloaked in black, looking back at him.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Vapor Trails

Vapor Trails

Driving across the Nebraska prairie
on this most introspective day,
September 11, 2011, I saw

vapor trails

criss-crossing the sky,
jets destined for locations
far, far away from here.

I thought back to that
most tragic day,
September 11, 2001 and remembered the lack of

vapor trails

in the sky as all
civilian flights were grounded,
people stranded from their destinations

far, far from where they were.
Somehow it startled me to see them,
as if the planes themselves were

disregarding the reverence
of this day.  Or maybe the travelers
themselves were to blame for

daring to travel and
not remember.  But then I
realized that not to travel, not to blaze those

vapor trails

would be the worst offense.
We will never forget,
but we will never surrender, either.

Copyright Steven Clark 2011


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Liebster Award

Well blow me down and call me Charlie, I've been given a blogging award.

Not just by one person, but by two....on the same day.  Unreal.

Thank you to Jo from My Wandering Mind.
And thank you also to humor after 50 at Views of an Optimist.  Sorry luv, I don't know your first name yet. ;)

This award is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers, and is a way to help them spread the word that their blog exists and encourage readership.  Recipients must then do the following:

1.  Thank the person who gave it to you and link back to their blog.  Done and done.
2.  Give the award to 5 different bloggers and leave them a comment letting them know they've received it.

I thus pass on the Liebster Award to the following cool people:

1.  Sue at sassyspeaks
2.  Michelle at LIVing With Intention
3.  Lydney at mojowritin'
4.  Kim at Things That Cross My Mind  (you seriously got to get back to blogging, my friend)
5.  Paige at peacegirl place  (you too)

Copy and paste the above award logo to your blog, if you wish.  BTW, Liebster means favorite in German.

I'm humbled by this because my blogging has been so sporadic.  I haven't been successful at getting back into a consistent writing pattern.  After blogging for 2 consistent years at Myspace, it all kind of fell apart after the Myspace blogging community imploded and I've struggled to find my footing here.

I could blame it on the fact that my life for the past year and a half has been hellish, but even when I was really struggling during the Myspace years I still wrote about it.  Maybe that's it....the support net I had there isn't here anymore.  Perhaps people got tired of reading me.  When I started blogging I only did it as a form of therapy for myself, as I struggled through the quagmire of life.  I tried to be honest about what I was going through even if it seemed I wasn't progressing at all.  I still try to be honest, and after all this time it probably doesn't seem I've improved my life one bit.  One step forward seems to be followed by four steps backwards.  I'm actually worse off now than I was when I started blogging in 2008.  Some progress.  But I keep plodding on for some reason.

I also never intended to be known as a writer.  It really came as a surprise to me to learn that I had a knack for it, but beyond that I just didn't think about it.  When I began trying my hand at creative writing, it was just something fun to do once in a while to break out of the monotony.  I'm really, really flattered that people seem to think I'm a good writer.

So, a big thanks to those of you who are still around, and thank you to those of you who are new readers.  I really appreciate your support.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


All politicians on both sides of the aisle are crazy, corrupt, and contemptible to some degree, but the current crop of GOP candidates seem to top the scale of bat-shit craziness.  Just sayin'.  

If somehow Rick Perry manages to stumble into the White House, I may consider moving back to England.

Why am I talking about politics all of a sudden?  *shakes head*

It's nice outside.

I wonder why no one besides Sue reads and comments on my blog anymore.  (Hi Sue!)

I'm thinking about having a roommate again to help ease up my finances, but don't want another scenario such as the last one.   I'll have to tread carefully here.

I'm in a better head space today than I've been the last couple of weeks.  I still have a lot of baggage to unload though so consider yourself warned.  Oh wait, only Sue reads this.  Sue, consider yourself warned.

I witnessed an accident this morning involving a car and a college kid on a bike.  Thankfully no one was hurt, but 2 seconds later a different car almost hit a different kid.  This town apparently doesn't like college students.

I'll be watching Obama's job speech tonight with trepidation.  Drat, there I go, politics again.  Sorry.

My local library actually has the BBC version of Being Human available for checkout!  

Been listening to a lot of Flyleaf and Shinedown lately.  They seem to be my go-to bands when my world is bleak.

Speaking of music, Tori Amos is releasing a new album this month, and I'm not even excited about it despite having been a huge fan for years.  The magic seems gone from her newer music, somehow.  I'll probably buy it anyway as a matter of principle.

