10.20.09

Posts Tagged ‘alcoholic thinking

dénouement

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Many a newcomer will immediately feel comfy and cozy in the rooms of AA simply because the dynamics of the group mirror that of the newcomer’s dysfunctional family of origin.

  • Don’t think, don’t feel.
  • If you do feel, be advised that certain feelings are not allowed.
  • We know what’s best for you.
  • You don’t know what’s best for you, and we won’t even ask your opinion.
  • The family is correct, it is your feelings which are screwed up.
  • You must honor and respect us. You must be grateful for us. We gave you life. You are not allowed to be angry at us.
  • “Ouch! It hurts!” you say — “We’re only doing this because we love you” — they respond
  • “This doesn’t make sense!” you say — “Do it because I told you so!” — they respond
  • We will love you only if you do “this”, “that” or “the other”… we will love you conditionally
  • Don’t speak the truth — We can’t handle it.
  • Be sure to always pretend that everything is allright, otherwise the family will fall apart.

from AA Deprogramming

I’m almost finished with this tedious string of AA angst. I know it’s boring or upsetting to probably everyone but me, and why am I apologizing?  I notice my mind simply will not allow me to have these feelings, examine the Program and my experiences with it, without a sense of alarm, that I have stepped outside a force field and better scurry back in before my skin melts.

Pretty chilling stuff, that quote above.  It’s true – for the most part. Fortunately I have spoken with three people in AA that have been open-minded enough to allow me to be where I’m at without castigation or telling me without hesitation that I am an arrogant narcissist  who is judgmental and has no idea what she needs.  Three. I am blown away and very happy to report this has been helpful – I’m not 1000% alone. I can be rigorously honest with folks without them being threatened and retreating to knee-jerk one-size-fits all fundamentalism.

I see my language and tone has tempered but a little. I’m accepting thatanger and resentment are healthy emotions and responses sometimes. It is the longevity and handling of them that can be a “character defect.” These feelings will pass and I will have experienced reality in person and move on. I’m not throwing the baby out with the bathwater then.  As I said in an email:

“I realize the problem is definitely centered in me and what I expect in the way of support and friendship.  that isn’t what aa is for.  AA is A A.  Take it or leave it. Quit hoping to get something out of it besides what it is.”

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Written by xty

September 22, 2010 at 10:35

puerile mantras and self-respect

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Here I am in day 3 of tears, guts hurting, huge conflict and misgivings. It is astonishing how heartbreaking and fear-inducing contemplating quitting AA is, how identical the feelings are to quitting drinking:

Can’t live with it or without it. Maybe there’s a way to make it work. I’ll just try one more time…only on weekends….

…and no matter what transpires when I try one more time and it is a ridiculous frustrating experience it will be my fault and my defects and lack of willingness that caused failure.

Can that really be true? Is it a fact that everyone in AA is healthy, has a good sense of boundaries, is openminded, values helping others as if their life depended on it, is reliable and honest, except me? Is it also true that if I have a feeling that is pro-AA I am in spiritual light, and if something about my community causes me disturbance the only truth about it is there is something wrong with me? I believe that self-examination and humility are crucial to sobriety, but some of these black and white premises are unrealistic moonshine that undermines the program’s credibility to me.

Fuck.

An AA told me yesterday that “I have no idea what I need.” An AA who has had about 5 superficial under-ten-minute conversations with me. I’m turning to the handful of people who actually know me for support, but none of them are around in person and I’m lonely. Clearly I am troubled and need to work some things out.

I feel like I’m going through a horrible detox. I am going to visit a couple of churches, keep being mindful and spiritually focused as I can.  I have overreacted to recent events, yes. I also refuse to accept all my questions and thoughts and feelings are to be patronizingly dismissed.

After writing the above I am in the end able to see this :  I am indeed  hurting the most because of my own heart in the end. It is my fault.  I have wanted things to go smoothly, I have wanted compassion, support, and friends.  That’s why A A causes me so much anguish. That’s not what AA is for. AA is AA.  My challenge is  to be ok, at peace, and move forward.

Written by xty

September 21, 2010 at 15:39

once again, it’s all true

with 2 comments

Not that the element of freedom and therefore of sin is absent from alcoholism. It is present, but in a complex and obscure way. There is a mental element in alcoholism; there is probably a physical element in it in many cases; but a third element, the spiritual one, must also be considered.

via Grace Is Sufficient – Why Alcoholics Anonymous?, The Furrow, January, 1952.

Therapist K said to me a couple weeks ago (she works sometimes at the detox I was in twice this summer) she had talked about me some with Dr. V, my Dr there and now outside, and they were in agreement that I had a ton of psychological mess tangled in my alcoholism. ( I knew that, but I wanted to see how long a sentence I could write.)

It’s deadly clear to me – my decisions to drink are acts of violence, deeply ingrained self-debasement rituals. They are also decidedly medical; the physical aspect is most clear to me when I consider memories of lying drunk in the dark, compulsively picking up an empty bottle and trying it over and over all night, a genius of alcoholic sorrow.

The remarks block quoted above intrigued me – I may not have ever seen any writing, commentary, or speaker throw in a matter-of-fact reference to freedom (sin!) in the middle of an essay about powerlessness. I love it.  I believe it’s all true and everyone is right.  I am a real alcoholic, yes, but I have to live with what I could live with. (What I still could if the supernatural Santa Christ stops favoring me.)

The paradox is as comfortable and friendly as your neighborhood “make a decision.”  Which I say 100% not tongue in cheek. For real.  Even in powerlessness, I have to decide.

