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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Out

With a little over 2 1/2 years in Recovery and not a public “crash and burn” there are still many people in my life that don’t know I am IN RECOVERY.  Many of my old friends and family know I am not drinking. Most of them have no idea the pain I was in before I made that decision.  When I isolated, drank in private, seemed to pull it together when needed, I liked to consider myself “high functioning.”  But like all things in Recovery, there are unexpected blessings and challenges that come with a quiet surrender over a public, desperate one.

Wreckage

I am grateful to my Sponsor and to people in meetings reminding me how cruel I was to myself.  How I actually detested myself.  And because I hated myself so much it seems, I put more energy into being cruel to me than to others.  (Although I had my fair share of amends to make.)  I have some family members that I have not told of my alcoholism. Many of them I don’t see, except big family affairs and Thank God I never acted out in their presence.  I do have a favorite niece that I have wanted to tell.  I only see her a couple times a year but she is a lot like me.  She is 34 years old.  She has a lot of my characteristics.  She has a step-father that drank a lot, therefore, she barely drinks at all.  The impression was made on her that “some people shouldn’t drink.”  I had been looking for guidance to my Higher Power about what I should say and when should I say it.

The Light

This past weekend, my niece and her boyfriend decided to make the drive to our camp.  He 2014-07-04 05.52.36wanted to ski and she just wanted to hang out with my Mom and I.  I did a couple 3rd Step Prayers but decided I wouldn’t force it or avoid the subject.  I wanted to go to a meeting Saturday, I didn’t want to lie about where I was going.

It wasn’t long after they arrived, everything was unpacked we were sitting around listening to music and talking.  She brought up something about her stepfather and his drinking and all of a sudden I just said, “Well, you know I stopped drinking a couple years ago, I learned I was an alcoholic.”  She said, “Well Auntie, I knew you stopped drinking and seem lot more mellow these days.”  I said, “Yeah, I feel a lot better.  I had no idea what was going on with me until I started going to AA Meetings.”  She said, “I am so happy for you and I am proud of you.”

Certainly, not how I expected to tell her and certainly not how I expected her to react.  But I guess I got what my Higher Power decided was best.  It was so much easier and natural.  Honest.  Not some kind of big family meeting, just she, her boyfriend and I in conversation.

The weekend went great.  The skiing was great.  And I am once again grateful.  Just like the old timers say, “When I get out of the way, things go so much smoother!”

 

I Get What I Need When I am Willing

Sandwich SignMeetings are important to me.  I love them.  I am active in my Home Group at the Shelter and enjoy outside meetings from my Home Group.  My Home Group is responsible for a meeting every day. 7 days a week – Early Bird Grapevine, Monday thru Friday.  Saturday is Living Sober and Sunday is 12 and 12.  If I could only go to the Shelter meetings I would make a meeting every day.

People have referred to the Shelter Meetings are the “Front Line of Recovery.” “White knuckle” sobriety.  Lots of relapses, many newcomers.  And though I am dedicated to the Shelter Meetings, I find for my own Recovery, I need some exposure to some long term, (or old timers) to balance things off.

Shelter Meetings remind me of how it was like to be in Early Recovery.  Other meetings with people having years of sobriety, help me know how to live in Recovery. It is perspective.  The Shelter Meetings are helpful in getting a double dose of gratitude and the stories remind me that it isn’t any better “out there” since I entered my new life.

Road Trips

When I travel for work, I try to attend meetings also. Sometimes my travels take me to places where there is one meeting per week or none at all. Often times the meetings are scheduled outside of my trip.  Still, I seem to manage to make one and people are usually friendly.  (Not always, some meetings people don’t introduce themselves at all. My sponsor told me once that my goal should be to attend a meeting without any other expectations. That has been great advice on the road or in my hometown.)

Last week, I was in an area where there were plenty of old timers.  Not only were they old people (I am in my early 50’s) but they had 15, 20, 30 years under their belts.  They all know each other, in fact, there was a knitting group of 6 women that only talked to each other.  The men sat with their arms crossed and would speak when spoken to only.

