Beware!  Don't let the relapse monster get you!



Relapse Autopsy

~ or ~

One More


The Road

Cloyd Campfire

(October 2009)


     The so-called "relapse" occurred about 3 months ago.  Three cases of wine were stored away in the room where I slept on the floor.  I was told I could drink whatever I wanted.  Soon enough, I popped open a bottle & poured me a glass & went & sat infront of the computer located in another room.  What was the trigger?  Whatever it was that I was looking at on the computer, I guess.  Probably my own website.

     At the time my life was pretty mellow.  My jobs consisted of walking & reading, as usual these days, and I did regular chores.

     The only "crises" prior to the "relapse" was the chemical tumult inside the highly-regarded & beloved owner of the house, from drinking wine every night to go to sleep.  Consequently, the cases of the wine he'd bought earlier he didn't want anymore ~ and they ended up in my room ~ as he switched to sleeping pills.

     I drank about two-thirds of a bottle that night as I managed my website.  I controlled my wine intake by simply halting consumption before I got real drunk.  Then I went to bed.

     Over the period of a week or so, I consumed about 3 bottles in this manner, more or less, and then started spending my evenings sober.

     Nobody was hurt by this.

     Quite frankly, my blood pressure is too high to be messing around with alcohol.  I haven't been messing with it.  Since this 'bout with the bottle as described here, I've had two beers.  You can call that another "relapse" if you wish.  This is what my "alcohol problem" consists of:  I couldn't get into U.S. Vets because of all this drinking, which in actuality was hardly any drinking at all.  So in order to get off the street & sleep under a roof, I checked-in at the domiciliary.  I expect to get screened for drugs & alcohol for 4 months, & then hopefully be allowed into U.S. Vets ~ which I hope to use as a platform for obtaining job retraining & employment.

      If I had my own place & some money I might drink more than I do, but I presume not much more.  I've consumed my share of alcohol over the years, but recently  very little.  I've stayed in Homeless Shelters a time or two when broke and, while sequestering in these places, have obtained indoctrination concerning the foibles of alcohol & how to stay away from it.  My stay in the domiciliary is furthering this education ~ which can be nothing but good for yours truly.

     As for pot, or marijuana, I've been known to smoke this now & then when it is offered to me, but that's about all.

     If society & government want to pretend all homeless folks are alcoholics, that those who are unmaterialistic enough to fall under the poverty line now & then do so because they can't stay away from drugs & alcohol, there's nothing I know that I can do about it but co-operate in order to get off the street & under a roof.  The wages are too low & the rent is too high to do otherwise.


     So, seriously, am I an alcoholic?  I think the argument can go in either direction.  I believe that in order to maintain my treatment (and, thus, my place under this fine fine roof) I should say, "Yes, I am an alcoholic."

     I think, and thus, I am.

     That last "relapse" that I described earlier compared to some others I've had ~ a few of which switched my life direction & that did hurt somebody else ~ was very mild.

     The fact that I couldn't or didn't go without a drink for three months ~ although I wanted to do so, in order to get into US Vets ~ is telling.  When offered a drink during this time, I eventually accepted it.

    When I was in the U.S. Army I drank considerably, and at the time was very alcoholic.

     When under stress, and provided the means with which to buy alcohol, I've always had a few now & then.  Sometimes my intake would build-up to a considerable amount & too regular.  Then I'd find someway to regulate it & lighten up.

     How have I regulated my drinking of alcohol & the smoking of marijauna over the years?

     Excercise, honest labor, good food, good books have something to do with it.  Faith in Our Father Jehovah, Jesus Mary & Joseph, not to mention the Love of Mary Magdalene ~ an acquaintance with spirituality has something to do with such regulation.  Various technical tricks like walking by the saloon door rather than going in have something to do with it.  Writing rhyme, poetry, and fiction might have something to do with it at times, although sometimes my drinking has been spurred on by being allowed to jump-start bouts with the pen & blank sheet of paper.

     Avoiding certain friends certainly has helped.

     Moving to some place new can make a difference (ye olde change of environment).


     In conclusion, the surest way of maintaining sobriety has been to institutionalize myself.  Perhaps that's why I haven't been drinking.  Off & on, mostly on, I've been residing in a government-subsidized transition center for veterans for about 7 years.

     It wasn't exactly a way of life, but it did provide a peg on which to hang my hat, so to speak, as I carried on.

     I am not really fulfilling my role as a materialistic consumer in society, but I am able to contribute in other small ways to the community around me & at large.





A True-Crime Gangster Story

Cloyd Campfire

(October 2009)


     We shall call her Isis, although her real name is, quite frankly, a much better roller-coaster ride.  She's either American Hispanic, or American Indian, or a gob of both.  And, excuse me, she's adorable ~ but her, I, and a few others may be the only ones who think so.

