The sharing at the meeting today was whirled around Step One and particularly the reading of an excerpt from “Bill’s Story” in the Big Book of AA, the part where he sits at home drinking, waiting for his friend to arrive. He calls his state at that point “insidious insanity” with his family and friends worrying for his mind.
It is a really good expression they got there, that insidious insanity. It spoke true to me when I read the Book for the first time, and it rings true to me now. In the last years of me still drinking I was doubting everything, but particularly how every day would go. I could see how drinking affected everything in my life, yet I couldn’t let go off booze.
Life is so weird when you look back at things that happened. How could I even imagine back in 1996, enjoying my first beer in a company of friends on the Red Square in Moscow that in 10 years I’d be sitting in a mental ward in a hospital in Edmonton, all thanks to my drinking? Bizarre. And yet it happened. At the hospital doctor and several medical students would come over in the morning and check me out and ask me to stretch my hands and watch my fingers tremble still, after three days of abstinence. Abstinence that was only possible due to hospitalization. What a sad state, what a sad place in life to be. There is no way I could predict that. I could’ve learned something in the past to prevent that by then.
Of course, I had no idea how catastrophic it could be. We never do. And what we often do is just brush that thought off and make the first step down the hill not knowing the hill is there to begin with. We just go.
I did, anyway. And with each time I expected it would get better. And this is what they call insanity -doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. I was insane alright. Not really diagnosed, but insane I sure was. I kept expecting things to be different, but I did nothing to change that.
I am now looking at the twelve years of sobriety and marvel not just at the accomplishments, but at how many years I simply did not drink. The evening before I quit for good I met the guy who later became me guide in recovery and he said then he was 19 years sober and I thought “Bullshit! How do you even do that?!” It is insane to think of it, but it is real and it is a sane life. I hope it will keep going that way. I know that if I keep doing what recovery prescribes me to do, I might as well keep going sober and well for a longer time.
There is an expression in Russian “выпить не дурак” (“vypit’ ne durak”) that means “wouldn’t mind to drink a lot” or “would drink a lot and have a good time with that,” but the literal translation is “not a fool to drink.” Bizarre imbalance of meanings, no?
Anyway, I was a fool to drink. I don’t blame myself, because for a long time I was clueless what was my problem when it came to have one drink and then I wouldn’t be able to stop. Nevertheless, the blame is on me after all, because I was an irresponsible person when I drank. I am not pissing on my past. It happened. There were good times too.
But the difference I feel now, compared to the crazy times of intoxication, is I don’t want to be around people who drink. If I go to a concert, I can’t avoid people drinking, so I have to settle down and be patient. At other setting, don’t expect me to be OK with going out and hang out with a friend at a bar or a restaurant where people tend to drink often and loud. As they say, it is not about you, it is about me. I have this thing, you know, called alcoholism. I do things differently.
At the same time I often wonder why would people drink anyway, whether they have problem with it or they can handle it really well without becoming abusive, or offensive, or destructive. I mean, besides maybe wine, all natural kind of stuff, every other alcohol beverage has so many elements in it that human body just doesn’t need. Why bother? Who’s really fool to drink? All of us?
Fill the required
A light bulb
Just a jar
Or solid matter,
And there will be
But no way
To see it.
Nothing to see, actually.
I need to have
So I could fill
With the goods
I could use.
Her serene stare
At the sea
As the waves run up the beach
As the bodies lie
Motionless and sad
In their calm prayer for change
In their dull existence
For another day to be different
While no effort was put forth.
The sand is cold to the touch
But seagulls don’t complain
At least we don’t know that
We let them have their own time
The ones who cry all the time
Is ourselves: for space, for care
These miserable passengers,
They take the finger and eat the whole hand
And yet there is no happiness in that
It is never enough
Her eyes see no possibility
Of the future
Just the moment of current shine
There was no shelter to avoid cold
Of the natural rage of what sea brings
In the daylight bodies stood and tried to walk
Yet late night saw them give up
And fall like cut trees
As I walk down the beach line every morning
I see and wonder each time
Will it ever change
Will they learn
What can I do to make a difference
But only death of the brain
All else is futile
For her eyes see no chance of love
Just every day awakening of life
A chance to crawl and run
And fend for oneself.
the front image was copied from ‘ere http://www.wallpapers13.com/seagulls-on-the-beach-desktop-hd-wallpaper-2560×1440/. thanks.
