Friday, 14 August 2015

ALL OR NOTHING (You Can't Save Everyone) Entry #34

Being the Sober Emcee can be a heavy responsibility to bare sometimes. I've been a part of the scene for while now here in Toronto and there is a lot of nightlife that goes on in this city. For the past 5 years I've been able to go to clubs and afterhours in the face of several bottles of liquor and still not have the desire to have a drink. For that I feel blessed! I've learned in the rooms of the 12 steps meetings that everyone's path is different on the road to sobriety. Sometimes not everybody makes it. For the most part the people that I surround myself with are not heavy drinkers. They can hold their liquor and party when its get together time. I've become a sponsor (Sorta) over the years, however my sponsee would need to make the decision of "All or nothing" when it comes to this tricky alluring force called Alcohol. All or nothing for me means that I have to know that I'm going to probably be one of the only people at the club not drinking or drunk. Yes we have the designated drivers in the club too, but half of them are drinking anyway and girls who are usually prudes (Joking...maybe). All or nothing means being more selective with the women I talk to and the fact that it might be an issue that I don't drink, inturn making it hard to get to the naked twister. I don't get wasted on my Birthday or on New Year's eve and when I toast with someone in the club I'm tapping the glass with my bottle of water. Don't feel sorry for me though because for me the trade off for the so called sacrifices, is my life. I know I am an alcoholic and am fully accepting of my alcoholism and know that if I drink to have the aforementioned pleasures, that indulgence will be my eventual demise. I still have fun when I go out I've learned that my charm with women didn't come from the bottle and learned to channel my inner mojo. Those are temporary pleasures to me and I'd rather my life. Plus I can still have all that shit anyway, have a focussed and clear night (and morning) as well as remember the memories that I'm creating in my life. Over the years I've seen a few friends try to get on the path to sobriety. Some going to rehab and then coming home and saying; "Hey I've learned to control it" now feeling that they can do an alcohol cut down program. Hopefully that works because I'm very aware that "All or Nothing" isn’t a small thing. I've brought a friend to 12 step meetings upon their request and seen what I thought was enlightenment. Maybe there was but after a few dry days the bottle won. I've watched a once close friend now get to the point where I can see the rock bottom in him. Alcohol has diminished him and may have him completely homeless, dead or in jail if he doesn't seek help immediately. The most I can do is try to be an ear if needed or a word if my advice is asked for. For the third mentioned situation I can't do anything, I fear that he just won't make it. This can be hard but on the road to making my life more productive within my sobriety, I can't help everybody. Until these cases realize that they are a part of a worldwide group of us who've realized that we are powerless over alcohol and it has no longer made our lives manageable. Basically step 1, admitting the alcoholism. Until that step is taken and these cases realize that there is no such thing as the Cut Down Program for us alcoholics, I can only provide help through example. I can’t go out of my way. My phone is on for 2 out of the 3 cases but unfortunately I will not be going out of my way. Hopefully they seek the help they need and with that and some time in sobriety, maybe I can add on as (hopefully) an experienced sober assistant. For now though they're on their own, hopefully they read this blog as it has been recommended on a few occasions. Until they want to be saved and take the steps towards helping themselves, I can’t make them stop drinking, only they can. Therefore unfortunately I can't save everybody. Bless

