I’ve had this Web site for a decade now. It’s gone through a couple transformations through the years, but has always served primarily as a place for me to write. It’s why I splashed my name all over the joint.
With that in mind, and to celebrate 10 years here, I am undertaking a grand experiment. Or at least, an experiment, grandeur TBD. Over the next several weeks, if not few months, I will be using this blog to put together a book, of sorts. This book will be a fictionalized, satirical, semi-autobiographical look at an aging writer trying to find his way. The protagonist is named William K. Wolfrum.
I’m going into this with the belief that the only place this will be published is my blog. Thus, I will be using things like hyperlinks, and will include Youtube clips to provide a soundtrack, so to speak. While I have been working on this idea for some time and know the story I want to tell, this process of writing will allow to include real-time news and social-media responses. This story will be told traditionally using sections and chapters, but some chapters will essentially be political and social musings, while some will be little more than tweet-length. As this progresses, I believe you will see patterns emerge.
While I will post the story on the blog as blog posts, the whole story can be seen in order, at theWolfrum Chronicled Main Page. All updates and edits will takes place on this page, and I will notify readers of any edits that affect the plot.
This will be my main task until it is finished. I hope you enjoy this experiment, and please know that comments are welcomed and that I can be reached here or at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in donating any amount to this project, I will periodically place links to my Paypal account.
Also, as Twitter will be a character in this story, you may follow me here: @Wolfrum
By William K. Wolfrum
I’m doing this because I’m trying to make some money. Plain and simple. My wife and I just finished building a house and I had to borrow $10,000 from my Dad. And I don’t pay it back immediately, I may go mad. Owing money to the man who single-handedly made me a wreck on all issues monetary is not something I can deal with at the moment. Seriously, the guy can squeeze blood from a penny. Yet while he’s squeezing, $1,000 falls out of his pocket and he’s none the wiser.
SPOILER ALERT: This will not be a book about my daddy issues.
Let’s try this again: I have known for several years now that if I wrote a book, or anything even remotely book-like, it would be successful. The main reason being that I’ve got contacts. Media titans like Jake Tapper follow me on Twitter and have let me know that they’d promote my work. I just had to produce some actual work, as it were.
Now, everyone thinks they have a book in them. Something to chronicle their lives and adventures. And most are right to believe their lives have great moments of drama, comedy and tragedy. There just tends to be no plot except that everything gets really nasty and tragic on a long enough timeline. Experiences happen, and we move forward. Life is not a movie and things don’t wrap up nicely. Things just continue, good or bad. All of this, of course, can lead to a fulfilling life. It just doesn’t make for rational storytelling. Very few of us have that one experience or adventure that defines us, that gives us a proper end to our story, that leads us to living happily ever after.
I can’t tell you if there’s a plot to this whole thing. I just know it’s time to let people know how I got here.
My left arm came out first when I was born, with my doctor using said left arm to pull me into this world. My little arm was paralyzed for a day or so afterward. Currently, I have bursitis in my left shoulder. Are these two events connected? So many questions.
Anyway, that’s how I was born. I was the youngest, with two older sisters who are eight and seven years older than I. That’s one of those things that cause people to raise their eyebrows and nod knowingly when they first learn about it. And they are probably correct in all their assumptions.
Mostly, though, my youth was spent engulfed in ignorant Americanism. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you. I played sports, watched “Happy Days” and listened to pop music. I knew what was taught in school and not a lick more unless it was about sports. I was good at sports and funny, so I didn’t get picked on. I was a happy, American kid. My youth was fun, but it essentially taught me nothing.
I used to work on fishing boats awhile back. I’ll discuss that more later. I tend to discuss it a lot because I have a firm belief that discussing my time as a commercial fisherman makes me look like a brave, rugged hero who has a penis that women should crave. Or something like that. Anyway, the boat I worked on was about 50 percent American and 50 percent Japanese. The Japanese were hard-working and stoic, and would warm up to you if you proved you were willing to work hard. As surprising as it seemed, I fit that bill and earned friendships with some of them, including a man name Nakasuka.
Here’s something I wrote about him in 2007:
I spent a good chunk of my twenties as a commercial fisherman in Alaska. It’s one of those things that appears fantastic in hindsight – steaming out of Dutch Harbor, wind blowing through my hair, muscles rippling, etc.
