Tag Archives: addiction

My Highland Heart (excerpt 1)

2 Jan

Growing from a naked wee bairn I was shaped & hewn by elders of heroic character and stature to their measure of grit, panache and solidarity. They transmitted and fused their silvery traits into my wee mind via the gutsy, soul soothing tales of our forebears. These were luminous legends that had thrived and grown through the refinery of generations, in just that same way; well cared for and communicated from the mouths of raconteurs and  orators in each era. We do like to regale.

Countless drizzly nights by the coal fire set the climate for these tellings to tot sized ears; a Clan tradition and purpose from its beginning. They branded me in the bold history of Fraser life in our wet homeland in the Highlands of ancient Alba, bonnie Scotland. They gave me my place in our living, breathing saga. They educated me about the entire glorious journey my kin had made; the multiplying, cultivating, soldiering, enterprising, striving and thriving that landed me on our gruff spot of earth.

They told me how some suffered as well with the great number of Gaels in the cultural destruction following the failed ‘45 uprising and Culloden. With numbers as great they left our historic origins in Inverness-shire and ‘The Aird’, Stratherrick, Strathfarrar, Strathglass and Beauly to find adequate living in each new place from Edinburgh, Lanark, Liverpool, Keith, Glasgow, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Montana, to Washington and California, restoring honor to the name.

Learning of the bravery in their chronicles uncovered inborn laws of constance, allegiance and devotion to the “blood of my blood” and “bone of my bone”. I haven’t found family passion quite this deep or high in other people, except a few shrewd others, I mean really, very few. And it seems more likely that before I could even speak I had this love affair for our souls’ true home. Once the flood of our blood bond awakened I’ve carried it into every fight and fray.

Mind you, where the goal of love is concerned, it has been the women in our family who have held administration of its place and lore of ancient dedication to the ethereal, mystic, and poetic spiritual love as the center of our millennia of searching and finding the twin to our souls. Not every woman who’d taken the name had lived that fate, but there had been larger than life figures historically who had. They are the the genealogy of that law for me, right down to my grandmother; That’s where I was given the words to understand that truth in myself anyway. There are an infinity of soul types made, but as to ours, we are the ones branded in eternity by the fulfillment of that sole purpose of existence.

All through my tender youth, those same paternal and maternal elders also delivered a certain axiom that I only wrestled to understanding as a result of demoralizing excesses in my gluttonous years. It went like this: “Whenever you’re moved to find fault or inferiority in others’ lives or loves”, they warned, “always center your mind back on the fact that the majority of this world don’t have anything comparable to the blessings of family, history, and privilege you have… you are obliged to growth & improvement for yourself, your life and the Anam Cara wife that a great fate will bring to you. It is compulsory… required…”

 I pondered how the poker game of that song, written for Scarlet a couple years after the first time our fates separated us in 2001, played out for my eventual wife and me and how powerful it can be, had been, to write words that would become truths in life’s realities, and how I was living with the results of the fragility of our magical tale that I hadn’t comprehend in a timely way, netting the very opposite results today to those written in the lyrics, all ‘permanent seats’ then gone.

As I sat there on a single bed in a room I shared with two other gentlemen, tapping out this account on a keypad residing in a Houston, Texas recovery home for addict and alcoholic men, then separated from my wife for 3 months, trying to be attentive to the divorce she pursued for what was effectively a 48 day marriage from vows and hand-fasting to the date of separation, it still seemed unconscionable that this was real, for starters because having had no other claim to esteem, pride or accomplishment in this life that I’d care to have mentioned, no greater grasp of intimacy, no deeper sense of connection ever, than that of the twinship of our Anam Cara souls, and well over the detox and recovery to sanity from the tornado of my alcoholism, I suffered the darkest pit-of-earth depth of withdrawal and desolation in being apart from her, so spirit and heart crushing, impossible to comprehend; an end to all the life I ever truly cared to own.`It is there that I can still shudder, and that is the hot flame that recoils my hand, in thought, of ever touching alcohol again.  

In the saddest irony, my incomparably compelling wife was and is singular in her ownership of Fraser in every aspect of name, spirit and history. Without hesitation she deeply embedded it to her heart and soul as her own, always hovering way up above all others with less than that nature, who consistently failed in their ill-equipped attempts. Scarlet had dreamt to be a Fraser since her teens. And she has always been the only one rightfully born to it.

