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.

Neutral Affirmation

I am given a wordblood

And I say my first name

And I call myself an alcoholic

After which I speak some more

About myself.

Whether I am in recovery

Or not,

Maybe still struggling through trenches

Of “human versus disease” war,

It is not a negative word.

It is not (or at least shouldn’t be)

Said with self-loathing,

Or sadness,

Or uttered bitterly to point a finger

At someone else to blame for my faults.

It is a neutral affirmation of reality.

Some folks are born with pale skin, not dark

Some others are born female, not male.

I was born pale skinned male,

With birth-attached ill disease

Streaming through my blood,

A condition that plagued me for years

Until its essence was explained to me

And I saw it for what it was,

Not an illusion that I kept alive all that time.

Alcoholic is not a derogatory word that shames.

Neither it is a happy word.

It is a diagnosis that doesn’t discriminate.

It is part of my nature,

That I know now,

And with that I know who I am,

And things I can and no longer can do

If I want to live freely in mind and spirit.


the image was copied from https://www.newscientist.com/article/2191282-weve-discovered-a-new-type-of-blood-vessel-in-our-bones/ thank you

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.