That Was THEN, This is NOW

When grown men act like little boys.  Tantrums, meltdowns and more

There is nothing sexy or glorious about being a “peacemaker.”  For me, it was a way to be in control.  And now I know, it was how I thought I controlled other people and outcomes. peacegate_pinterestOne side confides in me, I am trusted.  The “other side” confides in me, I am confused.  I am unsure who to be loyal to, I don’t want to tell any secrets, in the end I think I can manipulate people to do what I want them to do-get along, the way I think they should.

All the while, I am over my head, overwhelmed, bitter.

I drank.  It was always a good excuse.  It was my only escape from a situation that was never mine to fix. None of my business.

Death by Text

I work with people that SUCK at communicating with one another.  I have been told that I “over communicate.” I am talkative, that is true.  Since my recovery began a few years ago, I have been very clear on boundaries.  Honest even when it is inconvenient. What is evident is, these people don’t want to communicate and have their own resentments toward one another.

Today, there was a situation that demonstrated the most pathetic, childish behavior I have seen in the workplace- ever.  If these two people were actually in the same room together (it either wouldn’t have happened in the first place), it might have come to blows. We work in a virtual work environment so most communication is done in online office environments, emails and text messages-conference calls as a “last resort” it seems.

Grateful I Have a Program

I cannot say for sure, but I believe these men are non-alcoholic.  One doesn’t drink at all, the other not very much (that I know of.)  Today, I refused to get involved in the volley of high tempered insults and left the conversation and situation.  I had a Funeral to attend a little later on and decided to leave “work” early.  This was not about me.

Other People’s Happiness Is Not Up to ME

I would love to say this argument won’t have long lasting effects on our company.  I don’t know what is going to happen next. I have to surrender and put this “peacemaking” job up to my Higher Power, because only HP knows the plan.

Thanks for reading.  I always feel better after I get these thoughts out of my head.

 

*thank you Pinterest for the image

 

 

 

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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.

 

Anonymity Is the Spiritual Foundation…

Of all our traditions ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” Not quite sure how to correctly punctuate that, but you know what I mean.

There are a bunch of sayings in AA that have resonated with me.  Some of them at first I didn’t like, some of them meant a particular thing when I first heard them and over time as my thinking changed, the meanings changed – usually they became deeper and more meaningful.  And this particular one really means so much more than when I first entered “The Halls.”

Keeping a Secret

When I was out there drinking, I was always the person people would come to me with their problems, ideas, dreams  and I would listen.  I still do that now and like then, I never tell a secret.  This is something some people have to get used to, some of them tell me things thinking that I will pass on their story, they learn quickly, what I am told, I keep to myself.  Your story is yours.

Gossip

Is not my deal. I value when people trust me to be a good listener, help someone process feelings or ideas without another person judging them.  It is also not my deal to use their information as a weapon or power  to make more friends.  Gossip is generally hurtful.  Hurt feelings are the worst. When I was drinking, I was great at hurting myself, beat myself up, I had no idea.  Now that I really understand what hurt is, I am really not willing to do that to someone else.

“I am a Writer,”  THERE, I said it!

Ever since I can remember, I have gone through periods where I have written down my thoughts and feelingsin a journal, it was a way for me to sort them out.  As I have gotten older, I have written a vast array of things. White papers, technical articles, web copy and content for many companies, it was their story.  I am a good listener and I can write.  Could it be a gift from my Higher Power?

Writing this blog was the first time I really focused on writing for myself.  I put it down for a while and then it comes back and haunts me until I write again.  I wonder if it is my Higher Power telling me this is what I need to do, it is easy for me and I really enjoy it.  I even have a book in mind. A recovery journey book.

Good Ole Janis

As I mentioned early in this blog, Janis La Joie is not my real name.  I wanted a way to process my feelings without concern of people knowing who I was.  Let’s be clear, all the feelings and situations are honest ones, they happened, I felt them.  The only thing in disguise is MY NAME, TOWN I LIVE IN, stuff that I would prefer non-program people who have their own baggage not know about.  No one should try and recover under a microscope including me.  Recovery is hard enough with all the shame and guilt I have of my own to get through, I don’t need others and  “their $hit”  to complicate my recovery journey.

