Tag Archives: God

God in my garden

21 Jul

3:47 pm

I am growing things. I have what some urbanites might call an “urban farm,” but what this farmer’s daughter (yes, I grew up on a dairy farm) calls a garden.

Actually, all my plants and herbs are in pots, and I’ve now got about ten going! Three of them are massive Jack-and-the-Beanstalk-sized tomato plants that I’ve had to re-pot three times already! I staked rods in them this time so that they have something to lean into as they continue to shoot up. I cannot WAIT to see some actual tomatoes on the vines, too–the produce down here leaves a lot to be desired.

I’ve felt very quiet of mind lately. Well, this morning. For a few hours. LOL. It was nice to be alone, in the sun, gardening. It’s cool to see my plants actually coming along; I don’t even care, really, if the tomato plants bear fruit.

I think I’ve had enough time and space to “recover” from my friend’s visit to have come to a few hard conclusions: she and I likely won’t continue in the same kind of friendship we’ve been having, and, I need to actively speak in a more positive way.

Our relationship was a co-dependent one. In a nutshell, she needed me to be a drunk in order to diss on me to make herself, who is very insecure, feel better; and I needed her to diss on me because I felt afraid, I guess, of shining. There’s a long trail of “hiding your light under a bushel” behavior in my life, but with this friend, it’s clearly a defense mechanism for me. I couldn’t confront her feeling jealous and expressing it by hating on me; I wanted to assuage her feelings of self-loathing by bringing myself down to her level. We commiserated a lot together, but deep down (and this came out in my blackouts), I hated myself for participating and I hated her for trying to bring me down to make herself feel better. I wish this didn’t sound so harsh because underneath it all, she’s a good person–aren’t we all?

Fast forward to now. Cut the bullshit, basically. The weekend was me being strong, present, direct, and apparently invested in an actual life here. A life that you all know about, but that she could only imagine until she got here…and saw it for herself. It threw her for a loop, to put it mildly. And, I have to say, I don’t think either of us knew how to interact with one another in these new “roles.” It seemed like she noticed that I had not only changed, but grown up, taken hold of my life, and moved forward–not to make her feel bad, but because this is me now and this is what I do now. It was apparent to me just how insecure she feels about herself–her job, her relationship status, and especially her looks (which may never change, and which I simply don’t play into). We performed a balancing act the whole weekend, and while it was nice to see her and get caught up, I was relieved when she left.

As for me, I noticed that when unsure what to talk about, I would often hear a stream of negativities come tumbling out of my mouth. Literally, it was like I was listening to someone else. These were not so much direct complaints, but rambling monologues that tended toward why this doesn’t work, and why that’s not for me, and why I don’t like this or that. YUCK. I couldn’t wait to get home sometimes and lapse into the fun–and for lack of a better word, “ego-relieving”–“cartoon” voice I use with the dogs.

I don’t know why, but it kept happening/I kept doing it! Maybe I’m still trying to downplay my happiness (or at least, contentedness) because I’m afraid of success, or because I still care too much about what others think, striving for their approval, i.e., I better talk badly about my cooking or my car or my apartment before SHE does, just in case she doesn’t approve. UGH. DOUBLE-YUCK. The point is, I want to change this as much as possible and immediately; it affects everything, and not in a good way. Sometimes I wouldn’t mind going back to the uber-quiet girl I was growing up–maybe there was a lot to be gained from being “too quiet” all the time?

Again, it was nice to be alone this morning, without my thoughts, in the “garden.” A lovely morning, literally. Maybe love is transcending all the bullshit and just being quiet, aware, and absorbed in growing things? Maybe that’s a metaphor for life? If I believed, I would say, possibly that’s even one for God…

What day is it? I’ve got my eyes set on 180 days, which is September 14th. No point in even thinking about drinking until that day comes. (In fact, is that my Unicorn with Sparkly Teeth over there, kicking the grass? Isn’t that where the remains of wolfie-boy are decomposing? Get it, GIRL.)

Anger, Buddhism, and the 12 steps, oh my!

6 Jul

1:11 pm

As I posted yesterday, The Fix published a piece I wrote about blogging myself sober. Obviously, it’s not the ONLY thing I’ve done to “get and stay sober,” but that’s beside the point. I think connecting with others who share your problem, and who can help you DEFINE its gray areas, is the key. So, thanks to all of you out there who continue to help me stay the course.

