Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gratitude and Acceptance

I , like so many other alcoholics and drug addicts have a very hard time accepting the things I cannot change, as well as feeling grateful for what I do have.  Today, I am feeling very restless, irritable, and discontent.  Despite being surrounded by so much loving family, the loneliness is weighing heavy on my heart today, as I obsess about the past and the future. These feelings are very reminescant of Thanksgiving last year, ten or so days sober.  The big difference today is I know what to do when these feelings arise.  This morning the daily reflection that I read reminded me that Gratitude and Acceptance will heal these negative feelings that I hold on to so tightly.  Which is why I decided to write now instead of later.  I need to take the time to get down on paper or screen what I am grateful for and make those blues run.

Today, Thanksgiving, 2012, I have a little more than a year sober.  This is what I am grateful for the most.  On my year anniversary, last Saturday my little sister shared with me how much more pleasant and enjoyable I am to be around.  It made me realize how much of an overbearing asshole I would be when I was around my family and how awful for them it must have been. Thirty minutes or so ago I felt those old selfish ways coming out and I knew it was time for me to take some time for my self and make a list of all the wonderful blessings I have.  While I write here in the recliner in my living room, my brother in law is holding my beautiful baby niece quietly while she takes her Thanksgiving nap completely content just being in her daddy's arms.  The sweet sounds of my mom and sister making the last minute preparations for our Thanksgiving meal are coming from the kitchen. I can see my Dad and my Grandmother walking around the front yard in the warm Georgia sun looking at all of my Dad's plants.  My grandmother looks happy and content to have another holiday with her family.   This calm that is coming in from focusing on these wonderful simple blessings is a new relief to the stress and pain that comes from having an alcoholic mind.  

Tonight like every Thursday I will be going to a meeting at my home group and spend some time with some wonderful, like minded, supportive people.  So many of these folks have played a huge part in the success and growth I have had in the first year of my sobriety.  I am so vary grateful for them.  I am not sure I could have made it this year with out you guys.  You all know who you are and I love you all dearly.

Now that my heart and mind have returned to that serene place, I will say that I will pray that all of you are blessed with the things that make you happy.  I will pray not only for my own wisdom and peace but for all of yours as well.    Remember to put in the work but to let God handle the results!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Found Out How Tall I Am

      I thought it would be appropriate that I listen to some Widespread Panic tonight while I write.  I am hoping the sweet sounds of Michael Houser's guitar take my mind to the places it needs to go so I can get all the right words out.  I keep listening to Proving Ground over and over and I think about how those words relate to my life today. I think I can apply most of the lyrics to the past year of my life.  Especially when I follow it up with The Last Straw.  I think that is actually where I will start all of this.  On November 4th, 2011 the last straw had finally been pulled.  After a short yet disturbing interaction with the Denver Police I knew I could go on no longer living a very deadly lifestyle.  I knew as I stared at that cop, if I did not change I would definately end up in jail or dead.  And just like the lyrics to Proving Ground, "Find out how tall I am, by jumping in the middle of the river," I headed back east to get sober.  That was 365 days ago tomorrow... Here is my experience, strength, and hope from the past year.

     It has been one hell of a year.  There is no doubt about that.  To compare it to a roller coaster would not do it justice.  It has absolutely been the hardest year of my life.  After much reflection I realize that I have learned quite a few lessons this year.  Like all lessons they are positive whether the felt good or not.  Here are a few that come to mind in no particular order.  Be careful who you trust, real friends are hard to find, and shit happens. Trust in God.  Go to meetings, work the steps, get a sponsor, help other drug addicts and alcoholics and you will stay sober.  Of course there have been more but I would have to say that these were the big ones.  Oh and GROW THE FUCK UP. The best part about coming out of a twenty year black out is having raw emotions to go along with these lessons that I have learned.  Emotions not masked with mood altering substances to pick me up and put a smile on my face, fake or real.  The last ten years of my life or more I drank and used for every reason.  Break ups, new jobs ,lost jobs, holidays, concerts, shit I even liked to use the sun as an excuse.  If it was a pretty day lets go tear it up.  So now that I have these raw emotions, mixed up with some hard lessons, betrayal, heartbreak, financial woes, and newly found sobriety.  I have been an emtional shit show the past year.  Thankfully I learned those other lessons quickly about going to meetings and all the other 12 step stuff.  I honestly say I could not have stayed sober with out them.  I am able to use the tools I have been taught through these programs to learn that I dont have to stay in active addiction any longer and keep digging that hole.  Today, I have no reason to get fucked up.  Now does that mean I dont think about it.  No, I do think about it.  I think about a great rock show, spun out of my head, with out a care in the world.  But that is not how it works for me today.  Those days are long gone.  Now all that is left is jails, institutions,and death.

