Thursday, April 25, 2013

God Smacking Me in the Face

     Today, for the first time in a few months, was a real struggle.  It was a day when stuff that I have been burying deep inside finally boiled over.  I will spare you the details but I got to sitting in my own shit and was happy there in that stench, for a little while at least.  Eventually I grew tired of feeling angry, lonely, and full of self-loathing.  I prayed hard today.  I prayed for guidance, relief, wisdom, and a few other things that I will keep to myself.  After I had dinner with my mother at her church, I stopped by the house for a bit before I had to leave for my meeting at my home group tonight.  I picked up this month’s issue of Rolling Stone and read an article about a 33 year old vet that is choosing to take his life because he can no longer live with the pain of being paralyzed from the chest down.  By the time I got to the end of the article I felt like the dumbest, most self-centered, selfish prick on the planet.  What the fuck do I have to complain about?  I am getting almost everything I want out of life, but for the last 24 hours I chose to have a little pity party.  After I read the article, I remembered praying for the relief from myself earlier in the day.  Boom, there it was.  I needed to be grateful for all the amazing blessings in my life.  So after sharing about my need for gratitude tonight at a meeting, I am sitting here doing what I have been taught.  These are the things I am grateful for today.
     Today, more than anything, I am so very grateful for the fact that I can have bad days, moments of stress, ill thinking, and yet my mind does not wander to medicating myself today with a bag of blow and a bottle of whiskey.  I am grateful to have a place to go and share about the crap in my head, not be judged, and get some solution to the problems in my life today.  Two years ago, a day like today would have sent me into a week long bender. That is not my solution any more.  Today, my solution is to use the tools I have been given and work my head out of my ass.  This concept is so new to me, but the further along I go, the more I see it work, and that is growth to be proud of.  I am also so very grateful to be in a position to change gears and figure out where I want my career and my new company to go.  I have been blessed with some major opportunities here in the last few weeks that are almost in explainable.  I am getting that second chance to be involved with the music industry and give back to my community at the same time.  These kinds of second chances shouldn't happen to a wretch like me.  But they are, so I will be grateful and try to remain humble.  Last but not least I am so very grateful for my wonderful family.  I am not sure if I would be alive today without them.  Life became perilous for a while, more so than it is today, and they surely played a part in saving my life.  They helped me get the help I needed and now I am living my second life and that is amazing.   Not many people get to say they get the opportunity to live two completely different lives in one lifetime.  I cherish every single moment I get with my beautiful niece, and hold her, kiss her, and tell her everyday how much I love her.  She has definitely played a role in saving my soul.  For that, I can only try to be the best I can every day.  Some days are better than others, but it is the trying every day that counts, progress not perfection.
                There it is!  These are some of the things I am grateful for tonight.  Sure there are more, but these are the ones that made the list tonight.  Today was a very powerful day for me.  I saw God do for me what I could not do for myself.  So I will be grateful for everything, and continue to work on that conscience contact with my higher power and leave my life to him. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Closing the Book

     The past year and five months have been a long and hard journey.  It started with me in a very low and dark place.  This is a place which I had a really hard time getting out of even after getting rid of the drugs and alcohol.  Reluctantly I have held on to a life that once was and thought somehow, someway, I would fix myself and return to quickly.  Well, after a lot of learning, prayer, introspection, and hard work, I have finally reached a point where I am ready to close the book on my life out west.  It is finally time to let go of all the bad memories and pain and get on with my life.  I am not sure what I was thinking, that I could just move back to Colorado and I would pick up right where I left off.  The reality is for the time being I need plenty of distance between myself, that state and some of the people in it.  Those wounds are no longer sore to the touch, which thankfully lets me know they will be completely healed soon.  The events of this weekend shed light on where I am supposed to be and it was not in Colorado.  Denver will be a place I hold dear to my heart, I did meet plenty of wonderful people and have some amazing times there.  It will always be a very big part of my story, and a part I will not want to leave out.  But for now the dream of living out west has to be put on hold for many reasons including my safety and sanity.  In a lot of ways it is not a healthy place for me and it may never be.  For now my place is here in Georgia with all roads leading to Athens.  The road is full of education and hopefully a career in writing, one way or another.  For the first time since my arrival in November of 2011, I am truly okay with this path headed east and I am no longer looking back.  What’s done is done.  Now it is time for a new future and all the blessings that it holds.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Women Without Cocaine

