10.20.09

Archive for the ‘cats dancing’ Category

I drank.

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I drank. For a few days, last week. I’m sober now, and kinda pretty much ok. More later. Just checking in, as I am sure all both my loyal readers have been waiting with bated breath. Uh oh..will I change the blog name? Hm. I’m thinking no….

eventual recovery

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“Time is not a tool” is an often quoted AA saying, one I agree with strongly — but it is also true that the last thirty days of my life are substantively different than the first thirty days of my sobriety.  My thought being that while long term sobriety is not a benchmark of mental or spiritual health, the point is to get and stay sober, not get sober over and over and over again — time is not a tool, but it should not be dismissed either.  Its a bit of a paradox, I guess.

via Mr. SponsorPants: it makes me optimistic for their eventual recovery.

Here’s the deal: I have been “in and out” a whole lot, which means that I have been in and out a whole lot . While this particular feature of my self has had an impact on my external life, far more important and more difficult to….let’s say “apprehend,” is its life in me.   It won’t stop being true no matter how long I stay sober.  As opined above and elsewhere, it doesn’t matter if one has 8 years or two weeks sober, in terms of validity of sobriety, ability to be of value, likelihood to get drunk….and yet, it does. It so very does.

Sponsor R pointed out to me (I paraphrase) that the alcoholic part of us and our thinking is not bolted on to our heads as an optional accessory,  but is a part of our conscious and unconscious self as much as gender or race. It informs everything, even when it doesn’t.

A challenge for me has been to come to respect myself in spite of my background, in spite of how endlessly I’ve surrendered only to un-surrender.  I’ve never been able to truly internalize the idea that I have nothing to be ashamed of and I am  not faulty or “a freak among freaks,”  stigmatized, an object lesson.

After having years of freedom from drugs and alcohol as well, the hopeless relapser feeling joins a faithful certitude in a strange blend of capable inadequacy.

Written by xty

May 2, 2010 at 16:38

A.A. History: The Detroit Pamphlet, Discussion No. 1

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Why Does An Alcoholic Drink?

Many times one cannot determine any great and glaring mechanism as the basis of why the drinker drinks, but the revealing fact may be elicited:

That alcohol is taken to relieve a certain vague restlessness in the individual, incident to friction between his biological and emotional makeup and the ordinary strains of life.

…. Where the individuality or personality of the alcoholic is concerned these reasons may be divided as follows:

  • A self-pampering tendency which manifests itself in refusal to tolerate, even temporarily, unpleasant states of mind such as boredom, sorrow, anger, disappointment, worry, depression, dissatisfaction, and feelings of inferiority and inadequacy.
  • “I want what I want when I want it” seems to express the attitude of many alcoholics toward life.
  • An instinctive urge for self-expression, unaccompanied by determination to translate the urge into creative action.
  • An abnormal craving for emotional experience which calls for removal of intellectual restraint.
  • Powerful hidden ambitions, without the necessary resolve to take practical steps to attain them, and with resultant discontent, irritability, depression, disgruntledness, and general restlessness.
  • A tendency to flinch from the worries of life and to seek escape from reality by the easiest means available.
  • An unreasonable demand for continuous happiness or excitement.
  • An insistent craving for the feeling of self-confidence, calm, and poise that some obtain temporarily from alcohol.

via A.A. History: The Detroit Pamphlet, Discussion No. 1.

Well that’s just about the most accurate sounding thing I’ve ever read.   This is, as indicated, taken from Discussion Number 1: The Admission outline in the old-school Detroit Pamphlet, a.k.a. “The Tablemate.”    According to what I’ve read about it,  groups that used this guide for a year had a much higher-than average long-term (1 yr +) sobriety rate.  So of course  I’m reviewing it.   Hard not to read the above and think, since I agree, “damn what a shitbag loser I am.”  So I think that and all kinds of other things such as “what a trip I have this alcoholic incarnation destiny to work through and so did/do all these other folks.”  I try to watch all the thoughts go by like little cats and come back to the moment and see if I can apply it. (Try.)

I 100% concede the above. I don’t even have to think about it. One thing that not been part of my burden is a doubt I am “alcoholic.”  I mean, even if  I’mnot, drinking has controlled and ruined huge chunks of my life for 30 years, so what difference does the label make? “My name is xty and I’m an umbrella.”  Same outcome.

Nonetheless, I do go insane and think I might accidentally have some control “this time.”  If I consciously think at all.  (We’ll come back to that another time.)  I’ve done this millions of times. I retract my step 1-ness.  “Discontent, irritability, depression, disgruntledness, and general restlessness:”  that’s for sure. Okay, enough problem.  Here’s what’s next:

If after carefully considering the foregoing, we admit we are alcoholics, we must realize that, once  a person becomes a pathological drinker, he can never again become a controlled drinker, and from that point on, is limited to just two alternatives:

  1. Total permanent abstinence.
  2. Chronic alcoholism with all of the handicaps and penalties it implies.

In other words, we have gone past the point where we had a choice. All we have left is a decision to make.