Bored yet Sue?  I'm done anyway.  Have a good night.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Grasping At Straws

I find myself full of so many things I want to say, yet every time I try to write it out it just sounds like I'm whining. Whine, whine, whine, blah blah blah, whine, ad nauseam.  I've started this blog post five times now and each time deleted it and began again.  And look, now I'm even whining about not being able to write.  Good grief.

I wish I could think of something positive to write about, share a tidbit of my life that is happy and not mired in shit.  Hell, I even wish I could just bloody make up something positive, a nice shiny happy little fiction story where everything is good.  I'm not that good of a writer to fake something like that.

I'm grasping at straws to try and find something positive here.  I did start a new job that pays slightly more than I was making at the gas station; I'm now a stocker at a grocery store.  I'll need to come up with some new tales soon.

I have internet access at home again, so I can once again be a pain in the ass to you all on a regular basis here and on facebook.  Wait, that might not be positive, depending on your point of view....

I haven't been kicked out of my trailer yet, so that's good.....

I haven't been arrested yet I have no current pending legal entanglements, so that's good....

Still grasping.....ok here's one.  My dog makes me laugh every time I take her outside to do her business.....she grunts like a constipated old man as she poops.  I know, that's really grasping.

I think I'm grasped out.  But I'll keep working on it.  Christopher requested that I do another installment of "Good Me vs. Bad Me" but my sense of humor has been hiding under a rock and doesn't want to come out to play lately.  I'll see if I can scrap something together.

How do you find ways to stay positive when your life seems bleak?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Insanity....or is it

It's generally accepted that one definition of insanity is "doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results."

That definition is used by AA and NA in reference to drug and alcohol addiction; the classic example being the addict who relapses but says "this time it will be different, this time I can control my use" but then fails and ends up in deep addiction again.  Or the flip side, the addict who gets clean on his own and says "this time it will be different, this time I'll stay sober without any help" but ends up in relapse.  Both examples are where we think we are in control of our addiction or sobriety....we always think we're going to come out on top by continuing the same behaviors as before, but the results are never what are intended.

Of course, other examples of doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results can't exactly be called "insane."  If that were true, anyone who tries to learn a musical instrument and practices the same exercises over and over again, hoping to improve, would be called insane.  Or someone learning a new job, or a new language....etc.  But in those cases the expected different result is a positive one.  Certainly one doesn't get worse the more one practices, right?

So why doesn't that hold true with addicts?  It takes practice, after all, to learn to live sober.  Mistakes are made, and we learn from them.  Or do we?  For many, perhaps that's the case.  Some people get - and stay - sober the first time they try.  That boggles my mind, but then I'm the poster boy for relapse.  I should have had enough practice by now to have this whole sobriety thing down easy.  Obviously I don't, or I wouldn't be doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.

But do I expect different results?  When I make the choice to pick up, am I honestly goading myself into thinking that it will be different?  Not really.  Or, when I make the choice to put down, do I honestly expect to stay sober forever?  Not really.  Therein lies the problem.  I've lived for so long now waffling between the two extremes, that I don't know any other way to live.

And that screams insanity, I believe.  What sane person would want to put themselves through this over and over?

You tell me.

Submitted for McBloggery #9 Insanity

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Do We Forgive Our Fathers?

For GBE 16 Parent or Child this week, I'm sharing not an original poem, but one that has multiple meanings for me.  It is a poem written by Dick Lourie, and was also featured in the closing scene of the movie "Smoke Signals."  If you've never seen the movie I highly recommend it. 

I have yet to forgive my father.

How do we forgive our Fathers?
Maybe in a dream
Do we forgive our Fathers for leaving us too often or forever
when we were little?
Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage
or making us nervous
because there never seemed to be any rage there at all.
Do we forgive our Fathers for marrying or not marrying our Mothers?
For Divorcing or not divorcing our Mothers?
And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness?
Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning
for shutting doors
for speaking through walls
or never speaking
or never being silent?
Do we forgive our Fathers in our age or in theirs
or their deaths
saying it to them or not saying it?
If we forgive our Fathers what is left?


Larissa has been on my mind all weekend.  Not that she's ever far away from it, but for some reason she seems more present.  It reminded me of something I wrote in 2009 for a Blogophilia post on Myspace, and thought I'd revisit it.

