Friday, February 7, 2014

Starbucks is a Powerful Beast

It will come as no surprise to you that I am a coffee addict. I love it and I have been drinking it for as long as I can remember. Remember when you always heard the BS line that coffee stunts your growth? Well I am here to tell you that I started drinking coffee at a prepubescent age and I have shot up to 5'10". My mother used to give me coffee at church, well that's a lie, I would take her cup and drink it all. It might not have been the best thing to let me drink at a young age, but I have always loved it, bottom line.

As you can imagine, I drink coffee on a daily basis. I am an active Starbucks Gold Card holder, and on the days I don't stop at Starbucks, I find coffee a number of ways, and the list of ways is mighty. I might brew a pot at home. I might use the Keurig at home. I might bring my K-cup to the office and use the Keurig in the conference room. I might drink the horrible coffee that is brewed in our break room. I might stop at any number of stores that brew coffee and buy a cup, but if I am doing that I might as well be at Starbucks. But every day, I have coffee. It is my most favorite thing.

Starbucks is more or less the brand I am most loyal to. I spend more money on Starbucks than gasoline (to be fair I have a small car with excellent MPGs and work 2 miles from my home). The app I open on my phone almost as much as Facebook is the Starbucks app. When people buy me presents they purchase me Starbucks gift cards. This year my birthday collection was a whopping $120 and Christmas earned me about $50. I have a Starbucks location for every single move I make. For example, I have a "on the way to work" Starbucks. I have a "my on the way to work Starbucks is closed for some asinine reason so this is my backup" Starbucks, which I will explain momentarily. I have a "going to visit my parents" Starbucks, a "getting my hair done" Starbucks, a "this Starbucks is on the way to everything" Starbucks, and my personal favorite, "I f-ing hate this Starbucks and everyone that works here but you are right here and I was within walking distance and my app sent me a notification" Starbucks. It's tough to be loyal when you really hate the staff at a Starbucks, but we all have to make sacrifices once in a while.

This morning, I decided to stop at my "on the way to work" Starbucks. This is my second go at this version of Starbucks, having just moved to this community about 4 months ago. I used to go to the BEST "on the way to work" Starbucks. It had everything you wanted in a staff; just splendid baristas. However, parking was a struggle and there was no drive thru. There were however always people begging outside, which has become somewhat of a plus. It's hysterical what certain people will beg for... I have on more than one occasion been asked for a cinnamon roll and hot chocolate... it's better than giving cash. But I am no longer living over there, and the new Starbucks is less exciting. The drive thru lane on the other hand is always at least 10 cars deep and drives me completely insane. Not today though. Today, THEY WERE CLOSED.

What the hell?! This is unprecidented. Luckily, I didn't have to even enter the parking lot to figure out why. I still don't technically know WHY, but I saw a man go up to the door and read a sign, and go back to his car. And I noticed there wasn't a soul in the drive thru, which was totally fishy. Well this screws up everything. So about 4 Michigan lefts later, I was at "my on the way to work Starbucks is closed for some asinine reason so this is my backup" Starbucks. It's only 1 mile away. Closer to work actually. This is the WORST Starbucks in a 50-mile radius (and for the record, there are over 45 locations within 15 miles of here. Yes, for real). There is no parking, there is no easy way in or out, and there is no drive thru. And today, it was everyone's backup. I made it in and out and hated every minute, but I got my fix.

There is only one point to this post. It is crazy what I would do, and what other people would do, for Starbucks. I am late for Starbucks. I drive out of my way for Starbucks. I spend my paycheck for Starbucks. And DO NOT jump in here and say there are so many other options and they're cheaper. I have done the research. All the other places have a far inferior product, and most straight coffee is MORE expensive).  I have even dressed up like Starbucks. This is my favorite brand and it is very hard for Starbucks to upset me. They have been loyal to me, too. We are in a beautiful relationship and I love them. I just wanted to let the world know.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Death of a Genius: A Rant

I know, I know. Everyone is talking about Philip Seymour Hoffman dying from a heroin overdose with a god damn needle in his arm. It's sick and horrifying and luckily it wasn't your loved one so that's good, and oh yeah, you don't really know anything about addiction so you think to yourself, "he should have chosen to stop and poor bastard left 3 kids and a girlfriend behind. What a sad, sad story."

Yes. It is sad. So sad that I am having what we in the business call an "emotional hangover." What business is that? The business of recovery. I have an addiction problem as well, and I am in recovery at this point in my life. Those of us that are lucky enough to have gotten to a point of sobriety and cleanliness tend to say things that non-addicts and non-alcoholics don't say.  (I say lucky because we know that millions of people are not so lucky.) An emotional hangover comes when we let emotions get the best of us, and it puts us in a state of sorrow, and in some cases, self pity. Today, my emotions are ranging from grief to vengeful anger. I understand that many people do not, and will not ever understand what addiction is really about, but I can promise you this: no bloody person on the face of this earth chooses to be an addict. Some people just are. Whether they had a chance to stop at one point, we may never know. And if they somehow stumble into recovery, they may stay clean and sober. Unfortunately, we all know people who have died due to alcohol and drug addiction, and in most cases there is nothing anyone can do about it.

I took my last drink and did my last drug in July 2005. This is not something I tell everyone. I tell you now because I want people to know that this isn't just me complaining on my blog. I am doing it because this is something that is a part of my life. Wait, scratch that. IT IS MY LIFE. Everyday is a day I don't drink. The fact that we as addicts and alcoholics make conscious thoughts regarding not drinking is something "normal" people will never get. And they don't ever have to get it. But what I used to brush off has now taken me to a place I didn't want to arrive at today. I don't want to get upset with people speaking their mind. I would like to think I am more open minded than that. I don't want to get upset because people don't know anything about addiction and have no reason to know anything about it. The thing is, if people don't understand it, then they should say nothing about it. Please do not complain about addicts doing it to themselves. Sure, they might buy the substance and use it, but it's not a conventional choice like what we are going to have for dinner. In this disease, there is no choice. We can't stop (No Miley Cyrus jokes, please). We have lost the power of choice, and we use to survive.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of the most gifted and talented actors of our generation. I usually get frustrated with celebrities, and spend more time criticizing the shitty ones than praising the great ones. But this guy was so magnificent, it made me want to drop everything and just go to LA and try to make it big. He inspired me. He made movies better, and I couldn't help but love him in everything. What would Along Came Polly be without PSH? A Friends episode, basically. He was so brilliant, and he will be so truly missed, taken too young. And while there are people out there who question where the hell his family was in all of this, and there are those who think mourning him is a waste of time, I refuse to sit here and accept that mindset (although maybe I should).

If you do not understand addiction, please do not spew hate about addiction. If you are hurting watching others fail at recovering, then get help for yourself. And if you insist on being ignorant and trolling for people like me to react to your ridiculous statements about the situation, then well done. It worked today. I do however plan to become stronger because of this, and push myself into further educating people and helping anyone who struggles with this disease. And I'll pray for you, person who doesn't know what they're talking about, because you need help more than us addicts.