When I first got clean, my sponsor gave me a lot of writing assignments. If I was being an ungrateful shit, I had to write a gratitude list. I had to write the answers to a lot of questions during the course of step work. If I was pissed off, I got a writing assignment. I got a lot of writing assignments from my sponsor because I was an ungrateful shit who was always pissed off about something. I also had writing assignments for drug court and anger management classes. I wrote a lot in early recovery. It’s been a while since drug court and anger management, so that eliminated some of the writing assignments. For a while, I blobbed on another platform, but I ran out of words. Maybe because I didn’t have a lot going on recovery-wise, I don’t know. I just know I felt I had run out of words or things to say. I just recently got a sponsor after some time without one, and let me tell you–I was so grateful to have a sponsor again that I would have written til my hand fell off if she had told me to, but I wound up with a sponsor who doesn’t do a lot of writing assignments (which, thank heaven, because I can’t find an ink pen at the moment).
I seem to have so many words rolling around in my head these days. I don’t know that I’ll SAY much, even when a lot of words come out of me, but whatever. The primary purpose of most of those early writing assignments was really just for me to sort through the shit in my head and see it in front of me in black and white (or blue and white, or even red and white, depending on what color pen I happened to find). So mostly, I’m probably writing for myself. There are so many changes looming in front of me that I am scared shitless, and I need a way to sort through the shit in my head, so I guess it’s time to see it in front of me in black and white. I don’t know if writing will help me figure anything out, but maybe it will help take some of the power out of the fear I’m feeling in the face of all these impending changes looming in the future. Something’s gotta give. I can’t stand the jumble of words and half-formed thoughts rolling around my mind any longer.
A few years ago, Sunshine and I bought a giant class A motorcoach (that I affectionately call the magic bus) and moved into it full time. It’s like a tiny house with an engine and transmission (and an on-board generator, which is wonderful when the power goes out and I need air conditioning and coffee). We moved it to a rural area and started living smaller and simpler. We reduced our expenses and our carbon footprint. We gave away or sold most of our shit because we had no room for it and didn’t fucking need it anyway. As time passed, I started to become bored by my constant shopping and sickened by my endless cycle of want. Apparently Sunshine was feeling the same way, because he and his oldest and dearest friend hatched a grand plan.
We were going to start an intentional community. That’s a fancy phrase that means commune, if I’m understanding things correctly. All this sounded great. An egalitarian ecovillage, what a great place to live!
Until Sunshine’s friend actually bought up a large piece of land in the middle of buttfuck nowhere where Mollie would have acres and acres to run and run and play and play and smell all the things like dogs like to do, and Sunshine told me we could be shutting his business down and moving the magic bus there in as little as three months. I almost fainted. I started feeling the crushing weight of fear squeeze my heart (or maybe that’s just my COPD kicking my ass what with all this heat and humidity and fuckers cutting grass and shit) and I started having trouble falling asleep at night even with benadryl and melatonin.
Now my ass actually has to cash the check my mouth has been writing. All these rants at my friend Mimi about all the incessant shopping for new petrochemical based clothes folded up in petrochemical bags, all the ranting at my friends that work at the cafe I frequent about how styrofoam is the devil, all the bitching about supersized SUVs and suburbanites driving full sized trucks when they probably don’t have the slightest idea what a fucking payload is…my stainless steel reusable tumbler and reusable shopping bags and produced that wasn’t in plastic bags and natural fiber clothing…all that? Was nothing in comparison to what is actually looming on the not-so-distant horizon.
Solar panels, well-water, growing our own vegetables, Sunshine hunting for our meat, helping Sunshine process said meat, actually NOT shopping for new clothes and shoes unless I genuinely NEED a new pair of shoes, no more eating out if I don’t feel like cooking, no more randomly grabbing off-list foods at the grocery store because THERE ISN’T GOING TO BE ENOUGH INCOME TO PAY FOR PETROCHEMICAL BASED TWINKIES IF SUNSHINE SHUTS DOWN HIS BUSINESS and for the love of all that is holy don’t let me get down to less than 4 spare rolls of toilet paper and how are we going to pay for toilet paper if Sunshine shuts down his business OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO
It’s a lot to process.
The fear was eating my lunch.
And then, suddenly, Tuesday, it started feeling more OK. Sunshine and I discussed some options with his business to keep some income coming in (and he actually said I had a good idea about that!!!), then I got to have dinner and make a meeting with my sponsor and grandsponsor and my grandsponsor helped me feel better (I couldn’t tell you what she said that made me feel better, I just know I felt better after talking to her), and Sunshine told me to start stocking up on shit (read: shop) while there was income so that the money we were putting aside to tide us over through the transition would last longer.
Shopping! Now there’s something that always makes me feel better! (Not really, but at least this feels like I am doing something productive and positive to help prevent imminent doom because my toilet paper stash comforts me like you wouldn’t believe.)
So I have started making lists of things to stock up on, supplies that will be needed in our upcoming off-grid life.
Shit like toilet paper, because obviously. And surgical masks, because working outside with COPD, I need to reduce the amount of dust and pollen and such that I inhale. Conditioner, body wash, lotion, all that shit that is so hard to find with my allergies. A toilet scrubber brush, because disposable toilet scrubbers are A) expensive and 2) not environmentally responsible. Yarn to crochet swiffer pads, because swiffer dry and wet mop pads are 1) expensive and B) not environmentally responsible. The obscenely expensive holistic organic weight control formula dog food we feed Mollie along with the fish oil supplements we give her to prevent dry skin. A minimum of one year’s supply of NSAIDs for my neck and back pain, a minimum of one year’s supply of benadryl and melatonin so I can sleep (hey, what can I say–Sunshine snores like whoa). A stockpile of allergy meds. Sunblock. Cortisone cream. Plenty of spare socks and underwears for Sunshine (I swear to gawd, the man runs his socks through a paper shredder at least once a week). Bullets. Work gloves. Propane. Butcher paper. Dry goods. The lists just keep growing.
There are some upsides. I’ll get to see more of Sunshine. Mollie will love it there. The future has a good chance of being rather secure for a couple of recovering junkies who drank and smoked and injected what would have amounted to retirement savings. We will greatly reduce our carbon footprint. We’ll eat better foods and breathe cleaner air. We’ll be living much closer to Sunshine’s tribal territories, so we’ll be much closer to his free medical care. We’ll have more time to enjoy our creator’s creations and each other; and in the end, isn’t that what life is really all about?