Friday, 15 May 2015

Bartending School Entry #33

I am coming up on my 40th birthday in less than 2 months and I feel good, and sober. As I give thanks for everyday and move forward in life, I also use this as a time of reflection. I think back to 13 years ago back the summer of 2002. I was on my way to turning 27 years old and going through a low point. At the time I was completing community service for a minor drug(Weed) charge. A few months prior to that I was on the run, sleeping from hotel to hotel because a close friend and business partner who had been raided after an investigation. Then to top it off, my girlfriend/common in-law wife kicked me out of our apartment after being fed up of my drinking, cheating and all around drama. Life was on tilt and my drinking was spiking higher than ever. I had become accustomed to the finer drink mixtures like Errol Flynns; a mixture of 1 ounce Cognac (Usually Hennessey) and 1 ounce Grand Marnier. Sometimes I'd drink a 26oz bottle of Grand Marnier in 1 night then pass out on my chair with my ex probably shaking her head at me in disgust. My business partner and I would enjoy bottles of Don Perignon (I think aged since 1996)and have a bottle each..minus the glass. I had a customer that would use fraudulent credit cards that would buy several bottle of the expensive champagne at $120 a bottle. Then he would come and sell them back over to us at $60 a bottle or he would use the bottles to work off the tab that he sometimes would accumulate with me due to drug debts. It was like one addict feeding another in a fair exchange. My business partner and I were under the impression that we were the real life versions of who our favorite rappers wanted to be. We were the street guys that they portrayed in their songs. At the time I had no day job, I hustled, ran our record company and my street team. However by 2002 the street team promotion had started to dwindle with the inception of online download sites such as Napster and Kazaa, as well as the hefty fines that record companies were starting to receive for vandalism. City officials and citizens were getting tired of seeing their street light poles covered with cardboard posters. Record sales were dropping causing record companies to cut back on employees as well as promotional materials. The phone starting dying for street team gigs adding fuel to the fire that blazed through my 2002 life. One positive is that I had lost over 50 pounds for the first time with the help of a personal trainer. During the weight loss process I was introduced to the white liquor, brown liquor theory. This is the belief that drinking white liquors like; vodka and white rum were better for people watching their weight. Brown liquor requires additional sugar to make it brown, therefore being less conducive to weight loss. I was adamant about cutting down on my pop and juice so I started voiding the chaser in my alcohol, which just upped my tolerance exponentially. So what does a 26 (and a half) year old alcoholic do when his world is crashing around him? When his best friend is in jail? He is potentially under a drug investigation? His legal music industry gig is dying and his girlfriend of 7 years leaves him??...... He joins a bartending school! Yes, The (Non)Sober Emcee decided I wanted to be the black Sam Malone. I felt the decrease of the music industry income, mixed with the decline in hustling business from the excess movement that I was doing from being on the run. In January 2002 I rented an apartment in Yorkville. For those not familiar with the downtown Toronto area, Yorkville is a very expensive and ritzy area and I rented a one bedroom apartment that cost me $1400 a month plus $125 month for parking. I was convinced that I needed to get into the workforce. I took a bartending course down on Broadview Avenue and Danforth Road in the east end of downtown. At school I learned how to make a real Long Island Ice Tea, Cosmopolitans and several other drinks. I learned about the ingredients for my favorite liquors as well as ones that I never knew that I liked.The brown liquor, white liquor rule was reinforced and I discovered the value (non-value) of Gin for someone watching their weight. Gin is essentially made with Juniper berries, berries are healthy equalled Gin is better for me. Right? Wrong! An alcoholic in a bartending school is like a banker robber at Brinks security guard school. It was like a crack-cocaine addict not only learning how to transform cocaine into crack, but also how the cocaine was created itself and all the ingredients. This was a dangerous education. I never took homework as serious as I did for this class. Especially when it required memorizing popular bar drinks. I would buy all the liquors, the liqueurs and even vermouth so that I could practice making drinks for quizzes. I was naturally one of the best students in class. I was the best host when anyone came to my apartment. I would use my guest (and myself) as my guinea pigs as I mixed all kinds of drinks for us from my textbook as my "Homework". This is the time where my tolerance rose to where I thought I needed a whole 26oz bottle to be satisfied. I discovered the after hour bottle delivery services, had a crazy balck out with some strippers (See Entry #21 Blackouts Part 2) and I became more familiar with the after hours underground club scene. This would eventually become the scene that was part of the setting for the beginning of my demise but eventual sobriety.... Bless