There were some negative comments posted in response to the piece, which I found, for the most part, to be instructive (thankfully!).

Why are some people so angry about a seemingly-successful recovery that either does not involve meetings or the 12 steps, or does not involve “as much work as someone else” or “the way that they did the work?”

What can I glean from the 12 steps, and why do I keep coming back to them, feeling like I’ve got some unfinished business? Maybe I AM a dry drunk?

If it wasn’t the personalities in AA, or the sharing, or the group therapy aspect that bothered me all that much, it must have been the steps, right? What am I afraid of? What about the steps hangs me up?

It’s those words: powerlessness, God, higher power. To me, the 12 steps are not rocket science; in fact, in order to get sober, EVERYONE has to do some version of these “steps,” I’ve come to believe. You might not KNOW you’re doing the steps, but you are. We admit we can’t drink anymore; we accept this fact. We feel remorse and say we’re sorry. We work on our relationships, we question our sense of purpose–why are we using booze to avoid or hide from what we know, deep down, we should and could be doing? I used wine for YEARS to avoid writing; yet, it’s the one thing I knew that if I just fucking DID it, I’d be free. Free of both the urge to drink away my fear and sensitivities surrounding “putting it out there” and possibly failing, and free from the self-loathing brought on by not doing it!

I wondered, how do atheists approach the steps? Do Muslims go to AA? What do people who come from non-Judeo-Christian backgrounds and worldviews think of AA? I mean, people all over the world have drinking problems–how do they approach the steps if they don’t, actually, believe in “God,” per se? What–or who–IS God? A quick Google search made me realize that the concept of God is extremely broad, and can range from an overlord or all-knowing being to, well, “being” or “existence” itself. Huh. As a scientist, I am not a theist, but neither am I convinced that “being” or “existence” does not hold a higher order. The whole is, most of the time in the biological sciences anyway, greater than the sum of its parts. Systems biology takes advantage of the FACT that studying systems of genes, or proteins, or cells can lead to surprising insights into how things actually work when we’re not reducing them to their parts.

At the beach yesterday, I felt the need (and this is usually accompanied by a lot of gesturing and loud talking to myself, so my apologies to the boyfriend–LOL) to tease out my “official” definition of these words. And, here’s what I came up with:

Powerlessness: To me, this is simply my desire (key word) to drink more than just one. I can never drink one. Why? Because I don’t WANT to. And this, I think, is where the neurochemistry of addiction comes in: my brain is wired–at the moment, at least, because I’ve abused wine for so long–to want more than one. It’s an urge that is VERY strong. And, already after one, my “rational brain” is starting to become overpowered by my “irrational brain.”

This is actually the opposite of the general idea that most people, including myself, have of powerlessness. I have a choice, yes I do; and that choice is to drink a second. Whether or not that choice is a good choice, well, morals aside, the powerlessness lies in my reward system being fucked up.

God: Well, since I do not believe in a deity or any sort of omniscient creator being, I would say that “God” is the order of the universe, being, life itself.

Higher power: I’ve always thought that this is simply my higher self, a literal higher consciousness. In fact, I now believe that when we “bottom out,” or hit our lows, we’re actually becoming our most self-aware. Our wake-up calls are just that: we snap out of it, we awaken, we’re fully conscious of just how bad it is. We’re at the top of our game then, not the bottom. This higher consciousness is our most aware selves–the self that knows better, wants the best for us, sees our potential, follows that “order” of the universe, or at least, of being human, which is to protect our bodies and minds from harm, to sleep when it’s dark, to wake when it’s light.

Defects of character: This was a hard one, but I figured it out on the ride home, with the help of my boyfriend. My biggest problem in this whole nightmare has been learning how to forgive myself. I realized that IF, in fact, I viewed my higher power as myself–the best version of myself, the mindful, awakened version–then, couldn’t asking myself for forgiveness be the same thing as asking “God” to remove my “defects of character?” YES, it really could.

