Thursday, April 26, 2007

Light My Way

Don't believe what you hear
Don't believe what you see
If you just close your eyes
You can feel the enemy

I have dreams of knives. Knives lying in front of me on the ground like snakes or sharks circling me. Not piercing me but inching ever so close to me, my stomach, my body, slithering next to me as I feel their sides. I do not know if there is blood.

I am hungry. I go to sleep hungry and wake up hungry. My stomach cries. I finally eat what I wish and yet my stomach still cries.

I was watching MSG’s Fifty Greatest Moments at Madison Square Garden, and I saw the piece on Michael Jordan scoring 55 on the Knicks after his return to basketball from retirement.

As I saw MJ darting and slashing and mesmerizing the Knicks, the court, the audience, I remembered what it was like to think I could do that. Not play bball like him, of course, but to think I could capture that raw energy that elevates himself and all around him, that makes one stand still in awe. I used to think I could aspire to such excellence, maybe not fully achieve it, but aspire to it. What happened to that energy?

I was talking to my friend p-dog and we reminisced about how we aspired in our respective crafts to capture that vitality, that dynamism, to embody that inspiration, and how it has been lost, or forgotten, and how we are striving to recapture it. P-dog is struggling to reflect it in his work. I am trying to remember what it feels like.

I am chemically imbalanced. I am experimenting with the Wellbutrin XL dosage. Used to be 300mg a day, then 150mg a day, then 150 mg every other day at night, now back to 150mg every night. When will I find the right mix?

Should I stay or should I go. I think that if I set off on my own, I could find myself and find my happiness without expectations of someone else. I will still struggle with depression and deal with the anxiety and loss of leaving and not seeing my little moon as much.

It will not be a panacea but I can’t live miserably. Why do I live miserably? It’s easy to blame the other person for not acting and reacting the way you think they should or the way you think that could help you. But what is the other person to do when she sees a dark cloud standing in front of her.

I am so angry but I can’t express it, angry at myself, my spouse, my parents, my family, friends, at the situation. I wish I could be myself and express my anger, my frustration, my hurt. I wish I could be like Jordan, and express the rage of being your best, of trying to be your best.

Someone like Jordan exhibits his artistry yet while doing so, he was gambling, cheating on his wife. What does that mean?

P-dog said that maybe that when one focuses on the brightness that one possesses inside, maybe one does not care so much about the consequences to others. I think that happens, as so many artists are committed to their crafts before they are loyal to the ones around them and what does loyal mean? Does one stay loyal when they themselves are deteriorating?

One thing I do know is that I must follow the light, my light, the light within, and let that light take me where it may. First I have to find that light.

Sometimes I think I have arrived here because of my own arrogance, that I thought I knew what I was doing, that I was achieving something, accomplishing something. But what have I achieved, and at what cost?

In my negative thinking, I can see and hear my friends laughing at me or saying things about me, I don’t know what. But that I failed, that I deserved this. That I brought it on myself. Maybe I have. I always thought I was doing what I wanted or thought I wanted, or thought was right. Maybe my motive was not pure, not right. Maybe it was just a mistake, but maybe there are no mistakes and it is a road that I am to take to my final destination, part of my exploration of the universe.

God, I hope the latter is the case.

D says that knives are important instruments. Surgeons use knives to operate. Knives are what cuts the infant’s umbilical cord from the mother. Knives are what carve beauty and art. What must I carve and what things, attitudes, mindsets must I cut off from my existence.

Can I carve off the extraneous, unhelpful things, and find the light within.

So I try to find the light, and I will try to follow the light.

Baby, baby, baby, light my way.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Arctic Monkeys

Dedicated to my friend B____.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Why the Natural

I have always had an affinity to the movie, the Natural. I’ve never read the book. But the movie pulled at my soft points. A story about a young man who has immense talent and promise as a baseball player but because of immaturity and circumstance is not able to actualize it.

