Love in a Bipolar World – Every time I look in the mirror, I try again

Listen to this article

Can a person change their basic character after the age of … well, let’s just say 40? Am I doomed to be an asshole every time I get into a relationship?

Not to brag, but I have been told by more than one woman that I was the most loving, most romantic, best lover and interesting boyfriend she has ever had. So what if most of them had a slight drinking problem that clouded their judgment? Within the first three to four months of the relationship, I was Mr. Perfect!

Anything more than six months of sleeping with me and she will wind up hating me and need to undergo therapy with a full physical checkup. Not that I have had any STDs – JESUS CHRIST, how many bullets have I dodged, ’cause I’ve had some questionable strange on the road!

But can a person change their “basic” character?  Sure, I have made some small changes and I have made big changes in my life, just like everyone else.  But what about the changes that make up the core of who you are; changes in how you think and react?

Here is something I don’t like to admit, but I was once a drug addict … there, I said it! Mix cocaine and crystal meth with Bipolar and you have a wicked spectacle of a self-destructive teeter-totter bound for a train wreck.

One day I crashed after being up for 3 days.  When I awoke, I looked in the mirror and parts of my skin were purple.  I decided in that “moment of clarity” I could not live like this anymore, so I quit. I no longer craved the drugs because my choices were very clear; either get clean or die, there would be no grey area.  I made that change on October 8, 2002 and have remained faithful to that change ever since … excluding alcohol or anything grown from the earth organically.

The author doing stand up in "Wickita" (Photo by Danny Keaton)
The author doing stand up in “Wickita”
(Photo by Danny Keaton)

Some people might judge and say, “That’s not a character change, that’s just a habit you broke.”  Well, I am a self-proclaimed L.A. urban monk who believes in peace and non-violence (unless you really piss me off), therefore, my compassionate rebuttal would be, “take my used cocaine straw, shove it up your ass and meditate on it for a while.”

Try giving up drugs, alcohol, smoking, over-eating or whatever your vice may be, it can and will be a challenge!  So if you’re successful in overcoming that challenge, pat yourself on the head!

Here is another skeleton I am about to let loose … I was a man-whore, yes that’s right, a man-whore. I would hump a fire hydrant if it had cleavage. It seems I couldn’t stay faithful in most relationships for more than a couple of weeks. When I was a kid, I would take my sisters’ Barbie dolls into my closet or behind my bed and use them as sex toys.

I know I am not unique in this situation; many men are borderline sex addicts, maybe not to the extent that they are tea-bagging Strawberry Shortcake, but still.

An older woman once told me, “All men cheat, and the ones that claim they don’t are either lying or haven’t been confronted with the right opportunity.” I am sure there is some truth to that jaded declaration, but what if you had another “moment of clarity” after hurting someone you loved? What if you felt true grief after hearing someone’s heart cry because of your selfish actions?

What if you looked in the mirror once again and said, “I can’t live like this anymore.”  I made another decision to change; that was over a year ago and I have been faithful ever since.

Now I’m sure, the first stone would be cast by someone who would say, “You self-absorbed asshole, you think you deserve a medal? You’re not supposed to cheat!” And the little urban monk inside me would reply, “Shut up, skeletons inside my head!”

I am trying so hard to change parts of my basic character, especially the parts that seem to find conflict with everyone, including myself.  Is this possible without having to medicate myself with the typical pharmaceutical drugs that contain side effects? For a long time I have wanted to change the basic parts of my character. So many times I have been in front of preachers, baptizing me in the name of the Lord and none of the Jesus magic worked.

Photo by Danny Keaton
Photo by Danny Keaton

I have sought through meditation and tripped on some Native American spirituality … that didn’t take either. Dammit, I’ve even read books by Tony Robbins and nothing seems to stick!  But tomorrow, I will wake up again … light my morning cigarette … take a deep breath while I stare into the mirror … and try to change again. If I fail, I will pick up the pieces, revamp my plan and the next day … try again.

I would like to know your thoughts.  Can a person change their basic character?  Thank you everyone for reading my blogs, next week I will be sure and pick up where I left off on last week’s article when she took me back.


   “All great changes are preceded by chaos.” – Deepak Chopra