Category Archives: Sober City 2015

Sober City Redux: Day 56

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Apparently, I have nothing to say. Blank screens. Blank pages. Out of date blog. My intentions were sound at one point I swear. I’m not sure what happened. Nothing, I suppose. That’s the point I guess. I still haven’t had any alcohol since my last post so there’s that. I don’t feel like I’ve lost any weight in the two months (almost) since I’ve stopped drinking so there’s also that. I’m bored most of the time and feel like writing about all this is becoming an impossible chore that I’ve almost all but completely lost interest in, so there’s also that. What else? I hate my mustache. That’s a fact. There. Stuff to write about. Cue the witty phrasing and clever metaphors about living life and feeling feelings. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just too god damn cold for creativity. All work and no play makes Jack freeze to death in the hedge maze with his family. Spoiler alert. 

I guess all this is normal and expected. I never really assumed I’d have amazing insights and important things to say ever, let alone on any kind of regular basis. I’m just another land mammal flopping around the landscape hoping I don’t get swallowed into the horizon. All a part of the human experience. I’m still here. I’m still living. I’m still figuring it all out. I suppose this isn’t really anything that NEEDS to be written about and posted online but then again, what the hell ever does? One more coffee stained carton of thumb typed words to add to the Internet landfill in the faintest of hopes that one day it’ll be a small part of the inevitable inferno. Burning bright and burning strong, just long enough to matter. We all want the same thing really. We just all have different ways of trying to get it.
I’m sure I have lots more to say and talk about with this blog and hopefully I’ll be back to semi regular posting sooner than later. In the meantime, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and you keep doing what you’re doing. I hear the Internet has lots of cool cat videos. Check it out!
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JM

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Sober City Redux: Day 35

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35 years ago I decided to start living. I know I was eager to do this because I wasn’t suppose to start living outside of the womb for another month or so. I wanted to get the show started so much I was willing to live in an incubator for weeks and stress out my poor mom and dad night and day for the sole purpose of starting my life at that exact moment. This was selfish sure, but I believe it was necessary to fulfill my life’s goal of sharing a birthday with both Oprah Winfrey AND Tom Selleck. Mission accomplished.

This was only the first time I decided to start living however. Somewhere around four years old I proclaimed I was going to be a famous actor. I might not have actually said that in so many words but I knew from a very young age in my heart that I was going to entertain people so I decided I was an actor and started living as such. Years later, the first time I felt like I was really in love, I was inspired to write my first song and shortly after it was received so well I decided to make that a regular part of my life for the rest of my life and I started living again. These moments continued to happen throughout my life on a fairly frequent basis and helped keep me fully engaged with life and in control. Then something terrible happened and I stopped living completely.

Before I get into that though, I should address some things that happened since my last post. My birthday was last Thursday and Sunday was the Super Bowl. Both of these events were my first real “staying sober” challenges. I honestly didn’t think they’d be challenging at all, and in many ways they really weren’t, but sometime during the day of my birthday I decided I was going to have some drinks and I convinced myself it was ok. First of all, it is ok. I know that I’m at a place where drinking once or twice a month for special occasions wouldn’t throw me back into a downward spiral of depression and practicing moderation is something that would probably be more beneficial to me in the long run but for whatever reason the moment just never felt right and I ended up sticking to water both nights. This did however open the door for a new conversation about how to proceed with Sober City in the future and I’m sure I’ll be setting new guidelines for myself eventually. Just not yet.

The second thing that happened had nothing to do with drinking at all but probably more to do with my entire struggle over the past 6 years then everything else combined. Yesterday was my dad’s birthday and I haven’t been able to talk to him for roughly 7 years now. Losing my father shook me to my core. It’s not something I’ve talked about much on here but it needs to be acknowledged. Sometime during the 11 months when dad was in the hospital (with a sever brain injury) and the months following his death, I decided to stop living. After spending 20 some years of engaging with life and “deciding to live” time and time again, for the first time ever I shut down completely. This wasn’t a conscious choice and it wasn’t something that happened overnight but it was a throughly self destructive mindset that took over my entire being and turned me into someone I didn’t recognize at all. Thankfully, I’m through the worst of it and well on the way to recovery but I’d be a fool not to recognize the profound impact it had (and will always have) on my life.

