Over the last few days, I have put in place, the boundaries and rules of engagement, that align with my morals and values. The battle is over, and the arena is drenched in blood and gore, and I rise victorious.
Scrubbing up from the battle and reviewing the wreckage, I know, who got in the arena with me, and who did not. I know all the people who gave me criticism and feedback that was abusive and really not what I had expected from sober men and women, let alone from some of my closest friends.
With that said, I have purged my life of people, places and things.
Thursday, last week, I was presented with responsibility that was not mine to begin with. Nonetheless, as the weekend began, I told a friend that I would engage this responsibility this week, in fact. That did not happen.
Putting the rules of engagement on the table from the beginning was a waste of time.
I chose not to engage because Friday really is not a good day to expect an institution to process an intake. Especially on a Friday afternoon. I chose, instead, to wait until the beginning of this week, to make my move for a total stranger, because I was asked.
Over the next three days, my phone rang off the hook. You’d imagine, that, if I did not answer one call, that I probably would not answer the second, third, or twelfth…
I chose NOT to answer my phone because I really was NOT in the mental space to deal with anyone else but ME over my fiftieth birthday weekend.
Mental Illness is a delicate business, and I need all my faculties to do my job correctly.
I thought I had made that clear with my, Not Gonna Touch this till Monday response.
On Sunday, my best friend met me for a day of fun, food and conversation. Having my best friend physically, with me, instead of on a long distance call, is PRIME TIME.
We took the Metro up to his old neighborhood, to get some Brazilian food and drink. On the way there, we stopped in that most dangerous place, A RECORD SHOP.
Whilst I was thumbing through records, in total bliss, my phone rang, yet again. I let it go to voice mail, again, on purpose.
As we exited the shop and made our way to food, my best friend hands me HIS phone. On HIS phone was a text, from the human being I was ignoring on purpose. Her text said and I quote …
“I know Jeremy is with you. He is not answering my calls, so I need you to tell him that he needs to call me …”
Major Fuck Up there …
What part of Not Gonna Deal with You Right Now, don’t you get ?
My lady friend not only spends her free time dialing my phone like I am some Beck and Call Boy … she expects me to answer her every time she dials my number, and she invades my personal space, while I was busy spending time with my best friend.
Like the only thing on my mind is serving the needs of a self-centered, selfish, bitch.
As I was preparing to order my food, I let it rip.
How do you properly tell someone to fuck off, nicely ???
I tried. Didn’t work …
Lunch was served in Styrofoam take out containers. And we dined like rich Romans in the park, whilst pot was being smoked left and right.
The rest of the day was blessedly void of interruptions. Thank the Baby Jesus.
Monday Morning, I crafted my final fuck off salvo.
Needless to say, my phone has not rung once, in response to said salvo.
I don’t like to be abused by my friends, or strangers for that matter. I really don’t like being taken advantage of either, because, for the record, I never say the word NO to any of my friends, unless I am sick or dead.
They expect me to always say yes, be amenable, and never raise my voice or cuss, for that matter.
Over the last year, that has all changed.
We chatted about reciprocation:
Many of my friends, sober they may be, Never reciprocate, Ever.
Especially, if that means they need to listen to me talk about ME.
Over the past many months, many of my friends took this tack with me. And over and over again, told me to just shut up. And out of the other side of their mouths, continued begging for me to help them, just the same. Just as long as I was doing for THEM.
Nuff said about that.
**** **** ****
Thursday we spoke about a fellow who was addicted to a light switch. Addicted to that light switch so badly, that he was not paying attention to reading The Book with us, let alone listen to anything that had been said over the last eleven months, I have been sitting in this particular meeting.
So I went to The Tire and bought a light switch. Something you wire into the wall and use. Tomorrow night I am going to give said light switch to that fellow who drank again with the words as follows:
Here is your light switch. I am giving it to you so that you remember what took you out the door and to another drink ! Every time you touch your dick or reach for a drink, I encourage you to “Flip the Switch!”
Gay men, are only concerned with three things: Dick, Drugs, and Alcohol.
Like I have stated before, my gay friends have no love for me, and haven’t for some time.
