Combined Factors of Pouring Light

I suppose there cannot be true recovery and progress without gratitude for what have happened outside of one’s personal efforts. Changes roll along the horizon and the wind of difference blows in many ways that are sometimes in alignment of what we hope for, and sometimes not.

I was lucky. When I came to an AA meeting 16 years back, I had no idea what to expect, and yet the wind did blow in alignment to what my tortured mind and spirit were calling for. I kept revisiting the meeting and kept listening and sharing. The social factor united with the spiritual worked wonders for my recovery. Combination of all the right things, even though sometimes looking scary and not something I wanted to do the work in, brought me to the places where I felt and home and had support I never hoped for.

I still look back once in a while and think “Hell, I haven’t really did much, have I?” The Steps work was not like a coal mine work. It was a cozy time with a book and a conversation with a person who walked in my shoes. But it was still hard at times, because I had to look deep inside at things I said and did, things that were not nice, things I wasn’t proud of, and some that I was ashamed of. Strength with which I addressed those issues and confusions paid for success in continued abstinence and more joyful living, enjoying sobriety.

How? I had poured those efforts and hopes into the recovery that I believed in, and what came out, as reflected light, with the support of the AA community and the spirit of healing was a light of ten-fold strength. That thought kind of lived with me for years, but I’ve never put into words until recently I looked up yet again at the Pink Floyd poster in my room and realized that the “Dark Side of the Moon” cover art reflected those thoughts exactly. The Promises of AA worked for me so greatly. I’ve received in sobriety so much more than I’ve put in.

Thank you again, Dave T., fellow in recovery, who gifted me that poster and thank you to those that supported me all these years. It is my thinking of you and I, that keeps me together. May we all last joyous and free in mind, body, and spirit!

———–

the image was copied from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dark_Side_of_the_Moon and sand-blasted by me. there is also some interesting info on that page how the artwork came about. thank ya!

Allowing the Learning

I know the Force may be with me, but I think it is important to let it be with me. In other words, I need to allow myself to accept change, just as allowing myself to learn of it, or the lessons that come my way.

Over 15 years ago, I saw the signs that there were negative events happening in my life regarding alcohol consumption, and yet I’ve chosen to disregard them until they stared me right in the face.

I had to make myself teachable in order to learn. I could’ve been taught by the most brilliant minds, and still receive nothing. So often when been talked to as a kid and youth, I blocked it all, staring into the space of the floor. Why? Perhaps I knew not how to react, how to say what I was really thinking. Perhaps there was pride involved. Perhaps I didn’t understand why I wouldn’t be just left alone in serenity of my own devices. The point is, I blocked what was said, and made the people who were trying to break out to me disgruntled.

Disgruntlement kept blooming where I went from there on, and sometimes I had no idea I’ve caused it. Also very important, I wasn’t learning, be it from school classes, or people, or environment. Thus, naturally, I kept making mistakes, usually the same ones.

It took dire circumstance such as realization of being enslaved by alcoholism and asking strangers of AA for help to allow myself to learn. I had to recognize personal mental deterioration to invite positive change. I had to allow myself to learn to get better, because, again, no success of recovery could be instilled if I refused accepting help.

From the day of my allowing myself to accept change, my life started to spring in positive direction. So far it has been 16 years of it, and many things were accomplished, mostly because learning from the initial experience of acceptance, I’ve practiced embracing openness to change on a daily basis, whether I liked it or not. When you ask the cosmos for assistance or somewhat re-assurance, you recognize personal vulnerability and become open to suggestion. Among other things, it’s called a prayer. I prayed a lot in the last decade and a half, simply because there were so many things out of my control, and because by then time I knew of my powerlessness AND accepted that vulnerability was not always being a negative thing.

Let the Force be with you. Allow it.


the image was copied from https://giphy.com/explore/may-the-force-be-with-you. thank you.

inevitable wounds, lucky scars

Most of us

Are lucky

To have scars

Form over wounds.

We may forget,

Or not even know

That there are some

In their hemophilic body and spirit

That keeps bleeding.


I’d rather have

Actual scars in my skin

Than scabs of old carnage

Over my soul.

Reality whispers into my ear

That doesn’t work like that.

People’s energy keeps being bled

And the wise ones call it

“Experience.”

Sometimes I wonder

If I can pass that knowledge

For, clearly,

I wouldn’t need it

Like some subjects

I wasted years on in school.

But I guess

Some crap still manages

To fly into your life

Even if you shut the windows well.


The fortunate ones live with scars

And over time

They become a part of our skin

To the point

We often don’t notice them

For what they are,

Or remember

What they represented.

We live on and care for our skin.

With creams and oils.


