If You Fall…

IMG_5969I was on the way somewhere a week ago, and waiting at a red light, I saw this sign which, well, I had to read it couple of times, because I couldn’t get it right away. I finally realized it said: “If You Fall, I’ll be There” signed “Floor.” It was so out of place, it seemed, but then I figured it was in front of a small strip mall, so it would make sense it was a floor store, and it probably was.

Anyway, that message “If You Fall, I’ll Be There. Floor”, that is some really cool ad, it is smart (even though it took me forever to understand it J ) but as soon as the light changed, and I moved on, I started thinking. The self-help group meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and its people were always there for me. The promise of recovery (if you did the requirements), the spirit of fellowship. The time we spent with each other. The shoulder to lean on, the ear to listen as you vented or cried. And the kind words.

They are the floor I would fall on if it happened to be so, and they are always there. It depends on me to always be there too, because I am one of them, and without that unity, we are done with.


the image was copied from https://azitanahai.com/if-you-fall-ill-be-there/ thank you.

Up and Forward

bad-weather-is-likely-going-to-happen-at-some-point-in-your-area-is-your-company-prepared-mediumHe said “God must be hating us,

It is so nasty out with all the rain and wind

That just stepping out for a smoke feels like a torturous ordeal,

And walking to the store would feel like the end of the world.”

 

I replied “You know, back home we have a saying:

‘Nature doesn’t have a bad weather.’

Nature, which is God in all things to me,

It doesn’t hate you.

It doesn’t care for you in the first place.

It cares for nothing, or no one.

It just grows,

Up and forward.

 

Stop giving yourself negative thoughts for no good reason.

Nobody hates you

But your saying it on a regular basis

Will make you believe it one day.

And then nature will eat you in one gulp

And move on,

While you will make no history whatsoever.”


the image was copied from https://www.employmentcrossing.com/employers/article/900046349/Should-Your-Company-Have-a-Bad-Weather-Policy/ thanks.

 

Normality

i-was-normal-once_o_251939I keep hearing people say at the meetings, “I never drank like normal people,” or “I did this and that, unlike the normal people.”

I know what they are trying to say. We, the alcoholics, drank in so much different way than the people we watched drinking by our side, at friends’ high school parties or at the company’s Xmas party. There are people who would nurse a glass of beer for an hour, and we’d gulp three glasses in that time. We’d drink vodka in mugs, not in shots. They’d walk home straight, and we’d crawl, shitfaced. So I am sure I know what they mean. I understand that is vital for us to remind ourselves how out of control our drinking and our behavior used to be, that is will never be in the ranges of control. But I think we should refrain from saying.

The alcoholics who have been in the program for a while, the most part of them they are OK with who they are, now sober and grateful. But the “younger generation” who are in their early sober years, I think they may look at themselves with disdain if they compare themselves to the so called “normal people.”

And we don’t know who those people actually are.

I used to have another magnet on my fridge that said “’Normal’ is just a setting on the washing machine.”

With that in mind, normality is very subjective.

They could be nice people and good Samaritans. Or they could have someone chained to the wall in their basement. You’d hope not, but the news reveals everyday morbid stuff about some of our neighbors who look pleasant and behave courteous.

What I’m trying to say with this is, don’t be hard on yourself and don’t idolize others. You never know how strange they may be. And most importantly, you never know how good you, actually, are. You could be the most awesome human that ever walked the earth. So remember who you were, who you can never be (a person who can control their drinking) and carry on, trying to be that awesome one.


the image was copied from https://www.memecenter.com/fun/251939/i-was-normal-once thank you

Beautiful Lies

361405Illusion is something that interested me for many years now. I wrote about it in terms of addiction and substance abuse. Following is a reflection on something similar, but from a bit of a different perspective.

Here is lyrics to a song by American band Flotsam and Jetsam that I’ve been listening to for a while. This song called “Ugly Noise” is off same-titled album. It is the first track, so I listened to the album several times, and it finally got to me, the meaning that I gave it, anyway. I’ve edited the lyrics, because the lines are repeated a lot during the course of the song.

“In the circle take your place

Feel free to roam inside this space

I can’t leave I know too much

To rise and show my face

 

Ugly Noise and Beautiful Lies

 

Tell you where to start

Tear away from the heart

Tear away

 

I loved it once

I love it more

I begin to feel what I felt before

 

Ugly Noise and Beautiful Lies.”

