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Cherish the moment

15 Feb

8:18 pm

Lately, I’ve been doing a LOT of thinking, working, analyzing–one day, I keep telling myself, I won’t have to do what I do for a living; one day, I can do something different.  Then, I look at how much it costs to buy a home and think, um, yeah, I better keep my day job, as it were!

Anyway, this morning, I had a really nice moment:

Between the “partly” and “cloudy,” we had a few minutes of sunshine.  It is truly glorious here after a short, light rain:  the water gets caught in all the tropical nooks and crannies, and it makes everything sparkle as the breeze blows.

I took my coffee outside and found a patch of sun and just stood there.  I noticed a HUGEASS spider–we have these crazy-big, black-and-grey, striped spiders down here, and they like to weave their nests in the bush, from branch to branch.  I saw it and just stared.  Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw motion, and it turned out to be this orangey lizard slowly and smoothly swishing its razor-fine tail back and forth in the light.  Next, I fixated on a quiet bee meandering through the air, from one landing spot to a future one, no doubt.  I could hear the near-symphony of sounds, scents, and movement in the air–all enveloped in this quiet calm.  There was no rush, nothing to think about, nothing to analyze.  It is, to me, a heavenly place, the natural world, especially the tropical one.  So much life, and crosstalk, yet complete harmony.

Ahh, I thought.  I’d love to be here one day, a part of this world; no longer analyzing, or trying to remember, or attempting to capture or somehow hold onto this moment.  It’s an illusion, the stress of not holding onto it; there is no need to hold what does not go away, what is constant.  And, in this rare moment this morning, all I wanted to do was have this moment, to observe it, and then, let it go.  And, I did.

It’s been a long year so far, with every day presenting challenges to my motivation and sanity!  However, I am reminded (thankfully, on days like today) of the “real-er” world around me, the one that does not need to be understood or made better or fixed; it never needs to be analyzed; its moments are special, but they are transient and meant to be let go.

I am glad I had a moment like this, this morning, to remember that good things are coming my way; just be here, now.

Life is meaningless! Nothing really matters! I don’t have to drink over it, though.

17 Nov

2:30 pm

First up, I’m happy to report an absolutely drama-free morning. A full morning — swam, meditated, made cornbread muffins, washed my bikinis, pet the dog. Believe me, pre-sobriety, I NEVER would have been able boast about doing any of this, certainly not on a Saturday morning!

I’ve been swimming for exercise, and it’s been helping my sciatica, which has been flaring the past few months. (I think hormonal fluctuations play a huge role, so I’ll have to figure out if there’s anything I can do about that.)

Anyway, the past three days I got up around 7 and was at the local beach and in the water by 8 — YES, PIGS DO FLY. It’s been great for my back and leg pain, great for my arms, great for my spirit, great for my sense of accomplishment and therefore, work, and great for my calm. Each time, I’ve swum for about an hour or more — or, have tried to (the crawl was never my forte, and the salt water is a bit rough).

A lot of peeps in AA talk about how they feel good here, in the water. Floating, or swimming, or just being in it. Or, they talk about how their sobriety is enhanced and/or supported by being outdoors. It doesn’t hurt that we’re in an amazing location — and for me, as I’ve blogged before, the heat and humidity activate my sensual body, which makes me feel much more excited about being alive.

I, too, feel good in the water. Better than good. I feel so small, yet so big, in the water. I feel a PART of the ocean, like I could wrap my arms around it. I feel like it wants me, too; or at least, doesn’t shy away. There is no big old brain — mine or someone else’s — making things weird and awkward. I can Just Relax.

In AA, they say that anything can be your higher power, and mine is shaping up to be the HUNCH (in my scientific and nature-loving mind) that the aliveness — everything alive — on this planet is physically, literally OF ME. We are one. We are wired together, from eons of evolving together, to act and live and “think,” as it were, together. As one. So, no wonder I feel more complete, more whole, more alive — and more at peace, at home — in nature. And, especially in the water! Our ancestors lived in the water; we share, literally, the DNA in their cells. Could it be that those cells, which make up our body and brains, which eventually allow us to think and reason and feel and understand through their cellular activity — those cells remember? That the expression of those snippets of DNA is literally the same, across species and across millions of years? I feel it; we all feel it. What that “it” is, I don’t know.

Last night, my boyfriend and I toured the Etelman Observatory, a previously privately-owned dome on the top of the island that was donated to UVI in the ’60s. Anyway, it was Friday night, and what better way to spend the evening than to hear a lecture and then look through a telescope (yes, through a real lens and not a computer attached to the scope — apparently, a big deal and a real treat for astronomers). We saw Jupiter and four of its moons! Very cool. Very cool also to listen to the professor’s talk about asteroids and comets and meteors, and then see pictures of Earth and our solar system bathed, literally, in debris. Like, we are surrounded by rocks and shit flying around us in space.