I do remember what they came from, though

That’s why I am still here –

My scars became part of my body

In a healthy way

Because my pain

From obtaining those wounds

Made me stronger.

I remember what I cannot do

And why.

Experience is no longer

Such a negative word

In my vocabulary.


the image was copied from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpFulmjknb4 Funny enough, this video demonstrates how to removes scars with the use of Photoshop program.

add tea dude

Today and everyday

I need to remind myself:

You have a right

To have a good day.

You also have a right

To have a bad day.

It’s your choice.

In the midst of cataclysms,

Most of it boils down

To your attitude

To the way things and people are

And will be.

[image was copied from https://angelorum.co/holistic-runes/mannaz-rune/ and cropped by me. thank you.]

Shark-swim Life

Inspired by a conversation between the characters in the LA’s Finest series I have recently watched, I began thinking of the phenomenon of ever-moving sharks.

Modern mythology suggests that sharks don’t sleep, that they have to move all the time in order to breathe and therefore stay alive. Contrary to that, says Don Vaughan in the article Do Sharks Sleep? while “many types of sharks must keep moving in order to receive life-giving oxygen from the water passing through their gills… some types of sharks are able to remain stationary because they possess special structures called spiracles, which force water through their gills. Some sharks use both spiracles and buccal pumping… in which water is pulled in through the mouth and forced out through the gills by the cheek muscles… Whatever method they use to breathe, sharks are able to engage in periods of deep rest while still but do not fall asleep in the traditional sense. Lacking eyelids, their eyes remain perpetually open, and their pupils still monitor the motion of creatures swimming around them. Sharks that are able to rest while stationary include the whitetip reef shark, the Caribbean reef shark, the nurse shark, the wobbegong, and the lemon shark.”

So, the mythology is wrong, but I will go with the wisdom of the myth anyway, because I am looking into metaphorical sense of the shark example. In order to stay sober in body, I need to be like the ever-swimming shark (without hunting and attacking humans, OK?). I must not stop doing right things and keep myself busy if I want to continue to breathe recovery.

Since the beginning of my sobriety, I was attending AA meetings, and shared, and listened. I did the Twelve Steps, as it was recommended. I chaired meetings a few times. I did service for the home group as putting up chairs and making coffee. I went to recovery houses and detox centres and shared the way of AA with people in treatment. I wrote my personal blog about recovery for over ten years.

I’m not boasting. I have listed here things that I think anyone can do. They are not difficult activities to take action in. The best thing to do is practice these things on a regular basis. It is harder to do these things, perhaps, in the events of the last 365 days when many places are shut down or don’t allow visitors, but there are still Zoom meetings and as I attend those, I am still blogging and connect with recovery through my writing.

On regular basis. I am not saying going to meetings 24/7 (although some people do, and for years). You still have to go to work and spend time with your family, and what not. Yet I keep in mind that I need to be like a shark, constantly moving, being involved in recovery, because to me it is a full-time job – my health and sanity. This is priority.

(image was copied from https://www.nrdc.org/experts/elizabeth-murdock/more-vulnerable-vicious-sharks-need-cites-protection thanks.)

of all the demons

Over a month ago I’ve learned that my brother died.

It was taking time to think about what happened and what my brother’s life and death meant to me in all the ways that surrounded them. For weeks I wrote poems and blurbs, but the text below sat on its digital shelf for the whole month until today. Today is the forty days since the day. I guess it is time.

Days prior I was listening to the latest Ghost record Prequelle and while it is a great album as a whole, one song stood out for me. Listening to “See the Light” and thinking of its lines

“But of all the demons I’ve known/None could compare to you

Every day that you feed me with hate/I grow stronger!”

I thought how it related for me, in regards to seeing the world and some people in it.

I was ten years older than my brother Nikki, and yet we still had a great connection and talked about anything in the world every time we had a chance to. He was a special person to me and to our parents. He had light and kindness in him that illuminated us all. Besides all the grief and mental pain that came through me that day and others to come, music that I knew came through too. Some of them were songs I haven’t listened to for years. “See the Light” came too, but this time it related to something different.

When he was thirteen years old, Nikki started having issues unexplainable at that time, but later called anxiety. That soon has been coupled with what the doctors called manic depression. Couple years later the “manic” part has fell aside, and my brother has got his life going through severe anxiety and chronic depression on one side, and normality on the other. When it was in the stage of normality, he travelled to Europe, half the time hitch-hiking with a friend (the very thought of it terrified me, when he told me of it, laughing), studied in math analysis in college, listened to lots of music, and helped our parents with whatever they needed. When it was a storm of crippling depression and anxiety, he stayed in, refused to go out of the house, looked sad and withering, slept into the lunch hour, and although illusory, his worries were many, while his words were little. Eighteen years of that. I cannot even imagine what he really felt that he never gave voice to in conversations with me, as I lived on the other side of the world, or with our parents who he lived with.

