Dear DC Dave,
UNCLE S.A.M. (Severely but Secretly Abused Man) here. I am ready to volunteer for AA or NA, or any other program for that matter, especially during the hours after work and before bedtime, as the freak comes out at night, and I don’t have family to play with and nurture. I hope you will let me, good Sirs.
Question is, can I get some? Does The Program require that I be altogether clean and sober before The Program will allow me to do something more than the coffee, ashtrays, toilets and trash that I’ve been doing now for years? Nay, decades? Is there a sobriety requirement? In which case, you may ask yourself (or not), in the immortal words of the Jonas Brothers, “What a man got to do?”
What I mean is, although I am still drinking and drugging just a lil' tiny, I do have a sincere desire to stop. And I believe (indeed I know beyond a shadow of a doubt) that the Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behaviors—that is, the reinforcement of behaviors other than drinking, drugging and sexing--is essential to my NOT drinking, drugging, and sexing.
Boggles the mind, don’t it?
After running on faith all these years (I’m a believer) it all boils down to that for me--what to do with all this “free” time. And with guilt. Should I be feeling bad? Should I be feeling good? But since no one appears to give a darn about me and my health anymore—and society, as such, never really did (I'm a poor veteran)—I say, “Funk that Guy.” A bitch is a bitch, but a fog is man’s best friend.
Now hear this. I enjoy service. I really do. Even if only AFTER the deed is done—(like an allnight teabag), and yet my opportunity to volunteer has been limited (to ZERO) because of my criminal record and other stupid rules.
For example, when I had no $$$ to complete my DUI classes (due to unemployment without remuneration of any kind except Food Stamps ($6 per day!)), I proposed to The State that I complete community service in lieu of the fee. A win-win, right? Even if I didn’t do a good job (which I can guarantee you I would unless hungover or maybe even then) I would still—at the very least--be doing something other than drinking, drugging or sexing during the actual hours of my service work.
But, apparently The State (and you?) would prefer that I dig deeper. They only allow Disabled Folk to work off the fees for DUI classes and such, and only then if the “Disabled” can demonstrate that they are also poor. I’m not there yet—I am poor but not Disabled--but I am well on my way. Now I walk with a limp. How reinforcing is that? And for what?
In the interim between losing and regaining my Driver’s License (You’ve got to play the tape all the way through--that being the red tape) I spent 3 years walking around all day long, and eventually testing new and harder drugs for “free” out of sheer boredom and fright. In between meetings, applying for jobs, Day Labor (ni¢e work if you can get it), Soup Kitchen, and the 45 to 1hr transport by foot back and forth to the shelter (so I could sleep alone), all I did was fret. In fact, I tried hard to read, but I’m so broke I can’t pay attention. Get it?
It's called "Tunneling."
Remember that feeling you had when you were first in love? When, no matter where you were or what you were doing or who you were with, you could not stop thinking about your love? All day, every day,and even in your dreams? No matter how hard you tried, there was a line in your mind devoted to that? And it filled you up and invigorated you? Well, "tunneling" is exactly the same process. . .uninvited, constant thoughts. . .but painful ones about Basic Needs that are Not Met, and they drain every bit of life from your brain and body. After all, for every action (Love), there's an equal and opposite one (Fear). One that I hope the kids never have to discover for themselves direckly.
Either you know or you don’t. And if you don’t know, now you know—you should be with us, feeling like we do. . .or we will unplug the planet. . .and let everyone out of jail. Then you, too, will know what real fear and loathing are, with the goal being that all decisions (about who can do what, when , where, and for how much) can flow from there--EMPATHY. Which you refused to teach in school to the kids. We will no longer remain out of your sight and mind, and we can no longer bear that as an excuse.
61% of Americans (107 million American households) legally, according to our very own Federal Tax Code and pay structure, owed no income taxes in 2020, up from 76 million — or 44% of all taxpayers in 2019.
In closing, I thank God (She moves in mysterious ways) for COVID, without which I would never have gotten the Stimulus Check that allowed me climb out of THAT Shithole to be as overworked and underpaid as I am now. God Bless America! I love her—but I call that an embarrassment of choices. Call it what you will.
Stained, Sniffed, and Shared