Archive for March 2010

how it’s going

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I made more meetings this past week.  I went to a new one in the city I work in (an hour away) and it seemed like a pretty nice one.  I’ll go back.  My days are long, but I enjoy them.  I see that this arrangement could be isolating…but I am not going to worry about that right now. It doesn’t matter.   All that matters is not drinking and going to work.

I have begun reading the Big Book the official Big Book Step Study Meeting (I affectionately refer to it as the “school supplies group”) way.  This consists of highlighting directions or suggestions in yellow, warnings or ominous stuff in pink, and promises and positive statements in green.   It’s causing me to read more slowly and that’s a fine thing.  I read a little at a time – I’m just starting Into Action.  (At the beginning I was continuously bothered that Pink wasn’t Positive,  Warnings weren’t Yellow,  Directions Green, but life on life’s terms. Acceptance is the answer to all my problems.)

This is unsanctioned or renegade BBSS reading – sponsor S goes and has a BBSS sponsor, and is passing suggestions along to me.  I wonder if it matters that my activity has no community affiliation.  It feels kind of flat – but I often experience reading the book that way, just because I’ve read it probably more than any other book on earth, except maybe the Rock and Roll Encyclopedia I had when I was in junior high.


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March 28, 2010 at 10:02

keeping the gift

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It’s the Saturday morning after my first week at a new good,  full-time, permanent job.  I lost my last good, permanent, full-time job as a result of  my last binge 5 months ago.  Since then I got a modicum of technical consulting work and managed to get and lose a crummy retail part-timegig. (I was fired from that job sober, something I’ve never accomplished before!)

I’ve had some miraculous support and have not had to leave my beloved mountains to move back in with Mom, and I’ve managed to keep my car as well as remain in a good sober living situation.

Back to the new job. Well, I guess the living situation too. When I first got out of treatment and arrived at this transitional recovery home, I had thought it would be ironic if I landed better off than I had started before I got drunk again and blew it all up.  Well, it seems I have.

I don’t say this to gloat, but in reverence and gratitude. AA is better in this town (for me), the home is the nicest place I’ve lived in a long while, and the job is way way better than the last one I had.   My counselor is exponentially better; so are my sponsors.

After work the other day, I went for a run and as I was stretching afterwards I thought it might be time for me to come off daily calls with sponsor S.  Isn’t that funny!  I’ve also missed meetings all week because I have to commute to my job and just didn’t want to add that on top of already long days.

I am of course not making any new changes, just one at a time. Right now, new job. I will make meetings this weekend and am definitely willing to figure out where I’m going 2-3 nights next week ,now that this week is in the bag.  Still on dailies with S.   I had lived at the Oxford House last year about this long (4 months) when I moved out. That is not anywhere on my radar today.

It’s interesting to me that my life is slowly being repaired, and  almost right away I want to stop doing the things that helped me get there.

Written by xty

March 20, 2010 at 08:25

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the unmitigated and felicitous joys of not having a hangover

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I called in sick today and was actually sick. (I am missing my volunteer day @ the Central Office) (And I’m not glad) What a feeling, like enjoying the hell out of having a cop behind me because he can pull me all day long, I’m legal in every way.

I have missed oh so many days of work in my life and I just wonder what percentage of them were real. I mean, yeah a fuck-off disastrous want-to-die hangover is sick, but it doesn’t count since I had everything to do with it. Being still drunk and needing to drink instead definitely doesn’t count.

Today I am nauseous – woke up middle of the night with it. It’s not a full-blown illness, but feels uncannily, creepily, like a hangover. I washed face and dragged my ass to the convenience store around the corner to get cigarettes I want like a hole in the head but have to have every few hours at least. Every second was torture, pretty much like being awake has been all day so far, only more so because I was up walking around. I though of how many times I had been standing in a convenience store feeling the same way, buying beer to get through the feeling (put it off, rather) or a Red Bull and smokes, on the way to what would be an Eternal. Agonizing. Day.

I’m still kind of in a good mood since I didn’t do this to myself; I am feeling like a real citizen. When I feel better I can just carry on again, not worry about where the hell my car and the 300 dollars I had are. What a trip. This is cool.

Written by xty

March 12, 2010 at 13:58

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partial gratitude list

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I am not drunk, I don’t have to call a cab this morning to go get alcohol for the day.  As soon as I eat these 2 food bars I’m going running.  I will have fresh music on my iPod.   I ran 5 miles yesterday.  This time next week I will be at my first day of my new full-time, permanent job, and I will have insurance.  My Mom’s ok.  I’m going to watch the Big Lebowski later.I might get my cat today. I will earn some money this afternoon.  I like the meeting tonight.  I have minutes on my phone.  I like my sponsors a lot.  Everything might be okay.  The MINI.  Room to myself for now.  Did I mention I don’t need a drink?  Bittorrent.

Written by xty

March 8, 2010 at 10:39

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drunk lady in AA meeting

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There’s a woman who’s been coming to meetings drunk. This is hardly scandalous; I mention it because it seldom happens. It really is incredibly rare in the AA that I have experienced. Well I take that back – intoxicated people at meetings might not be too rare, I actually do not know, but vocal, obvious ones are.

I mention it too because it causes so many reactions in me. I remember when I was sober before and would be approached by panhandlers who were really messed up. They upset me and I wanted them to go away, and could be somewhat hostile if they were persistent or obnoxious. (I don’t know what my reaction is now because I haven’t been approached by a fucked up homeless person in a long time.) Drunk people provoke dread and anxiety in me. I don’t think that’s a weird reaction, I guess it should make sense that drunk people would upset me. But I’m still surprised. One would think I would barely notice them, that it is the most natural thing on earth to be around. It makes my skin crawl.