Monday, 16 February 2015

24 (Hours) Entry #32

So, what do I do after celebrating 5 years of sobriety? Say I'm cured and go to the bar and have a drink? Maybe hit the liquor store and grab a bottle of Smirnoff? I've accomplished a lot over the years and I have and had more than my share of problems. Some may think I should "reward" myself with a drink. Some may say, 'Dude, 5 years is a long time. You're good now, have a drink.' When I tell people that I haven't had a drop of alcohol in 5 years I get mixture of congrats and side-eyes. I meet people who also do not drink but just out of preference. However we are not the same. Yes, it's been 5 years and this is a celebration, so what do I do next?..... I start another 24 hour without drink and at the end of that(hopefully) I live another 24 hours without drinking. This is because this is how I've lived for the past 5 years and the same goes for the millions of alcoholics that live on the sober side of the fence. We don't make long term future projections, we live 1 day at a time. The day that we get too far ahead of ourselves is the day that we can lose. I've mentioned before in previous entries that there is no such thing as 'cured' for us. We wake up everyday and just try to be better people than yesterday. One of the ways we do that is by not drinking alcohol because we know that from the first drink things will get worst. Whether it's fast or a slow, it's a guaranteed process. Thankfully I've been blessed with the lack of desire that many of us alcoholics possess. I haven't wanted a drink since that faithful day 5 years ago February 17 2010 when the vice squad kicked off the door of my downtown apartment, just steps away from the Toronto Eaton Center. When I lay on the metal based cot in my cell in the don jail, the desire to drink alcohol left my physical and the will to live took over. Over the years I've shared in these blog entries, all the trials and tribulations that I've gone through as well as my victories. I went through 3 years of parole under the supervision of the CSC (Correction Services Canada). I've tip toed around them and went to the clubs even though I wasn't allowed to due to conditions. I hosted several nights at clubs as well as judged hip hop battles and done several stage shows pushing my music and my brand. Even though there was alcohol everywhere I stayed unaffected. All these circumstances were usually accompanied with a bottle and/or glass of Hennessey and/or Vodka. Now this is something that is a foreign concept to me. There has been numerous times in my dating life that I tell women that I don't drink and it equals out to me not getting to the next step. I've been asked why by women as well as pressured to have "Just one drink" with the light of a set of open legs at the end of the tunnel, but I still said no to the drink and ultimately to the open legs. I've been battling the underlying pain of having a mother with Alzheimer along with all the tremendous responsibilities that come with that. I've gone through relationship turmoil, financial problems and all the things that make one want to sit back with a beer or a shot at the end of the day. But I don’t. Not out of resistance but out of the lack of desire. Part of the things that keep each 24 going is this blog, as well as the opportunities that I've had to speak and tell my story. I've spoken at 12 step meetings for the anniversaries of other alcoholics like myself celebrating their milestones. The numerous times that my dear friend Tara Maldoon invited me to speak at the F-You (Forgive You) Project. These are places that I've able to speak freely about my crazy experiences with alcohol, the streets, sex, incarceration and all the twisted and wonderful things that make me who I am. In conclusion I am extremely grateful but I always keep in mind that I'm different. We all have a list of short and long term goals. Maybe getting that dream house, or your favorite car, getting married, getting a diploma. As alcoholics we have all the same goals as the o called 'normal' folks. However all alcoholics have one common goal, that's making it through another 24 hours sober. To all my brothers and sisters across the world living in sobriety, have a happy and sober 24(hours). Bless