In reality, of course, it was a hellish collection of freezing 18-hour work days, surrounded by fish. Overall, an interesting thing to have in your past. At the time, though, it more or less sucked.
One thing those days taught me is that when scientists claim that the world could be out of fish in 40 years, they aren’t just hysterical eco-bedwetters. Even then, more than a decade ago, one was told about the decline of fish in the Bering Sea. And one could see how man abused the sea.
I particularly remember my first trip. Three months on a trawler, which was three months too many. We’d send a huge net down deep in the ocean and scoop up everything available. We fished mainly for mackerel, but the seasons were limited. On the day that mackerel season closed, we went in search of Pacific Ocean Perch (POP).
POP is a red fish, very easy to differentiate from mackerel. The first time we dropped the net for the start of POP season, we pulled up a full net of fish. Full of mackerel. As mackerel season had been closed, we weren’t allowed to keep any of them.
It took us just two hours to process the net of fish that day, as we sent 20,000 pounds of dead mackerel back into the ocean. The boat was filled with depressed young fishermen, wondering what the hell they were doing out there. It was an extremely sad day.
I was thinking about those days recently, more to the point, thinking of the Japanese guys I worked with out there on longliners (after my trawler experience, I worked the rest of my time out there on longliners, which are much less wasteful). You see, a Japanese company owned 49 percent (the most allowed) of our company, and always had several workers on board.
I was thinking of Nakasuka, in particular. He was a hardworking guy, who was as old then as I am now, about 40. While not a big fan of Americans in particular, Nakasuka (Suka, for short) would take a liking to anyone, provided they worked hard enough. We worked together for the better part of three years, and got along well, despite not understanding each other’s language.
What struck me as I thought about Suka was this – he’s out there. Right now. Because that’s what he is – a fisherman.
It was part of the reason the Japanese we worked with tended to dislike Americans. Because while the trite phrase of “They hate us for our freedoms” is a load of crap when discussing terrorists, it was partly true on a fishing boat. The Americans there were destined to leave the boat to try other things. The Japanese were fisherman for life.
The translator on board (we had a total crew of less than 40, and the translator also was a worker) told me once that for these Japanese men, being a fisherman was honorable. The culture itself was one that mainly cared about money – the only way for you to be successful was to make a lot of it. But fisherman were respected, even though they weren’t rich. They brought home the food.
But they were definitely jealous. We could come and go as we pleased, but their lives were mapped out, and had been for a long time.
Even then I knew I eventually wanted to be a writer or a journalist at some point, and I sit here now with those things as my job description. While Nakasuka is floating on the Bering Sea, still.
Because Americans are free. In our culture, we still make our own paths, rather than having them built for us, as Suka had. Since then, however, Japanese culture has changed somewhat dramatically. The young have more choices and opportunity. Suka missed out on that, but his children likely haven’t.
Because cultures change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. What’s important for Americans, however, is to hold on to the one thing that we always hearken to – freedom. But as U.S. culture changes, and freedom becomes more and more attached to wealth, and freedoms become under appreciated, we need to fight to keep our rights as free men.
Was my time as a fisherman a wasted time of a wasted youth? To a point. But it was my choice, my decision, my experience. The pain and the cold and the wet have slowly left my mind, but the memories and lessons remain.
The main lesson was that I’ve been free to do whatever I’ve wanted, just about anywhere I wanted. That was the blessing, and I can only hope that future U.S. generations have the same freedom to have interesting experiences, or even make outlandish mistakes. Because cultures change. And not always for the better.
My dad wanted me to be a Major League Baseball player. Or he wanted me to take over his trucking company. If I wanted to do anything else, that was fine. But it wasn’t up to him or my mom to help me chart any courses. I appreciate the freedom I’ve always had to make the choices I wanted. That freedom has helped me make me the man I am today. But maybe, just maybe, if my parents could have had a little Japanese in them, they could have helped guide me to being the man I was supposed to be.
Either way, my left shoulder would still hurt.
Spoiler Alert II: Seriously, I’ll stop with the Daddy Issues.
Hold the phone. I just realized that this process allows me to post reviews of the book, while I’m writing the book. And, yes, I’m calling it a book. I have to call it something.