So after a brief encounter with stardom, he vanishes and is not heard from again until he is in his mid 30s. At that point, he has redeveloped his skills but is a middle age player who no one gives much a look.

But something remarkable happens. He is able to demonstrate the talents and skills he has always had. In the course of doing so, he reunites with his childhood love and explains to her that he had lost his confidence, thus explaining his disappearance.

I identify with that story because I feel at the beginning of my professional career, I was at a position where one could say that I had a certain talent and promise and the future opportunities seemed limitless. But things happened. I was suffering from depression. I got sidetracked. I was immature, emotionally dependent, and the place from where I could have fulfilled my promises was gone. I had left it, maybe even unceremoniously.

I never really understood the wisdom of stepping back and assessing the situation. I never really stopped to think of what type of relationship I wanted to be in, or the type of dynamic I wanted to create for my life.

If I did think about the life I wanted to create, it was more material boundaries, not the emotional connections.

So here I am now, in my mid 30s, with the products of that thinking with the material boundaries that I imagined, but not necessarily the emotional connections. I am still suffering from depression, and am not able to have the fulfillment that I want in my relationship, in my life, and I ask why.

Will there be a point where I will begin exhibiting the talent and potential that I once had. Will something remarkable happen to me? It already has with the birth of my child but something that unlocks my personality, unlocks me to be myself. Something that unlocks me from being infantile and dependent.

Something that lets me thrash the ball of life with my own Wonderboy, a release of all the anger and frustration and disappointment and emotion.

I yearn to be at peace. I long to have my gifts, talent, ability, and creativity freed

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Law, Politics, and Alienation

It was good to see multiple and widespread calls for new or strengthened gun control laws in the moments following the tragedy at Virginia Tech. It was a rare case in which proponents of a "liberal" political position were able to frame an event so as to advance their position. Conservatives have been especially good at framing and claiming events for the advancement of their ideology and electoral prospects, while liberals have sought to complicate rather than simplify the public understanding of these same events.

That being said, an article in the Times today complicates the liberal narrative of the VA Tech tragedy prescribing the need for more gun control laws. It indicates that we had the right federal law on the books to stop Seung-Hui Cho from purchasing the guns that he used to kill 32 people. Anyone who has been involuntarily committed due to mental illness is proscribed from buying guns. Cho was ordered by a state court to submit to an evaluation and outpatient treatment after complaints by two female VA Tech students. Virginia's definition of "involuntary commitment" differs from the definition implied in the federal gun control law. Thus, the court-mandated evaluation and outpatient treatment did not prevent Cho from buying guns under state law but it did do so under federal law. There seems to be another gap, perhaps because of that differing standard, in state reporting of the court findings on Cho's mental state to federal authorities for incorporation into the background check database for gun purchases.

It seems that we could deduce the following from this story: (1) no new federal law was necessary to stop the killings; (2) the state either intentionally or negligently failed to report data to the federal government that would ensure compliance with federal law; and (3) (bringing it back to the conservatives) the Bush Administration has failed to adequately implement and enforce a federal law that might have stopped the killings. Political mobilization and subsequent allocation of resources for enforcement and reporting were the essential elements missing in this story.

One additional thought: the "guns don't kill people, people kill people" formulation used by gun advocates is often made fun of by progressives who appropriately see their framing and lobbying as an extensive effort to protect the profits of gun companies. But perhaps progressives ignore the "people kill people" formulation at our own peril; the NRA is not likely to be a strong lobbying force for expanded mental health services in schools. VA Tech, the Maryland sniper attacks, and Columbine are indications of a torn safety net, some reparable by new laws and programs (more likely in the area of mental health than gun control) and others that can only be mended through a broadly felt impulse to befriend and comfort lost souls at the margins of our families and communities. We either don't want to talk about the scapegoating and alienation of outsiders -- because then we would all be complicit in the loss of life stemming from these tragedies -- or we want to outsource provision of comfort and care to government, which presently is unwilling and incapable of handling the natural and man-made disasters in New Orleans and Iraq. What is our responsibility in this environment and how do we plan to fight the alienation of our own children?

