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.

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.

honesty w/self

IMG_6548-300x200Three months sober, I went hiking in Jasper. Well, honestly, I rented a cabin in Jasper. Hiking was an addition to that. I had a crazy summer with jobs coming and going, relationships up and down, plus there was plenty of stress of not drinking while temptations were everywhere I looked. I needed a break from that insanity before it was time to get back to school. So, I booked a cabin and in August I went for a somewhat controlled environment adventure in the mountains.

Several days in, me and the small group of guests had a hot day hike. On the way back to the cabins one of them offered me to share some beers with him and his wife. First thought that came to my mind was “Crap, I should have stayed at home in the city, in the environment I could certainly control and have a better way to handle temptations.”

The second thought was less fearful, yet much more dangerous: “Hell, no one will know I had a beer or two! Plus, it would just give me a buzz. No big deal!” I knew though that I would obviously know. And I will remember. And I will suffer, because of the guilt that I broke down so easily. Also, I would suffer due to the more than likely serious mental maelstrom that will follow after the fun of intoxication subsided. I could hide even that, from others, but not from myself. I was new in the program and I didn’t know how you come back to AA meetings after a relapse. I didn’t want to find out.

All these thoughts went through my mind with a lightning speed, like in a Stephen King book, where there is an odyssey seems to pass through in the character’s head, and yet in reality only several seconds have gone through. I was about to look up to the fellow hiker and give him my answer when I thought of something else – how will he take my answer? Will he laugh? Will he say I better have some self-control? Will he do something that will make my isolate in my cabin for the rest of the week? I didn’t want to deal with any of that. And yet the good time of sobriety that I have enjoyed so far, no matter how difficult the time was, prompted me to speak my mind. All that thinking took another couple of seconds, I guess, and I finally made up my mind not to waste more of my companion’s time.

“Um… actually… I’m in recovery. So… um…” I tried to speak like nothing in the world could bother me, although I don’t know if it was working, “I am not going to join you… but… umm… have a good time!”

His reaction was not something that I expected.

He produced the biggest smile that a person could without wrecking their face into parts. In an instant his eyes shone brighter than the sun did all day. He shook my hand, saying: “Good for you! Keep it up” or something in that vein. It was quite a while ago, I can’t remember it quite well. Yet what I do remember is that conversation gave me a tremendous boost to keep it up with sobriety.

I was even happier with not taking a beer farther on that day, because the owners served wine with supper, which is something I’ve forgotten about. Refusing a wine at the table was easy. Refusing a beer when it felt like it was begging for you to accept it after a long hike in the sun, that wasn’t as easy. And a couple of beers followed by some wine… shit, it would do me in physically after ninety days of not drinking and then mentally, with all the thoughts I’d have to deal with. So, I was near ecstatic about the fine job that I was doing, keeping it sober.

That episode keeps coming to my mind in the summer. It’s the season I’ve sobered up, it’s the hiking and camping time. It keeps reminding me of the right choices that I’ve made, and how it keeps paying up for the life of sobriety, and because of that, of freedom. Freedom from hurting myself, freedom to be comfortable in my skin, freedom to speak my mind and to ease my mind from thoughts of however others choose to live their lives.


the image was copied from http://www.ecolodge.com/where-you-play/, the website of Rocky Mountains Escape where the above mentioned adventure has taken place. I went back there many times.

Shine Until Tomorrow

220px-LetItBe (1)Words drop on you suddenly and kick you in the teeth. Words you may have heard countless times wake you up suddenly. Words you don’t really care for anymore because the meaning is lost in the constant use. And yet they come and wake up something in your mind’s lazily burning flame.

The words now are “Shine on Until Tomorrow, Let it Be.” The Beatles are the band that I’ve been listening to since I was a kid, but their earlier records were more fun and I liked those, while the later songs were something I didn’t care to listen in albums. I guess the rock-n-roll driving force was more important to me than progressive and philosophical streams that had flown in later times of the band.

Yet at times the songs from the later 60s/early 70s creep into my life more often lately, as from the Doors that I go back to often, as the Beatles repertoire that I come upon by a chance, and those songs kick teeth. In the case of the Brits, “Let it Be” song caught me by surprise at the place I’ve heard it recently, but also by the meaning of the words. The thought of a person lost in the darkness and yet accepting to hold on until tomorrow, and so it shall be – it never struck me as a one day at a time idea, yet that’s how I heard it. There is a lot of hope in those words, just like in the Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind” that I came upon recently after not caring for it for 25 years. Something hopeful that I may have heard when listening to “Let it Be” in my youth when studying English and translating classic songs word by word, be it the Beatles or Iron Maiden, yet not fully taking to heart.