Anyway, Hugh from the Internet had this to say about the first three chapters:
Thanks, Hugh. We’ll see if we can keep the ball rolling in Chapter 5.
Writing has become a tough racket. I mean, the cream will still rise to the top and get notoriety and money, but the rest of us are left battling for a dwindling amount of scraps. Also, supply is through the roof. Suddenly, everyone’s a writer. I mean, I don’t mind the bad writers so much, but there are an inordinately number of good writers out there. Take Chris Kluwe, a friggin’ NFL punter:
I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population—rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?
That was in an open letter to an anti-Gay rights politician. And how good was that? Crap, I can’t get my points across that well. Which brings me to the next problem for me: I’m really not that great of a writer. I’m sure you’ve caught on to this by now. I’m a good thinker. And I have a strong voice. So I do have that going for me. Plus I have good hair. And I think that matters.
Don’t get me wrong, however. I’m happy with where I am. Sure, I don’t make the big bucks – or any bucks – yet, but I’m getting there I had a 10-year journalism career at newspapers and magazines. I’ve been featured in the New York Times – twice – as well as the Washington Post and a ton of other big publications. I have 12,000 followers on Twitter, including movers and shakers like Ana Marie Cox. And let’s be honest, I did my part in tweeting out the vote and helping President Barack Obama win re-election.
In the end, I have to say that Arianna Huffington and The Huffington Post has helped create an Internet full of people who write for free, in search of that almighty exposure. Well, speaking as someone who’s had plenty of exposure that you can’t buy anything with it. She also created an internet full of sneak sideboob pictures of female celebrities. Quite the legacy.
Nonetheless, things are good for me. My star is rising. Still, it’s a tough racket.
I like my name. William K. Wolfrum. It has gravitas. It can sound a little too German, perhaps. Like, if you read a story that says “92-year-old Nazi William K. Wolfrum was arrested for his crimes against humanity today …,” you wouldn’t blink an eye. Maybe this is why I have such confidence in my future. The name just can’t fail. It’s no “Shaquille O’Neal,” but it’s pretty tight.
The “K” stands for “Kenneth,” by the way. Which has no significance. It was just a name my mom liked. Here in Brazil, middle names have meaning. A child is given his mother’s maiden name as a middle name. When a woman marries, she either changes her name by removing her mother’s maiden name and making her father’s last name her middle name, or she takes on two middle names. My wife, for instance, is Emilia Albernaz Arantes Wolfrum. It’s a long name, but at least it has meaning.
Oh yeah, I’m married and live in Brazil. I should probably talk about that next. It’ll get good reviews.
All roads led to Emilia. I just took too many roads. When I met her, I strutted off a fishing boat straight to college. By the time we finally got together, I was a shambling wreck.
It began in Alaska, as most things for me did. I had just walked off my job as a commercial fisherman for the final time. Here’s something I wrote about that in 2010:
Some are born eyes wide open. They are the few that have an innate understanding of life from the get go. They understand love, and responsibility and the importance of others. I was not one of those people.
I suppose my eyes didn’t really start to open until I was 29. Up until then, I was the typical American boy. Stupid, self-centered, ignorant yet arrogant. I lived in the land of U.S. fantasy, where anyone could be great if they really tried and worked hard. Ronald Reagan was the greatest President ever, because my Dad had said so and I really didn’t care one way or another. I was the prototype American. I was oblivious.
It was 1996, and I was working on a fishing vessel. We were in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. I had been doing that job about four years. I was standing in a huge freezer and we were offloading the 30,000 cases of fish we had just caught.
The freezer was open to the air, and we’d load a pallet full of cases of fish, and the ship’s crane would come down and pick it up, taking it to the dock. So for about a minute, from deep within the ship’s bowels in a freezer, I could look up and see the threatening Alaskan sky. I stood in the freezer as they craned off a pallet of fish and looked up and felt snow hit my face.
I was 29, I was standing in a freezer on a boat on the Aleutian Chain, and it was snowing on me. I thought of going to college for the first time. I knew something had to change.
That was Day One. That was the day my eyes finally began to open.
I would never have met Emilia, a traveling student studying business, had I never gone to Alaska. Or if I had never worked on fishing boats. Or if I had never decided to go to college. Still, I waited six years to close the deal with her. But, apparently, other roads needed to be taken to get to her.