The moment I met that shining light of a girl, thirty four years after my birth, it was clear ‘the one’ had arrived. And she revealed to me that same property she also carried all her life, given to her before birth, brought here in her flesh to restore it to its other half in me, in this life of ours, as we knew we had done in countless others. But even so, it would then take the journey of many years to make her my bride.

We’re eerily alike, she and I. We think same thoughts at same times and have each other’s inspirations, feelings, fears and passions. We both naturally take solace under the watery awning of spirits, sensing the wood faeries, or chasing deer in the glen and all Fraser fixtures of salmon in the current, strawberries in the field, charity in our actions, song in our hearts and poetry in our souls. Neither of us recall ever missing that manner of being, deep set in the sinew of our flesh, from toe nail to tip of the head. It’s that stamp that shaped and built us with a rare sense of place unknown to most everyone, and it’s always been hers with mine.

“Of all the vices, drinking is the most incompatible with greatness.”                                             -Sir Walter Scott   

In addition to that love affair I’ve romanced vices far worse and most of those alone on the darkest road I’ve ever known. But as I write of this love and all its beauty I get a sickening shudder raking through my thoughts, turning them upside down to rip open and expose the darkest most painful walk I’ve dragged anyone along. My soul rips and screams at what I know I can’t get away from confessing to you next.

Twenty two days before the day I decided to write out this story for anyone who’d want to read it, I made a horrifying decision to drink alcohol… again… after having drunk again, and again, again, ad nauseum. I say horrifying, because it flew in the face of the definitive knowledge of the inevitable consequences, under the insane misperception that it would be different this time, that I’d only have a few. What perplexes most people without exception is that it’s somewhere before the first drink that the insanity has already begun. It’s because I am “that type” of drunk that it should horrify any sane person.

I don’t ever drink “normally” anymore, those days are gone. After I’ve had the the first one, I drink ravenously, as a beast, devouring my own life in the delusion that I’m feeding from a palatable source outside myself, while taking the poisons of my malformed psyche. Igniting, imploding and then exploding my world, my relationships, my loves, all perceived as potential traumas coming my way, that like an arsonist I must incinerate before they can discover who I really am, see me, and hurt and kill and discard me.

I’m the sort about whom people, even other alcoholics, say “He did what?? WOW, man, that’s insane, literally insane, scary, I had no idea.” Yep, that’s what they say. The effects are bad enough that along with an excess of minimally tolerable episodes in more than the last year, this singular 8 day long event would have everyone we know or are related to tell my wife to never be with me again. Ever. Never. Except my own mother, of course.

I will describe in detail the blow by blow of the event later in this manuscript, but for right now I’ll say that it has seemed, does seem, or perhaps is something over which we miraculously claim triumph in the fullness of time, bearing unbelievable pains, heartaches and sorrows. The tears I cried left me dehydrated everyday.

And although the shock to our apparently idyllic existence was at first the ugliest surprise imaginable in the context of our marriage, we came to see that we’d been long set on a course to collide with a number of namable and unnamable parts of US, but most certainly defective elements in me are what I focus on because they are the only ones any one person ever has the power to change. If I’m not the problem, there is no solution.

You see, the hardest fact of the matter is that I hurt her and scared her and she was terrified and afraid. I showed her something in me, some frightening horrible place of darkness and aberration that she’d never seen and didn’t know could exist in me, nor that all of its fury, defensive attacks and self hatred could come out voicing itself at her. That caused her to fear for herself and created an instinct to think this also meant there was every reason to be as cautious as possible for the protection of her kids, her babies, and though she and I know that I have consistently shown love for them, all of that was trumped by the slightest chance that my untreated inner monster would be let loose by another relapse in their presence.

