i just had to post this etbg song.. i came across it on the tube and it transported me. i was such a huge fan of that band and of the sorrow and the forgiveness in tracey thorn’s voice. i frankly felt that they were brilliant. i spent so much of my 90’s in obsessive mode. i worked at a wholesale travel company owned by my uncle and his best friend from college. my uncle worked for an airline and had gotten a couple of wholesale international contracts and decided to move them from denver with very little competition. i started working there in 1990 and knew absolutely nothing about travel, about computers, and about an office. in the 10 years there, we went from 17M. We became well known both on the west coast and in the mountain region as we had courted our competing retail travel agents as clients and sold both retail and wholesale for those 10 years and more. i had trysts and hangovers all over the globe with very very few of them being in the city where i lived.
i got 2 dui’s during that time period- one in 1992 and then another in 1996. i spent 8 days in jail for the 2nd one and still that wasn’t enough to convince me to stop drinking. i stopped for the year i was on probation, but the very day i was free, my love for scotch returned and in the short span of a year, my immune system started giving out after 11 years of known diagnosis. my denial came to a screeching halt and i started on anti-retro viral therapy and began to experience the the arc of my life travel in two directions at the same time. my health became stronger my emotional body started circling the drain. i left the agency i had been managing and took an agent position at a corporate travel firm. i became increasingly angry about wasting 10 years of my life waiting to die and living in a small city like denver that lacked most of the amenities of a metropolis that i loved. in 1999, i transferred to san francisco with the company and took a job downtown for a large financial firm. i got a small place on the beach next door to film maker friends from chicago. rent was cheap, food was great, all seemed great.
my supervisor then transferred me to a suburb to work for a genetic engineering firm. i found myself working with perhaps the angriest closeted lesbian i have ever met along with a hispanic homophobe. suddenly my tales of the city became nightmares on great ocean highway. i began drinking more heavily and developed kidney stones from the hiv meds. i got stones 3 times, with the 3rd time being so painful that i had a break of some sort. i left my corporate job and began commuting to la weekly for work monday thru thursday, returning to the city to work at an italian restaurant on thursdays thru saturdays. both the dot com bust and 9/11 happened that year- 2001 and i found myself laid off both jobs on 9/14 of that year.
i struggled with my sanity most of the next 6 months. i scored a server job at a brand new omni hotel which opened in the city in march 0f 2002. i did well but got shingles- probably brought on by all the stress. the vicoden prescribed sent me into another tailspin and i tried crystal for the first time that year, by the end of the summer, i had burned through my 401k, had burnt my bridges with my neighbors and landlords, left my job, and drove my last drive across the bay bridge with tony bennet’s lyrics on the tip of my mind.
resilience is something i have always had, but never really appreciated. and i had no real understanding that my journey downward was also a journey inward. i had to chop wood and carry water again in order to know freedom. and i had to forgive myself for so many things and let go of so many things in order to grow strong. losing everything remains a gift beyond any value i have ever known. recovery – learning to not be impulsive- opened up an entirely new millenium of possibility for me.