My wife was born in the state of Minas Gerais in the southwest of Brazil. While our cultures aren’t exceedingly different, differences show up daily. She once told me about watching “Moonstruck” as a kid. Knowing only Brazil, Emilia was shocked that the Nick Cage character – a lowly baker – could live in such a nice apartment.
“That’s how it is in the United States,” her father told her. “Jobs like that pay enough for people to be able to afford to live well.”
Ah, those were the days. A young Emilia would recognize the U.S. much easier today. Because labor is cheap, and it’s just going to get cheaper. Unless people snap out of it.
An aside: I am an awful employee. My last job,I got fired due to passing out drunk at work. But they could have fired me well before that, my boss just didn’t want to find a replacement. Because, really, I’m an awful team player. I’m arrogant. I’m moody and nowhere near as good as I think I am. I can be funny, so that helps, but I wouldn’t want to work with me. I’m a jerk.
Hmm, you know, there may be foreshadowing going on here. Let me look into that. Every good book needs some foreshadowing. I just may be on to something here.
Look: I quit taking Paxil last week. Ok, let me rephrase that – I’ve been taking Paxil about 10 years ago for a panic disorder. This week, I finally decided I was done with it. While it has done its job in controlling panic attacks, it has left me about as dull and shiftless as a man can be.
Of course, one of the great secrets of Paxil is that – despite denials from Smith-Glaxo – quitting Paxil leaves one with a wide array of withdrawal symptoms. Imagine sticking your head underwater while riding a roller coaster after smoking some weak weed. Add to that a feeling of having the flu, body aches, depression and periodical electric zaps to the brain. Paxil withdrawal is essentially like that, just less fun.
Having a mental illness is someting Ié always been loathe to write about. I’m not against discussing my faults or mistakes – I’ve been upfront that I lost my last newspaper job because I showed up drunk to work, for instance. But, like most, I’ve allowed the fact that I have a mental illness to cause me shame. My left shoulder is almost worthless from bursitis. I’m cool talking about that. But the fact that my brain produces too much serotonin leaves me feeling like a failure.
I generally blame my panic disorder on having been an alcoholic for two decades (More on that later). But I really I don’t know. I just know that I’m 46 years old and it’s time for a change. I’ve done well for myself the last several years and have become a prominent voice. Paxil took away my ambition, however.
But now I stopped. Maybe the panic disorder will return (it hasn’t yet) and maybe it won’t. I just know that I’m now exhausted with fighting my own brain. So, I’ll exercise, take vitamins and work hard. I’ll do whatever I can to keep my brain as an ally. But whatever happens, I’ll have my ambition back. And I’m never letting go of that again.
“As a sometimes hoaxster himself, Wolfrum would know to be dubious of any tips, distrustful of any information fed his way. If a dubious sources said X, he would print Y. And would do it proudly and vainly. That was his nature. That was his character.”
– From “I Am Martin Eisenstadt: One Man’s (Wildly Inappropriate) Adventures with the Last Republicans.”
I made my name exposing Martin Eisenstadt. But the creators of the hoax conservative – Dan Mirvish and Eitan Gorlin – had me figured out the entire time. In the end, though, it brought me fans from all walks of life.
I have been many things in this life, and many of those things have been bad. I am not just an imperfect man, I am the imperfect man. But everything started to change 12 years ago, when I married Emilia. I became a better man, human and living entity.
My wife had no business marrying me, but luckily, she seemed eager to marry below her station. Together, however, we have made an amazing duo. Together, we are far more than two individuals. We are a team. A sometimes ridiculous team, sure, but a team nonetheless. I wrote this in 2008:
I try not to mention my wife, Emilia, in my work because, well, I don’t know why. She sure as hell talks about me at her work. She has several bits down pat about the adventures of the silly American in a strange land.
Generally, however, I keep Emilia in the background. But I had mentioned a story in a blog post about her innocently (I’ll testify to that in court) about something we did on a cruise ship. I feel like this might be embarrassing for her, but I thought, “hey, If I justwrite a really sweet post about her first, I’d probably be ok on this one.” If there’s one thing they don’t teach you about marriage, it’s this – variables. Get to know them, and play them.
So anyway, this one time, on a cruise ship …
My parents, showcasing again why they are the greatest parents in the world and shining proof that conservatives are not all evil people, took myself, my two sisters and our spouses, as well as my sisters’ kids on a five-day cruise.
