Endigar 585 ~ A Scary Mommy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 22, 2014 by endigar

An article came up in my Facebook feed from a sister in recovery.  I stopped and read, and painfully experienced resonance with Katy the Scary Mommy.  I will share this article here, but I do recommend you visit her site.  She is an amazing word-crafter.  Her title is hyperlinked to her site.

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Walk of the Not Quite Dead

On a crisp fall day, just like today, where the sun is shining and people are out playing, I sit huddled on a park bench trying to ward off the shakes from alcohol withdrawal and hunger pains.

I watch the families.  I see a mom happy as can be that she has her whole family with her today as they are throwing a ball to their jubilant Golden Retriever and the kids tumble through the grass to see who can get to the ball first.   The dog always wins.  The mom takes out a snack and gives a little to each child along with a juice box.   The dad doesn’t seem to like the mess they’re making, but laughs and shakes his head anyway.

That will never be my life.

This family doesn’t see me.  I mean, they see me, but they don’t SEE me.  I don’t want to be seen.  They try to pretend I’m not there as they go about their lovely Sunday that they’ve been waiting all week to enjoy.  I don’t blame them.  I wouldn’t want to see me either.  I’m an ugly reminder that there are sick, sad people in this world that you try to shield your kids from as you do your best to make them feel safe and protected and that nothing bad will ever happen to them.  I get it.  So I just watch.

I am vulnerable right now, as I am coming off a drunk and my heart and soul and body is sick with regret and remorse and utter hopelessness.

I see a football game happening where the guys are drinking beers and laughing.  I no longer laugh when I drink beer.  I no longer laugh.  I beg borrow steal and do what I need to do to get more money for some cheap vodka and maybe a $1 something at McDonalds as I haven’t eaten anything for about 48 hours.

It’s incredible how resilient my body has become at 110 pounds with no nourishment except for vodka for days on end. I can use a real bathroom in the McDonalds to clean my hands and face if I can focus on stopping the trembling for 5 minutes and keep others, especially little kids, out of there for that long.

I hurt.  My body hurts; it hurts to move.  My soul feels so empty and ugly and sad that I have to get something quick to cover it up.  My heart hurts and I can’t have that.  For if I feel the hurt too long, I might have to do something about it.  End it all?  CHANGE SOMETHING?  No.  No way.  Not now.  So I find a way.

I walk.  I walk and walk and walk.  I am one of those people you see on the street on a beautiful day that can jar you to your core because if you are someone who looks closely you think, “What the hell happened to her?”  I am dirty.  I am not dressed appropriately.  I am acting a bit shady and you’re not sure what I will do when you pass me by.  I am used to the looks and then the averted eyes.   I see life and the living all around me and yet I am distant, apart from, utterly disconnected.

Night falls.  I am in a drunken stupor, most likely blacked out, which means I’m functioning but I will have no memory of it.  I sleep in the park.  I pass out in the park.  Under a tree.  I have no cover, no shield.  I am exposed.  There is no real rest.  It is simply a crash period that my body uses as a defense against me continuing to drink until I kill myself.  I have no defense against my alert self.

Despite my need for rest, I am awake and walking again.  Walking in the middle of the night in a big city and I have no destination.  I walk and walk and walk.  It’s all I can seem to do.  I see people and they see me and some screw with me, but most leave me alone.  I am lucky.   I have no idea how lucky I am.

The sun comes up and I am still walking.  I am walking as if my guts depend on it.  What am I looking for?  A reason.  A reason to stop all this.  I have no hope and until I am given the gift of hope I will keep walking and keep searching and keep drinking.  I am hungry I am angry I am lonely I am tired.  I am coming down off my stupor and I am starting to withdraw again.  The cycle is beginning all over.  The same way it did yesterday and the same way it will tomorrow.  Over and over again until I die or say enough.

That was 12 years ago.