In my research last in night, I came across Kevin Griffin, who founded the Buddhist Recovery Network, who has written some excellent pieces for HuffPo on the Buddhist approach to recovery, and whose work I can’t wait to read more of. It sort of helped to confirm some of my new ideas, which, apparently, I’m not the first person to have. 😉

I guess maybe a step meeting could’ve helped me wade through the murky semantics of the steps, or a Google search earlier in my recovery, but so it goes. If I look at the steps with my new definitions in mind, they might read as such:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
(I am powerless to not want that second drink…and then, it’s all downhill because my rational brain turns off the warning and my irrational brain turns on the “It’ll be different this time, it won’t hurt you, you can drink as much as you want, forget about last time, there is no last time…”)

2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
(That power is myself–my aware, awakened, mindful self; the one who’s looking at me when I’m jogging in the hot sun thinking, Good job, and, You deserve to be awesome.)

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
(Wonderfully explained by Kevin here.)

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
(Among a lot of other things, this would include shit I did that I still haven’t forgiven myself for…because I have offended others and hurt myself.)

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
(Admitting to ourselves, really, the things that we haven’t forgiven ourselves for having done. I have a few select people who know EVERYTHING, and I’m grateful that it’s been easy, in a way, to “unburden” myself to these friends.)

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
(Ready to forgive ourselves, to stop caring if others have or will forgive us, to really let it all go, and to start moving forward in our emotional lives. Self-actualizing?)

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
(Asked ourselves for forgiveness, and the power to let it go.)

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
(Being aware of our thoughts and feelings, of our actions and especially, REACTIONS, to these thoughts and feelings. To live in the world without taking anything personally.)

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
(Staying aware, practicing mindfulness.)

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
(This one, I’m not sure about. Maybe just helping others see their problem is not necessarily about moral flaws, it’s about fear of living and fear of self-discovery–and, the truth (your personal truth) will set you free…?)

What do you think?

Oh, AA… Don’t make me hurt you!

2 Dec

11:04 pm

The past few days have been great. My “desire” to drink is subsiding, and I have to say, I’ve either pushed it WAY out of my mind, or I’m actually realizing that No, drinking does not change anything and is simply not that much fun. It does not work anymore. It really doesn’t.

In fact, these days, I feel safe. Early days, back in June, I did not feel safe — best word I can think of. I felt unsafe in my day-to-day world. Around every corner was an unknown: would I be able to resist the craving, and would I be able to sweat it out without, I don’t know, breaking my teeth or exploding into a thousand pieces? That’s how…existentially challenged I felt. I think they call it, *crawling out of your skin.*

Today, almost six months later (not six months sober, but counting all the days since June 13th, pretty close), I feel safer in the world, with the world, with passing time. Somehow, I’ve created this room of my own inside myself where I can now go and sit and wait and just chill, instead of drinking, when I feel existential anxiety (like, What to do? When will I die? What is all this?). I’ve been eating better (trying to, at least), swimming in the mornings (trying to, at least); my sciatica is mending, which is a HUGE relief. I’ve been getting my work done, hitting the beach with my boyfriend, and in general, settling in and feeling significantly more at home in my skin here.

YET…

AA has been a dark spot. It agitates me. The worst part is, it doesn’t have to. Why do I think that AA is the only way? Hmm. It’s also like a challenge that’s been presented…and now I HAVE to go for it, beat it, win and not lose. That’s ME; maybe it’s precisely the wrong program for someone whose reasons for drinking include an overly competitive nature?

Anyway, while it helped at first, it’s now become a sort of thorn in my side. I’ve felt judged — I was harassed the other night by someone I would call a “Big Book thumper” and had to hold my tongue (I ranted to my boyfriend for hours after I came home, though) — and like, I’m doing it wrong. The egos, the neuroses; the cliques, the male peacocking and female…who knows what! It’s overwhelming sometimes, mainly because I don’t want to deal with 50 other drinking problems! I HAVE MY OWN, thank you very much.

And — I stand my ground on this –I don’t have to. Neither does anyone! I have a friend who relapsed, who seems to be trying, and her sponsor told her that if she’s unwilling to commit 100 percent, she’s wasting her (the sponsor’s) time. Jesus. Fuck off, is what I’d say.

So, I’ve decided that yes, I like the meetings, but no, I don’t like everything about them or the program. And, I don’t have to. I don’t have to throw the baby out with the bath water, in other words. I don’t have to share. I don’t have to like everyone in the room. I don’t have to get a sponsor, take this Big Book nonsense all that seriously, or do the steps. All I have to do is stick to my sobriety and my ideas of how to not drink, which to be perfectly frank, I don’t believe to be all that unenlightened.

