Sunday Sundries … “Entirely Ready”
We’ve gone from minus double digits over the past few days, to a balmy (+2c) today, and at this hour we are sitting at (-2c). They are saying 5 to 10 cm of snow will fall over night, But me thinks that is pushing it, seeing it is warm outside, and rain is falling. Not sure how cold it needs to get for that rain to turn to snow.
And last week, when they told us that a significant snow event was coming and that we should be prepared, that never happened. That’s the second miss in as many weeks.
It was a good weekend. All of my peeps are home from vacations, or it was the first night (read: Friday) that we were all in the same place at the same time. However, I’ve noticed that we are missing a number of folks that I have not seen in more than a month. hmmm….
I departed early to meet folks at the church for our study hour, so I cranked out chairs and tables, and made coffee and as I was finishing up my guys arrived. Everybody is getting back into the swing of things, and we have set out plans for the coming weeks.
Today’s reading … Step 6 “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”
Having been relieved of the obsession to drink, wouldn’t you want God to remove our most glaring character defects? Some say, I don’t want to let go of this one right now, and others say, I will never let this go…
I am on this step as we speak. My sponsor has given me homework to do and I sat down yesterday and started the book section of the questions. The second phase is a review of Steps 4 and 5 to see what I am still holding on to, and that is as far as I got.
So We read from the book, and the discussion began back around with me. In the reading the book mentions the seven deadly sins … and what caught my attention was this:
… Else why would we consume such great amounts of time wishing for what we have not, rather than working for it, or angrily looking for attributes we shall never have, instead of adjusting to the fact, and accepting it? And how often we work hard with no better motive than to be secure and slothful later on – only we call that “retiring.” Consider, too, our talents for procrastination, which is really sloth in five syllables. Nearly anyone could submit a good list of such defects as these, and few of us would seriously think of giving them up, at least until they cause us excessive misery.
When I got sober this time around, it was a few months in, I had De-fogged a bit. And from out of left field these thoughts came into my head, and I even listened to them, and had the audacity to speak them to people I did not even know at the time.
I’m not sure where my sense of entitlement came from, But I expressed it. I was mentally twisted way back then, and I am not sure I am all that mentally figured out now. I had lists for God to fulfill. I wanted things I was entirely not ready to receive. I “Expected.”
“Expect” is a dirty word. Just like the word “plan” is a joke.
Not that I wanted shit handed to me on a silver platter, I just wanted things. Things I later figured out that I HAD to work for. God whittled down my list of wants, to nothing. Meanwhile, He gave me everything that I needed, on a need to have basis. Just like information, early on, was on a need to know basis. Everything had its time and its season.
Nothing was easily gained, without a lesson attached to it, for greater measure. A very long time ago, on this very blog, if you know where to look, is a post on the Seven Deadly Sins. The path was, in hindsight, ordained. I would ask a question, or read from the book. We would discuss it, and then have time to think about that discussion. Finally, God would give me situations that I would get to work out those questions/answers/discussions in real time.
That is how my sobriety worked. And still works today.
When I wrote my 4th step, it was short and concise. The discussion I had on step Five was intense.
When I look back at them, It isn’t about what am I holding on to at the moment that is blocking me from moving forwards. Hence, Six and Seven.
I was warned early on that my brain would do a number on me. My sponsor has said, while working his steps in tandem with me, with his sponsor, that once we start working, the brain goes on over drive and shit happens.
Brief pause for a long distance conversation…
AND WE’RE BACK !!! (10 points if you can guess that reference)
Another door in my brain has opened up.
The beautiful lotus flower has turned into a ratty pile of shit.
Over the past decade, my aunt has collected photographs of me at various points in my life, with various people, events, places, holidays, and I have them here to look at. Some of these photos I look at and for the life of me I cannot remember them. I mean, the photos prove I was there, but I can’t seem to locate that specific memory.
I’ve always been afraid that my alcoholism and drug use in the past has caused some serious memory damage. But then that was yesterday, in the grand scheme of things, and this is today.
When I got sick I was treated by a psychiatrist. And I had to seek that help again.
Because when the hamster gets on that wheel in my brain, he runs at 90 mph. And he just keeps going and my brain goes into over drive and I don’t know how to make it stop. And for as long as I can remember, I relive certain memories continuously. I hear certain people say things, they once said to me. I relive the feeling those words elicited and the pain and fear become palpable.
