Soonest Begun

Time is of the essence when it comes to health. Oftentimes we don’t think of health. Not until it hits us. Injury, illness, shortness of breath, choking on food, witnessing someone having those experiences.

Addiction often is not seen as illness. Addiction to substance use is more of stigma than disorder. Although stigma is strong, we can have hope that if we look at substance use addiction as a disorder, then we can hope that establishing order as possible.

Addiction is not seen as a health issue, no. It is not a flu and it is no cancer, the major population would say, you just need to get your crap together. Well, actually it is cancer. Only on this case it is the person putting harmful substances in their body on a voluntary basis because they cannot stop… because that cancer has eaten into their mind so deeply.

While we are pummeling at stigma and try to figure out illness vs enabling, time is still of the essence to acquire skills to heal. As they say, soonest began, soonest done. Hopefully, with less side effects.

Ah, yes. It is easier said than done, isn’t it? I know. I had my dance with substances for over ten years. I wouldn’t let go all that time because as it was fun to discover, the “substances” were fun to keep. As Stephen King said “Cool ideas were not necessarily good ideas,” in his Elevation novel, if I remember correctly.

or this makes sense too

Besides, those ideas and the actions that came from them served me a function.

As for letting them go, it was kind of a grieving death experiences. My mind attitudes changed. My dependency not just on physical effect but on my new place on society was under stress. That is all healing, but I didn’t feel or think that way all the time. And that is the process of rehabilitation just as well.

(the image was copied from somewhere within the depths of Facebook. thank you.)



The Weakening

businessman-kettle-head-steam-pulled-out-lid-vector-hand-drawn-pop-art-illustration-70388152I watched this in Mr. Mercedes series (Season 2, episode one) last night. Bill Hodges speaking at a funeral of his long-time friend and police partner who died from a heart attack: “He hasn’t talked of his weaknesses and his heart problems. He was all police. At this job we are trained to not show weakness. So, we don’t talk about it. If we did, maybe some of us were still alive.”

There is a strong connection in the idea of that segment to something I saw once on the mental health unit I worked on:

“What was the bravest thing you’ve asked for?”

“Help.”

There is even stronger connection in that idea to what I’ve recently been reading about grief and loss. One of the main ideas in the book (Grief Recovery Handbook by J.W. James and R. Friedman) is that people in the western society are constantly misinformed about grieving and letting go of loss they’ve experienced. Major myths that humans learn over and over through generations is that you grieve alone, and if it doesn’t help, you replace pain with something else and you don’t cry around others. Asking for help, therefore, is not welcomed. People progress through life carrying their pain, not knowing how to deal with it, collecting more pain and loss on their path, leading a life of a kettle that is constantly on fire while there is no way to let steam out.

I’ve met a lot of them kettle people when I worked in the recovery houses and overnight shelters. They wouldn’t talk of their issues that brought them that low, because they were taught not to bother others, not to show their weaknesses, not to cry in front of others, not to deal with emotions. Imagine their kettles going into overdrive and beyond!

In a society where you are taught not to ask for help, showing vulnerability seems to be considered a crime. In a reality full of subjective ideas, myths, and prejudices, asking for help is indeed the bravest thing a person can do. In the same glorious reality, to follow up with finding out more what’s behind those cold eyes and world of hurt can probably earn you your own crest and a Viking funeral.

Yet we are not there yet.


the image was copied from https://www.dreamstime.com/illustration/kettle-head.html thank you.

the first minute of waking up early

earlyFirst minute of waking up early

Is the time when I know I am OK.

Even if I have to go to work,

Or walk the dog

Or do things I don’t want to, either now, or today,

I am here sober and healthy and the day may be good

If I think of it so.

The trip of to the washroom to use toilet and brush teeth.

