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83

83. 83 days. 83 freaking days! That’s all have we left. In 84 days, we will be crying or celebrating or at least shutting the fuck up about who is the president of the United States. Insert every happy dance/whew/hallelujah gif ever. It’s been a long and arduous pain in the ass. Yet it’s also been incredibly revealing. The friends of mine with a sense of humor and an ability to keep their head up have floated to the top. The ones who need to yell or think there’s a global conspiracy about everything? It’s been a tough year for them, to say the least. Bless (and unfollow) their crazy ass hearts.Nevertheless, here we are just 83 days away. Just 83 days left of this nonsense and we can all go back to talking about ourselves. It may seem like a long time away but for those of us who have gotten sober, we see a number like 83 days and we think, “I got this.”

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When you’re counting days in early recovery, it can be a long,long time. 30 days without drinking is a huge deal. 90? Even bigger. A year?!? Get the hell out of here. These milestones seem unachievable, mythical even. Yet if you’ve got the right support and you’re really ready, they can happen. So in later sobriety, I’ve been amazed what I can do for days in a row. I’ve quit meat for 6 months. I quit Facebook for 3. I quit smoking. Period. This structure I used to quit drinking and used to change my life has since been used to change all kinds of things. I recently decided when I launched this website that I would publish three times a week until the end of the year. I have tried to be divorced from the results, the page views, the comments and just write and publish 3 times a week. And this, my friends, is how we ended up here at my 32nd post. 32.jpg

Truth? I’ve had some stumbles along the way. I haven’t always wanted to write nor have I been crazy about everything I’ve published. There’s been pieces I really liked that no one has read and pieces I’m indifferent about that people respond to. Such is life. But the point is a little 60 days later, I’ve kept going. I’ve kept a promise to myself. So woo hoo for that.

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And while we’re throwing glitter and celebrating days passing, why not dive into the Seanologues Greatest Hits? Sure 32 posts might seem a little premature to put out a greatest hits but I disagree. I mean. If Stacey Q can have a greatest hits than gosh darn it I can too!

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So here are some of your favorites and some of mine too:

1.) I Won’t Ruin Your Barbecue: This was hands down the most read and most reposted. Thank you so much for that. I’m glad my exploits as the world’s worst drunken barbecue disaster resonated with so many people.

2.)Your Permission Slip: Well, holy shit. Just thinking about this post puts a lump in my throat. I’m just glad people read it and it struck a chord with them. I wrote it after being devastated and sad after Orlando. And I wrote it for myself. So that fact that you responded to it is overwhelming.

3.)Angry Anymore: Gosh. I loved writing this, even if it dealt with a less than savory part of myself. Turns out lots of you hate the angry bastard lurking inside too and you left some amazing comments.

4.) I Walk Alone: Walking is kind of the closest thing I have to a regular spiritual practice and writing about it felt good.

5.) Hey Ninety: Ditto writing about the amazing older people in my life. Plus, a Steely Dan song!

6.) I See You On The Street & You Walk On By: My very first Redditted work which is so millenial for a post about a 30 year old Madonna album. Nevertheless, I’m glad people read it as it was one that I worked on for a while and was very close to my Material Girl loving heart.

7.) the bullshit of busy: Another one I wrote to call myself out for bad behavior that readers gave me a big, “Amen, sistah” to. Writing this, as a matter of fact, has helped me change “busy” as my go to answer so thank you for that.

8.) Long Train Running (or not): Sometimes, I like to write to capture a moment in my life so I won’t forget it. This post about a train trip with the husband did that and bonus–you guys liked it and read it.

9.) Flight or Fight (or Write): This post makes the Greatest Hits for two reasons- 1.) I really enjoy writing about writing and 2.) people who I respect who also write got something out of it too. Win!

10.) new victors: Well every greatest hits has that new song on the end that maybe you’re not crazy about but maybe you’ll grow to love.  Enter “new victors.” I published it yesterday and it came from a scattered place but it felt oddly cathartic writing it so there ya go.

Yet, in the end, navel gazing at the past or freaking out about the future don’t really matter. All we have is one day: right now. In this the glorious right now, I just want to tell you thank you for reading, for helping me as a writer, for making me laugh my face off and for being the greatest.

 

On Assignment

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When it comes to covering the hard-hitting issues, look .. somewhere else. Yet coming this August, I am going on assignment. Not on the campaign trail. I mean how basic do you think I am? Not press junkets. Not breaking news stories. No, your buddy Sean is launching Sean on Assignment. For this weekly feature for August, I’ll be reporting on the random, the seemingly boring and quirky things happening in my town. That’s right. Yours truly is putting on his reporter hat. Although I fear it’s not as jaunty as Kermit’s. Or Lois Lane’s.

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This urge to take the seanologues on the road was cooked up in my brain a couple of weeks ago. Initially, I thought it would be fun to cover weird things around my ‘hood just to mix up the style of writing seen here. Turns out I have something of a journalistic past. ‘Tis true! Between an Andrea Zuckerman-like stint on my high school newspaper to writing for indie newspapers and magazines in Los Angeles, I’ve always dabbled in journalism. I would have even finished a journalism degree in my youth had my double major in Electronic Music and Drug Consuming (with a double minor in Drinking and Lying, thank you very much!)  not eaten away most of my time. I also thought it would also be fun to flex my observational muscle writing wise. Try writing about other people than myself for a change. I know! There’s a crazy idea. One so crazy, it just might work! But as I plotted out what I was going to write about, it hit me. There was another reason. I wanted to play Johnny reporter in my own life.

