“I feel so grateful for my community. Without my friends, I would not be where I am today. I feel so blessed by who I am surrounded by.”
Fiction. Based on a True Humbling Down.
By Mingjie Zhai
Feature Photo by Alejandro Avila
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Big People’s Club
“Hey kiddo, you did a great job. Above and beyond the expectations. I usually don’t compliment people often, so take this to heart. I’ll see you at the next Crypto Dinner Club,” Count Lucky told Angelie.
She was in the big boys club and getting herself into the big girl’s club as well in Drinker’s Den.
Angelie had told Count Lucky that she was recovering from addiction some months back. He knew what it’s like. He had his own addiction to battle. When she was back in Colorado, he had told her that she was drunk and acting obnoxious, to go to a meeting, and to get a sponsor. It was the same advice that her friend and former guy she had dated, suggested. The man personally took her phone and gave her the “free” version in hopes that someday she would use it.
Last week she met a woman from Drinker’s Den named Jameson that resonated in the same energy frequency as she is resonating in–That of intelligence, courage, and craziness. Last night, she had invited Angelie to a comedy club where they met Judd Apatow doing standup. One bit that Angelie clearly remembers is about having absolutely no control over other people’s addictions and choices in life.
“My friend would tell me, ‘You just got to let them go through drugs if they want to do drugs. You can’t stop it. You just got to live and let live bro.”
The audience laughed. Apatow said in his sarcastic “bro”-y accent: “Then my friend would say to me, ‘You just got to let them deal drugs. If they want to deal drugs, you can’t stop them. You just got to let go, bro, just let go.”
‘Man, you go to let them rob a bank bro. If they want to rob a bank, you can’t stop them. You just got to let go, bro, just let go.’
‘You got to let them go to jail. If they want to go to jail, you can’t stop them. You just got to let go, bro, just let go.’
The audience laughs.
Samuel J invites her to his birthday party in Malibu, where she will see Dru and Larisa Gosla. Ryan Hurtgen is having an album release party that very evening. His band has signed onto Sony records and she is also invited to see his performance. She is surrounded by music and the love from the artistic community pours in. The conscious artist community. She wanted Rylie to experience what she experiences because she strongly desires for him to tap into his inner artist, but she had over watered that plant, and yet again it dies.
It’s the pushiness, demanded insistence, and manipulation.
Today, Jameson and Angelie had went to two meetings back to back. In between, they were eating in front of a whole foods store called Natural Foods. She got an acai bowl and Angelie got a Cleanse #1 super juice. They read the Big Book–the chapter on the Solutions for the Alcoholic.
“There I humbly offered myself to God as I then understood Him, to do with me as He would. I placed myself unreservedly under His care and direction. I admitted for the first time that of myself I was nothing; that without Him I was lost. I ruthlessly faced my sins and became willing to have my new found Friend take them away, root and branch. I have not had a drink since,” Angelie reads.
“I usually underline certain words and phrases and apply it to myself,” Jameson tells Angelie. Jameson has three years and has a mission to transform the mental health system and the big Pharma. God brought them together because they were in alignment since they had had imprints that attract situations that led them to mental and physical prisons.
“What stood out to me is to ‘ruthlessly face my sins,’ ” Angelie tells Jameson, “I’ve been told by people who love me enough to tell me the truth that I am demanding, controlling, and manipulative.”
“Okay, write that down.”
Angelie writes it down on two sheets of paper she rips it from Jameson’s journal.
“For one, my drum and bass ex-boyfriend was kind enough to run down the list for me. He said it pained him to know he has all the tools to help me but I did not want his help. One time he was playing at a show. I arrive and try to get in for free with my own credentials. My boyfriend was right there waiting for me. He was headlining the show. He was waiting for me. I could have told the manager that I was his girlfriend, but instead, I kept acting like a big shot like I was in a big publishing company, so I can skip paying $20. And I wound up telling my boyfriend that I’m going to head home since I can’t get in. He offered to pay the $20, but by then, I was upset that I couldn’t show off on how powerful I am, so I wasn’t interested in even seeing his show. It was all about me.”
“I hear that there was a lot of manipulation there.”
“How so?” Angelie sounded hurt.
Jameson googles the word, “Manipulation,” and reads:
“Manipulation is doing or saying things to get your way. To influence, negotiate, control something or someone in a clever, skillful, and devious way.”
“So…going to the event to see my boyfriend, I tried to lie my way in to save $20, and when I couldn’t get in, I was not willing to pay the $20 to see him. I misled him by acting like I couldn’t see his show when all he wanted was for me to see his show.”