The way I see it, the song’s message has to do with many themes: control, addiction, brainwashing. Here’s how:

“In the circle take your place” We are allowed to stay once we are born, but we need to follow the rules and stay in line. Each day the humanity used to be told God loves them so they shall obey in order not to make God be wrathful. Nowadays, although some of us still receive that religious message, the rest of us listen to the real and metaphorical kings and queens that make us think and believe we are nothing without them, and in order to stay alive we should stay the way we are. Somehow, the propaganda machine manages to make us believe we are free. This well oiled mechanism doesn’t seem to fail in brainwashing the masses through the years. Some though do fall out of the system, they get more informed about our situation, and those are searched out, and often silenced or put away.

I am not sure what would ugly noise stand for. Maybe it is the way F&J music’s being called through the years. But beautiful lies? Is that for the lyrics? No lies here. Just reality. Maybe tiny bit exaggerated, but…

Or maybe it is what our society is doing, making ugly noise with machine and never-ending chatter, and the beautiful lies are coming through all of the advertisement of everything, including the stuff we don’t need, but they want to sell.

“I loved it once, I love it more” Addiction to substances and behaviors usually come from the void inside, from pain that is not healed, from keeping the words we are ashamed to say, from fear unchallenged, from anger unresolved. We’d use whatever substance or behavior to cover up the pain, fear, and shame, but it only gets better for a short period of time. We love the time spent in illusion of happiness, but soon we need to use more to run away from discomfort for a while longer. If we don’t have our “fix”, it starts feeling like the old pain and fear come back, and with it desperation hopelessness, and anger.

The lies are always there to be spoken and eagerly read. The noise never stops.


Lyrics © Flotsam and Jetsam

the image was copied from https://www.metal-archives.com/albums/Flotsam_and_Jetsam/Ugly_Noise/361405 thank you

Pray No Question

27684-man-praying-facebook_800w_tnSun went down the toilet

When you heard the news.

It was what you didn’t want to hear.

You tried to pretend you heard none of it.

When the first wave went down,

And left you soaked in reality’s harshness,

You sat down on the beach of your broken hope

And started questioning it.

So ignorant, it tasted sweet.

Righteousness felt good

Rolling off of your tongue down to the ground,

Making you feel abused the way you liked it.

And when the waves slowed down their approach

And died out, and the tears were gone,

Something came upon you,

And you got on your knees.

Words that came out now

Were no screams,

But whispers,

With each one coming,

Forced out by a power you rejected,

Care replaced pity,

Hope dug itself out of the ground.

You washed salt of your face

And anger was gone for the time being.

There will be more waves to come in the future.

Questioning the ones with power of the winds and dreams

Brings nothing but soul hurting in invisible fire,

As the mind reaches for things it cannot feel,

Cannot see coming,

Wanting too much,

Drowning in sweat of its own work

That brings no fruits,

But a rotten corpse

Of a self-will-run-riot.


the image was copied from https://www.christianheadlines.com/columnists/breakpoint/why-we-pray-a-serious-answer-for-a-serious-question.html thanks.

Offensive Words

camel-teeth2-660x382You can take a camel to the water,

But good luck making it drink.

You can take an addict to rehab

But will they be ready and do what it takes to recover?

 

Often times, they do.

It’s just depends on how massive is the want to get better,

How deep is the pain they keep trying to leave behind,

And how much power will they put in to come to good life.

 

That is, of course, unless they’d get on a wagon of speaking

In politically correct terms,

Saying that being called an “addict”

Is deprecating and offensive.

 

That may feel like correct and righteous position to take,

But the offensive word may carry

The truth, and with it, the full recovery,

Like it happened to me.


the image was copied from here  http://texashillcountry.com/camel-corps-army-bring-camels-texas/ thank you.

Miracles in Life

Dedicated to George.

May you be safe, and return well, and stay happy after.

 

Miracles-in-Our-life-1I had a chance to go to a NA meeting recently, and thanks to that learn how that 12 Step fellowship does things differently from the AA fellowships that I am used to.

Besides doing much more reading from pamphlets than I’d do at a regular AA, and replacing word “alcohol” with “addiction” in the Steps writing, and things like that, which were unique to me and very cool because of that, there was another thing that had impressed me.

I don’t know if this is the tradition that unites all of the NA meetings through the world. We were sitting around several long tables that were put in a rectangular shape. When closing the meeting, and standing, the members were asked to look at the middle of the rectangle, and I realized there was a chair standing in the opening that I missed before. The chair, according the chairperson, was saved for another person, but they didn’t make it to the meeting. The mythical person who missed the meeting could have got stuck in traffic, but also could have been out there, suffering of their addiction, unable to come. They could have turned their head on the recovery program, frustrated with too many things in life to look after. They could be dead because of the paths they chose to follow, compromised by their lifestyle. The last words of the meeting were for the hope of the Absent One’s well being, those are out there in active disease, just like we used to be.