Sure. I’m still one the same page, drinking the same kool-aid, hook line and sinker, with complete abandon, a real yes-man.  Total abstinence – there are many reasons I am certain I’m clear on this — doesn’t mean I can do it,; then it would be: Step 1: Quit drinking. Step 2: Get on with your life.  My most immediate example for myself on this certainty is my reaction to a blog I came across last night, again here on wordpress.com via  tag search.  I was tempted to add it to my blogroll with the link “Doomed;” I was tempted to post a comment stating “Dude, you are so fucked.”  It is the journal of a self-identified alcoholic who evidently has tried AA and SMART Recovery and hates them, and is documenting his progress and tribulations as he evolves a controlled drinking regimen. Mind you,  controlled, but in hiding from his family (water bottle in the basement with a daily ration; peanut butter as the best breath cover) and is one thousand percent obsessed all day every day with when he can drink, how much, how much is in the house, ad infinitum.  My reaction was: absolutely chilled.  Amazement and voluminous gratitude I am not in that torture chamber of a lifestyle.   My mind was bent, I couldn’t understand why this guy couldn’t see what I see.  That tell me that viscerally I know it’s all or nothing.  Let’s just say I have this part of step one nailed.

Then:

We resolve to do something about it.

  1. We must change our way of thinking. (This is such an important matter that it will have to be discussed more fully in a later discussion).
  2. We must realize that each morning when we wake, we are potential drunkards for that day.
  3. We resolve that we will practice A.A. for the 24 hours of that day.
  4. We must study the other eleven steps of the program and practice each and every one.
  5. Attend the regular group meeting each week without fail.
  6. Firmly believe that by practicing A.A. faithfully each day, we will achieve sobriety.
  7. Believe that we can be free from alcohol as a problem.
  8. Contact another member before taking a drink, not after. Tell him what bothers you – – talk it over with him freely.
  9. Work the program for ourselves alone – – not for our wife, children, friends, or for our job.
  10. Be absolutely honest and sincere.
  11. Be fully openminded – – no mental reservations.
  12. Be fully willing to work the program. Nothing good in life comes without work.

Reading this list, I think “Ok: Hey, I can’t do that; got it; got it; got it got it;  whoops; usually;  got it; got it;  sure; oh shit!;  which program?  And, fully?  Do I have to hold that , right there, don’t move?  Am I going to die drunk if I am pretty damn willing, but not fully?   I have reservations.  About the steps – about whether God as I understand God is really just waiting for me to ask Him to edit me, to intervene in thoughts, relationships, and events.  Whether God as I understand God works that way, or, even if He does, if that is the best way for me to work with Him.  Know what I’m fully willing to do?  Try.  With my misshapen beliefs, self-deception, curtain-flapping mind,  guarded willingness, absentminded resolve…..my concern is that if I wait until the list above describes my state of mind exactly,  I will have already died.

Written by xty

March 3, 2010 at 10:40

take two

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Take two on the blog. Since the last post I went back into detox and through treatment again at the same facility. (That would be take, I don’t know, 45?) This, then is the entry where I come back and point out how amazing it is that I can write about how glad I am I’m not in a treatment center and run myself right back into one less than 2 months later.
My inclination is to skip all details, or outline everything in a ridiculous post, and I think erring on the conservative side seems right in this case. Relapse is familiar ground, part of the process, etc. This is simply the icebreaker entry that I have been putting off, so I can maybe get back to it.
I often think it’s pointless to codify all this mental self-absorption, anecdotes, theories really, becasue it’s all transient and really because I can’t prove it ever mattered or ever will. It’s all transient and it may just be completely irrelevant if I understand anything that’s ever happened. (Except, of course, The Great War.) I’m going to do it anyway as a sponsor (1 of 2; they are named R and S) suggested it after observing my writing can make sense from time to time, whereas I talk in circles most of the time.

Written by xty

February 25, 2010 at 13:01

craving The National

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“Once ruined, baby, you stay ruined” – The National, John’s Star

Listening to The National creates the desire to drink in me. I’m wondering how detailed to get here, and deciding to drop that so I don’t want a gin and tonic. It is, after all, Sunday morning, more perfect for drinking than Saturday night in my mind. Cravings can color a whole day or just slip in and out of a second like a mean but sexy cat, dancing.

I discovered the band while perusing pitchfork at a bar/restaurant in P-Town, overlooking the water and awaiting my new girlfriend, whom I’d met while enjoying my first beer in over 6 years the night before. (And she was, immediately, my girlfriend.) So, they are colored by that and having been a 2 year soundtrack to drinking. Even though I played them when I wasn’t actively imbibing, drinking was part of who I was during those years. Another recently discovered band, Rock Plaza Central, has no associations for me and I can be totally present listening to them.

There is no other music like The National, quintessentially 21st century and American, charismatic and not a little alcohol soaked. They are fucking cool and great; c’mon, their website is called American Mary, how cool is that?

My choice, then, of late, has been to listen to them selectively and not allow my mind to feed any alcohol leanings and see how it feels. So many of my favorite lyrics, I crave that too. Maybe I can rebuild this relationship. Yet I realize they may be ruined for me, just like gin and tonic, something else to miss sometimes, but for a greater good.

Written by xty

July 12, 2009 at 10:07

Posted in cats dancing

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