Sometimes, after witnessing my friends and fellows make really bad decisions, when they knew the consequences, I can’t help myself but to be brutally honest with them.
I’ve listened to this man talk bullshit out of both sides of his mouth for as many years, I have known him. Hell, I even sat with him and attempted to help him.
Many people never get past the first direction: Call Me Every Day !
Even if they own a cell phone or hell, better yet, a SMART phone. People don’t use the phone for the intention is was built for. Only for an APP…
UGH Fuck me ten ways from Sunday !!!
So, you spend YEARS listening to someone caterwauling about sorrow, and men, and drugs, and sobriety … Spinning their wheels whilst really needing us to engage you and feel sorry for you and engage with your story, as we drain our hearts in meetings week after week, and in the end, what happens ???
Every word spoken went in one ear and out the other. AND …
He drinks AGAIN.
UGH, Kill Me Now …
That I tried to help you, and you said FUCK YOU … just makes me even more angry.
Working with others has its challenges. The odds are against them all. But I can safely say that every human being I have engaged, is still clean and sober.
And I am not talking about my ego or my skills. It isn’t about me.
Is Fifty looking good on me yet ?
I’ve been sitting in meetings with my friends for over fifteen years. We have all heard the same stories, the same warnings. We’ve listened to LONG sober men and women come from distant places to encourage us to heed their warnings about drugs and alcohol.
I sit back and I listen to words. And I hear those words and I pack them in my bank. And over and over again, people do stupid shit.
It’s like a compulsion.
I hear you, but I think I am going to do THIS OTHER THING INSTEAD…
When you get sober, you have two choices.
- You sit in your chair and you pay NO attention to anyone or anything, OR
- Over time, you engage with your fellow-men and women.
- Engaging has its issues, you see, Note Above …
My friend Roger would tell me that: If I think I know something for sure, that I better sit my ass down and keep my mouth shut, for better or worse.
Thank God I have this blog that I can write whatever the hell I want and rant about stupid shit and stupid people.
FUCK ME …
They never said Sobriety was going to be a cakewalk. Getting sober is a bitch, and the odds are against us every day.
Nowadays, it’s not so much quitting the drink, but Staying Stopped.
The very last story in the book said that line. We all read it. Together. And we all talked about what that meant.
STAYING STOPPED …
And three days later, dumb shit drank again…
What part of Staying Stopped did you miss ???
UGH !!! I hate my life …
Rarely have we seen a person fail, who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those too who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.
The fact of life, when you are sober is, Life Does Not Stop, It Keeps On Going.
I know that feelings pass, as the days go by. The less we hold on to impermanent things, the better off we are. I’m sad about the death of a man who was uber talented. But that was yesterday. Being so many degrees separated from the epicenter of tragedy, tells me that I can mourn and move on.
So we move on.
I left really early, so I could commune with the dead via music. I arrived at the church with PLENTY of time to do my thing, ALONE. About ten minutes to seven, I was finished setting up and I went to sit outside.
Squirrels were bouncing through the tree canopy. And something very spiritual happened. Something I know to be true to me, that hasn’t happened in a very long time.
Birds are a very significant signs in my life. As I was sitting outside on the steps, I looked in a tree nearby, and there was a Red Breasted Robin sitting in the branches.
She came out of the tree, and landed about six feet from where I was sitting. And she came close and ran around the ground around where I was sitting.
The red breasted robin is significant, because the robin is a spiritual manifestation of my grammy. When ever she comes to visit, it is the robin who shows up.
All my dead relatives came back as birds. My grammy, my grampy and Memere.
That was spiritually significant. I had not been visited like that in a very long time.
We sat a full house, and then some. Lots of visitors from out of town. We are amid the summer visitor rush. The Friday night meeting is unique in many ways. There is not another meeting like ours, in all the city, on the English side.
Tonight’s read spoke about: The Honeymoon. Or as some may call it, the Pink Cloud period that sometimes takes place, in the weeks and months following our entry into the rooms.
Once you sink into your chair and you find your voice, one begins to participate in greater abilities. It seems, for some, that the realities of life, have been suspended.
