About Me

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Los Angeles, California
I am 47 and thriving in Southern California. One day at a time.
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Thursday, June 28, 2012

there's something about maggie (got dog?)

using dreams suck.

the night's pilling and swilling suspends my belief.

[where am i?]

i shift heavy at bed's end, sober with relief. but it lingers.

[you're ok. well, sort of. you're in glendale.]

the emotional hangover settles thick; sick, burdened, guilty as uncharged.

[and we're off to the races.]

my mind's a go, roaring, racing; making the world and everything in it, my bitch.


[welcome to my mind.]

so with henbrain still sloshing, i squint one-eyed, shamefaced, soon egg-faced, over to my fb page.

over to my link. my blog. my masterpiece.

not one click. not one like. not one stroke of the ol' bald ego.

i am plucked bare, patchy and raw. but i sting less from vitamin (ego-)d (boost) withdrawal and more from my ravenous, sand-crawling desperation for a cyber connection; any connection.

[i. just. feel. so. alone.]

and my barometer plummets to less-than-zealously in love with anyone. and suddenly, i hate the world.

[i fucking hate facebook.]

and i am seething, simmering with resentment; my skin smolders hot with disruption as i pack up my life for 2 nights. meds, [slam!], clothes, [slam!], toiletries, [slam!], computer, [slam!] aa literature, [slam!] food, [slam!] dbt (dialectical behavioral therapy) charts, homework [slam!]...

"SLAM! no big changes in your first year of sobriety! wag! wag! wag!"

and my hair is falling out again, silently, ominously, like nuclear ash.  i brush strands off my pillow, my shirts, corking cries of self-pity. the little red haired girl arches skyward, daddy's calves, cyclosporine belly protruding. tugging at her prednisone goblet she wonders why, why, can't she hang on to just a little bit of vanity?

[child, never ask questions that start with why...]

and there's that song. that stupid, stupid song. endlessly turntabling on sirius hits 1. it guts me and i'm down, no reflex; now a reflex. on my knees. sobbing, snorting in time; a pig for sacrifice, a lamb for god, a hen up for anything.

and then there's those texts. and emails. flawed in their hurried design, blueprints short circuiting upon receipt.

"are you ok?"

"how is sobriety!?"

"when can i call?"

"thinking of you!"

these gestures comfort the sender, sooth their guilty gulps. they chalk up their side of the scorecard with a mighty stroke, electronic brevity showcasing how impossibly busy they are!, how utterly inconvenient is our friendship; sending you only further, deeper into a cavernous avoid with the arm's length touch of a button.

but the worst is the silence. long and loud. the ones who circulate you on a prayer list; in a prayer group, and never, ever call. is it just me, but didn't jesus get down with the whores, the thieves, the alcoholics?

[maybe when i'm divorced, reject "the kid" and relapse, i'll get on a speed dial.]

"write drunk, edit sober"...

[the "heningway" morality usually pops up somewhere in the 7th inning stretch.]

so as i walked into my house and melted into a wickedwitchoftheeast puddle of tears, i heard her before i saw her.

those crazy "magaroni" nails...

those panicked squeals of delight...

and that wild and wily tail...

dogs know something we just don't. they know how to live. mindfully. they do everything in the moment. they are spiritual. and even if they've just had 10 teeth taken out, there is nothing greater on the face of the earth than the sight of you. others always come first.


[except when there's a bone around. or a nether region in need of detailing.]

and as i rolled around on the floor with my toothless dog, my hangover lifted.

hair is hair and that's what wigs are for. or pomade for a shiny scalp.

i love facebook because i can see my bedstefar sit in tivoli gardens at age 93.

and the reason my hackles are buzzing, so finely antennaed to the telephone game is because i played it better than anyone. and nobody wins, when nobody calls.

there's no-one to crucify.

it's just not about me.

thank god.

and some days, when you can't find your god, (sigh) you've got dog.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

the girl with the golden arm

"you have arms a junkie would kill for"...

words that dripped from the lips of my klean bud, b., post workout. sweaty, but dry, i could see the covetous, methglint in his eye, a dormant spark. usurped, my queen now pinballs; speedballs across the syringe-littered, royal, red carpets of west hollywood, trippingly on his crown.

i bounced into a ray charles cafeteria booth and slipped safe harbor. oh, the irony. to feel at home here. alone. like a rubber dingy bouncing against a dock, the artificial seat shored me tight over troubled waters. i sighed. the long and winding road of separation sustains rubber-screeching yields, hair-tearing construction and wide-open manholes.