As I watched the smoke from my cigarette
curl and plume
I thought about her,
I thought about you,
I thought about us
And I realized how everything
is everchanging.
Life is death...
Death is life.
One can't exist without
the other.
One can't exist without
the other.
Then you were beside me
watching me thinking,
watching me watching the smoke from my cigarette
curl and plume,
You asked me “What was going on in there”
as you touched my head.
I said “Do you think she approves?”
“Yes,” you replied
And quietly took my hand in yours.

Copyright Steven Clark 2009

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wise Words

"Life does not necessarily get better in recovery, it's just that the way you deal with the things that come up does get better."

The above statement was posted by someone on a recovery forum I visit, and the insight is something I needed to read today.

I constantly fail at recovery because I fail to see how life is any better when I'm sober.  Being sober is boring, tedious, and immensely more painful than not.  So I throw in the towel all too quickly when my life doesn't instantly become great.  

I guess addicts, when bottoming out, seem to view recovery through rose colored glasses....if I could only get my act together and stop using, life will be fantastic!  I'll be healthy!  My friends and family won't hate me!  I'll be employed!  I'll have money!  And when none of that materializes as quickly as we think it should, we get self-defeated and then start to look at our using life through rose colored wasn't so bad!  The buzz is great!  Life will be fun again!  I won't let myself get in as bad as I did before, I can handle it!  And the cycle continues.

I guess I needed to hear those words today - that my life won't necessarily get better if I get sober - because I'm tired of being on that cycle, and I'm tired of being sold the lie that all will be perfect if I'm sober, and I'm tired of feeling like I'm a complete failure if I can't live up to the standards I place on myself when sober.  It was a poignant dose of reality from someone who's been there, done that, and gets it.

The question is, do I want to face sobriety knowing that?

Thursday, September 1, 2011


All I can see around me is ashes.  Ashes floating in the wind, choking the air, painting everything a dismal grey.

Not even a few remaining burning embers can be seen amongst them; everything is cold.  Dead.

They are, of course, the ashes of my life.  Every thought, hope, and dream has died....burnt blowing into the atmosphere as if they never existed.

I look at them and wonder, what was the point?  What is the point?

I have nothing left to burn, no hidden stores of fuel that can reignite the flame.  It is all spent.

So I go on, an empty shell, going about my empty existence, working my empty job, smiling an empty smile.....longing for a warmth that will never return.

Copyright Steven Clark 2011

Written for GBE 15

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Best Choice

I looked in her eyes and said,
"Are you sure?"
Her eyes said no
even as her lips said yes.

We had dangerously danced
and now it was time to pay the fiddler.

The appointment was set
and as the days marched on,
I continued asking her
"Are you sure?"

I could see nothing in her eyes now,
but heard more conviction in her yes.

The day came,
just another day with little fanfare
to mark the fact that we were
making an irrevocable choice.

As we waited,
I didn't ask her if she was sure...that time had gone.

When it was over
I took her home; in the car
I caught a glimpse of my own eyes.
They were full of regret.

Even so,
we had made the best choice.

My eyes will remind me, though,
that even the best choices
are not without their consequence.
In the distance I can hear the fiddler playing.

Copyright Steven Clark 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

GBE 2: First Love

I remember the first time I saw her:  the most beautiful woman on the planet.

She walked in the room, sure and confident of herself, smiling at those gathered.  Her thick brown hair bounced as she walked in a mesmerising rhythm that hypnotised me.  Her brown eyes gleamed and had crinkles at the corners, sure signs of a person who laughs often and loves life.

I couldn't take my eyes off her.  If I looked away, I would surely cease to exist; I stared and stared as if my life depended on it.  But would she notice me?  Ego told me of course she would, how couldn't she?  But then my ego deflated as she turned her attention to someone else.  Who the hell was I to think I would stand a chance?  I sighed and slunk off, tail between legs, to the corner.  I gulped my drink, trying to drown my sorrows.

Glaring around the room, the thought went through my mind that it was probably for the best.  After all, one shouldn't set goals that are impossible to attain, and that goes for meeting women as well.  Still, I couldn't help but sulk a little and feel sorry for myself.  Ah, love.  We are made its bitch all too often in life.

But what was this?  She was walking towards me.  She was walking towards me!  I quickly stood up, and knocked my chair over in the process.  Great, I thought to myself.  Just the way to make a good first impression.  Now she'll laugh and wonder why she wasted her time....

"Oopsy-daisy, let me just help you with that."  She picked up my chair.  I was mortified.  I couldn't move.  I couldn't speak.  I wanted to die.  Right there, right then, just needed to wait for a big hole to open up and swallow me.  Any time now.  Hey hole, I'm waiting, hurry up.

