[patient denies discomfort]

I didn’t believe

I didn’t want to know

I failed to see

When they told me something was off

When they’ve put the mirror to my face so I’d take a look at how fucked up I was.

I still said I was fine.

I still said there was no reason to worry and why wouldn’t the just leave me be

There was no fight I needed

There was no change I wanted

…there was a scream deep inside of me, for help, for love, for something new…

I kept not hearing it.

I kept wanting the same liquid solution

They, they, they… what else did they do

Besides trying to pry open my eyes to my insanity

Besides slamming with words and actions?

Well, all i saw was intrusion.

I remained alone, telling myself and others nothing was going wrong

I remained intoxicated, believing the fairy tales it was telling me.

…change is a scary thing if it seems like there is no one by your side and that’s how I felt…

One day the years caught up with me

One day it was one of those days

I looked at myself in the mirror that I denied existed

And realized if I keep doing it, I will keep doing it until there will be no more “it.”

…meaningfulness of life was running through my fingers into the sands of the desert I’ve created for myself as I watched, realizing that very fact, scared shitless to do anything about it…

Then I made a step forward and admitted to complete strangers how bad I was.

Then they nodded and welcomed me to the club.

…somewhere deep inside the fucked up me was whispering words of caution but I ignored them…

I was on the way out of denial and toward responsibility that came entwined with freedom

I was me who I knew and the one I didn’t, and that was OK

The change was no longer as scary as before,

For I was no longer alone,

And I saw that as much as I believed it.

 

 

 

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.

Amends in Eights

handsTwelve years ago, I went to visit my family for a little reunion. I was three years sober, and right before the trip I realized that when I met them two years prior, I hadn’t even thought of making amends to them. Which may have been a good thing, because at the start of my recovery I knew very little of what making amends was.

OK, I did know a bit, and I did them to those who I thought I’ve really hurt. Yet with my family, we’ve been having a good relationship around the time I’ve quit drinking and from then on as well, so I’ve figured I didn’t need to talk to them about these things. Until someone in a meeting talked about making amends, and that was just several days before my trip, and it hit me between the eyes. I realized that whether I thought I needed to do that or not, that was irrelevant. Admitting my wrongs was part of the program I was trying to live. It was a part that if I didn’t do it then, it would come back later and serve me a mighty kick in the butt.

I’ve spent time with my family and at the end of my visit I made my amends to my Mom, Dad, and my brother. It felt good to talk about these things, but the more I was releasing the pent up confusions, fears, shame, and worry that I carried in me in my addiction, with me hiding it, I was realizing that my family members were getting upset. There was so much they haven’t known that the more that I’ve shared with them made them amazed and depressed. I was leaving them after that visit with a feeling that I’ve messed it up while I was trying to do more good than harm. As I’ve learned later, there is no right way to do amends. I’ve heard people sharing at meetings that they were not even heard and they had doors slammed in their faces. Some people on the receiving end are not ready to hear those things. I had a feeling my parents were just happy to have me back without knowing what has happened to me, just being content with me doing better. Conversations I’ve had with them through the years after confirmed that thought.

Two months ago, I went to see my parents again, although this time the reunion was not to reconnect. My mother was dying. She was diagnosed with cancer two years prior. The treatment failed to help her. My trip was to say goodbye to her. Two days after I have arrived and have spent time with her and my Dad and brother, her conditioned has worsened and she has lost consciousness which she hasn’t regained. I’ve had an opportunity to spend time with her for two days before her passing to speak the things to her that were my amends, the ones that by then I didn’t realize I needed to make.

Necessity to make amends is not one of those things that I’m fully aware. Yet, they are the things that never cease to come up. Making amends is a perpetual process that has to happen, because resentments never fail to plague me. I’ve had conversations with my Mom that didn’t go as they were planned, ending with negatives more than positives. Some of that we hadn’t talk much about afterwards. There were things happening even when I was a kid, and that we didn’t go over either. And I still remembered of those. I wasn’t sure if it even mattered to bring those to the fore. It was a long time ago, right? Yet I had a conversation with my partner who argued that I needed to say what I had to say, because that was the last chance I could do that with my mother. That’s when I’ve reminded myself that those resentments may come back and serve me a mighty kick in the butt, and I would never have an opportunity to resolve those, therefore I’d be doomed to carry the guilt forever.