["man down!"]

the scene of so many decompressed crimes and misdiagnoses. underweight, overweight; post-op, pre-op; intoxicated, detoxing. always double dipped, front-to-back in those ghoulish green gowns. hooked up, strung out, on some i.v. toxicity; clumsily negotiating the wobbly wheeled silver stick along the carpeting. dragging heel, but clutching a cuppa like a ferocious, glamorous grasp to a chardonnay goblet, frosty and full.

and always by my side, my man.

a man in uniform.

baseball cap. coke zero. iphone.

ifinger perennially poking, prodding. his life force. he leans back in the booth. takes a swig. adjusts his cap. scans the room. scans the screen. appearing, by all accounts, distant, uncaring.

["pay attention to me!!!"]

but those eyes. behind those tired, tilted eyes he exists in another dimension, where all 5 senses are hyper attuned to his wife. and in birthing a sixth sense, hensense, he depletes his own.

[crack. kidney transplant, not heart.]

that day i waltzed to the front of the line with a STAT requisition held higher and holier than wonka's golden ticket, and with a cheeky glance, bypassed the limp and the irritated. yeah, i reveled in the timely necessity for my labs, the way an ego-drenched rock star milks his encore with a glorious, peacocked strut across the stage, colorfully erect. into the roped off, bottle serviced, VIP section of da club, i was escorted; inserted for easyaspie, quick on the draw, bloodsport, when...



"your vein collapsed.".

"wow. after 30 years, i think i've got me some scar tissue..."

"ya think?"

and we laughed and laughed and laughed.

and somewhere in that musicality, i floated above my head and took a picture. with my throw away phone. that my husband got for me before i exited rehab. that has a ridiculously loud "analog" type shutter click. that my friend, m., silenced for me in arizona. that melted into so-uncool-its-hot hipness months ago...

[a picture's worth a thousand words, right?]

you are separated from your husband. backing out of your driveway in your apartment gives you panic attacks. you are at cedars 14 months after your second kidney transplant because you have developed antibodies. you are unemployed, on disability and never want to act again.

and you are unequivocally an alcoholic.

[but here's another thousand...]

you are laughing, laughing, laughing because you no longer have any veins in your arm.

but your arm is golden.

because index finger and thumb are extended long, lean, shiny with glean. and pointing.


aiming no longer at them, but towards truth.

towards self.

[and you've still got the guns...]

Monday, June 18, 2012

days like these (father's day)

when you lose your father at age 10 to alcoholism, there's a few things you don't get.

you don't get to sit on his knee and donut his neck; deep breathing confusions until he whispers back sage, sugary comforts you can gnaw on all day long like a candy necklace.

[daddy's little girl.]

you don't get to talk. to a person. about the train of events railroading your life. the parallels with his vibrating so similar, i feel the steel tracks humming; white headlight squint. after school misadventures terminated.

[the train he didn't spot.]

and you don't get to share this sobering surprise. under a wilted paper towel, you've saved him the biggest slice of cake. the corner piece with the rose. while some purse lip at its divine, sugary sweetness, still others roll their eyes at the gaudy; godly inscription layered thick on top. one day at a time. you will not share your slice with him.

[nobody told me there'd me days like these.]

but when you are 8 months and 4 days sober...

you give thanks to a man who has consistently shown up to dance with you. on a black and white checkered floor, many a misstep; misquote twirled us too quick, and icing was called on account of injured toe or feelings. but this man has patiently dodged every swingan'amiss brought, arms never at his side, but outstretched wide.

