September 8, 2009
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The durian is a rather large Asian fruit with a thick spiny rind and an extremely aromatic inner flesh, it’s one of those foods that people either love or hate with very few straddling the fence. They’re a favorite of my wife’s family back in Thailand; we can’t get them fresh here in the States only frozen- and that makes it a little harder to pick a “good” one. I put good in quotes because it’s rare to find a frozen durian that lives up to the stiff price they command in our little neck of the South, but we still try once or twice a year. Above is the one my wife brought home this weekend, I took a picture before we opened it up to send to my curious little dynamo of a niece. The wife is much more adept with a knife than I and an experienced durianista, so she took on the task of cutting through the pointy armor. Unfortunately, after paying a premium and cutting through the spines this one was a total write-off… what a disappointment.
The whole ordeal reminded me of a conversation I had not too long ago with a recovering alcoholic who had stuck it out through a considerable amount of misery, deceit, and disappointment with a person they were in a relationship- hoping this person too would find recovery. The person in question finally did get sober, but unfortunately turned out to be just as bad sober as she was drunk. Like us, he did not get to experience the “fruits” of his labor. All is not lost though, my wife and I will just that much more enjoy fresh durian when we visit again with family in Thailand, and in recovery my friend has become all too aware that he cannot change others or dwell in the past and has moved on to better things.
It’s a great reminder, sobriety is just a starting point- not a solution.
July 8, 2009
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The Harvard Crimson has a review up of Jerzy Pilch’s “The Mighty Angel”, a memoir-like black comedy of alcoholism and addiction.
The modern literary tradition—in particular, the Lost Generation writers and their contemporaries—has done something curious in romanticizing the throes of alcoholism. Hemingway, Faulkner and Fitzgerald were all raging alcoholics and filled their novels with characters who acted likewise. But never before, and rarely today, does a novelist confront addiction so intimately and personally as Jerzy Pilch in his recently translated novel, “The Mighty Angel.”
Honestly, I already have too many books in the queue so this one will not make my list, but the following passage did catch my attention.
“…in my case especially it’s impossible, to live a long and happy life when you drink. But how can you live a long and happy life if you don’t drink?”
Recovery. That is the answer. Some people never figure this one out becoming discouraged and relapsing before they find out that sober is not necessarily a “happy” state. Recovery is the process of learning how to accomplish Pilch’s “long and happy life” without drinking.