Tag Archives: higher power

Our bear passed on…

21 Mar

10:58 am

On Saturday, March 17th, our “son” (beagle mix, almost 10 years old) passed on to the next realm, or whatever you believe exists after our brain turns off and we take our last breath.  We were beside him on the bed as the house-call vet (who happened to have gone to vet school in the islands, which was actually quite comforting–we just moved here, and it still feels quite foreign) stabbed some “feel good” drugs into his heaving frame, and then followed that with barbiturate.  I have had people and pets die, of course, but I have never been in the room as the creature took its last breath.

I almost took my last breath as, a moment later, our dog stopped breathing and his eyes went glassy and still.  It was heart-wrenching, and it was seared into my brain.

As I’ve written, he was such an intimate part of my island life, and was everything to me for the 6 years that I knew him:  coworker (I work from home), confidant, best friend, higher power.  Once, when I was still drinking and had just arrived on island to visit the man who is now my fiance, I drank and blacked out and yelled; and our boy was so scared he hid outside under the truck.  That was before I knew what a gentle, sweet soul he was, apt to cower at even the slightest expression of frustration, the smallest rise in voice.  I vowed never again to scare him like that, and it was that memory, along with so many nights of love, comfort, and simply his presence that kept me from uncorking a bottle of red wine.

As my mind, however, begins to do what I could not imagine a few days ago–accept the unacceptable, normalize the horrific, move on from death–all I’m left with is a sense of awe and anger:  the mind is an amazing, if not entirely effed up, place.  Haha.

As we moved through the first hours without our little man, I couldn’t help but recognize in my actions the similarities between coping with death and dealing with a hangover!  I spent the day clinging to “micro-goals,” like, breathing, like thinking about my next breath without having a panic attack; putting some food down my throat; paying my bill; rearranging the pillows on the couch; forcing a smile just to know that my face was still there.

And I gasped when I suddenly realized that EVERY one of my hangovers was a small death–a little death, but a death all the same.  And, of all the horrific events of the last few days, that realization was kind of the most horrifying–that we, as alcoholics, put ourselves through a death every single day, for months, years, decades.  How cruel are we to ourselves!  Our bodies, minds, and souls deserve so much more; we deserve to be sober, we deserve to live.

I have wanted to smoke a cigarette the past few days, when my heart has felt so tight I could barely think; but not drink.  I can’t imagine going through this trauma and being drunk or hungover.  I still think about my old drinking buddies, some of whom are still using booze to coat, soothe, forget; and I wonder, how is it that I got here, that I GET to be free, to actually live through this pain alcohol-free–such that I can, again, transform it to something else, something positive, something light?

It was interesting to watch our other dog sniff at death and then immediately move away; it was saddening but also interesting to watch myself caress my boy’s corpse right after he stopped breathing, check his eyes (I was like, Is he definitely gone?) a couple times, and then…move away.  We instinctively move away from death.  Likewise, eventually, we instinctively move away from drinking alcoholically; drinking alcoholically is death, and we move away from it to life, to light, to clarity, to actually processing our reality.

I miss him, but I know I have to be grateful for all the life he gave me, the love he allowed me to see in myself, the thing that we conjured together by loving each other–that lives on, I have a strong sense.  And for that I am grateful.

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Words, words, words

4 May

11:44 am

Well, that was interesting. I just got off Facebook and this blog and blah blah blah. Words, words, words. If anyone understands the peril of relying too heavily on words to explain, define, or clarify, it’s me!

You know, lately I’ve been feeling uncomfortable with all “social” media. Without going into it too much, it triggers me. I guess I have residual anxiety, but even anticipating a response–any kind–to a Facebook post, or a blog post, or an email makes me feel…uneasy. I don’t need this, and neither does my sobriety.

I’ve also been really struggling with the navel-gazing aspect to sobriety and to writing about the process of getting sober. Maybe I’ve been doing it too long and simply need a break. Let it be known that all is well, and words are only words–they can’t even come close to expressing the infinity of every moment, let alone of a life lived. All I can say is, this is a new post, and a new day, and I might simply stop writing about my sobriety in favor of writing about other stuff on here–or not! We’ll see.

