No Respect

Some drunks are very boisterous and like to pick fights, I have learned that I let people walk on me my whole life, I hate conflict.  I want everyone to be friends.  Sometimes you have to be your own first.

Why is Everyone Yelling?

In my house growing up there was a lot of yelling.  My dad, a pretty unhappy guy did most of it.  While I don’t recall any physical abuse between my parents, my fathers anger about himself, our financial situation and sometimes my brother or I playing the stereo too loud, spilled over onto the kitchen table more than once.  I learned early in life to be a peace maker.  My brother on the other hand, used different coping skills often those that really pissed my father off even more, again no physical abuse but certainly demeaning comments were rampant.  Meanwhile I stayed silent, went to my room or tried to make my Dad happy so he would stop being such an asshole and it usually worked.

The Peacemaker

This was a role I have flourished in my whole life and I started young. I am a person that can be trusted, I don’t tell other people’s secrets. While working on my Fourth Step I had this on my list of positives.  I am very loyal.  Once I dive into something that I am loyal to, I will fight to the death for it. This goes for people and this goes for my company.  But as my sponsor has pointed out to me, for all the things in the bad column there is an opposite in the good column and vice versa.

Getting Honest

Now that I can sit back and look at things not only with a sober eye but with a soul that is changing and getting deeper, i can see that  me trying to keep the peace has not always been such a good thing. Keeping the peace has gotten me a lot of friends that trust me because they know they can. But on the flip side of that, keeping the peace has often times allowed people to walk all over me and then take credit for work I have done or relationships I am responsible for building and maintaining.

Keeping Score

Never been a fan of it.  In fact, I don’t like to be around those people that always have to be right, have the last word, especially if the truth is twisted so much that it is very difficult to find it.  I am starting to see that is part of their plan.  Let’s move everything around so the truth is buried so that Janis loses track and stops looking.   It usually works.  Patience is also NOT one of my strong suits.

Paying the Piper

I can see more today than I did 132 days ago.  Mostly because I am working for it.  Even when it hurts or my brain gets jumbled, I keep plugging. People reading this blog, sending me emails, commenting is so helpful – you have no idea, thank you!  I am seeing that those I work with are NOT being honest with themselves or me and since I have shown my cards when I began the program are even more willing to pile the blame onto me and I am not sure how it will work out.

C’mon Higher Power, show me the way…please.

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Confusion and Anxiety

It is funny that for some reason I thought all the fuzziness in my head would go away when I stopped drinking.  Sometimes I think sober fuzziness is worse.  Nothing to blame but myself, cannot blame the booze, my friends, just me.

Here She Is in All Her Glory

Yeah me, that’s me. And if you have read any of my previous posts, especially the early ones, I mentioned a lot about anxiety.  Lying on the couch or in bed trying to get the wheels from spinning, my heart from pounding, my head from aching.  After a few days of no alcohol all that passed.  I was so grateful for not sweating and shaking I think it may have calmed my nerves just because of that.  I could drive my car and not worry about the police, I could remember what had happened the night before, hell the day before and though physically I did feel kinda sh&tty, the fog was lifting and I was grateful.  I went to meetings – sometimes 3 in a day.  I wanted to get focused on the simple stuff that AA offered me as “soul food.”

The Steps

I would hear all these new words and terms.  Not to say this with any attitude I have several years under my belt in higher education so I wasn’t accustomed to simple terms and words alluding me.  I would read the steps, read some stuff in meetings in the group, I would be participating.  I had no idea what was about to come, I really had no idea what they meant.

Sponsor

I had a Sponsor right away.  For me this was a bad idea.  She is a very nice person but I was no where near ready to get working,  I needed to keep from sinking back into the pool of vodka most of all.  It seems that many sponsors (around here anyway) try to “fast track people” many people that I know have been long through the Steps and they haven’t even been sober for a year.  NOT that this is bad for them, it isn’t right for me.  PART of my problem I am learning is that I like to hurry up and get something done so I can go on to something else, even when I really didn’t complete the task fully, just enough to move on to the next thing.