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A while back when I was feeling particularly beaten up by negative headlines, bombastic opinions and toxic Facebook posts(which I mean aren’t they all, even a little?) a light came on and a new personal mantra presented itself to me, “I am not the victim to information.” I’d been looking for clarity and wondering how I kept getting knocked over by all of the thoughts and ideas that whip by us at the speed of light and there it was. In the end, it wasn’t up to CNN or Twitter or even Facebook to change the information they churned out, it was up to me. I could deactivate accounts. I could take apps off my phone. I could read from actual pages instead of from screens. All things I’ve done for various lengths of time and with various degrees of success. It was up to me to handle what’s being served at the 24 hour information buffet. Period. It’s a delicate line to walk, however. As pop culture fanatic and knowledge junkie and not to mention an addict, it’s hard for me to know when to say when. Don’t think the irony of finally getting sober only to spend my time being an iPhone’s bitch is lost on me. I get it. So most of the time it looks a lot like keeping myself in check. Shutting the phone off. Walking without looking at my screen. Just listen to my husband without listening and tweeting or listening and reading crap on the internet. But I felt like there was still more that I could do.

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By writing what I want to read, by contributing stuff I think is funny or informative or ridiculous, I’m making a drop in the swirling black hole of internet negativity. It’s not much but it isn’t about changing the world’s mind. It’s just about shifting my own narrative in the only way I know how– writing. Now, now, I realize this is all starting to sound like one of those”Post pictures of puppies instead of talking about politics” threads on Facebook. But it’s not. After all, amazing people like my friend Paul or my friend Mark or my buddy Claire or Daniel or Chris and countless brilliant others are all doing it too– contributing something good instead of just soaking a shit jacuzzi. So me going on goofy assignments is a part of this. Maybe writing weird, uplifting and funny features on little slices of life will provide some levity for a few readers or maybe I’ll just entertain myself. Either way, it’s a win. With or without the jaunty hat.

Sean On Assignment premiers right here on August 4th!

flight or fight (or write)

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The answer is usually right in front of my face. The answer is usually something I knew all along. The answer is usually standing in the waiting room tapping its foot and saying, “Hello? I’m over here, you big dumdum.” And this is how I’ve ended up posting endless links to new things I’ve written over the last month.

Let me explain: intuitively I knew I had to get back on a regular writing schedule. Now I’ve continued to write for clients and work but doing my own projects? Not so freaking much. After completing a script last year and battling some health nonsense, writing for me felt like something energetically I just couldn’t swing. The problem was, however, that without writing regularly, I started to feel nuts. I was explaining to another alcoholic just yesterday that I’m often jealous of people who can maintain their sanity and sobriety by just being physically sober or doing very little work. I, on the other hand, need a lot of help and from all kinds of sources. It’s like mind-blowing mole, you know that dark spicy chocolate sauce that comes from Mexico that when done right can be a religious experience.  The real deal, make-you-wanna-smack-your- mama mole requires at least 3 days and 30 ingredients to achieve poetic heights. And my sanity/spirituality/humanity is much the same. I can’t just do meetings. I can’t just exercise. I can’t just meditate. I can’t just have a digital support group. I need to be firing on all cylinders to make myself consumable for the human public. Now when an ingredient is missing, I begin to feel icky. A regular writing practice was missing so this is how I’ve ended up bothering you three times a week with new posts.

Suffice to say over the last month, my life has gradually changed and a light has gone on. I’ve written a few things that lots of people have read. I’ve written a few more that no one has read. All of this is fine. I am not doing it for internet pats on the back or sparkly comments. I’m doing it to stay alive. As I’ve mentioned, the news in June kicked my ass and made me feel devastatingly sad. Old me would have felt a blip of sadness and doused myself in alcohol or cocaine. Today, I feel all the feels as the kids say and it’s uncomfortable and real and intense. Thank god for writing. Writing helps we exorcise whatever is banging around in my head. June also saw some gnarly personal conflicts come up that previously would have resulted in neck crooking finger waving name calling confrontation better suited for Bravo than real life. I’ve somehow been able to avoid being a dick while not running away. I’ve stayed present, calm and authentic and I’ve kept writing. Who the hell knew any of this was possible? I made simple commitment to blog three times a week in addition to things I’m collaborating on and my professional stuff. That’s it.

Now, those of you who know me in real life or follow me on Twitter(which I was recently informed isn’t real life! Mind. Blown.) know how much I detest self-helpish, click baity ‘You’re living your life wrong if you don’t do this” type of posts. I hate that we’ve somehow cultivated a culture that gives the thumbs up to people who’ve stopped being an asshole for like 2 minutes and now they should be experts and tell us how to live. Eww. So in lieu of dishing out the kind of unsolicited advice that makes me gag: I’m simply offering my experience of the last month. I felt yucky and emotionally jumbled before I got back writing regularly again and now I don’t. Whoomp there it is. If there’s something that you love, something that helps you feel better, something you want to get back to (writing, knitting, walking, baking, meditating, volunteering, other positive activities that end in ‘ing’.) why not take a month and get back to them? It can’t hurt. Fuck. It might even help you. And maybe for you, like me, it’ll be the answer you’ve been looking for this whole time.

*please feel free to leave sparkly comments below. 

a seanaissance

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find myself.

lose myself.

find myself.

lose myself.

be myself?

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.

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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.

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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.

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