She was saying something.  I was so busy waiting for the hole to appear that I missed her words.  I forced myself to look at her and she repeated herself.

"I'm Miss Cooper, your new 3rd year teacher.  What's your name dear?"

"Uh....uh....S-s-steven," I stammered like an idiot.

"Very pleased to meet you Steven.  Are you finished with that, love?"  She indicated to the empty chocolate milk carton clutched in my sweaty hand.  "Let's just throw that away now, alright?"

Had you going, I hope?

I was seven.  I had a crush on Miss Cooper that was so intense that I stammered whenever she asked me a question.  I still consider her my first love.  Years later as an adult I saw her again at a pub, but talked myself out of going over to speak to her.  If I had, though, I'd be willing to bet money that I would have stammered.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Screaming children surround us,
smiles lighting up their faces as
the roller coaster inches its way
up towards the drop o'doom;

we plunge down into the void
that spins us up and down,
loop-de-loop, over and under,
until easing into a smooth stop.

We pour out of the car,
a smile lighting up her face
as she turns to me for validation:
did I have fun too?

I plaster a smile on my face
because it's what is expected of me,
and watch the children around me
clamour to "go just one more time!"

The rush is over, but their euphoria 
will last a few hours yet.
I muse how this is considered

I wonder why this isn't enough,
why I prefer my high to this.
The slow inching of the amber liquid
into the chamber swirling with blood;

the plunge down into the void, the 
rush that spins me up and down,
loop-de-loop, over and under
until easing into a smooth peace.

My euphoria, too, will last 
a few hours yet....until
my body clamours to do it
again, "just one more time!"

She's looking at me, 
waiting for an answer.
I say "of course!" and kiss her cheek.
I don't say I'd rather have my kind of high.

copyright Steven Clark, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Wow, so GBE is back up and running again.  Ok, it has for a few weeks now but I been slow on the uptake these days.  Haven't been doing much writing recently so it's taken me this long to decide I want to be part of it again.  For those of you who were part of the original GBE on Myspace, I blogged as Clarkster there.

So.....control.  What can I really say about control?  Control is what every addict thinks they have, even as they are spiraling out of control.  Kind of a funky paradox.  We could be homeless, living in a cardboard box under a bridge, weigh 90 pounds and have open oozing sores from infected track marks on our arms, and when asked if we want help, we say, "Nope!  I'm good, but thanks for asking.  I got everything under control."

Rather fucked up, huh.

Control is a multi-layered thing in addiction-land.  No one, upon trying drugs or alcohol for the first time, ever intends on ending up an addict.  That's loss of control #1:  genes.  Whether an "addiction gene" exists or not, one cannot argue that these things have a tendency to run in families.  Why is it that one person who uses drugs or drinks socially can take it or leave it, and another can't?  "Disease" or not, I do believe that some people are born wired with addictive tendencies.  It might not manifest itself as drug abuse, but might as an addiction to food, shopping, sex, gambling, or what-have-you.

Usually, though, part of the appeal of using drugs - apart from it being fun and cool at first - is to escape reality.  Even if not realized at first, most addicts are trying to escape from something harsh in their lives.
Loss of control #2:  the ability to face reality.  The more a person runs from their problems, the less able they are to deal with it later on down the road.  It's a cumulative affect.  The drug use itself is usually just a symptom of the underlying problem(s) that was never dealt with in the first place.  Treating the underlying problem(s) is just as important as treating the drug abuse.

Left to just run amok, drug abuse will usually end up turning into a real bonafide addiction.  Meaning, your body and brain depends on the chemicals just like it does on water or air just to be able to function normally.  Loss of control #3:  bodily functions.  Once users are that deep into their addiction the only control they have over their bodies is to keep feeding it their drug of choice, or face the consequences.  Withdrawal is not a pretty sight:  shaking, sweating, puking, diarrhea, cramps, aching, insomnia....and in some severe cases, even death.

But are we really that helpless?  Some addicts are able to take back control of their lives by admitting that they have no control.  Step #1 in AA and NA is admitting we are powerless over [drug of choice] and our lives have become unmanageable.  Of course getting to that point where we can admit loss of control - ironically - takes quite a bit of control.

Part of recovery - and taking control of one's life - as an addict is also accepting responsibility for one's actions.  In doing so, we have to accept loss of control #4:  we cannot control other peoples' reactions.  Over the course of our "career" we have hurt friends, family, and even innocent bystanders.  Recovery doesn't mean we get a free pass and all is forgiven and dandy.  We may never gain back the friendship and trust of those we hurt.