That evening when D&B came home, he had wakened Angelie while he was on an emotional tirade. He was so angry at Angelie. She had completely ignored him on his own headline show. She was too embarrassed to have him pay her $20 ticket or even try to get her in on his own reputation. She did not have $20 in the bank, and she was living with him rent-free. She was too ashamed to let him know that she was too broke to see him play and she was too proud to receive any help from him.
“I hear that there was a lot of control too,” Jameson told Angelie.
“Well, you wanted to be in control of the entire situation. It was either your way of getting in for free through manipulating the manager or go home. What would your boyfriend have wanted at the time?”
“Hmm…” Angelie thought about it for awhile, “perhaps my D&B boyfriend wanted me to see his show and he was more than willing to get me in on his name and reputation or pay the $20 himself. He had told me that he just wanted me to acknowledge him and ask him for help.”
“Go to step one. What part of your entire situation are you powerless over?”
Angelie writes “powerless,” and underlines it. Under the underline, she bullet points her list
I’m Powerless Over:
- My past and my future. I put a lot of blame and judgment on myself for the past that I have no control over. I have images of the worst case scenario of the future that is FEAR (Future Expectation Already Ruined).
- What other people’s choices and their wills are.
“You told him after the second date that you love him,” Jameson says to Angelie. Tell that to any trusted friend, family member, and psychologist. That’s not normal.”
Then Jameson writes down this for Angelie. There are four agendas for every single human being:
- To gain access to something or someone
- Attention Seeking
- To Escape or Avoid Punishment
- Stimuli (feelings)
Angelie paused for a second. “I guess telling him I love him after the second date is for number 1 and number 2. I was hoping that he would say he loved me back.”
“You know your addict and alcoholic brain does not have a filter. You operate love like you operate alcohol. There is a feen behind it. And normal people regulate their emotions. They don’t just blurt it out even if they have a feeling. It’s impulsive.”
“What about you though? Did you know you loved the men you fell for right away? Women usually are very intuitive about that.”
“I did know. I knew with the first man, and he became my husband. I knew with the second man, and he became the love I lived with for two years.”
“Okay see?!” Angelie felt righteous that Jameson just proved her point. “You knew!”
“Yeah, but I did not say it. I had a hunch, but I did not go out and passionately pursue it or insist it on the other.”
It suddenly hit Angelie.
“It’s all pride, isn’t it?”
The reason she had violated his privacy and his boundary was so she hoped that he would show up to the showcase and see how cool she was.
“I wanted him to see how cool I was.”
“Yeah, you’re not cool,” Jameson says point blank, “You’re crazy.”
Angelie starts laughing.
“Damn, I guess I am.”
“You’re also an addict, and that is crazy thinking. Yes, you love him, but dropping the L word after the second date, and then after he had blocked you, you continued to violate his boundary by sending things to his work with both a love letter and an agenda; that’s crazy. You had violated his boundary. And after he blocked you, you still continue to insert yourself in his life. Do you see the insanity behind that?”
“But he loves me. I know it. I feel it.”
“No, he doesn’t. It’s delusion. If he did love you, he would be calling you. He would take action. He thinks you’re unstable and crazy. Are you ready to give your will over to God so He may sort you out?”
“Fuck. You’re right. This is incomprehensible demoralization isn’t it? It’s beyond pathetic. It’s delusional. The guy told me multiple times to leave him alone. He’s blocked me and told me multiple times to have some respect for both him and myself. He told me that I have no self-respect cause I don’t. He called me all sorts of names, and yet I continue to act like he’s so in love with me. I have equated his teasing, putting down, and gas lighting as love. That’s how twisted my brain is.”
And it hits her.
He can not love me because he does not yet love himself.
“It’s programming. I was abused as a young girl, raped, and gaslit. I could not attract anybody better than what I was already used to. It’s karmic matrix. We keep repeating the same pattern and that’s insanity. It’s the same guy, just with different faces, cultures, and occupations, but it’s the same guy,” Jameson says.
“Fuck. I probably am doing this to self-sabotage it for whatever reason. I’m chasing him away the way I had chased away all the other guys that I knew I was not strong enough to take on.”
“Get right with God first, and then God will show you a better way.”
Jameson continues, “I used to think with every guy, ‘This is it. He’s the one. He may be the one….now I have shifted the dialogue to, ‘He’s not the one,’ and now men have to show me their character through time for me to open up to them.”
Angelie thought about this. B was the first guy she had chased away, then it was Rylie. Both men, she had sabotaged in insidious ways. B it was hooking up with another man and then telling him about it after breaking it off with him and with Rylie, it was, “I’m leaving LA and traveling the world. Leave LA to travel with me or bye. It’s ‘I don’t want to date you…’ it’s ‘we are both bitter, self-loathing, and manipulative alcoholics and two fires would only make a bigger flame so I don’t want to date you anymore.’ ” It’s manipulating Rylie,being hot and cold, rapid fire within an hour. The obsession, the making right and making wrong.”