We spend a little time with our fellows, and some of those fellows become friends as we find our ways. That is a good thing. We may need a little respite from the insanity we have come to learn how to let go of.
My warning to newbies is always the same …
You might be sitting on your pink cloud and everything seems in order as the insanity you walked away from is abated for a while. But like all things natural, life does go on around us. It just does not take a vacation.
It is just waiting for us. And hoping that we’ve learned something minimal by now is the key, so that when the cloud edge comes, you don’t fall off of it, and hit the ground with a THUD. Some go back out, and drink and use again, shit happens.
I’ve seen this happen. So I encourage our men and women to stick close to others in the rooms. Find commonalities. Use the rooms as they present themselves to you.
You CAN, figuratively, GET anything you need from the rooms. That worked for me famously. But times have changed. The rooms fifteen years ago, are not the rooms of 2017.
For me, the first eleven months were really great. I was connected. I had a sponsor that i was connected to with an umbilical cord through my first anniversary.
Sobriety, like life, happens, and sometimes sober people do really Un-Sober things.
At the eleventh month mark, I met my then boyfriend, and the race took off.
That Christmas of 2002, hubby went home to Ottawa and he gave me keys to the apartment we live in today, and said I could stay here, while he was gone.
I never left … tee hee
That was the beginning. Once that train left the station, it never stopped.
The honeymoon was definitely OVER.
Learning how to have a sober relationship took A LOT of work. Learning how to be responsible for another human being, was the beginning of my reaching the point I had been looking for for the whole of my life.
When does a boy become a man ??? Gay or Straight, the answer is the SAME.
Boys become MEN when we learn to put the needs of our significant others before our own.
Putting a home together took YEARS.
This apartment was sterile, dirty white. Take out containers were all over the place. The tv was black and white and had rabbit ears. We did not have a computer. We did not have food in the fridge. We did not have two nickles to rub together.
There were 300 empty beer bottles on the balcony, that took months and months to return, so we could buy groceries. Hubby was a pot head, so we had to cleanse the apartment of weed, rolling machines and papers … UGH !!!
Yesterday I was reorganizing the closet and I found another rolling machine, and a package of papers … Does this ever end ???
Needless to say, it was one thing after another. Mental illness happened. I learned how to care for my boyfriend who was sick for almost a year. That was a huge challenge.
Then he woke up, and we got married …In November 2004.
The Honeymoon was deferred until December that year. Things were honeymoonish for a few weeks.
That did not last for long.
Thirteen years would pass, until that final PROMISE came to pass …
Fear of People and of Economic Insecurities will leave us …
The grind of life took us on a life changing journey together. And we survived it.
In year thirteen and beyond life got exponentially better.
It was clearly NOT a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination.
We both worked our asses off. Went back to school, we amassed 5 University degrees between us.
Sobriety grew on us and not without its challenges.
Life is SO much better today than it was a little more than fifteen years ago.
I had 11 months of non stop meetings. I had 11 months of a sponsor who was part of my life on a daily basis. I had aftercare rehab counseling for two years when I got sober this time. I had everything I needed and NOT a single thing more.
I worked my ass off, for twelve years in sobriety, before BOB came into my life and turned my sober life upside down. I thought I was doing everything right, WRONG …
Bob introduced me to Intense Prayer and Meditation, like I had never heard before.
Three – Seven – Eleven …
My sobriety was definitely enhanced.
Twelve through fifteen was all about learning MORE about the book.
Year Fifteen has been one Hellacious, Terrible, Emotional, Nightmare.
I never want to go through this kind of pain ever again in my life.
In ten days, I will be Fifty years old.
It works if you work it.
Selfishness – Self-Centeredness ! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self seeking, and self pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.
So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so.
Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible… B.B. Pg. 62
How many of us, Man or Woman suffer from FEAR ? And, how many of those Men and Women, would admit that to others, or better yet, to ourselves, that we are fearful in some way, shape, or form ?
Fear is pervasive and terribly detrimental to all of us. I don’t know a single human being in my life, that has not, in one way or another, suffered from FEAR.