When I’m half done with the brush, the minute is gone

Yet I have already done so much to be ready

For the day,

And although I may not know it,

In the space right behind my eyes

I am grateful to be up and going

In this world still moderately still and silent.


the image was copied form http://www.successfulbydesign.com/how-to-wake-up-early-2/ thanks.

how crazy am i?

“That’s the problem with crazy people:

they don’t know they are crazy!”

Jim Jeffreys

UWU1MDBlSUsxb0E=I think epigraph quote should be under the title, and in the blog post that’s how it would be (and is), but not in the Word document that I have started writing this post. It took me quite some thinking about it, and it would take me less than ten seconds to change it, but I haven’t. I went on thinking of it. Should I change it? Should I leave it the way it is? Will the time changing it be significantly smaller as compared to my continuing thinking about changing it?

I think a lot.  I like it, until it kicks me in the butt which does happen from time to time. I pay no mind and keep on with it. I have no expectations that it would get better, for most of the time I have no care. If I did have the expectations that it would get better, I would be crazy, because it is insane to expect different results from practicing the same behavior.

I used to be that insane when it came to things compulsive, involving drinking alcohol and acting OCD. Thanks to drinking, I was prone to depression. I wanted to find a safe manner of drinking after many a time of finding a proof that my body wasn’t interested in adjusting to that idea or behavior. It has worked for others, I’ve witnessed, but not with me. I’ve tried different everything that involved drinking as I continued drinking, and that was insane.

After I finally have quit intoxicating myself for good, I’ve noticed plenty of positive factors showing up, including massive decrease in depressive attitude and in OCD behavior. I was less crazy, but to keep myself in check regarding sobriety, abstinence, and the behavior that would keep those in check I had to think of it. I wrote about it, I talked about it, I talked to myself about it, and thinking never ended.

Thinking excessively is not crazy. Talking to yourself is not crazy, because scientists came with “self talk” term for it and they recommend it to deal with solving tasks.

So how crazy am I? I think I better be this crazy that I am now than being insane as I was in my past life with substance abuse limiting my oxygen.


the image was copied from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qe500eIK1oA and crazed up by me. thank you.

[patient denies discomfort]

I didn’t believe

I didn’t want to know

I failed to see

When they told me something was off

When they’ve put the mirror to my face so I’d take a look at how fucked up I was.

I still said I was fine.

I still said there was no reason to worry and why wouldn’t the just leave me be

There was no fight I needed

There was no change I wanted

…there was a scream deep inside of me, for help, for love, for something new…

I kept not hearing it.

I kept wanting the same liquid solution

They, they, they… what else did they do

Besides trying to pry open my eyes to my insanity

Besides slamming with words and actions?

Well, all i saw was intrusion.

I remained alone, telling myself and others nothing was going wrong

I remained intoxicated, believing the fairy tales it was telling me.

…change is a scary thing if it seems like there is no one by your side and that’s how I felt…

One day the years caught up with me

One day it was one of those days

I looked at myself in the mirror that I denied existed

And realized if I keep doing it, I will keep doing it until there will be no more “it.”

…meaningfulness of life was running through my fingers into the sands of the desert I’ve created for myself as I watched, realizing that very fact, scared shitless to do anything about it…

Then I made a step forward and admitted to complete strangers how bad I was.

Then they nodded and welcomed me to the club.

…somewhere deep inside the fucked up me was whispering words of caution but I ignored them…

I was on the way out of denial and toward responsibility that came entwined with freedom

I was me who I knew and the one I didn’t, and that was OK

The change was no longer as scary as before,

For I was no longer alone,

And I saw that as much as I believed it.

 

 

 

Unasked

kikThe universe hears me. It keeps all the space and energy in itself, provides nourishment, change and death rites, and it finds time to hear me. I don’t know how it’s understanding of me works. I just believe that I’m a part of a massive, and close, and distant, and thoroughly deep system that works in and out, and far out. Within all that, myriads of connections exist between the organisms and things that some may consider soulless. In the midst of that, I connect to others, those so many that I’m not even aware of.