“If you contact me again, I’ll contact your family,” Rylie had texted back after Angelie had called his cell and told him that he was not playing fair.
Perhaps Angelie was toying with Rylie by saying that she loves him so. Saying sweet words knowing that she probably could not wait for him if she were to travel the world without him. She chose to be romantic, “You have my phone number now. You can unblock me from FB anytime and tell me where you are, and wherever I am in the world, I will meet you anywhere, anytime. I’ll be here waiting. I have a promise ring I wear to conferences because I don’t want to wait for any man but you because I don’t want to date any other men besides you.”
“You are screaming red flags,” he replies.
Angelie thinks of the Family Guy episode of Peter meets the girl who still kept his poop in her bathroom and made a shrine behind it and she was waiting for him thirty years later after he had stood her up on prom night.
What Angelie was doing was enabling Rylie. The worst thing for an addict/alcoholic is another addict/alcoholic enabler. She is not good for Rylie.
“I have a girlfriend now,” he tells her. “I’ve told you multiple times I do not want anything to do with you. If you contact me again, I will tell your family.”
It felt like a dare. That’s how she heard it. He was baiting her, which made her question whether or not he was bullshitting her. It felt like a dare. She replied back with giving him her dad’s and sister’s personal number. “Here, you can call them.” the same way he had made empty threats of turning her to the police.
And now she has to let him go. He has a girlfriend, and it is in her ethics code to respect other women’s men. She knew this would happen all along. It was given to her in a vision.
So she prays that the woman he is with will be good for him, that she will love him and keep loving him until he learns to love himself. That she will one day inspire him to know Christ, that he gets written in the Book of Life. She knew that she was not the end goal of his salvation, but she is an activator.
He writes, “Get a fucking grip.”
He wanted Angelie to get a grip on reality. Stop operating in delusion. It takes one alcoholic addict to recognize another alcoholic addict. And in her heart, she knew that he was not capable of loving her because he has not yet sorted himself out.
He knows that she went through delirium tremors, and he did not care enough to have empathy for her. It was not his responsibility to. He can barely be responsible for himself and his cat.
He did not complete his volunteer hours, but that was because Angelie had made him extremely uncomfortable by expressing the depth of her love for him, so he could not feel safe working with her.
He was still battling his own addiction daemons, and being with him would have made it difficult for her to stay on track of her own sobriety program. Their second date, he kept insisting on going to bars. She did not want to drink but she obliged. He did not like the fact that she did not drink at the first bar and felt better when she drank with him on the second bar on their second date. Then he felt bad that he would be a bad influence for her.
When he said he was with another girl, she felt a bit relieved. Part of her thinks: It is now another girl’s problem, the same way she felt relieved when Green Eyes found another girl who looked similar to Angelie. She also felt a tinge of sadness for the woman whom Sonny had impregnated during the last half year of their marriage. Cheaters develop a different type of sickness that festers.
She feels so much sadness and pity for the woman of the man who is hitting on Angelie. Angelie had told herself a long time ago that she will not be that enabler for a boy’s spiritual stagnation. We often mistaken unconditional love with enabling bad behavior.
Rylie thinks his sister and mother are crazy and he admires his fatalistic and stoic father. He hates his boss and blames Angelie that he had quit. He hates his windowless room and blames Angelie for his moving out. He’s a bitter, self-loathing, nihilistic alcoholic and addict with no program, stubborn as a mule, and borderline suicidal.
And the fact that Angelie knows all this about him and loves him anyway is too hard of a red pill to swallow. It was easier to be addicted to pain, suffering, and spiritual stagnantion. And her elevated conscious state scares him.
F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real
“What are you afraid of?” she asks him via text.
“What does your heart truly desire?” she asks him via text.
She pushes him. The way her father pushed her. She had pushed back on her father’s good intentions and now she is karmically doing the same. But one thing she has to learn is her mother’s patience.
She reflects on volunteering at the Alcoholic recovery center for the journaling pilot program. It did not work because the people there were court-ordered. You can not force an unwilling alcoholic/addict to recover.
“I’m leaving LA again.”
It breaks Rylie’s heart hearing that she is leaving. He feels the same deep wound. He did not want to fall for a woman who is not going to be around. She knew that his answer is God, but how can she just show love rather than preach love to him?
She bitterly fails.
She comes off preaching, high-horsed preachy, and self-righteous.
She is disgusted at herself.
He tells her that he has a girlfriend now but something tells her that he may be lying the way that Garry had lied that he was with another girl when he found out that she had called him out of the blue to basically let him know that she had already moved on. She called him to benchmark her instinct. Her instincts about Rylie were spot on because her instinct about Garry were spot on.
