fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering...
so, the program continues. i am currently working on step 4 - moral inventory. i wasn't really sure what i was supposed to do at first, but i went ahead and did my best with it anyway. now that i've kinda done it, i'm realizing it wasn't nearly as big as i thought. just focus on what's weighing on you the most, be honest, don't omit anything. that's the hardest part. make a list of what you're angry about. make a list of what you're afraid of (not necessarily phobias, but more day to day life stuff). sex history (i think i remembered all of their names ... maybe.) you really need a sponsor for this step. and you need to write it down. you can't do it in your head. the whole point is ultimately to get rid of it. you can't get rid of it if you're keeping it in your head.
MORE ON THE GOD THING:
sorry guys, but there's no skirting this issue. there just isn't. i like to think i'm a pretty smart guy. i grew up with church every week, and the bearded guy in the clouds, winged angels in heaven, blah, blah, blah. then i became a teenager and went, "wait a minute, what the fuck? why am i buying this wholesale, without even questioning it?" i questioned it. is god real? is god fake? have they been lying to me this whole time? what about jesus? what about buddha? this is madness, and i want no part of it. it made me feel the same way i've always felt about politics. i hate politics. two parties arguing about shit that doesn't matter while they don't seem to notice the world crashing around their ears. ignorant followers that are strongly opinionated on issues that they haven't even really investigated just parroting someone elses beliefs. and does the leader really even believe that, or are they just using it to distract the lemmings from their secret agenda, which invariably revolves around making money. after all, politicians are businessmen and women, at the end of the day. so fuck it. i'm not going to waste my time listening to their bullshit. christianity made me feel like that. "i'm gonna go to heaven because jesus died on a cross, and his father is the one god (nevermind that whole holy spirit conundrum). if you don't believe this you're wrong, and i need to make you believe it, even if i can't legitimately articulate why i believe it. them heathen muslim towelhead camel jockeys murderin' and rapin' all the time ... send 'em all straight to hell, bur bur bur, 'murica." why all the fighting? can't you idiots see that you're all talking about the same damn thing? why do we get so hung up on what to call it, and whose name is right or wrong? the important part is that we are acknowledging a common human experience that should bring us closer together, rather than farther apart. at this point, i could at least concede that there was something out there. i'd felt and seen it at work enough in my own life to admit that it was there. there were too many things that fit too perfectly together to be mere coincidence. i also cite the prevalence of at least some form of diety/religion in almost every culture around the globe throughout human history, even in geographically isolated regions, as fairly compelling evidence. but i still didn't want to enter the discussion. i didn't want to argue with someone about god, allah, the creator, the spirit of the universe, or bob the great sheep in the sky. that wasn't the point. i needed something that was real. that had an impact on and pragmatic use in my life. i think i'm finally finding that. starting to.
delirium tremens is no fun. if you've experienced it, you know. if you haven't, then take me on my word that it is not a place you want to go. i have never felt so scared and helpless in my life. and i couldn't make it stop. i was stuck in the vicious cycle; though self-imposed in a way, it seemed interminable. and even if i did get clean long enough for the shaking to stop (i caught a bug that was going around last fall and didn't come out of my room for 48 hours straight, but to go to the bathroom to puke/shit/try and drink a little water, when i could manage to walk. my roommates didn't even know i was home. i probably came closer to death than i would really care to consider.) it wouldn't be long before a drink sounded good, 'just to settle my stomach,' or whatever the justification was at the time. and once i started, i physically couldn't stop. my body demanded more. it craved that which was destroying it. so for me, this really is life or death business. a normal person may not be able to comprehend the seriousness of the problem, but i must never forget what that was like. i never want to go back to there. and if i drink anything, it won't be long before i pick up right where i left off. at first, yeah, i could probably have a beer or two at a party. and then a beer or two after work (a reward which i have earned well through my labor, right?!). but really, what's the point of just having a couple? if you're gonna drink, might as well have fun with it and get fucked up. remember, i earned this! it's not long before we're back to a half pint of vodka in the morning just to settle my nerves enough to go about my day.
it is very real. the wolf is always at the door. i live a quarter mile from a liquor store. nobody's gonna stop me, especially if i have half a mind to do it. so it's vitally important to remember why i don't want to. and the miracle of this 'god business' is that i really don't want to anymore. i don't need to. i hardly think about it any more. even at parties, i'm not really tempted to. i've proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that it ultimately doesn't make anything better. in fact, it makes life much much worse for me, and everybody around me. why wouldn't i want to take the path of improvement? of contentedness?