On that note, I’m going to the beach. Or for a walk. Either would be great, as long as it doesn’t involve my brain. 🙂

Remember: your drinking and your sobriety, as a story source once told me, is only a part of your life. It’s not the whole story, that’s for sure. YOU have control over how you construct your reality. Today, my reality will consist of sun, sand, a very quieted mind, laundry, cleaning, quieting the mind again, job searching (ugh!), volunteer searching (yay!), and enjoying being outside myself. Maybe more walking, a little Bebel Gilberto, and some massive cheesy pasta dish later when the coqui frogs start making noise and let me know (again) that all IS really as it should be and I can relax into that notion. (I must admit, animals seem to make up my “higher power” to a large extent: doves, frogs, crickets, and my dogs, to name a few.)

Happy Sunday, all. Small part of a big, big, big reality, is my mantra today. And, let it go, let it go, let it go. 🙂

Epilogue; prologue–ONE YEAR SOBER!

19 Mar

11:44 am

Some of you were like, Hey, how come you saved the best for last? Well, of course, I wasn’t going to gloss over my ONE YEAR SOBER “BIRTHDAY” today!

First of all, WOWIE, thank you ALL for your awesome, supportive comments. Second, I must clarify: I have two brothers; the one with the girlfriend is NOT the same as the one who is getting married in May. So, I am not the photog at her wedding…

Anyway, the epilogue to yesterday’s “drama in my club” is this:

When midnight came, I admit, I was still exorcising my anger and bitterness by journaling. I did actually get to some good points–great points–about how I feel now and what I get from being sober. I re-read an entry I wrote last year, on this very day, when I was sitting on my couch, passed-out-ish, throwing up onto the towel strategically placed (by my boyfriend) on my chest, before stumbling into bed in a blackout. That day last March, I had nearly six months of continuous sobriety. I have not drunk since then–a full, continuous year. It took me almost two years of trying, but I got here. (Mind you, and this is important, I started trying to control my drinking all the way back in, oh, 2004! I was blacking out then, things got really bad in grad school–I even tried AA in 2006–and I began consciously trying to go for days in a row without drinking starting in 2007–I made it 30 days once, back in the summer of 2008, but more often, I’d only go for 3 to 5 days before going back to my bottle.)

What triggered me?, I wondered, which is why I went back to re-read. Well, it was stuff that would probably not trigger me today, stuff that would not carry as much emotional weight: feeling isolated, feeling attacked for being a “hermit,” which I admit I had become (like, hey, does ANYONE think outside their own asses these days; my landlady literally physically jumped me when I got home that day, scolding me about how I ignore her and I can’t get away this time–needless to say, that woman has CODA issues, and I have rightfully decided to keep my distance), feeling stressed (I was running every day, almost 6 miles one day, 3 miles the next–too much). I had to baby myself then, which makes sense–in early sobriety, everything hurts your raw nerves; nothing makes sense. While my mind is still a buzz of thoughts, back then, everything triggered me to anxious and obsessive thinking.

But, we get through this shit, our minds calm down, and the obsession to drink leaves. Not entirely, but there was this shift that happened for me around 15 or 16 months (I started my journey, a first attempt at getting sober, in June 2012, so this was August of last summer), where I just stopped wanting to drink around every turn. Stopped automatically always assuming/believing that drinking equals relief, escape, fun. Now? Well, that has died down even more, and I see that it’s a real improvement; the thinking goes away. You learn how to live without the reward of alcohol. In short, your mind bounces back. And from what I’m seeing now, your mind not only bounces back, but it keeps going higher and higher!

The epilogue to yesterday’s message from the one brother’s girlfriend is this:

I DID call him, and we DID talk. I was nervous, and upset, but I got through it. And, it left me feeling VERY ambivalent. He basically insinuated I was lying about any message having been sent–she denied it (she probably forgot because she was blacked out when she sent it), and he believed/defended her–which pissed me off to no end. We are NOT that kind of family; there has never been this kind of “he said/she said” drama. That comes from her. Anyway, it bummed me out, and I expressed my frustration, that I cannot do more than I’ve done. And, he continued to keep his list, you know, the one with all the reasons on it to hate me, to hold up his (her?) grudge. And I was like, Dude, I’m not saying you can’t hate me, what I’m saying is, your girlfriend can’t bully me. I get to choose that. Period. (Plus, no one needs a reason to hate someone; hate is irrational, and no matter how many lists you make, hate is a choice, not a must, or a rationalized “to do.”)