What struck me was how very, very, very small we are. And how very, very, very either unlikely or likely that this kind of life — bacteria, dinosaurs, humans, rabbits, whales, ferns, lilies, to name a few — could develop and evolve on a planet other than Earth. Either we ARE unique, which is statistically extremely unlikely, or the right conditions developed and persisted on this planet. Those same conditions could develop and persist and lead to an entirely different range of life forms on some other planet, somewhere, in the Universe. No biggie. I mean, the Universe could give less than a rat’s ass; it is absolutely indifferent. Does this comfort me, or confuse me? Both. BUT, I came away from that lecture and viewing feeling more OPEN to accepting life — and evolution — more at face value.

I think I have always held out hope that Earth is particular, and that we, as humans, have been positioned here for a reason. Ironically, all this talk of a directly-intervening god has helped me to understand “Him” better — that I don’t believe in this at all.

There is no God, per se. There is, however, an “order” to things, a way of life, literally, on this planet. Could it be that all life on our planet is, like I said, wired together? Like all the bacteria in a culture, or, all the fish in a school? Is this why we feel more connected to a larger sense of Being, of Self, I guess, when we’re in an ocean or near a forest, places teeming with life?

This is important to my drinking how? Well, for me, the seeking of a sense of purpose, a sense of self, a sense of fitting into this world, this solar system, this galaxy, this Universe — I need to know where I fit; and when I don’t, I feel lost and empty. Does it matter? Should it? I drink over this. I feel helpless and hopeless about it all sometimes. Why not drink? It takes these thoughts (and feelings) away and swaps in grandiose ideas, emotional waves of goodness, a complete lack of caring about the bigger picture. I need to know that it’s OK for it not to matter — in a good way. I mean, if you’re looking at Earth from another galaxy, does anything here really matter; and if it does, what does THAT matter anyway? 😉

After my swim, I sat there and meditated. I enjoy meditating now; it brings me such relief to be ABLE to sit there and enjoy just sitting there. (Believe me, I’m not perfect, and most of the time, I do think. But, I call it meditating because it is an attempt to just sit there and absorb life without thinking about it.) It’s taken me close to a full year to be able to just Sit and Be. And, I consider that a large step in my recovery from addiction to outside substances for my “happiness.” If you think about how much we, as humans, value our thinking brains relative to how much damage they do to us, to how much thoughts simply get in our way? I would even posit that less thinking, less caring, less wondering is serving me better these days! I don’t have to DO anything — I can, and I want to, but I don’t have to care or feel guilty about not caring about the outcome. That is liberating to me, and it partially explains why I can sit — in relative peace and comfort — and watch the water for hours and NOT want to escape this “not doing anything.”

I am taking someone to a meeting tonight, so I guess I have to go. It’s a beginner’s meeting and I have no other plans, so, why the heck not? 😉 (AA, I love you.)

Hello, Higher Power, it’s me, Drunky Drunk Girl!

7 Nov

11:03 pm

Today. Jesus. I try, I really do, but I lose perspective when I’m PMSing. A’ll I’ll say is, the week or weeks before my period, I just go mad. Back pain flares, my sugar cravings intensify, and today, a week late, I’m crying on the hillside under a blazing sun in the middle of the day.

“God,” I commanded, with about as much serenity as a hammer, “fucking HELP.” Then, I stopped along the side of the road and cried. And, did I even make it look dramatic for, well, drama’s sake? NO. Did I sit down, hold my head in my hands, and weep uncontrollably? Nope. I just sort of mumbled and stumbled and decided to walk home because the tears and sunscreen were making my eyes burn.

Not three minutes later, as I’m descending the hill toward our house’s road, my neighbor drives up out of hers. So, my neighbor is one of the most “conscious” women I know, and at 29, one of the oldest souls I know. This girl is NEVER not radiating joy. I mean, it’s almost funny, and I don’t know if she was born that way or just works extra hard at cultivating nirvana — or both — but man, her energy is simple, direct, and uplifting. Anyway, I see my neighbor, and we chat for a few minutes, and then she drives away. Coincidence…or direct intervention by my as yet unknown HP? Hmm…

After that boost, I came home and was able to sit and just let my drama pass. And then I consciously chose to proceed with my day. It wasn’t easy, though. But, like someone in AA advised me to do, I allowed myself to experience the frustration (What am I doing here? What do I have to do that lends my time purpose?), agitation (Am I missing out on life in [cold east coast city]? I feel so far away from “things” there!), and sadness (Have I exited the ring for good? Can I put my boxing gloves back on and restart my professional life, or is it time to move on, at least to a different kind of writing?).

Anyway, the day got better. I spent a few hours at one of my favorite beaches, where I swam/snorkeled. It reminded me of why I’m here and what matters, which is appreciating the beauty of the water and coral, the ability to swim, and the bliss of being alone doing so.