Luckily our parents were great people who paid close attention and cared for us the kids, and they took heed regarding Nikki’s new behaviors. He’s seen doctors who put him on some meds, and soon after the list of meds he took started growing, because it turned out his body was largely resistant to most of the meds. Nikki was always a very smart kid so he took responsibility for his well being. He was very punctual and attentive to the effects and dosages, keeping diary of what medications he took and how it worked, or if it didn’t. It took me some time to realize at least a bit what he was dealing with. I did some research on clinical depression and found that Nikki would have to change meds with time and do near-scientific research to make sure things worked well and what to do if it didn’t.

He was the kindest man I knew, and he always made our parents and grandparents hearts melt. He was attentive, and compassionate. His life, however, went like waves hitting the beach. When his mind state was favorable, there were weeks of tranquillity and family fun, him travelling with parents and watching movies, laughing, and visiting relatives. But in the times of chemical imbalance, there were also weeks and sometimes months of shutting down, during which Nikki tirelessly researched what he could do to help himself, unless the anxiety came knocking hard and he would let it all go and walked the apartment like a ghost.

Several months back I started reading book Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson in which she, who suffered from many a mental disorder, described them all and how her life was taking unexpected turns. She said that depression was one of the worst illnesses out there because it basically pushed person to self destruction. It was probably the most honest and crazy book I’ve read about mental health so far. I was thinking of sending it to my brother, but I was late. Nikki went through so much in the last year and a half, including a break-up with a woman he dated and the death of our mother who fought cancer for two years. As his letters showed, he saw no end of his misery and even having all of the loving support of our father who spared nothing to be of assistance to Nikki, dealing with life in his state was becoming too much for my brother. Of all the demons he knew in his 30 years, not one could compare to the one that kept eating him alive on a daily basis. The last straw for him was learning that obtaining medications he required was becoming a serious issue in the country he lived in, his home, his native land.

My demon was alcohol, and it sure was a demon, because it kept changing shapes, growing from little friendly smile of “have one, you’ll feel better” to “you gonna need a sea to drink to deal with all this crap, so learn how to swim!” kind of an attitude. When I found the courage to sober up, I also found perseverance to move steady through the world that seemed to change with menace to my sanity. I struggled with depression, but it was more of what I called “alcohol-induced” variety, and once I stopped poisoning myself with drinking, depression has weakened its grip on me. It still comes back, but it’s hundred times less crippling. Every day that life seems to fill me with hate, or maybe, concern and confusion, I get stronger with the meaning and works of recovery I am living. It’s not only by my own efforts and determination – I know that the community I am part of has my back. We speak the same language, and we are there to help one another, literally.

The way I see it, my brother was not that lucky. Nikki had the most involved assistance and love of our parents, as well as psychiatric and psychological help, and yet he didn’t partake in any community involvement like I did, even though I strongly advised it to him in our conversations. I suppose his illness filled him with doubt, and fear, and confusion to reach out to others. It was probably similar when I proposed for him to create a routine of physical exercises that I was reading about. I told him there was scientific findings supported by tons of research and success stories of those were diagnosed with depression and working out, just a little, but steadily, and it helped them immensely to gain positivity and mental and emotional well-being. Nikki told me he knew of it, and he considered doing it, but he hasn’t, or maybe his level of dedication was not high. I remember feeling angry about that, but the understanding came later. The way depression communicates with your healthy mind is it pushes away all logic and common sense, bringing instead destructive thoughts and breaking up your values and beliefs. Another thing that I recently found out was that his mental condition also had an effect on his body: Nikki lived with muscle spasms that limited his movement, so getting dedicated to making a routine of physical exercises was out of the question for him.

Nikki who was very loyal to his friends started breaking up the connections and staying away from that social life to the point that even the closest ones were shocked to find out what he dealt with, and how his life ended, and why. He was afraid he will be judged. He thought people wouldn’t understand all the pain and difficulties he had to deal with regarding his mental health. He knew this subject had a lot of misunderstanding among people. The kindest person in him didn’t want to drop all of that knowledge on people he cared about.

It ate him alive, but he fought. My father told me several days ago that Nikki was the strongest and courageous man. I can see that now. What I originally saw as his inaction to connect with others who could help him and other ways to improve his mental health was more of inability due to serious complications of his illness. While in hate to the blackness I grew stronger, Nikki’s mind and spirit and body were being corrupted in the way all supports he has received couldn’t alleviate the pain of constant invasion that had no face, no logic, and no mercy.

