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  • Newly elected member of the Salmagundi Art Club, New York, New York
  • Artists of the New Century at the Bennington Center for the Arts
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Under the Influence

November 8, 2019 by admin

I tell you I love to paint, but more specifically I love to grab my gear and get outside and try my luck at capturing the great outdoors. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as I’m painting I’m good. I’ve been told I paint all the time, that my paintings are just multiplying like bunnys out there.

Sounds to me like I’ve traded one addiction for another…

…and to celebrate 17 years of sobriety I think I’m going to go outside and paint… again.

Some of you knew me “then” and others only now. I’m different, yet I think about it and I see I’m still the same. I was never the life of parties, I didn’t dance on tables with lamp shades on my head. At least not to my recollection. I was just addicted to drinking and drugging. I tell myself “just one drink” and then that was it. Who was I fooling? I kept drinking till all be beer was gone, or I passed out somewhere. I was your typical alcoholic, if there is a typical one.

Stats say that 1 in 8 people have a drinking problem, that’s like 42,000,000 people in America, that’s mind boggling. Compare that to 2.1 professional artists in the USA, sounds like I stand a much better chance of being a drunk as opposed to a working artist. I wonder how many of them are addicts, I’m sure that statistic is out there somewhere.

Anyway, I was that 1 in 8 guy.

I won’t go into the details, I did that too many times in the smoke filled halls of AA, but 17 years ago I had my last drink. It was not pretty for sure, and I was hurting myself and others around me. But I did stop thanks to those who still cared, the Roeland Park Police department, and the program of Alcholics Anonymous.

I just finished a book by Stephen King called “Doctor Sleep” and it’s what happened to the little boy Danny from the “Shining”  after the Overlook hotel burnt to the ground. Danny was an alcoholic too, and I found the book very interesting and caught myself relating to much in the book. Stephen King has a great way of making one relate to his characters in his novels. Like me, the protaganist in this book, Danny, went to Alcoholics Anonymous to help him with his drinking and drugging problems. As I read the book I heard the hundreds of AA slogans coming back to me, “Easy Does It”, and “One Day at a Time”. They were powerful things to help this troubled soul crawl from my personal bottom that brought me here.

But unlike Dan, I do not still go to these meetings, instead I paint. I paint to better cope with things around me, I paint when I’m feeling happy, I paint when I’m sad. To get lost into another world of your own creation is a wonderful feeling, it’s euphoric, it’s my new “high”. They tell you that you’ve got to find a “Higher Power” to help stay sober, and I think I have. My higher power is the power to create. Will it keep me from drinking again? I have no idea, but I try to keep fresh how it was for me then, and how it is for me now, and work each new day.

I’ve come a long way, but it’s always just 12 ounces away.

Like I said, I’ve traded one addiction for another. I think it’s a better choice, actually it’s my only choice. So in the meantime “Sha la la la la la live for today”

 

“Cheers, I’ve made it another day!”

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