Friendly Reminder

As the meeting got under way, I was glad that I was there, though still I did feel like an outsider.  I decided that when I returned to my Shelter Group, I would make more of an effort to look out for visitors and do my part in helping them to feel welcome. Summer is coming and there is a lot of tourism that brings people through. We made a sign recently and put it out front so folks wouldn’t have to be intimidated by coming to the Shelter and wondering if they were in the right spot.

Sometimes being “turned off” shows me things I need to see.  I needed to feel left out so I would be aware of what I can to do reach out the hand of AA on my turf.

 

When I Change the Rules

I have mentioned in this blog before, about the changes that have happened in me that are affecting my life today.  It is because of these changes that are very obvious to me, what I had found acceptable when I was drinking may no longer be. Over the past 2 1/2 years the way my thinking has changed is remarkable.  This first post is from February 2013 and yet my first meeting wasn’t until June 20, 2013 – 4 months later.  And I had known well before February that I was beyond the point of “no return.”

My Side of The Street

When I first got sober, I kept hearing this expression, “I need to keep my side of the street clean,”  “It’s not my business what you think of me.”  What this meant to me, was to work on myself.  Learn to do the right thing without regard for what others are doing.  Keep my head down and focus on my recovery and be aware that others in and out of recovery have their own goals and their own way of doing things but they don’t have to be mine.

Relationships

There is an oldtimer in our area that talks often about how bad alcoholics can be with relationships.  Some of us abuse others and some of us take the abuse over and over again the cycle is hard to change.  We have problems understanding healthy relationships-how to have them or how to be in them.  When I first heard this, I wasn’t happy about it, I thought he was over dramatizing his own situation.  I thought I had tried hard to be a good friend, a good partner and good relative. But as I have grown in recovery, I realize the very reason I was unhappy with what he was saying, was really my own poor choices and behaviors in relationships that caused my discontent.  Still does cause my discontent.

Doing the Footwork and Calling on My Higher Power

I have been slowly surrounding myself with people in the program, people that are positive and with people that are creative like myself.  But there still is a significant portion of my life that is like a cancerous sore that needs to be dealt with and I am trying NOT to do what I have done in the past, stomp my feet and storm out the door.  So I hand it over and it is really hard.  Really hard.  This cancer that I am talking about shows me daily what I am not willing to be anymore.  I am not willing to take people for granted, I am not willing to be ungrateful, I am not willing to be dishonest.

I was all those things before I started this journey and today I choose to be aware and choose differently.  But Higher Power if you are out there, I hope you are listening/reading.

 

 

Treading Water

Well I haven’t done anything rash since my last post except pray more, meditate, call my sponsor a couple times and doubled up on meetings.  That is all I have in my toolbox right now and I am using it.  Sometimes I just have to get out of my head!

Thank God For Different Meetings

I am grateful to the fact that I live in an area where there are many meetings throughout the day and many options to the type of meetings we have.  After being in a fog yesterday and just having a general feeling of doom and sh*ttiness, once I got my blog post written I learned that I needed another meeting.  Usually when I have a “monkey brain” with twists of fear/sadness/anger included, well in the old days I drank.  Yesterday I didn’t.  Last night I didn’t. Instead I went to a Discussion group with my Sponsor.  Not a big group, but lots and lots of sobriety.

Process Process Process

I got a call from the Medicine Man and we just “processed.”  I love that, no judgement, no advice, no pressure, just blah, blah, blah.  Neither one of us expected to FIX anything or even give extensive advice.  We both shared other stories that had nothing to do with how we were feeling individually.  You know, like friends do.  Alcoholics make great friends.  Since I “joined” this group of folks, I have found some of the coolest people on the planet. AND I have found some of the coolest people on the planet that I knew OUTSIDE of AA were in the program and I had no idea.  They just were relaxed folks and I liked them. Now I find our they are Alcoholic!!   HA HA HA!!

Standing Still

It isn’t a bad thing.  And this morning I went to a meeting and I am going again tonight.  I haven’t solved anything or done anything.  Most importantly, I didn’t drink.

If YOU Only Knew

People have said to me for years, “You know how to work a room…” or “You can walk right into a room full of strangers and make all kinds of friends.”  Boy I am a good liar aren’t I?