On the one hand, he was like, I don’t know why it took you so long to call; on the other, he was like, Well, why do you have to go dredging up the past? I was confused, obviously, mostly at his utter lack of self-observation–you do realize, I wanted to say, that you’re saying two different and opposite things and that both allow you to maintain your grudge, no matter what I say or do, right? He said something about, Well, there’s nothing we can do then. And I was like, YES, brother, there IS something we can do here, and it’s what we do, as humans: we can work together toward forgiving one another, and we can work together toward reconciliation. (I actually said that; I felt proud!)

Honestly, I realize the elephant in the room is his toxic, 15-year-old relationship with cray-cray. And, I see how messed up she is, and how IF he wants to change the situation, he’s going to have to confront her, call her out on her act, and stand up for himself. One, he’s never done that in 15 years; and two, I assume that he knows that IF he does that, he’s going to unleash her beast (she’s threatened to kill herself if he leaves her; which, in my opinion, is part of her act, but which I don’t think my brother is so sure).

GAH. Talk about Relationships 101. And, I realize now that it’s none of my business anymore; I don’t need and never did need to keep this shit live. That’s my problem, wanting and expecting people to align with how I see the world, to forgive and/or like me. Lesson learned: What other people think of me is none of my business; and let it go, let it go, let it go.

However, I was proud of myself! Once I got over my fear and pounding heart, I was pretty good at explaining myself. I know I did wrong, and MY crazy while blacked out can put off anyone for good. But, what more can I do? If they want to continue to buttress their grudge just to hide from reality, well, at least I don’t have to live in that place. I did send him the email she sent, and then we “chatted” about life, and then I hung up. And then, I called my other brother–we’re much closer–and he basically talked me down for the next hour and a half. All in all, it was cathartic, if not healing. I’m still not looking forward to the wedding, but at least now I KNOW I can stand up for myself–I won’t fall down and die.

The prologue is this:

THIS is just the beginning, this sober thing here. I feel like now, (my) sobriety is taking on a shape of its own, starting to live outside myself, direct me when I’m lost, prop me up when I’m weak and scared. I know it’s me, doing this, but it’s somehow more than me. Maybe it’s simply an accumulation of this constancy of self–I can rely on myself. I can rely not only on remaining sober but also on…this Truth inside to guide me, to steer me, to fill me up, to make me righteous when I need to be, to help me–allow me–to make the right choices, and not just the superficial ones that I “should” make.

It’s growing, and building, and I’m becoming more and more sure of myself, of this path as being the right one, of sobriety as being the right choice, and not just the good choice. It’s right because it’s allowed me so much growth this year, emotional and professional. It’s right because it helps me to really see my relationships in action, and to identify problems on my end. It’s right because, I don’t know, I’ve talked about this nebulous idea before, but protecting The Body is so much bigger than just not trashing my own temple. It’s about this connection to heaven, as it were, which is here on Earth–the body, this body that I’m in, this mind and body, is a holy ground. It is where I stand; it is the only place I can be, which means, feel safe, be connected to…the Truth. A calm. Something that says, it will all be OK. There is nothing too big or scary; nothing is big or scary, actually. It’s all good, baby.

Even more, I don’t have to rely on anything outside myself to connect to this truth anymore; it is right here, and it is growing. Sure, I want to drink sometimes, but I know I can do well without. And this truth, it gets bigger now with every day sober. I can’t tell you what a strange thing this is to say, because up until about a few weeks ago, I was still struggling with Not Drinking. Sobriety is about me not drinking, big deal, no one cares, it’s just alcohol anyway. Somehow, that has morphed. Maybe it’s as simple as momentum: my sober car is rolling, still picking up speed, and I’m finally able to look back and see just how far it’s come!

So, one year is a prologue, it seems. The best is yet to come. Sounds SO preachy and AA-y, but…it’s real. I think it helps to confront your shit–I am learning to do that as it happens, and not wait (um, two years). But hey, the things I’ve learned and what’s helped me become more empathetic toward myself and others is this: we all make mistakes in our lives, but we all evolve (if we try). And strangely, as you’re fighting to evolve, sometimes it’s YOU who has to help someone else learn this about themselves. Like, to tell them, You can change, you can evolve, you are bigger than you know.