Today I am a mother after struggling with infertility.  I have a phenomenal husband and twin 10 month olds.  I have a job and a safe warm place to live.  We are broke as hell and struggle the way so many people do about how we will pay for things and what our next move will be, but the fact that I even have these decisions and struggles is a gift.  My goal back then was to live through another day.  Or on some days, not to live at all.  And yet, I am still alive.  Son of a lucky bitch.  I am still alive.

Quite similar to the zombie “walkers” on The Walking Dead, I was a transient, physically and more profoundly, spiritually.  I numbed myself as I stumbled through life without feeling anything. That’s no way to live.

I’m not unique or special. Many walkers never get their chance. I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’m a second-chancer as are all the other walkers out there. They just haven’t gotten their chance yet. They aren’t done.  Some never will be. But let’s not write them off so quickly. You just never know who’s out there walking and waiting for their scintilla of hope to spank them in the face. Being kind when it’s uncomfortable might be just what they need right then in that moment. You could be the spark. That still small voice.

You think this can’t happen to you.  But I am you.  I grew up in a loving, safe home.  I lost my way.  I lost hope and belief in myself after doing life for a while and not liking what life was doing to me.  It wasn’t fair and I thought I deserved better.  I drank it all away.  Once hope was lost, I couldn’t get it back.  I didn’t want to get it back.  Hopelessness is that pit of despair that caves in on itself mocking all reason until you finally feel a glimmer by grace and then it hits you that was what you were looking for the entire time.

Endigar 584 ~ What We Know Best

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 22, 2014 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of October 23;

“Shoemaker, stick to thy last!” . . . better do one thing supremely well than many badly. That is the central theme of this Tradition [Five]. Around it our Society gathers in unity. The very life of our Fellowship requires the preservation of this principle.   (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 150)

The survival of A.A. depends upon unity. What would happen if a group decided to become an employment agency, a treatment center or a social service agency? Too much specialization leads to no specialization, to frittering of efforts and, finally, to decline. I have the qualifications to share my sufferings and my way of recovery with the newcomer. Conformity to A.A.’s primary purpose ensures the safety of the wonderful gift of sobriety, so my responsibility is enormous. The life of millions of alcoholics is closely tied to my competence in “carrying the message to the still-suffering alcoholic.”

END OF QUOTE

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The Fifth Tradition of AA states, “Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”

For me, there are two implications of this tradition for the individual member of AA.  The first is that the multitude of personal desires and other goals that come with a very active ego must be extinguished within the recovery rooms.  I cannot proselytize for my religion or system of belief within the rooms.  I cannot focus on improving my finances or fulfilling relationship desires.  I cannot bring into the rooms my personal political schemes.  I began to learn this lesson early in my sobriety.  I remember in one meeting, a beautiful young woman came up and sat in the chair next to me.  There were other empty seats.  Her leg touched mine.  I was attracted and she could hardly keep still in her seat.  I interpreted that she was also feeling the energy.  I determined that after the meeting, I would talk to her and if nothing developed, give her my number.  What a great meeting this was going to be.  Then she shared with the group that she really needed a meeting because afterwards she was going to go visit a friend who had been drinking and driving and was in the hospital after  a car accident.  The intoxicated driver’s friend in the passenger seat had been killed and she was going to have to tell him about it.  I was horrified at how inappropriate my self-interest would have been that night.

So, I do not pursue sisters in recovery.  I am open to a relationship if I and the other are fairly free of the duress of the addiction and have found a way of emotional-spiritual stability and growth.  For me now, going after females who have just entered the room is akin to recovery rape.  The girl is not capable of giving clear-headed consent to interaction.    This goes the other way as well.  Women who go after new males in recovery are threatening their lives.  This is the primary area of self-interest I sacrifice in the rooms.  There are others.

The second implication for me as an individual member is that it is expected and needed for my sobriety to always hold top place in my list of personal priorities in my day to day living.  Words alone will not provide a saving message to other alcoholics or addicts.  They must be reinforced by example in order to have the needed substance to truly share experience, strength, and hope.