I believe my brother died as a warrior who’s grown exhausted of fighting. He wanted peace for himself and love for others. It seems he has grown to think his ill existence was a burden to us. There was no way he saw he could heal in any ways this world could provide. All who knew him will miss this amazing man who gave a lot of light, and I will miss him as a kid who made me feel better and hopeful in his presence. I wish he could have more hope for himself in spite of any demons possible.

I miss him terribly, all of our years together and apart, the conversations, serious and silly, trips and games, all the complete and shattered. This pain is only the beginning, and I fear how it will be from here on, but I believe Nikki is not in pain anymore, and it makes me relieved. Rest in Joy, brother.

(the image was copied from https://www.liveabout.com/visions-at-the-hour-of-death-2594543 and messed around with by me. thank you.)

Bouncing Courage

When you don’t know

What you’re missing

Because you think this what you’ve got is the best thing,

But you know deep down there it won’t last,

And yet you know no peace without it.

Ah, the paradox! How you hate that!

The world smells like a burning gutter

When you lack the best-thing-ever-that-poisons-you-with-mercy.

Painful knowledge of all that you did wrong or all that was done to you

Cuts you like a knife every minute,

Reminding you of imperfections of everything

Including yourself, but there is no peace in it.

One day you listen to what your dreams tell you,

To the quiet whisper of your repressed mind,

And you decide to take a stand

You take a step forward,

Away from the best-thing-ever-that-poisons-you-with-mercy

And it feels good in the process, your believing you can do it

But an hour later you need it, the poison.

Everyone has left you, so you tell yourself, but the poison never did.

Well, it did, but only in the times you couldn’t afford it.

So how can you say goodbye to this your only friend

Who will make it all ease up?

You take the step back to the self ingested paradise

And you are happy in your reunion,

Your courage is diminished, but oh well,

In fact you curse it,

You wish you’ve never crossed the boundaries to freedom,

You swear eternal love to the best-thing-ever-that-poisons-you-with-mercy,

While committing crimes against yourself.

Until another day,

When the boundaries become too close to breathe freely.

Freely? You don’t know what that is.

Courage is a word from some old book.

You feel so, and yet again you take a step forward, away from your favorite poison,

Yet this time you need to make more effort

Because each of your step that results in the bouncing courage

Brings you three steps back.

Each time you need to leap stronger

For your mind dies a little more each time

You listen to the lies you believe.

(the image was copied from https://research.adobe.com/news/how-a-ball-bounces-teaching-a-computer-real-world-physics/. thank you.)

A Trick and a Half

Quitting drinking or using – easy. You stop taking the substances and that’s it. You can quit twenty times a day.

Staying sober, now that’s a trick and a half.

AA says how to do it is HOW does it. Honesty (with self), Open-mindedness, and Willingness. I always want to add to it Positivity. As the other three, positivity is to be learned, not simply acquired.

All of us, I assume, don’t want to let distress of the great world mess our own world and how we prefer to have things done. Not many people know how do deal with usual stress when they are healthy. Anxiety and ever lingering worries happen to all. Now, when you are on path of recovery from substances, you are hardly healthy. And anxiety grows as you learn to abstain and live without harmful stuff that you used to rely on to keep in better spirits and overcome obstacles, while to trying to behave in a socially acceptable way.

Quitting and recovering on ones own is not a good idea, as I’ve learned with my own skin. I tried. It didn’t work nicely at all. Besides not having anyone to talk to about what I was going through, I also allowed myself to do the role of calling myself on my own bullshit. Big mistake. Add to it that I didn’t really know what I was dealing with and had no working plan. Mission failed at start.

Those days, my mind was a haunted house.

(the image above is cute, not weird, but you get the idea) Old memories and ghosts of life that didn’t go too well, it seemed, those kept coming often, if not all the time. Resentments kept crawling in legions out of the shadowed corners when I least expected them. I was lucky my physical health wasn’t much compromised, yet still I was treading on a black ice. I didn’t see the danger of swimming alone, so to say, not seeing but only imagining the course.

After plenty of attempts of swimming alone, I had to ask for help. I’ve quit drinking, yes, but I stayed not drinking without resentments of not drinking. I managed to stay and keep positive, because I’ve allowed myself to be honest with myself, not reject ideas without looking at them first, and oh, was I ever willing to keep going forward. It worked and still works. There is still stress, still tricks, because I consider life itself as a one big riddle with a perpetual bag of tricks tucked in its armpit. Those won’t run out, as far as I can see. But now I’ve got a plan, and not imaginary. I know what works and I do that, and I don’t swim alone anymore.

(the image was copied from https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/371617406723139066/?autologin=true thank you.)

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.