Tag Archives: early recovery

3…2…1….Self-destruct.

The topic last night was relapse.  The woman who spoke was pretty harsh and brutally honest:

 “This is a progressive and fatal disease…what is your story with relapse?  What are you doing to fight it?” 

 

Her lead was 100x more direct, powerful, and articulate than how I just paraphrased.    

 

We started going around the circle.  One newcomer with less than 6 months shared about the two funerals he’s already been to in a very, very short amount of time.

 

A kid younger than me shared his experience with relapse:  “I wanted to experiment one night…and wound up experimenting for 3 years.”

 

This past Monday a member of our home group died.  He was young, had a wife, and a 3-year-old son.  A member who went to the funeral gesticulated with his hands to describe the agonizing look in the wife’s eyes.  “I don’t want my family to have to bury me.”  He said.

 

The leader of the meeting told the group she had a sponsee who wanted to go out for “just one night,” and wound up killing two kids via vehicular manslaughter.   

 

I suppose this is what’s called “keeping it green,” which used to be an expression I linked to packing a bowl; now it’s what I need as a constant reminder for my sobriety.

 

Sometimes I still want to self-destruct.  Sometimes I want to see myself at the lowest point again, where I was in the basement of a stranger’s house with blood on my face and no idea how to get home.  Sometimes I even want it to get worse than that, and I have no idea why.  My thinking previous to AA was geared towards “party hard and die young.” Even after over a year, that death part still sounds appealing.

 

“I learned in rehab that the longest a craving can exist in your brain is 15 minutes, unless you continue to dwell on it.”  The leader said.  “So you pick up the phone, you go on a run, you watch TV, whatever it takes to move a muscle change a thought.”

 

I said, “I know all about those 15 minutes.” 

 

I’m sure we all do, because whether or not we work through the discomfort determines whether or not we’ll pick up. 

 

Sometimes I regret having not tried heroin, and I KNOW how moronic that sounds, but it’s the way my mind works; the self-destruct button is never far from reach.  

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10 Awkward Scenarios in Sobriety

Eggs!  Glorious high fructose corn syrup eggs will keep me sober!

Eggs! Glorious high fructose corn syrup eggs will keep me sober!

1)   When you run into someone you used to party with, and he/she assumes that you moved/died.

2)   When you go on a date with someone who doesn’t know you’re in the program, they order a beer, and you immediately hate them for life.

3)   Kicking over a happy hour sign and then pretending it tripped you.

4)   Pretending in conversation that you still drink to seem “normal.”

5)   Letting it slip that you pray and then trying to take it back.

6)   Being caught smelling an empty wine glass.

7)   Dropping your step work in Starbucks.

8)   Being spotted in the self-help section of Barnes and Noble.

9)   Being asked why you don’t drink.

10)  Going to CVS at midnight on a Saturday to pick up Cadbury eggs and Valentines candy for yourself and being spotted by your old boss.  Yep that happened last night.

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Eureka!

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Day 350

I’ve come to the conclusion that as an alcoholic, I should get paid hourly; I work 24 hours a day, and spend seven days a week sifting through garbage in my brain.  It’s tough work, dammit. 

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Twenty things that scared the crap out of me before getting sober

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  1. The future
  2. DUI checkpoints  
  3. Sounding insecure
  4. Small talk without a drink in my hand
  5. Checking my call history and outgoing texts the morning after.  (The worst was when I got “smart” and started deleting my outgoing texts during my blackouts)
  6. Losing my cell phone
  7. Looking people in the eye
  8. Being alone
  9. Not being alone

10. Failing as everyone around me succeeded

11. Eating.  My motto was often: “Eating’s cheating.”

12. Fear of letting myself down, and my family

13. Scared of getting caught in my own lies 

14. Fear of leaving the pot farm

15. Not being able to afford the material possessions that felt crucial

16. That everyone knew what I was thinking

17. Missing out

18. Maladaptation

19. Monotony

20. Extreme fear of never having enough–especially drugs and alcohol.  There was nothing more terrifying than that last line of coke, the last beer or bottle, and the knowledge that the strung out feeling of reality was about to hit again. 