When I call for inspiration, or guidance, or healing, I don’t know what or where it comes from. I just feel its presence, its entrance, or its absence. It could come from people I know, or those I don’t, or never will know. If I feel the input, I give thanks, and carry on with what’s needed to be done, unless I allow myself to procrastinate, waiting for something else, a foot kicking my ass.

That ass-kicking foot is the universe’s will for something I haven’t asked for, yet clearly required. It’s just as important to receive that intervention as the one that I have consciously requested. Sometimes it is a mighty kick alright, and I’d get my crap together and get on with accomplishing what I originally intended to, or was not aware of originally, and now have realized I needed to.

And then sometimes it is a soft breeze coming out of nowhere, or so I’d originally think. It brings the news “Did you know?” through the words, spoken or written, of someone else. It also can take a form of a thought “What if?”, giving birth to itself within me.

Those things I ask for, the answers and gifts of them are important and I’m grateful for them. Yet those that come out-of-nowhere, those are more precious, because I can feel the care of the universe in their wind blow. I can feel that I’m being inspired, and it is quite possible that those weren’t intended just for me alone, but for someone or something else, for we are all interconnected, and one can influence another through whatever they do. That influence can be positive as well as negative, and we better keep that in mind, I think.


the image was copied from https://steemit.com/business/@cryptoandcoffee/motivational-kick-up-the-ass thank you.

take#1

doctor-sleepSteve said

“Man takes a drink,

Drink takes a drink,

And then drink takes a man.”

I couldn’t say it better

Or deeper.

Steve also said

“Life is a blackboard

And a drink of alcohol

Is an eraser.”

So true,

So nihilistic

And sad.

I’ve been erasing

So many things in my life,

Been so tired of being a creature with emotions

Until I realized that without them

I’m just a blackboard

Joylessly passing through life.


the image was copied fromhttps://www.indiewire.com/2020/07/mike-flanagan-stephen-king-revival-1234571057/

the quotes are from “Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King

thank yous.

Thought That Counts

It was not easy to master the idea that thinking of others in need and thinking of others’ benefit AND expressing it IS a key to successful communication and relationships.

When I have read the program of recovery I’ve accepted was a selfish program, I laughed. I sure was selfish. When I realized though what it meant I was not laughing, yet nodding I was because it made sense. We have to take care of our own world on sickness before we could be of service to others.

It took a while to learn how to say things that were meaningful to others and to me without hurting anyone, even though I may have seen in my mind that my idea would benefit all parties involved. It took longer time to realize that my immediate and/or clear benefit is not always necessary.

The thought always counts. But it takes more than just a thought of respecting others’ needs. Unless it is a fight for personal survival, it takes more thinking for others and not for what you can immediately gain from that. My gain could be observed in hindsight.

I could see eventually that I could benefit both parties by not starting a conflict which I originally thought could caress my ego for it would prove I was right. Absence of pride masturbation led to absence of conflict.

Its been a while that I have lived not knowing all that. Nobody told me, I think. So, I lived hurting another person, not even being aware of that. At the same time I doing other things right. I was caring and attentive to the need of another person, yet I took recovery program mandatory honesty and openness to heart and spoke what was on my mind, not thinking how another person would take it.

Some other parties I would hurt differently, but the same. Honesty and truth would bubble inside of me requiring release, but to others it would come out looking and feeling as vengeance and rage, I guess. They didn’t feel like they deserved it yet wouldn’t say so right then. Instead, they would retreat from communicating, shutting down, putting the pain in “denial and forget” box.

Their hurt and pain as a reaction to what I did or said lasted beyond the time I may have thought would take for them to heal.

Some time passed and I realized that although my life took a turn, I was still doing that, this time to another person. Different story, different hurt, same mindset on my part somehow. Compassionate and caring me remained selfish, because I only considered the thought that counted for a moment, not checking if my altruism could be faulty if seen through the eyes of the person who I was trying to be of service to. Was I doing that for them, for us, or for me?

