Acceptance

Usually when I someone tells me this I want to choke them.  I know “And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed…”

Blah, effing blah, effing blah all ready!

Isn’t It A Fine Line?

2dollarwatchSo often by the time I hear the word “Acceptance” from someone in the program, I am wound up “tighter than a 2 dollar watch.”  I am either pissed off and frustrated or sad and close to tears.  It is hard for me to identify when I accept something as it is or if I am avoiding dealing with it all together.

I go to this meeting that is mostly a group of Old Timers, it is small- sometimes 5 people sometimes 25.  It is a Discussion Meeting. It is a real anchor to my normal Home Group shelter meetings where the sobriety is so green you can smell it. Probably this other meeting at any one point there is a couple hundred years of sobriety present. Lots of wisdom in all shapes and sizes.

One of the Old Timers came in sat down next to me and was reciting and a whisper, “Acceptance, acceptance, acceptance.”  Of course naturally I figured he was talking to me, because at that moment everything in the universe revolved around me.

Decisions, Decisions

My whole life I have made snap decisions.  While some of them I could honestly say came from my gut.  All along my HP has been with me. I felt that I was being told to do something – I was listening. But near the end of my drinking, many of my decisions were emotion based, and based in reaction mode. Storm off, snap at someone.  I learned not to trust myself. When I first got sober, it was hard to know which decision was a reactive, emotional situation or an honest, gut, “God Bomb” moment. Today, I am trying very hard to “sit” with my decisions, especially those tough ones.

The Old Timer

Back to our Monday night Discussion Meeting…we talked a bit about life and the weather before the meeting but it wasn’t until he shared to the group about a very serious operation he is going to need in a couple of weeks. How he is frightened.  How he is hoping people could connect with him (he lives alone.) Maybe be willing to drive him to a meeting or two.  We all circled around him with phone numbers and learned the dates of his procedure.

The Lessons of the Program

His whispering “Acceptance” over and over had nothing to do with HIM telling ME what to do, HE was telling HIMself what to do.  Yeah, I learned humility too, that night.

 

 

 

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It’s Not My Fault? (Part II)

In a growth moment, I wrote about something that happened to me in a meeting and then again when I was meditating the next morning.  You can read more about it here, this post may make more sense if you do.

Rearview

When I was a kid, things were a bit crazy at my house. My father was a hard charging alcoholic that didn’t know it.  My Mom tried to keep the lid on until at 29 years of marriage, my Dad decided he had had enough one night when the dog got sprayed by a skunk.  Us kids were up and out.  All there was left was Mom and the dog.  That wasn’t enough for Bob.  (Another story for another time.)

Dad was a small business guy.  He owned some, worked with some friends to grow some always feeling inferior to people with college degrees.  Dad liked things fast and furious and often that spilled over into the household.  Many times he was pissed off and we had now way of knowing why.  But he was and it was loud, Mom just tried to smooth things over, keep him happy. My brother would hide in his room, I often would go outside and play, be scarce as long as it was light outside. I had no friend’s houses close by to escape to. When I got older I was a competitive athlete and stayed away for practices and meets.   I was pretty accomplished, Dad was proud of that.

I learned to be the peacekeeper.  I learned that peacekeeping and staying out of trouble was so much easier than making a name for myself in the household. When I was winning in the pool my Dad was happy, home life seemed tolerable – I wasn’t home often when he was.  Then there were the times that I would get home from a tough practice and be tired and Dad was pissed at somebody at work.  If he asked how things went I would say, “Good workout” or something that would not lead to more questions.  If the questions happened because I wanted to talk to him, he would turn that anger toward me and I would struggle to find a way out. I constantly felt like I was to blame for the unhappiness at home. Sometimes Dad would be mad at Mom in one of these “transference” events, when I got older, I stuck up for her.  Later on, I couldn’t understand why she would put up with that constant “Sword of Damocles” hanging over her head.  When I went off to college, another thing my father loathed (he had no money to contribute), I was on my own.

Every time I would come home to visit, I would bring straight A’s and then graduated with High Honors. I also found a way (Higher Power magic I am sure now), to get scholarships and loans to do it on my own. This action in itself fed my father’s inferiority complex.  I thought I was “fixing things” by removing the worry and in reality, I fanned the flames.

My brother chose another way to deal with Dad’s tyrannic rule.  Today, my brother is completely devoid of feeling – anything.  While I seem to feel everything.  My brother is not an alcoholic, but he is emotionally and spiritually absent in his own life.  It is interesting how we can be so different coming from the same house with the same parents.

More Later…

 

Yesterday May Have Been a Little Too Much

Having a little bit of time under my belt, every now and then something happens and I am reminded…”Girl. you are in RECOVERY, take it easy.”  At least now I know that is what it is and not something REAL!  Most importantly, I don’t need to drink over it!

