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.

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.

 

uniting passions

DentalCelebratedHornshark-smallA decade and a half ago there was something I could identify myself as – a rocker. I’m sure there were plenty of other social groups I could identify as: a human, a male, a student, Russian, a misanthrope, maybe. But as a rocker, I was fitting into a subculture that meant everything to me above all others listed above. I’ve been listening to metal and rock and everything that grooved and had fire and could break through the wall. I learned of the bands I liked, bought their music and shirts, and I went to their shows.

At the shows there were plenty of people who came there to see the bands, they shared my passion for the heavy and virtuoso guitar and drums music. Still though, I think they also came to get drunk, and although that was never my original idea, I still ended up getting drunk too.

It was because of that lifestyle that I eventually came to learn there was something else I could identify as – an alcoholic. Coming to that realization took some considerable effort to open eye and ears. And yet was thanks to that effort that I ended up being a sober alcoholic. And I loved it that way. The reason for loving it was me now being a part of another group, only I don’t know if that counts as a subculture. They call themselves a fellowship.

Alcoholics Anonymous are a kind of a group which if I came to their meeting I’d always be welcomed, no matter how many days or years of sobriety I’ve had and there would be no judgement. So they were even more welcoming that the rockers, and this crowd was much healthier. We were united by the passion of staying sober, living it positively and not making it an end, rather a means to a positive and spiritually prosperous end – life of freedom.

I never gave up being a rocker. I still collect music and go to shows and buy shirts. Only now I do it sober and banging head soberly, I think, is more fun – you are less likely to throw up.


the Amon Amarth GIF was copied from https://gfycat.com/gifs/search/amon+amarth+headbang and thank you. keep rocking!

missing it

missMorning was not easy

  • there wasn’t enough sleep
  • there wasn’t enough coffee

There was enough determination

Not to run into a light pole.

Yet on the train I fell asleep

And almost missed by stop.

Can’t say that happened often.

But it made me think that it happened many a time

That I missed my stop in different terms

  • there wasn’t enough care
  • there wasn’t enough booze

There was enough pain in the end

Yet not enough willingness to learn

And as the result, I near missed out

On life.

Luckily for me, there was plenty of trains of life

So I’d come back to where I wanted to be

I eventually caught up.

Now, if I miss a real stop

It’s not a terrible deal.


the image was copied from https://funlexia.com/2015/08/04/missed-my-stop/

thanks much. that’s priceless 😀

no competition

competition-300x224The first person I approached in AA that I talked to for longer than five minutes (I guess that’s my attention span for all things new and challenging) said he was 19 years sober. I didn’t believe it. Later I’ve learned he was telling the truth. But in that moment, and for a while after, I figured there was no way someone would be 19 years sober and a) still going to meetings; b) be as positive and cheerful as that guy certainly was. Yet at the same I really wanted to have some of that positivity for myself. I was going through darker times. My life was out of control and I wasn’t enjoying reality.

The farther I went down the lane of AA-inspired positivity through sobriety and getting more of a hold on reality, the more I was wondering of how far can I get and for how many years I could actually stay that way. On the other hand, I kept being reminded that years are not that important. What counts is days, since we do it one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time. That is the principle that the whole wisdom of AA, besides going to meetings, listening and sharing and connecting through all that, is based on. One day at a time, one step at a time. It is that simple, it is that hard. Simple because it is not a complicated idea, and if we put our mind to it, we can all do it, whatever it is we focus on. Hard because it still takes me a while from time to time to keep it in mind when I’m tackling something that is larger than me (or feels that way).

So, there is no competition for trying to get more years under the belt, being older in sobriety than others. Focusing on time take the focus off the quality of recovery that we do/live. In my case, when I was four years old in AA measures, I knew more than I know now. Yet now I feel more than I felt then. Now I absorb more from the world and how it changes. I must admit, sometimes it doesn’t do me much good, because I fall into negativity thinking of how hopeless it is to keep going through the world that is eating itself alive. That’s one of the things that getting old does, I guess. It’s probably my realistic age that does that to me. But then my AA age tells me to get going with the program, call upon my fellows and drink from the wisdom well, the positive one, with hope and lightness in a mix. And it works well that way.