so, needless to say, i was at a point of desperation. i couldn't stop drinking - didn't even enjoy it anymore. i was dying. i was willing to do anything, so long as it promised to 'get me off this crazy thing.' so i start my day with a couple cocktails (this being a pint glass with 4 fingers of bottom shelf vodka, topped off with tap water), go to work for my 8am-2pm shift, the end of which is always a horrible horrible experience, pull the pint of vodka from my backpack as soon as i'm off the clock, make a 50/50 with warm water from the bathroom sink in one of the cups from the cafeteria, because it has a lid and a straw so i don't spill it all over while i'm shaking, trying to drink it. once that's drained the shaking stops. i'm waiting for the bus, it's an hour ride to the nearest AA club, which is in a different state. bought a half gallon at the store (since i was already in town, you know?), just to stock up for the weekend. by the time the bus ride was done, i was tuned up enough to walk normally again, and approaching brave enough to even speak up at the meeting and ask for help. i did. guy at the meeting volunteered to drive me home. we talked. grabbed a sando. sat on my deck and ate while my shakes came back. he takes off. i make another drink. i go for a hike with a friend through the woods, work up a good sweat. i brought a flask, just in case, but didn't need it. made gradually weaker and weaker drinks that night, until i was basically drinking water. that was march 20. march 21, i didn't consume any alcohol. i wound up giving that half gallon away to a friend. i woke up in the morning, shaking like a motherfucker, but managed to have some toast and a glass of water without spilling all over myself or the kitchen. it took about a month for the shaking to subside completely. i'm sure there's still at least some residual permanent damage to my nervous system, but i feel better than i've felt in years. and that is a miracle. a miracle that god worked in me. that's the only way i can explain it. as much as you might argue that it was just me not taking a drink, it's simply not true. left to my own devices, i get drunk. it's what i do. i'm good at it, if that's what your objective is. i know all the tricks. it was not me that did that. i just asked the universe to help me stop, and it did. and i still do that every single morning. and i thank the universe for keeping me sober at the end of every day.
i had a spiritual awakening of sorts earlier this week. i've been praying and talking about - god i guess, for lack of a better term - a lot in the past 2 months, honestly giving up all self to the whim of the universe. how may i best serve others and help do the good of the world today? grant me serenity, courage, wisdom. tell me what the fuck to do, because i don't know. help me place others before myself. i'm yours to command, since life was a shitshow when i was calling the shots, so you're in charge now. take it, i don't want it. every morning i do this.
notice, i'm not talking about jesus. i'm not reading the bible more. i'm not going to church more. but i am praying... to whatever the hell it is. i am talking with others about this thing and how they perceive it; what their experiences have been.
so, i'm driving home after work tuesday, thinking about work stuff. i'm getting all riled up about stuff that's going on there (trust me, it's frustrating as shit. all jobs have their pain in the ass parts to them, but this is like the worst horrorshow of an abortion i've every been party to as far as employment goes. it ruffles my feathers. but i'm viewing it as a sort of test - an opportunity to practice - handling these emotions, and seeking the best course of action. trying out this newfangled god thing everyone in the meetings is saying they use. i view this as pragmatism.) so, i sense the noise in my brain starting to rev up, the negative thoughts floating around in there are building up steam. suddenly i hit 'pause'. boom. stop. where's god? what's he up to right now? so - words really can't describe the actual experience, but i will do my best - i go to this room in my mind, which i have never been in, and god is there just chilling. there is no big booming voice. there is no real peace washing over me - at least, not the way i imagined it - but i am suddenly at ease. i'm all like "hey god, what's up?" and he's all like "nmh, just chilling". suddenly it was all okay. all of my anxiety over shit at work was gone. i just realized that god wasn't freaking out about this stuff, and if god really is in charge of the show, then why am i freaking out? there's nothing to worry about. it's taken care of. i need not concern myself with it. just suit up and show up. play my part, and be of optimum service. be ready when the time for my usefulness comes into play, waiting patiently.
and in that moment, there wasn't a sense of god saying "finally, you decide to check in, where the fuck have you been? your mother was worried sick!" i was just totally welcome. "please stop back anytime. it's encouraged. maybe even stick around awhile, if you'd like." i would like. i would like very much. but i'm prone to wandering, so at the moment i am going to content myself with trying to check in more often. maybe i can at least handle that. i mean, five seconds after this happened, i was all pissed at the person in front of me for driving wrong, so. you know. baby steps.