Friday, 31 October 2014

Infected Minds (Like Mine) Entry #31

They say alcoholism is a disease. I believe that to the fullest. Some may argue and feel that it's just a matter of self control or the "Lack" of self control that we as alcoholics are suppose to have. Many alcoholics believe that alcoholism is an incurable disease that effects the mind. Like every other incurable disease alcoholism needs to be treated as well as monitored through the various channels available to us. If alcoholism was a simple matter of a lack of will power and self control, then there wouldn’t be millions of people like myself who choose not to drink a substance that is legal and readily available to the public such as alcohol. Then I wouldn't be able to work in a club environment as well as being around friends that like to have a few (A lot) drinks on occasions. I wouldn't be able to say that I am rounding off my 5th year alcohol free or the millions of others who have 10, 20 even 50 years of sobriety under their belts. With all the ways people use alcohol to cope with problems as well as celebrating the good and positive times, there's no way that anybody can say that we have no self control. At least we have a grip on the alcohol versus dying department. If I was to ingest alcohol the disease would begin to take effect. It's not like I would hulk out and turn green. Or get aggressive because I was never an angry drunk to begin with. Matter of fact, I would probably be the life of the party. And everyone around me would get just as wrecked as me and I would end up waking up with a hang over next some attractive (Or not) woman with stale liquor breath and an ever so slight but present smell of vomit. After that crazy episode I would probably be ashamed of myself and beat myself up asking myself how could I have destroyed all the accumulated years of sobriety. I'd probably be pretty tore up about it and not drink the next day for sure. I might not drink the day after that maybe even a week after that, all out of repent. But then, that voice will creep. That voice in every alcoholic's mind that is activated by the taste and the feeling alcohol brings. That voice will get louder until I eventually end up on a binge that can last for years before either awakening or straight to an early death. This does not happen to people who are not infected by the disease of alcoholism. In the previously mentioned scenario, the non alcoholic would have the same night but without the voice activating in his head. The chemicals of the alcohol would not react in his or her body that would eventually effect his or her mind even when not inebriated. He or she can make that a routine every weekend without ever risking it turning to a never ending everyday binge. That's the difference! With that being said, I have to always be mindful of my actions as well as my surroundings and how I conduct myself. I have to make sure that if I drink a non-alcohol beverage and I put it down, that I don't accidentally pick up a glass with alcohol in it. That mistaken sip can be detrimental and life changing. On that note I have made sure that no one ever tries to spitefully hand me a glass with liquor in it knowing I have a disease. Or someone handing me a drink with alcohol with all positive intentions who just honestly is unaware of the severity of my disease. As a single man I have to keep in mind that when I meet new women going for drinks is a different experience. Only one of us is drinking on that date and it ain't me. It doesn't mean that I'm not a good time or I need liquid personality. In these situations I can't fall victim to thinking that drinking with my date will make me more attractive to her. It creates a weeding out process where any woman who tries to make me drink is automatically cut off. As far as the women who don't like the fact that I don’t drink, won't even want to go on date one with me. In the end of the day I don't want the infected minds that we have influence the way we are treated. We're not contagious. You won’t catch alcoholism if you get too drunk in front of an alcoholic. We don't have a visual disease. We don't have lesions or have facial ticks. Our disease does not make us deteriorate over time as long as we don't feed it with alcohol. As previously mentioned, our disease is one of the mind. However it's that same mind that we use to make sure that we stay in control of this infamous and deadly disease. Bless

