Money Part 4, Put It On My Account

2014-09-28 11.35.42

By the time classes started at The University of Alabama, I was well on my way to becoming the man I had always wanted to be– or so I thought. When my parents drove away in the empty U-Haul, my first thought was “I can have beer in my own fridge” and they probably weren’t out of Tuscaloosa county before I had made that so. The faggoty little outcast from America Junction was dead and born was the hard-partying and confident college man I always hoped I could be. After a bottle of Two Fingers tequila and a night hanging out with my new buddy Kieth’s fraternity house, I came to after a blackout with a Phi Kappa Psi pledge pin on. I was on my way. Whether or not it was true, my perception of all the guys in the Greek system was that they had all come from wealth and privilege but I wan’t going to let that stand in my way. When discussions of money and family came up, I put on my best fake fake modesty and said, “Oh no! We’re not rich. We’re upper middle class at best!” I must have uttered this sentence a hundred or more times. We were not middle class, we were working class and in truth I had as much understanding of what this word “class” meant as most Americans do today.

Every one of those credit card appellations that arrived in the mail got sent right back off with my signature at the bottom and by the end of my first year at Bama I had sixteen credit accounts. If I could buy it, I would buy it. How was I going to pay for it all? Who cares! I like my new clothes; I like my new life; I like my new attitude. Besides I’d soon have my degree in Advertising and would be ruling Madison Avenue and all would be well.

Even though this series is on money, I really have to talk just a little bit about the drinking because they were so closely connected. In fact, my alcohol consumption affected most every area of my life. If I had any worries about the mounting bills, I would just drink it away. I had the acceptance of a group of good looking young men and I had never felt that before. Once I figure out that some of the hottest ones were all too wiling to take a tumble in the sheets with a brother after the “swap” was over (“Swaps” are parties with one of the sororities), there was absolutely no way I was letting go of what I had found– no way. I’d been waiting for this kind of life for, well, my whole life. I soon became as addicted to the spending and debting as I was to the booze and it seemed that one made the other possible. The mounting debt and the hangovers made me feel like shit. Drinking and spending made that feeling go away. It’s the deadly cycle that only addicts know personally.

There was a problem with my newfound major too. My bright idea of “a responsible vocation while still honoring my creative side” was soon overshadowed by the sickening realization that most of what they were talking about in my Advertising and Business classes was how to get people to spend money that they didn’t have on things that they didn’t need just so they could feel like they were “enough.” My moral compass wasn’t completely broken (yet) and it certainly didn’t help that the needle was floating in vodka, but on the occasions when I could still find my “true north,” I was coming to realize that this world was not for me. So I spent more, debted more, drank more, and fucked more of my fraternity brothers.  Anything that made me feel better in the moment was my friend. Anything that made me feel unpleasant in this moment was my enemy and had to be destroyed!

Of course this system isn’t sustainable for long and before long, the very precarious mansion I’d built from bricks of delusion was toppling down around me. My new and complete disdain for the world of Advertising together with the fact that I was more or less always drunk made going to class impossible. The University sent me a polite letter letting me know I was on academic probation and so I couldn’t get initiated at Phi Psi. If I wanted to stick it out, I’d have to be a second semester pledge. I did want to stick it out. I wanted badly to become a full-fledged “brother.” So I redoubled my efforts and made a firm resolve to do better. I’d had a glimpse of what I thought a successful life could be; I just couldn’t let it slip away.

I want to keep the focus on money right now so I’ll put a pin in the discussion of how drinking was much of the problem. Suffice it to say that by the time the second letter came from The University of Alabama letting me know that my academic probation was now and academic suspension, my brain was so pickled I didn’t know which way was up. I went by the fraternity house and told my big brother that I was taking a semester off from school to get my head together but that I wanted very much to come back. He hugged me and told me that he hoped I would. I left the Phi Psi house never to return. Even typing that now I have a pang. I’ve often had the fantasy that I would go back and give a talk on debt and alcohol abuse to the pledge class and that they’d initiate me in return so I could finally enter that mysterious Chapter Room. I guess with some things it’s best to just let it go. With regard to some things it really is too late.


1) List ten things for which I am grateful. YES!

2) Meditate ten minutes morning and evening. NO

3) Read spiritual literature for ten minutes each morning. NO

4) Keep a record of every penny that came in and every penny that went out. NO, I missed a couple of things. but I’m improving

5) Work out (CrossFit or lift, Sunday is my off day). YES! I had a great chest workout by myself

6) Be true to my sexual reboot program. NO, I haven’t even set a start date yet.

7) 25 minutes of Mobility WOD (Google it if you don’t know what this is). YES!

8) Pray for Adam Nelson. YES!

9)  Tithe 10% where I’m spiritually fed and invest 10% for the future. start now on every penny that comes in, no matter how large or small the amount. NO, and I got paid. It’s time to take care of that.

10) Write for four hours each and every day. NO, I’d guess about two.

11) drink 1 gallon of water YES!

12) Spend one hour per day working for the Mehadi Foundation. NO, but I did spend half an hour.

The Pomodoro thing is helping although it’s going to take some time getting used to it. I know if I’m too hard on myself (or too lenient) I’ll just chunk it away with all the other things I’ve tried to make this ADD brain productive.

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