Thinking can play tricks on you sometimes and let you forget the simple truths. The closer it gets to the time of another milestone, another year to celebrate recovery, the more I think of time. So when I catch myself doing that, I turn that thinking into reflecting with care. I compare the years passed -what I’ve learned, what I’ve forgotten, perhaps, and what I’ve seen in a different light. Been sober for several years allows for thoughts of security in mental and spiritual terms. I mean, you’ve learned something, you made it work for you, and if you keep practicing that wisdom, it will keep you strong for times to come. Yet if I think of myself as someone got more recovery time than others, and because of that as someone important, and that somehow make me more special than them, it’s a step in a wrong direction. I am no better or worse than them. They tackle their demons, I fight mine. I just have more tools to do so. Maybe they were born under less of a kind sun than I have. That makes me more fortunate, but that means I should be more compassionate and less full of myself that I sometimes may be.

Years count for something, though – I have an opportunity to keep celebrating my recovery in a social setting and with that I share of my experience, goods and bads, wisdom and stupidity. That way others have an opportunity to learn from my mistakes, and with their actions perhaps the world may benefit somehow, in 0.0001 percent maybe, but I think that still counts. It is easy to burn the bridges. It takes longer to build them back up. Hopefully, the time spent on rebuilding will also allow for using better technologies (perspectives) on how to make it steadier to avoid easy destruction in the future.


the image was copied from http://www.chrispacke.com/2012/03/perfect-lack-of-competition/. thank you.

Beat it in

nice+old+elevator+1

Violence is not an answer.

Unless, maybe, when you are trying to make someone think. Think for the sake of saving their own life.

A member in the meeting said they had a conversation with a person who was struggling with making their younger relative see what they were doing with their life, throwing it all down the toilet due to being enslaved to substance abuse.

The mentioned member already had gone through their lot of troubles of making it through addiction in one piece. The family member knew nothing of the addiction, but they witnessed the toll it was taking on the younger one. Eventually the relative said “I wish I could beat the recovery into you” because he was shown how well abstinence worked in others.

I wish we could beat recovery into others. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Maybe micro-chipping would work one day. But then, what would the person learn? Recovery is not a one-time session. It’s a journey. You can’t get far, if you’ve learned nothing of how to take few initial steps.

I’ve heard someone else in a different meeting say “The recovery elevator is broken. You will have to take the stairs.” That’s funny, and wise. But also, it’s too merciful. The truth is the recovery elevator doesn’t exist. We have to take stairs all the time. Although, sometimes we wish we could have an elevator like that to save lives in cases of emergency. There’s plenty of those. And you can’t beat it into them. They have to really want it to give all they’ve got, no matter what anyone thinks. That’s the way I’ve learned it. And thousands of those like me.


the elevator image was copied from https://www.saveourelevators.com/ thanks.

The Welcoming Coin

hjiWe went to a meeting –

My friend was celebrating a milestone

That I would never think of reaching.

The usual set-up,

Readings, speech, sharing,

Coffee after.

Then that guy came over to me.

I remember he was quite tall,

Yet his name escapes me,

He owed me nothing

Yet he came across the room

And he asked me things I wouldn’t

Have the care to ask others,

For I am not the one

To stick out of the crowd.

He gave me the coin which was no medallion

To celebrate my humble one year

That I’ve recently reached

And yet it was that and even more

Simply because it came out of good heart,

Unwarranted, unexpected.

That’s when I knew

That sticking with these people

Would be the best thing

I could have done

And I should keep it that way,

For it will set me free from all that binds me,

Scares and angers my mind,

Tortures me spirit,

Making me perpetually poison my body.

This welcoming gesture was not an object to keep

But a gift of an open door

I have walked through

And kept on walking.

 

Walking still.


the image is mine. looking good.