It took a lot of work and time to make this good again, to be worthy of trust, to be secure, peaceful and comfortable to breathe easily again. The possibility that I may never get it to revolve to turn and face us with a place that we all could have again was my biggest fear, but I was willing to do whatever it took to earn that. So even with no guarantee of anything but the wonderful life I would end up with either way she decided to live, I went forward with that vision of the end in my mind, as I had done with everything I ever won or achieved in my life. The first and ultimate item obviously was to stay sober and invest everything I could in the things that bring the magic and surety out of life in sobriety and spread them everywhere. To be an example for myself and others, to nurture life admirably and be of loving service in its heights and depths. If I was to again have her accept my love and be open to whatever portion of my dreams were still able to flower and grow, it would be in doing those things for their own sake, and the sake of living my amends. I have nothing that I cherish that’s truer than loving her, so I did that gratefully with all that it took to give her happiness, security, trust, safety, peace, joy and love.

I sure didn’t do it perfectly though, I made it even harder starting out, because I didn’t stop and stay stopped in the first couple of months. I apparently needed to repeat the exercise of loss, and meditate on causes, hurts inflicted and failures for more days than seemed right until the overriding truths of our love and purpose restored their law in the permanent memory of my heart, and regained spiritual power over the withering reach of everything else my transforming ego would assert for its control. I surrendered the defects to God and accepted the privilege of serving love in all things.

The deeper issues that stirred the monster had risen up to range in origin from distant past, to young man, to “adult” and right here set firmly in my midlife, in our house right down to some of the impositions placed on our union, or reunion. They had been a seething but unseeable, silent ball of confusion until the weeks and days, and the very day of my terrifying episode. My traumas made fears that made pains that made anger, resentment, guilt and shame. Hardest to live with was knowing how short I had fallen, repeatedly, of being the husband she deserved. The damages of my defects and short comings had been far reaching and varied in where they appeared as worse, worser and worst… and the worst was to have forced the one being I love most in my life to be gravely hurt. It gave her no choice but to have battles with fear, hers and mine, and have to fight, suffer terribly, resent, retaliate against, lie, distrust, demand answers, face, inspect, and fearfully, hesitantly but with the slightest eventual willingness accept them, not as an excuse but as reasons. To watch and not watch the rigorous growth that without question had be done by me or nothing at all of ours would be salvageable in this lifetime… and then to let it all go…

It can be said that it was the two of us in a tidy unison that ultimately commanded my malformed horrors gone, but the greater truth is that it was she alone who facilitated my turning the crucial, crushing information to transformation by an immovable love that for a time she would not speak of as still alive. Even when I sometimes tried to displace onto her the ownership of my part in all of it, while she was also struggling to own hers without having to exonerate mine, she loved me with all her heart.

It is the nature of codependency and the codependent to stay focused on the biggest threat visible in its space, for fear that self inspection or admission of anything will allow that threat to run rampant over them again, and that was true for us. She had those fears and I had them too and the battle of wills and whose hurts are more valid descends into a morass of fruitlessness. As each tries to get notice for their own valid hurts, they feel that any effort on the part of the other for that goal means the story is being “turned around on them”, not seeing that there is room for both of their hurts to be recognized, they have to be. Because by design it is a dance between two, there is no exclusion, no side is better or worse, each one is true.

We both regarded the obviousness of the fact that I had to be cracked open, broken down and forced to descend to the dungeon to unchain the better self I had masked for so long with “justified anger”, resentment, fear, guilt, shame, remorse and self pity. That put forth its purpose more clearly than any one side of any of it. Those were all the obstacles that would become the way through them, to the path of walking a free man and living in the God given dream of our life together. It was plain to see also that our bond  had been made partly to exist for all of these reasons, for the sake of these soul lessons, and the greater good of it all in the next end.

In time, time, time, I will have come to fight to recover innumerable losses, some I still fight to recover today in that ongoing living amends to the worlds I shook with terror. Those of our history and family principles, and their good favor, those of simple life coping skills I had somewhere let go for dealing with post traumas, those of social codes that maintained grace and dignity for everyone involved, those of spiritual codes with which I had been gifted from the beginning of this life. All of these are what I gave and still give my daily attention. I make each day an ongoing hunt for attitudes and actions that enlarge my self respect, earn the respect of others and primarily rebuild trust, love and peace. I work to walk with liberty in this life of loving service, and establish our new sense of home to heal our family, but most of all I work to discover and earn the will of my wife to love freely again.

To my humble amazement, as time passed with sufficiently revealing evidence of true healing and transformation, the only transformation that ever gives anyone a lifetime of strength in sobriety; the death of the old self to the metamorphosis of the new self, we have been able, and blessed, in measured increments, with a day by day absence of drama and discord, to recover some of the US we once held central to our lives.