I have recurrent dreams, and the same nightmares over and over.
As of late, like I said above, another door in my brain has opened. And I am not enjoying what I am reliving; Memories I haven’t thought about since they happened, shit I haven’t thought about since forever. It is like Groundhog Day.
I’ve said before that my twenties was the worst decade of my life. But as bad as it got in the end, there was one bright spot amid all the calamity and death that was going down around me. Amid the hurricane that was my life, I had periods of time in the eye of the storm.
I’ve never really spent time dissecting the past. And any good alcoholic will tell you that the mind is not some place one goes without a hardhat and certainly not alone. Recently, God, in His infinite wisdom has brought me a list of all the stupid, irresponsible, most painful, pitiful and terrible things I did in my twenties.
The longer you are sober, the harder you work your program, the time is going to come when the floodgates open and you get to seriously look at all those shitty things you did while drinking. I’ve not had this opportunity, YET ! I’ve never really thought about the things on my present radar screen.
It’s a really good thing that when I go to bed at night, I have assistance.
It is during the day, when I try to nap that becomes a nightmare. Totally unscripted, unaided attempts at sleep. I can shut the hamster down at night, but during the day, I am powerless.
I had this partial conversation with a friend during the break, and he said that there must be a reason these things are coming up at this specific time, and it is up to me to figure out why ???
If you’ve ever read the book “Experience, Strength and Hope,” that is the compendium of all the stories that appear in Editions One, Two and Three of the Big Book. Reliving my twenties is like rereading those stories.
The First edition is riddled with the lowest bottom stories, because in the thirties, men were down and dirty low bottoms. The second and third get progressively better, ever so slightly. And the fourth has a mixture of all of them, and a few new additions for good measure.
My drunk journey played out in reverse order. All the losses that usually come at the end of ones drinking happened to me within the first ten years of my rampant and flagrant drinking career.
By the way, as I’ve written this post, it is indeed snowing right now.
I have to figure out why these memories are coming up now, and thinking a bit, I was Totally stupid. Totally self centered. Totally consumed with how I was going to keep drinking at the rate I was drinking and have the funds to do so, to my mind, indefinitely.
There wasn’t anything I would not do to guarantee alcohol.
My excuse, what did I know about responsibility? I had no clue. I did not have the knowledge that would have said, “maybe you shouldn’t be doing this right now, and maybe you should not be so dishonest and flagrantly self centered!” Do you see a pattern here ?
Ah, the lies we tell ourselves. I was not responsible. I didn’t have the capability.
I know for a fact that my father and mother were burdened by my alcoholism. Even though alcoholism was rampant in my family, three generations back, they seemed to skate by with nary a word about it, nor do I ever remember losses in their lives, like they hit me. But everybody took notice when I drank, but nobody said a word against it. They just rolled with it. At their expense.
I lament, Not One Person ever said STOP until Todd did at age 26.
By then it was too late. What was done was done, There was no changing fate.
When I learned I was going to die, Todd stepped in and turned my life around.
Against my suicidal tendencies, I had to take responsibility for my life, at long last. It was either become responsible or DIE. There were no two ways about it.
The rest is history.
Why my brain has focused on this particular section of my life I don’t know. the worst of my drinking was the first half of my twenties, and ran up to age twenty five, the second phase of my drinking started there and ended at age twenty six. I was supposed to die.
God had other plans for me.
My father once said to me that “Once you speak words, you can never take them back.”
He never took his own advice, and neither did my mother.
I can add to that, once you do something unforgivable, there is no going back. Once the action is done, it is done. There are no do over’s. You can’t take an action or a word back.
Where man fails at forgiveness, God forgives. Totally, 100%.
Jeremy says that “If you give God everything, God will forgive everything.”
But as humans, we tend not to believe that God forgives all, and we hang on to shit that we could easily let go of, and let God get rid of it.
My life played out the way it did. I can’t take any of it back. Tucked into all that insanity were moments, hours and maybe a few days of beauty, some good people who had a good influence on me, and created genuine memories.
But King Alcohol had its grip on me in any case.
There is no excuse. I drank. And whomever I had to railroad to keep drinking I did it.
Not proud of that truth, but it is what it is.
I guess that’s the lesson here.
I am so glad that I never have to drink again. Because I could end up right where I started.
I think I am done here for tonight.
More to come, stay tuned …