The Victimless Crimes of New York City

I am sitting at a community table, listening to Erykah Badu on Spotify, in a bustling Starbucks on West 41st street near Times Square. I welcome the noise of the espresso machine snarling at me over my own thoughts and even my music. I remember this feeling of aloneness being here. ¬†I’ve learned how to sit patiently in public places–to walk with a blank stare, pretending not to notice I am about to trip over my own shoelaces. I always forget to triple-tie them.

I promised myself I would never come back to this city.

In January of 2009, I moved to Manhattan to attend Fordham for graduate school. I intended to pursue a degree in elections and campaign management. I had no fucking idea what that entailed (and I still don’t). I did not understand the “grid” system that makes getting around this disorienting island “easy.” I had zero nickels to rub together. I maybe¬†had two friends, one or whom was booze. I tried cocaine here for the first time. In short, I died my first enormously painful spiritual death (out of many) here. I did not know my ass from my elbow, so I drank.

Why, you might ask, would I come back to revisit that kind of psychic pain? A new relationship, of course. My karmic godfather bribed me into returning to the city in exchange for the right man. I’d have returned here long ago if I knew the payoff would be so rewarding.

And now I’ve had to make my peace with the city. I have been successful, only because I centered my bat-shit brain and bombastic heart by attending meetings in the West Village, Times Square and Hell’s Kitchen. Yesterday, I met my new best friend (a gay man, because that’s the only way). He walked with me for a couple hours after our meeting and we talked about men, sobriety and love. He helped me feel the beauty and surprise of just wandering. He also helped me find my way back to the Bronx. You could say I’m obsessed.

I guess this trip was my way to make an amends to New York City. I never got closure leaving here so abruptly in 2009. I have the opportunity to forgive myself and the city for turning me into one of its “if you can make it here you can make it anywhere” victims. There is too much possibility to walk around here with that big of a past. I’d rather just carry my Kate Spade purse.

Things seem brighter here now that I am in recovery. I don’t feel like a victim anymore. I have Bowie and Los Angeles to thank for adjusting my attitude about bi-coastal city living. I’ve gotten my nails done, I’ve eaten good food and I’ve had delicious coffee. I think I might be happy.

Midnight meeting time!

xo

Advertisements

Off The Sauce September

Did you know that September is National Recovery Month?

WE GET A WHOLE MONTH.

I remember when I got a chip for 30 days of sobriety in April of 2014. I had never made it 30 hours sober–much less 30 days–before that. At the time,¬†I had a humorous case of the nervous sweats and an incurable desire to wreck every double-shot, Trenta iced coffee from here¬†to eternity. I numbed myself with phone calls, constant coffee to the face, Now and Laters, entire economy-sized jars of pickles, HBO Go and Netflix. I walked over a mile one way¬†every morning to my home group meeting at Caf√© Tropical on Sunset Blvd, leaving my¬†apartment by 6:15 am to make the 7am meeting (and to have time for two smokes beforehand with my friends). I chose the morning¬†AA slot due to¬†its magical charms and my utter disbelief that I could be up that early and not still be legally drunk.

sbxAn entire month sober–that¬†blew my fucking mind.

And it still does. I celebrate 18 months sober on September 17. My heart grew one size bigger with the realization that I get to celebrate this milestone during the one month a year that is dedicated to shining a light on addiction and recovery. I recognize the magnitude of this shit–it is¬†my right and responsibility to speak up. I am one person in recovery out of millions. I am alive and well today because I got help for my addiction to alcohol.

My enthusiasm for recovery hasn’t smoldered, but it has morphed into something far better than I could have imagined. The best and most beautiful gift of my sobriety is¬†the freedom to be available to other people. I connect with new people¬†and old friends who have resurfaced in my life now that I am not a complete C U Next Tuesday. It seems there is no shortage of love to go around. Forgiveness¬†and acceptance are¬†the prime suspects for my criminally large joyfulness.

I’m stepping up my game this month. Gratitude lists all the fuck over social media at least once a day, accompanied by topical memes and pictures of pandas (Google “panda daycare”– a surefire way to get you¬†really happy, really fast). I’m doubling my meetings this coming week (my attendance is more sparse than I would like it to be). I am calling, writing¬†or texting¬†at least one person in recovery every day. I am following up on a story I wrote about the Unite to Face Addiction Rally¬†by attending it¬†in DC October¬†4.¬†Lastly, I am “talking to Bowie” on a super frequent basis–i.e., praying a bunch for people and showing my flamboyant love to whomever is around to receive it. I am making myself more available, is the thing.

So let’s do this.

xo