The Natural

We all thought Roy Hobbs was a myth, fiction, the product of Bernard Malamud’s imagination. Little did we know that he played for the Yankees and his name was Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod hit two more home runs tonight, and although the Yankees blew the game in the late innings, the A-Rod show is taking on superhero dimensions.

After belting 10 home runs in the first 14 games, including two titanic walk-off 9th inning shots rescuing the Yankees from defeats, A-Rod, already with one homer in the game, in his third at-bat struck an arcing blow to the opposite field that barely cleared the wall in distance, but was hit with such force and gravity that it appeared that centerfielder Coco Crisp, in his vain attempt to jump and catch the ball over the fence, was thrown back over the wall simply by the brush of the ball’s movement into the Red Sox bullpen.

Those are images clearly reminiscent of the Natural, similar to when in 1985, Darryl Strawberry hit a ball off the scoreboard clock in old Busch Stadium in St. Louis. All that was missing was the fireworks.

And that’s what we’ve been getting from A-Rod on what seems like a daily basis.

Now, Malamud had Hobbs go through a slump or two in his magical season, but Hobbs ultimately carried the team to the cusp of glory, before striking out in his last chance to send the New York Knights to the pennant - Malamud’s touch of tragic reality. Hollywood wouldn’t settle for such a downer. So Robert Redford hits a mammoth homer shattering the light tower and cascading sparks of fire from the short circuited bulbs as Redford floats around the bases.

A-Rod will go through a slump or two this season, although at this rate who knows. But the question is what ending is in store for A-Rod this fall? A tragic miss at the end of another superlative season, or a Hollywood finish with a championship as he floats on the adulation of fans knowing that he is now and always will be a true Yankee.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

WIP: This week

Poor people are not well served by the kind of advocacy currently taught and reinforced in most law school clinics. The spread and expansion of law school clinics has been driven by two main justifications: preparation for practice and community service. Clinical legal scholars have, in turn, reflected and promoted a paradigm of practice rooted in client-centeredness. This paradigm offers a pedagogical system to underlie the experiential and service goals of law school clinics and also reinforces a governing form of practice in all sectors of the legal profession, including public interest law. This article argues that client-centeredness and its pedagogical correlates – simulation-based skills training and a nearly exclusive focus on the relationship between a single lawyer and a single client – is not sufficient to sustain effective public interest practice. The context of public interest practice has shifted because of the erosion of the regulatory state, the turn to market-based approaches to poverty and community development, and the infusion of immigrants into the low-wage agricultural and services sectors of the American economy. In addition to more traditional law reform activities, public interest lawyers must now participate in efforts to mobilize people to fight for their interests, particularly in the absence of protections once offered by the state. Client-centeredness relies on a practice narrative that does not accurately portray the reality of public interest practice in this moment and is, therefore, inadequate preparation for public interest practice. Law school clinics driven by a social justice mission can play a key role in public interest practice by participating in mobilization efforts, supporting and stimulating democratic resistance to market forces, and developing newer forms of practice to advance these goals. This shift in clinical focus is an important element in the preparation of students entering public interest practice.

Monday, April 16, 2007

But the time to read Vonnegut is just when you being to suspect that the world is not what it appears to be....

From the New York Times obit:

"Slaughterhouse-Five” reached No. 1 on best-seller lists, making Mr. Vonnegut a cult hero. Some schools and libraries have banned it because of its sexual content, rough language and scenes of violence.

After the book was published, Mr. Vonnegut went into a severe depression and vowed never to write another novel. Suicide was always a temptation, he wrote. In 1984, he tried to take his life with sleeping pills and alcohol.