 

Art Credit:  Demon of Lust by KJ Kallio

Endigar 583 ~ True Tolerance

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 21, 2014 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of October 22;

Finally, we begin to see that all people, including ourselves, are to some extent emotionally ill as well as frequently wrong, and then we approach true tolerance and see what real love for our fellows actually means.   (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 92)

The thought occurred to me that all people are emotionally ill to some extent. How could we not be? Who among us is spiritually perfect? Who among us is physically perfect? How could any of us be emotionally perfect? Therefore, what else are we to do but bear with one another and treat each other as we would be treated in similar circumstances? That is what love really is.

 

END OF QUOTE

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For me, the worst thing about death of some one loved is the dismissal of significance.  When my mother died in 2006, the significance of who she is was relinquished to the vault of memory.  I found it unbearable to take during a time when my faith in anything beyond organic life was gone.  In the funeral procession, I was crushed by the weight of loss of this important connection in my life.  Then I saw that a man driving a log truck had pulled over to the side of the road, and I looked to see that he had dismounted his vehicle and stood outside with his hat off and hand over his heart.  His face is forever burned in my mind.  He gave to me what no religion could. His respect transferred dignity to my mother.

Real love is the assertion of the significance of life.  Dignity is what we do to embrace our own lives.  Respect is what we do to give significance to others.  Love is connection which enables the growing vulnerable of intimacy.  Love is the strength of heart to interact; it is courage.  It is the opposite of apathy.  Tolerance as expressed here is not the absence of revulsion.  It is the very active search and investment in the value of one another.

What if this universal illness that makes us frequently wrong is something the Infinite One created to be overcome?  What if perfection is the way of Angels, but not the way of God?  What if God is both infinite order and infinite chaos?  What if God conspires to have a race of beings who can embrace the universal order, as do the angels (if you believe such), and the universal chaos?  What if our treatment of one another is a demonstration of our spiritual romance with Gomu?   What if God never wanted a perfect people, but instead hungered for ones who knew what it meant to overcome imperfections of all sorts?

Regardless of the what ifs, we are all in this together and are more powerful together than a part.  The closer we are to one another, the closer we are to the center of the circle.

 

 

Endigar 582 ~ Nothing Grows in the Dark

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 20, 2014 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of October 21;

We will want the good that is in us all, even in the worst of us, to flower and to grow.   (As Bill Sees It, page 10)

With the self-discipline and insight gained from practicing Step Ten, I begin to know the gratifications of sobriety — not as mere abstinence from alcohol, but as recovery in every department of my life.

I renew hope, regenerate faith, and regain the dignity of self-respect. I discover the word “and” in the phrase “and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”

Reassured that I am no longer always wrong, I learn to accept myself as I am, with a new sense of the miracles of sobriety and serenity.

 

END OF QUOTE

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LOTR:  Light of Earendil

When darkness represents the various forms of self-deception, then it is a true statement for me that nothing grows in the dark.  Sanity is challenged in that kind of darkness.  Emotional stability is an unobtainable goal in that kind of darkness.  The discipline of a frequent, even daily, moral inventory thus represents a light in dark places.  In this kind of light I grow in spiritual strength, moral courage, the sanity of knowing the truth about myself, and the serenity of emotional stability becomes a progressively regular way of life.

Endigar 581 ~ Solace for Confusion

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 18, 2014 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of October 20;

Obviously, the dilemma of the wanderer from faith is that of profound confusion. He thinks himself lost to the comfort of any conviction at all. He cannot attain in even a small degree the assurance of the believer, the agnostic, or the atheist. He is the bewildered one.   (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 28)

The concept of God was one that I struggled with during my early years of sobriety. The images that came to me, conjured from my past, were heavy with fear, rejection and condemnation. Then I heard my friend Ed’s image of a Higher Power: As a boy he had been allowed a litter of puppies, provided that he assume responsibility for their care. Each morning he would find the unavoidable “byproducts”of the puppies on the kitchen floor. Despite frustration, Ed said he couldn’t get angry because”that’s the nature of puppies.” Ed felt that God viewed our defects and shortcomings with a similar understanding and warmth. I’ve often found solace from my personal confusion in Ed’s calming concept of God.