(I may have written about it already. I’m too lazy to search. I’d rather write another one. That’s how beyond help I am, haha.)
This talking about a drug of choice is crap. Come on already! Did we really choose to be addicted? Drugged? OK, killing the pain, sure, give me anything. But the first time I went for a beer, I just wanted to see what’s the whole hype was about. There was no choice of intoxication. But it hooked me in right away. Serenity in excitement. Illusory reality. Love at first hit.
In other words, no choice.
There was a choice not to drink a mugful of vodka. There was a choice not to talk lustfully to someone’s girlfriend after chugging two six packs of beer. There was a choice not to tell cops where to go. And a hundred other choices too. But when it came to taking the first beer/glass of wine/another liquid form of punch in a face… you know what I’m about to say, right?
It is now that I can choose my relatively harmless poison. A coffee, a tea, a Red Bull, or something without caffeine but full of sugar to kick me brain rolling happily in me skull. However when an alcoholic goes for an alcoholic beverage, it’s really not a choice. To a bystander, no matter how close-hearted they are to the addict, that looks like a choice. But to the drunk/drug-fiend it is a no choice situation. We didn’t choose it then, and we don’t choose it now. We got to have it, like our blood needs oxygen and we involuntary open our mouths to inhale air.
You feel blue? Go choose a puppy or something. Or maybe…it chose you already and is out there, wagging his tail eagerly, attracting your attention? See… it’s tricky, isn’t it? Now think of a person hooked on something that is promised to give salvation, no matter how long, no matter what price. Again, I’m not talking about those ‘normal people.’ I don’t know how they work. I am talking about them who are fucked. Like me. Do they have a choice in their pain, standing in their puke, sick and tired of being shitty and fired? That’s no choice. It’s that temporary, seemingly absolute power that corrupts absolutely. That’s doom. Call it drug of doom. Now that’s fair.
the image was copied from https://ih1.redbubble.net/image.10604623.2121/flat,800×800,070,f.jpg thanks.
dedicated to the memory of Don F. who taught me that
life is a movie and I better relax and thoroughly enjoy it.
Each time I go on a trip overseas I take something to read. I am a reader, I’m a writer, I’m a boredom fighter, you know. And since the world can go mad around me, and me at it, I try to keep some literature with me on these trips that would keep me sane, something that I can find inspiration in when my uncommon sense, and knowledge, and experience is on a tear or just about. I used to take the Big Book of AA with me for the first several years of sobriety. In later years, I chose to just take a couple of AA Grapevine magazines – more newer stories, some jokes, and it doesn’t take too much space. It was always a great help even if I never opened them on the trips. Just the presence and connection to a meeting and a helping hand was comforting and provided for some mental stability.
Well this last time I went for a trip to Europe to visit my family at Xmas time, and preparing for that was a bit chaotic. I had a list of what to take, but schedules sort of worked against me, and to put it short, I forgot all of my AA printed material. In the end it all worked out the way it was supposed to be, but of course I have to tell you about it… So here’s the story. A weird one, perhaps.
For the starters, I am a massive fan of Stephen King. Started with “Carry” twenty years ago and still read like a maniac. Couple years back “Doctor Sleep” novel came out, presented as a sequel to “The Shining”. I loved “The Shining” movie, so I figured this would be great. It was, the book flowed very well, as it usually goes with King. But there were things that bothered me. I realized that I couldn’t recall a whole bunch of names and some situations that King described in the sequel referring to the original. And there was a very good reason for that.
I haven’t read “The Shining” book. I started reading it in high school, but couldn’t get past 30 pages. To me it was nowhere near the fun of “Carrie” or “The Firestarter”, and although it was promising the furor, it didn’t have the momentum of intensity. So that was the first time I ever put King’s book down.
