Lunch with Jenny A at Joan’s on Third.

I tend to avoid anything flavored with Tarragon because it is most often over used.  Used correctly it is the most delicate and fragrant of all the herbs providing a backdrop for other flavors to make themselves heard.

I ate the three-salad combination plate..chicken with Tarragon salad, butter bean and mozzarella salad and snap pea salad.  Gorgeous.  But what was more gorgeous was hanging with the perennially elegant, devilishly witty and endlessly talented Jenny.

I am still off all food made with anything bleached, processed or enriched so am shrinking daily.  I wore McQueen pants, a black tee and Maison Margiella sandals.  The first time this year I have felt confident to do so.  I knew that I looked fucking great and that, my friends, is all your favorite ‘uncle’ requires of the new day.   Elegance.  Who better to dress to impress than darling Jenny.

As you may have divined I am well and truly out of my funereal dirge and feeling very happy, resolute, fearless.  This is all it takes?  Lunch with Jenny to slough off the past few months of misery?  Well no, it was Jenny plus some really good advice, some incisive questioning and hey presto I can deal with anything..including this bloody city.  Jenny left LA a few years ago to set up shop in Todos Santos, Mexico as the purveyor of the most magical B&B in the whole goddamned world.

Incidentally, it was Jenny who I called the day I took my last drink more than a decade ago.  A drink I shared, rather ironically, with Sebastian Horsley and his then girlfriend Rachel.  It was actually a little more than a drink.   Excuse my coyness.

That last night of debauchery in Kensington included falling in and out of black taxies, vomit on the streets, blazing eyes, insulting the host of a very dull party.  The next morning waking up under that cloud.  I called Jenny.  I had been to her home on many occasions where she graciously served alcohol but never drank a drop herself.

She asked if I was ready to stop, that it was about time.

I had a wrap of something in my wallet and knew that I wanted it.  She told me to call when I was ready to get sober, to renounce drugs and alcohol.   It was October 1st 1997.  I was ready.  I put the wrap into the trash and like nuclear waste held it at arm’s length as I threw the trash bag into the street.

After chucking out the last of the alcohol and drugs I set about cleaning the filthy multi million dollar house, fixing the dent in my car, changing my telephone number and putting my life back together.  I slept in clean sheets.  I went to bed when I was tired.  I ate delicious food that I could taste.  In order to escape those whose best interests it was to keep me drunk I booked a ticket to Sydney Australia where I went every day to 12 step meetings for the next six months.

It was magical.   Sobriety is like magic.  That New Years Eve I was three months without a drink,  I did the unthinkable I sat in the Sydney Opera House enjoying The Magic Flute sober.

I have never had a dud New Year’s Eve in sobriety.

Jenny and I share many of the same personality traits..both good and bad and during the past twenty years have helped each other emotionally, practically and spiritually.   In fact, it was she who very generously lent me her beautiful home in Notting Hill when I made my film Clancy’s Kitchen.   Black finger prints not withstanding our friendship remains as strong today as it ever was.

A truly glamorous Brit with red hair and high cheekbones she wanted to know who and what and when..processed it and spat out wonderful advice.

Just for the record: this is what I am grateful for this sunny LA day in 2010:

My health, my life, my little dog, my great friends, my sobriety, food on the table, my trip to Paris, my upcoming birthday, my view, the new road to the house..

Actually, I am grateful for rather a lot.  Now, that’s the way to start the day?  I think so.  With a gratitude list.  Perhaps that’s how I need to start my blog rather than the list of all that is wrong in my life.

For a while I forgot why I got sober!  I didn’t get sober to mope around, to complain about shit or live in fear.   Good God!   Dr Jenny laid me on her couch and reminded me of what I needed to hear.

As a result I challenge those thoughts of obsession to come to me.  Every time my head is clouded with unwanted thoughts I say, bring it on.   There is only so much pain I can endure.  Rather than fight the thoughts or submerge them in drugs, alcohol or orgasm I let them consume me for a few moments and they vanish a few seconds later.

It’s odd that when one is obsessed with anything by simply trying to marshal those thoughts one merely feeds them.   By letting them wash over me like heavy rain the storm passes.

This too will pass.

Joan of Joan’s on Third sat with us for a few minutes and told us about an armoire that she had seen in Paris three years ago that she thought was going to be perfect for keeping her linens.  Sadly, the shopkeeper told her that the beautiful piece was already sold.  For three solid years Joan lusted after that armoire, looking at pictures of it on her phone.

When she finally returned to Paris a short while ago Joan popped back into the store to find that miraculously the armoire had not been sold after all, delighted she opened the door and upon closer inspection saw that it was full of safes and totally inappropriate for linens.

Of course she didn’t buy it.  She said, “I was obsessed with it because it was unavailable and I hadn’t looked inside.”  Which is exactly how I get obsessed…with that that is unavailable and because often..I haven’t looked inside.

I dreampt that I drank a pint of amber-colored beer.  It was cold and sparkling just like I remember it.   It was delicious.  In my dream I noted that it had no effect.  That I was as sober at the end of the pint as I was when I took the first sip.  Oh, if only that were true!

I am determined that nothing will get in the way of the good time I am planning to have in the UK during this next few weeks.  I am going home to celebrate with old friends who expect me to return from this stinking hole triumphant!  I am triumphant.

I have been weakened of late and it does not suit me.   Who says that happiness depends on me being loved, being rich, being anything else than what I am?  Who wrote that bullshit?  I really have no right to anything other than this very moment.

For fuck sake I have survived on my own for nearly five decades.  Why the hell am I so inclined to believe that I can’t do that anymore is a totally mystery.  Who the hell is running this insane asylum?

I have an adventure, life’s adventure to complete here and nothing is going to get in my way.

I think some of you were rather hoping that at this point I might do what my other less determined friends have done..and kill myself.   No such luck!  If the fags don’t get me,  the pancreatic cancer might but never, never expect me to do myself in.

There’s too much to look forward to!