Friday, 18 July 2014

ADDICT!! Entry #30

So as most people who follow this blog know by now that this is history and the accounts of my alcoholic life and my inner thoughts and feelings before and after sobriety. What qualifies me as an alcoholic? Well how about the fact that i used to drink a bottle of vodka 7 days a week 365 days a year and more on holidays. Or for the fact that I hated getting sick because I didn’t want to take the medicines, this was because either the physician or the warning label would advise against mixing the medicine with alcohol. It took me 20 years (1 in jail) to turn that corner to the road to sobriety. Even though I’m into my fifth year of sobriety I was and am still addicted to many things. Like Character Defects(See Entry #28), these addictions don’t just magically disappear because I stopped drinking alcohol. Old habits are hard to break and each addiction is individual and should be respected with it’s own time if one decides that they are going to battle them. I’ve been addicted and still am addicted to many things. I really can’t run them all down or I would need to write a blog series on that alone. However this blog is about honesty so let’s list off a few. SEX Ok so now that you’re awake again. Sex has always been one of my biggest addictions. I have had a long series of botched relationships due to the fact that I can be a naughty man, and really, I don’t need alcohol to influence my decision to cheat. The share thrill, enjoyment of variety and the all around pigness that is man is what has me single in this time of my life right now. I’ve cheated on every girlfriend I’ve ever had and had my share of wild adventures sober and drunk. An addiction to sex can be a combination of a high libido, will for acceptance as well as a lack of integrity and/or good judgment at times. This is all besides the fact of not being happy or satisfied in my past relationships enough not to cheat. We don’t even have to mention the porn. On the contrary though I don’t believe in the clinical diagnosis of being a sex addict. I personally won’t go do something crazy if I can’t get sex and anyone who does is just hornier than usual to me. However they don’t need to rehab to fix their “problem” they just need some more self control like most of us. DRAMA I have ben told that I’m addicted to drama many times. I don’t feel that I am but when you hear something enough times you tend to believe it after a while too, even a little bit. I’ve had my share of drama with the law and with my past relationships. I’ve been stabbed by a woman, slapped, punched, cursed out and mentally tormented by women. I have had fake Facebook, Myspace and High5 accounts made about me by scorned exes all for cheating (Of course), oh ya, and lying too(Can’t forget that.) I’ve had women confronting each other many times all because of the webs of lies that I have spun. The reason I guess that I’m becoming a believer is because no matter how many times it happens I always find myself repeating the exact same actions and getting the EXACT same results. Therefore I must have some addiction to drama even is it’s sub and/or unconsciously. Some of the dramas like legal issues are some of the drama that I am definitely not addicted to but through my parole and after I have walked the fine the line of legality a number of times. Drama is another release of endorphins, the type that the thrill seekers like. Lately I’ve been pretty good at staying out of drama or “di blenda” like my lovely hood folks call it. However who knows what can happen the next time I find myself TOO bored. Material Things (Cars, Clothes and Shinny Things) I am what you call an impulse buyer. I see, I like, I buy it. I hustled for 17 years before I turned my life around and over those years I’ve picked up the easy come easy go habits. I developed a fancy for the finer things. I like designer and name brand clothes, I like European cars and trucks and I like gold and diamonds. I also feel that I shouldn’t feel guilty about that because if your working hard for your money and/or out there taking those risk that the hustlers do to make big money, then shit! You deserve that shit! Buy that Gucci bag mama! Go get the newest Jordan's, Benz and Ice my dude! However, make sure that it’s within your means. Material things can be seen as an addiction. We all know about maxing out our credit cards because we just HAVE to have those new shoes. Physical Appearance I have always gone up and down with my weight from the time I turned 25. Prior to that I was always overweight. Though it never stopped me from meeting women over the years, I still didn’t like who I saw in the mirror. I have recently lost around 50 pounds, once again. The reason I say once again is because this is actually the fourth time that I have done this. The 3 times prior I had always put back on the weight and hated myself for it. Especially with all the hard work that it takes to loose that much weight, along with the fact that it can’t be good for my heart after a while going up and down so much. Now that I’m on my 4th go around I did it the best this time I have achieved under 10% body fat I got my six pack like I promised myself and my eating regiment is on point. However now I am addicted to looking this way. I obsess about my eating and base my daily schedule according to my meals as well as duties. I constantly check the mirror for signs of fat forming and I check the scale at the gym almost every day. At this point the only weight that is gained is water weight which comes and goes from hour to hour and is barely retained since I cook sodium free ALL THE TIME. Oh ya, did I mention that I always go to the gym every morning 6 days a week? Well yes, that’s happening too. So in conclusion whether your major addiction was alcohol like myself and millions of alcoholics. Or your major addiction was cocaine or ecstasy or any of the other wonderful substances out there that make so many lives fun and miserable at the same time.One thing that is clear for me and I'm confident in saying many others, is that kicking one major addiction doesn’t mean our jobs are done. There are many addictions we have to conquered some big some small. In addition sometimes conquered addictions can be replaced with other newer addictions or old ones that have elevated to fill the void that was once filled with the conquered major addiction. Therefore I feel I always need to stay conscious of my moves and the mental baggage that I might pick up along my road to progression. Eventually if those bags filled with other addictions get to heavy then progression will come to a halt. Then my former alcohol addiction will be the least of my problems. Bless