`The child of a suicide will naturally think of death, the big one, as a logical solution to any problem,' he wrote.His son Mark also suffered a breakdown, in the 1970s, from which he recovered, writing about it in a book, `The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity.' "

Appearing on the Daily Show, circa 2005?: [cut and paste the link]

The following captured Vonnegut too:

Kurt Vonnegut

Published: April 13, 2007

If you read Kurt Vonnegut when you were young — read all there was of him, book after book as fast as you could the way so many of us did — you probably set him aside long ago. That’s the way it goes with writers we love when we’re young. It’s almost as though their books absorbed some part of our DNA while we were reading them, and rereading them means revisiting a version of ourselves we may no longer remember or trust.

Not that Vonnegut is mainly for the young. I’m sure there are plenty of people who think he is entirely unsuitable for readers under the age of disillusionment. But the time to read Vonnegut is just when you begin to suspect that the world is not what it appears to be. He is the indispensable footnote to everything everyone is trying to teach you, the footnote that pulls the rug out from under the established truths being so firmly avowed in the body of the text.

He is not only entertaining, he is electrocuting. You read him with enormous pleasure because he makes your hair stand on end. He says not only what no one is saying, but also what — as a mild young person — you know it is forbidden to say. No one nourishes the skepticism of the young like Vonnegut. In his world, decency is likelier to be rooted in skepticism than it is in the ardor of faith.

So you get older, and it’s been 20 or 30 years since you last read “Player Piano” or “Cat’s Cradle” or “Slaughterhouse-Five.” Vonnegut is not, now, somehow serious enough. You’ve entered that time of life when every hard truth has to be qualified by the sense of what you stand to lose. “It’s not that simple,” you find yourself saying a lot, and the train of thought that unfolds in your mind as you speak those words reeks of desperation.

And yet, somehow, the world seems more and more to have been written by Vonnegut and your life is now the footnote. Perhaps it is time to go back and revisit that earlier self, the one who seemed, for a while, so interwoven in the pages of those old paperbacks.


morning soot --
inch behind a cement truck
revolving drum

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007

One Half-Year

03 Pretty (Ugly Be...

June 2004: Hell’s Kitchen, New York

I felt so ugly before
I didn't know what to do

-- Elliott Smith, Pretty (Ugly Before)

I walked to my car, after watching former friends in a comedic cabaret performance (the less said about the performance the better). My former friend, someone I had lived with and gotten close to, had performed in a set of skits. Every laugh from the audience was an insult. His current roommate brought over my former friend’s mother prior to the show and she hugged me. I was wearing my battered blue Volcom Stone hoodie, a uniform for most of the year. I clung to it (it gave me power when I was otherwise flickering, especially in social settings) because I had found it at a thrift store across from Powell’s in Portland, Oregon the prior year during one of my solo driving trips.

I stumbled to the car in a haze, clutching books given to me by someone who liked me. She had given me a few of the Pramoedya Ananta Toer novels. I was unable to sustain a coherent conversation with her. She hadn’t liked me much a few months earlier when I was another soulless desi boy from the suburbs but then had seen me speak on a panel on the post-9/11 immigration sweeps. As she attempted to engage me in the back of the ratty theater and I mumbled my responses, desperate for her to leave me alone, we were watched by another woman with whom I had broken up a few months earlier. As with most sensitive and intelligent people, her quietness coexisted with a sharp observational quality. She saw the Toer-reader pass the books to me and she saw her attempt to engage me. It was a banner year, three hearts broken (or dented or cracked or whatever), not including my own.

I was an outcaste amongst a small group of Brooklyn friends, mostly desi, and the exclusion oppressed me. No one spoke for me in the group or did anything about my absence at gatherings, other than a few who met me for individual dinners and explained that they regretted the circumstances. The callousness, complicity, and small-mindedness of my former friends pushed me over a ledge into a deep hole. I want to say that it was deeper than any hole in which I had been submerged earlier in my life but as I consider the statement I can’t say it. Each period of my life – adolescence, college, law school, San Francisco, Brooklyn 98-02 – has been marked by a deep hole out of which I have not been sure I could surface. I withdrew into my pilly blue hoodie every time I ventured out of my apartment and I mumbled responses to people that I met. My trust in my self and others was degraded.

