I Never Got To Tell Her “Thanks”

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‘Three Years & Counting’

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‘Go See The Doctor’

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By the time most of you read this, it will have been said & done, & I’ll be headed back home. Nonetheless, I have a medical procedure scheduled for today that’s, more or less, the end of my physical alcohol rehabilitation. It’s called an endoscopy. Basically, the doctor wants to make sure that my insides have healed as much as they are going to heal, after enduring “Operation: Liver Kill.”

From what I understand (after wading through the doc’s heavy accent), a camera will travel down my esophogus, throughout my intestines, finally resting in my stomach somewhere, all the while videotaping Tony Grands’ inner space, for medical purposes. I can’t say I’m looking forward to the experience. But I welcome it. It’s like a scar. & men, like boys, enjoy a good scar, because there’s always an awesome story behind it that needs to be shared. The majority of my scars aren’t visible to the naked eye, but my story’s a little awesomer than the average, so what I can’t point to per se, I can illustrate like HDTV. In 3D. With Smell-o-vision, the whole 9.

There are 2 types of recovering alcoholics. The Lifers, whose alcoholism will always be a prevalent part of their life until death. For example, they continue to go to AA meetings & what not, long after their program has ended, if only to be of encouragement to others & for fellowship. & then there are those who find sobriety, & their life never goes back in that direction again. Could be fear, could be uncommon sense finally kicking in, or it could be what I like to think of as the “fight-or-flight” system in all it’s “GET ME THE FUCK AWAY FROM THIS SHIT!!”-esque glory. I’m not frightened of much in this world, but alcohol is easily top 3, because it tried to kill me.

Hopefully, & with God’s graces, I’ll get an at least decent bill of health, which will officially end that chapter of my life. As thankful as I am to have gone through it, I love that it will go from experience to memory, assuming all goes well. &, I say that not as a skeptic, but as a cynic. A realist. Shit happens, & there’s not a fucking thing any of us can do about it. I don’t care how much you pray, or how many rosary beads you wear, or how many sticks of ceremonial incense you ignite at once. It’s all the same. Therefore, I’m always open to the possibilities of things going awry. Plus, when they don’t go awry, it really sweetens the outcome.

Like I told the homie Soulrise, it’s just another story to tell, no matter the outcome. & not for nothing, but the next time I see the doctor after this, it’ll be time for him to take my butthole’s innocence, for prostate purposes. No more of this cleaning-up-of-the-collateral-mess song & dance routine we’ve been going through for the last couple of years. Fuck all that, though.

Say a few prayers for your favorite writer. & if there’s any left, toss one my way, too. I’ll holler in a minute.

Alcoholism Is Hip Hop, Too

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Not to get unnecessarily religious on a Tuesday morning, but while I’m not sure how much I believe in predetermined fate, I do fully subscribe to the idea that God has us GPS’d, like pet chinchilllas, & sends us out to be in certain places & situations, to be of benefits to others. Even if not to ourselves. Imagine all the times that you’ve witnessed someone go through something totally avoidable, & in the process, learned how not to do that. Was it a matter of coincidence? Happenstance? The truth of the matter is that, no matter the level of tragedy or elation, humans learn from other humans. &, if you believe in God, that’s an intentional act.

The reason I bring this up is because I’m an alcoholic (albeit a recovering one, but nonetheless), & I believe there’s a bigger purpose to that. A real alcoholic, like rehab & lifetime medical complications & “slippery slopes” & the whole 9. I’m one of the lucky ones, too, because cats who I’d known strictly because of our collective neighborhood-drunk status are still doing the same old shit, while I’m pushing my sobriety to the limit, if only because I’d rather not kill myself. & make no mistake; alcohol-related death is suicide (just like catching AIDS as a result of irresponsibility or a drug overdose). Don’t let the smooth taste fool you.

On a somewhat regular basis, I get a person who has a question about alcoholism, or just wants to know my expert opinion on their binge drinking habits. For this reason, former users make great drug/alcohol counselors, assuming they can take their own advice. I’m not a couselor (yet…), so that type of inquiry is a Badge of Honor, only equaled by anything positive my kids do. However, it wasn’t always that way. Ask any recovering or professionally recovering bottle jockey, & they’ll tell you that alcoholism is a thick curtain, that grows more furry with each passing year. Those valiant enough to eventually pull the curtain back are blinded by the light. Literally & figuratively. To bottom line that sentiment, I didn’t know what purpose my human spirit served (outside of channelling Holy Ghost dance routines when needed), until I learned I may have drank myself into the grave. [Sidenote: Movies & music make Death seem like some hardbody, blaze-of-glory home-going, but that’s not the case. No one wants to die. & if you do, you won’t once a doctor tells you-to your face-that you might get your wish.] Once the initial shock of life-change simmers (which include withdrawal symptoms & physical illness), in comes the truck loads of shame, fear, guilt, depression, anxiety, & seclusion. In theory, sobriety will make a nigga need to get drunk, if you smell my cologne. The first 3 months of attempted sobriety are extremely delicate because of this, & the last thing I wanted to do, for the first 3 months of my program, was talking about God-damned alcohol. & for the record, I said attempted because the first 3 months is usually the relapse mark for people in recovery. My last 3 months were quite different, though, in that I’d come to embrace life without blinders & ear plugs. & it wasn’t that bad. I still felt regret about past decisions & whatever, but it wasn’t that bad. But I digress.

Slowly, that changed. Over time, what once hampered me has given me strength. Really though, when someone hears my story, I can’t fathom what they get from it. To me, it’s just what I had to go through. But don’t get it confused. That nonchalance is far from a slight at the hell I endured. It’s more of a comfort zone, a safe place, knowing that I went through a lot to have the authority to tell the next man, “Slow down, homie. That shit’ll kill you.” I’ve even had readers hit me on the email, about how my openness & honesty helped them in someway. & hell, if my stupidity is something I can bag-up & show to people so they can see what to avoid; awesome. I’ll add that to my list of sober living bonuses, which includes things like better relationship with my family & not dead.

The fact that I’m typing is a testament to true animal survival. The fact that I’m closing in on 3 years without a drink is a nod to the will of the mended human spirit. Anything you need to achieve, you can. & if you need some positively reinforced smoke blown up your ass, for motivational purposes, holler at a writer. That’s how I roll.

**For more info on my fight against alcoholism, enter “Alcoholism” in my search box. & learn something, or it’s a waste of time**