I thought that was very powerful. The 12 Steps program is to let ourselves to get better, but also to carry the message to the addicts who still suffer. We are to be of service.

There is also another reminder in it, of how lucky we the recovered are, whether it is alcohol or narcotics that we are addicted to. I celebrated another AA birthday last week and visiting my home group, standing around people who shared my disease and who got recovered from it, like I did, thanks to the meetings and doing the Steps, I could see that we are, indeed, miracles. So many people who tried to sober up and clean up didn’t make it, couldn’t make it through the years. We have made it. We should cherish it. And we should remember that sobriety, just like life itself, can be fragile.


the image was copied from http://balance-today.com/2017/05/20/miracles-in-our-life/ and warped by me. thank you.

Catastrophized

cataI think the first time I ever wrote down anything creative with word “catastrophe” in it was in early 2000. It was to a girl I liked, but I knew I couldn’t be with her, because it seemed to be she was way too much into religion. So I figured, if I couldn’t win the girl, maybe I could open her eyes to the wrong path she’s walking and teach her that “the world is in a catastrophe, God has forgotten what’s love.” This naïve thinking is funny to me now, especially considering that now I can see that she was one happy girl with a connection to something that was important to her, and I was one rather miserable guy, sinking deeper into substance abuse and not sure where I was going to in terms of life and goals. Self-centered, worrying a lot, and confused was what I certainly had.

Being self-centered, or sometimes just blind, isn’t reserved only for people in addiction. It works for many people, if not for all. People in recovery, people who never needed recovery, people who needed recovery, but never knew it, and even people with faith who may think they’re alright.

A person at the meeting couple weeks ago dropped word “catastrophized” in their sharing, and I picked that up, “hey, that’s a perfect word do describe how I used to be, catastrophizing everything. I’d then research stuff online to make sure there was nothing to worry about, which is probably the only reasonable way to deal with catastrophizing. When there were very real catastrophes coming in, like a war with a country you shouldn’t mess with, or gas prices going through the roof, I’d worry too, but that’s the kind of things that it is senseless to worry about, because what can we do about that in the first place? Even researching too much can give you a headache, because you can find whole bunch of stuff that would drive you into phobia and/or paranoia. I’d forget to pray. I’d forget to breathe, and I’d forget to drink water. And that’s how I’d go crazy. For a while, yeah, but no fun anyway.

Self-centeredness is a curable disease. I know I had it, and still have SC attacks from time to time, but I think I’m doing better. I think less and less these days that it is all about me, be it noise behind my apartment door, sudden phone calls at the workplaces, or an earthquake hundred miles away. It is because of that I try to pay attention to how others get by and how others feel, and what they say. It helps me to see that when the metaphorical earthquakes happen near me, it is not all about causing me harm. Quite often, it has nothing to do with me. And other times, it is to teach me something, usually something humble.

I used to have a fridge magnet that said “Worrying is like a rocking chair: it will give you something to do, but it will get you nowhere.” So true. Catastrophizing is like that. Freak out, get a headache, do research, freak out some more, take a pill, wait endlessly while you are adding more stress as you research some more, realize headache is long gone, say thank you. All because you cared to be curious, hey. Or… all because you allowed yourself to freak out, really.

That is not to say that apathy is OK. I think it is another extreme of the self-centeredness. Not reacting to what is going around you and just defending your cozy castle is not a solution either. I’ll stay curious and keep my eyes and ears open, but to a degree. And I’ll keep praying. Not for the problem to go away, but for it not to grow from a mouse to an elephant and get my sanity blow up in the process.


the image was copied from https://reseauinternational.net/japon-pire-que-la-catastrophe-nucleaire-les-tsunamis/ thank you.

Basement Shiners

GettyImages_542408898Beyond the main floors,

Under the over,

Away from eyes happy and ignorant

Are the ones

That used to embrace the liquid illusion

And kingdom of denial

Until it drank them near dry.

Now they’re dedicated to

Working the fight

Shaping their own new life

Pushing from day to day, like all else

But with a different shine to their eyes,

Taking in the light

Unseen to those taking sanity for granted.

Each sunrise is now a blessing

So many have given up on

Until words were exchanged,

Hands of understanding shaken,

And hope was forged yet again,

With strength renewed

To walk another hour

One day at a time.

