• Tish Burns

How fucking roman.tic.

A friend sat next to me in a dark place doodling. She wrote "I'm as sick as you are." on the doodles with little hearts and jewels around it and gave it to me. And how!

In the last few months of my drinking I worked with a guy who had a Venus of Willendorf tattoo. He was handsome and funny and charming and clearly into feminism and art history. One lonely night in the fall I was drinking at home by myself. I used the employee phone list to get his number. Called him. He came over and we went to this great bar by my house called Sweet Revenge I think? There was always impromptu dance parties, a big sandy back yard, cool Brooklyn kids of the hipster, art school and native variety. Me and Willendorf had such a great time at the bar I lost a precious hat my mom made me which she has never been able to reproduce. We went back to my house and I learned that despite his humility and kindness he had a "huge talent." Which I did not enjoy physically that much because I was wasted. I very quickly got obsessed with this guy. And pushed him away with my ardent pursuit.

My alcoholic bottom that brought me to my knees looked like me sitting in my bathroom, drinking forties by myself, smoking rollies to save money, reading Anna Karenina and as I got drunker and drunker texting this poor man all night long. It turned out to be that he was bipolar which I thought I had special skills in dealing with having grown up (using the term loosely) with a bipolar mom.

I would wake up hungover and humiliated every morning scrolling through the strings of unanswered texts. Then I'd have to go face the object of my shame at work.

I think the last time we hooked up was the night before Thanksgiving or maybe it was Christmas? I finally had enough of myself. I was certain that I would not act this way if I wasn't drinking. I had one more demoralizing sexual encounter with another man I worked with who was married with kids between Christmas and the New Year. I called a friend who offered to help and barely made it to my first meeting on New Years day.

And I went on that wild and fun and crazy and painful and weird spiritual adventure I have already written about. But just about the time I had ninety days off booze and was trying to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as I misunderstand It I was introduced to another guy whom I won't go into a lot of details about other than I nearly immediately became completely obsessed with him. I assigned magical qualities to my (imaginary) connection with him. I wrote him dirty haikus and gave them to him on Easter of all the days, but was too terrified to actually have a conversation with him. My obsession with alcohol manifested in this all-consuming and also humiliating and demoralizing fantasy that this man was like the rest of me and I could not be whole until we got together. He knew obviously that I was all strung out on him and he never took the bait. I don't know why! Haha.

He got a girlfriend about six months after I became obsessed with him and got her pregnant two months after they started dating. So I lost that dream. Started smoking again. Met the Norwegian. I honestly have a lifetime of qualifiers I could write about

. This is the shit beneath the shit, the shit that didn't go away when I quit drinking, the shit that keeps me in perpetual pain, shame and humiliation. The shit that cuts off the sunlight of the spirit and keeps me in the dark.

I like the dark. I court the dark. I have been convinced that I need the dark.

One of the reservations I had about giving up alcohol had to with my identity as a writer being so wrapped up in my identity as an active drunk. I was afraid I would not be able to write sober. What would I even write about if not sex and drugs and alcohol? This blog notwithstanding my experience has proven otherwise. I have written better and had much more success writing sober.

I've had the same reservations about getting emotionally sober. If I am not in agonizing pain and despair over some kind of tragic, doomed, terribly fucking romantic star-crossed Romeo and Juliet kind of love what is there left to write about? I don't know but I am about to find out. Because I humiliated myself once again last night. I went to one of the major sources of my pain right now looking for comfort and relief from my pain. I begged basically for more pain. But I grow and I write at the rate of pain. And the pain's not going away! I'm in withdrawal now! I I have 42 minutes till I have one day of a new kind of sobriety. I have a new sponsor. A new spiritual adventure to go on. I fucking hate it! And I'm scared to let go not only of the romance du jour but the romantic aura I've shrouded myself in so that I don't exactly have to experience real life.

I am afraid I also might have to stop blogging for 90 days as I have been using this to stay connected and have a one-way conversation that has caused others pain while I've been having this super public cathartic meltdown. I guess we'll all just have to wait and see.


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© Whenever. You're going to steal stuff from here? Christ.