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.

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.

What a Disaster

hqdefaultI saw a TV ad recently. A lady walking through her messy and dirty apartment, trying to make a meal, I think. Then the sentence across the screen said: Not all disasters make the news. I think it was an ad for the Red Cross.

Then it hit me: it’s probably not messy and dirty place. How about destroyed by fire? And the thing is, thinking that way made me look at the situation under a completely different angle. Not irresponsibility but dealing with disastrous conditions. Not carelessness but overcoming grief and burden.

When it comes to mental health, “not all disasters” reality makes even less news. No one knows what’s going on in another person’s head and why do they behave a certain way. Even if you’re a seasoned psychiatrist, dealing with people is not easy because everybody is different with their own specifics. There is no blueprint to work on everybody.

When a person falls apart, due to a family crisis, unemployment, addiction, it is a disaster, a tragedy. And yet, there are ways to mend some spirits and minds in a way, at least partially. I was to my AA home group meeting and one of the members said: “There are about fifty people in this room. People with long term sobriety, short time sobriety, some newcomers, but all are people who want to improve their lives and live responsibly and happily without expense of others’ grief. We affect a lot of people, each and everyone of us. Our manner of living affects parents, kids, spouses, friends, coworkers. At least five hundred people outside of this room are better off because we fifty are sober.”

The day before that meeting I went to a concert. As always, I wasn’t drinking. I don’t drink alcohol at shows, just as I don’t at any other time. I know there are people who think (and maybe they even have proof) that drinking is not all that bad, but it’s not my story. So, after drinking irresponsibly for over ten years, I’ve quit and don’t do it anymore. I won’t deny that not drinking at shows does take away from excitement a bit. When the music hits the air though, it’s decibels and vibes that rule the ball and I don’t need anything else. But some spirit is lacking, I think, compared to the good and bad old drinking times. And that’s OK. Life is more responsible lately and because of that more tolerable. Fun, actually.

And I thought of that when listening to my co-member talking about the 500 who are better off with us fifty being sober, because it was not just drinking and intoxicated mind of my un-sober times that had put me and others around me in trouble. It was how I looked at the world and how I related to others. How I behaved and how I talked. And it’s still not perfect time for me regarding attitude and communication. So many times I can recall myself speaking without thinking and how it got me in trouble. What a mess I can create without applying the “Stop, wait, think” rule. What a disaster. I remember my first AA sponsor who said that anybody would benefit from using the Twelve Steps in their lives to improve their lives, their family lives, spiritual balance, and so on. It is a spiritual and communication program in a nutshell, after all.

I’m staying from causing a disaster. I’m not perfect and probably never will be, and that’s OK. I keep trying to improve, though. I watch what I say and work on myself without hurting others. I keep it sober. I stay connected. I embrace and practice the positive way of living. Alternatives to that could be disastrous. I don’t want to chance it. Thanks, but no thanks.


the image was copied from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iW5hAThdZHg and thank you and that song kicks ass!

Yeah, seriously

YellowtaillogoI saw this advertising on the bus that made feel rather uncomfortable.

“We take wine seriously, so you don’t have to.” © Yellow Tail

So… what’s going on here? Why am I taking offence to this? Am I one of those in the legion of the Upset who can’t breathe without pointing something out and complaining about it? Or is there something here worth thinking of?

I think that thinking is required. Ha.

First of all, it is a clever advert and I got to give them an “A” for that. There’s been quite a bit of smart ads around lately that either make me chuckle or admit that even though I don’t care or don’t agree with what was advertised, it is still smart. Yellow Tail, the company selling wine from Australia for over half a century, or whoever is writing down their ad campaign, got their heads together.

Secondly, though, there is a problem too. Tell me, what happens when someone tell you “Let me handle this, so you don’t have to”? Isn’t that how the world powers became the ones who have the power and the majority were left screwed? Isn’t that how we ended up with the banks running the globe? They still talk it: “Let us handle this for you.”

And thirdly, about that word “seriously.” Somebody doesn’t want you to take your wine seriously. Think about it. Someone you don’t know, knows nothing about you (but wants your money to buy a fun looking bottle) tells you that you don’t need to take your (drinking) seriously. This ad was on the bus. Who takes the bus and can’t yet afford cars? I mean, besides the seniors and low-income adults? Right, kids. And freshman students. So, do you think there may be some kind of an issue with the bright yellow ad basically throwing itself in the eyes of a kid/young student on the bus, an ad saying you don’t have to take your wine (drinking, responsibility around alcohol) seriously?

OK, enough about the kids. How many adults do we have out there in the world who don’t take their behavior involving alcohol seriously? Do we need more? Well, we keep attracting them into the wrong thinking right now. It gives us some strange ideas. No, not thinking about the ad’s pros and cons. More like, let’s just let it rip, who cares…

Am I exaggerating?


the image was copied from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_Tail_(wine) and mutilated by me. thanks.

Brain Blues

1_FmNzVibw5_FEGSrjg162OgYou wake up and feel like you may have melted into the bed. You can’t get up. You try again and do get up, but you feel like someone dropped a piano on you. You should go back to bed, right? Wrong. You should go to work. You’ve already missed several shifts, and what can happen is… No, you don’t want to think about that.

You feel… bad, granted, but that word is so overused. So how DO you feel? Depressed. But you are depressed most of the time, because alcohol you drink so much is a depressant, so no wonder. And you can’t stop drinking, even though it takes all your money, and your friends hate you (or so you think) and no girls want you (it really is so). “Depressed” is too clinical and doesn’t describe well how you feel right now. You are… blue?

But who uses that word these days? You look disgusted about being “blue” more than feeling “depressed” or having a “drinking problem” or “having no girlfriend” problem.

But you’re not down, are you? Because “down” makes you think of The Clash, fever, and more alcohol. So…

Let it be “blue.” The blues, rhythm ‘n’ blues… Oh no. That last one makes you think of your father. Nope. We are not going down there.

So… you’re screwed. That’s for sure. How shall we proceed from here? How are you going to work, now that we know you’re screwed?

Let’s try one step at a time first. No, you don’t like doing that, or at least thinking that. It reminds you of AA groups, and you don’t like them. According to you, they take too much space, talk too much and drink too much coffee. OK, then what? What now? Who else are you going to be angry at?

OK, OK, I’ll back off. I went too far. I’ll retreat into the place in your brain where I belong. Let the proper faculty do the thinking work, right? So, me, the Hypothalamus, and my good friend (and your very good friend, or at least so it shall be) Mr. Motor Cortex are going to go have a snooze. You call us when you got some thinking done and you’re ready for action. We’ll be there in a quarter of a second. You use the rest of the brain, especially the Mighty Ms. Frontal Lobe. Go plan. Plan courage. Plan life.


the image was copied from https://medium.com/@funemployed/the-fucked-up-thing-about-my-brain-d0452006fab1 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.