Friday, October 11, 2002

Flying by the seat of my pantyhose...

I hate when my life gets all busy like this. For some reason, having an end-date has made me more conscientious at work. Or is it just that there are a lot of little things to do, more than usual? Then there are family things to deal with, like my niece's birthday (she was eleven on Wednesday), which involved a surprise miniparty on Wednesday and then preparations for a larger and more planned-out party this evening, and all the shopping and erranding and cleaning these entail. And now I have to get ready for a drag show. I don't remember what time the drag show is supposed to start (though I think it was 8), I haven't been able to get hold of the organizer, and I had to go online to do a Google search and a Mapquest lookup so I'd simply know the location of the building in which I will be performing! And I just this morning chose my songs and clothes. This is what I call "pulling a performance out of my ass." Wheee!

The show I am performing in (I hate dangling my participles, but sometimes it just doesn't matter, you know?) is at the Rainbow Convention in San Francisco, a Narcotics Anonymous conference for GLBT(etc) addicts in recovery. NA isn't really my program, as "drugs" (ie illegal or prescription substances) were never my problem... I smoked a little pot now and again, though it usually made me sick, and I'm terrified of everything else (my mother was a big speed-queen, and I'd rather die than do anything like my mother!) Of course, in NA, alcohol is considered a drug (any mind-altering substance is), so I feel myself qualified for that program as well as AA.

I have a lot of friends who participate actively in both programs, "cross-addicted" people who find something of value in both AA and NA (and often in Al-Anon, ACA, OA, SLA, and any other 12-step program you can name). I have little difficulty thinking of myself as a "drug addict," I can be an addict as easily as an "alcoholic." The steps are the same, the methods of recovery are the same, most of the literature says the same things. There is nevertheless a lot of discussion (and sometimes even vituperation) between the two groups about the merits of each.

I think the main difference between NA and AA is the sociocultural habits, the class tone if you will, of the people in each program. There's a kind of personality profile that goes along with "drug culture," in my experience. I mean, when you are addicted to illegal drugs, you are pretty much on the outside of society; there's a subcultural mindset that comes with that sort of behavior, a kind of "fuck the world" attitude that I don't share (class-conscious queen that I am). Alcohol, on the other hand, is legal... and it's "social" in many ways. I myself was more a "social" drinker, in that I deluded myself that the alcohol was just a social lubricant and hand-occupying pastime than a substance-addiction.

There's also what I call the "tweaker element" that one encounters in NA more than AA. Though the "N" in NA stands for "narcotics," most of the NA people I know were amphetamine users... coke, speed, crystal, etc. Uppers. People who take uppers usually fall into certain personality categories, often fidgety and strident and scattershot. Alcohol, conversely, is a downer... and most of the people I know in AA who also used drugs tended to use downers... Valium, pot, etc. Then there's the psychogenic kids, the ones who got hooked on acid and shrooms and what-have-you, who are for all general purposes clinically insane due to what the drugs did to their brains.

And on top of all that is the "addiction level index" between different substances... if you've ever compared a person giving up smoking to a person giving up chocolate, you see a distinct difference in the severity of withdrawals; the same holds true between the relatively tame substance, alcohol, and the rather more intensively addictive substances like crack or heroin. It takes a lot longer, and a lot more effort, to recover from those things. As a result, one sees a great deal more "revolving recovery" in NA (or at least at the meetings I have attended), in which more people relapse often and chronically.

In short, what I'm getting at, is that I tend to feel less comfortable among NAs than I do among AAs, and that's why AA is my primary program. And the reason I'm thinking about this at all today is that I'm about to go plunge myself into the midsts of several hundred queer NAs in the Ramada Plaza Hotel, and will then get up on stage in front of said NAs and lip-synch in a dress... and that, along with my usual peformance anxiety, is making me feel a little trepidatious.

But it's going to be just fabulous, I'm sure. I'm wearing my new black velvet cocktail dress, with the short skirt and the sheer scatter-sequined bodice, to perform Keely Smith's "Sunny Side of the Street"; then changing into my old favorite basic black sequined chemise to perform Ella Fitzgerald's "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." Then I'll slip into the green sequined gown with voile jacket that I wore to Parade for the finale, in which the cast will come out in all the colors of the rainbow. I'll let you know how it goes.

Not much else going on just now. Oh, I did end up buying a new computer, and it's on it's way! I bought a Gateway system, a remanufactured 300 series 1400c, to be precise... with an Intel® 1.4GHz Celeron™ Processor, 17" Monitor, 128MB RAM, 20GB Hard Drive, CD burner, a 56-K modem, with Windows® XP Home Edition and Microsoft® Works Suite 2002 installed. All for just $598, including shipping! I'm pretty excited about the whole thing. I know it's not exactly top-of-the-line, or even middle-of-the-line... but compared to my current systems at home and work, it's pretty damned fancy!

And so ends another broadcast day. Talk to you soon! XOXO

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