Hmm…

It’s a shame, really. BUT, I don’t have to drink over it! I don’t have to let it push my buttons, which include a perfectionist bent. I can NOT CARE — and make up my own mind — and this is a good thing. I’m taking it as a form of additional therapy: practicing NOT caring when I tell myself I SHOULD; practicing letting go of the “have to be a good student or I’m worthless” mentality, which has gotten me a lot of degrees and high-paying jobs but which came at a huge psychological cost!

(On the bright side, I’ve discovered that a/my “higher power” does not have to be a deity, or deity-related. This higher power, I’ve concluded, could very well be a literal HIGHER thinking — like, ABOVE both rational and irrational thought. This, then, I can understand, and it means that I can also grasp the meditation step (#11) as a way to commune with it — *I* am it. I am of the divine, I am the one who I can access, I am the god-voice within. Of course, a very Buddhist mentality, but I’ve connected with this in the past a lot more than deity-based religions anyhow.)

I’ll keep plugging; I’m not giving up. I’d like to finish the Big Book — and keep going to meetings — so that I have some ammunition to throw at these people! I do feel like I NEED to distance myself a bit, though (maybe attend less meetings, maybe try some non-AA recovery programs); it’s not worth drinking over because I feel agitated at meetings. It’s not. And, I won’t. There is NO WAY I’m drinking before 90 days. One 90 days at a time. 😉

AA: it’s not just about me! Say what?

29 Nov

9:06 pm

Yup. You heard me. Who IS this person, and where did you stash Drunky Drunk Girl? (Btw, I just cleaned my trunk, so no blood stains, please…)

I know, I know; I can be VERY self-oriented. I’m introverted, I’m a writer by passion and by trade, and I’m very analytical. I tend to be in my head a LOT, thinking my thoughts and thinking how awesome they are. Ahem. They are, aren’t they? 😉

Today, I went “back” to AA after about a week wondering and ruminating about what purpose it was serving in my sobriety (of 7 weeks today!). Why? Well, after all your comments — which I SO appreciated — I realized that one, I have some great, grounding friends online and that impressed me a heck of a lot more than a few douchebags in AA making it seem like they’re the only game in town; and two, well, as I told L. tonight, as she and myself and two other women were walking up the steps of the church downtown after the meeting, “I missed you guys.”

Yes, I missed my AA peeps! I missed hearing about their lives, what they were up to, whether they were still sober for crying out loud! I missed checking in with them; so far, they’re all wholeheartedly sincere in their desire to help little old me who, up until a few weeks ago, was a complete stranger to them.

Most importantly, one of my favorite women, C. (L.’s sponsee), fell off the wagon yesterday and ended up going to the hospital last night (I think she was seeking anti-anxiety meds and they hesitated and gave her something for her blood pressure. Which is bizarre, imho.). Anyway, she and I met about a month ago at the Tuesday night women’s meeting. We’re originally from the same part of the country, and we bonded over the fact that we were both new to the island, both at our first meeting (relatively speaking), AND, both had about the same length of sobriety when we met.

This afternoon at the beach (rough life, I know), I heard that *someone* had fallen off the wagon via a text from E., another lady friend who has about 17 years and is VERY cool in how practical she is toward AA and sobriety. She gets it, as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, it ended up being C., and it sounded bad. This woman does “John, Jack, and Jose,” and based on a short conversation with her, I could tell that many drinks were drank. Many, MANY drinks.

When she came into the meeting late tonight — we were all expecting her, but I didn’t text her out of respect, I suppose — my heart lurched! She looked awful; haggard, tweaked, and frail. Tired. Hungry. Lost. I actually felt a lump rise in my throat and had to look down, to hide the tears that briefly welled in my eyes. This IS a disease, I thought. It really struck me then: C. is not trying, at least consciously, to do this to herself.

I know that I have been quite childish when it comes to ranting and raving about AA. (Of course, I have; I needed to be.) I realized a while ago that meetings help everyone, and only everyone, if EVERYONE shows up! It was, however, a theoretical concept until today, when I heard about C., and then tonight, when I saw her. I can’t promise to come to meetings for her, but I can promise to come as often as I can. I can text her, call her, respond even if she sounds “OK.” I can make myself more available. I realize that part of my problem is isolating myself; it’s partly my nature as an introvert, partly habitual due to years of doing just that out of feeling insecure and worthless, to a certain degree.