     I mean, for God's sake, she's a 20-year-old heroin addict who's been to rehab 7 times, she says.  On her 21st birthday she'll probably quit drinking ~ in rehab.  I believe, this time she's honestly trying to "recover."

     We decided to take a hike to the Prescott Public Library.  She thought it was to be a quick stroll.  I, a 59-year-old tramp, knew better.  As we got started, Isis informed me ~ alias Chewy Sunset ~ that she had never read a whole book cover-to-cover in her whole life, and that she wanted to read, Peter Pan.  Fine.  At the library she got a library card & I found for her J. M. Barrie's unabridged, Peter Pan.

     Later, one late afternoon, I passed by her room.  Her door was open.  I accidently peeked within.  She lay on her side upon the bed, her head of dangling raven hair propped-up on her elbow, facing the door.  She glanced up & saw me.  Isis lifted Peter Pan above her head to show me what she was doing ~ as if the book were a torch of victory.

     I believe she read it from cover to cover.  At least she said she did.  Whoa ~ looks like yours truly in his humble way might be able to influence somebody here. 

     Some days later, on a trip in the Rec Van to a small-town cafeteria a ways out & back, I observed Isis's profile ~ came up with the bright idea of borrowing from the library for her the fat, historical, biographical tome, The Bandit Queen of India.

     Young Isis, when asked the day before, had requested a true-crime gangster story.  Phoolan Devi's The Bandit Queen was as close as I could get to obliging Isis.  That evening, when I handed the hefty tome to her, she took it into her hands and complained vehemently.  Her eyes as usual sliced into my soul with their sharp astral light, as she whined about the book being too fat.  Her disinterest in India was profoundly verbalized in her facial expression.

     I defended my decision, which concluded with, "Just read the first few pages, Isis."

     That night, there sounded forth a tap on my door.  In the dark, in bed, I lifted my head.  The door opened a little ways.  There she stood ~ all the hall light & that astral knife of her's cutting into my fragile peace.  She said, "I'm going to stay up all night reading the book."

     "Have at it.  It's a great story," said I.

     "Thank you, Chewy" said she.  And she shut the door ~ and went and slipped back into her room to read, The Bandit Queen of India.





Employee Supplemental Qualifications


Program Support Assistant


~ May 2010  ~



            I became familiar with the subtleties of medical accompli while serving as a soldier & journalist at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii, 1981-84.


            So there’s no reason to believe that I’m unversed in the meaning & spelling of medical terminology.  However, I humbly consider myself still a novice in such language.  I am willing always to learn more.  Consequently I’m presently immersed in studying biology, believe it or not, at Yavapai College, the VA’s next door neighbor here in Prescott.  The terms I learn via this discipline are long indeed & terribly easy to forget ~ like, say, retinoblastoma.  Alas, the study of biology has provided for me a beautiful stepping stone to more advanced medical jargon.

            My skill in operating a personal computer has certainly advanced over the years, along with almost everyone else’s, I suppose.  I remember, years ago, disembarking the vessel of Army Life into the port of civilian misadventure.  I was overcome with mistrust & fear of the machines ~ to the sad detriment of my journalism career.  Eventually I took some free instruction in San Diego, and completed a 101 class in Albuquerque.  Now I sit before the computer screen, almost daily, transfixed with my own websites, fixing & refixing & expanding them, having learned Access & Excel, PowerPoint, and become such an expert on Microsoft Word that for some time I mavericked my own amply-illustrated, independent, political newsletter!  Fear not, though, I’m docile as a hen on eggs when it comes to furthering this escapade & have shied away from revolution.

            For many moons now, I have been above average when it comes to communicating effectively.  I’ve written novels, short stories, rhymes abundantly enough.  I’ve never been published by a major publishing house.  But I’ve printed-up these literary endeavors in small quantities on my own.   Yes, I’ve taken speech classes too.  In fact, I’m taking one now at dear Yavapai, entitled, Argumentation & Debate.  So, without more ado, the boast is too apparent, I know, I know, but I cannot refrain from saying that he who is knocking upon your door for employment, yours truly, is quite a prize ~ quite a prize indeed! 

            Last but not least, I’d like to say that what I know of VA medical, dental, and hospital eligibility, comes to me through experience as a CWT worker & patient at the VA here and in Albuquerque.  And I recently had my teeth cleaned through your excellent dental network.  And I’m living at U.S. Vets, located one parking lot away.  Which, incidentally, means that I’ll have no transportation difficulties getting to work if you so generously decide to hire ~ 

Yours truly ~

 Cloyd Campfire




art work:

"The Relapse Monster" 

Yvette Mimieux in Time Machine, 1960

"Bandit Queen"

warheads project


and down below:

The Flowers of Araby




 Shall we


the deer-trail back



Oh no, tent crickets!