So, what does a recovering addict have control over, anything?  Yes.  Whether or not we pick up.  No one forces us to use.  No one ties us to a chair and points a gun to our head and says "shoot up or I'll kill you."  We make that choice, willingly.  Even if it seems like lifes' circumstances "force" us to pick up, that responsibility lies solely with us.


Monday, June 13, 2011


So it's been awhile since I've posted anything.  I have no excuses, just lazy.

I tend to do this every so often.  For a while I'll be really active in writing - and reading others' blogs - and then I'll just disappear from cyberspace with no warning.  Why?  Fuck, I dunno.  Ok, that's a lie.  I do know.  When I'm actively using and strung out, I don't like to be in contact with my online friends.  I guess I don't want people to see just how fucked up I am.  So I stop writing, stop commenting on blogs, stop posting on facebook.  Call it shame, or whatever.

So yeah, I've been MIA the last few months while I've been bingeing.  I fess up.  Now go throw stones at me and tell me to get my shit together, you lazy good for nothing junkie.  I know you want to say it.  And I would deserve it.

I asked myself for the millionth time why I keep putting myself through this.  I'm no closer to an answer, just thought I'd come clean to you all - if anyone sees this - that I'm not clean and sober and haven't been for a few months.  Maybe throwing this out there will encourage me to try the wagon again.

Guess that's all there is to say for now.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

This is what it feels like

This links to someone's suicide note where he disclosed that he had been sexually molested as a child and how it fucked up his life.  I'm sharing it so that others who have not experienced this can understand how hard it is to get through life for those of us who have.  Many aspects of this letter I could have written myself.  Maybe I use it as an excuse too often, but it's also the reason I struggle so much to stay clean and sober.  I do try, but then I have that other issue to deal with and it seems impossible to be alone with my thoughts without being numbed out.  Please don't mistake this as a sign that I'm contemplating the same thing as this guy did.....I'm not.  I just thought it important to circulate this so that others who don't understand why we "just can't get over it" know a little what it's like.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hitting Bottom

I was thinking this morning of how everyone's "bottom" is different in addiction/alcoholism.  Each person has their own threshold of no return where enough is enough and change is actively sought.

When the phrase "hitting bottom" is applied to an addict, stereotypical images of a bum sleeping on the street in rags comes to mind.  Does a person have to lose everything and beg on street corners for change before they officially reach "bottom" status?  No. 

It might be a white-collar professional who becomes alarmed at how much brandy is drunk every night and feels the overwhelming need to change.  It might be a single mom on welfare realizing her meth use is going to get her kids taken away from her.  It might be the boss whose wife is threatening divorce unless he stops drinking, and even then he may not stop, and won't until he risks losing the house. 

Everyone has their own wake-up call moment for when they acknowledge - and accept - the fact that they have to stop participating in the self-destruction.  Yes, some people won't stop until they literally have lost everything, and some people don't/won't stop until they're dead.  For some it can be a much lighter, but no less effective, message.  Hell, I heard one story in AA long ago of a woman who upon taking her first ever drink of alcohol got so scared at how much she loved it that she swore to never take another drink again and started going to meetings.  I don't know if that story is true, but how much misery could we all save ourselves and the world if were all in as much tune with reality as she was?

But we aren't in tune with reality because we're so busy trying to escape it.  Even when our lives are crumbling around us and we've fucked things up good and proper we still try to escape reality through our vices, because going through the misery that addiction brings is still preferable to dealing with reality.  How fucked up is that? 

For me, it's the belief that I don't deserve a better life, or will just fuck it all up so why bother trying, that keeps me continually climbing the walls of the pit.  I crawl out for a bit and hover towards the edge, sometimes leaving one foot dangling in, but never have I been able to completely pull myself out and away from the damn thing.

If you read my old blog on Myspace you know I've written extensively about my struggles with addiction.  There was a point that I did reach a point of being that homeless bum on the street and even then I didn't see any point to changing.  Fast foward through the years to now, after countless attempts to get clean and countless relapses, countless second and third chances given by friends and family, countless jobs lost, close shaves with the law and with death.....and still I hover near the edge wanting to dive right back in.

