Sober since April 6, 2006


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

stuck with me

Sometimes, I want to withdraw from everything and everyone. Sometimes, I want to draw closer to them.

I always want the opposite of my situation. If I'm surrounded by awesome people, I want to be alone. If I'm alone, I don't want to be alone.

I couldn't wait for my favorite meeting tonight. But once I got there, I wanted to leave. I couldn't wait to be alone. So instead of hanging out after the meeting, I withdrew. Now that I'm alone, I don't want to be alone anymore ... and I'm frustrated with myself for being so fickle.

Is it because I'm uncomfortable with others, or is it because I'm uncomfortable with myself? Wherever I go, there I am -- totally out of place and inadequate. I have always considered that to be a part of "social anxiety" or "shyness", but the same feelings are there even when I'm alone. So there's something else I can't blame on anything but myself.

I'm in the middle of a fourth step, and right now I feel like the scum of the earth. I seriously don't like "me". I can get rid of others and be as alone as I want, but I'm still stuck with me.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

in the shadow on the moon

Today was a great day. It's been a great week. I feel happy.

I was driving home tonight after a meeting and a "meeting-after-the-meeting" at a coffee shop. I looked up and saw the moon. It looked beautiful.

Only about 25% of it was visible. The rest was in shadow.

And for some reason, the shadow caught my attention more than anything else. I wanted to be there, in the shadow.

I don't understand why.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

so much to be grateful for

Today, I'm especially grateful for ...

  • being sober for almost 10 and 1/2 months ... wow :)
  • not having to fight anything or anyone
  • not having to run away from anything or anyone
  • having my very first amazingly awesome and special Valentine's day
  • a Valentine's teddy bear that I can clutch when I'd rather be holding someone else
  • Valentine's candy. I got too much of it ... but maaaaan it's been good!
  • the wonderful people in AA. We're a group who would not ordinarily mix ... thank God we do!
  • discovering new Tuesday and Thursday night meetings
  • getting to support a friend at his wedding Saturday
  • my family still loves me
  • making progress on my fourth step, and not getting upset over anything. It's usually very easy to see where I went wrong
  • feeling less fear about the future
  • things going better at work
  • having people I can talk to every day, openly and honestly without fear of misunderstanding or judgment
  • ice packs and advil. One of my old neck injuries woke me up this morning, and today has been very painful. To make things worse, the ice pack burned my skin and left blisters behind. But at least I can breathe without pain now.
  • my car is on the verge of hitting the 100,000-mile mark. I'm so impressed! Never thought it would make it this far.
  • I have a job to get up for EARLY in the morning
  • God, because He heard me today

Sunday, February 11, 2007

tall enough?

The light bulb over my head finally turned on: Sometimes talking about this stuff works better than blogging about it.

That little discovery seems obvious to most people ... but I've never been able to talk to anyone about anything before. I can write about almost anything, but talking about it has always been (and still is) very difficult. There must be a disconnect between my brain and my mouth, because I can type much easier than I can speak.

So after talking about this, I'm feeling much better now. The discomfort yesterday was caused by something I didn't even blog about anyway.

Yesterday I felt "left out" because I wasn't included in something. It brought back the same feelings I had as a kid at the theme park. In front of the roller coasters, they have the sign that says "You must be at least this tall to ride". I remember my big brother standing next to the sign and being tall enough to ride. But I'd stand next to it, and I wouldn't be tall enough. So I'd have to watch him go on the ride and have all the fun. That sucked.

Well I felt like that yesterday. I felt inadequate. I wondered if I might have been included if I was better, cooler, or otherwise "not such a dumbass". That's a great way to ruin a day. And I ruined it quite sufficiently. (Not getting any sleep the night before and forgetting to eat all day didn't help either. I need to learn how to eat and sleep ...)

How often do we waste time and energy worrying about that kind of stuff? Fears of inadequacy are sometimes the most devastating fears. They take away what little confidence we have and replace it with self-contempt and downright self-hatred. I've got enough of that ... I don't need any more.

It's interesting how little things like this can have so much power over us. And for some unknown reason, I have this bizarre willingness to give it all the power it needs to ruin almost everything.

Today, I'm especially grateful for ...