It was with new bravado, even audacity, that I began a freshly drawn contract with integrity, humility and esteem. My Anam Cara was my strength, my purpose, and its meaning. My eternal, her essential presence in and all around me enlisted every new tool that could be formed inside me to fulfill the mission I can only now know was necessary if I were to birth my best self to appropriately love and serve her. After some time she would tell me she always knew that man was in me. It had been painful for her to see him while I couldn’t. It was healing to have that self grow and take command of his life and it’s blessings. And the ancient love that called it forth.

A number of new measures were taken on in practical things like how to listen, and if to quarrel how to quell, to fight well, honestly and fairly… cultivating and inspiring good mood, good will, passion and fire for life, loving openly, having gratitude, giving kindness, helpfulness, avowed devotion, compassion and generally walking in the sunlight of the spirit.  I made no aim to change anyone or win over the cynical, or any detractors or actors to this side of our world, but at the turning point everyone was warned; anyone near me and us would unerringly be hearing more on top of much about the GOOD in everything. And by that example we’d shine a light of hope to others.

I tend to be ever the optimist. Even when the chips are down I’ve got this almost pushy, persistent voice keeping my mind on the best of the record; hadn’t I always found my way home? Hadn’t there always been a light in my shadows? And hadn’t I always landed back on my feet? Wasn’t there always serendipity, surprise riches & triumphant comebacks? And hadn’t I, when I owned our timeless truth, always known our love? It couldn’t be that I had simply been a lucky man. It had to be instead, if I would again remember, that I had always been loved with a force so great no road block could bear its power. Although you can give generous, loving support to people in battles for inner gold, it’s undeniable that at the last it’s a dance we’re each going to do alone if we’re to escape the prison cell of our own making in our hearts and minds. It is rare that we see many come back across that river, and its for that fact that we find it soul gripping when we do.

When all of it came to truly be about something bigger and better than me; serving the good, the love, the team, the bigger picture… when the work turned from “have to” to “get to”, when duty became privilege; that’s when I could feel myself really “back in the game”. That’s when the more skillful playing began. Because it’s only when we win the elusive inner property of the soul’s sense of liberty that we gain the ultimate power to determine our destiny.

The Declaration of Arbroath in 1320 still lays out the most articulate guideline for me; “It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that I am fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself”.

She is truth and beauty to me; she that shines in a self owned bubbling essence of pure being, has an intoxicating scent, a taste, a touch of an electric air, a vibrance, a spell, a way that comforts and inspires me like no other creature could. So, yeah, I jumped to fight these battles inwardly and outwardly.

She’s the reason a man as turbulent and combustible, but let’s call me passionate, would even dare to crack and tear his long held false self open and pull out the ugliness hiding his better nature and character to authentically offer them to her. She’s the reason to confront my shame and abandon useless old tools, and build up a life of meaning and value at all, around her and for her, and her children. Because once Scarlet was here, my path would never mean as much without her as with her. She didn’t arrive here to replace or become my mission, but to clarify its true meaning. She was here as the catalyst to my seeing it as I hadn’t quite seen it ever before.

Without question it’s the un-quiet voice of her always ignited fire in me with which I would tell you our tales as they’ve met, diverged and rejoined; hers, mine, ours, and the magic and miracle of truths held in my beloved. Hopefully it would compliment what gave birth and rise to all of it. At worst, we’d end up with a stark, rigorously revealing narrative of every twisted thing about me and my dark shadows that I’d rather you not have learned if I could only have avoided it…

In the beginning is seemed the mass of wreckage that had been wrought was insurmountable, but there I was, in a life I will have scattered far from every valuable property I’d held, for whys and wherefores I couldn’t catch or comprehend until nearly too damn late in the game. That episode of post traumatic alcoholic explosion and implosion that cost us everything we loved and lived for until it came out was overcome in its own way… It was like a mountain casting a long shadow over an otherwise magical land, and by some measure of grace we progressed out of its dark reach to see it fade in our rear view mirror. What that means in the longer run will be seen.