* * *

July 2004: Isla Holbox, Yucatan

An embarrassing poem
Was written when I was alone
In love with you

-- Wilco, Wishful Thinking

[journal entry] Started vomiting from Palenque to Cancun. Palenque felt off – the heat during the day caused me to gasp for breath, which was a precursor to the breathlessness I felt in my feverish dream-state last night. The town was so dingy, such a change from San Cristobal – which one starts to think of as representing Mexico, wrongly. Not the height of suffering on any scale, but it makes you think about how alone you are and you become as scared and sad as a child. The rest of the time we have our rationalizations and self-understanding – it all falls away as you are vomiting into a garbage can and shitting your pants at the bus station.

* * *

December 2004: Los Angeles, California

can't count to
all the lovers i've burned through

-- Sun Kil Moon, Carry Me Ohio (via 5 Acts)

I escaped to L.A. before the Fall semester had been fully extinguished, ostensibly to work on my writing in the company of a friend. I shipped out two boxes of books and papers and set about trying to work in various places, including the UCLA law library, Peet’s in Westwood, and a house in Santa Monica where I was staying. What I did is very familiar: I allowed my sleep schedule to get completely off-track, staying up all night and sleeping during the day; compulsively shopped for music; watched every movie released during the late-year Oscar glut; avoided my friend and his family, even as he attempted to draw me into his structured life; got drunk on New Year’s Eve with another friend and pretended to be attracted to random women at bars and on the street; and obsessed about my loneliness and took long drives to random places at odd hours.

I had effectively broken things off with another woman before I left New York, a brilliant, joyous, and perplexing person. That relationship had lasted a month or so, just short of the length of the relationship with my sensitive, intelligent friend earlier in the year. The perplexing one was scheduled to visit her family in Southern California and we had spoken about getting together, but she called one day and told me she couldn’t see me. She had given me refuge during a difficult year. When I returned to New York, I claimed to have gotten my work done during the month in L.A., when in fact I had written just a few paragraphs of my article. I let the precious moments fall out of my grasp.

Kurt Vonnegut


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Telegraph Avenue

Press play

07 Gone.mp3

I found myself on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley on Saturday, dodging crowds of students, the mentally ill, and street vendors selling band logo patches. It occurred to me that I had navigated this obstacle course on a semi-regular basis ten years ago when I lived in San Francisco. On Sundays I would refrain from responding to messages left by my aunt and cross the Bay Bridge in my Honda Civic hatchback (that I could barely drive, as it was a stick shift with a sensitive clutch and I was not adept) in the early afternoon. I would proceed to Vik's Chaat House, where I would eat and be an audience for the FOB groups and couples who studied at the university or worked in tech. Then I would drive up to Telegraph to hit Amoeba Records and Cody's and Moe's Bookstores.

As has been the case for most of my last twenty years, it was a solitary existence buoyed by musical and literary consumerism. I was dating a woman -- I was 27, she was 22 and just out of an undergraduate business program -- with whom I was in a long distance relationship for six or seven months. Our parents were family friends from the old days in Westchester and we were basically pre-engaged at the end of month one.

I had finally broken up with her after spending a weekend with my law school friends at a conference in New York. We were all meeting in the hotel lobby to go out for dinner on Friday evening and my good friend and his wife were sharing an armchair. When I sat on a sofa across from my girlfriend, she noticed. At some point that weekend another friend took me aside and gently scolded me, asked me what I thought I was doing with this young woman. I had no good answer and we broke up on Sunday. After we had the conversation and she cried, we went to see Secrets & Lies at the Quad on 13th Street and I contemplated how to break this secret to my parents.