Speaking to a person who is unconscious is just that – speaking. I didn’t know my mother could hear me (my partner begs to differ), and I did it anyway. I sat by her bed, held her by the hand, and I spoke of things that bothered me about our relationship with her. I spoke about how I felt I was born, raised. I said my thanks. I said my worry. I admitted my wrongs. I’ve expressed my remorse. I spoke of things I could’ve done better and what I could improve in the new phase of my life without her. I spoke of things she could do when she moved to the other side, and that is watch out for my father and brother. It happened to be a monologue of proportions I never knew I carried in me. And although she hasn’t answered to any of it, by the time I said those things, I knew I had to do say them, and that I had to do that for a while.

Interesting thing is, some of those frustrations and guilts that I’ve given a voice to those two evenings, I wouldn’t be able to speak them to my mother’s comprehending face. I wouldn’t discuss it with her. I didn’t even know how I would start that both-side conversation with her. In a sense, I’ve done those amends on my terms without her looking me in the eye and answering me. Even now that I’m thinking of it, preferring that I’d rather talk to her about it face to face, with her being very much alive and full of vigor, rather than lying on the bed, her eyes closed, life draining out of her, I know that I’m satisfied with the way it did happen… because otherwise I wouldn’t do it for a long time, out of inability to speak my mind without hurting her, even if in her eyes I wouldn’t.

It’s been sixty days since she is not in my life anymore, and it feels so strange not being able to hear her voice. Yet thinking of her, how she was alive, that is satisfying. Because that is the only way I can connect with her, the way she was – healthy, smiling, talking about things she loved. Her touch. Clothes she wore. I feel that I deserve not carrying dark clouds over my head recalling those scenes from memory. Is it because I’ve admitted myself to be imperfect in front of her and silence was the comforting answer? I choose to think so.


the image was copied from https://poesypluspolemics.com/2017/04/18/silent-hands/ and blurred and faded and twisted by me. thank you. a wonderful poem you’ve got there.

snowing light

snowFrustration at powerlessness may never go away. Desire for complete control sometimes is overwhelming, yet things are happening the way they are supposed to. I’ve witnessed that many times and yet I still battle it.

Two days of Spring at the time that Spring should have been majorly on the way, and then… the warmth and melting of snow and ice is replaced by the coldest day of the week and sharp wind, carrying more snow. The white joyously proceeded to cover everything that has melted like the warmth hasn’t been around for weeks. And I’m laughing at it, because I don’t want to growl in frustration. I’m tired of Winter, I’m tired of cold, and ice. I have to grin at the changes that I do not welcome to stay at least somewhat positive.

Yet for some reason I find it hard to apply that grinning to darker currents creeping up from the voids opening under my feet and tempting me to support my ego fire to the point that I assume I should have all things bending under my will.

Humility is easy to express unless ego prefers to listen to things that work for other people and I want to have that. I know that I should remember my limitations and be grateful for those. Snow lit by the morning sun starts falling at the time I wait for inspiration calls. Winter is not ready to retreat. Springtime will come when the nature says so. My gratitude for realizing it opens my eyes some more, and I can see that the right inspirations, not the things I want, but the ones I need, are continued to be brought to me, whether it is when I’m looking for them, or when I least expect them.


the image was copied from https://www.123rf.com/photo_48132831_winter-watercolor-abstract-background-with-falling-snow-splash-texture-christmas-new-year-light-coba.html and cut up mercilessly by me to avoid intrusions that don’t belong in the balance. 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

the dance

As you passed,

I kept seeing what I want to see,

That you weren’t gone yet,

That you still breathed.

