That’s a taller order. I’ll warn you right now that what’s about to go down could be a total narcissistic shit show. I mean seriously. This could be navel gazing of the highest order but this is blogging. We love this sort of crap, right? Thing is, what’s on my mind is me. I know. An alcoholic obsessively thinking about himself. What are the odds? Other than “because I’m awake” or “because I’m breathing” there’s a reason I’m on my own mind. Change the “you” to “I” in the following song and continue:
Since I got sober in 2009, I have honestly tried not to chart my progress or beat myself up for not being perfect. But for the most part I’ve failed. I’m an addict, for crying out loud. I want results and I need them yesterday, thank you very much! I want my whole life to be the last scene of a home makeover show wherein a former shitbox suddenly becomes the Palace of Versailles and I want it in 30 minutes, with no commercials. Needless to say, progress is always slow-moving and never immediate and it all takes time and blah blah blah. Intellectually I know this but my inner Veruca Salt doesn’t care how and just wants it now.
And yet despite my impatience, things have changed. Life has changed. I have changed. But I’ve also stayed the same. In a good way. Let me explain. I am currently writing a lot more in both my professional life and my personal life. This is a return to the kid I’ve always been. In my first year of sobriety, I for some reason wound up watching a lot of that crazy ass Discovery Health Channel. The channel, which is now deceased and reincarnated as the Oprah network or something, had the craziest shows ever. Things like I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant or The Man With the 132 Pound Scrotum were these wacky television oddities that I couldn’t take my eyes off. Plus, anything more dramatic and fucked up than my current reality of getting sober, I was instantly a fan of. But somewhere in this medical sideshow was a program about the human brain and the developing of personality. A doctor charted how the human personality fully developes around the age of 7. This was like a lightbulb going off. I remember that awesome 7 year-old. The kid who liked to tell endless stories and create imaginary worlds for his stuffed animals and dolls. A kid who drew until his hands were sore and looked for a billion ways to pretend to be someone else. That kid was incredible. Despite being teased for being effeminate and despite not fitting into what a normal, white american boy in 1979 should be like, that kid was his own person. He somehow stayed true to himself no matter what. So as I watched that show, I remembered that kid. that person I was. And I felt bone-crushingly sad. I all but obliterated that kid with drugs and alcohol.
So I wanted him back. Not in some learning to give your inner-child a purple balloon bullshit way. I wanted to live that awesomely, sparkly, imaginative personality and be that kid, no matter what. Slowly, he has come back. My love of storytelling returned and sobriety has afforded the luxury of seeing some of my own words on stage, in print and online. But hanging onto this magical storytelling kid isn’t always easy, even in sobriety. Last fall, I got really, really sick. My ass wound up in the hospital for a few days and I was told it would be months until I felt like myself again. They were right. Goddamnit. My energy was zapped. My brain felt like it was asleep. The rest of the world moved around me and being exhausted was the only thing I could do with any success.
I am elated to say that 7 months later, the spell has been broken. I feel more creative awake and grateful than I have in a long time. I have more ideas than I know what to do with and I’m saying yes to all sorts of cool collaborations. My committment to keeping that kid alive, safe and creating stuff is stronger than ever. Yet I know that if life deals me curve balls and I fall off track, another “Seanaissance” is just around the corner. Inspiration, for me anyway, is always simmering on stove somewhere in the background. I trust it. It’s always there. And I know that creative kid knows just what to do with it.