At the beach today, as I was thinking about C. and about my own role in “not getting AA,” I actually picked up the Big Book and started reading it. NO, my friends, I have never even read the damn thing! And you know what? Some of what I read is not unreasonable! Especially holding onto anger/resentments, and drinking over them. I’ve done that. I lived in that, for a long time, even though I thought I wasn’t. I still live in that, even though I’m not drinking anymore.

I could even tolerate the God stuff, mainly because the God stuff seems to fully address the fact that most of us aren’t born with a concept of God, and are sort of freaked out by it. (Jesus freaks need not apply. JUST KIDDING.) However, the Big Book directly addresses the fact that we are humans, on a planet, in the middle of the cosmos, trying to perceive a reality that may or may not exist! There is a creative force, whatever that might be; even if there isn’t, who are we to fully grasp this? Anyway, it’s all sort of written like that in the Big Book. Huh, I thought. Maybe I can dig this? Some of this is precisely why I drank…

I think AA appears outdated; it’s why a lot of people, including myself, shun it. What a horrible thing we’ve been taught, really, which is to disregard the past, our elders, our ancestors. Their knowledge, their having gone before, their practiced living — why do we toss it away? It’s a problem in American society, especially among “white people.” I won’t go too far into that, but it’s a toxic byproduct of our culture, and it manifests in ways big and small, conscious or not.

But, I digress. I hope C. realizes that drinking just fucks EVERYTHING up, and that it is no longer working for her. Unfortunately, I can’t make her not drink. I can’t solve her anxiety problems. What I can do, though, is be there for her if she calls, and show up, even when she doesn’t.

If AA was a class, would I be failing it?

28 Nov

2:20 am

Gosh, it’s late. I have so much to blog about, but right now, all I can think about is how I’m failing AA.

I went to about 20 meetings in 20 days, and then took a week off. It felt GREAT. To take a week off, that is. I felt like I was skipping class! I see how AA has helped me, as well as the good it can do — is doing — for my fellow alcoholics (these people are my friends now, so I’m not dissing them here), BUT, every time I hit a meeting, I feel like a failure.

It’s like, I’m pretty sure I’m getting something like a “C-” in AA. Worse, I think I’m heading for an “F” if I don’t get my act together.

No one is explicitly saying that I should do this, or do that. In a way, though, they are. And, every time I go to a meeting and don’t embrace the program like “they” do, I feel like an outsider. I sort of dread meetings; not because I don’t enjoy sharing, and not because the sharing hasn’t helped me to vent what otherwise has, actually, made me feel ashamed and eaten away at me, but…AA seems so much less about not drinking than it is about everything else. I don’t want the everything else. And so, I feel like a fraud, like I’m “using AA,” like I’m letting my AA buddies in the rooms down when I keep coming back but refuse to share and/or get a sponsor and/or rah rah about the 12 steps, let alone actually start on them.

I’ve tried to want what they have, but all I want is to not drink. And, I feel like, damn it, I’ve done pretty good at that for the past nearly 7 weeks! Yet, after every meeting, I just don’t feel like I want to become more a part of that clique — it’s a clique, and I simply don’t feel the need, desire, or willingness to dive in and “drink the Kool-Aid.”

No, I don’t want a sponsor. I don’t want to talk about my drinking, I’ve done that ENOUGH. Really. And, I have nothing to really complain about except the program, which in essence, is not necessary to remain sober — meetings do NOT keep me sober; I keep me sober. There is no other way I can understand the concept of a “higher power” except that it’s simply ME doing what I should have done a long time ago.

No, I don’t want to share during meetings. I just don’t. No offense.

No, I don’t want to “work” the 12 steps. In fact, I feel like I HAVE worked quite a few of them. And, there are a few (like all of them that include “God” having a hand in my not drinking) that I simply Just Don’t Get.

I don’t believe in this “god shot” stuff; I really don’t. I believe in something along the lines of embracing the random goodness of the Universe, but attaching significance to events and/or personifying nature just doesn’t seem helpful, in the long run, to a mature understanding of reality. Whatever.