and that's the beautiful part. it's always there. it's always been there. all i have to do is reach out and touch it. i don't have to achieve some level of sanctity or whatever in order to be granted access to it. it's there all the time, should i have the presence of mind to use it. even some fucked up basket case like me is always welcome. that's so cool. i've been riding this pink cloud all week. it's awesome. i'm giddy happy and annoyingly excited about life in a way i haven't been, maybe ever. and it was not the clouds parting and a bearded man with a big booming voice and lightning bolts. it was a chill ass hippie dude in an empty room in my head, on my way to the gas station after work.
this whole sobriety thing
*tolkien analogies in italics
i think i might try to start posting my AA stuff on here, just because i would like to have a place to put my thoughts and progress, and this seems a more suitable venue than facebook.
current status: i have a sponsor. i make it to as many meetings as possible, but tuesday night and friday night men's stags are my mainstays, as they fit into my schedule well, and i like the stag meetings. since i started my job, going every day has not been an option. not even close. even the monday night meetings with david have stopped, but i do talk to him on tuesday nights at least.
to sum up briefly (i may come back later and edit):
if only for the next five minutes, ten minutes, an hour, a day. don't worry about forever, or even tomorrow, just don't drink today.
fix the spirit first - the mind and body will follow
don't think your way into right living, live your way into right thinking.
pick the god that you want to be in charge of your life. if you're giving all control of your life to god's will, it should be a god that you're comfortable entrusting with it. (my god laughs at fart jokes) gandalf
pray. all the time.
establish a routine. ask for guidance in the morning (and remind yourself who's in charge while you're at it), say thanks at night.
be honest. completely, brutally, painfully honest. about everything.
be cognizant of what's going on between your ears. motives behind activities are important (WHY you're doing something helps determine whether or not it is advisable to do so).
don't let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (HALT)
be honest, open, and willing (HOW)
alcohol is cunning, baffling, powerful. the one ring
you have a disease, which is why you see others (who don't have it) drinking with impunity.
be of service. be available to help. look to be used for god's will.
it's pretty simple, really. i was just making shit unnecessarily complicated all this time. might not be easy, but it's simple. and it permeates everything in my life, whether i like it or not.
If you were dating a secretary would you get her something for secretary's day? She's not your secretary, you didn't make her a secretary, in fact, she brings work home all the time and makes you a part time secretary too. Then she expects some gift for secretary's day? That would be completely unreasonable.
sleep like a baby...
i never understood that. people say sleep like a baby when they are trying to describe a peaceful, restful sleep.
babies wake up and cry every couple hours. doesn't seem very restful to me. not to mention the whole having to eat, then burp, then throw up, then rest in your own excrement. i'd cry too. definitely not something i would consider in any way peaceful.
also, this is pretty cool:
the varied states of corn
i never really considered how being friend-zoned basically implies that (assuming the friendzoner is a lady, and the friendzonee is me) it is somehow the fault of the lady for not being into me, as opposed to being my fault for being into her.
as much as it always seems like "i just can't help the way i feel about you," why is it suddenly so bad a thing that she just can't help the way she doesn't feel about me, you know?
don't get me wrong, ladies, i'm still a pathetic romantic with more emotions than i know what to do with. but i'll try better to not hold it against you for not being interested in such a hot mess. not that i blame you in the slightest, and not that i don't feel awful in the rare event that i'm the friendzoner, but there still is some residual subconscious resentment and awkwardness there. and that is wrong.
the more things change, the more they stay the same
*greetings from michigan:
my first lengthy stay away from home has come to a close. i haven't touched any alcohol in two weeks. i still don't know what the hell i'm doing with my life. and i already miss tahoe.*
i'm beginning to remember why i really didn't miss having the internet that much.
i don't need to know about your stupid kid, or what you're having for dinner, or the 10 reasons you belong in house baratheon.
i really don't.
the only time i missed it is when there was some silly piece of trivial knowledge that i couldn't remember, or i had to file an important form, or needed to pay a bill.
that's basically it. maybe watch videos, or steal music from somewhere, since i'm online. download shit to make my laptop work when i invariably fuck it up and delete something i wasn't supposed to.