On The Road

I have a getaway cabin that my family uses.  I am slowly trying to convert it into my “Writing Hamlet” from my “Party Place.”  It is a nice place, not fancy but it has the ammenities.  It is a few hours from where I live.  About a month ago, I made a plan for the cable guy to come and upgrade my services so I get better internet.  As usual, I try to combine the visits over at the cabin with REAL work – customers along the way. Yesterday my day started at 4:45am and I was “wide open” until about 3pm when I got here.

Because I was driving near the graveyard where my Dad was planted, I decided to take a detour and stop by and say “HI.”  We have a section that is occupied by several of my family members, I have been there often.  Before Dad, I would visit my grandmother, his mother.  My grandmother and father were very close.  They were there for each other for some pretty rough times.  And she created a lot of his unintentionally.

We haven’t had a lot of snow this year, so mostly the little lakeside spot was muddy and wet with some ice remaining in the road.  I got there, got out of my car and felt -nothing. Before my Dad died, I would always feel “something” there, I used to eat lunch on the tailgate of my truck , with a Rolling Rock and talk with my grandmother.  She never answered back, but I felt as though she was there. Somehow my soul would feel less conflicted when our chats were over.  But not yesterday.  I felt an emptiness that was just eery.  I swept the ice off the plaques and left.  I said goodbye with tears in my eyes and my heart ached.

Lady In Waiting

My brother and I don’t talk often, not for any particular reason, he lives in another state and we are very different people.  Last night we actually talked on the phone. I texted him a photo of the grave and he asked me how Dad was. I proceeded to tell him how I was feeling, no booze worries, I just talked. Said that I felt like people would haul me off if I talked about it with anyone. He said he felt the same feeling.  He felt like my grandmother waited for my Dad and they both left together.  I understood.

Sensitivities

Even as tired as I was from driving a couple hundred miles and working for hours, I was restless and could not sleep.  Finally when I did get to sleep, I slept fitfully. This morning I feel more settled, glad I talked to my brother.  He is in mourning too, even though he isn’t one to talk about it.

Back to Basics

Recovery is a process.  I need to recognize once again that I work for not drinking TODAY. Living “One Day At A Time.”  Some days baggage gets unloaded and it is more overwhelming than expected.  It is just growth. Someone said in a meeting once, “Pain is a touchstone of spiritual growth.”  For now, I will bask in the gratitude of the sunshine and that today is FRIDAY!  And I am sober.

 

Full Throttle Senses

As I frequently mention, I am not a Doctor, a social worker or a counselor of any sort.  My trainer was called “LIFE.”  Mine.  Experiences are mine and shared experiences with others. When I share on this blog it is merely an attempt to sort out things happening with me in hopes that someone reading may connect and find comfort. The daily journey with our disease is unique to each of us.  I find that knowing I am not in this fight alone, it is more possible and my “daily reprieve” lets me live a life without being consumed with the thoughts of wanting that drink.

Here Come Those Tears Again…

Early in Recovery, it seemed that I would cry at the drop of a hat.  When I started meditating in a class of non-alcoholics in the prolonged silence the tears would stream down my cheeks. And in that silence, I was thawing out. I was thawing out in safety and that needed to happen.  All those years of “stuffing” bubbled up and when there was no alcohol to “soothe” them, they just flowed freely.  I survived and it was not a bad thing.

I find now that I need to be keenly aware of what some people call “triggers.”  Personally, I am not a person that is “triggered” by one thing  inasmuch as I am a “cup runneth over” type.  Controlling those things that fill my cup, the good and the bad is critical to the “Happy, Joyous and Free” factor of my life.

For Example:

As I write this today, I write in silence.  No background noise except the occasional dog bark, cars going by outside my window.  I don’t have the music on.  Most of the time I do have music playing and I select the type of music based on how I feel that day.  I was up and doing a radio show before 6am which is fun and exciting for me, lots of switching gears and interaction. By 8:30 I am getting into my “real job” and I can feel the effects of “over-stimulation.”  (All the coffee doesn’t help either.)  ONAIR

What Does This Mean?

Now that I am in Recovery and sober I feel things.  After a couple years, I am beginning to be comfortable with those feelings.  Rather than dulling those feelings with booze, I try to manage them with the sounds, smells, and visuals in my workspace.  By doing this, I am not only allowing more serenity in but not being snappy or sarcastic with others around me.  A smart-ass comeback isn’t always funny, especially when I am reacting to something rather than responding thoughtfully.

If you are early in Recovery, take a look at your environment around you.  What things can you control? Music or talk on the radio, the places I go before and after an appointment (quiet and calm or busy and loud) even the aromas around me, seem to help me manage my day.  I never knew it could be that easy, but then again I never bothered to notice because I was drinking it all away.

How about you?  

Henny Penny

When I was drinking I always waiting for the sky to fall.  And most times, it did. When I have looked back at my drinking career, I tried to really understand what role I played when drinking.  When the party was on, so was I.  I had a few blackouts, yes.  BUT most of the time I was the person that kept my wits about me to a degree.I would grab my friend that was on the pool table or fighting with her boyfriend and get us out of trouble.

