Eating at the Bar

oSo, we went out for a dinner. Girlfriend felt more uncomfortable than I did.

We had no reservation. We didn’t think we needed one on a Saturday afternoon, figured the place was large enough to fit in all… well, were wrong about that one. The only spots available were at the bar. My girlfriend, knowing of my life in sobriety, turned around to me and said that we could go somewhere else. I said it was not an issue. She asked me a couple more times if I was sure about that, and I said that I was sure. We were seated at the bar. Opposite of us stood a fridge full of booze. To my side – an altar of booze. Right in front of us the bartender was mixing a series of cocktails. I’m gonna be OK, I told myself and to my girlfriend who was twisting and turning on her bar stool and looking way less serene than I was.

We ordered food and then there was not much to do for a bit. We had some small talk. There was a party going on behind our backs. The bartender was fixing a massive jar of a cocktail. I don’t what it was. I used to chug beer and vodka and occasionally a wine, but I never had money for cocktails, so I am rather illiterate in that regard. But it was a captivating sight. So many shot glasses of whiskey looking substance was poured into that jar, I’ve lost count. I was really hoping there would be more than ten people drinking that thing. I was seriously worrying for those folks, whoever they were.

Overhead the TV screen was showing a hockey game. I don’t care for hockey, or sports altogether, but I had to look somewhere but at the booze all around me, so watched the game for a bit. When the commercial of alcohol came on, I had to look away. And to my surprise I realized that besides the alcohol, beers and wines, the fridge opposite us also contained a shelf full of sodas. On the lower shelf stood a four-liter jug of milk. Man, was I happy to see that jug! I just looked at it, and then at my girlfriend, and I felt happy J I wasn’t compelled to drink before that, and I didn’t feel intimidated by the walls of alcohol, my world was not going upside down, threatened by a compulsion or temptations, but the milk certainly provided some reassurance of some kind.

Thinking of it, I recalled several times when I’d head to a show and it would be held at a bar. In fact, those were so many. In the book of our guidance and inspiration it says we should be careful about where we go and if it is at a place where alcohol is served, what is our purpose of being there? And what an alcoholic music fan to do? Well, bang your head, or slam, or sit there and enjoy the slow dance, or what have you, but I never felt threatened by the presence of alcohol, although the people sometimes did cause some trouble under the influence.

However, no, I do remember a couple of times within the first three years of sobriety when I did feel intimidated by the mass of booze in my sight. First time, I opened the door to the club and the bar was right in front of the doors, no farther than two steps! I was shocked for a couple of seconds, but then the person at the door asked me to pay for the entry and was I ever happy to comply!

Second time it was a bit more intense. During a show at a different place I was looking around the place, at the crowd, at the stage, and then I looked closer to me and saw the bar. The lady at the bar looked quite attractive and with her, the whole bar seemed to shine brighter than the stage with all the strobes. I couldn’t look away. It was a rather amazing experience. I didn’t see the bartender anymore, just the bottles. Many. Shiny. Shit! I was sober for enough time to know that wanting booze and getting it would in turn get me in nothing but trouble, and I kept telling myself that. So, what I did was slide my gaze along all those wonderfully looking objects and move it up the ceiling. It took some time, but it worked. From there I moved my sight all along the ceiling toward the stage and lowered it to see the musicians rocking away. Form then on, the whole concert went fine without issues. Each time I am at that venue, though, I recall that incident, and I feel better and reassured, somehow, each time I look around and, all of a sudden, saw the bar. No more ‘freeze’ incidents like that occurred.

So, that latest time after being placed at the bar, we ate, paid for our food, thanked the very accommodating and welcoming bartender that served us, and fucked off. Yes, we were both very ready to go, even though the service and the food itself was quite good.

What have I learned from that? If there is a lesson in everything, then “take on an opportunity and respond with your best”, I guess. Man, was I happy to see that milk jar. I think there is always a milk jar somewhere when I go through times I am not particularly happy to go through. Hope it is there for you too.


the image was copied from https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/st-james-place-bar-and-grill-goose-creek?select=lzAQ_f8F996Kn-lkGy9UDQ and messed with by me. thank you.