I only bring this up now because yesterday reminded me just how important it is to start living again. I’ve been hiding from life for way too long and it’s the worst thing I could be doing and the last thing dad would ever want me to do. It’s not a simple fix. It’s not a shortcut to happiness, but it is an opportunity to channel my younger self, the person I used to love and nurture, and decide to start living again today and hopefully again and again tomorrow.

Sharing all of these thoughts with everyone might not be necessary or productive (or cool) but it helps put things into perspective and it’s all part of whatever journey this turns out to be. So let’s start living again people! It’s what Oprah would have wanted.
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JM

Sober City Redux: Day 26

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When I was younger the Happy Face (or Smiley Face) was my thing. I mean it was and still is a lot of people’s thing but I adopted it as MY THING. I had happy face paraphernalia everywhere in my room; everyone who knew me bought me absolutely anything with a happy face on it; I incorporated the happy face into my actual signature, and because of the happy face I once got punched in the face giving me a black eye for prom (that’s a story for another blog). Needless to say, it meant a lot to me and it’s not hard to see why. I was always an extremely positive person and I fully believed in the power of positive thinking and manifest destiny and all manner of self help book rhetoric, so the happy face seemed like a pretty natural logo for me to adopt in retrospect. This kind of outlook and thinking served me extremely well and I fully believe it directly influenced a lot of my personal and professional success, so it’s a little disheartening to realize that I now feel completely disconnected from the happy face I used to love so much.

This isn’t to say that I’m depressed. I’m not. I feel pretty great for the most part actually, I just don’t feel a connection to that younger, full of life and promise, happy face guy I used to be. This might not be a bad thing necessarily and it’s more than likely just one of the many things you grow out of as you get older but fuck that! Getting older shouldn’t be about letting go of everything you held dear when you were younger just because time passes. It should be about learning to amplify those things that worked for you and only leave behind all the hot garbage that dragged you down. Apparently I’ve been opting to just lump my wide-eyed-optimistic-fearless-over-confident-anything-is-possible-happy-face persona that made me who I was and brought me nothing but success and happiness into the “Young and Naive” category to wither and die along side “Petty High School Drama” and “Playing Ghost Busters”. It’s ridiculous. Letting go of my happy face obsession is one thing but letting go of what it represented in me is totally unacceptable. When did “growing up” become synonymous with “giving up”? Who decided aging has more to do with changing than adapting? At what point did we all let “getting older” become the opposite of “getting bolder”? I really don’t know but it’s all a pile of horse shit.

The point I’m trying to make (poorly) is that growing up and getting older is a perfectly normal and necessary part of life that benefits everyone in many positive ways and is great and fine and super and ultimately has the potential to chip away all the great parts about ourselves that we used to love while sucking all different kinds of ass and balls. We know this. We know all this yet we let age and fear and jadedness seep their way into our tiny lizard brains and slime the place up with lies and false reasoning. We gotta hold on to the good parts from the past, those good bits of us that helped create and define who we were, who we are. The happy face. My happy face. It worked for me. It inspired me. It lifted me up higher than I had any business going and it’s part of who I was and who I am. Growing up doesn’t mean giving up. Growing up means getting up, again and again and I for one am going to do my damnedest to try and remember that, with or without a thousand happy faces in my apartment.

This post is dangerously close to entering “Sarah Palin bumper sticker ranting” territory so I’ll end it there. As always, feel free to like and share and comment as much you see fit. Every click makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Also Sober City might be going through some changes in the near future so please bear with me as I navigate potentially uncharted territory. Cryptic ominous sentence! Don’t worry. Just stay classy San Diego.
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JM

Sober City Redux: Day 6

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I did two things recently that tested however many small shreds of confidence I still manage to cling to after letting myself get to this point. First, I took my new “Before” pictures. This is absolutely an essential part of the whole process as far as I’m concerned and I highly encourage anyone else challenging themselves to a New Years transformation to do so as well but be warned, it sucks all the balls all day long. Any self denial mechanisms I had in place regarding just how far I let myself slip, were singled out and quickly taken down by a pack of rabid reality wolves and torn limb from fat jiggly limb. They died. They were eaten. They will be missed.