And, I realized again that I am way too hard on myself. I get so down on myself for what I DON’T have in my life (kids, a house, a boring job). What about what I do have? Independence, intelligence, experiences galore, my life here, a budding (if I actually water it) freelance career, friends, love, AA, my sobriety and blossoming self-understanding beyond what I thought was possible even a few months ago. My present calm and acceptance. My future. I could like, go back to school for public health, anthropology, or marine biology; I could do some cool shit like research, travel, dig, dive along coral reefs. I could write, fund personal projects, rebuild a house, plant a garden, raise goats, volunteer and travel, have kids or adopt them! WHAT IS SO BAD ABOUT MY LIFE?

And, I had a somewhat strange realization (well, I had it after my AA meeting tonight, where I’ve decided to Take It Easy, come to meetings and not drink; and not beat myself up about not doing anything more than that at the moment): I am an alcoholic because I say I am an alcoholic. And, with the help of peeps in the meetings, who sound just like me, I am (almost) convinced of that. I don’t have to consult with others, compare myself to others, incorporate what anyone else says about me or my “problem” into my thoughts and reflections, dreams or goals. And, this is a good thing! I don’t have to feel bad about it because I’m not doing it out of spite, or as a way to cut people out; I’m doing it because I’ve arrived at a point along the way to enlightenment, which is, to me, a form of surrender = I can’t care anymore what anyone else does or thinks, and that includes what anyone thinks about my drinking and/or my being a drunk.

For a long time, up until, um, probably tonight, I’ve been wondering: am I really an alcoholic? I often look back and remember not ONE person except my current boyfriend telling me to go to AA. And, there were a lot of friends who either drank with me or knew I drank WAY too much, too often, and dangerously. I ask myself why was that? Was it because they were clueless, or had their own problems? Sure. Was it because they didn’t want me to get better as that meant losing a drinking buddy as well as losing someone who made them feel better about their own shenanigans? Probably. Was it because none of them really, truly thought I was an alcoholic, based on what seems to be a circulating presumption about the definition of “alcoholic” but what doesn’t come close to what it actually means? Yes.

You’re an alcoholic if you say you are, I’ve realized. And this, my friends, is a good thing to know! Before, I would have said, I’m NOT an alcoholic. Now, I know I am. What that means for me in the larger sense, I have yet to find out. What that means in terms of my future drinking habits, I have yet to find out. Meetings and hearing others like myself have made me see it for a fact. But, it’s my own conclusion that matters, and noting that will help me move forward dealing with it on my own without having to explain it to others, or involve them, on a certain level. I guess I’ve discovered boundaries. Yay!

Chocolate time. I’d love a glass of red wine, too. Le sigh.

Hello, islands! Too bad I can’t drink any of your booze…

17 Jul

1:38 pm

And, let me tell you (though, I probably don’t need to), there’s a shit-ton of it here! 😦

Again: 😦

Mental tantrum, deep breath, moving on. That’s all I can do. I’m here visiting a friend and fortunately, the hard part is over: I’ve already spent a few months down here before, drinking and not drinking; the point is, I know what the culture is like and I’m neither expecting to drink nor expecting it to be easy not to. AND, I’ve had FIVE WEEKS as of today to practice not drinking when I feel like I want to, with more than once hanging out at bars and not drinking. Sure, it sucks, and it takes focus, but it can be as much or more fun. Plus, you don’t get drunk and stupid, you don’t get drunk and sick, and you don’t have to deal with a hangover the next day.

Is it hard to not drink at bars, or on [beautiful island where I now live] (which, in essence, can feel like one island-sized bar)? Sure. I’ve wanted to drink since I got here two days ago. I mean, I feel the pull, the association of “vacation” with drinking, and then of “relaxation” or “break” (from daily grind) with drinking. However, I’m constantly rationalizing myself out of a drink anyway, so add a bar or an island-sized bar, and eh, it’s not that much different, is it? I’m always thinking about it, so here, it’s just a next-level challenge to which I have to apply that practice. Or rather, to which I have the opportunity to apply that practice. :/

Do I want a chilled glass of red wine right now? Hells yeah. Will the short-lived “buzz” (and now, I’m wondering, will the buzz be pleasurable or irritating? I’ve quit before, but not for this long, and even then, the buzz was sort of weird, I guess, after having not drunk for a few weeks…) be worth it? Nah. Not before, not during, not after. Sigh.

Still, it’s easy to get caught up focusing on the craving and not on the life around me, the astounding beauty of the island, the relative seclusion, the amazing view from my deck. The craving is so temporary, so fleeting, so…uninteresting, really, compared to the reality around me. And, quite frankly, the calm of being able to watch it stone-cold sober, remember it, and process the experience without it being tainted by booze or a hangover is seeming somewhat…the opposite of temporary. Timeless?

Wake up!

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