 

Words Of Maintenance 3

'Here's your problem, you guys never chose a level.'There are times you hear amazing things when you least expect them, and half of that time it’s when you really need to hear them. It’s when you are either “losing it” or you’re finding something you really don’t need. I heard many things in AA that have changed my life around and for the better, and it’s getting better still. Wisdom doesn’t run out, and humor is on top of it, as well. The funny way to say things is sometimes the best, because it hits you right between the eyes and a good laughter is what you need often, I think. The joke often carries wisdom, so it’s two wins in one.

I heard a person sharing that he came to AA because of his back problem. There were too many people on his back. At least 90 per cent could agree that AA is the best chiropractic, what do you think?

One of the things that was said and that has struck me the other day was “my ego is not my amigo.” Not only it is witty, it is also so true. How many times I wanted things to be my way, how many times I caressed my wild and selfish inner child to, as a result, hurt someone who didn’t deserve it? Don’t answer that.

Another fella was sharing about people interrupting and cross-talking, that’s when you share, and people argue with you. We gather in those rooms to speak our minds without being judged, and yet we also need to learn how not to communicate. Still though, with all the info we have on communicating with others, we still suck at it. Mostly it happens, I think, because we ignore a lot of things that we know we should be doing, or we just avoid hearing about them in the first place. In my group we had one of those situations a couple of days ago. So, in direct reaction to that, the person said that you can take the horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink, and even if you do, you can’t teach it to scuba dive. I don’t think I could say it better.

For those of us who like to use big concepts, and most importantly hide behind them, there is no mercy for those people. This one witty individual pointed out that most of menacing smart words end with “-ism,” and what is stands for is “I Sponsor Myself”, thus providing for the denial and arrogance to take you into a choke hold. For example, “atheism” could be quite detrimental to the spiritual program that AA is, no?


the image was copied from https://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/m/maintenance_man.asp thanks.

Answerz

Piss_509ba2_655651The dumbest thing I could do to calm down a beast is slap it against the snout. If you think it’s not, let me know.

The same way, the worst way to solve a drinking problem is looking at it through the drinking glass.

It is clear to me now that I’ve stayed sober for a while. But back when I still drank, it was totally acceptable in my head to hold on to the liquor store door while trying to figure out how to get out of the mess that my booze-fueled mind has made sick body create.

How the hell did that work?

Quite aware of what a drinking mess I was, I was looking for a solution, but not a permanent one. I didn’t want the way out that didn’t include booze. That would be too much, because booze in my life had a function. If I removed it for good, there would be a hole left, and what will I fill it with? So, I wanted to let go, but not completely. I wanted to quit, but still hold on to the key. Just in case.

As one of my favorite performers wrote “Sometime things don’t work out, Sometimes things don’t work out… ‘Sometimes’ happen all the time… ‘Sometimes’ happen all the time!” (c) Henry Rollins. The thinking that was done in the mind frame of “I wanna, but I don’t wanna” couldn’t and eventually didn’t work out. I made promises to myself that if things go bad, I will do this one thing, but until then, drinking a couple beers once in two days was still OK, and if it became more than a couple, well then, it is not the end of the world either. Promise notes addressed to myself and put on the wall, I’d jump into the fight of every day, teeth clenched, brain spinning and having no idea how to react to a single tiny conflict. What a mine-field dance. I was pushing myself for a failure. I was basically pissing gasoline to put out the fire.

When I came to AA, I learned of this thing called “no reservations.” What it had to do with was that I couldn’t solve an alcoholic problem by finding alcoholic answers. And since an alcoholic is what I was, that’s what I’d be coming up with. Why? Change. Stress. I doubt anybody truly likes those. I sure didn’t. So, I pushed all of that life-changing scary shit out of the way. And when nothing happens, nothing happens, as I heard them say. And nothing really did, until I was “ready to let go absolutely.” No booze, no excuses to drink, no hanging out in bars, no hanging out with drinking buddies. Remove yourself from the drinking culture. Join the group of people who stay sober and want to stay sober. No compromise.