Secondly, I went shopping for new jeans. Now the only reason I would even subject myself to such nightmarish torture (right after the holidays no less) was due to complete and utter necessity. My only pairs of pants that even remotely fit anymore were literally falling apart at the seams and I’m told it’s socially frowned upon to leave the house in oversized swimming trunks everyday, so a trip to the mall was unavoidable. Now I’m sure that some of you reading this don’t understand how shopping for clothes could ever be described as “torture” and good for you for having great metabolism or awesome self confidence or whatever form of unimaginable black magic lets you coast through life on a cushion of blissful ignorance but for people like me who deal with the twisted horror show that is weight problems, shopping for jeans when you are (or feel) fatter than usual is nothing short of hell on earth. Bad lighting, skinny sales attendants, 8 million mirrors in a tiny room making sure you see every god damn inch of grossness you’re desperately trying to jam into jeans that are already 2 sizes bigger than they used to be. Some chipper and content person saying something like, “You making out OK in there?” and the only honest response is something like, “Oh yeah! Totally fine! I just slipped into the seventh circle of hell! Only two more levels to go before I reach the epicenter of Satan’s inner sanctum! Do you have this in a size Hammer Pants?” Madness. Total panic. Don’t do it. Buy patches.

So I’m not even a week in and already the mountain seems way too impossibly high to conquer. My commitment and drive is still sound and secure but shame and despair hold a shit load of ground. This may sound negative and whinny but it’s important to talk about. This isn’t easy. This isn’t pretty. This takes time. That’s ok. I’ve got a long road ahead of me but so does everyone. Life is gonna happen regardless of what I do, so I may as well actively do something to steer it in the direction I want it to go instead of complaining about where it’s taking me. The good news is that the simple act of committing to change, while it may not make the journey any easier, does in fact make all the other bullshit a thousand times more manageable and that’s a great place to start. Just stay the fuck away from malls and mirrors.
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JM

Sober City Redux 2015

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Happy New Year ya filthy animals!

So here’s the thing; I don’t know how to properly use semi colons. Let’s try that again. 4 years ago I wrote a lengthy heartfelt blog post detailing my intentions to give up alcohol for exactly one year. I did this partly because I needed to lose weight, partly because I needed to change my lifestyle and most accurately, because I needed to see if I could actually do it. Most of you know that I did in fact make it to the end of the year booze free and that I lost a total of 50 pounds and generally felt way better than I did before. The experiment was a huge success by all accounts and life resumed for me in a fairly uneventful manner over the next 3 years. Of course life has a funny way of repeating itself from time to time and not always in a good way.

Long story short; I’m back to where I was in 2010 (and I still don’t know how to properly use semi colons). I find myself in the same creative rut, with the same negative patterns and coincidentally at the exact same weight I was in my terrible “before” picture. Things don’t feel right and I’m ready for things to change yet again. So roughly two months ago I made up my mind and committed to revisiting my 2011 Sober City experiment in 2015. Now, I realize I almost did this before with my “Sober City: The Return” posts and “The New Sober City” but those turned out to be nothing more than wishful thinking and in retrospect, it’s clear that I just wasn’t ready. Now I am more than ready and I’ve decided to once again share my journey with anyone who will listen. I didn’t come to this decision lightly as I was really worried about what people would think. The idea of blogging about this for a second time seemed tired and potentially open for ridicule but at the end of the day this isn’t about what anybody else thinks, this is about me. If people follow my journey and possibly get inspired or feel motivated because of what I do, great, that’s fantastic, but to be completely honest I’m blogging about this because I need to. Writing helps me work out my struggles and making it public (or at least believing that it’s being read by the public) gives me an added sense of purpose that really helps me in ways I don’t even fully understand.

So with all that preamble, I officially announce my relocation to Sober City for 2015. Like last time, I’ll be updating on a semi-regular basis and following this New Years resolution to it’s full and natural…resolution. If you feel like following along, please do. If you think this is ridiculous and hate what I’m doing, block me from whatever. I’m making a commitment to change my current trajectory and I can’t wait to see where it takes me. Maybe some of you reading this feels the same way. Every day is a new chance to turn it all around and there’s no better time than now. Happy 2015 everyone! CHEERS!