Archives for posts with tag: Independent

Since I was released from The Men‘s Country Jail earlier this month I have noticed changes, changes in myself, changes in others.  Even though I have been occasionally combative and resolute when writing here…this may not be the whole story.

The story is revealing itself, the narrative unfolding in ways I did not expect.

There was an occasion in the jail when, after I heard that the immigration lawyers I hired previous to the wonderful Esperanza Immigrants Rights Project had fucked up.  I felt really desperate and powerless.  Carlton, the 24-year-old House Mouse. sat on my bunk and, seeing that I was beginning to flounder, took me in hand and firmly reminded me that The Country Jail was no place for desperation.  He reminded me that if I gave into weakness I would either go mad or die.

He said, “There are too many personalities in here.”  I knew what he meant.  I had lived in Los Angeles for a long, long time.

The other inmates understood that I had a greater purpose for being there and yesterday that purpose became apparent.

Crawling back into life has been challenging.  I feel tender, as if my whole body is bruised. I feel my age.  I am quieter, less prone to irritation, grateful for everything, trying to be kinder.  Becoming vulnerable for all to see, not just those who are the closest to me…everyone.

I had lunch at SH the day before yesterday, saw friends from London who are here for Oscar week.  I saw local friends who knew what had happened but were either too polite or worried to ask details.  If they asked where I had been I blurted out, “I’ve been in jail for three months.”  Then I tell them to read the piece in The Independent.

I sat down with those who needed to know and explained the whole story.

I am not spending every day on the mountain, I am making the effort to live.  I am not making the same mistakes.

Last night we went to a charitable art event in Beverly Hills.  I bumped into Paul Haggis, explained where I had been, the experience of jail.  I told him about Carlton and the men I’d met there.  I’ve no idea why, perhaps because he is a director, I told him things I had not previously mentioned. I painted a more complete picture.

Paul said, “There must have been a reason.”

My jail friend Steve reminded me daily that I was in jail for a purpose, he knew that someone like me doesn’t end up in a place like that without a reason.  That reason is being made clear both on a micro and macro level.

Steve told me, “You can help these people.”  So, it looks like I may very well be able to help.

That purpose will be made clear to you soon.

When I have my ducks in a row.

What is it to be vulnerable, kinder?  What will I lose?  What will I gain?

The boys are here, living here.  Three of them, taking their responsibilities seriously.  Occasionally they clear up without being asked.  Yet, their mess that would have previously pissed me off, scarcely affects me.  Who cares if there are socks all over the place, piles of towels in the bathroom?

What does that matter when I am so grateful they are here.

The life I lived before I was arrested seems like another time, like another place, like a different me.  I am wondering who he was, what interested him, what in hells name I was doing?

I was wondering how he could have got himself into such a mess?  Then I remembered that I left that Duncan back in the jail, the Duncan who was scared of being seen, the Duncan that made unhealthy choices, the Duncan who knew Jake.

When I write about death and suicide, I am really trying to articulate what it is to cast off something already dead. I am not interested in dying.  I have things, suddenly and without warning, that need to be achieved.  Things that before I was arrested never occurred to me.

Am I killing that part of myself that has bedeviled me for so many years?  Can you understand that?  Can you see what I’m talking about now?

Don’t fret my darling friends.  I am emerging from this experience with a different set of principals, new standards of living and unusual priorities.

What was previously important is now worthless.  Clothes, possessions, jewelry, power and prestige.

In jail I learned to get used to the idea of nothing and in nothing I found something I never guessed existed: that very thing after which I had been hankering a whole lifetime.

In nothing I found a peace of mind.

This morning, Mel picked me up from the mountain at 6.30 am.   He drives a large, white Hummer, his dog and my dog are best friends.  They are a similar size and their fur is the same colour.

I left a young black internet date in my bed and the twins slumbering downstairs.  I wore the Martin Margiela sunglasses Joan bought for me last year and I only removed them when Mel dropped me off 6 hours later.

The last AA meeting I attended was held in the chapel in The Men’s County Jail.  The speakers valiantly trying to spread the word whilst 400 tranny hookers caught up on the ‘T’ (gossip).  I sat listening to them that Wednesday evening wondering if I would ever go back to AA, whether I would even remain soba when I eventually left the jail.

Last night I poured myself a glass of red wine.  I didn’t drink it.  I looked at it in the 17C crystal glass, I sniffed it occasionally but I didn’t have the guts to drink it. Just like I have not had the guts to kill myself, even though some of you seem like you’re waiting for me to do so.

Taking a drink is like the first step toward a painful death.  Those of you who have not drunk for some time know what I mean.