     Speaking of jails, institutions, and death, when I first got back to Atlanta, my mother would say to me "Believe it or not, God kept your ass out of trouble, and alive for a really long time."  I would cringe in those early days when she would say that.  I still had a lot of anger and resentment towards God.  And when I say God, it is a God of my understanding, what makes sense to me.  I could not believe that such a loving God would have turned his back on me.  There was actually a point in my life that I was contemplating a tattoo that consisted of a broken heart and the word forsaken.  How fucking stupid is that?  Now that I have had some time to work on my relationship with God, I was not the forsaken one.  He was.  I had turned my back on my beliefs and that God I knew as a child by polluting my mind, body, and soul with all that crap.  And then like a dumb ass, would ask, why me God.  Now I realize it was not luck that kept my heart from exploding so many nights, it was God.  It was God, that kept me from going to jail that fateful night in Denver.  It was God, that slapped me in the face, and told me if I did not change I was going to die.  Today, I am grateful for that slap.  Today, knowing what I know, I pray.  Some days are better than others.  Some times I am more connected that others.  But today, if I know anything at all, is to TRY and do Gods will.  And most days I have no idea what that is accept to stay sober.  And today, that is enough for me.

     As I start on this last paragraph I started Proving Ground over again.  repetition and consistency is good for this drug addict and alcoholic...  Any ways.  If you have not figured it out yet, that river I jumped into was sobriety.  For the first time in my adult life, I have been sober for one entire year.  By jumping in that river I found out how tall I am.  I learned how to take a punch like a big boy and not completely piss my self.  That is what I needed most.  To learn how to be tall again.  To learn how to be confident and full of faith.  Of course there is a large amount of humility to learn but like we say, progress not perfection.

Proving Ground

Written by Widespread Panic

I really wanna move like I'd like to
Sometimes I remember myself
I really wanna feel like I'm supposed to
Sometimes I remember how to feel

How did I find myself just this way
My body keeps on moving
But my style gets in my way

Find out just how tall I am
By jumping in the middle of a river

Well, we were shaking cliches like we used to
You just remember the smell
Breaking my brain like a boy who just
Can't forget her smell

Now, how do you like the way I drive
Take us a little bit different way every next time (time)

Find out just how dry I am
By jumping the middle of a river

Find out just how tall I am
How tall I am

I really wanna move like I'd like to
Sometimes I remember myself
I really wanna feel like I'm supposed to
Sometimes I remember how to feel

How did I find myself just this way
My body keeps moving
But my thoughts get in the way

Find out just how tall I am
By jumping in the middle

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Moving Forward

It is Sunday night and I am listening to my new favorite album Black Eyed Galaxy by Anders Osborne.  Mind of a Junkie, Send Me a Friend, and Higher Ground all sum up the thoughts and feelings I have had today.  Thoughts about bad memories from a year ago today, feelings about the doctors appointment I have tomorrow and the employment situation I am in.  Most of all the reflection on how God has given me an opportunity to work on my selfishness in the event of getting some help in replacing the vehicle I just lost.  What I learned is that I really need to do another fourth and fifth step.  There is still a lot of anger and resentment lingering around certain subjects.  And like someone shared in my meeting tonight I am tired of carrying that fucking shit around and am ready to get rid of it once and for all.  I cant change what happened over the past year and I was not to blame for most of it but I did play a part in it and I am ready to let it go.  I am tired of being angry and full of resentment.  Unfortunately this is what I have tonight.  Time to let it all fucking go!

Good night!