Friday, 2 May 2014

Entry #29 The Sober Emcee vs. The Dry Alcoholic

So the true tesr now begins. I am now officially off of parole and by law I am now allowed to drink. I have been doing this blog for about 3 years now and the whole time I was not allowed to drink in accordance to my parole conditions as well as a life choice. However now that I am legally I am allowed to drink this is where the real test now lies. I always said that even if it wasn’t a parole condition I still wouldn’t drink, now that it’s a reality it’s time to see if I am really the Sober Emcee or just a dry alcoholic. A dry alcoholic is someone who has tried to quit drinking but has not really followed the 12 steps, never got a sponsor or a home group but just stayed a way from drinking for whatever reasons. Most of the time these reasons are legal ones and they have not set up the proper emergency plans for if in case they really get the urge to pick up a bottle.The reason that they are just considered “Dry” is because it is believed that they might not have stopped drinking for the right reasons and given extenuating circumstances or with legal boundaries removed that this dry alcoholic would go back to drinking right away. I wondered to myself, do I fall under this category? Sure I have done a lot over the past 4 years of sobriety and have been told that I have inspired a lot of people. Yes I am an advocate of marijuana consumption and even consume it myself. I believe that there has been way less lives accept because a family member smoked weed as opposed to the millions and millions of families who suffer each year from a member’s alcohol abuse. Not to mention the amount of alcohol and (Chemical) drug related deaths that happen per year. Either way now I have the freedom to do what ever I want (As long as it’s legal) and have to really exercise the “choice” not to drink alcohol. I have been a club emcee for a considerable amount of my time on parole and have done that and numerous live performances in a club with people drinking alcohol all around me. I have hung out with friends as they consumed heavy amounts of alcohol in celebration. I have to always keep in mind that I would not be able to have the things I have now if I had continued to drink. I have to remember now that if I pick up a drink that I would probably go on a binge tha may never end. That means; no more job, now more apartment, back to hustling and most importantly not being able to take care of my mother anymore in her Golden years. What non-alcoholics don’t realize that it is all or nothing for the population who has the disease of alcoholism. We can’t just “Have a few” then stop. We can’t just drink on the weekends and maintain control of our lives. When an alcoholic like myself picks up a drink a chemical reaction happens that effects us mentally. This reaction causes us to know no limits and continue drink until we pass out or end the night in some strange bed or jail! We destroy families and relationships way more than the average person and chaos follows us when the bottle is in hand. We will never be “Cured” and be able to drink like normal people. What we have to live with is acceptance that we have this disease. This is why I have never tried to judge anyone who drinks because in all actuality people can really have a good time when there’s alcohol involved. Therefore I encourage people to drink and be merry and I date women who drink a little...or a lot. We take everyday in 24 hours time rather than try to tell our future of never drinking again but we know that we can’t. We have to be prepared for the obsticles should they come and have the proper buffers, people and prevention methods to stop us from taking that potiential fatale step of drinking. I believe that knowing this is what makes me the Sober Emcee so if you’re in the club that I’m working or performing in, have a drink on me and have a crazy night. And if you are one of the people with the alcoholism disease like myself who choose not to drink alcohol for life, then have a happy 24(Hours). Bless

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Character Defects Entry #28

We all have defects of character. Mine have been; lying, infidelity, tunnel vision, indecisiveness and selfishness just to name a few. I always thought that without alcohol things would be perfect and as a person I would be some sort of superman. However a lot of the defects that I have still remain and they are things that need to be worked on individually in order for me to become a better person. When I delve deeper into myself I realized that things may have been advanced when I was drunk or I can use being drunk for an excuse when I exhibited these defects but what now? Over the past 4 years of sobriety I still lied, I still didn’t use good judgment in things I did in my relationships, still have tunnel vision and am still very selfish. I can’t beat myself up though because we are forever evolving and making these realizations are the first step in correcting them just like when I had to admit I was an alcoholic. I also had to look at all my accomplishments and be proud of myself. For the first time ever I worked for someone besides myself and I’ve held my job for 2 years. I was finally able to focus my energy and make my first full length album of which I’m very proud of.Mistakes were still around every corner though and I did things in relationships to shatter the trust and I blame myself for that. I found myself lying again and I became very indecisive on the future. Ultimately being sober didn’t make me perfect and truly no one can ever be perfect that’s God’s job. While talking with my sponsor I realized that my evolution and maturity stopped over the past 2 years. I accomplished so much on a material and superficial level that I totally ignored my inner growth. I hurt people in a lot of ways that are un-repairable. One of my defects that can be mistaken as a trait is my sociability and the ability to bring the best out of people. Don’t get me wrong, these are good traits. However when there is a lack of humility and lies, it can be a lethal mixer, especially since I’m aware of the power it can hold. This can make people put their guards down easily and if you betray then it can and will bring out the worst in them. This made me realize that I didn’t have control of my thoughts and emotions which is another character defect. I also learned that in sobriety my character defects actually grew because my focus was on alcohol in the past and not my inner self. When your drunk you never truly face yourself because alcohol takes the focus. Without it though I have to face my problems and tackle them rather than run away from them. I’m working on it though. I made it 4 years sober, the end of my parole is right around the corner and I plan to right my wrongs and learn even more about myself post parole. I have tried to be more attentive to others around me and not be so self centered. I have been trying to do even more for my mother with her illness to make sure that she is okay. And also I have been reconnecting with myself physically and taking care of my body by eating right and working out again. There is always more though and every once and a while I need to step back and do a moral inventory on myself to see if I’m being the best I can be to myself and the people around me. Evolution never ends and when you feel that you have made yourself the best you can be that is where you fail and start slipping because no matter what there is always room for improvement. Bless