It took talking to figure out that I was still a selfish creature, no matter how much recovery wisdom I took in. Selfishness was an important part of me, I thought, in a sense of self preservation, for the sake of security, mental and spiritual needs to be met. But I wanted things to be done my way, nevertheless. When that was challenged, I retaliated out of thought that I didn’t want to be pushed around to do things others wanted to be done their way, even if I saw that doing things that way worked well. Some other times I saw that doing things my way worked well too, so I persisted doing them that way and resisted change that I perceived as unnecessary.

Among other things, it led to meeting the ends of my pride and hurting feelings of others. It appeared that I was repeating my old mistakes while I thought I was improving for the sake if all parties involved.

Here’s where the Third Step statement (Let Go and Let God, in a nutshell) as well as The Third Step Prayer (“May I do thy will always”) would come into view. And that is all fine and dandy, but I often still remain blind to what does Their will want me to do. How much do I surrender to not fall prey to the sick will of others? How much of myself can I give away to not fall apart?

Except listening is a part of that Step as well. I know about listening, as in Listening to others and The Listening to the High One. I suck at both, I think. Yes, still. Perhaps, my thinking is too good, and I need to slow down on that. I overthink a lot once I start. Could it be that my thinking messes with Listening?

pointing it in

2745655_0Last year in college I still had no clue what I’m going to do with my life. Following an advice of the school counselor, I figured the smartest thing was to volunteer in a couple of places around the city and then see. I wanted to go change the world, you know. Ha.

I started working at a shelter for people who had no place to call their own. My experience was many people needed sobriety just as much as home. But to get better they needed to act accordingly to what the program of recovery was telling them. I worked with some of these people and the more it went, the more it seemed to me they were not ready, for any recovery or sobriety. It appeared they didn’t care to hear.

It took me years to realize they did hear. But besides the recovery message of care and support they also heard other stuff. They were homeless and thirsty. Every day was a day of coping and surviving. Not just surviving the street, looking over your shoulder, sleeping with one eye open, knowing your friends, knowing surroundings and places where to eat, shower, score whatever you need.

No. Surviving the day of projected blaming. Finger pointing. Many of them lived a lifetime of lecturing. I never pointed finger at them. Not on the outside. But I did it in my head. I guess they felt it. They listened to me and my coworkers, but they were not hearing because the life outside of them was not hearing them. Them and their inside story.

I worked with the people for eight years and those I could reach, some of their lives got better, because me and my colleagues heard them and showed it. We couldn’t change them against their will, but we showed them we heard. Being an addict makes you relate to another addict. We’ve brought empathy and relating to the table, instead of salvation. And we’ve brought some food too. Carrot cake, you know.

I think I’m still a judgmental asshole, like many others out there (see? right there!) but I keep reminding myself of that, so I try to keep my inside finger pointing to a minimum. Even if  I don’t think it is, or I don’t mean it, it is still there, just like in this image I found for this post. Pointing fingers doesn’t do anyone any good, unless you show somebody which road to take when they asked about. Now, that’s a helpful thing to do.


image was copied from https://www.teepublic.com/fr/art-mural/2745655-uncle-sam-hand-pointing-funny-patriotic-government and put on it’s head by me. thanks.

What I Didn’t Know: Alcoholism, Recovery, and the Order of Things

tiger1There was a joke I heard in elementary school.

How many steps it takes to put a tiger in a fridge?

Don’t know. Why…

How many steps?

Don’t know.

Three steps. You open the fridge, put the tiger in, close the fridge. OK? Now, how many steps it takes to put an elephant in the fridge?

Three.

No. Four.

Why…

Look, you open the fridge, take the tiger out, put the elephant in, close the fridge. Done.