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The Days are Just Packed

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Day 253

The leaves are falling like multicolored raindrops, pumpkins are perched on porches, and that candy-corn crap that tastes like chalk is on sale; all telltale signs of October, yet I woke up this morning having no idea what month we’re in.  I mean I really had to think, which was initially unsettling.  Aren’t I supposed to be restoring my sanity, not losing it?

It turns out there is a simple explanation; time flies.  What a relief, I’m not crazy…okay I am a little crazy, but this sensation is normal; it’s just something I have not experienced in a very long time.  My life is full again and it’s moving faster than that starship in Star Wars.  I wish I had an ewok as a pet…Anyway…

Time in early-early sobriety moved slower than a three-toed sloth, probably because I was in so much pain; every step was excruciating, and I fought practically every inch of the way.  I wish someone had told me sooner that alcoholism is 90% thinking and 10% drinking; maybe it would’ve made those days easier.  Probably not. Fighting is inevitably painful and drawn-out whether it be against time, people, or Alcoholics Anonymous.

I have documented almost everyday of sobriety since my first AA meeting, and sometimes when I feel like I’m the same person who walked through the doors 253 days ago; all I have to do is scroll up.   Entries in the beginning had a common thread of agonizing resistance, and skepticism that almost took me out one hundred times.

Maybe I read too much Carl Sagon as an undergraduate, but I wanted to question everything about this program.  I wanted answers to the reasoning behind all steps and suggestions.  I wanted to debunk the theory of AA.  This skepticism, coupled with a yearning to bolt back to California made life drag on for a while.

By the grace of my Higher Power, I have stayed long enough to accept what I do not understand.  Acceptance has allowed me to let go; letting go let me surrender.  The moment I stop resisting the pain starts subsiding.  I’ve learned in the rooms that to surrender literally means to go to the winning side; surrender is what has saved my sobriety,  it’s given me a life so full I can barely keep up, and an awareness of what I need to keep going.

Time is flying because I have willingness to be a better person tomorrow than I was today.  The days are packed because I have accepted that I don’t know much, and there’s a lot more to learn.  Today, for example, I have learned that we are in the month of October, which means I must accept that I am approaching my first sober Halloween.  Weee.  Maybe I’ll dress up as Bill Wilson.

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You’re sick? Here, Prison Should Help

behind bars

My friend’s little brother is struggling with opiate addiction. Actually, he’s not little anymore; he’s 22 years old and has a good 5” on me.  Regardless, I’ve known him since he’s had chubby cheeks and temper tantrums; therefore I reserve the right to forever see him as a little brother.

The last time I saw “little brother,” was about a month ago; he was strung out and had the glazed over hollowness in his eyes that we all know.  My heart hurt for my friend and her family and for little brother’s future or lack there of.  I think the most frustrating part about being in this program is “getting it,” and seeing someone else missing “it.”

After seeing him that day I went home and expressed my troubled thoughts and feelings of helplessness to someone who was familiar with the situation.

“What happened?”  My confidant asked with concernment, referring to little brother’s reality, “he was such a good kid.”

He was such a good kid.  This notion makes me want to scream and yell and throw big books around, because the professed solicitude is misplaced.  The tragedy is not that he was such a good kid, it’s that he IS such a good kid, but the need for drugs has taken over his want to live.  I feel like when many people witness the disease taking over, they preemptively decide it’s the end.

There seems to be an understanding among those who don’t understand that once a fuck-up, always a fuck up, and you chose to be a fuck up.  You got an addiction, you fucked up.  What these people don’t see is that the “fuck up” is still a good person; the “good kid” is still inside, and what the kid needs is help, not judgment from society with an arms up, “see ya.”

When I voiced my despair over little brother, it didn’t matter to my confidant that he has a kind smile and a genuine laugh with a big heart.  To someone who doesn’t understand, those characteristics are engulfed by shameful addiction that probably could have been controlled if they had tried a little harder.

I read the St. Francis prayer every morning when I get out of bed to counteract whatever selfish thoughts are already brewing. The portion of the prayer that asks  “I may not so much seek to be understood as to understand,” rings relevant in this situation, but despite St. Francis, I’m am still wanting to be understood as a representative of the fucked up population.  What I’ve written here is a result of over-sensitivity, justified anger, and a self-centered demand for the world to rethink their stigma against addicts and alcoholics. All the same, I believe these wishes are warranted.

