Friday, January 02, 2009

2008 Wrap-Up

And only a day late!

I can't say I'm sorry to say good bye to this year. Even though it brings me one more year closer as I rocket inexorably faster on the bullet train towards the great dirt nap. This year was a challenge on many levels.

On the plus side, I did manage to stay sober for another year. Not that I ever felt my sobriety was in danger per se, but I did at least go to enough meetings and do enough service and engage in enough navel gazing to keep my head on straight well enough to stay away from a drink. And that's an accomplishment.

I also kept regular doctor appointments and finally, FINALLY conquered my overwhelming phobia concerning the dentist. I wish I could tell you exactly what the magic formula is, and I suspect it has more to do with being restored to sanity and other promises that Gay-A fulfilled than anything I actually did, but I do know I can schedule a dental visit as easily as I make a dinner reservation and not worry about keeping it or taking medication to get through it or the days and days of dread that used to precede it. That's if I actually ended up showing up for the appointment at all.

My overall health is great although I do have an ongoing high cholesterol battle raging and somehow in all of that not drinking I managed to put on about 25 pounds. I have made a mental and verbal pledge to lose 10 in the beginning of the new year.

I started out the year gainfully employed and had no reason to think that would change. Unfortunately, I couldn't anticipate that one of my employees would end up murdering a customer on the roof of the building. I also didn't know that the owners I was working for had neglected to ever secure the correct paperwork and permits to make the venue a legally operating restaurant and night club. Therefore when we received (unusually heavy-handed) police attention as a result of the bad publicity, I and all of my fellow employees were suddenly and unexpectedly thrown out of work. I will probably speak more about the murder in the future, and if the case goes to trial this year (I think it will) I want to go to court and observe the proceedings. I wonder if I will ever understand what made this young man do something so awful.

The summer brought a very hard time as my dog and buddy Jet died unexpectedly. Now that I have some distance, I know that not only did I love Jet as my pet, but that he also took on a lot of extra significance in my life. I got Jet before I got sober, but it seems that I was already swimming for the surface from a very dark hole, and adopting Jet was an outward expression of that sliver of recovery. An ability to care for and focus on more than just myself and my needs. He was also, appropriately enough, wildly imperfect and dinged up by life. Jet was a kindred spirit that I wanted to protect and take care of. He was a part of me, and it really broke my heart when I lost him. I had to reconcile the feelings that I failed him, and realize that I made his last years on Earth infinitely better than they had been, or would have been, without me.

Which of course led me to adopt Riley in the fall. Don't get me wrong. I love love love Mr. Riley. And of course it helps that he is a completely different dog than Jet, both in looks and temperament. But it's a different love, less desperate and needy on my part. Which I assume is better. Riley is a pet and a pal. Jet was a lifeline. But as I now have come to realize, life with a dog in the house is infinitely better.

I devoted a lot of time and writing to the repeal of the HIV+ travel ban. And while I have said that marriage equality is not an issue that I necessarily believe in for me, I was able to support the issue in terms of general equal rights, as well as parental rights, and I lent my voice and feet as well as my sign and T-Shirt making skills to the cause. I joined the Community Advisory Board for the LGBT community heath center, and make monthly meetings to pitch in however I am able. This year I marched for the first time in the NYC Pride parade, and I did it as a proud member of SIN NYC. I also used my involvement with SIN to make tiny (albeit important) strides in the improvement of my social skills. Who knows, I may actually date and/or have sex in 2009.

I took some pretty pictures, and while I wouldn't categorize myself as a photographer or an artist, it has definitely become a hobby and a passion I enjoy. I had some of my Pride photos published in an on-line article. At the end of 2008, I entered a neighborhood photo contest. I will find out if anything comes of that at the end of January.

Oh, and I also had my picture taken with Bill Clinton. And Mario Lopez. And I brought food to Glenn Close. And I chatted with Ice-T. And Alicia Keys.

My home life was pretty quiet compared to years past. The roommate and Mr. Tails moved out in December, and after what felt like an exhausting search (that really wasn't) I replaced her with two new people that have just moved in. I have brought a whole different energy to these brand new relationships, as so many things have changed in terms of my head and heart and what's really important to me. While the alcoholic in me quietly whimpered in the background, horrified at having to deal with changes, the recovered me was firmly in charge and forged onward. I have no idea what these new changes will bring to my life, but after years of stagnation and soul-crushing inertia, change is a welcome ... change.

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