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Photo Shoots Sober vs. Photo Shoots Drunk

Photo Shoots Sober vs. Photo Shoots Drunk

Photo Shoots Sober vs. Photo Shoots Drunk

I was on a day-long photo shoot this week.  Our newest addiction treatment center, Sanford House at John Street for Men is almost ready to open and we were photographing the finished product. While everyone else was sporting pinhole boxes and eclipse glasses, Terry Johnston and I were marveling at the odd light cast on group room chairs. The eclipse fizzled a bit under Grand Rapids cloud cover, but we were too busy catching architectural details to notice.

 

It did run through my head at some point, that I was in remarkable shape to run up and down the three long flights of stairs, looking for props. And Terry said it felt like the first day of being a contestant on America’s Biggest Loser – all that cardio and a paucity of endurance. But I was his cheerful, able-bodied assistant.

 

My successes these days remind me of the things I did drunk…

It feels like a new phase, but recently every time something great happens, or I’m successful at something, I think of its evil, drunk twin experience. A time when I did a similar thing, but intoxicated. And it seems I am rife with examples to draw upon. As I was blithely scampering up and down three flights of stairs with coffee table books, it hit me that my energy and good health were largely due to my sobriety.

 

The last time I was at a real, live photo shoot – with one of those guys who lie on the floor and talk to themselves as the camera whirrs, rapid-fire as a Tommy gun – was when we had the art gallery. In those days I lived on white wine, pretzels and Diet Coke.  I wore basic black and teetered on impossibly high heals. (Some things cannot be improved by sobriety…). And I spent most of my days comfortably numb.

 

That photo shoot took place at “Woody”.  Woody was a little house on several acres on the Intra-Coastal Waterway in Jacksonville. An eventual tear-down and the site for Kim’s house now. The assembled “photographees” were my partner Kim and two Russian dudes – surly painters, ill equipped for art fame.

 

When absolutely everything begins with a glass of wine…

I ate little, but started every important event with a glass or three of wine. Kim brought assorted cheeses and rye toast points, I brought four bottles of chardonnay and bubble gum. It might have been 11 o’clock when I poured the first glass.

 

Everyone else was a bit shy, but I started the shoot voguing like Karlie Kloss Uninhibited me, prancing down a dirt road for the camera. A glass of wine tucked behind a tree. Another on the Woody kitchen counter. You’re beautiful baby. You’re getting wasted baby. Okay, now you’re getting drunk-grumpy baby…

 

And so it goes. What started with a glass of wine, ended with a blackout or an argument or an embarrassing pratfall. And I was never satisfied. Never happy.

 

The unmitigated joy of sobriety…

I’m a little surprised to be saying this, but there is great joy in a sober life. After the fog blows away and the resentment and anger dissipates, there comes this overwhelming pride in one’s good health. And even though I was weary the tenth time I carried the same sunflower nosegay from the turret to the basement on John Street, I was happy.

 

Imagine that, my sober friends.

 

 

Today I’m not drinking, because you never know when you might be in a turret and have the photographer you are with say, “Sorry, but I think those sunflowers in the basement would be just the pop of color needed for this table…”

 

“Hey Mare, could you run up to the kitchen a grab one of those cups? It would be perfect for this shot!” Photo Terry Johnston…

 

How come you’re not drinking?

E2E I am happy I know you girls…

Comments (7)

  1. KB
    Aug 25, 2017

    Congrats on the new center. Much Love and Prosperity coming your way.

  2. Sheryl
    Aug 26, 2017

    How come you're not drinking?
    Because I wanted to be able to see the turret!
    I laughed out loud at your “because you never know when you’ll be in a turret”…having now walked those stairs, I cannot imagine doing it multiple times in a few hours.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Aug 27, 2017

      Exactly. It was great seeing you.
      XXXOOO
      M

  3. Annie
    Aug 27, 2017

    How come you're not drinking?
    I love this: ..there is great joy in a sober life. After the fog blows away and the resentment and anger dissipates, there comes this overwhelming pride in one’s good health.. I can so relate to being in the art scene and lots of wine, and the happiness that is gradually creeping up on me as I remain sober.
    I love this:
    ..there is great joy in a sober life. After the fog blows away and the resentment and anger dissipates, there comes this overwhelming pride in one’s good health..

    I can so relate to being in the art scene and lots of wine, and the happiness that is gradually creeping up on me as I remain sober.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Aug 28, 2017

      Owning a gallery is a good (or bad depending on how you look at it) business for an alcoholic. During the gallery days I drank alcoholically, but no one seemed to notice much… or at least if they did, it was masked by all the other craziness. Thank you and yes, happiness does creep up on you.

      XXXOOO
      M

      • Annie
        Aug 28, 2017

        Thanks for your reply, and so true about it being good or bad… I worked at galleries and showed at them, and am now thinking of getting back into it with my own gallery. Perhaps some of my resistance is due to the link to drinking. I will have to let that one stew for a while. Maybe it could be a fun juice bar/gallery sort of scene. I have had strong resistance and haven’t figured out why, but I think you have touched on it for me. Thank you!

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