It is often repeated in recovery that drinking and drugs are merely indicated symptoms of the deeper-rooted shortcomings cultivated in an addict/alcoholic, and while chuckling at the parody of myself and his monstrous creations, I had for long been able to inwardly assert that I had some kind of impunity in knowing the joke, with a cavalier wink, and that was the ignorance and falsity that ran roughshod over my life and everything in it. It influenced the direction of my manifestations in immeasurable ways while I held for so long that it was all a part of the “play”, without questioning or self-inquiry.

Believe me that this story does not constitute or aspire to be another tragic tale of battles with substance abuse. If what I have come to find were simply that, I would not seek to bother anyone with it by hunting and pecking out another bound printing to heap upon that over fed pile. What I have come to find has been more astonishing…

But, Lord… that I had only had enough grace to avoid this manifestation altogether. 

My Highland Heart (excerpt 3)

29 Oct

I have a fear, an impending tear, I’ve created some grief for the Gods

For all those who’d said that I chose to be dead, she could see I have beaten those odds

My best love’s been lost and I’m paying the cost of fears, masking my heart and my dreams

and as a pretender I’ve had to surrender to see beyond life as it seemed

in the name of my father, the wealth of my mother, I beg for my reckoning of sins

I pray to God my real life may begin, I pray to God my real life may begin

I have a love for great facts held above all I think, or I feel, or I dream

For all those who thought that I fought & ought not, she saw that the Gods are my team

But life’s old expected has been resurrected, And became what couldn’t be done

An anti-hero who tosses this greatest of losses, change that can’t and could never be won

and as a pretender I’ve had to surrender to see beyond life as it seemed

in the name of my father, the wealth of my mother, I beg for my reckoning of sins

I pray to God my real life may begin, I pray to God my real life may begin


Bed Written, by #BDF

20 Jun

The illusion of betrayal, and things being done to me has overwhelmed me. And just where do I live? From the heart, and with an imminent mixture of my mind’s emotions, I am left alone and with everyone, to battle and eventually, conquer? The victory being, in the end, to have compassion and love and forgiveness for those who, in my mind, have betrayed me, still betray me. There is no thought or visceral feeling to me now that has a more insidious taste. And is my chosen understanding an effort to kill myself, my heart, my spirit, or at least sublimate my blessed, poor self? Just where do I live? God’s plan for me, my plan for me being the same, is interesting to say the least…  and terrifying to be true, which at times I am. Stumbling onto those things which I would leave at this time better unsaid, and left to be emptied from this ashtray. To get to the deeper stab, emptied by my own hand moved by the hand of God, in agreement. The hand of compassion, the hand of love, and forgiveness, and barrels and barrels of understanding. Lord help me to be a friend to myself first. The demons I call my friends, they wait so patiently, seemingly uninterested. #BDF

Remember That Love, by #BDF

20 Jun

And we made fists with our hearts and we pretended to have motion. But we stayed so close and held fast to the only friend we knew would always be there: Our own self-loathing. I recall we were going to rent a car and drive to the mountains, or the islands on the ferry. Take the passenger boat to Catalina. We absorbed the whole security of having the option to go somewhere. The museum, the park, the ocean, anyplace far enough away to distract us and enhance the pitiful agreement to live together through it all. The groping need to have a good experience, finally. To share something exciting and new. To toss it upon ourselves as casually as candy to the tongue. We thought about it, vocalized the need, the desire. Then the urge would subside, overtaken by the impulse to destroy us, and each other, our opponent and its reflection. and the underlying, overbearing, desperation-defined hope. The wish. The truly heartfelt desire for something or someone better or healthier took a terribly long time to pull us away or rather to break us free from our chosen bond, our chosen lies and illusion. So much wasted, so much gained. #BDF

