Delicious Semifreddo and The Art of Grave Digging


The word just rolls of the tongue, gliding effortlessly in a deep growl, gladdening the dark heart and appeasing all senses.  It’s a word to wallow in.  It conjures up images of scorned women on daytime soaps, of karate apprentices honouring murdered masters and countless character assassinations in school cafeterias.  Drama and anger, in other words. Justified anger, at that.  And for an alcoholic of my kind, dangerous grounds.

I had always viewed myself as a laid back guy.  It would seem that nothing bothered me.  I was like The Dude in The Big Lebowski – just minding my own business, chilling and letting everything slip off of me.  But of course, it was all a facade.  I may have been Joe Cool or The Fonz on the outside, but inside I was shredded up with insecurities, fears….and anger.  Lots of anger.  But I denied that I was an angry person. I’d never ever gotten into a fist fight, so how could I be angry?

Go ahead, stick it where the sun don't shine.
Go ahead, stick it where the sun don’t shine.

Many people have calming thoughts before falling asleep.  I don’t imagine anyone really counts sheep, but there is a semblance of peaceful waves of bliss that precedes slumber -perhaps a run down of fun things from the day, or a memory or just a rolling lull that passes through them.  For me, I had fantasies in my head. Revenge fantasies. There were disembowelments, beheadings, torture chambers, and much more.  My thoughts before the onset of sleep resembled a Youtube compendium of slasher flick violence.  I felt comfort in it – it was like a blood-soaked security blanket.  It was the only way I could get to sleep.  I didn’t slash people up in real life, but I certainly cut them down with my words.  I impaled them with my sarcasm and superiority.  I carved them up with passive-aggressive actions.

And I wasn’t angry?

Here’s the thing about alcoholics of my kind – our emotions or reactions to emotions are ramped up a level or two.  So, what I call “anger”, a normal person would call rage.  “Dislike” to me is what a normie would describe as pure hate.  My “like” is your obsession or lusting after.  When I talk about fear, for you, it’s abject terror.  So when I had the feeling of getting back at someone or exacting some degree of revenge, to a normal person, it would describe complete and utter obliteration of that person off the face of the planet.  And that was how I felt most times.

At least I was laid back and cool, eh?

“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves” – Confucius  

Digging two graves is what I did on a daily, almost hourly basis.  I was tired of picking up that shovel, but I couldn’t put it down.  Just like booze.  My days were spent like Madam Defarge, knitting her hit list and cultivating her hate slowly but surely.  There was no end.

I wish someone would invent the mechanical pencil soon...
I wish someone would invent the mechanical pencil soon, my wrists are killing me

The problem was, of course, that I didn’t exact revenge at all.  But, I did drink at people – me ingesting the poison, hoping they would die.  Needless to say, a poor tactic, but made sense to me at the time.  But it chewed me up from the inside out.  My heart was being eaten alive with hatred, my mind saturated with animosity and hostility, my soul weighed down with resentment.  I dripped venom from all pores.

It was in recovery that I started to see and understand where all this stemmed from – expectations of myself and others, lack of self-love and self-worth, the seeking of validation from externals, shortage of forgiveness towards myself and others, and the overall lack of connection to the Creator.  I was angry at myself for being weak, for being useless, for being less than a man.  I couldn’t see that I was who I was created to be, and that loving myself and accepting myself could bring me to a place of peace.  I couldn’t see that I was a child of God and not one His rejects in the runt pile.  I couldn’t see what others saw in me – I only saw what I wasn’t.

Revenge is sweet...and best served cold.  Bon Appetit!
Like revenge, semifreddo  is sweet…and best served cold.  Revenge has fewer calories, though, but not as pretty.  Bon Appetit!

Today I don’t have those revenge fantasies.  I don’t have the need to get back at anyone because I leave any anger at the door.  I look at why I am angered, acknowledge it and move on.  I don’t give anger room to breathe or breed.   I don’t have that need to hurt others back choking my spirit any more.  Years ago, I could have told you how many bullets in the chamber I needed to get my revenge on everyone.  I would have also added a bullet for my self.  But those days are over.  There is peace where there wasn’t before.

I’ve put the shovel down.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Mrs D says:

    Anger is definitely one of the emotions I have had to accept more in my life now I’m sober. Anger and sadness. Amazing what we suppressed with our booze intake, for me without even realising I was doing it! So I’m trying very hard to keep myself calm and look for the beauty around me, so cliched but so helpful. Take care my friend xxxx

    1. So very well said, Mrs. D…as usual. Keeping calm, quiet, silent…these are the things that help me as well. I sometimes have to look around and accept and let in what is out there, and if I am right with myself, looking at myself in a clear light, then I am ok. Anger and sadness will come. And I have to learn to accept those, and integrate them into my light and deal with them in healthy ways…much different outlook compared to our drinking days.


  2. Number 9 says:

    oh paul i know this isnt supposed to be funny but as a mom whose husband and sons love “walking dead” i cracked up at your revenge fantasies: disembowelments, beheadings, torture chambers… not funny i know but sometimes weird things make me laugh, usually when there is an element of truth to them! i think of myself too as laid back and I’m wondering about anger because I know I probably suppressed it and disguised it as something else. I really need to finish my fourth step!!! ugh. i think i turned it into depression. anyways, great post! and digging two graves ha ha so true! that can be said for a lot of things we do that are self defeating! hope you have a great weekend! I think this will be our last cold one and then definitely spring,.

    1. HI Regina – nothing wrong with laughing at ourselves! Ah oh…yes, the 4th. It really isn’t as daunting as you think. I recently did a second one…much smaller, of course ;). It really is freeing – I was smiling for a week and felt 20 lbs lighter after doing my first one. Resentments done first…get them out of the way. The stuff we hang onto…wow, talk about anger!

      Thanks again for being here – makes my day!


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