     One of the best things about getting sober is the light bulbs that have started going off in my head.  Every day that the fog lifts a little more, I get a little more clarity on where I have gone wrong in my life that drove me to drugs and alcohol leaving me in the depths of hell.  Recently, I have really enjoyed the time I have to myself and feeling very satisfied with spending time with me.  When I first got sober I would completely crash after my meetings, feeling lonely wishing I had a woman in my life.  Looking back on the last twenty two years of my life, it occurred to me that women have played a big part in my downfall.  I have spent the last two decades and two years chasing a woman, getting out of bed, into bed, into a relationship, out of a relationship, and everything under the sun with a woman.  The last relationship finally taking me to the darkest place I have ever been finally bringing me to my knees.  Today, I am a new man with a new perspective on self-love, relationships, and what my part in all of it is, was, and will be.
     There is part of me that would like to say that I never let that crap with the ex-girlfriend affect me.  Why would I?  There are so many fish in the sea.  Well I guess you could say I met my match in a sense.  Maybe, I had built a huge wall of defense around me all those years the women came and went without a thought, leaving nothing more than an imprint on the pillow where they had slept the night before.  I wish this was the case with the last relationship but it is not.  It left me depressed, low, full of anger, rage and borderline suicidal.  Now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and those wounds almost healed, I can honestly look at my part in the whole mess and see why I allowed myself to be treated so poorly.
     Fortunately this clarity has lead me to the realization that in order to not let the horrors of my past haunt me for the rest of my life, work must be done.  I hate to use the word fear, but if I had one today, it is the fear of not being able to trust another woman again.  I think to myself, I did not know the last one was lying to me when she told me she loved me. How will I know with the next one?  So, today I am working on not letting the faults of others control my future.  I am working on building healthy relationships with a few women today.  Women that I think I can trust, slowly building a solid, real friendship with.   Hopefully, this will be the final chapter in healing those deep wounds and I will know what an honest relationship with a woman is like and my trust in the opposite sex will be rebuilt.
     It just occurred to me that I have been intimate with only one woman that I shared a true and honest love with.  That woman is the one I lost my virginity to.  This realization takes my breath away the more that I think about it.  Now, I was not one to play dirty pool and tell women that I loved them to get into bed with them.  Some part of me never felt like that was right, and I have always found it quite appalling.  Now that I have been on the other part of that lie, for whatever reason, I now feel like celibacy is in order.   I no longer want to be intimate with some one that is going to lie to me when they say those three words, nor do I want to be with someone that I don’t have those feelings for.  Lets face it at 38, I am not suffering from a lack of lovers over the years.  Like my sobriety, I am working on this new promise to myself.  To hold myself respect and dignity a great bit higher when it comes to sex and women.   I no longer have any interest in having sex just to have it.  I have enough memories of past experiences stored up in my head to get me by until the right one comes along, that is deserving of my love and affection.
     Reading the words I typed above scare me a little bit.  I have to look in the reflection on my computer screen to make sure that it is Erin who is writing all this.  It is scary and relieving at the same time.  Being able to recognize the growth over the last seventeen months is a beautiful feeling.  I can honestly say I love the person I have become.  It is like a new friendship that is exciting and full of wonder because it is so new.  The best part is that friendship is with me and there is a whole world out there to discover with my new friend.  Today, I am finally ok with who Erin is, where Erin has been, and where Erin is headed.  Yet, another blessing from sobriety.

If morning's a bitch with open arms and night's a girl who's gone too far
Whiskey is harder to keep than a woman and it's half as sweet but
Women without whiskey, Women without whiskey
Whiskey is hard to beat
Whiskey is hard to beat

(Cooley / DBT)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Needing Gratitude

     My sponsor taught me when I first got sober that an attitude of gratitude will usually heal any feelings of self pity and doubt.  Now that I have a few hours sober I have learned that being grateful and writing a gratitude list is like my secret weapon.  It is a cure all today for any negative feeling or shitty place my head might be in.  In light of today's events and feelings I have no choice but to trudge through the pain and focus on what I have instead of what I don't.
     This afternoon I got some news that an old friend of mine passed away last night.  We had not seen each other since 2008 I think.  But, we were the kind of friends that could always pick up right where we let off.  We meet several years ago when I was selling wine.  Funny how I remember ending up in the back of his BMW after our first wine tasting for his bar, zooming down I-75, headed to the strip club of all places.  I remember that night and many others like they were yesterday.  My friend was always good for a dirty joke, a pat on the back, a conversation about music, anything to make you smile.  I always kept up with him even though we did not see each other much any more.  Its weird how some people just have that impact on us.  Despite the sadness I am feeling from knowing I will never see my friends crooked, devilish smile again, I am very grateful for the time we did have together.  I am grateful for the nights he answered his phone when I was to wasted too drive and too broke for a cab.  I am grateful for all the times he made me laugh.  I am grateful for all the times he was OK with me being me even if I was not.  RIP my friend.  I know your heaven is full of harmonicas, sport coats, and pretty women.  See you on the other side!
      Tonight as I was getting ready to head out to my meeting, the feelings and pressure from trying to loose weight started getting really heavy.  No pun intended there.  Unhappy with the way my clothes looked in the mirror and feeling the constant pain from hard and diligent exercise, I lashed out at myself in disappointment and shame.  You see I am a drug addict and an alcoholic, which means I want immediate results.  In my mind I should be 60 lbs thinner yesterday, and can only focus on how fat I still am rather than the progress I have made.  As I sat in my meeting thinking about my friend that died today, I realized that I need to be grateful I am alive today to go to the gym and to be sore from a great work out.  I very well could be dead in a ditch somewhere or killed in a drug deal gone bad.  Today, I am blessed with the privilege of waking up every morning sober to fight another day.  I need to be grateful to have the gym memberships I have so I can work hard to get this weight off.  Most of all I am grateful that it is only my metabolism that is fucked up and not my heart or my lungs from all the cocaine and cigarettes over the years.   I am in really good health according to the doctor and that is a miracle.
     I have to remember it is the simple things in life that help us through. Some days will be hard and some will be sad.  But if I take a few short minutes out of a really shitty day, I will find plenty of reasons why life is grand and why there is no need for me to ever pick up another drug or bottle ever again.  Thank you God for everything.  I may not have all I want but I surely have all that I need.

Good Night