I don’t want to rant about AA anymore, and that’s why I’m thinking of just stopping going to meetings. I really want to keep going, but I feel like if I keep going and keep refusing, in a way, to participate, resentments are going to start building up. There was a woman who admitted during a share how she resented people who just used AA, and didn’t do anything to give back to the organization, like sharing, or chairing, or whatever. Whatever.

(I’m using my newfound “power” to simply not care. Let it go. Yeah, the meeting bugged me — and bogged me down — tonight, but you know what, I don’t have to hold onto my ideas of any of this OR my ambivalence OR the program, even. It’s my choice, and I’ve thrown my “should-ing” and “shouldn’t-ing” out the window with my drinking shoes!)

Off to bed, and can’t wait to swim tomorrow, work on my writing, and just enjoy the passing moments — getting office furniture tomorrow and hoping to start on my juice fast (yeah, we’ll see about that). It’s a full moon tomorrow night, and it should be astounding! I’ll definitely post a picture of the view from our deck of the moon rising over the water, reflecting the sun almost as strongly as the sunlight itself! We are all made up of *star*light, people. Imagine! (Why, hello, Unicorn with Sparkly Teeth! It’s been a while, shy girl…)

Stay strong, soberites!

(For some reason, I have NO problem talking to you all, on a nightly basis. Maybe all this is just an excuse for not wanting to commit, truly, to being sober; to clinging to being a dry drunk. AA makes it seem like if you don’t do the steps, you’re not really sober. I hate that. AA also says that you’re never recovered; I believe in not only solving my problem, but rehabilitating my relationship to booze. I have to.)

Depression, purging at AA meetings, and cosmic consciousness — oh, my!

20 Nov

12:51 pm

That’s pretty much all I have to say!

NOT!

Things are still drama-free (in my head), and life (and death) are still presenting themselves at face value, with no hidden meanings and/or tricks up their sleeves. Which is nice. For once in a long time, I feel…a monotony to this sense of peace and calm about being alive and being human. Kind of like I used to feel. Secure in my choices, personal and professional.

Which makes me think, maybe booze DID have a serious effect on my state of mind? Duh. It made me depressed, and what a strange feeling to come out of that, look back, and notice it. It’s subtle, but at the same time, it’s everything. It’s hard to articulate, and it makes me think of my dad, who is struggling with a serious bout of depression — going on 5 years or something. I wish he’d take meds again. Oh, well, not mine to worry about.

Many a thing I’ve been learning in AA, just from listening and identifying:

1. I don’t have to believe — internalize — other people’s anger and/or accusations. I don’t even have to acknowledge them besides letting them go in one ear and out the other. I know me, and I know what I’ve done wrong. I’ve tried making amends with certain crazy-bitch “sister-in-law”-type people, and well, I don’t need to worry anymore about it. Does it/she still piss me off when I think about it? Yup. Do I need to hold onto that? No.

2. AA meetings are place to vent! To purge, as it were. I think I’m beginning to understand the group therapy aspect to it: if you vent your anger, frustrations, difficulties with drinking, remorse, etc. to others who care and identify, you don’t need to bottle it up; which inevitably will lead to drinking, exploding on someone in a drunken tirade, or any other self-destructive behavior. Here’s a spot-on excerpt from a post at October O Nine, with credit to Running On Sober for featuring it in reference to purging at meetings, holidays, and staying sober during them:

We now celebrate everyday and we purge our fears, anger and sadness daily to our sober sisters and live happy, joyous and free. Most Earth People don’t; they swallow their anger, bury their fears and suppress their sadness, telling themselves that soon it will be the holiday, they will have their food, family and drinks around them for the day and everything will be alright in the world. But today’s expectations are tomorrow’s resentments and they will be into the drinks and that anger, fear and sadness will start to bubble to the surface and whoever is present is going to bear the brunt.

3. I can’t overreact to, control, or fix other people’s problems. I don’t have to care. The last part I wonder about, but I’m feeling like, no, it is NOT my responsibility to care. I WANT to care, most of the time, and I do. I’ve made an effort to be more in touch with my family, to call more, to simply make myself available. However, I don’t have to care if they don’t respond or reciprocate.

