19 November 2006

The Remedy

Nature is notoriously parsimonious with pleasure so many try to engineer their own. Throughout recorded time humans have sought a higher level of happiness to soften the hard edges of life. Lush leaves in Amazonian jungles have long competed with fiery liquids distilled from grain. The trouble is, chemical stimulants have a woefully short-lived effect on mood. Mind-altering they may be, but not for long.

I wanted a happiness molecule, a slice of hormone pie. "Anyone know how this hypothalamus works?" I might have shouted. "How do I dial up more Adrenaline, Testosterone or Serotonin?" Many years ago I swallowed a big daily ration of liquid brewed from hops to numb my pain and distort reality into something more sufferable. I chose to swamp my brain’s natural chemical balance rather than try to understand it. "Hey bartender, gimme a pint of Endorphin!"

I read but failed to grasp the wise words of philosophers who spoke of the courage to change what I can, the strength to accept what I can’t and the wisdom to distinguish between the two. I was miserable at work, at home and at play but instead of addressing those issues and developing solutions I drank the day away and pretended tomorrow was light years away.

What I really wanted was steady and reliable happiness but my immature mind and undeveloped aspirations had not figured out the most effective solution. Oh, and I was also waiting for a certain someone to be born and grow up, although I didn’t know that then…

In 2006 these events have happened to me concurrently.

Early retirement
Major change in life habits
Sons leaving home
Sale of house

I show signs of anxiety but they pass. Matters beyond my control still frustrate me but I take a deep breath. In my thirties I would have collapsed under the weight but approaching fifty I have somehow acquired the strength to cope with these experiences.

I wonder if you can ever proclaim you are cured of the thought processes associated with addiction but certainly the evil seed can be rendered dormant or even impotent. Skills acquired during sobriety form a foundation and it is up to us what we build on it. For many years I regarded building that foundation as my sole objective.

My long march through time took me through bland countryside, along narrow, mundane roads. I saw the horizon but distant panoramic vistas remained just that. I existed in a world of waiting, strengthening my foundation. Eventually I had put sufficient time and distance between me and my youthful demons for enthusiasm and interest to raise their sleeping heads. I began looking more closely at my surroundings.

True, I had achieved some stability and reached a plateau of comfort. But there must be more than this, oh so much more…

I had tricked myself into believing I was waiting only for some catalyst to explode me from my rut but in truth I had been prepared for longer than I thought. When love came she arrived hard and fast without warning but I was ready. No respecter of age or geography she wrenched me into a new life of excitement and potential, a beautiful life in which two souls can live like one.

Every day a natural chemical rush tells me this is life and how it should be lived.

"All I want is 20/20 vision
A total portrait with no omissions
All I want is a vision of you"

Blondie – Picture This


Deb said...

Lovely post...and it inspires me to add my own 2006 list of happenings:

last kid leaves home
sale of home (16 yrs there)
end of job (10 yrs)
end of marriage (14 yrs)
loss of dog and cat
moved 2 states and 1000 miles

...and I'm going to be OK. Thanks AA friends!!


"Every day a natural chemical rush tells me this is life and how it should be lived."

Amen bro!

RuKsaK said...

astounding and inspiring post. eloquent. buoyant. optimistic.

I genuinely loved this and hearing how strong you are. you may come back at me with a comment on how you aren't all that strong and have to try hard, but I won't believe it - not with feelings put down like this

Perfect Virgo said...

Deb - thanks. I see you have the same list as me. It's tough but the rewards if we persevere are glittering.

JJ - the natural wins over the artificial every day.

Ruk - thank you for those powerful supportive remarks Ruk. You are right, I don't see myself as stong but I concede that once I have decided on a course of action I am never deflected from it.

You are spot on about optimism, I am taking that in abundance to my new life.

Cocaine Jesus said...

strength is just another mask we wear. resolve is something deep within. you certainly have an abundance of that.

god speed friend.

GEL said...

So happy for you and Jane. (I'm a die-hard romantic.)
May all your dreams bloom and flourish! I wish your journey through so many years had not been so utterly difficult. Perhaps, savoring now will be even sweeter due to the voids and pain.

(I'm sure your email contact on this blog is different now that you're in Ca? Yes, feel free to contact me; life has settled down bit here...)

Perfect Virgo said...

CJ - you're kind CJ. I am learning that despite advancing years I have the capacity to grow. Giving away my first possession was hard but donating the remainder became easier. I am streamlined now. Keep that coffee warm at The Tate!

GEL - yes, tough experiences do heighten awareness. Thank you so much for your kind wishes (and astute observation!) I move this month but my contact details are unchanged. It sounds like a certain calm has settled over you too. I'm glad.

recoveryroad said...

Hey Stranger

I was going through some stuff on my blog and found a post by you from waaaaaaaaaaay back.

Looks like it's been an eventful year for you. Good to see you blogging.



GEL said...

Good- I was going to try it... you know that ESP...:)
Our network server has a corroded drive so my husband is trying to restore services but he couldn't even begin that until Sun. I will be in touch with good news here, too! (So, it seems I need to believe in the stars, fellow Virgo? - eh? You did! :D)

superflywebpimp said...

"moment of inner freedom
when the mind is opened and the
infinite universe revealed
& the soul is left to wander
dazed & confus'd searching
here & there for teachers & friends."

-jim morrison

good to see you again old friend,

superflywebpimp said...

after what seemed like an eternity, a lone climber wearily pulled himself onto the summit's peak.


ragged and spent, he gathered his remaining strength and stood to his feet and took in the horizon. the dull gray and howling cold of the rolling expanse seemed empty and void. how could this be?


somehow he felt betrayed by the summit's glorious promise.

that night, alone and cold, he slept, and dreamed of the climb.


Perfect Virgo said...

Kenny - good to see you again! Yes a year full of events and it soon draws to a gentle calm close.

GEL - darn technology!

Superfly - welcome back old friend. I like your JM quote - we need teachers and friends.

I am blown away by your sentences about loneliness. I can relate to the devastation of the climber who wins only loneliness as reward for a long and perilous climb.

This year i climbed the tallest peak of all, shaded my eyes against the sun's searing rays and surveyed the most spectacular panorama ever. What a climb!

{illyria} said...

there's a sadness in that, but a sense of accomplishment, too. it seems that though you might miss seeing your star every once in a while, it comes to find you to desperately cling to your coattails.

doughgirl said...

you've been tagged...I know you hate these things but I figured it was time :)

Fredda said...

what a beautiful and inspiring post!

Perfect Virgo said...

Illyria - I like that observation. Maybe I need to keep an eye on my coattails!

Mrs Independent - aha, done it!

Fredda - Thanks for reading.