Rebirth, by #BDF

20 Jun

I look bleary eyed back to my major relationship and feel in my muscles the command I gave it and doofusly still give it over my life and my own everyday. To encapsulate the whole period of time, it seemed to be a constant northwestern autumn day, or maybe just one giant winter rain storm, lasting an unfriendly dogged and dysfunctional four years ish. The first minute was when we saw the sun, the darkness then closed in with its cold wetness and dug its way into our blood and our brains dined in the drunkenness. But this was not the whole story. It does not do justice to the dirty truth, if truth can be deemed dirty. Sad to say it is infested to the gills with other unwanted details. It was much more a prison cell than the peaceful peak of a mountain top. And I’ve pulled many a salty tear from the mess of misery and madness in my heart. I remain responsible for my own hanging on and my own inability to stop my deceiving fears from dictating my every step. The stairway descended to the dungeon of our souls and there seemed to be no out door, no escape, no letting go, or freedom behind the fear. But still when all is said and all is done my tattered pictures, my well worn pains are alive within and they lend me their horrible essence. And they leave me a small tip for the service and come back for refills later when I grasp at the cut. The wound is so deep that I cannot see exactly where the cut ends and where it begins. And I think the two may be cohorts standing on the same corner. She sometimes seemed a circus barker selling tickets to her side show. I’d lurk and prowl and sit serene and sleep and eat under someone else’s control relinquishing my own willingly to the level that i could allow and then have no more of that task. And exercise my own, desperately and furiously so not to crucify myself. I feel its not so holy an act sometimes to let the all pass over and through you. I will enter the kingdom of heaven as it were not by acts but by faith alone. on The flip side of this: my heavy self identification my desperate search for faith love and forgiveness in myself, its not necessarily my place to forgive, but maybe to retreat and allow my fellow souls to forgive themselves. Lord be with them. I picture her the beauty of my past laying alone and having hit hard dreary… With her beloved side show, literally behind bars. I wonder what will be the truth in that instance, of what she thinks in pre-sleep and dreams. Soft hopes of escape and realities unbearable and hard as walnuts or hammers. And maybe her only true peace with, and fondness for, me was in my absence, left alone to dream of what could be “IF”, but could not, be very certain. The muddy fear of that fact drove her deeper into illusion and I, in my own illusion and we would caress that hell. And “I’ll be home soon my sweet, my heart is taxed my heart is beat, but I’ll be home. We’ll hold each other as we bleed each other of our innocence, and our vision, with abandon and willingly, for we have our love”. Stronger than great god above we insisted. And we raped our souls, and our god, with fear as a weapon and threatened ourselves to believe that all could be good and pure someday, someway. We would see it through to forever. We would see it through. it was predestined… #BDF

Fraser’s Surrender

20 Sep

It was 10:21 in the morning, Hollywood, May 11, 1996. The heat of the spring sun was building all over the city and shone down through eucalyptus branches on the pitiful face of Solomon Fraser, who lay strewn like a dead body, just off of the sidewalk. His visage was pale and lifeless. His jeans were falling down around his hips and he was wearing only athletic socks and a T-shirt otherwise on his sinewy body.

Sol is about six foot tall and “prettier” than a man should be, with thick, dark auburn hair, fair skin and hazel eyes, one of which is just slight bit more lazy than the other, giving his mug unique, strong character. Even as he sleeps this frontage is in a constant state of expression, ever-shifting through a panoply of masks.

His taught frame has an athletic look. His hands bear the scars of one who reaches without caution too often. On this day he appeared to wear something between a smirk and a smile, covering the desolate sadness of his spirit, always covering. At the time, he looked about twenty-three years old but was actually twenty-nine. He has always looked younger than his age, significantly.

There were no visible traces of ancient pedigree, aristocracy, finer education, intellectualism, heirlooms, old Alban wealth, Salons D’arts, Waterford, Minton, Royal crown Derby, Locharron Tweeds, 17th century silver hallmarks, coats of arms, or the “haut monde” backweave of his life beyond the Hollywood affectation and costume, unless one could look more deeply. Beyond the shameless childishness of his deep spirit, a spirit nurtured and armored by mother’s beliefs. He’d always played in a private game of disguising his beginnings. He acted in the conservative Scots tradition in which the appearance of having or process of making money was fraught with shame, not to be spoken of, “declasser” en francais, if one did.

“You can do anything Sol, you can be anything you want to, if you want to badly enough, if you believe you can. You are a Fraser… and as such, can conquer all.” But, at a glance, there was nothing beyond the demoralized sot, a toff down the skaup, stoney street. In completion, any idea of his potential, all belief in himself vanished, powerless.