The days lately are dark, whether it is because it still winter that refuses to go away, or because of the fear of lurking sickness and many shut doors. As the members of this mighty horde called humanity, people have made it through many obstacles on their paths, and this is just another serious one. We are going to make it through another day in order to make it through months. Although the days are dark, there is still light here – we’ve got food and we have people to talk to. Isolation and social distancing doesn’t mean you have to play alone and walk in solitude all the way. March on and the light will shine. Until tomorrow. What’s after – we’ll see to that later. Today is the most important time.


the image was copied from wikipedia.org and lighted out by me in reverence mixed with confusion. thank you.

Allow Some Time

So often

Things appear out of control,

Out of our wanted mental grasp,

Of our undying pride

That we have to have all the power.

For this is how we were raised and taught.

Don’t I know that!

Even knowing that time,

That we think is controlled by the clock,

Is an illusion,

It doesn’t help

When I sense it run through my fingers

Away

From my holding it so firmly.

That’s when I stop caring so much for it

And no matter how much depends on

Saving time

I still say,

Mostly to myself:

Allow yourself some time

Give a chance to self

Look into the blow of wind

And you may see something different

That you’d miss in a rush,

Or doing something else

That is really of no importance.

Excuse your own ignorance,

Or bad mood,

Or intolerance

And move on noticing things

You may have never seen otherwise.

 

As the world appears unique with time

Within one day,

Same places lit by the sun from different angles,

At the same time

Loads of useless information

Create a sight

Of how things are to be.

But if we take a closer look

At all these memos and agendas

They disappear as smoke gone in the wind,

Providing you with time

To do something special and lasting

For yourself

That you maybe cannot even describe with words

When It Was Proclaimed to Be Over

rune_jera_transparent_background_runes_symbols_alphabetAnticipation

Fear

Of heights and flights

Of loss

Of fear itself

Recognition

Heartbeat of the chat that happens to be the last.

Pain of knowing pain of those so close

Waves of freedom falling on the beach

Joy of meeting

Misery of the reason the meeting took place

Wanting to let go

Wanting for the others to let go and go on

Wanting for the dark within the room to retreat

Caring

Holding hands that bind

Seeing things one thinks they shouldn’t see.

End of life of the one

Who was always

Who loved constantly

Who stood strongly no matter what

Sleeping dance of spirit united with spirits of many

Who know even if others share not the glory of knowing

Then, from dark – light

Wanting to be a part of the sunshine

Sea keeps approach/retreat approval of life

Even in the event

Of the proclamation of it being over

Within our mind

For energy never ceases to amaze

In its perpetual breathing.

Peace in union of three

Desire for more wonder

Sorrow wanders in our feet

As we walk with our faces

Turned to the sunrise

Anticipation

No fear

Loss is natural

Pain is not eternal.


the image was copied from https://embroidery.design/download/rune_jera_transparent_background/ thank you

eating crow

53498212_6d5d00f6f4Heard an opinion recently that AA is a glorified Losers club.

I must agree. We are not perfect, not omnipotent how we thought we were before, perhaps, but together through connecting we stand strong with all our common and individual weaknesses and weirdness.

We ate our amount of crows and we still sometimes do, but we know it and we know why, more often than before. Humility makes us more aware of ourselves and our limitations, which is how we become to know our strengths. We come to understand our character defects and we do our best to promptly admit them and learn from the experience not to repeat our mistakes. Sometimes we fail to do so, but so do not just addicts. People in general are imperfect, so we try to stop beating ourselves up and concentrate on improving instead.

We can be wrong in our minds, but it is actions that count. We are not wrong to reflect on thoughts we have or actions we are about to take.

We are the glorified losers club after all, and the glory is true and it’s all ours!

Going back to the speaker – they said they remember being wrong many times. They still can be wrong, but they have improved – if they were wrong, they stay in denial only for two days, no longer for two weeks, and no more for two years. Talk about positive thinking!


the image was copied from https://www.flickr.com/photos/itsyourdaycakes/53498212 thanks.

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.