Sometimes things don’t work out… We may find ourselves in the relationship that is unhealthy, abusing, just plain dangerous physically, but we think we cannot leave – nowhere to go, or just can’t break away. But yes, we can. We can, as long as we look for a new solution, not something we chewed on so long that the taste of it is so familiar to us it feels like the only home we can ever have. Old problem needs new solution, otherwise it is a waste of time and brain cells, a joke about worrying likened to sitting on a rocking chair – it will give you something to do, but it will get you nowhere.


 

the image was copied from https://funnyjunk.com/funny_pictures/506814/Piss/ thanks.

Anybody Coming Back?

Oops! Road Sign with Dramatic Blue Sky.Crappy choice,

Unfair word,

Heard or said.

Bad time,

Wrong place,

And you fall.

Happened before,

But it hurts more this time.

Now you’re back,

Sitting in the back of the room,

Hoping no one notices you,

And yet

You came on your own,

Knowing well it will help

To get back on your feet,

Fix the problem,

As you’ve learned

Or are ready to learn from the error.

You hear that call,

That is there every meeting,

That question that you hoped all this time

You didn’t have to answer.

Your knees tremble and your mouth is dry

As you’re about to reveal to the crowd

Of friends and strangers

That you are coming back from the war zone

Where your addiction and weakness rule.

You expect judgement and pointed fingers,

But what you get is a hug and a welcome

That you need the most.

It is here each time, whether it is the first time, or one hundredth,

As there is hope

That this is the last time

You’ve spilled nearly all of your blood on the way in.


the image was copied from http://hub.yourtakeonwords.com/hub/humanistring?w=1366;rh=http%3a%2f%2fhumanisthappiness%2eblogspot%2ecom%2f2013%2f06%2fwas-it-my-fault%2ehtml;rd=1#.W5MKIehKjIU thanks.

Can’t Hear a Thing

cartoon7151Among things we as humans do, such as move, produce, preserve, and copulate, there is one more thing that we can do really well, and yet often fail at. It’s communicating.

Funny enough, in the world of today where communicating is recognized as vital, and with many different ways of communicating are invented, starting with education of languages and lectures on body language, and ending with phones, faxes, and whatever else they’ve invented lately that I’ve missed, we fail to communicate so much.

And that’s amazing, considering that we communicate all the time. When I write this, you read it, so I’ve communicated to you what I think and feel, and whether you agreed or disagreed with it, you can’t help but receive the information that I’ve shared. When you stand in front of me and talk, I hear you, but I also read your face expressing how you feel about what you’re saying, and I can also pay attention to your hands and the rest of your body reacting to what is being said or what you really thought. We share that information and most of us are inherently good at it.

And yet, so often we communicate and not pay attention to what was communicated to us. So often we listen, but we don’t hear. And so often we don’t even try to listen, just pass by, thinking something else is important. I am guilty of that. I can be so lost in thoughts that I am lost for words when they need to be said. Whether it is to say that I agree, or to say I’m sorry, or to provide an insight, often I just seem to think there are more important things to pay attention to right at that moment, and I ignore others. Or sometimes I am so lost in my thoughts that I miss or misinterpret what’s being said and make wrong judgements of it and come to negative and upsetting conclusions.

I read a story by Chuck Palaniuk, the author of Fight Club, where he wrote that you only get people’s attention when you disclose that you are diagnosed with or dying from some incurable disease. That’s when people start really paying attention to what you’re saying and how you are feeling.

It is at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that we really listen to others. We hear their stories, we think about how it relates to us, we express empathy with our nods and smiles, and after the meeting we talk, we discuss, and often go somewhere to talk about it some more. It is a system that works well for decades. It is not unique though, because people do that on a regular basis. People talk, people solve problems by discussing it. Only in AA meeting we discuss something that, if left unspoken, may literally destroy person’s life. That’s why we make sure we give a word to a newcomer, even if they don’t feel like talking in front of strangers.

The fact that this fellowship exists is a great thing. Over a decade ago it saved my life, just like for the last 80 years it was saving lives of thousands. But I can’t help but wonder if there could be less reasons for AA’s existence if we, the humans in general, could originally communicate better.