His head lay hanging partly off of the curb. His eyes began to open, no more than slits, to try to fight the brightness of the sun and suddenly to see the front right wheel of an oncoming bread truck approaching quickly. The driver honked the horn as he and his partner laughed at Sol, whom they thought a pathetic street-urchin to torment. Sol quickly realized he was not in his bed, or anywhere near it. He rolled out of the way immediately, but sat up slowly, with much effort.

His body ached. It felt as though he had been badly beaten. He searched for his wallet, which was gone when he saw that his boots had been stolen from his feet, as was his denim jacket from his body. He found none of the emblems of his life in his pockets; no keys, no money, nor any explanation  in his mind. He did a balancing act to get to his feet and began to walk home.

He was somewhere between Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard, on Las Palmas Avenue, in the heart of the seedier backroutes. Stripped of his ruffian image, He scuffed his feet along looking weak, headed to his apartment, vulnerable and not out of place. He kept thinking to look for clues or find someone he might ask as to how he got there, what happened, maybe someone had seen it, but he couldn’t muster the social skills to ask any of those hanging around.

By the time he had walked a hundred yards he could not tell how far it had been, or from where he had awakened and walked mere minutes before. Feelings of desperation were beginning to build inside him. As he crossed Hollywood Boulevard he started to sweat and panic. The noises of the city and the urgency of the cars and pedestrians were making him sick. The world was spinning around him, waiting for him to drop out of its way. He felt alone and lost. He started to search his mind for pieces to the puzzle. How had this happened?

He had gone out to the street last night, like so many nights before in search of drugs. Nothing weird about that. He did that five or six times on an average night, looking for cocaine, processed to a rock form that was smoked, he refused to refer to as “crack” but in a joking manner… He had done it for about five years; too many times to count. He always made it home with a handful of the little pebbles.

Why should last night have been any different, aside from the ridiculous level of drunkenness he had achieved? It didn’t make sense, but reality was starting to take effect. He stumbled along as his mind found it’s way to the grips of his mother complex and all she’d ever shaped in him about his life’s possibilities, how much faith she had bestowed in him. To the father he now resembled and emulated rebelliously as answer to that, and the family and all the hope they had for his great rise to world renown, to one day continue in the family tradition of bringing great honor on the family name, as all feats his father had been unable to perform. The great tree, like an unwavering oak, from which he had sprung and fallen. So far from it’s “entitled”, indomitable roots. These were the thoughts that always came with his present brand of remorse. The ones with which he could really tear himself down. That had been the central game in constant production.

His mother had begun telling him in his teen years that if he stayed on his path of carelessness and irresponsibility, drinking too much and thinking too little, he would end up just like his father. He would have nothing more than a bright and promising life flushed down the toilet. She told him that he might have a genetic predisposition that put him at risk, which sounded so enticing at the time. Whatever and wherever dad was, it’s got to be better than being here, or he wouldn’t do it, right. She had been correct, as was the usual case too often lately.

He wallowed in thoughts of all that he had become and not become. Suddenly, the urge to vomit overtook him, pulling him to his knees just near the corner of Franklin Avenue and Las Palmas, dry heaving and retching, producing nothing but bile. He hadn’t eaten much of anything in days.

As the relentless sun bore down upon him he began to weep and sob. His cries grew louder and more violent as he tilted his head aloft to God, the universe, or whatever power would hear him. Screams tore through his throat. The far away and broken screams of a young man who had burned his life to the ground and knelt, whimpering like a baby, in the smoldering wreckage and grimy soot. “Whyyy???…Hooowww????… Goooooooooddd, tell me Hooowww.” He cried. He knew he was far away from God. But God wasn’t the one who had taken the distance.

He stumbled to his feet again, feeling little stones through his socks, now worn through to the skin at the heels and toes. He teetered home trying to appear to be anything other than the wretched soul that he was, climbing clumsily over the security gate and up the stairs to his unlocked apartment. He crumpled to the floor like a waif in the corner, to sleep without dreams for the next eighteen hours. The recent three-day run had reached its pitiful, incomprehensible and demoralizing end and the sight of him curled like an animal in the grand spaciousness of the top floor loft apartment he owned, looked more as if he were a drug driven criminal who had passed out on the job.

Upon waking, his mind would not relent in its search for what psychological corners he had turned, specifically, that led him to his eventual demise. Was it too late to save anything from the wreckage? He had pondered this thought many mornings before, but this day was different.