We heard about FEAR tonight. We also heard about SELFISHNESS and DELUSION.
Every story is unique. no two stories are the same. Certain aspects of our stories do track the same, in the form of feelings and emotions. It is the circumstances of each story that differ. Spend enough time in the rooms, and you will eventually identify with something you have heard.
After years of Deep Dive Drinking, Lies, Secrets and Delusions, our man made it to his first meeting. How he got there, is unknown. Skeptical as our man was, “there had to be an angle to this group of people…” Before he could hit the exit to escape his first meeting two men cornered him and said …
“We Love You, We Need You, Please Come Back …”
For him, and as well for many of us, who come to the rooms, delusional and sad, those of us who think we are unimportant, unlovable, and needed, hearing this phrase, changed the trajectory of his life for a time.
Indeed, he did return. And he stuck. For a while.
Knowing the right thing to say to someone who is new to the room is dicey.
I heard a friend say on the way home tonight …
YOU CAN’T SAY THE WRONG THING TO THE RIGHT PERSON AND
YOU CAN’T SAY THE RIGHT THING TO THE WRONG PERSON …
I know, from experience, that words matter. And I also know, in retrospect, that I may have the right words sometimes, and everybody is happy. But there are also times, when words are needed, and I need to say those words, and they maybe unexpected to those sitting in the rooms, those words can be dividing.
Coming from a very abusive home, fear was something I knew very well. Having and Jekyll and Hyde father, you never knew who was going to show up on any given day.
But that did not make me drink. As, an alcoholic. Yet …
But when I was told that a drink, or TWO would set the stage for acceptance, I took that direction as gospel. The fear of not finding my way in, or to not be accepted, added to my need to “get it right, the first time.” I may have found my way in, but that period of my life was exceptionally insane, chaotic and did not lead to any success whatsoever.
My addiction to alcohol, turned me into a liar, a cheater, and a selfish beast.
Take away the alcohol, at any point in the timeline, I am still a liar, a cheat and I am still selfish, albeit, a dry or better, a sober, liar, cheater and selfish.
There is a solution. Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings whic the process requires for its successful consummation. But we saw that it really worked in others, and we had come to believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as we had been living it.
When, therefore, we were approached by those in whom the problem had been solved, there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet.
The reason we continue to go to meetings, to listen and do The Work, is that sobriety is progressive, when you work the program set before you.
BUT – If you, at any time, think that You’ve got this, that You are ok, and then the delusion sets in that, maybe I don’t need meetings or a sponsor or the book any more, what comes next can be disastrous, and even deadly for some.
Sobriety Looses It’s Priority.
After nine years, our man reached this point. And went out for TEN YEARS.
The progressiveness of positive forward momentum, turns into the progressiveness of backwards spinning. Which leads to a drink. And for some, we all know, never make it back.
They end up in either Jail, in an Institution, or they end up DEAD.
While our man was out, he drank, heavily. Keeping Secrets and telling Lies.
But you know, we never completely escape our secrets and lies.
Our man was stopped by the police, drunk ! He went to jail, lost his license for a year, and now has a criminal record. All this, he kept from his wife, who was an ALANON. Don’t you know…
In order to keep the secret, our man drove his car, with a suspended license, for that entire year, so his wife would not find out. He wove an intricate web of secrets and lies to cover his tracks.
In the background of this story, is a nondescript young lady, who witnessed our man in jail. Years later, knowing our man’s daughter, told her that she had seen him in jail.
The daughter sat on this information until one pivotal night.
Our man had left his room, to get ice for a drink. His daughter intercepted him in the kitchen, and asked him, if he had ever gotten a DUI ???
CAN WE SAY BUSTED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A family meeting was called the next day, and the lies became truths. That one lie did not go over well at all.
Eventually our man found his way back. And is nine years sober, this time around.
Fear can kill. The Drink can kill. Lies can kill.
There is a solution.
We Love you, We need you, Please come back …
The most important words we can speak to another suffering alcoholic.
Because we need happy dog photos right about now …
On the way home last night, my friend Juan and I were talking about The Work. Juan just crossed the two year mark last month, and we’ve bumped up The Work for him.