First of all, let me just wrap this part up now: If you are thinking of taking a cruise, do it. It’s a fantastic, relaxing time where you can do whatever you like. It’ll run you when you’re on board especially, but they do treat you right (and I’m just speaking of the top-named ones because those are all I know).
So the trip was a blast for all involved. But right in the middle, on the third night was a contest I’d convinced my wife to join with me. We had been married just over a year, and the ship was holding a bawdy “Newlywed Game” of sorts. So we went to the “audition” as it were, which was scheduled just 45 minutes before the show in one of their big fancy show rooms. Shockingly, a lot of couples wanted in on this. There were maybe 30 couples there, for only three spots. And then one of the spots went to a couple that had been married 700 years and were as sassy and funny an older couple you could find. They should have their own show.
Then the next spot went to a younger couple, who were married the least amount of time. They had actually been married on the boat, a few hours earlier. So, there was just one spot remaining, and to make it onto the show, they lined us all up and gave us an “American Idol” audition of who could perform the best “Tarzan and Jane” impersonation. The odds were stacked against us. I told Emilia not to worry, I’d get us there.
So as there were less than 10 couples left, doing their lame Tarzan and Jane imitations, I came up with the plan: A three-part plan, actually:
1) Art: Emilia would perform “Tarzan and Jane” via interpretive dance.
2) Stand up: I would tell a “Tarzan and Jane” joke acting live a Vegas comedian.
3) Porn: Emilia would then fall on her back, I’d give a Tarzan yell, and pounce on her.
Let me tell you, for having merely seconds to come up with this, it was pretty impressive plan. Emilia kept saying “I have to do what?” and “Don’t make me do that,” and “Oh please don’t make me do that,” and other things on the same variation. But aside from that, things were going smoothly. And then it was our turn. And we nervously stepped forward to the center of the room, the audience having already reached 500 or so. We lept into our roles …
… and it worked. Brilliantly.
The main reason it worked was the fact that once Emilia decided that she was going along with this plan, she was going to give it her all. She interpretive danced her ass off.
She was behind me so I couldn’t see as I threw a lame joke at the audience like “What did Jane say to Tarzan when he came home? Hey Tarzan, you’re starting to smell like a cheata.” But the crowd was going nuts. Emilia was just back there working it for all she was worth. When I finally ran over to her for the finale porn scene, she was exhausted, but fell to her back and dutifully kicked her legs up comedically after I roared and pounced for the ultimate porn act.
It was the scene, man. The crowd was going bonkers, we went back and stood in line and awaited the rest of the act. We were nervous and somewhat humiliated.
Because here’s something I left out: My parents were there. As were my sisters, their husbands and combined six children. We could see them in the balcony. It was surreal.
So the finale came down to the audience giving a “Clap-off” with another couple. That couple had made it to the finals because he had shouted “Me Tarzan, you Jane,” lifted up her top and rubbed his face all over her ample bosoms. The audience was in varying taste that day, as I’d swear the clap came back a virtual tie, but the host chose us, and Emilia and I, who had been front of the stage, ran around and got on stage, facing a thousand fellow travelers, ready to put on a show. Even with the darling newlyweds and the cute-as-a-pool-of-kittens older couple, we were the favorites. Because Emilia had won the crowd over with her interpretive dance.
The Newlywed Game
The show itself was taped (but sadly, not the audition, Emilia’s dance will only remain in the minds of those who watched, family included), so I’m not going to go into it too much. Go ahead and find a tape and post it on the Internet, I dare you. I own one and I know a few others exist.
But one answer sticks out. You see, what they do is send all the guys back stage and ask the girls a question, then vice-versa. I had just come back from being backstage, and the question presented to me was “How do you know your wife is in the mood?” I answered – just as she had previously answered – “When she puts her hair up.”
The crowd was already laughing.
“Why does she put her hair up, Bill?”
“Well, you know, so she can go, you know, down there. You know.”
Crowd goes nuts. The younger guy on stage with us – in an impressive bit of comedic timing – stands up to me and shakes my hand and gives a small hug. I turn around, the older man had gotten up to, and was shaking my hand vigorously. The crowd loved it.
Oh yeah, my parents and family were there. Did I mention that? Thought I should remind you.
