know nothing

u3w7an48ky641A member at the recent meeting shared that there was a massive difference in how they felt about recovery between one and seven years of sobriety. It was not just about the amount of sober time. It was the difference between knowing all and knowing nothing.

I can relate. At age one in AA I did think I knew quite a bit about the program and with that, about the world around me. Around that time it happened so that I did a little lecture about it to a Russian sobriety program on their request. I also wrote an academic paper about it. I went to lots of meetings,  talked to people, and it felt like I knew the important stuff, and I guess I assumed I knew more than that. It was about actual alcoholic sobriety and serenity to me then. I thought that if I knew a lot about sobriety, I was doing well.

I wasn’t though. As it says, without the work, the faith is dead. It was true, as it turned out, because in my first two years of sobriety, although I was working on steps, I was doing it way too slow, and other than that, I was doing no work. Just going to meeting was enough for me, and I didn’t catch the moment of change when I started feeling stagnant in life and sobriety. I had to eventually change groups and once I did that, I found there was more to the program. I joined groups of people visiting recovery houses and intox facilities, introducing my group and AA methods of recovery to those who were in treatment. I started writing more about sobriety. That’s when I started feeling I am doing well. Perhaps that happened because I realized AA was more than just a program of going to meetings. It was also about relationships and connecting. It turned out I seriously needed to work on those things, and although I was willing, I didn’t always have a good guide. I only discovered that years later.

As time marches on, I look at the world and at how people communicate and treat each other, and I feel I know nothing about life. Good thing is, I still know how the program of recovery works. Writing about it, just like now, and communicating with people whose opinion I value, helps me to keep afloat when it feels like the world is going even more mad. It seems to me that sometimes knowing nothing (or feeling that you know nothing) can be healing in a sense that all you need to do is keep walking forward and do simple things that you know work, and that’s how you get by.


the image was copied from reddit.com and circumcised by me. thanks.

to be an apple

Retouch-1313AHe wanted to be…

OK, he was an Apple

He was red, and green, and yellow, and even white,

As apples come.

He was this juicy thing you could eat right away

He had things of his own he could’ve been happy with

Yet he wasn’t because

He always wanted to be an Orange.

To him, the Oranges were all that he could wish for,

How they grew, and laughed,

It looked so infectiously simple how they did things,

Including drinking –

It seemed intoxication and consequences came to them effortlessly.

He could sell his core to be like them

And he tried to do so.

It took him many falls and been kicked around,

Dark spots and pinches off his red, and green, and yellow skin

To the point white was all gone, or so it seemed

Until one day he learned something –

He will always be an Apple

Because his body was thought through and made in a different way

Selling his core brought no desired fruits, pardon the pun

And when that dawned on him,

He cried, yet the sun failed not to keep shining on him

And the dew still looked beautiful in the waking up grass.

It took much time, enough to feel like eternity,

To find peace with that realization.

Then one day, it all became clear to him –

He could look so many ways,

Feel so much different being alive instead of jealous.

And he also found there were many other Apples to talk to

Which he didn’t cared to do for a long time,

Lost in his resentment.

Next day was very red, and green, and yellow, and even white,

And so many colors he didn’t know existed.

There was much time to grow and enjoy them all

And he kept on doing so

Effortless one day, with some strain another

Yet drinking over that he didn’t need to anymore.


the image was copied from https://retouch.ca/portfolio/apple-orange-retouching/ thank you.

thank you to Russ for the idea.

calmisanthropy

616I was asked why as an active member I don’t go to round-ups and conferences. The answer is “too many people.” I also don’t chair meetings. The answer to the unspoken question on that is I face so many people at my front line work, that’s enough of people around me on a daily basis.

There is also another reason. Cause I don’t like people that much. I think misanthropy is part of my spirituality. Perhaps, calm misanthropy. Not much rage but the feeling is still strong.