Now, reading “Doctor Sleep” I realized that I need to fill in the gaps. The “Shining” movie was great, but how much stuff may have been omitted from it? So I went back to “The Shining” book and read it. And then I knew why I couldn’t read it the first time, at the age of 16. Thing is, there is a lot of psychology going on in that book. Jack Torrance’s alcoholic issues affecting everything else in the family, including marriage and parenting, real life dark and scary stuff – there was no way I’d be interested in grinding through that in my adolescence. Although if I did, hell knows, maybe my life would be quite different now because I learned something about alcoholism earlier?
I finished reading “The Shining” in about a month. There was a lot of stuff to grind through. Back to “Doctor Sleep” I went, reading in the airports and on planes, and I found a strange thing: this was basically my AA related material that I thought I forgot at home when packing for the trip. Why? Because while in “The Shining” Jack goes through heavy drinking time and quits on his own, only to have that disease questioned and used against him by the malevolent forces in the Overlook hotel, in “Doctor Sleep” Jack’s son, Danny, who survived the horror of Overlook, became an alcoholic as well, only he managed to join AA and stay sober for years. Now, Mr. King has been an alcoholic and prescription drug addict for years, so the stories of substance abuse run through his books quite often. This time as a writer he went deeper than usual about abuse and recovery. In “Doctor Sleep” he quotes AA Big Book often and shows Dan’s way through the throngs of a classic AA newcomer, although abundantly laced with terrifying parts that Stephen King the Master of Horror is so famous for.
So I kept going with reading the spooky story by King (who seems to be only getting better in this field) and “drinking” from the well of sobriety wisdom. Things King wrote about recovery weren’t new to me, but they way he focussed on them, and the fact he associated with plenty of them for his own sobriety’s sake, – for me that resonated in a very new way. I appreciated the message that once saved my life and kept making me stronger even more now.
Thus, once again, my Higher Power has directed me correctly on the path of my life, with inspiration and wisdom, and yet again in a fun way of messaging. Most of my vacation was great, but there were times I wanted to pull my hair when communicating with people. And for those challenging occasions the message directed at Dan Torrance in his insane and darkest hours seemed to be tailored just rightly for me as well. It kept me together. It made me shake my head at how right it fitted the moment. And the part where Dan celebrates an incredible milestone with his home group, I had tears in my eyes (which happens rather rarely) because the message was right just as much as true, because I was also there, and I could feel it, the truth and the fellowship, and the promise, and it’s power.
Needless to say, I packed for the trip better than I thought I did. Just as for the body and the soul, it was also very good for the mind. And am I ever grateful, even for the weirder times. Especially for the weirder ones.
the front images were copied from http://cdn.bloody-disgusting.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/doctor-sleep-01.jpg and https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/4c/Shiningnovel.jpg and http://i.ebayimg.com/images/i/222001098953-0-1/s-l1000.jpg . thank you.
I’m not done getting over you.
Yes, I said it, grieving time will take a long, and that would involve doubting, and self-pity, and bursts of anger, and desire to bargain. So it’s normal not to be over this broken relationship just yet, but I still want to write about it.
I’m not done with keeping alive a tiny flame of hope that we may start together again one day. I miss you in so many ways that I can’t believe we can’t be close. Every day I have these short memories of things we used to do, and each time they are gone, I’m left wondering why can’t we be one when those things were so good while we were side by side.
Then I’d think of that, and realize that you that I want to be with is the one I used to know and loved that much. You are now a new you, the one trying to move on and let go, checking out new things that shape you into a different person. This new you have looked inside for long, seeing what you and I were, questioning, doubting, raging, crying about what we couldn’t preserve. The person who is coming out after these long gazes may not be the one I loved so dearly and the one I want back. I tell myself I’ll be happy to take you back whichever the way you are, but then I realize that I lie. I’ve been looking inside and raged and doubted, and frowned aplenty to know I am different too and my visions about who I want and needed may have changed as well.
And still, I am walking the road of hesitation and certainty, at equal parts, and one part wants you so crazily, and another one pulls the first one back and tells it of so many possibilities, and the one that wants you crazily agrees and nods, yet still looks back and screams, and calls, ready to give up itself just to have you back in my arms.
It’s been a month and a half and I am not done getting over you. One day I will, but hell do I hate this pendulum-moving moods.