What if we could talk without being hurtful so that we wouldn’t cause people to look for a potentially dangerous outlet, such as drugs and alcohol? What if we didn’t produce so much alcohol that we needed to advertise it so rampantly? Remember, advertising is communication too, just as a movie you watched, or a book you read, only TV or Internet ads provide short ideas faster and with a shock value that successfully affects your mental faculties, promising you desires to be fulfilled. A powerful language to present ideas, and dangerous at that.

Could we advertise more ideas of hope and kindness than what to buy, where, for how much, and where it is less expensive and move convenient? Would we improve our lives with more products… or with more hope and understanding that we should care for others? So often I realize that it is not what we say to others, but how we say it that has more lasting effect, negative and positive.

Unfortunately, I don’t know if these questions can be answered. Thus, I focus on what’s at hand and stay sober and go to my AA home group meetings. Communication is power, and AA is based on communication. Without, it AA won’t work. We speak, we listen, we share, we read recovery books, and when we pray, it is communication to, isn’t it?

So now that we are afflicted, since the failures of communication already happened to plague us, let’s try to connect better. Maybe let’s do a better effort to listen to those that need to speak, with our loved ones (especially with them, because we may think we had a perfect connection, but we’re so often take it for granted), with our friends, with strangers, on a bus, on a street, in a group, even if we have no time, or desire to do so. Somebody’s life and sanity may depend on it.

I guess, I have to start with myself. Writing this is only the first step of dealing with it.


image copied from https://www.andertoons.com/speaking/cartoon/7151/know-youre-new-but-its-hear-ye-hear-ye-not-listen-up-people thanks.

Trapped Under Bed

22-under-bedOne of my AA group members was celebrating birthday the other day and he mentioned something regarding finding spirituality. He always opposed it, proudly considering himself an atheist.

And then he came to AA. And he still resisted spirituality. And he suffered because of that, knowing he should have given himself a break, yet he kept pushing it away for that’s what he did all his life. The struggle of inviting the spirituality in his life and resisting it at the same time was all consuming and affecting all the areas of his life. The metaphor he used for that time was being trapped under the bed. He wasn’t in his bed from where he could see so much in comfort, but instead he was under. Not only he was stuck in there as the bed pressed on him, he also didn’t have a very good vision of what was in front of him. He was trying to look out and see much more of the room, and out of the room – the house, and out of the house – to see the world around it, and yet he wasn’t allowing himself to do so. Once he realized that’s what was happening to him, the desire to push forward multiplied. And he… well, he crawled out in to the world, so to speak.

I cannot fully sign under these words. I was lucky to have discovered spirituality in high school, and although maybe not fully, I understood what it was and how it was making my life fuller. I was a loner, I believed in things I couldn’t see. I wrote stories about things others laughed at. I listened to music many people around me didn’t understand. Pagan rites of my native country were not something that a lot of people cared at the sunset of the 20th century. But to me it was the world rediscovered, and there was a spirit of wonderful kind, and its inhabitants danced, and they taught me things – of how we used to be, how we were simple and open, and how we could be so much better.

Still, many doors were closed to discover the Spirit and wisdom of simpler things, because I was influenced so much by the utilitarian world. Mythology of the Norse and ancient Greek, not what it stood for then, in old times, but what it taught, what it warned about, – these things were not something that concerned the world that worshipped money and technology. Information, selling it, expanding it, all of it was the major focus. And I opposed it so much that I started closing the doors on all of the real world. I started refusing to accept the life on its terms. It caused me a lot of grief. Alcohol became the permanent solution to that problem. Or so I thought.

Luckily, one day I woke up. By that time, I did a lot of damage to my mental health, so restoring the balance took years. But my beliefs in the spirit world, the wisdom, the care for simpler things, that didn’t get affected. The spiritual understanding of the world only got stronger, I think, because when I did wake up, the spirit within me stood stronger than before. The heart was thirsty for knowing things that rang true. The ears were open to hear the stories of others that taught so much. The eyes refused to shut, for there was much to see, right in front of me, and all around. The room, the house, and the outside, as much as it stretched.


the image was copied from https://film-grab.com/2010/09/29/millers-crossing/22-under-bed/ thank you.