I don’t think it is hatred to people, not lately anyway. I think sometimes it is a deep disappointment in how people treat people. And some other times I just can’t stand being around people in large gatherings. At shows, I am OK to be around people if I am banging my head to music at shows. And then, somehow, I could be in a crowd of sober alcoholics that I know by spirit and yet I still can’t stand that mass of people. The only way I can get through the time in that crowd or any other is by growing a black cloud in my head and chest cavity. Sometimes it is a knowledge that we all are going to die, and the sun will still shine, just like in the Rammstein self-titled song. Some other times it’s a stillness of a Viking passing against the flow of the herd of slow moving civilians on the way to the shopping feeder. I could annihilate them all with the coldness of my stare and will.

Is that evil? Am I a threat to society? In a way, yes. I know what makes a person tick. I am often tired of being surrounded by such persons. And then… Then I find out that the persons have surprises for me. They can be fun. They can be very creative. I admire that. It makes me improve on similar skills within myself. I communicate with them and find lots in common with them.

As a result, I don’t hurt anyone. I walk on respectfully and responsibly. I don’t know what another person carries. It could be a burden. A pain. A joy. Both pain and joy and the mix of those that is a burden to them. Knowledge of death. Fear of birth. Acceptance. Rejection. Illness. Fear. I cannot know why the people are the way they are, and because of that, who am I to judge them?

Chuck Schuldiner, a musician I admire, wrote:

“Without judgement what would we do

We would be forced to look at ourselves emerged in lost time

Assuming what may be.

Without judgement perception would increase a million times.”

(“Without Judgement”, 1995)

[funny thing is, on the same album, Death Symbolic, Schuldiner’s got a song called “Misanthrope”]

Ah, people… Maybe they deal with something that I cannot help them with even if I cared to step out of my calm misanthropic domain. Maybe the maybe happened to them and they will never be the same, despite their desires or good willed efforts. I just need to calm my disappointment and keep walking. We all are still going to die, and the sun will keep on shining, but today I don’t have to be your enemy. The black cloud is still here, though. It almost never goes away.


the image was copied from https://www.metal-archives.com/albums/Death/Symbolic/616 thank you.

The Tempo of Change

PngI walked the road and several steps before I came close to it, spotted a pebble stone. I deliberately kicked it and then watched for where it landed. Yet I couldn’t see it for several seconds. I watched both sides of the road at least ten steps in front of me, as I was walking forward. Finally, there it was. The sight and then the sound: I could see it when it stopped moving through the air. I must say, it was quite a kick. It flew much farther than I expected.

Often my reaction to things happening is very similar. “Where the hell is everything I waited/hoped for going?” or “What was the point of that?” or “How is that going to help me/you?” I stop, and I wait, and I think, and then I look, and I see nothing. The key words are “I see nothing right away” but I forget about that one. It comes into sight eventually, almost every time, yet I’m too impatient to give it time to show itself.

Time needs to pass for things to be seen for what it is and the gifts it brings. Writing a diary is the best way to see the change occur. You go several pages back and see how you wrote in misery and now you have an opportunity to compare the misery/doubt of then and what you think is the misery/doubt of now. You make the comparison. You learn of change and how you can use it to your advantage and your future becoming.


the image was copied from https://www.roblox.com/library/90935471/The-small-rock-of-epicness thank you

What a Disaster

hqdefaultI saw a TV ad recently. A lady walking through her messy and dirty apartment, trying to make a meal, I think. Then the sentence across the screen said: Not all disasters make the news. I think it was an ad for the Red Cross.

Then it hit me: it’s probably not messy and dirty place. How about destroyed by fire? And the thing is, thinking that way made me look at the situation under a completely different angle. Not irresponsibility but dealing with disastrous conditions. Not carelessness but overcoming grief and burden.

When it comes to mental health, “not all disasters” reality makes even less news. No one knows what’s going on in another person’s head and why do they behave a certain way. Even if you’re a seasoned psychiatrist, dealing with people is not easy because everybody is different with their own specifics. There is no blueprint to work on everybody.

When a person falls apart, due to a family crisis, unemployment, addiction, it is a disaster, a tragedy. And yet, there are ways to mend some spirits and minds in a way, at least partially. I was to my AA home group meeting and one of the members said: “There are about fifty people in this room. People with long term sobriety, short time sobriety, some newcomers, but all are people who want to improve their lives and live responsibly and happily without expense of others’ grief. We affect a lot of people, each and everyone of us. Our manner of living affects parents, kids, spouses, friends, coworkers. At least five hundred people outside of this room are better off because we fifty are sober.”

