By M. Alexander

The rotation of our globe has stopped.  Progress is impossible.  All humans have been paralyzed by aggression and impatience.  Does this sound like the rapture, armageddon, the apocalypse, judgment day, or 2012?  It’s actually a description of the coming weekend. The fated days—July 16th and July 17th, 2011.  The location of this apocalyptic nightmare—Los Angeles.


This weekend has been dramatically dubbed “Carmageddon.”  Others have christened it the “Carpocalypse.”  The source of this lurid allusion—The 405 will be shut down between the 10 and the 101.

News sources have suggested that we should avoid canyon roads— Sepulveda Boulevard, Beverly Glen Boulevard, Benedict Canyon Drive, Coldwater Canyon Drive, Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Cahuenga Boulevard.  We should also avoid Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Cloverfield Boulevard and 4th and 5th streets. The Harbor Freeway, though 12 miles East of the epicenter, may also be treacherously gridlocked.  The point?  Avoid all streets.  Even the helicopter landing pads are expecting heavy traffic.

Basically, if you want to go over the hill, plan to arrive by Labor Day.  If you plan on going to a movie, make sure it’s a late-season Oscar contender.  Don’t go anywhere.  For anything.  At all.

Don’t drive. Don’t fly.  Just sit down, lie back, and microwave some hot pockets.  As addicts and as Angelenos, it’s difficult for us to do nothing—only our minds to occupy us.  Treat this as a learning experience.

For those of us in recovery, this weekend will challenge all the virtues we strive to attain.  Patience.  Love.  Kindness. Acceptance.  In AA, we attempt to “cease fighting anyone and everyone.”  On the road, we may have the urge to fight everybody and anybody.  Take a moment; realize it’s just one giant pileup.  Plaster the serenity prayer on your dashboard if you plan on defying my advice and getting into your boat to cross the River Styx.  And please, leave your golf clubs at home, lest you pull a  Johnny Drama  on the PCH.

4 thoughts on “Carmageddon

  1. Thanks for the reminder: “Easy Does It”

  2. Great post, Michael…both true and humorously done.

    When at BTS, somewhere around 4 months, I finally got my car privileges back. Yup…4 months…cell phone back too. Had only lived in California for 3 years and all that time was in Orange County. With great trepidation began to drive around the Westside and remember people saying they were “going over THE HILL” or “to THE VALLEY.” It sounded frightening….like a place you went to and never returned from. For some, this may be true this weekend.

    Active addiction was the hardest job I ever had and it kept me very busy. Always trying to keep all the plates spinning and waiting for the shoe drop; which, of course, it eventually did. But before D Day, I lived in the chaos of addiction which came to fill my entire days. All consuming. So, newly sober it was very difficult for me to be “at-one-ment.” Weekends at BTS were particularly stressful for me. The program was different back then….not as much structure. Too much time for conversations in my head most of which dark. Becoming comfortable in my own surroundings took practice & lots of time. It also required that I create my own structure to keep myself safe from me. Each Saturday I would have a written list of errands to accomplish and that included doing them in a strict order. Without this structure, I feared at risk for copping.
    Michael is correct, this weekend is a teaching and learning experience for all; recovering addict or “normie.” Those who are not of our kind have the same struggles we do with this weekend. Heck…not just for a weekend. If we live in this world, we’ve all got lots of shared experiences…part of the human experience. Difference is, we now have the choice to handle the frustration and practice our new responses…acceptance…or with old, destructive behavioral patterns perhaps born of “boredom” or being thwarted in plans we had made. I’ve heard too many addicts who relapsed and when asked the inevitable question of “why”, respond, “I was bored.” Boredom is a very dangerous weapon and for me, inexcusable. Perhaps this weekend provides the opportunity to do something we’ve been procrastinating, nu?
    This whole construction thing is, for G-d’s sake, only for one weekend. Are we so unable to handle inconvenience for 48 hours? The world will still spin. Aside from those who work on the weekends (my sincerest condolences), are the rest of us not able to just hang out where we are? It’s not like the dealer is waiting for us in a place we can’t get to from here…and that’s the really good news. ‘Tis the weekend for a mantra, “it is what it is.”

  3. Arlene,
    Thank you for your comment. It seems everyone stayed off the road.


  4. Israel,
    “Easy does it” is one of the most difficult things to remember. Take sobriety seriously, but take yourself with a grain of salt.


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