[not only is she unlacing the gloves, she's thinking about hanging them up for good.]

you give thanks for an aunt, who until recently, was a stranger; the shadowy sister. a fanciful figure, now crinkling upwards from pages of the past. tales from the cryptic. her gift, a rope around a bundle of letters; a tether to her heart snaked loose across salty brine for decades. the storied siblings. p and t. granted access through the wardrobe, my movements are dainty, uncertain, my breathing shallow and thin; she steadies my back. on tiptoes, i peer into his soul and dive into hers.

and you give thanks for this letter (1972). you hold it in your hand with all the rigid tension of a pimple pulled taut, ready to pop, oozing poisonous pus; past.

"Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat...etc....It really is a feast for children. I had always heard the phrase, but never have I appreciated the truth of it until this year, when Henriette is now old enough to take delight in the decorations, lights, and trees springing up all over Toronto. Commercial as some and many of these displays may seem to be, and are, the delight in Henriette's eyes is so genuine-sparking-smiling-lips-joyous squeals-that soppy as this may sound, just watching her reactions make my heart turn over, and make me feel as if that this...really this...was what I was born to experience, and if I never saw another thing, this would have been enough to have lived for."

[maybe i'll rethink the grinch badge.]

you don't get a god, you get a man. and with 22 letters you get to slowly dismantle the pedestal you kept him on for 33 years, slowly, board by board. and in doing so, become closer to yours.

[splinterless. unsprintered.]

everything in its time.

on a day like today.

[fathers' day.]

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

separation anxiety

apparently the word on the street was a sober mumble.

and a pissy paragraph from my last post bears repeating.

"may 20, 2012, "hen doesn't live here anymore":

[ah, beware ye of little dysfunction.]

the addict and the codependent.

the prince, a not-so-charming-control-freak, and the princess-has-pea-ed-the-bed.

you sit there smugly behind the computer screen, anonymous, arms folded in self-righteous, knotted victory, finger taut, ready to delete; snap shut, shudder away my pain. ah. but, we were the chosen ones. news printed for all of toronto's morning glory; morning java. we were the mostlikelytorocket stars. and tonight i sleep in a stranger's bed. alone. trust me. it can happen to you.

the prodigal son's family feathers around him. and the hen feathers alone."...

we are separated.

the transplanted, golden state couple. comely canucks en route-86'd.

now i chase pavements in mindless, maggie-less glendale.

suffering morning panic attacks, unflagellated by the serenity prayer, i back my mid-size rental out a rear driveway, an inch to spare on either side. sweetly soaked in deodorant-spray sweat, the technicolor town assaults circus bright, midway loud. it hammers heavily the obvious, nail-tearing truth.

four years, an auto-pilot passenger.

time to own the wheel.


the guy looks great on paper.

the hero who slayed quick the disease, delivering the ailing princess with his bloodied kidney, glistening thick atop his sterling silver sword.

but here's the thing.

sometimes, an extended arm; an open palm works better than a razor sharp object being pointed directly at your face. from a horse.

and as for that piece of paper. there are two sides. and two stories.

his side. my side.

the story is 20 years old. and addiction is but one of a thousand of threads that must be untangled.

two hearts have been declared broken and the crazy glue's been doled out with strict instructions.

you fix YOU. and you fix YOU.

[and don't get any on your hands.]

i had a thought the other day.

i used to beg him, for hours and hours for my pills.

but i never once begged him for my kidney.

and here's another.

it was his choice to be there.

i swing wildly on this pendulum of recovery, back and forth between wild-child hysteria and leaping to connect the dots from a to z. and there are moments like saturday night, when i just wanted to drink. period. but when i allow the gyrating, the jerking, to cease, i am momentarily cemented in gray; in blissful zenhen.

these moments are pulled tightly around my shoulders, silken threads i can knit together with my furrowed brow; hot, syrupy sips that clear my thin and trembling voice.

i am hen.

but there's only one person in the world i want to share these revelations with.


and it's scream8timesaday, heartstrippingly, bendoverthesteeringwheelsobbingly surreal.


so for now, i do it on my own.

and so does he.