The Truth

I think as it is for most of us, our inside selves are desperately afraid to come out and be discovered.  I would rather hurt myself than to let someone else do it to me.  So I did and I did it often.  When I learned that drinking slowed things down and stopped the hurting it was even better.  I wasn’t a person that cut myself or did things that other people could see, so it wasn’t obvious to most people that I was hurting myself but I was.  I wasn’t looking for attention.  What people saw of me was what I wanted them to see of me.  I was a chameleon.  I became what others wanted and not necessarily what I wanted, only until JUST THIS MINUTE as I type it, I didn’t realize it. One of the arrogant style “Old Timers” once said to me, “Google: Self Centered Fear.”  I still think he is arrogant but he is also right.

Being Honest

My idea of being honest was not outright lying to someone. Not telling someone something that I knew not to be true.  When I got in a tight spot I would not answer the question most often saying, “You will have to ask _______, that is their own story and I am not the one to tell it” or something like that.  I don’t tell other people’s secrets, I just don’t.

You Don’t Know, What You Don’t Know

Okay all you students of truth and righteous thought may roll over on this one but here it is.  I have not known the depth of the meaning of truth as I think I am learning now.  I say “Hell Yeah!” to being truthful to people, tell the facts and don’t make sh&t up to either make someone feel bad or make someone feel good.  Don’t tell someone you are going somewhere and go somewhere else and had that plan in your mind from the start.  Basic.  But the chameleon part of me knows inside that I am only one thing.  One being.

Is True Honesty Over Rated?

Again roll over on this one.  I doubt (and I may be wrong) that there will be a day that I will feel that walking around naked (emotionally) and letting everyone see who I really am isn’t where I am willing to go.  I don’t believe that most people deserve to know me or want to know me that way.  And yes, I like to manipulate situations so they work for me sometimes.  BUT being honest to myself and making sure I preserve my sobriety (Day 140 today, but who’s counting…) in order to protect myself, damn right I may not be totally honest.  “Willing to go to any length…” and that is where I am today.

Wolf Pack

Dominancy and superiority is everywhere.  There is always some “tipping point” where some people are trying to jockey for the top of the heap or “King of the Hill.”

Mother Nature

Being a person that has raised dogs and been around nature all of my life, I watch how animals act. How they act when they are alone, how they act when they are with others their own kind.  It never seems to fail that “somebody” is looking to be “in charge” or “bigger than”  “better than” “smarter than” the rest.  In the animal kingdom there are no doubts how the dominate one is determined.   In some cases this process ends up with the weaker one being killed.  It is much more complicated with humans and far less honest.

My Own Singleness of Purpose

I don’t want to drink today.  That is my one goal.  If I can do that, then I have been successful.  Everything else I may accomplish today is icing on the sobriety cake. As I am still very new in the program, I am starting to see new things at meetings I never noticed before.  Some of these things I don’t like.  I tend to shrug it off because I am not at meetings to concern myself with other people’s politics or their showboating.

We Are All “Bozos On the Bus”

I have heard this term used before.  It means we all are the same.  We are all working to be “One Day At A Time” successful.  Perhaps this is my way as a newcomer feel equal to someone with long term sobriety?  I do believe that we are all equal.  Recently, we have heard, there has been a string of people with long term sobriety, 15 years or more that “went back out.”  So this is a serious reminder that I have to be diligent.  NO. MATTER. WHAT.  Always remain teachable. Always be thankful for the treasure of sobriety. Never think that I am  better than anyone else in the room.  For I am just a “Bozo on the bus.”

Old Timers

These folks are great resources, great people, great friends.  But some have let that “old timer” label go to their head.  “We are not saints.”  Nope, not even someone with 35 years sobriety, that person knows only what works for them and can provide experience, strength and hope just like I can, from their own point of view.  When there are a couple in the room at the same time, sometimes it happens that there is a “holier than thou” attitude, lots of feathers ruffling, etc.  But that cannot matter to me.  I am focusing on my single goal of sobriety, not getting lost in other people’s drama and working on being the best person I can be-one day at a time.