The good thing about having some time under my belt, is this …
I’ve practiced all the suggestions I had been given up to this point, and I know that some of those suggestions worked for me. Many of those good suggestions came LATE in my program, in means of time. In the beginning, it was those simple suggestions that got me started, and that I have maintained for the last fifteen years.
Last night we reflected as a group, “What if someone, when we were in our twenties, said the word STOP ” Would we have listened. And what that might have looked like in retrospect.
These days, with some time, when appropriate, I offer the suggestions I have learned since, to people, who are in their infancy stage of sobriety, the first few years …
The benefit in this actions is that with Them, I can give them some serious nuggets of truth and work, so they get this information early on, and can either choose to put it into action, or ignore everything that I had said to them.
Better to have a bank full of knowledge now, to be able to use that knowledge, than spending a decade or more seeking knowledge, and it come too late in the game, so to speak. Some of the knowledge I learned from years twelve to fifteen, would have been really useful, early in my sobriety, but it is what it is.
In year twelve, I learned, new to me at least, that spirituality was the keystone to getting sober. I knew about prayer long before this, but it had never been made aware to me just how hard I needed to practice my spiritual program, in order to really light the fire in my belly, and for some serious change to come to pass.
I’d read the book, worked steps, successively over twelve years, but I had not really connected with the Greater Power than myself to the extent I really needed to. It took someone from someplace else, to show me what I really needed to do.
THE WORK became the name of the game. INTO the Big Book, Like a trooper in the Marines. Word for Word, Prayer after Prayer. WORK, WORK, WORK, like your life depended on it. Or else one would perish without it.
And I did exactly as I was told to do it.
And the universe shifted for me in ways I had not imagined.
When Juan crossed the two year mark, we began to look at prayer, directly from the book. We set out an ambitious program of prayer and meditation for him. He is practicing the art of finding “Stillness.” Learning how to just “Be Still.”
This is not easy, in a world full of noise and activity.
But if you practice, every day, one finds it.
Had I known this practice early on, to the degree I learned it later on, maybe my world would have shifted earlier than it had. But once again, lessons come, when they are going to come. When we are ready to hear those lessons and make them work.
Where were we in our heads early on, First, in our drinking careers, and Second, when we were/are in early sobriety ? Would we listen or not?
I know, for myself, how hard I worked to get sober, and the lengths I went to for a meeting, to have friends, and to learn how to be ME. I was involved going into year two, and things got very ugly, right away.
For every day that went by, and challenges came at us, then, I would go to a meeting. I would talk about what was going on, and I would get advice, that I listened to as if it were gospel. I did this day in and day out.
I did stay sober. I did the best that I could have done. And in the long haul, all that investment into my sobriety, it paid off in spades.
I go to the speaker meeting on Thursday nights and I listen. This is another art that one must learn how to do. Every story is important, for the speaker and for the crowd.
We talked last night about choices…
Early on, as I sat in the rooms, I had my life going on. And I was learning, for me, what were good choices. Did I make some bad choices, no. I think I did my best.
All along I was listening to my friends and fellows, and I was watching the choices they made, along the way. And in this witness, I could ask a question, “Should I do what these guys were doing, or not? Were they making wise choices?”
For the most part, I did NOT DO what my friends were doing. I DID NOT make the same choices that some of my friends made. And I sure as shit, DID NOT engage in behavior that some of my friends were exhibiting.
And now I see, today, when I listen to those same friends share at a meeting, just how cracked they still are, because of choices and actions they made early in their sobriety.
I hear old timers talk about the good ole days. And then there are those folks who came in around the same time I did, and/or after. I’ve got fifteen years of listening to bank on. And over the past few months, I’ve heard a number of my fellows, who came in after I did speak.
No two sober journeys are the same. Nobody takes the same road.
And in listening, I see the track that my friends took. I hear the challenges they faced, the choices they made, and what happened because of those choices and actions.
And I think to myself, Thank Christ, I did not make those same choices way back then because I would be as cracked as some of my friends are still today.