not spend hours poring through meaningless babble about shit that doesn't really matter, in the lives of people who i haven't seen in years, who are only trying to make themselves look as accomplished and successful and happy as they possibly can. apparently it's working, because what started as mild curiosity - purely for the hell of it - proceeded into nostalgia, and eventually progressed to the inevitable "what have i done with my life?!" there are also a few unfortunates thrown in that (i would assume, in the light of those apparent successes) have resorted to more of a cry for help or attention, because they are at least honest about how much life can suck sometimes, combined with buying into everyone else's bullshit.
the sad part is, it is so enticing still. sure, i don't NEED any of this stuff, but why not enjoy some diversions, right? i'll read the entirety of that blog, just because i can. i guess it was marginally entertaining. enriching my life? no. i suppose, if nothing else, it kept me occupied for three hours. and that's something. maybe. i don't know. depends on what your time is worth. and what you choose to spend it on.
time to be more discerning about what it's spent on, rather than finding ways to burn it.
What if we just swam around in warm water all day every day?
For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, wars and so on - whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man - for precisely the same reasons.
Things I do that don't make any damn sense (to be added to later)
I drive from Northland and 14 mile to Northland and 12 mile almost every weekday. Every time I come close to the Northland and 13 mile intersection I get afraid that the right lane is going to become a right turn only lane and I move to the left lane. The right lane does not become a right turn only lane.
Whenever I see an Art Van truck, I check to see if Big Dave is inside of it. It's been at least 3 years since Dave worked for Artvan, and over a year since I've talked to Big Dave, but I still always check to see if he's sitting in the passenger seat when I see an Art Van truck.
1 bag of frozen tater tots
1/2 onion diced
3 cloves minced garlic
1 can large black olives, pitted, strained, and diced
2 tbsp. basil pesto
cayenne pepper to taste
1 fuckload (but not too much) butter
lightly saute everything but the tots. veggies should not be completely cooked, just softened.
toss sauteed mixture with frozen tots in large mixing bowl.
evenly distribute in a casserole dish (metal works better than glass). cover with tin foil.
bake for 30 mins at 425. uncover. bake an additional 15 mins (or until desired crustification is achieved)
don't burn your mouth, and devour indiscriminately.
welp. we're here. i was pretty excited on the drive out. there was some drama the night we were supposed to get here, which delayed our arrival until yesterday, so we spent the night in reno. it also put me in a less pleasant space than what i probably should be in. but, it was worked out (ish), so i just need to get over it.
then this morning, mom called to tell me that uncle pete died. i wasn't nearly as close to him as bruce was, but it's still a shock. yet another reminder that none of us are here forever, and something rather opposite a boon to my emotional state. there's still so much in the air. i can't stop trying, that will be the end of it. so i will keep trying. because i have to. but it just doesn't have that thrill of adventure that i was hoping for. it's just a constant oscillation between being awestruck by the fact that i'm here (and here is absolutely amazing, by the way), and mortified that i've made a terrible, terrible mistake.
so, it's great that i'm alone and i'm here and it's super neat. and it's awful at the same time.
i don't know. just keep trucking. that's the main thing.
2013 26 April :: 12.21am
:: Mood: the usual
:: Music: David Bowie - The Next Day
Auschwitz, this one's for you
i don't even know if you bother to read this shit.
hell, i don't even know you bother to do this shit. so, i obviously am not reading yours. so, no. odds are good you won't be reading this.
but, nonetheless, this comic made me think of you. and i hope it helps. i'm somewhat afraid to encroach upon some of the touchy, weight-related subjects. but this seemed important.
WE have body issues. societal cultures and norms and gender constructs, in addition to inferiority complexes and mental and physical shortcomings and inabilities. but we are all people. and people need to get better at being a society that thrives on support of one another as opposed to condemnation of those that are, well, not us.
(my post about modern medicine and society's struggle with death is closely related, but for a later time.)
It was a 4/20 miracle!
So last night on the way home from a party in saranac with my girlfriend, Stacey, I ran out of gas. We were about 2 miles from a gas station, but it was 1 at night and we were in the middle of nowhere (the wrong side of 12 mile and lincoln lake road) so we started walking. I expect Stacey to complain because it is all my fault but she's a fucking trooper and never said a negative word. Anyway, we get maybe a half mile down the road, with me holding out my gas can for everyone who passed us to see, before we see brake lights. Our savior was in a red truck, and his name was Mike. Before we get another half mile, Mike asks if we smoke. We say hell yes, and he passes us a bowl. Stacey starts talking about how lame the party we came from was (we basically all sat around calling people trying to get dope all night) and the guy gives us a little bag with about a gram in it. He gets us to the gas station and back, and our night was a million times better.