This is Important

I fired my first Sponsor – I wrote about that.  She was a busy person and really didn’t have what I needed.  I needed someone to build a relationship with so I felt comfortable telling my horror stories.  I am also learning that I don’t trust others easily.  I was out for coffee with someone I really liked and she was pretty laid back and I was asking her about what a person was to expect from a Sponsor/Sponsee relationship and was I being too needy.  She explained her relationship with her sponsor and others she knew. It was clear to me that it really was an individual thing – there was no RIGHT or WRONG.  Her Sponsor had just told her it was time for her to find a Sponsee.  The rest is history.

Lots to Learn

The first month I was still really coming out of the fog, much less understanding all the AA bullsh&t that people served the crowd at the meetings.  AND I was pretty tired.  My head hurt a lot.  I actually slept again. Like the whole night and several nights in a row and no sweats.  It has been Summer here and I have been loving the garden, the sunrise and my early morning meetings.

Here We Go Again

I have been working Step 4.  That to me was/is torture. It really has pointed out some stuff that is painful and confusing.  It has shown me some stuff that I have NOT wanted to deal with that I have known about for some time.  So here I go again.  Just need to not drink this time.

Finding the Pieces in my Puzzle

It seems that every day I have several ups and downs.  Sometimes it is a moment of bliss and other times I feel pretty good for a few hours.  Then the same goes for feeling angry but I am still not drinking over any of it.

Keeping Busy

Drinking or not drinking I was always one to stay busy. In fact, I was staying busy when I was drinking I used to do stuff over and over or try to stay busy to meter my drinking so I COULD actually get stuff done.  But I am seeing so many things that I did when I was drinking that now I am finding, just didn’t make a lot of sense, surprising, huh?  I am talking about daily tasks.

Unpacking

A little more than a year ago we moved.  This house we moved to is the house of my dreams.  Until I stopped drinking it was a nightmare.  Put me over the top.  We still have our old house and are still sorting through things and fixing it up to sell it.  There was a lot of things to do.  We probably shouldn’t have moved there in the first place, we lived there for 9 years and hated every minute of it.  The location was good for some things but horrendous for living.

Scattered Brains

I can see now that I am unpacking things that maybe I actually was progressing into the abyss of alcoholism 10 years ago instead of a year ago like I originally thought. I can see where I packed things up in a box from my two moves ago that I never unpacked, then bought new.  Since there were so many times in that 10 years or so that I out and out stopped drinking I told myself that I could give it up any time because I did.  AND I also convinced myself it was booze that was my problem and not ME and MY “stinking thinking.”

Silver Bullet

I have said about other people that they are always look for the silver bullet to fix the problem and oftentimes there isn’t one silver bullet.  Of course because I talk about it in regard to other people, it is something that I have myself and I have a lot of it.  I thought that if I lost weight I would feel better about myself, become more active I would feel better about myself, the list goes on.

Really what I needed to do, was to stop drinking.  Then ONCE I stopped drinking, I was able my way clear to deal with the rest of the crap that I never could see before.  When I mentioned above that I stopped drinking several times, I did.  Most of the time it was for a diet or for medication that I was prescribed and alcohol was tabu.  I would stick it out and follow doctor’s orders.

This Time Was Different

When I stopped drinking this time I was feeling so awful.  Awful about everything.  It was the first day of summer and I was in the dead of winter emotionally, spiritually and physically.  My guts ached.  I dragged my a$$ to my first AA Meeting at the shelter in the city across the river from where I live.  I wasn’t sure I was going to make it without going to rehab.  I had never been to an AA meeting because I wasn’t an alcoholic.  And I truly believe if my friend from Boston hadn’t looked me up that day a year before to some make amends, I still may not have even thought about AA.  Things happen for a reason.  Some of the things he had said to me stuck in my head but I never admitted to him until later that I was even considering AA because I wasn’t then.  I wasn’t an alcoholic.  I just like to drink to relax, to unwind or to have fun.  Somewhere along the way it wasn’t fun anymore.