Of the 2.3 million inmates in the US, more than half have a history of substance abuse and addiction, and a large percentage of those million landed themselves in prison because of desperate busted attempts to feed their habit.  The punishment of people already being punished by a disease is fueled by convictions that drug users and alcohol abusers are good people gone bad; they are undeniably lost causes.

It doesn’t take addiction for a human to lose his or her way; everyone gets lost sometimes.  But those who don’t lose themselves in a bottle or baggie have a better chance of betterment, and why shouldn’t we all?  Help is available but not behind bars. Little brother IS a good kid and not was. Anyone’s genuine smile can be restored, but not if people decide for the sick that it’s already the end.

Day 247

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Top 10 Reasons To Avoid the Grocery Store

I’ll go weeks without grocery shopping for these reasons:

1. The parking lot is the worst.  How many times have you pulled halfway into a spot just to find there’s a shopping cart hiding?   Some people may get out of their car, move the shopping cart, get back into their car, pull into the spot and go about their day of errands.  I turn into the Hulk with a license, throw my truck in reverse, turn green, (because I’m the Hulk), and drive 25mph to the end of the lane.  Screw you, sneaky shopping cart.

2.  The pedestrians in the parking lot, ALL of them. Especially the ones meandering down the middle of the row, pretending to be oblivious to my 3,000lb steel machinery with wheels inching behind them at 0mph. Then they’ll casually glance over their shoulder, and some will start ebbing their way to the right or left.  WALK FASTER. Or I will bitch slap you, with my truck.  Twice.

3. Can we talk about the hellish heat that radiates from the asphalt of the parking lot in the summer? It’s like living in the desert scene of “Fievel Goes West.”

4. You can’t go anywhere but home after going to the grocery store in the summer, because we all know what happens; wilted lettuce, melted goop, warm milk, puke.  You’re stuck.  See a friend on the way home, want to stop and chat?  Too bad, your groceries are mere seconds away from perishing.

5. While we’re on seasons should I mention how much I abhor getting blasted by cold air after exiting the grocery store, and when there’s SLUSH on the ground? And the cart is all squeaking and halting because it is not snow proof. Omg forget it.  I’ll eat snow from the front yard, thanks.

6. The grocery store is fucking worst before any weather malady; blizzards, thunders, hurricanes, “tropical storms,” you name it.  There WILL be those crazy bitches stocking up on enough bread for the next 10 years and there will be daft macho men buying $600 snow blowers and building bomb shelters telling everyone the world is going to end.  Take it easy, pal.

7. Being inside the grocery store in general is enough to send me into a pandemonium panic.  There are about 40,000 items in the typical grocery store.  FORTY THOUSAND.  This means I have to spend 20 minutes scanning 50 different brands of granola bars. I would rather collect oats from the ground and mash them together with my adhesive saliva.  I realize that sounds disgusting. I don’t care.

8.  I refuse to go to Siberia aka the freezer section.  Is it really necessary to reenact the ice age in aisle six?  Plus, you know if you buy anything frozen you’re going to get home, open the freezer, and there will never be enough room, because it’s jam crammed with all the shit you never use, usually stuffed in the back which you may never see again.  Freezers are stupid. Then you’re faced with the stuff-and-shove-and-shut-the-door-quickly routine.  This may not be applicable for everyone but it is for me, and ice cream ain’t worth it.

9. One word: Checkout….Don’t even get me started.

10. The drive home from the grocery store you’re exhausted from all the idiots and shopping carts and coupon clippers holding up the line.  Your eyes are probably burning from shifting your stare between 20 different kinds of soy milk.  Once you finally get home, you spend even MORE time putting all this stuff away.  Of course, realize you’ve forgotten the one most important item.  Probably cereal or bacon.  You curse yourself and the grocery store and it prevents you from ever going again.

Granted, I suffer greatly from anxiety, culture shock (having come from a pot farm in the middle of the woods where I lived with a cooler, not a refrigerator), and I’m in the anxious ridden state of early recovery; but I’m pretty sure all grocery stores should excavated, bulldozed, or wiped from the face of the Earth…at least one of those. Or all of them…Stupid grocery stores.

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