We all come to sobriety with our assorted sacks of baggage. We come with all the stuff, we had in our lives, like jobs, family, people, issues, etc …
When we begin to get sober, they tell us that, we have to find the way to work in a sober program, every day, to mitigate our stinking thinking. And to begin the clean up our lives and make them better. That is just the beginning.
I did not have a life to speak of when I got sober early on. I had plenty of time on building the infrastructure of meetings, home groups and service that was solidly in place, as life began to happen around me.
They told me to build my life around my sobriety, not my sobriety around my life. And that if I put anything before my sobriety, I would eventually loose it.
I guess I was listening to the right people, or I was just gullible enough to believe what these people were saying was true. In the end, fifteen years later, I see the wisdom of every suggestion I was given, and now I know that in doing exactly as I was told, I got here.
A lot of my friends, who are sober today, but are cracked in the head, heard much of the same advice I heard, from the same people, in the same meetings, from the very beginning.
Today, I know, that some of my friends, did not listen, nor heed the advice we all heard together, and in not doing so, caused YEARS of strife, pain and fucked up-ness.
I did not second guess what I was hearing from certain people, at the same time I was watching others acting on their will, and that did not end well. Some of my friends drank again, some returned, many did not. Some are DEAD.
As I listen to folks speak these days, I say to myself, I busted my ass to get sober. And I really pounded the pavement, unlike some folks I see today who have some time, who skated along, and are still cracked in the head.
And this is not my ego, at all. And I am not judging my friends. But it is truth, when I hear my friends talk, and they tell stories about what went down in the years after we all came in together, and how much they suffered, because they did not heed the warnings, they made the choices they did willingly, and suffered for those choices.
Meanwhile, I would often say to myself, along the way … Uh, I don’t think I should do the same. I think I will do THIS instead. And a good thing too.
This begs the question … What did I do right, that my friends did not do right ?
Maybe its not a question of right or wrong, but the choices we all make in our lives.
No two people are the same, and no two people make the same choices.
Numbers of folks have come in, in the last fifteen years. And each of those people, chose a path, based on what they were given, what they have heard, and what they chose to do.
I know the path I took. I know that I stuck very close to my friends and fellows. I always had someone in the game with me, at every stage of the game, in multiple places, at the same time. I was never alone. I never made one single decision by myself. Every time I had to do something, either big or small, I passed that decision by at least three people, before I acted on those decisions.
That plan was a success, and paid off in spades, later down the line.
I never went with my first choice. Never go with your first choice.
Many of my friends, did not enjoy the company of people to get them through, early on, like I had, but some did. I had gotten connected to Chabad Lifeline, I was connected in meetings. I had counseling, advice, therapy, meetings, I had all this structure to keep me on the beam. And those people did wonders for my sobriety early on.
I lucked out, that the right people were in my life at the time I really needed them. I don’t know a single soul, who had that kind of grace, in their lives.
Once again, GOD.
That was the path that was chosen for me, because I happen to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right people, who stepped into my life and made things happen for me.
In hindsight, all those good graces, came from a Divine Source. I surely was not in control, God was. And I know, that staying on that spiritual beam early on, to the extent that I knew spirituality then, made the difference.
In year twelve, The spiritual fire had been lit anew. A larger, greater fire of truth was opened to me. The flicker of faith was already there, it just needed some fuel to get it burning brighter.
And so it did.
And now we are here, one day into year sixteen.
What is life going to do next. What is the next big adventure, and what choices am I going to make.
That chapter is still waiting to be written.
Let’s get it on, shall we …
Here we are, the last day of the Labor Day Holiday Weekend. The official end of summer here in North America. It is September. In a matter of weeks, Thanksgiving will be here, and that yearly crazy push for Christmas begins in Montreal.
The fun here is .. To see who puts up Christmas decorations up first ???
More on that later.
Rafa said to me the other night, that I haven’t been writing very much, and that is true. Spending inordinate time in M.A. does not lend to writing about sobriety so much, because of the few people we are and the sameness of every discussion we have had over the summer.
Not to mention, I curtailed my A.A. meetings, because my time was necessary to keep three meetings open all summer long.
Today I have a treat for you.