  • staying sober
  • spending time with that guy who likes me for reasons I'll never understand
  • finding out I can talk about things that bother me ... it's not easy, but it's possible
  • my family & my dog
  • nice warm pajamas
  • a job to get up for in the morning
  • my car still works (woohoo!)
  • starting a new art/craft project ... I got all the stuff, now I just need time
  • God. He's laughing at me right now, but that's okay.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Today, I'm grateful for ...

  • not drinking today
  • not starting smoking today (Yeah, I was tempted to buy my first pack of cigarettes ... pretty stupid, eh? Everyone else wants to quit but can't do it ...)
  • not sleeping all day to avoid unpleasant feelings (was tempted to do that too)
  • AA buddies who called and text messaged with me today
  • online AA buddies who stop by and drop a line
  • my family, and going out with my mom for dinner
  • my dog ... he still loves me ... he still wants to be with me, and I don't understand why
  • my car ... it took me all over the place today. I love to be on the road going somewhere -- anywhere.
  • I didn't get lost in downtown today ... I usually get lost
  • that I can go to a shopping mall without feeling the need to buy anything. I haven't always been able to do that ...
  • warm, fuzzy pajamas to wear in my warm, soft bed
  • my job ... so many people want one but can't get one
  • feeling so exhausted that no amount of projection/worry in the WORLD can keep me awake all night again
  • God. I didn't feel Him today, but I know He was there.

can't sleep ... too busy projecting

For the past two months, I've been blessed with having a special guy in my life. I found out today there's a good chance that his job will be relocating him to another city.

Thanks to this program, my first impulse is to trust God. I know that He has my life and my guy's life all planned out according to what's best for each of us. I'm extremely grateful that our lives happened to intersect for the past couple of months. That's been a huge blessing to us both.

Thanks to my alcoholism, my second impulse is to project stuff that hasn't happened yet and get upset over it. If he relocates, that would be a great career move for him. But he would most likely meet someone else who's better for him than I am. So that means I'd lose him, and I don't like that idea. At what point does loving someone mean holding on or letting go?

Nevermind the fact that none of this has even happened yet -- and may never happen, the drama is already playing and replaying in my head. The projection started a few hours ago, and oh boy -- it's obviously having a field day with me.

I'm powerless over God's will -- whether I fight it tooth and nail or peacefully submit to it -- whatever happens will happen. If I want to live a sober life, I must submit, accept, and do the next right thing ... but it has to actually happen first.

The projection is one issue -- but the self-centered fear is another. It bothers me that I'm more concerned about my loss than his benefit. That isn't love ... that's selfishness. So now I feel guilty for wishing he could stay. But if I truly had no opinion regarding whether he stays or leaves, that would mean I don't have feelings for him at all. So by simply preferring one of the two possible outcomes, does that mean I'm being selfish?

See? This projection stuff is bad ... it doesn't stop ... ever ... I'm at least going to stop typing now :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

desire to know God

From 24 Hours A Day, meditation for February 6:

"God finds, amid the crowd, a few people who follow Him, just to be near Him, just to dwell in His presence. A longing in the Eternal Heart my be satisfied by these few people. I will let God know that I seek just to dwell in His presence, to be near Him, not so much for teaching or a message, as just for Him. It may be that the longing of the human heart to be loved for itself is something caught from the Great Divine Heart.

"I pray that I may have a listening ear, so that God may speak to me. I pray that I may have a waiting heart, so that God may come to me."

Reading that yesterday made me stop and think ... Yes, I pray every day. But how much of it is out of selfish motives? Do I really want to share a spiritually intimate relationship with God, or am I just praying out of "duty"?

Lately, it's just been out of duty. I've prayed because it was the right thing to do -- not because I was interested in building a relationship with God. It's been more like a business transaction than anything else.

I didn't notice that until now. Interesting stuff.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

conditional happiness in cubicle world

Work is becoming increasingly hectic, so they had us come in this morning to work half a day. Yeah, I wanted to gripe and grumble, but I've worked most of my life in retail where I had to work morning and evening shifts on both Saturdays and Sundays every weekend ... so working 8-12 on a Saturday morning really isn't that bad in comparison.