It does not matter whether or not Rylie was lying to her. The truth is that Rylie loves Angelie and is deeply hurt that she has disrespected him by dismissing his jokes, by victimizing herself by taking his jokes too seriously, and then by teasing him that she is leaving him.
She had made the first choice to leave him.
He told her that he was now with another girl.
Garry had lied to her that he was with another girl after he had just poured out his heart to her and she had told him the harsh truth that she was just checking in to see if her instincts about his attraction to her back when they were dating were true.
“You selfish bitch,” he says and hangs up.
Something tells Angelie that Rylie was playing the same game. She believes that he has a girlfriend now, but she does not believe that it will last. Whoever she is, it is someone who is more naive and can cater to his wounded ego. If he wanted depth, he will later call to Angelie, but for now, he is where he is because he chooses to avoid the mirror work even though he had asked her once upon a time ago to pray for a miracle.
Miracles start with mirrors.
The Man in the Mirror.
She was not going to compromise her higher purpose for nobody. Not family, not partner, not nobody. Faith in the mission is everything. Her hero’s journey is everything. Anybody who tries to stop her from that higher path is the villain in the story.
Refusing the Call
Bitterness and cruelty is the byproduct of the refusal of the call. Rylie is refusing his call. Angelie is answering her call and she will not compromise this for anyone, nor is it God’s will for her to give it up for anyone either. If they are in alignment, it will work like lock and key.
They are currently not.
She remembers how Lauryn Hill was taken down by the man who fathered her children. Her husband had dulled her sword of the spirit and Rylie would have dulled Angelie’s sword of the spirit with his own daemons and addictions, and in return, she would have battered his soul, like trying to beat a dead horse to water (yes, the author just blended two aphorisms.)
God, we are not equally yoked in this very moment are we?
She did not want to hear the truth but the truth she must hear.
She had to let him go.
She had written:
“I can’t be with you because you would have wanted me to stray away from God’s mission.”
She knew from the beginning that this is a blessing in disguise.
“You can’t give him what you don’t have,” Jameson says to her.
She had fallen for an underground man, the one that Jordan Peterson had referenced in 12 Rules for Life.
She remember Apatow’s bit the night before.
“I realize that if I am not a good father to my daughter, she may one day find a man who is an asshole. So I have to reverse engineer things. I look for the most normal, athletic scholar, and I try to act like him.”
“The program suggest that you don’t date until you’re completely sober. It takes 18 months for your brain to rewire itself. In the time you are single, work on yourself, from the inside out. By the time you fully recover, you will attract a man who is healthy for you,” Jameson pointed out.
He knew that he couldn’t have her body right away, and for him it was the same. All or nothing. She teases him by telling him that she wants to make love with him whilst she is out of town, traveling, and pursuing her mission.
I met a woman who looks good. She has a full time steady job and gives good head. She doesn’t bother me about anything, keeps her mouth shut so I can just be at peace most of the time, and cooks nice meals for me. She’s the keeper. Not this crazy woman who writes long letters and then rejects me. Not this woman who travels and shoots her own reality series. Who does that? She’s so fucking weird. I’m glad I’m having sex with a normal woman who isn’t going to embarrass me, harass me, push me. I need someone balanced you know? Normal, but no depth is just fine with me. Surface is safe.
“My cat is so fucking needy. She always wants my attention,” Rylie once told Angelie. He grabs his cat and throws her off him during one of their online chats. “Now that’s no way to treat pussy,” Angelie had replied. Turns out, Angelie may be right. He doesn’t know how to treat pussy.
Angelie had called a musician she had once hooked up with. The topic of love came up again.
“I miss the relationship I once had. The one that lasted for two years. She accepted me for me. I’m a simple man and she loved me for that. You’re intense. You were asking me questions that I felt I needed a Ph.D. to answer. And if I did not answer it correctly, it felt like you would lose interest. I just felt so much pressure around you–like I had to pretend to be someone I’m not.
At the time I was dating three girls. I picked the youngest, most naive because everything was new for her. She appreciated everything. She just accepted anything I said or did and was happy with just the way I am. The other day I was looking to adopt dogs. They kept hopping onto me, and I was overwhelmed. Next to dogs were the cat adoption center, and that was when I realized that I like cats a lot more. They come when they please and they go when they please. They don’t bother me and I don’t bother them. They are house cats.
I’m a cat person.”
Angelie’s a dog person.
Her and Roxy do everything together.
They’ve got each other’s backs.
Loyalty, consistency, intimacy.
Controlling. Territorial. Domineering.
Rylie is a cat person.
When they need each other they come together.
It’s about utility, acceptance, and minding your own business.
Independence. Acceptance. Simple.