And the coffee helped and talking to someone more wobbly than myself helped, and having a small dog puke up a semi-digested spider on my foot helped. Whatever takes us out of a certain loop of thinking, whatever erodes selfishness, whatever pushes self-pity or brooding aside.
Whenever I find myself on a certain switchback between old relentless memories and dread of the future, it is always key to ground myself in the here and now, and look at what I can change and not at what I can’t. Octavio Paz:
“Reality is a staircase going neither up nor down,
we don’t move, today is today, always today.”
Someone in some cosy nook of cyberspace is trying to sell copper ashtrays to me at a discount (I don’t smoke, I don’t need ashtrays, I think of copper ashtrays as ugly and irrelevant to my corporeal existence) and I spam him or her or it each day and they just pop up again. When I first began posting on the Internet, I believed that if I was cautious and reticent and guarded enough, I could protect myself from the obsessed and inappropriate and transgressive. Now I know better. If someone wants to seek me out or pester me, there is nothing I can do to pre-empt them or discourage them. What I can do is track down their Internet provider and complain, or call in the police if I know the identity. Bar mails through my spam filter. Or just keep zapping the mails into spam.
When I listen to anyone who has a life given over to craving and schemeing and uselessly fighting cravings and pointlessly hoping the cravings will give up and go away, I take in a deep breath and feel so grateful I could weep and shout with joy and dance. For me the war is over. I must have spent hours of each waking day in debate with myself about where the next drnk would come from, whether I should drink before noon, whether I dared have another and another after that, hoping I would stop before I died, knowing I did and didn’t want to stop. Alcoholism was my inner civil war and nothing changed until I gave up.
Some ask the world
and are diminished
in the receiving
of it. You gave me
only this small pool
that the more I drink
from, the more overflows
me with sourceless light.
- R. S. Thomas