Yet a bit MORE about BG...
Johnny Winter. It's quite interesting for me to witness the artistic process at work, so I thought I'd sneak this one in before it evolves into its final incarnation. The eyes are already haunting me.
Anyway...what with all my vast blogging expertise (NOT) culled over the incredible expanse of a full six months in the blogosphere (lol), here's some conclusions I've drawn thus far:
There are an incredible number of uber-literate, creative, and talented blog writers doing incredible things.
Blogging and hyperlinking represent an unparalleled shift in culture and communications (duh). In terms of technology, blogs are as revolutionary as the invention of the printing press; as novel a literary genre as--well--the novel was centuries ago; and as signifcant a media development as the invention of television. (Double duh).
Personal blogs allow readers to delve into other's hearts, souls, innermost thoughts, hopes, fondest dreams, and tragedies like no other public medium up until now. In some cases, you can learn more about a complete stranger in cyberspace than their own families, friends, or shrinks could ever hope to--and carry on a conversation with them without ever meeting.
OK, that's all the "duh" stuff. But here's where it gets a little more controversial---maybe:
For men--especially American males--personal blogs offer an outlet for sharing emotions and vulnerabilities that have been, until now, difficult to vent due to societal norms. This is, of course, in additon to everything else men--and women-- blog about.
For women, personal blogs allow them to explore and share their relationships with families and significant others on a global and intensely intimate scale. The whole world can be right there listening at your virtual kitchen table. (Terrible stereotype, but you know what I mean). This is, of course, in additon to everything else men--and women--blog about.
So what's with the pontificating, already? Well, it's all just a convoluted way of warming up to the "confession" that my boyfriend BG figures pretty prominently in this blog of mine--and that this may be, in part, more of a "girl" thing. Not that there's anything wrong with that, right? I'll let you be the judge.
And so it is that in response to one of my recent posts entitled Ah! What Schmirnoff hath wrought!, Timothy of Dragons' wings brought up some points in the comments section that give me a chance to fill in some gaps here about him and our relationship--though this is only the tip of the iceberg. Some things I've talked about in depth in older posts; and doubtless I'll write more about it in later ones. The situation is complicated by the fact that BG and I are both pretty private people, and he isn't always too thrilled about what I divulge here on the web. So there are things that I leave out, though the confessional nature of blogging makes it more and more difficult to hold things back.
In any case, I tried to respond to Timothy in the comments section, but found that my answers were so long and detailed that they seemed more appropriate as a post of their own. So here is my reply to Timothy, rambling and disjointed though it may be. For context, see Timothy's comments. It covers, among other things, AA, religion, spirituality, and (of course) mental illness. And heeere it is.....
Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I do admire the fact that you have been able to remain clean and sober for so long...there are many who cannot, with or without AA. And yes, as you said, a person must have a very strong desire to stop using in order to succeed. Perhaps some people weigh the options and decide that they'd rather continue using.
BG and I have talked extensively about the "spiritual" aspect of AA and a Higher Power. BG was very turned off by what he considered the blatantly religious aspects of AA. Indeed, it is very steeped in Christian dogma, in my opinion, and many of the traditions are based on the culture and norms of a group that started in the (30's?). The world has changed a lot since then, and frankly, I don't think AA has kept up with the times.
As far as prayer and spirituality, I've addressed this subject extensively in an older post, but I'll reiterate a little here.
There is a lot about organized Western religion that doesn't sit well with me, which is why I have considered learning more about Eastern religions and philosphies. We are so used to thinking of God as a grey bearded man in the sky that it becomes hard to think out of the box and perhaps consider that the Higher Power may be much more ephemeral than this--maybe even a creative universal force that isn't made in our human image. Or...something.
BG's mom is a big proponent of prayer. My feeling is that a lot of people use prayer as a smokescreen to make themselves feel virtuous and superior, but in real life they never consider that doing a simple good deed and putting their money where their mouth is might do more for themselves and others. But I do sometimes thank the Higher Power in my everyday life--not on my knees but in my mind.
As far as BG's schizophrenia--well, out of all the mental illnesses, I think this one has the biggest stigma of all. But in fact, to me it seems like a catch all diagnosis--not at all well defined. In a way, any state of psychosis could simply be labeled psychosis plain and simple in my book rather than schizophrenia--and vice versa.
Nevertheless, when I started dating BG and he said he was schizophrenic, it did give me pause, since I had the same stereotypes in mind that most people do. But I have to say this: no one meeting BG would ever guess that he was schizophrenic save for his doctor, family, and close friends. In fact, he appears more "normal" than most "normal" people. His social skills are vastly superior to mine--he can engage in small talk with people he's just met with complete aplomb. And he is charming and friendly and open. He does not talk to himself, or rock back and forth, or stare blankly into space. He is not dirty and disheveled--in fact, he is scrupulously clean.
On occasion, BG still does have to go into the hospital, though this has not happened for quite awhile. He does indeed have a heavy track record of hospitalizations under his belt, but I think that stress often exacerbates many illnesses--mental and physical--and undue stress is something we try very hard to avoid now. Knowing him intimately, I know that he is schizophrenic--the symptoms are there, subtle as they sometimes may be-- but as one more enlightened doctor once said to me: "Don't call him that--it's just his personality."
And last but not least, BG worked very very hard for many many years in very stressful jobs. Long story short, he has gone through ordeals in his life that I doubt I could ever have begun to endure.
In a good percentage of cases, schizophrenia seems to get milder as time goes on, and I think this is the case with BG. I think it can also be true of alcoholism, despite what AAers may say. There are some people, from what I've read and believe, who siimply outgrow it or overcome it--without AA, and sometimes without a spiritual awakening.
At this point, BG has a lot more control over his drinking than he once did. He is more of a binge drinker, and can sometimes do without for considerable periods. He has a lot of anxiety, however, and I think he uses alcohol, as they say, to self medicate.
But rather than seeing this as completely bad, I have to say that virtually all meds, legal or illegal, have potential long and short-term side effects--some of them very serious--and sometimes even fatal. For some people, alcohol and other illegal drugs do alleviate distressing symptoms in the same way a sleeping pill or an antidepressant or an aspirin might. But sleeping pills can be addictive; psych meds may cause weight gain or horrible neurological symptoms; and even aspirin can cause ulcers. In the case of BG, the major side effect of drinking is a screeching hangover the morning after.
As far as enabling or making things worse for BG--I do not encourage his drinking. When I was very ill there was no way I could drink with him, and he did so anyway when he felt the need to. It may seem as if helping him procure a bottle on Sunday was enabling, but the alternative was that he would go to his local shitty bar instead. And just as there is almost no way to talk BG out of drinking, there is no way to talk him into it if he has good reason not to. One good example of this is when I was in the hospital for about 6 weeks with a super major depression--complete with shock treatments--the whole works. BG visited every day, arriving the minute visiting hours began and staying til they ended--which on the weekends was all day. When he ran into one of his disgusting (now ex) friends--a stone cold alchie--who tried to talk him into drinking with him by saying "you need to take care of yourself too," he never considered doing so for even a nanosecond. "Elvira is counting on me," he said. And that was that.
I'm curious as to why you would be angry with God...but that's perhaps a discussion for another time.
In any case, thanks for your comments, as always!
Well, that's it. I've brought up a lot of things here, and welcome comments on any of this, of course--that goes without saying, but I'm saying it anyway.
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