I haven't shared much about my most recent nosedive last summer, except that it was the arrest of my dealer (the only one in the area that deals with heroin) and the thought of being cut off from my supply that prompted getting clean again, not because of any *real* desire to do so.  In September I OD'd; fortunately was with someone at the time who was alert enough to recognize the signs, and upon waking up in the ER did I have some life-changing affirmative moment where I vowed never to use again?  Fuck no.  I used again as soon as I could.  Almost dying wasn't a big deal.  How messed up is it that almost dying didn't make me want to stop, but rather it was a "forced" clean up due to lack of supplies! 

Of course once the dreaded withdrawals are over and I'm thinking slightly more rationally again, I do see the insanity of it all and know if I can't get my shit together I'm going to end up dying from this.  Some days that doesn't seem like such a bad thing.  Some days it scares me enough to stay on the straight and narrow for one more day.  Most often I turn to alcohol to deal with things. 

I don't know what it's going to take to make me genuinely want to stay clean, instead of doing it for reasons outside myself or for others because it's what they want.  There have been times where I thought I wanted it, was sure of it.  I was sure I had hit *my* bottom and was ready to live a better life.  Those times turned out to be me trying to convince myself of it because I was getting clean for someone else, not because I wanted it. 

I've tried AA and NA, have done half-assed attempts at working the steps with a sponsor, but in hindsight it was all for show.  I fully state and acknowledge that I am an addict.  The thing is, I don't care.  I've never felt that deep-down desire to stop, or felt that some mythical higher power could create that desire in me.

Until I believe that I deserve better and want this for myself, I will continue to struggle.  How, then, do I get myself to that point?  That's the million dollar question.  I know the more I delve into my inner self and analyze, the more I face and process my other issues, and the more support I seek from others, it helps, but it's not always enough.  Most days just the thought of all the work and effort this takes shuts me down and makes me want to throw in the towel. 

Sorry for the whine, I just needed to get this off my chest.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


 was thinking tonight about how we all have multiple faces, or masks, that come out when its appropriate.  Everyone does to some extent, no matter who we are.  We have our public face, the face and personality we show to the world when we're at work, shopping, at social gatherings, or merely pumping gas into our cars.

Then we have our friend face and personality, that we put on for friends that are more intimate than mere acquaintances.  We let them into our lives a tiny bit deeper, and might share some personal things with them.  But never the full story.

Then we have our real face, the one that we see in the mirror each day and have to live with day in, day out.  This personality we can't escape, for it's the real deal.  Yet we still try and hide from it.  We try and live our public and friend personalities 24/7 so we don't have to deal with what's real.  What's hidden.  What we don't like to see.

Not to mention what we don't want anyone else to see.  We go to great lengths to hide our real faces to the world, because what would everyone think if they knew the truth?  No matter what your truth is, it's usually something you don't want floating out there for all to see.  We all have something to hide.

Is this OK?  Is this normal?  I have a hard time knowing what "normal" is because of this huge secret I have, this thing that I go to great lengths to hide.  So when I'm at work or out in public and something triggers me, I have to lie and make up shit to excuse my behavior.  When I'm with friends and something triggers me, I do the same.

But what about when it's a trigger so severe that it's hard to cover up?  What then?  Explaining the truth of the matter is not an option when you're in the thick of it.  Neither is trying to act cool and nonchalant until you can leave.  Then, the only option - for me anyway - is to get out of dodge immediately and worry about what you'll tell everyone at a later time.

Then the questions come....

"What's wrong?"  "What's going on?"  What the hell is wrong with you?"  "Why can't you just get over it?"

Do you answer truthfully, or continue to lie?

To answer truthfully risks condemnation and exposure.  To lie is to keep burying it, therefore allowing it to keep eating away at your soul.  A lose-lose situation.

After awhile the incident fades away into memory.....for everyone except you.  Now, everytime you lie to hide yourself, you feel it doubly and wonder if everyone else can, too.  Every word said to you, every look, holds a second meaning.  Do they know?  you ask yourself.  What do I do if they do know?

Of course, we all get to be a bit egocentric with our troubles.  We all think that the world revolves around us and if someone finds out our secret, than it's literally the end of the world.  And when it doesn't prove to be the end of the world, we pout and rage and scream because how dare the world go on oblivious to our hurt?

I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not unique.  I'm not the first person to be abused.  I'm not the first person to abuse others.  I'm not the first person to abuse drugs and alcohol.  I'm not the first person to live through this.  I am just one of millions who are trying to overcome huge obstacles.

And so I will go on with my various faces, my work face, my friend face, and my real one......and try to merge them all to where there isn't such a huge divide between them all.  I can't pretend I'm someone I'm not, but I can't hide who I am any longer.