Day Three, The Semiotics of Life and Adventure

Monday 26 January
Renmark, South Australia

Day Three of my Adventures in Sobriety series,
in which i first begin to rediscover the similarities between adventure and life.

So it’s Day Three and i have a wicked headache. I’m sucking a coffee at Macca’s and hoping it’s caffeine withdrawal. The internet here is working at a pace that painfully represents the mush of machinations i might otherwise call my mind. A cold sore has cropped up, and i’m treating it with the wonderous Roseneath Organics Cold Sore Salve, which is mostly bees wax and coconut oil. (Catherine put me on to this article about coconut oil, which concludes “coconut is not a superfood, but it’s not a syphilitic cock either”—the title of the article, ‘Is Coconut Oil Just For Rubbing On Your Titties Or Is It Truly A Superfood?’ Gold.)

I didn’t make it to the nudist colony in Barmera last night—instead, on a whim, i visited Auntie Trisha on the way out of Greg’s place, and that lead to visiting my cousin Catherine, Trisha’s daughter. I ended up staying the night and we watched I Love You, Man, an ostensibly silly movie about a mid-30s guy who tried to make some friends before his wedding, lest he have no one to accompany him at the alter. In fact it was a humble, humorous reflection on the challenges of maintaining meaningful human relationships as an adult, which is a subject i can relate to more than i would like to admit. I hear i’m a loveable guy, but having had, at various times, drugs, booze and work to distract me from whatever i have been trying to avoid, my relationships have suffered as a consequence of me being generally unreliable— i have often thought myself to be the opposite of a good friend … a shit friend. Not cool. I don’t want to get to 35 and not have any mates who can depend on me.

Catherine runs a chiropractic clinic in Renmark and is interested in spirituality and alternative medicine. We share many values and it was nice to be back among company with whom i can freely talk about all the kooky shit i’m into. Catherine and her husband have just finished building their house on eighteen acres on the outskirts of Renmark, and i’ll hang around there this week, building a garden bed to pay my way.

I’m excited about this, because it’s a step in the direction of an environment that is more conducive to the way i want to be living my life, investing my time. We even talked about her desire to turn the property into a commune or, at least, set themselves up as WWOOFing hosts. So that’s cool.

We talked about Wild, which Catherine has been wanting to read since she heard about the movie that came out last year, and this got us onto what i have begun to think of as the semiotics of adventure.

Something i can relate to in Wild, based on my limited experience of long-distance trekking on the Lycian Way last year, is the experience of discovering you are lost and having to take pause and look for signs that might help you find the path again. The same approach can be applied to the adventure of life, especially if you are at all interested in exploring little-used life pathways in search of an alternative to the well-trodden paths that are proving to let us down something pitiful. It is also applicable to sobriety, if you’re a drunk – being a drunk is a pretty clear indication that you are existentially lost. It’s not your fault – just chalk it up to your adventurous spirit! That’s how i’m thinking of it anyway.

In life, as in adventure, we must remain diligently aware of signs indicating whether we are on the right path or not.

As i have found myself lost in life these past few weeks, it was heartening to be reminded of this trekking experience and how it can translate to navigating the unknown terrains of life.

I feel like i’m not being very clear, because my head is still thumping and i can’t find that sense that what i’m thinking is translating at all well to the page.

All i know is i was lost, and reconnecting with Catherine among my aimless wanderings has already been like finding a sign that i could reconnect with the Path by spending some time together getting my hands into the soil on her property.

This is post #003 in a series called Adventures in Sobriety—i will try to post once a day as i try, again, to kick some drug habits that have plagued me for some fifteen years … half of my short life.

As i embark on this adventure i have been reading Wild, the story of a 26-year-old woman who walked the Pacific Crest Trail after her mother suddenly died and her family imploded—she was hooked on heroin for a while, so i can relate with my experience of once trying to walk off addictions on the Lycian Way, the long-distance trekking trail on Turkey’s south coast. 

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