 

Connecting the Dots

In my last post I mentioned a meeting with my partners that was to take place, well it happened yesterday.  I was hoping it wouldn’t go the way it did but it did and that’s life.

Trust Bust

From going through my own inventory I can see that I have issues with trust and now that I am learning the lingo, it stems from fear and it stems from fear of abandonment.  Friday afternoon there it was looking at me with two sets of eyes.  My two partners who I have let use me as a scapegoat for years because I also seem to really hate confrontation.  Be the “people pleaser”, “don’t rock the boat”, you see where I am going.

Prayer

Knowing that I had written this letter to each of them putting my feelings out in handwritten form, delivering it to them by hand, I knew it would prompt discussion at least and if it didn’t then I knew it would tell me something by the non action, so either way I was setting myself up for some unsettled emotions on a Friday afternoon/evening, when in the old days would be prime “Happy Hour” time.  I prayed several times throughout the day before the meeting, for strength, guidance and patience.  I guess I am glad I did because I know I needed it, though when it was all said and done I didn’t feel very resolved.

3.5 Hours

We had a 3.5 hour meeting. The first part was filled with numbers.  Sales, expenses everything I hate but know I had to pay attention and I did.  Then as I expected, the tables were turned on me.  The work I do is much “the front lines” about PR, networking and forming relationships with potential clients and often once a sale comes about, I pass it to a partner that has more technical expertise than I do. My expertise is in this area and why I joined as a partner in the company. Many of the projects I do by myself and am able to with our staff but larger projects with lots of data collection and framework design, one of my partners usually takes the helm because, 1) THAT is the expertise they bring to the table in the partnership 2) It bests serves the client.  This has been how we have worked for the past 13 years.

Priorities

I have been very honest with about my drinking issues. And though they don’t know the horror stories, they do know I am seeking help and have never asked details.  But I have been working and working on a schedule and putting organization into what I need to do everyday and doing it.  One partner has young children and the events of those children often run his day.  Not every day but it definitely is a huge part of his life, as it should be.  The other partner has taken on a large role in a local university, now as department head.  Both of these people OBVIOUSLY have the same number of hours in the day as I do. I believe each one of us in one way or another had disengaged from the company in one way or another.  Our company is no longer priority 1 and each of us own a piece of that situation, only to them it is all my problem.

What Has Changed

Me.  I can see how they avoid discussing anything that they may have a part in and that in almost every case, anything that I have been doing (which is often function driven networking) has been completely disregarded.  They don’t like to do it and I realize that.  I also have accepted the responsibility that it happens by me.  That I am the one that finds out the events, gets to them, participates in them and “press the flesh” as us “old timers” say.  It became clear to me that the hours that I spend doing this is not of value to my partners, even though they expect it continue.  They think these relationships drop out of the sky or they are responsible for them exclusively.  Growing up in a family business with both parents having family businesses on each side, we all knew it was the BUSINESS that is the benefactor.  Not the individual that may have actually gone out to pump the gas into the car, it was all the effort that went into getting the car and its owner to come into the driveway in the first place.  This is not how my partners think

Upset

I left the meeting pretty deflated.  Not that I didn’t expect that this sort of behavior was possible but I was disappointed that my partners are not the people I thought they were.  And it has taken the fog to lift to show me that I need to decide what it is that I want to do about it.

 

Log Jam

After my fourth AA Meeting and my second day without any new alcohol in my system,  I asked my business partners out to lunch to tell them of my plans to stop drinking.  My plans to go to AA.  Here is the post from that situation.

“It’s the Economy, Stupid!”