Anyway, we somehow did whatever we had to do to win, got enough answers right and took home the prize. I said I’d come up with a way to get us there, but it was all Emilia after that. We were Newlywed Games Champions, and received a bunch of crap to prove it to the world. It was a memorable night.
My parents just pretended it never happened.
The Fall out
After it was over, we were stars. Literally stars. A cruise ship, you see, is it’s own community. And we were the celebrities of that community. Everyone came up to talk to us, we could see people looking at us, a guy even took our picture. It was a nice little glimpse of what it’s like to have some fame. It added to the cruise’s enjoyment.
The Truth Revealed
Emilia cheated. Yes, my wife cheated to win at “The Newlywed Game” on a cruise ship. She cheated out a couple that were married during the Nero Administration.
It’s not her fault really. When it comes to games, Brazilians are the cheatingest group of people on the planet. It’s a cultural thing. Cheating and gaining an advantage is how you play. Watch Brazilians play soccer some time, their flops can be more athletic than when they net the ball.
So keep in mind, this is a culture issue. When it comes to games, it’s important to not get cheated on, and to find your own way to cheat. It’s part of any game. It’s frowned up in the U.S., but it’s a purely cultural. Brazilians like to win. And will do whatever is needed to get a win.
So in the end, my wife wasn’t being dishonorable, she was being true to her culture.
Basically, it happened as me and the guys returned from back stage. I got on stage and she gave me a quick hug and whispered “Sex motel” in my ear.
In Brazil, a motel, is basically by definition, a place for sex and partying that you can rent by the hour. The better ones are really fancy, have jacuzzi, sauna, hot and cold running porn and the likes. They even deliver food to you that’s quite good, and it’s all done in an environment of complete secrecy. Even the poorer sections of town have the, even when all they have is garages that close.
So when the Question was asked of me “Where did your wife say your strangest encounter was” I had my answer. I would have answered that anyway, because it was strange. Awesome, but strange. Place even had a waterfall. I told the crowd all about it – the crowd that included my parents.
No one has ever known about this until now. My parents, family, all those who fawned over us afterward – they were cheated. We pulled one over on them. My wife cheated at “The Newlywed Game” on a cruise ship.
And really, how can you not love that?
An elderly lion lay in the grass, suffering and watching his days slip away. A group of animals that he once terrorized walked up to him and began mocking and laughing at him.
“Look at you,” said a rabbit. “You couldn’t hurt a fly.”
“Haha, you can’t even catch me now,” said a turtle.
The lion looked at the group with a calm expression of his face.
“What you say now may be true,” he said. “But I was once a lion.”
When I feel my path has taken me to dark places, I always and stop and think, “I once had a love affair. And I still do.”
My legacy is safely in the arms of the woman I love.
I’ve generally lived my life based on one simple philosophy – things will eventually work out. I don’t know how they will, but they will. They always do. Sure, lots of people have that essential plan, but it really seems to work for me. I’m just special that way.
So, I won’t say that I’m surprised that I was contacted yesterday by a book publisher who was interested in this project. It was, in fact, just a matter of time before what I was doing would be recognized, wouldn’t you say? I mean, c’mon, I’m talking about selling this book, while writing it and including reviews and even a soundtrack. If this isn’t genius than Einstein was a plumber.
Thus, I imagine that a lot of this year will be spent doing promotional stuff, a book tour perhaps, probably a guest spot on “The Daily Show” or “Colbert Report.” You know, high-end stuff. Stuff worthy of me. But don’t worry, this will book – the first draft, at least – will still be available here at the blog. After this, you’ll have to pay for my words, but that’s to be expected. Because everything is working out for me. Just like it’s supposed to.
It’s been, what, 10-plus years since I quit drinking? Time, it does fly. Mind you, it’s not that I take my sobriety lightly. I don’t. I just don’t use time as a gauge as much any longer. In too many ways, I’m the same person as I was the day I quit. For me, I will always be newly sober and need to be ever-vigilant.
Ok, I have no ability to write about my alcoholism without sounding like a complete tool. I’m Mr. Inspiration, producing hings like this from 2008:
It was 1,825 days ago that I nearly drank myself to death. And it wasn’t some party gone wrong. It was a culmination of nearly two decades worth of drinking. It was a desperate attempt to keep drinking when every part of me knew it was way past time to stop. It was the final act of a nightmare. It was my bottom, and I hit it as hard as possible.