Then came a moment of frightening clarity. He remembered, regretfully, that this had, sadly, been his plan, and that everything had gone according to it. He was having a hard time now remembering what was so romantic about the path he had chosen. His problems were of his own making. He thought that being aware of it, being the conscious chooser gave him impunity. There was no one, nothing outside of himself to blame, it had all been, and still was, up to him.

Sol had always stressed an acquired theory that the course of life, well his life anyway, was dictated in part by its long series of defining moments. As he grew older and made more decisions for himself the truth of this statement became fact. For the choices he would make, he told himself, he would gladly accept the full consequences, but those choices were an effort to create himself to be something that was so against his true nature that they destroyed his character. He had not planned for that. He knelt and prayed, again, and again, feeling the guilt of foxhole prayers, not leaving his home for days. Inspiration came.

He came to the thought, through all of his self-pity, that his trials were, in actuality, small, compared to what his ancestors had endured. That he had lived ungratefully in the fruits of all of their labors, biting the hands that fed him. He began to feel as if all of their efforts would have been in vain if he were to give up the grail quest now. All of the power, real or imagined, of the Scottish Highland tales he had been taught, welled up in him as a driving force.

He would not give in, he decided. He would root out the problem or die trying, just as his forefathers would have done. It was the only option. For a moment his cynicism had him laughing internally at himself and the “help me now, Jesus” nature of his thoughts, but what else was there? He prayed to God for help to do right by those who had brought him here, and to honor what they had sacrificed to do so.

Sol chose a standard Judeo-Christian concept of God: the old man, gray beard, omniscient, omnipotent idea of the Holy Father that comforted him. He enjoyed it. He was not interested in spending time inventing an image that would work for everybody else, mainly because that’s a fruitless effort. This God would guide him, if sought, he was told and did believe it.

He holed up in his apartment, poring over his past for what his life’s defining moments had been, he found that there were many more than just a few, more than one, or two per year. The fact was, that since his ability to be honest with himself had not been completely lost or forgotten in the mess of his life, he, eventually, was able to see that; in essence, when it came down to it, every moment had been a defining moment.

Sol began to see that the tools for living he had learned to view as a safety or a comfort were exactly the opposite. His world became an unlivable place not because of what it was, but because of what he perceived it to be and how he behaved behind that perception. His mother had always said, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” His life had to become about getting a whole new set of tools. One can imagine the difficulties involved. Sol is a constant reminder to many that there are no advantages, no amount of money, privilege, intelligence, charm or good looks that will necessarily save one from one’s own mental obsession, character defects, allergy of the body and spiritual dis-ease, or malady. That his entire story has been the revelation of Spirit, by Spirit, for the benefit of Spirit, to give back to Spirit, is a belief that came after much careful consideration, by the grace of the same named. No one is not expected to adopt that as his or her own belief. The broken young man who knelt and prayed would not have believed it either.

©2014 Stratherrick Publishers/Brent David Fraser, all rights reserved


Brent David Fraser – The Mirror – from CD Albion Moonlight and the Sea of Troubles

27 Jun

It’s about a father and a son and the alcohol that stood
between them… i’m told you’re in the way i use my hands
and in the way my mood and anger play.
i’m told you can be seen, when i’m expressing what i mean,
that you would say things the same way.

you’re in the way i’ll take an afternoon to think,
you’re in the way i love my music with my drink,
in almost all i am and all i do,
i am the mirror that you never looked into…

i’m told you can be heard in my loud laugh,
that when i speak of god there is your voice.
that you’re stumbling with me, when i am drunk so happily,
that it’s genetic, but i still say it’s my choice.

i’m told you’re probably dead and gone by now,
yet more in me each day you are revealed.
in your spiritual design, there is a pathway into mine,
but it’s overgrown, the more that i am healed… -BDF
©2013 brent david fraser, Stratherrick Publishers, all rights reserved (ASCAP)
#FREE #DOWNLOAD at http://brentdavidfraser.bandcamp.com/track/the-mirror
from Albion Moonlight and the Sea of Troubles, released 13 March 2012
Brent David Fraser – Lyrics, Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Martin Blasick – Producer, Lead Guitar, Bass Guitar
Glen Thompson – Bagpipes
Peter Del Giudice – Drums, Percussion

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