Why… would someone put poor animals in a fridge? Who knows. Bored school kids come up with even weirder concepts, I’m sure. Well, I know. I was one. I used to think of so many things and came up with so many ideas. Eventually though I found I had no one to share them with. And then, with the course of time, I started drinking. I liked the effect and I didn’t feel lonely when drunk. On contrary I was happy, and half the time when I wasn’t drinking, I wasn’t so happy, so I kept up with the drinking. And then reality kept catching up with me to the point I drank way more often. And then I couldn’t afford it, yet I still did it. Then I started visiting doctors and taking medications to deal with the consequences of that behavior that I really didn’t want to let go of. Nothing seemed to help. Then I was recommended to do something different. As a result, I came to a room occupied by complete strangers who told me that what was happening to me was called Alcoholism.

I heard of alcoholism, but I had no knowledge of it. I thought that it was something that plagued middle aged and older men that often slept in a gutter after hanging around liquor stores, sometimes in small companies, begging or intimidating people for money they used to buy liquor. That was all I witnessed, and that was all I thought it was: drinking, being mean, smelling bad, nothing good came out of that. It never occurred to me I could become one of these people. I was responsible, clean, and had other things to do instead of loitering and being obnoxious. There seemed to be a massive difference between me and them.

I also didn’t know anyone who would prove me wrong, so I didn’t know who to ask when I started having questions. And my questions didn’t last long, because I saw everyone drinking, really, so I felt my behavior was socially accepted. When I started noticing problems arising from my drinking, I figured that was socially accepted too. It seemed to me I just needed to give it some time to normalize, and then after taking a small break, I could go back to drinking without issues.

By then time everybody including my family, employers, school instructors, girlfriends, and the little of friends that I had, – they all knew I had a problem. I was the only one who kept denying the seriousness of it. I thought I could find the way to normalize my behavior and attitude toward drinking alcohol.

The strangers in the room proved me wrong after I already proved myself wrong plenty of times. And they also told me there was a way of action that would help me overcome what I was battling. There were steps to be taken for that way to work.

I’ve heard about Steps and going to meetings, but it took me time to understand the importance of it. However, there was one thing that I took to heart right away in one of my first ten meetings. An elder man said that when you sit at home and think about not going to the meeting, your addiction is right next to you on the floor, and it’s doing push-ups, becoming stronger. It’s a good image and for many years I know it’s the truth, and I still remember it.

tiger2The strangers in the AA rooms taught me about relationships and patience. They opened my eyes to the reality of attaining serenity and the fact that it was not a rocket science to attain it. But there were Steps. Steps to everything. Just like with putting an elephant in the fridge. Open the door, take tiger out, put elephant in, close the door.

I also never heard of a word “resentment”, so they taught me. I wouldn’t be able to learn that without learning first that I was powerless over the behavior that I for a long time considered a blessing. Learning that took humility, and without that accepting the concept of letting go of resentment just don’t work for me.

Thanks to AA, I had my eyes opened to the fact that I had to take care of myself, because no one else would. They would want to, but most of them don’t even know where to start. No one really knows what’s going on behind anyone’s eyes. In disease and addiction no one really knows how you really feel. We don’t willingly talk about our problems. Sometimes even we don’t know what the hell is going on, while we watch it unfold. Then there are people who do know, and they can help, but my self-will-run-riot will mess everything up if I don’t take heed and allow for patience and consideration. Crap hits the fan sometimes, and if I don’t pay attention, the result is, as Henry Rollins wrote, “sometimes happens all the time”. I guess if there is anything I know, it’s that. But I still tend to ignore that at times.

Last fifteen years of living sober were great. I think I did more good than bad, and I’ve learned from more mistakes than I ever allowed myself to in the past. I walk forward, and I have to take steps to do so. It works better that way.


the images were copied from https://www.deviantart.com/uranimated18/art/Heather-Opens-the-Fridge-and-Finds-a-Tiger-759849788 and https://www.flickr.com/photos/16446760@N00/3295951347 thank you.