What my eyes caught

Must have been

The sight of your spirit dancing serenely

Around what you’ve left behind,

As extreme heat leaves the road in a haze,

The road towards the dimensions unseen,

Yet dreamed of,

Journey with no end

On which you fly leaving us walking

In pain,

Yet in gratitude and reflections

Of your beautiful path.

to be an apple

Retouch-1313AHe wanted to be…

OK, he was an Apple

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

As apples come.

He was this juicy thing you could eat right away

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

Yet he wasn’t because

He always wanted to be an Orange.

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

How they grew, and laughed,

It looked so infectiously simple how they did things,

Including drinking –

It seemed intoxication and consequences came to them effortlessly.

He could sell his core to be like them

And he tried to do so.

It took him many falls and been kicked around,

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

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

Until one day he learned something –

He will always be an Apple

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

Selling his core brought no desired fruits, pardon the pun

And when that dawned on him,

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

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

It took much time, enough to feel like eternity,

To find peace with that realization.

Then one day, it all became clear to him –

He could look so many ways,

Feel so much different being alive instead of jealous.

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

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

Lost in his resentment.

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

And so many colors he didn’t know existed.

There was much time to grow and enjoy them all

And he kept on doing so

Effortless one day, with some strain another

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


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

thank you to Russ for the idea.

calmisanthropy

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

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

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

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

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

Chuck Schuldiner, a musician I admire, wrote:

“Without judgement what would we do

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

Assuming what may be.

Without judgement perception would increase a million times.”

(“Without Judgement”, 1995)

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

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


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

Looking Back

looking-back“Don’t Look Back, You’re Not Going That Way” the sign said.

Technically, it’s true. If you want to forward, you need to look that way, so you watch your step and what’s further in front of you.

It wasn’t the sign on a road though. It was not on the runway either. The sign printed on paper was taped to the wall at a mental hospital unit.

It got me thinking, obviously, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. Now, what was it about that sign, or rather its message, that got me thinking? As an Overthinker (which I certainly am, I wish that was an official medical term, because maybe there would be meds that slow and calm you down without causing any unwanted retardation), I went into the Think Forest. The path I walked was something different than whoever wrote put that sign up, or whoever put together all those similar posts on the Net which I found looking for a suitable image for this post to be published with.

What I thought of was the concept of history.

How do we move forward without knowing what caused us to get here in the first place? How do we make right without learning what was wrong? How do we avoid making mistakes if we haven’t learnt from the ones we made in the past? The only way to learn of those is to study them. Not under a microscope, of course; that will keep us in the rut for too long. Yet still, if we don’t try to understand what has caused us the ill, how will we ever be healthy again – tomorrow or next year?

As an Overthinker, I do sometimes wonder if I’m giving it too much thought, all this musing and wondering, which is why I get to be an Overthinker, as acknowledged by the others with whom I’d share these thoughts with. Yet, as soon as I think of that, I also realize something that doing so is in fact practising something useful. I think it’s called “reflection.” That’s a good thing, isn’t it? Another word for it is “hindsight.” And it seems to me that hindsight is something that much of our world lacks lately. Maybe even longer than “lately.”

We tend to repeat our mistakes over and over. We put millions of whatever currency into improving and perfecting means of communication on a global and neighborly level, but we fail to connect with people next to us. We keep making guns and get sad of how many people die. We then keep voting for people who keep smiling and hug children and that is never a good sign. We keep working jobs we can’t stand hoping it would get better. We keep using substances to keep us ok, but they never do, and we keep lying to ourselves that will change, we just need time to figure things out; that maybe somebody will come and help us with this, but then, we are still failing to connect with others, right?

Looking back is highly important. If I didn’t do so, I’d be drinking still, or drinking again. It’s no use to look back all the time, – either your neck will get sore, or you won’t see a car coming your way. But I think practicing reflecting is what still somehow keeping us alive. Is it worth to just keep alive, though? Maybe we could live better?

“The farther backwards you will look, the farther forward you will see.” W. Churchill


the image was copied from https://www.autismsociety-nc.org/a-look-back-at-a-remarkable-year/ thanks.