Said Bill Clinton.  Said many businesses including mine as the economy flushed one customer after another down the toilet. Bankruptcy notices and balances left unpaid really effected our business.  Really brought me to my old friend, “Vitamin V” to make my pains and anxiety duller.  It quenched the thirst of that devil on my shoulder that kept telling me that just a couple drinks would make everything better.  That I would be able to get to sleep, be able to rally and produce when I needed to.  It was the economy.

It Was Alcoholism

True, the economy effected our business and fueled that devil.  But that devil was alcoholism and it was all mine.  And still the economy sucks, the ‘friggen” government is in “shutdown” and I am close to 120 days without a drink, that is all mine too.

Four Months

As I said earlier in this post, two days into my sobriety effort we had a partners meeting.  Again the post from earlier is here.  That was the last meeting that we had together.  Lunch at an “all you can eat” chinese buffet.  We have weekly staff meetings but no meetings of leadership.  WTF?  I say.

Lots of Things to Think About

I sat down and HAND WROTE each of my partners a letter today, 12 pages.  I drove to where each of them was and hand delivered it to them in an envelope.  Hopefully they read it.  It isn’t my way of making excuses or making amends.  It is the recognition of the situation our company is in and what I think we need to do to “right the ship” if we want to. But it is a “we” thing. Now that the fog has cleared there is so much that is obvious to me and it begins by talking.

Now if we only want it bad enough to do it.

What is Progress?

Sorry if I left anyone in the lurch.  And thank you for the emails asking if I was okay, lots of this typing that I do, I just kind of think I am dumping my head out onto the kitchen table and looking at what I see.  Most of the time, it looks like goulash.  Not sure what is in it some days and certainly not sure what comes out of it.  Most of the time, I think I am the only one looking this blog and reading it, never to realize the little community that comes here.  Thank you very much for caring.

Small Percentage “Make it”

Within the first few weeks of AA Meetings I would hear people say, “Only 1 in 30 make it” and it used to piss me off.  And to be honest, it still does.  When people actually take the time to figure out, tell others so others can repeat it and it goes viral, I feel like we are kicking ourselves in the face.  Setting ourselves up to fail.  Giving me an excuse to fail because “Only 1 in 30 make it.”  AA, to me, is a “can do” program.  And when you think you can’t do or your head is full of goulash, you can go to a meeting, into a room where people “GET IT.” Perfect strangers can help you get through it and NOT fail.  And the beauty is, often the person helping you is equally helped.

Day 117

Yes, today is Day 117.  Since my last post, I have collected a green chip (that is in my pocket) and Thursday, God willing, I will collect up a Blue Chip.  4 Months doesn’t seem like a long time but if someone told me that I would be feeling like this 4 months ago, I wouldn’t believe it, much less be able to describe it.  When things get screwy in my head or I forget something, I don’t have to wonder about it anymore.  Like, “Was I drunk when I promised or did that?” “Oh no, I have some blank spots in that situation, what happened?”  The list of anxieties go on and on.

“It Works If You Work It”

Today is today and that is what I have.  Nothing to drink and I am not consumed with the idea. I have been working the program, trying to keep things normal yet trying to do and think differently.

Albatross

My initial goal for this blog, was to use it as a processing point for me.  I write things for people, I have proofread as a profession, I write for technical companies, so writing comes naturally for me, more so than speaking to someone.  ESPECIALLY when it is the processing of feelings.  AND I don’t have to count on others or have an audience to listen to me.  So, as I was getting up every morning, going to the shelter for an AA Meeting and often going to more than one in a day, I was ‘Workin’ it.”  And not really feeling like I wanted to blog about it because it was becoming a routine of living instead of a struggle for survival that the blog writing helped me sort through.  I don’t want the blog to become some sort of Albatross around my neck like the Ancient Mariner.  This blog is therapy not punishment.  Just like at one point Booze was my friend I thought until one day it wasn’t.  So rather than to stop blogging I still will as my thoughts are sorting and I hope to see you there!