Perhaps death is the solution?  That’s what they promise in the preamble of Narcotics Anonymous:  Jails, Institutions, Death.

I have experienced the first two, now I wait patiently for the third.

AA.  I committed to it so many years ago. I was so damned willing, so entranced, so desperate.  Now, I loathe it.  I sat there this morning wishing I was drunk.  My lips stained with red wine…preferably a rich Multipulciano.  That twisted smile I smiled when I was drunk.  Do any of you old friends remember that?  That strange half-smile?

I sat there listening to their white, middle-aged, bourgeois stories, stories of their mediocre triumphs and their miserable disasters.  Their engagements, their dying wives, their wayward medicated children…reassuring us that they were nothing without AA.

The most bumptious of them all flaying himself before us, describing himself as an arrogant scoundrel.  His tearful confession masquerading as humility.   Knowing, of course, that his well rehearsed speech would garner rave reviews from his adoring fans.  He had, after all, relapsed publicly, he had gotten back on the wagon with the rest of us (even though he had deceived us) he reassured his brethren that ‘we do not shoot our wounded’.

When it was my turn to speak I felt that crooked smile on my lips.  As if I were drunk.  As if I had already taken the first sip.

They knew where I had been.  They looked down their manufactured noses at the hopeless alcoholic who could not stay on the straight and narrow.  The ‘arrogant scoundrel’ looked about him at his friends, scoffing, expecting me to prostrate myself before them…begging forgiveness.

Instead, I told them about the tranny hookers, I told them that I had been in resentment since Jake revealed himself.  I let them know that the cloud of resentment, loathing, hatred had thickened so it blocked out the sun.  I reminded them that, for the longest time, I had forgotten what it felt like to live in the light.  I told them to re-read steps four and five and let me be a lesson to them all.  Let my story remind them what it looks like when resentment smothers a recovering alcoholic like wisteria a stone house.

I told them that going to jail had been the best thing for me and they nodded and agreed but they had no idea what they were agreeing to.

After I spoke, others with similar ailments, similar pathologies felt able to share.  They thanked me, they said that there was a fine line between sobriety and insanity.  They reminded the others just how many of us kill ourselves after many years of sobriety.  The darkness in men’s souls.

I was envious of those who had killed themselves.  I have wanted to be dead for the longest time.  I know what some of you will say…like Chris in Sydney and those of you who would prefer it…you would tell me to hurry on and do it.  You would say, go on kill yourself, good riddance to you Duncan Roy.

But when the time comes and I hold the pills in my hand like a fist of squirming bugs…something stops me.  Something tells me that just one more day and the pain of losing the man/dog/home you love might just diminish.

I may very well have ended my relationship with AA.

My great friend John Adler, my sponsor these past few years in AA and SAA abandoned me a few weeks after I was locked up.  Even though his own sponsor is a child molester and child pornographer, even though his wife begged me to get her a club membership, apparently I am a danger to him and his family.

It was a betrayal that I never thought I would have to endure, it was the one and only time I cried in the jail.  My best friend was a coward.

He wasn’t the only one.

I learned many lessons in the jail.  I learned about America.  I learned more when I read the comments posted after the piece published in the online version of The Independent.  The difference between the British and the Americans.  I was proud to be British yesterday.

For the record, I have to see the doctors tomorrow to work out what we do about three months of medical inaction.  God may very well be doing for me what I cannot do for myself.  If you know what I mean.  The pain in my belly is occasionally overwhelming.  It feels like my insides are being ripped out.  My kidneys burning.  The blood in my urine a daily reminder.  A serious situation.

It is more serious than the stupid charges against me, charges I cannot find the time to take seriously.  More serious than DA Anne-Marie Wise would want you to believe.

We sat in the deli after the meeting, before the long walk in the canyon, and Michelle Bachman was on the TV.  She looks like Anne-Marie, she has that look those women who think they are powerful.  Women who work for men believing the glass ceiling has been broken.

She’ll read this and she’ll try and prove how powerful she is…she’ll try and make life difficult, like she did when I was inside the jail, tacking on extra weeks of incarceration before the trial…waiting for me to buckle and except her pathetic ‘deal’.

Do your worst Anne-Marie.  Your very worst will not hurt me.  You cannot hurt me.  You don’t know me.

You should have seen her in the court with her pile of papers, feeling very important.

Fingering that cheap jewelry as if it were Cartier.  Taking it all so personally.  She probably goes home and tells her children that mummy does very important work putting dangerous men behind bars.  Not that she has been colluding with the super rich to steal from the poor.

You see, the resentment overwhelms.  It gets me.  It bites me in the neck like a vampire.  It keep me alive…even though I should be dead.

Let my slow suicide be a lesson to you all.

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