I am also – this amuses me – amazed that she seems to think no one knows. I mean,maybe she knows or supposes, but what she says doesn’t seem that way. She carries on like she’s sober and aims to stay that way. There are definitely times I “got away with it,” but not when it mattered, and certainly not around family or other alcohilics.

What disturbs me must be the reflection of myself. I do not want to look at what I have been for so, so much of my life. It makes me sad and angry and embarrased. And grateful as all hell. I’m praying for her; I’m praying for me, I’m praying for all of us.

Written by xty

March 7, 2010 at 19:25

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shut up and paint

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Thinking my little head off. Yeah, I’ve been sorta prolific here now that I’ve resumed the blog….and also voluminous in my reading of other recovery related (as well as some 12 step bashing) material / blogs.  I’m enjoying the hell out of it, and I also think I’m getting some stuff out of my system that’s been clogging the spirit, if you will.  (Will you?)

I ended up with a rather scorching email from sponsor S yesterday; scorching but fair; scorching but also partly fueled by a little misunderstanding.  (I don’t have the whole story yet, may never, but  based on a few emails, it seems she spent some time yesterday under the impression I am friendthegirl over at my and your favorite anti-AA blog Stinkin’ Thinkin’.)  There was a suggestion that we may not need to work together any more.  I was kinda like “file under: Dag!”  but also, the fair part is that she is indeed right about one thing, the main thing, the only Thing really:

Talking about AA theology, culture, pros/cons, whatever, is completely pointless when it comes down to not drinking and aspiring to a better life for one’s self and loved ones. Fucking go to AA or don’t; fucking work the steps or don’t.

My friend Ian and I ended up at a coffee shop after an al-anon meeting this a.m., and I shared a little about this. I told him that I basically am where I’m at right now for two reasons. One, I’ve pretty much done it all and not done it all and either one of those has both worked and not worked. Depends on the day, year, city, throw a dart at the history map and hit an iteration of alcoholic life.  It has evolved to what I am certain is THE critical recovery attempt of my life. The whole ridiculous and heartbreaking saga has led up to this.  I don’t want to drink again. I’m totally scared out of my fucking mind.  I’m going to talk about what’s been in my head these past few years until I have finished talking about it.   If I’m wasting someone’s time, I hope they will say goodbye before they leave, but I don’t expect it anymore.  Two, I have worked a total of about 50 hours since October 2009 and the majority of that time I have spent residing alone in the coldest bad-weather winter I can honestly ever remember.   I burned out on library books; I burned out on movies; I’ve seen every season of any tv series I’ve been remotely interested in.  I go to meetings, I’ve taken up meaningful, suitable service work.  With all the other time, I’m keeping my mind completely occupied.  This week, with blogging bullshit.   (On top of it, I started doing it all on Linux just for extra complication….)  This week,  I have not thought about taking a drink.  So, although I have written and read and talked  more about recovery the past several days than in the preceding year and a half, in some way I’ve managed to shut up and paint.

Is it helping me be “teachable?” Am I letting go of reservations? How about humility? Is that around anywhere?  Not always, but that’s where I’m aiming.  I went outside to have a cigarette a while ago and it came to me that I must remember I’m crazy and I’m on a path of no path:  relax.  And I reminded myself that I haven’t stopped praying, whether I “feel” faith or not; that could be said to indicate I have some.

Written by xty

March 6, 2010 at 18:44

a formula of no formula

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One other thing about the Dzogchen path is that in it, we can practice what we need to practice. We don’t have to worry about if it’s this path or that teacher or who or what ever. It doesn’t matter. If we find ourselves in some teachings, we take the teachings.  We listen up.  We get the essence of the teaching, and otherwise don’t cause trouble with our opinions or need to be ‘right’ or what have you. So I follow this path.  I guess in a sense it’s a path of no path, but in a sense it’s a very clear path.

via When Buddhas Kill | the 12 Step Buddhist.

This correlates somewhat with “letting go” and “turning it over.” Just a slightly different way of ending up at the same place.   The title to this post on the 12 Step Buddhist comes from a good story inside another good story, which I’ll let you read there – I’m just going to study on the gist of it here for a minute.  What I see in the remarks above is a casual but elegant expression of what I think of as “wearing the program as a loose garment,” if generalized to AA, which it was.  Getting really bent about what’s really happening – instincts gone awry, lack of acceptance – is a cardinal trait of alcoholics, at least this one.  My desire (I hesitate to use that word, but whatever) is to let myself be more in the type of space described above:  being in the moment, with no predetermined idea of “what I need” or how it’s going wrong, or that it is a waste of time.  He is sharing the lesson, to me at least,  that we don’t really know what’s relevant, that relevant or irrelevant aren’t for us to decide. That something going “wrong” or “right” is something we invent.

Taking it all the way to the last statement I end up at the place where I strain at Buddhist thought.  It’s a real stretch for me to truly go along with things aren’t “bad” or “good.” Because they so plainly are!  I mean, I get it intellectually but…..what about Hitler, etc?  I must then also consider Bill W.’s remark that “no [one] ever made a worse mess  trying to live by this formula than  alcoholics.”  He was referring specifically to “the belief that to satisfy our basic natural desires is the main object of life,” (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p 71) which generalizes to “holding on” or “self-will run riot.”

The point being, let it go.  I think I’m even to the point where I’ve let go of letting go.

Written by xty

March 5, 2010 at 21:23