END OF QUOTE

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My loss of faith opened the door to my alcoholism.  In my post-marital apocalypse that ensued after 2003, I no longer believed there was anything beyond death.  It was a sickening epiphany to live out.  As the character Graham Hess in the movie Signs said, “deep down, they feel that whatever happens, they’re on their own. And that fills them with fear.”  That was my lot.  I felt ashamed that I had trustingly brought two beautiful children into a world that would eventually exterminate them.  My self-awareness only tormented me and all loving relationships were tragedies waiting to happen.  Neither agnosticism nor atheism provided comfort or guidance.  I found it as foolish as religion.  I wished that my state of mind could simply have been described as confusion.  Everyday was a replay of the same horror.  I was so grateful for the oblivion of alcohol.

I was sent to rehab and confronted with the prospect that I either reconnect with a Higher Power or I die tragically.  I am amazed that the program was able to escort me out of that black hole universe and restore to me a faith that is so much more real and effective.  And I am grateful for it.

Artwork:  Wanderer above the Sea of Fog

Endigar 580 ~ A.A.’s “Main Taproot”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 17, 2014 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of October 19;

The principle that we shall find no enduring strength until we first admit complete defeat is the main taproot from which our whole Society has sprung and flowered.   (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pages 21 – 22)

Defeated, and knowing it, I arrived at the doors of A.A., alone and afraid of the unknown. A power outside of myself had picked me up off my bed, guided me to the phone book, then to the bus stop, and through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous. Once inside A.A. I experienced a sense of being loved and accepted, something I had not felt since early childhood. May I never lose the sense of wonder I experienced on that first evening with A.A., the greatest event of my entire life.

 

END OF QUOTE

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The greatest events of my entire life are found as a result of my interactive union with a Higher Power.  My personal mythology has evolved over time, but there has been an entity out there that we humans have called God.  It is a place-holder name for the Infinite All just as Zero is the place-holder name for the infinite nothing.  We assign other names based on our personal experience with that which works the best to foster our relationship with the Infinite One.

The contributor to this Daily Reflection looks at that first evening with A.A. as the greatest event of his entire life.  I have no such singular event.  My infant children’s heads resting with complete trust upon my shoulder as I walk about to help them sleep is burned deeply in my heart and comes close to being exalted among the greatest events of my life.  This event was the result of faith in a God that loves family.  Yet, when I felt that I had lost all including precious faith, I wrestled with God like Jacob, and I did it in the rooms of AA.  Although I walked away limping, I found GOMU (God of my understanding).  I can now see that this simple faith is with the Infinite One that loves my sanity and encourages a very pragmatic morality to protect my heart.  A.A. is my Peniel.

Endigar 579 ~ An Open Mind

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 16, 2014 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of October 18;

True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith, . . .   (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 33)

My alcoholic thinking led me to believe that I could control my drinking, but I couldn’t. When I came to A.A., I realized that God was speaking to me through my group. My mind was open just enough to know that I needed His help. A real, honest acceptance of A.A. took more time, but with it came humility. I know how insane I was, and I am extremely grateful to have my sanity restored to me and to be a sober alcoholic. The new, sober me is a much better person than I ever could have been without A.A.

END OF QUOTE

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 Photographer:  Open Source, unable to locate.

Finding myself in trouble for things that only a stupid or insane person would do was my first humiliating admission.  It was a slight crack in the door of my double life.  My self-deception was the primary core of my alcoholic insanity.  I relate to the progressive acquisition of sanity that was the result of my participation in A.A. and I have become less susceptible to the dominating deception that mind-altering strategies found in any addictive behavior will improve my life.  Even if I give way to the lure of perpetual intensity, I know it to be self-deception.  For me it is the choice of seeking lighting bolt experiences or oak tree growth.  That choice is no longer hidden from me.  I am better as an AA oak than an alcoholic burst.

Oak Tree

Photo Credit: Jeannine of Garden Envy

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