We are going to talk about Step Work. But before I do, a quote …
“Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks – drinks which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomena of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.”
“One feels that something more than human power is needed to produce the essential psychic change. The aggregate of recoveries resulting from psychiatric effort is considerable, we physicians must admit we have made little impression upon the problem as a whole. Many types do not respond to the ordinary psychological approach.”
The Doctors Opinion
We read this section of the Doctor’s opinion last night. And very soon after the discussion began, it took a serious turn when one of our guys asked some questions about “when is it going to happen for me, because right now, nothing is happening, the second question was when are these damned promises going to start coming true for me ???”
We shifted from the topic of the book, to sharing experience, strength and hope with him.
When these two questions come up, people laugh, because we know what the answers are, and it is the same answer for both … T.I.M.E.
I know for me, that in total, all The Promises took 13 years, THIRTEEN years, to all come fully round. When is it going to happen? well, root yourself to a meeting, commit to some service, SIT and STAY for a while, (well really, a LONG time) and watch other people come in, sit down, and get sober.
I believe that there is genetic information in my body, one chromosome, that is four letters long, and that gene is M.O.R.E. Do we have the MORE gene, some of us?
Because I sure as shit do.
They say we need an entire psychic change to get sober and it stick.
I can say without a doubt that when I had my first drink, there was a psychic change. I was an alcoholic from the get go, because it started with one, but always turned into MORE.
I love MORE.
I mean, really, ONE, is that it ? No, give me MORE.
When I started using drugs, it was the same thing … One joint? No, MORE please !!!
Just the same, when I came to the end of my slip, and had had my last drink, I prayed for the first time, in like forever, to be honest. I really did not think about God at all, nor did I utter one word in prayer, up until that point.
But when I did, I experienced a psychic change.
I really have not desired for a drink, in a long time. But today, in 2016, yesterday, in fact, I said, during my 5th, that I felt like I had just put the drink down, in the sense that, certain shifts and changes in my life recently, give me that feeling like I am at the beginning all over again.
How Free Do You Want to BE ???
The great thing about a best friend, is that we can talk. About anything and everything. And Rafa and I did that, often, and for hours at a time. So my Step Four was very short.
A few resentments to speak about. What was more prominent was my FEARS list. That took much longer to suss out.
In working on the program I am on, with my sponsor, she has unique wisdom and cheat sheets she uses to mine my step work for GEMS. She has what is called a “TURN AROUND” sheet that expands feelings, defects and shortcomings. This sheet has each root word, and listed below them are the expansive list of associated terms that go with those words.
This was a great help. And from start to finish, 3 hours later, I had had a psychic shift, because when we finished, she said the look in my eyes was different than when I had first walked in.
I was FREE !!!
This walk towards freedom has been long in coming. And started with Rafa, long ago, and continued with him, and my spiritual director. Not to mention, my discussions with another spiritual mentor here in Montreal, who helped me in understanding the minutiae of Forgiveness.
So, I am in this space of “Change.” Letting go of those final vestiges of the past, meaning people, places and things, and learning what that feels like to once in for all,
LETTING IT ALL GO …
I don’t know what that feels like, but I am in the first stages of finding out, and like I said, it feels like I just put the drink down, again. I know this feeling, from the past. Yes, it is unnerving, but getting sober is a long term proposition and also, nobody said this was going to be easy.
The only thing you have to change when you get sober is EVERYTHING !!!
It is just NOT a One Off event.
The longer we are sober, and each time we work our steps, from different directions and methods, if we are diligent and work hard, and be honest, psychic changes will happen, again and again.
It is all very humbling to be honest.
I want to be the right man, the man I want to be. I’m not sure what that looks like, but if I had to be honest, the man I am, is directly related to the men I have in my life today.
Those eternal questions men ask of themselves, and of others ?
- Who am I ?
- Am I doing this right ?
- How do I know when I have arrived ?
- What is a real man, in who he is, what he is, how he becomes who he is ?
- And my favorite, “When does a boy become a man?”
Step work really works.
I am seeing things I have never seen before, but I am now feeling feelings I have felt before, in a new context. Scary, but good in the same way.