Making the Leap

NO, I am not hiring a skywriter that “outs” me.  But I have created a FB profile for Janis and all her recovery shares that really don’t work to use in this blog format.  Please come and join me – friend me.  I will not post anything on anyone’s wall that indicates Recovery.  I will post things on my wall that you may feel free to share or you may comment if you like. You may “Direct or Private” message me through FB if you would like.  As I have heard in the program many of us hit such a public bottom (aka train wreck), that anonymity is not an issue.  But I don’t make that decision for other people and neither does Janis.  So come over to Facebook so we can keep better in touch.  The blog will be more active than ever but if you are like me your FB is always open!

Remembering that recovery is “One Day At A Time.”

 

I Still Hate Sunday Nights

Sunday nights meant Monday mornings. In the old days, it was about pulling it together to go to work Monday mornings. It was only a few times I didn’t, I managed to function even at the end of my drinking days.

Same Ole Story
Now I am sober and as I have mentioned previously, I have not changed my job situation.  One reason, I am an owner in the company.  When I got sober I took my partners to lunch and apologized, explained that I was getting help.  They were as supportive as they knew how to be but since that conversation about 2 1/2 years ago, lots have changed.  One thing is, ME.

Truth
Being in recovery, I recognize things I never used to notice.  We are business partners and not close friends. We never have been.  We don’t and never have done anything socially.  I honestly don’t think they are capable of having real friends. Neither of them do to this day.  And of course, when I started going to AA and learning more and more about REAL relationships, the more the “notsoreal” relationships faded from my life.  This is the remaining relationship that I am in because I made a commitment that I am trying to live by.

Lies
One partner put his house on the market and has moved his family about 400 miles away.  At the time, we were told that it was a temporary thing, there were some elder care issues. Once the FOR SALE sign goes up it seems less than temporary.  The sign was up before I knew.  The idea was perhaps growing the business.  To this date, a year and a half later the business is not coming in.  He only criticizes this area and repeats statements that he believes we are backward here.  Then the other one has become a Department Head at a local university and is dividing his time significantly – he lives more than an hour away and recently complained that he is working 80 hours a week.  The 80 hours is not for our company.  I have a hard time feeling compassionate when it is his choice to put his commitment with our company on the back burner and we are supposed to move all our schedules around to accommodate these two men, for meetings, calls, etc.

Third Step
I don’t know how many times I have recited the Third Step Prayer in the parking lot before I have gone into my office.  I manage to get through the days but again, here I am on a Sunday night feeling major anxiety.  They treat me like shit, they treat our employees like shit unless they want something.  I have told both of them things are not acceptable but since I “outed” myself as an alcoholic they have distanced themselves even further than before. I am tired to talking to brick walls.

Test
I know my HP won’t give me anything more than I can handle, but it is hard to reach down and believe that it is all going to work out the way it is supposed to.

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.

 

 

How Do I Believe in ME?

Being an alcoholic is about all I know that I am these days.  And I am grateful to know that because it gives me choices today that I did not have 2 1/2 years ago.  While that being said, I find a lot of ME missing. I mean WHO AM I?

Reinvention

Once I stopped drinking, reinvention was more like reconstruction.  The way my disease worked was not so much lashing out or fighting, (though in the end, it was starting to progress to that), it was years of beating on myself.  Pulling myself apart piece by piece.

Failed Marriage

It certainly takes “two to tango. ” And “Yes” I have made amends to my ex-husband.  Since alcoholism is such a puzzle to me, I am not sure when my thinking took that “Left turn” or in Maine where I am from a “HAHD LEFT” would be more like it, but whenever that was, things took on a new meaning and a whole new life of their own.  My husband and I split when I was 38.  To this day, I am not sure exactly why our marriage failed. What I do know is the failure of my marriage accelerated my drinking.  For the next 10 years, drinking was all I could do to ease the aches within my heart and head.  And of course, once the drinking ended, my troubles were still there, only worse.

Now a life without the Booze makes me look at everything in a different way.  And that is not always a good thing. Going to meetings helps me a lot.  But still I have no self-confidence.  If you had ever met me you may not believe that.  On the outside, people tell me they cannot understand why I lack confidence in myself. I seem so “put together.” Meanwhile on the inside, I am just a scared child- full, full, full of fear.

Truth

My alcoholism is not something I have ever wanted as “dinner conversation.”  It is likely that most people have no idea that I am an alcoholic.  I was so lucky my “end of drinking”  didn’t come as a driving incident – DUI or a hospital stay, there was no public display for anyone to see.  People have noticed changes about me – I am calmer, more focused.

I am feeling more comfortable in my skin these days, albeit about 60 pounds more than I would like it to be.  I can commit to something, show up and be part of something.  I just wish I knew what that something is supposed to be.