Another one is, I forgive you. I mean, getting sober has taught me that I must (not should) be prepping to forgive all the time, because I DO want to be that person who is READY to forgive when someone who’s hurt me comes with a sincere apology. Forgiveness is hard, and you really do have to be prepared to offer it to someone; I don’t want to not be able to give that. People deserve it. I deserve it. So, in addition to not being hung over all the time, I’ve been able to learn the value of cultivating forgiveness in myself–for others’ health, for my own. DEEP THOUGHTS, people. 😉

Tonight is the wine bar event–well, we’re gathering at a wine bar/resto. On the one hand, it’s just another day sober. On the other, I feel better and more hopeful and less burdened than I have ever felt. And, I feel like I am more confident and settled–this isn’t going to go away with a mood swing because this is real, I made this. I built this. And, I think the struggle is what makes it worthwhile, because without that constant fighting against the wolfie in your head, there would be no…reference point. The whole process of building your new statue–becoming sober–is what helps it stick.

Thank you, friends. I would NEVER have gotten this far without your support here. Thank you from the bottom of my heart–your comments were touching and some brought tears to my eyes.

Now, another 90 days? Another 100-day challenge? Onward for this “user bitch cunt!” (I hate to tell her, but it’s no secret I can be a cunt; and, I still love me. So, GOTCHA, bitch! Of course, I’m not above resentment yet, my friends. LOL)

(Btw, I think my present to myself for a year sober might be a trip back to Mexico–I loved Mexico City when I went a few years ago, so…I don’t know why, but it sounds like a good idea!)

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?

What a relief to be sober!

28 Jan

1:32 am

Ahh. Whew. What a relief to be sober!

Holy Christ, I’m SO glad to be *contained.* In containment. Maybe even stilted, as in, I’m not sure I could have had a conversation with a stranger tonight (up and down today, mainly due to my usual existential “drama” that seems to prohibit me, absolutely, from simply enjoying the moments). BUT, after seeing a few drunks doing what drunken people do, all I feel is relief: I have nothing to fear, I’m not in that place tonight, and, I DON’T EVER HAVE TO BE IN THAT PLACE AGAIN.

I wanted to drink today, but I knew I wouldn’t. I would get through the night. And, maybe it was a “God shot”: we went to a bar for dinner and there were several things that just made me cringe. One was a guy talking WAY too loudly, sharing WAY too much, touching WAY too frequently. I remember doing that, and watching it at 108 days sober made me feel…uncomfortable. From a distance, watching him, I felt edgy. Nervous, as if his state of mind was contagious and even after all my 108 days of work, I might catch the “drunk as shit” bug and start, well, acting like HIM. Like ME, when I was drunky drunk: out of control, embarrassing, invasive, and, about to get more of all three before too long. Ugh.

Then, we took off, and as we were heading out of the parking lot, I turned my head toward flashing lights. Two cops were pointing their flashlights on a dude who had either fallen or gotten into a fight; he was sitting on the curb smoking a cigarette, and blood was everywhere–on his legs and arms and face, on the ground, on his clothes, on his bare (were they bare?) feet. I’m guessing he was drunk (it’s the place to go out here, so lots of bars and lots of drunken people) and got into some drunken nonsense. Typically when I refer to “nonsense” and “shenanigans,” I’m sort of doing it tongue in cheek. This was not a joke to me tonight; it just made me feel even more nervous, and well, tired. TIRED. Drama, repercussions, head in hands, sighs all around. Apologies, things you can’t take back, waking up with that sinking feeling of dread at the base of your being, knowing that there had been simply, a lot of fucking bullshit. A whole lot of shit.

I’m so glad I’m outside that tangle, at least for now. I felt fearful for a while tonight, but I know that there is nothing to fear. I am not drinking, I will not be getting drunk, and there will be no drunken nonsense or shenanigans. I am going to watch part of a movie on quantum physics with my earbuds in, stay very still (safe) in my bed in the dark, and set my alarm; I am going to get up, brush my teeth, make coffee, and take the dogs for a walk, before starting on a bunch of editing I have to do for this week. I have an interview lined up with a marine biologist for tomorrow (maybe the real reason I’m edgy), and I will call him at the scheduled time. He already has the questions, so there is nothing to fear. And, all this will go down as planned–plus, without the extra TON of weight to carry by being hung over–because I did not drink wine tonight. Thank you, me. Thank you thank you thank you, higher me.

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. 😉

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.)

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