But one of my favorite meetings is Saturday morning at 10am. As I watched the clock hit 9:15, the idea came to mind that I could bail out of work and go to the meeting. But after looking at the amount of work there was to do, I decided I'd put that decision off until I got more work done. The meeting was only a ten minute drive away.

When the clock hit 9:40, I really wanted to bail out of work and hit the meeting. At 9:50, I was overcome with that frantic newcomer feeling of "needing" a meeting (but that was just my alcoholic thinking kicking in: If I want something badly enough, I need it). I missed the people at that meeting and I really wanted to see them. And I knew that if I rushed out the door quickly enough I could make it in time.

But was it really all that crucial? The day before, I promised my boss and coworkers I'd work 8-12. My coworkers certainly weren't leaving -- they were working hard. I knew I'd feel guilty if I left early.

So I decided to stay at work. And I was pissed. I didn't want to be there. I really didn't want to be there.

"If only I could go to the meeting, then I'd be happy ... " But no, not really.

Then I realized I was placing conditions on my happiness:

"IF this happens, THEN I'll be happy."
"IF I get that, THEN I'll be happy."
"IF they do this, THEN I'll be happy."
"IF only I could do/be/become that, THEN I'll be happy."

Conditional happiness is never good. It requires an initial state of dissatisfaction: I won't be happy until I get what I want.

One problem with that kind of thinking is that it's cyclical. As soon as one demand is reached, another is generated, so I still won't be happy. Instead I'll want more, and I won't be happy until I get it. Then I'll want more, and I won't be happy until I get it. So I'll end up never being happy.

Looking for happiness is like conducting a solo but desperate search over hundreds of square miles of dangerous terrain to find my lost shoes -- while entirely oblivious to the fact that I'm already wearing them. Happiness doesn't need to be chased. It doesn't have to be acquired or purchased. It doesn't have to depend on the actions of other people or on the outcome of situations. It's always there in any circumstance -- I just have to be willing to recognize it.

Until I learn to be happy today, where I am, with what I have, with things being as they are, with people being who they are, I will never be happy.

Sometimes it's easy to experience contentment in any situation. Sometimes it's not so easy. But today I managed to be happy at work, albeit after a rough start -- but still, I'm grateful for that today. I'll make that meeting next week.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

just when i got ready ...

The weatherman said yesterday that we would be getting snow/ice/wintery mix today, and he was right. Woke up this morning and it was snowing.

In most parts of the country, that's not a big deal. But here? It's a big deal. They cancelled school and many businesses shut down (except for the company I work for ... it never shuts down).

The local news weathermen are gloating -- because for the first time in their lives, they have managed to forecast the weather correctly.

While trying to decide whether to brave the crazy streets and go to work this morning, I glanced at a traffic report on a local news site. Accident reports were multiplying. People around here can't drive in the snow.

We're a bunch of instant idiots -- just add snow. I figured I could drive okay, but that doesn't matter if some guy named "Bubba" loses control of his pickup truck and totals my car.

So I decided I'd wait around the house until the roads clear.

A few hours later, it stopped snowing. The road in front of my house was clear. No ice or snow anywhere in the road. So I started getting ready to go to work.

Just as I got ready to leave -- boots, jeans, sweater, jacket, coat, scarf, gloves, hat, purse, cell phone -- I looked out the front door to see this:

It was really coming down. Hrm, so much for the road being clear.

But was it really undrivable? Really? A walk out to the street revealed few inches of slush and ice. I was pretty confident I could drive in it, but the thought of crazy Bubba in his out-of-control pickup sent me back inside.

According to the latest traffic report, 10 new accidents have just been reported in the last five minutes. (See? I told you nobody here can drive in the snow!) (Post script: 20 minutes after I wrote this, there were an additional 30 more accidents ... yeah ...)

The rest of the forecast today is 2-4 inches of snow followed by 2 inches of ice/freezing rain. Looks like I won't be going anywhere today.

It's hard not to worry about work and the hell I'll be facing when I finally get back there. Oh well.

In the mean time, I can work on my fourth step and try to chill out a bit. Pun intended.

I'll close with a picture of my dog running through the snow. He's never seen snow before ... he loves it :)