I Had My Rules

  1. When I went home with someone or someone came home with me, I was traveling alone.
  2. If  there was dancing, no dipping
  3. And NO shots.

I often traveled alone. Once my marriage broke up, my broken heart seemed to need alcohol, needed the soothing of alcohol, the forgetting of alcohol.  I couldn’t fix my feelings without it. I never realized that I had married a guy that I wanted to fix either.  When he abandoned me for another woman, I couldn’t live peacefully without numbing myself to live on without him.

On The Outside 

People would see someone smiling, laughing, someone that was fun to be around. But things weren’t like that on the inside.  As the years rolled on and I turned into a daily drinker just to keep my head on my shoulders, there was no party.  There was no laughing or smiling.  There was the whimpering of the broken heart I could never get beyond.  My decisions laid over the top of this volcano of smoldering emotion that only knew extremes.  And before I did “The Steps,”  I never knew that this abandonment thing was something rooted in my ex husband’s  childhood, my childhood  and my father’s childhood. It was a pattern and I never stopped long enough to see it.  To accept it.

The Waiting Gamehennypennysleeve1

I was just like Henny Penny, waiting for the sky to fall because an acorn hit her head. Even when nothing at all was happening, it would feel like something was about to cause my my world to cave in.  Abandonment is a hard thing to sort through, especially when you have no idea that it is there. In my case, I married a guy that had abandonment issues, similar to those of my father.  I never figured it out until I did The Steps and I learned.

 

The Itty Bitty $hitty Committee

I don’t mean to offend anyone by that title.  Everything I write about in this blog falls under 3 overall categories:

  • Experience
  • Strength 
  • Hope

And I have heard people reference to the things that spin around in their heads.  I have written about that before.  For me, it is negative self talk that I never knew happened, before I stopped drinking.  I never knew a lot of things before I stopped drinking. It amazes me when “I stop the music in my head” or “Get out of that bad neighborhood that is between my ears” (all terms I have heard in meetings),  how much I realize that I am not the center of the universe and that I AM ENOUGH -just as I am.

One of my most favorite recovery people said the other day, “Most of the things I worry about never even happened!”  Another one said, “I lose sleep about the snow I am worrying about shoveling in 3 days and the storm goes out to sea – then I get angry about that!”

Look At Us

Seriously, as  write this I am writing it for you and ME, if we sit in the “here and now” and be grateful for what we have and who we are, our lives will feel more peaceful, don’t you think?  Our Higher Power didn’t make us so we could torture ourselves, we are here to help one another.

Reading Facebook- giving and getting positive and inspiring comments all help, in addition to the “face to face” recovery work, meetings, service, etc. keeps me healthy and most likely make the people in my day to day world happier too.

It’s January and we are beyond the darkest days and longest nights of the year, I need to make a special effort to be that “Grateful Alcoholic that doesn’t drink.”

I Just Wanted To Drink

The only solution I knew was “to drink,” I hear it in meetings all the time, I drank when I was happy, sad and whenever anything came up that I couldn’t handle. My “go to” was a cold Rolling Rock or later on it could have been a warm one.  And even more later on, beer didn’t smooth over the edges like it used to, so I turned to vodka. Crafting the perfect buzz became an artform.

Sobriety hasn’t been a walk in the park.  Life has happened.  Old timers say, “Life of Life’s Terms.”  I really never knew what it meant until I realized what life really was.  What life really meant.

I have mentioned in this blog that my father died.  I have mentioned that we had a strained relationship, but in the end, I was still “Daddy’s girl.” He was a dying dry drunk and I was a little over a year in the program. When he was dying, I didn’t drink.  Sometimes it was difficult because it really hurt.  I finally realized that it has been feelings that have made me choose drinking as my coping mechanism.

Happy, Sad, Angry, Glad

Sure I laugh, I cry just like everyone else but it was the nuances of feelings that I never “sat” through, never understood what they were or how they felt, truly.  I always acted like I felt them, but I didn’t really know them. When I stopped drinking !P!O!W!  there they were, waiting to be dealt with and when I first stopped drinking they were more intense than ever.  If it wasn’t for meetings, the fellowship, and my sponsor I more than likely would have drank before I figured this out.  It was meditation and the pain of sitting in a room full of people that caused me to SIT there and feel them.  There was lots of crying afterward. I still meditate but hardly ever cry.

Coming Clean and Feeling

My counselor offered up the idea that I am empathetic and often take on other people’s feelings without even knowing it.  I often absorb things just because someone else is feeling it and I can sense it.  I think many alcoholics and addicts are like this, we take on feelings that other people are experiencing and don’t know what to do with them. Not long ago I sucked them all in, got overwhelmed and drank to ease everyone’s pain because I didn’t know what else to do.

Today

Without the anesthesia of alcohol and with the help of my support system, I can see the feelings from afar.  I can acknowledge which feelings are mine and which ones are not.

I can better help others if I don’t choose to drown myself in their feelings or alcohol ~funny how that works.