When I returned to San Francisco I felt triumphantly relieved of a relationship that I had been struggling to sustain for many wrong reasons. The first days of April 1997 were to be glorious and I planned a few quasi-dates, including one with a brilliant Stanford Law student with whom I had briefly worked. She was bi, had short spiky blond hair, and was a progressive intellectual. She talked about seeing hawks on a trail in Marin County. She represented my future rather than my past. (We went out once. I don't remember if there was a lack of chemistry or whether I made her unattainable myself.) After that short euphoric period (not hyperbole, it was truly euphoric) my life settled into what I described above: coffee at Starbucks on 9th and Irving in SF, followed by the drive to Vik's, and CD and book shopping on Telegraph.

I was obsessed with reinvention in that period, needing to remake myself to be the man I wanted to be but not knowing how to do so. Instead, I shopped and wandered. I had good friends and went on hikes and saw my uncle and aunt periodically. I also did some good things at work (one of the programs I co-founded has flourished in the last ten years). But I most remember that sense of heaviness and lost-ness and my attempts to abate those feelings with Telegraph Avenue.

I felt the heaviness again on Saturday. I found some used Sigur Ros CDs (track one from ( ) caught my attention in the film After the Wedding) and successfully fought off any book-buying. When I went to Cody's and Moe's in those days, I was hungry for intellectual content and searched for critical legal writing and the more academic work of Cornel West. Now I am less enamored with the glamor of intellectualism, having failed in spite of many opportunities to earn depth of thought through hard work in the intervening ten years. In fact, I can now barely stand to browse the law and critical theory shelves and found myself looking for mysteries by Walter Mosley and George Pelecanos in the Pocketbook section.

When I had a quick meal at House of Curries on Durant just before my taxi ride to the airport for my overnight flight, I took in all of the desi kids and Berkeley families eating together in small groups. I sat at a large table for four, with my crinkled yellow/red paper Amoeba bag. I thought about 1997 and all that time had and had not changed.

Press play
Sigur Ros - 2002 (...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Someone Great

Listen to this poignant track from the new LCD Soundsystem record. (via kissatlanta)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Calexico Covers "Ocean of Noise"

Beautiful live cover of Arcade Fire. (via Stereogum)


God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things that I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

This is the Serenity Prayer. Something I have known for a while because it is a mantra of Alcoholics Anonymous and other addiction related programs. I know because my dad is a recovering alcoholic.

This evening, my mom and I went to his 10th anniversary of his sobriety at his AA group. I have gone to AA meetings on occasion since my dad started going to them, well over 10 years ago. Mainly, I went during his anniversaries, when there was a celebration for him.

Tonight, he and another member shared 10 year anniversaries, and a woman celebrated her 5th year anniversaries.

I always feel a kinship when I go to these AA meetings. Now, I don’t have an alcohol-related problem, but there is something about the men and women there that I feel I can identify with.

Of course, the fact that my father is one of them is one reason. But also the fact that those men and women experienced and/or are experiencing things that I have witnessed, and have felt.

Right after graduating from law school, before I realized that I was on the cusp of suffering from a major depression, I attended Al-Anon meetings which are for family members of alcoholics. I found them useful but at the same time, I felt weird about going to these meetings with folks on a Saturday evening when I could be doing something more fun, not that I had those options necessarily, and being with these folks who were for the most part older than my mid-20s self at the time.

But the fact that I could be part of a support group was comforting, even if I could not or did not fully let myself be free to express my thoughts in those meetings. I did not go that many and probably not too consistently for that to really happen. Also, it was before I started my individual therapy so maybe I had yet to feel at ease about my self-disclosure, although I seemed to do it fine with friends.

In any event, the group my father belongs to is mostly made up of middle-age and older white men, made up of blue collar types, bikers, with some women who fall in the same mold, and an occasional person of color. My dad may be the only professional, but I don’t know that and maybe that’s my bias without really knowing what the folks in the group do.