And now five years later, I haven’t had a drink since.
While I quickly discovered that AA wasn’t for me, I adopted several of the 12 steps to help what has been a recovery pf 1,824 days and counting. My main step was basically accepting my wife as my higher power. She means everything to me, and has helped me in more ways that I can imagine or even express. And she continues to, every day. Mainly, I’ve taken sobriety seriously, and never take it for granted. I’ll always be an alcoholic, but I never want to go back to where I was.
1,826 days ago I saw no way out. I never could have imagined I could be sober for five years and eager for more. I was lost. My wife and family helped me find myself, and I am more thankful than I can say.
If you’re lost, just know you don’t have to be. That recovery can happen. That no matter how bad it is, and how deeply you’ve buried your secret, you can be the person you want to be and should be. If you’d like to chat with me about anything, click on my name in the “Contributors” section over on the left. Or find a family member or friend you trust. It’s hard, I know. But it’s worth it. Because life can be beautiful if you’re willing to see it with a clear mind.
One of the big things I’ve gotten from blogging is the ability to be more open as a person. And the one area of my life I’ve tried to be more open about is my alcoholism.
Not too long ago I celebrated my fifth anniversary of sobriety, and I wrote about that here. It was received with a lot of positivity and a lot of people sharing their own experiences.
But this weekend, I wanted to write to those of you still out there fighting your demons, whether it be alcohol, drugs, food or anything else that has grabbed a hold of you and won’t let go. And really, my message is simple and as non-preachy as could be:
I’m thinking of you.
Because this weekend is a holiday weekend. And whether you celebrate Easter or not, I know that holidays can be just plain awful for the addicted. I have drank away more holidays than I could ever hope to remember. And I have spent holidays actively trying to get away from friends and families so I could drink. Holidays can really suck if you have an addiction.
So if you’re out there, and fighting through this holiday weekend, know that you aren’t alone. Know that others are struggling just as you are, and that others like myself have struggled through holidays. Whatever your addiction is, there are others out there, even among the Shakers that have a pretty good idea of how you’re feeling this weekend. So please hang in there.
Because you aren’t alone. We’re thinking about you.
Now, I really felt those things at the time, and still do. But that’s just a part of being a recovering alcoholic. It’s great and useful to try and express a level of positivity, but it doesn’t mean I’ve shared anything. How drinking affected and continues to affect me in day to day life are areas I’ve rarely tread. It’s too real for me, I guess.
All I can say is, it’s made me feel older than I am. More tired than I should be.
It’s a lot like when you see a basketball team gets down by 25 points and then make a valiant comeback but falter at the end. I feel like I just can’t completely overcome it. The battle for me has been to close the deficit, not overtake it. I just don’t feel like I have the gas to get all the way to the finish line, that I’m developing into one of those aging ex-addicts who have the look of a whisper and time.
It’s more than a decade later. The feelings of shame have gone. The strong urges have gone. All that’s left is me, trying to make up for lost time. And, you know, speaking of time, I just did the math and today is day 3,794. And I still don’t want to go back.
Ok, this book thing is starting to read like the ravings of a madman. Which is likely it’s destiny, regardless, but I should at least try and create some type of plot. This story needs some plotification, I say. So please allow me to plotify.
Listen, I’ve spent almost the last decade building my brand. I am William K. Wolfrum, the brand. You’ll find me right next to Tide and Coca-Cola. Unfortunately, I’ve spent the majority of that time in Brazil. This has made cashing in a bit more difficult. I’m a man between two countries, as it were. Thus, it behoves me to start spending some time back in the good ol’ U.S.
Yes, Brazil is fine and I’ll likely spend most of my time down here. I have a bunch of dogs, after all. Nonetheless, now is the time to embrace what I have started. It is time to cash in. It is time to be more than just an online persona. It is time to come out.
The Summer of Wolfrum is coming, as I plan to go to the U.S. and get myself out there. I’ll do work as a pundit or a comic or what have you. I’ve made the connections. I have the name. I have the game. And now I have a plot.
(Note 1: The full story can be found on the Wolfrum Chronicled Main Page.)
(Note 2: For an explainer on this project, please go here.)