4. Meditate. It doesn’t matter if you sit and don’t think, or sit and think; just try. I don’t even like trying to “not think” anymore; I just like to Sit and Be, thoughtlessness be damned. Try anything that takes you out of your head. For me, that’s physical activity; or, working (researching and writing).

5. I think there are a LOT of people in AA who have serious difficulty conceptualizing “God” and “how to meditate,” just like me! After almost 20 meetings in a row (I will miss one tonight; too bad), I’ve realized: there is no one way. There is no one way to understand it. Maybe I’m totally close-minded for NOT believing that a benevolent god oversees our daily activities, but that matters less to me now. I do believe in something — cosmic consciousness is as close to it as I can explain. That is acceptable, as far as I can tell, by AA! What a relief! The thought that everyone in the room simply accepts “God” as a being or some sort of benevolent force — a Biblical God — is now a bit absurd to me. Of course everyone in the room has struggled like I have. It is a process, a seeking, an increasing understanding — present tense, not past. And, totally changing all the time, for everyone.

My boyfriend and I are heading to Puerto Rico today for the holiday. After last year’s major fiascos (Thanksgiving at my brother’s, being sober and feeling VERY self-conscious about it — they asked me not to drink, yet they drank throughout the entire four or five days I was there; Christmas Eve in [cold west coast sity] — another shameful story for another post; New Year’s at my older brother’s, getting shitfaced, blacking out, and screaming bloody murder at my brother and his girlfriend, who is still hating me for it), I SWORE I was NOT doing holidays with the family this year. It’s my gift to myself. And, you know what? I deserve it. I don’t need to put myself through it again.

So…there ya have it! 😉

As for drinking? Eh, I don’t really feel like it, and it’s a consistent lack of desire. WHEW. I never EVER thought I’d feel a reprieve, and here it is. I don’t know if I don’t want to (75%) or I’ve convinced myself that the effects of drinking are shite (25%), but it’s enough to keep me away. I have noticed that the time lapse between romanticizing a drink and thinking about the nonsense that will ensue if I choose to have it has definitely decreased. I don’t have to endure the craving for long, if I apply my mental trick of “avoidance therapy” (my version of shock therapy, I guess). I really hope/pray (ha!) that it’s a mental trick that I can consistently rely on going forward. I also have begun to mentally associate feeling drunk with feeling hung over; my mind is putting a negative spin even on the “high” of the first drink or two. I never believed that my thought patterns could change like this; maybe a re-wiring is happening, but it doesn’t seem to be a conscious effort on my part. AWESOME, big old brain! You ain’t so bad after all. 😉

Coming up on 6 weeks sober this Thursday! Woot woot!

Weird and Awkward, meet Drunky Drunk Girl

12 Nov

11:55 pm

So, I ended my last post a few hours ago (no, I don’t really have a life yet, but I’m workin’ on it!) with going to a meeting that I had the gut feeling would turn out to be “weird and awkward.” Now, I don’t really mind weird and awkward — most of journalism is weird and awkward — but, I dunno, I wasn’t really looking forward to it.

Well, as it turns out, the meeting consisted of me and Rick, this old biker dude. Talk about weird and awkward. I made the best of it, though, and thought that maybe this was — wait for it — God’s will/way of telling me to buck up, practice sharing to a party of one, in preparation to start sharing some of my insight at “real” meetings tomorrow. Or, it could have just been a weird and awkward thing that makes a funny story later.

It was good, though, to share. I like hearing myself talk, I cannot lie. AND, I don’t feel nervous the way I do in front of large groups. Something happened to me during grad school and I now have what I would call a physical affliction related to speaking in front of large groups. I literally get so nervous that my heart beats out of my chest, my voice shakes, and I can barely get words out sometimes. It happens unfailingly no matter what the group. It never used to happen. It’s horrible, and physically disturbing. Which means, I find it even that much harder to speak at AA meetings. On the other hand, I have NO qualms talking one-on-one to people about my feelings and experiences regarding drinking. So it goes. We’ll see if I can muster the courage to get over my heart palpitations tomorrow — or soon.

(I also met a neighbor who is a radio journalist down here, and we had a good chat, which he ended by saying, “I’m not really sure why I’m telling you all this, but you seem like a good person.” Whatever is happening here, including the weird and awkward AA meeting that forced me to open up emotionally such that I am attracting others, I like it. I’ll take it!)

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