Tonight, besides my dad, there was a light-skinned black man or maybe he was Latino or even Indian, and there was a half-Korean, half-Polish guy, who looks Asian.

The last guy was one of the speakers. What he had to say was really powerful. I mean what he said and what any of them say is not a polished speech or anything. In fact the half-Korean, half-Polish guy (let’s call him Jimmy) started by basically saying that he has a lot of anxieties, he rushes things, he needs to learn how to calm down, and the coffee he was holding in his hand while speaking wasn’t helping matters.

But as he settled himself, he told us about his upbringing, how he was an A student, exceptional athlete up until high school, when his dad left the house, or was kicked out. That’s when he started drinking and getting in trouble.

His dad, who was Polish American, was an alcoholic. He had met his mother while he was stationed in South Korea during the Vietnam War days. He was born in Seoul in 1972 so he was around my age.

He told us he was Polish by saying his last name ends with "ski", and that he’s from New Jersey. He was pretty funny at times, telling us that when he went to high school at Newtown High in Elmhurst, he was just amazed that no one spoke English.

Anyway, what moved me about what he had to say is that he always felt out of place and alone whereever he was. In Korea, kids used to make fun of him because he had the dad with the gold hair. And growing up in New Jersey, he would get the whole "chink", "gook" thing, although as he pointed out - he’s not Chinese.

Alcohol made him feel accepted, made him feel confident. Alcohol led to drier substances that he became hooked on. Jimmy’s dad died while Jimmy was studying at Queens College. His dad was 44 and suffered pneumonia which caused him to develop seizures leaving him in a coma. Jimmy said the fact that he was an alcoholic made him more vulnerable to his condition deteriorating so fast.

He then told us that he went to Japan and got married (to the enemy, he says tongue in cheek, since he’s Korean), had a daughter in 2000. His low self-esteem affected his relationships too. As he said, oh, you like me. Wow, great. I can’t believe it. Of course, his alcohol problems caused him to lose his family, his jobs.

When I go these meetings, I feel comfortable because while I don’t have a drinking problem, on some level I feel I share the underlying root cause of the drinking problem for these folks. Maybe it’s depression, a sense of not fitting in, low self-esteem, not feeling loved enough, not feeling accepted.

So these folks talk about those underlying problems and how drinking was the outlet, and now they are finding a new, constructive way to deal with those issues.

I feel I could use a support group. I don’t qualify to be an alcoholic. (I’ve denied having a drinking problem so many times by now, you must be thinking, maybe this guy has a problem). But maybe I could go to some group dealing with depression, or a group for folks who are having issues in their marriages. I could use a support group.

I particularly appreciate that I identify with folks in the AA group, not on the basis of their race or ethnicity, but because of their condition, their feelings, their insecurities, anxieties, and hope for a new way of living.
That’s why I think I’ve always had as many issues relating to folks who are of the same ethnicity as me as folks who are not. Because it is less about ethnicity and more about who I feel comfortable with, personality, and past shared experiences.

I hear the stories of folks who have been through hell, who saw their life as a prison, and somehow their lives turned around. That gives me hope. I feel at times that my life is stuck, that I can’t find the key that can unlock my spirit so that it can infuse my personality and bring it to life. That I can have the courage to take steps to liberate me from my inertia and confusion.

A support group would help.

I have seen how my dad benefits from his support group. I know he feels that he is in a very difficult situation. How much of that is objectively true, and how much it is based on his perception I won’t say. But he feels he has few outlets, and few people that affirm him.

The AA folks affirm him. At the meetings, he comes to life. All the good things about him come to life.

And so I believe that I could benefit from this social support. I will see what outlets there may be for someone like me.

The bottom line is that the testimonies of the AA members gives them strength and gives them hope.

And seeing that hope, I can feel hope too. My own quest to find myself, to liberate myself continues.

Happy 10th Anniversary, Baba! You’ve done well!
May I have the serenity, courage, and wisdom needed to liberate myself.