 

Thank you for 13 years of sobriety! I couldn’t do it without you all.


image was copied from https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/1/2/16181734/12-steps-aa-na-studies thank you.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Playing God…

hitmkLast week I’ve watched Hitman’s Bodyguard movie. That was a fun one. There were moments when I was almost sliding off the couch, that’s how hard I was laughing. There were moments when I was shaking my head, thinking “It’ must’ve taken them weeks to shoot that scene.” And there were also moments when I was thinking, “I am this guy. No, I think I am that guy.” And I wasn’t looking for self-identification. It’s just that both of the protagonists were very different, yet very human, and because of that very identifiable with. Well, at least for me.

The bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds) was the “we go by the book because it works since it worked for me 1000 times” kind of a guy. The hitman (Samuel L. Jackson) was the “I go with the flow because it often works even though sometimes it doesn’t and yes, it did cause me broken limbs and time lost” kind of a guy. If you haven’t seen the movie, but you’ve seen these actors previous work, and you know what they are capable of in terms of playing, you’ve probably started laughing already. These men do an excellent job at making you take movies in, as the magic of the good story and a good show keeps working on you.

The bodyguard believes he is so good at what he does (and he is) that he may believe he is a god. He’s got so detailed and particular about his job that one may think he is highly functional OCD person, but hey, it works for him, and for his pocket books, and for his safety. It was hitman’s “go with the flow” motto that shattered the bodyguard’s “being god” motto though, which the first scene of the movie shows and then develops through the whole thing until the end.

And again, so often throughout the movie I was thinking “oh yeah, I do this all the time, while I probably should’ve been doing that because that would be easier and way more effective.” No, not when the hitman jumps off the balcony and hit several large and heavy objects on the way down, and not when he’s breaking the car window to get in. Still though, going with the flow gets him what he wants plenty of times and keeps him charming too, be it with his wife, or with a bus full of nuns. Comparing him to the bodyguard, you can’t help but think that going in with a system is much harder (mostly on the mind) than accepting a wild opportunity. Sometimes.

And then there is a moment here and there when you thought you got it all figured out and planned out and then BAM! – things go completely the other way, out of the bathtub and into the stratosphere. That’s when in the middle of the night and middle of nowhere protagonists have just stopped fighting for their lives after being shot at with automatic rifles and they are planning to take the attacker’s truck twenty meters away and the rounds that are exploding in their car manage to blow and send bullets away and blow up the aforementioned truck and their eyes are boggling, as they lie on the ground. And then the hitman starts laughing hysterically and I laughed with him. That was the perfect “you could do nothing to prevent or fix that!” scene, and as we laughed together, he and I, the bodyguard’s face expression “how could I not control THAT?!” made me laugh even harder, because I knew exactly how he felt as well. I’ve been there, and done that, in a sense. Without shooting and explosions.

As per Big Book of AA, we tried to control our lives to the point we tried to control others with us, only to have them fight back, and cause us more suffering than we already had going, so in the end while trying to play all knowing and all powerful god, we made even a larger mess. All because we didn’t want to look for a way to do things more naturally, without causing grief to others. We were that selfish and self-centered.

I am guilty of that. Still. I get so lost in thinking “I know how to do this” that even though I am really good at doing things, I only have a focus on me instead of seeing a bigger picture and allowing other factors to step in, because when they do occasionally step in, I am short of a heart attack witnessing them, screaming in my head “This is not how you do it!”

And no, you cannot be prepared for everything. Surprises, pleasant, nasty, and super nasty, and down right lethal still do happen. So what am I to do? Instead of telling myself that I’ve got it all figured out, and thinking that I am going to get my goal accomplished no matter what, because hey, it always worked this way, I’d probably to take time and look around before crossing the street, so I wouldn’t cause trouble for myself being hit, and for another person to hit me, dealing with all that crap afterwards. And for my partner to deal with me while I’m at the hospital. And for my coworkers to cover my shifts. And… you know, the list actually goes on, because every person is so interconnected with everything in life.

And I will keep laughing too. Probably not when something nasty happens, but some time after that I probably will as well. Laughter would take the stress away. And it does help laughing at yourself a little bit. To take the ego down. Because playing god doesn’t help. Unless you are watching movies. Like “Turner and Hooch” for example, where OCD’s glory is the funniest, just as it is illusory.


the image was copied from https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/film/the-hitman-s-bodyguard-review-can-reynolds-and-jackson-sink-much-lower-1.3187407 thanks.