The day before that meeting I went to a concert. As always, I wasn’t drinking. I don’t drink alcohol at shows, just as I don’t at any other time. I know there are people who think (and maybe they even have proof) that drinking is not all that bad, but it’s not my story. So, after drinking irresponsibly for over ten years, I’ve quit and don’t do it anymore. I won’t deny that not drinking at shows does take away from excitement a bit. When the music hits the air though, it’s decibels and vibes that rule the ball and I don’t need anything else. But some spirit is lacking, I think, compared to the good and bad old drinking times. And that’s OK. Life is more responsible lately and because of that more tolerable. Fun, actually.

And I thought of that when listening to my co-member talking about the 500 who are better off with us fifty being sober, because it was not just drinking and intoxicated mind of my un-sober times that had put me and others around me in trouble. It was how I looked at the world and how I related to others. How I behaved and how I talked. And it’s still not perfect time for me regarding attitude and communication. So many times I can recall myself speaking without thinking and how it got me in trouble. What a mess I can create without applying the “Stop, wait, think” rule. What a disaster. I remember my first AA sponsor who said that anybody would benefit from using the Twelve Steps in their lives to improve their lives, their family lives, spiritual balance, and so on. It is a spiritual and communication program in a nutshell, after all.

I’m staying from causing a disaster. I’m not perfect and probably never will be, and that’s OK. I keep trying to improve, though. I watch what I say and work on myself without hurting others. I keep it sober. I stay connected. I embrace and practice the positive way of living. Alternatives to that could be disastrous. I don’t want to chance it. Thanks, but no thanks.


the image was copied from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iW5hAThdZHg and thank you and that song kicks ass!

“Yeah, but…”

business woman in front of two roads thinking decidingYou say “what if…”

And I think about that

And then I think some more

And I want to take a step forward

To meet you in the middle

But what I end up doing

Is taking at least one step back

As I utter “Yeah, but…”

I recognize that I do that a lot –

Instead of embracing an opportunity

I settle for less.

Sometimes it feels like

I’m settling for less than nothing,

Because as time goes by

I see how I could have benefited

From the change proposed.

I keep on stalling before moving.

I wonder, “what if I fall?”

And then, the more confident voice in my head goes,

“OK, but what if you fly?

And what if you manage your life and environment

Much better from here on?”

How well that brave comment sounds.

I want to follow it

And then –

Anxiety and fear to make a choice

Kick me in the ribs.

Each time a decision is to be made

It feels like I’m facing a road sign saying

“Road works in progress. Expect closure, delays, genocide, Armageddon…”

Sure, I’m terrified!

Yet how realistic are those?

And how high is the possibility

That my undertaking a small new something

Is going to burn me with napalm instead of opening a door?

Yeah, but what are the guarantees that it would?

Well, sometimes there are none –

Life isn’t fair and violets are blue,

Yet some common sense, believing, hoping, and a realistic guess

Should count for something.

Taking no chances relates to jumping off a skyscraper.

But this one I’m dealing with is not it.

So, instead of “yeah, but…”

I push myself forward

To say, “Yeah, OK!”

And keep on doing so.


the image was copied from https://ramblingsofapilgrim.com/could-you-too-be-suffering-from-spiritual-inertia/ and twist-faded into a napalm burn by me. thank you.

mastery

commando-06152012not dreading it,

not hating life.

not wanting to be in the daylights.

just taking it in

like a task

like a mission

not subject to be failed.

going through with it

is easier

if you think of it

as of going to battle –

you pack your gear

like your guns

use your mastery

your MUSTery,

no mystery

but reason

and care.

march forward to take out an enemy

whatever it is,

how ever it is –

you fight it and bring it down.

if you bring forth right attitude

to the task

and you put your mind to it,

you will have it accomplished –

getting on with the new day,

every day,

by getting out of bed

and marching out into the new day

to deal with people,

places

and things.


the image was copied from https://www.indiewire.com/2012/06/in-praise-of-commando-129735/ thank you.