Which is spiritual sounding, so probably spiritual really.  Brilliant how it all comes together.  Seriously, though, it makes sense that this wheel of categorically ridiculous wastrel abject torment is equal parts mind body spirit. And spirit is moving itself up in priorities. I tried meditating today. I listen to zencast. I do the mindfulness thing all the time! Plus,   somehow I want to go to meetings, so I’m rolling with it these days. Disillusionment is wary faith for now.  I seem to care about others sometimes. (That’s another post.)

Written by xty

September 13, 2010 at 23:49

H.O.W.

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I realized I have not been very open-minded at all. That state of being informed a corrupted honesty and thus made willingness unnatural.  I’m hopeful there has been a cool miracle or spiritual/mental breakthrough that I may stay here and move forward.  New Sponsor P told me last night to be aware of honesty for a bit…just be aware of it through my days, as that is the principal behind Step One. Did I make a decision to be closed-minded and unwilling?  Not a conscious one, that’s certain.

To be honest, I’ve often felt a whisper of jealousy when someone shared “…and then I was ready to do whatever it took….”   I’ll never figure out why my experience has been so protracted and imperfect, but maybe one day I will understand.

Written by xty

September 2, 2010 at 09:52

The 12 Suggested Steps and the Set-Aside Prayer

with 2 comments

A woman at the Sunday night meeting referred to “the twelve suggested steps” glibly and comfortably during her share….I inferred from her delivery that this is how she always refers to the steps. I thought “I ought to do that, that’s cool.” but it is a bit pointed, and I already say something other than  “I’m an alcoholic.”  I don’t need to come off like “what a maverick!”  (I say “I am powerless over alcohol.” Because I have to think about it to say it and I hear it when I do.)  I think it’s cool because the Maverick in me wants to remember to lighten up and create my own unique-like-everyone-else Program, as I have often been advised. Then I don’t think I should go there because the Fundamentalist in me hears “How It Works” all the time as well as some Greenville favoritisms such as “the chapter is  not called How It Thinks” to “figuring it out is not one of the steps.”  How can it all be true?

Yes, here is the dilemma:

Part A: “rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path…..some of us sought an easier softer way….we beg of you with all the earnestness at our command to be fearless and thorough from the very start” (from Big Book, How It Works)

Part B:  The Twelve Steps are but “a suggested program of recovery.”  “Take what you want and leave the rest.”

Big sigh. It was recently suggested to me that I forget my omniscience regarding AA and sobriety and just start from here. Ok. Evidently it is just time for that because it makes a lot of sense.  I knit my brow at the conundrum above, but not for too long.  I have decided to do the Twelve Suggested Steps( henceforth TTSS) sooner than planned (i.e. right away) because evidently they work and what am I going to lose? I mean, can it get worse? (This wisdom came from Therapist K last night, sealing the deal on my conviction regarding TTSS).

In perfect solidarity I was reminded this week of the set-aside prayer, which I will make an effort to say before essentially anything from here on out:

God,
Please help me set aside
Everything I think I know
About myself, my disease,
These steps, and especially You;
For an open mind
And a new experience
With myself, my disease,
These steps and especially You

Written by xty

August 25, 2010 at 00:21

fear and loathing in my corpus callosum

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You are not bad if you love alcohol. You are likely seeking instant satisfaction which isn’t always the smartest thing to do—but you are not bad. Many of the things you have done while intoxicated or trying to get intoxicated may have been bad, harmful, and offensive but you are not bad….

….So no condemning—not even when you do.

You can say, “Oops, my mistake. I forgot for a second there that I’m adorable and I love me. Sorry about that Self.”

You might feel sadness rather than anger when you think this way.  Sadness can be a nice healer… It often melts away unhappiness and leaves a person exhausted but feeling better.

Practice adoring yourself first. Then tend to your willpower and all that other stuff…

Precious you.

via On Self-Criticism | Beyond Rehab.

Something to try, maybe turn the  self-denigration down to about 7.  Would it be possible to put the past down until step nine where I might be more able to look at it with a kinder eye?  Shrug.  Maybe not that, so much as being occupied in the present more completely.  Completely present, and abstaining from paradoxes and such.

image by Parker L. - "alcoholic outsider artist" see blogroll

Written by xty

August 18, 2010 at 11:00

split seconds

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I even lifted my foot off the accelerator for a moment, slowing down and thinking maybe I would go in and get some cigarettes — and in only the haziest way did I suspect that this was a very bad idea.  My foot drifted back down to the gas pedal, and the moment passed.  Some miracles are tiny moments:  The deciding not to stop, the turning of a corner rather than going straight, choosing aisle 7 instead of aisle 8 — tiny moments, but no less powerful, lifesaving or Divine for their quick tick of the clock.

via Mr. SponsorPants: … ,Alfie?

This phenomenon can happen in reverse too, as evinced by my bike ride downtown on May 22nd, where I decided to turn left toward Main Street instead of right toward my home group meeting. After so many times. After so much fighting, so much surrendering, so many folks reaching out to help me. I have a huge feeling the thing is either random as hell or I really just in my heart of hearts love drinking so much I will always go back to it.

I guess that’s the point of the alcoholism construct: one has no choice at times. It isn’t about “getting it.” How scary.

This time, though, I am thinking….I didn’t do anything wrong. I did what I could, however awesome or lame, and nothing about that meant god punished me by “letting” me get drunk. I got drunk because it’s my nature. I had some very good non-judgmental support, acquired in my new town, and it made a big difference in my ability to accept I made a mistake, it’s not ok, but I am ok, and would be best served by moving forward.  As opposed to a morass of self-hatred-let-it-ruin-my-life-for-months deal.

Oh, and I’m not going to try to figure out why I went left instead of right.  That’s just what happened, and I know what I oughtta do and what I ought not do.

Written by xty

June 6, 2010 at 07:24