Mauritius

Hm.

Ever been? Ever even HEARD of it? Me Neither! And I’m so bummed. I look at all these amazing countries around the world and have to acknowledge that I’ll probably never get to see them – not in person.

Life is so fucking short – not to mention that part that none of it is guaranteed. And I drank away 23 years. Gone. Poof. Never to get them back no matter what I do. Even if I had billions of dollars, I can’t buy back my history and change it. What a bummer!!

Yesterday I was watching World War Z with Brad Pitt. I’d seen it before, but I was drunk back then so – I wanted to see it again because I didn’t remember any of it. Half way through the movie I get this fantastic idea that I’ll hop on my rowing machine and multi-task. I’ll watch the 2nd half of the movie AND exercise. Sweet idea, right? Except I dropped the remote and it hit a button that changed the channel to CNN. This wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem – just change it back, right? WRONG. I had restarted the movie and if the channel gets changed during the restart, it won’t go back to the program it was on. I lost the 2nd half of World War Z. Gone. And I was pissed OFF about it.

Brad Pitt is not my favorite actor and anyone can guess how a freaking zombie movie starring him might turn out – especially when he’s the hero, but NOOOOOOOO – I had to get really worked up about it anyway. I tried to find something else on Netflix (Netflix blows) and finally gave up after rowing for half an hour. I went to bed at 7:00 where I played Words With Friends for a couple of hours. I didn’t know what else to do with myself. Go to bed, I said. So, I did. How depressing. I felt depressed.

In the past – I would have drank a liter of vodka over that injustice. I’d have already been drunk in the first place, but I would have taken that experience personally. Now that I’m sober, not getting drunk is still sort of new to me even though the thought of drinking is repellent. The enormity of my disappointment caught me a little off guard.

What to do with feelings? I get it – they need to be experienced and even expressed, appropriately, but they sure are heavy sometimes. And I really hope I figure more of this shit out before I poof out of my existence. Maybe I shouldn’t have watched the movie in the first place… It seems sort of silly now that I’d get so T. O’d over not being able to watch the 2nd half, but in the moment – I felt saturated with dismay. Maybe I’ll never get to Mauritius. That’ll suck because I think I’d really like it there. There’s only so much time, and so many things that can get done or seen or accomplished within it.

Time. Sigh.

I don’t know. I can’t get to Mauritius today so I guess I’ll just go on a bike ride. I could buy the movie I lost last night, but today – I no longer give a shit. Go figure.

What is Blackness? Will A Hug Fix It?

Like – what’s in there? What’s inside blackness? It can’t be void of everything. It has to be composed of AT LEAST whatever it is that’s making it black in the first place. So – what the hell is that?

Is it fear? Pain? Suffering? Is it just a color or the lack of color? Is it all things negative? Are all things negative feelings and sensations? What about perceptions? Can those be colored in blackness? Hm. What about behaviors? Is it possible to act or behave without thought first? I don’t think so.

I was thinking earlier that it would be so cool to be able to offer the planet and all things on it – a hug. Even the bad guys (and gals). I’d just spread that feeling that comes with a hug all over the planet and to every living thing. Just because I can – if I could. And then I wondered about blackness and evil. What penetrates those things? If a light is shined on blackness long enough – will the light ever seep in. And what’s light anyway – besides the light that comes from my lamp?

Is light love and compassion and kindness and hugs? Is it airy? Hm.

Maybe.

My hug offer still stands. Hug someone today. It feels good.

Who’s Bored?!

I’ve decided that strict routines are a recipe for mental disasters. They make me crazy. But, when I mix up my routines a bit, this changes my groove for the whole day.

I make small changes in the direction I take to get places, I change what I eat and where I eat it, I complete stuff from the bottom of the list first and go up instead of from the top, I wait to shower at the end of the day, I exercise after lunch instead of after breakfast, or I get up earlier just so I can read before I start my day. I switch up random stuff all the time, and small changes are all I have to do to make life more interesting.

And it’s all free. I’m not doing anything differently – I’m just coming at things differently. Small changes, like the small stuff in relationships, make big differences.

Granted, adventures out of town are the best, but we can’t all do that everyday. I’m just talking about not going to bed every night feeling like there’s got to be something MORE. Repetition is B O R I N G.

Prayer IS An Action. But – – – Wait A Minute!

I see a lot of folks offering things like: “Pray about it.” Or “Connect with your higher power.” Or “Have you asked God for help?”

What I don’t see a lot of – and I’m talking about activity in rooms for addiction and/or recovery – is, “What have you done to try to fix this?” Or “What have you tried that didn’t work?” “What have you tried that DID work?” Or “What WILL you DO to address this?”

At some point, I think that in addition to prayer or outside of it altogether – we have to take responsibility for and ownership of whatever is going on that we’re praying about in the first place – and DO something about it. Usually, I see that people are praying for either help or answers. But even when we get an idea that we think might have come from God – don’t we have to act on it before it becomes something more than just a thought or idea?

I could be off here, but I don’t think God is in business of assisting some folks – in whatever way someone needs assistance – while NOT offering it to others.

Think about it.

Why, for example, would God help some child abuser avoid arrest/punishment while allowing the child to get hurt in the first place? There are loads of examples like this and it makes NO sense that God wouldn’t help people – vulnerable people – that are weak in the face of the more powerful. So – I conclude that God doesn’t work that way. We have choices and therein lies our power. And we are responsible for the things we do and don’t do – and for the things we say and don’t say. Making choices and our power to act on our decisions are our birthright.

When we’re on the right track in life – something inside us tells us. We just – KNOW.

And when we’re NOT on the right track in life – somehow – we know that too. And we’re given opportunity after opportunity to do something about it.

Listening to ourselves, making right choices and follow-through are key. When we stop over-thinking things to death or waiting for something from the outside to happen, and we starting doing something – a new reality is born. We change what was into something that IS. Like, for example, I used to drink and now I don’t. I stopped swallowing alcohol, no one did it for me – including God, and everything changed. Actually, my perception is what changed. But because of how monumental that is – it feels like EVERYTHING changed. It’s pretty cool.

Are You DRUNK Right Now?

Are you thinking you want to get sober because your life SUCKS? Yeah. I’ve been there.

Check this out. Here’s what you no longer have to worry about if you choose to stop swallowing alcohol…

When you’re sober, you will NOT:

Drunk dial anyone, drive drunk, pass out, black out, experience hangovers, spend hard-earned money on booze, say regrettable things, DO regrettable things, fall down, hurt someone, forget things, go to jail, go to the hospital, send incomprehensible texts and emails, worry the people that care about you, lose your job, lose your drivers license, wreck your car, lose relationships, or lose your mind.

Look at all that crap!! That’s a shit ton of drama right there. That’s what abusing alcohol brings us. Is that fucked up or what?

Stop swallowing alcohol. Do something – anything – else. Just don’t hurt anyone.

THAT’S the answer. Everything ELSE you do to help you not swallow alcohol is just that – it’s help – it’s not the solution. The solution is to stop swallowing alcohol. Help equates to the toppings to your sober pizza.

Swallowing alcohol creates problems. It doesn’t solve them.

STOP SWALLOWING ALCOHOL THAT’S ALL YOU HAVE TO NOT DO.

So, when the urge to drink hits, but that other part of you doesn’t want to drink – what do you do? A N Y T H I N G.

How Embarrassing.

I watched this video on YouTube and my heart sank. These women have ZERO self-respect. ZERO integrity. What happened to employing a little courtesy when out in public? What happened to showing another person just a little respect?

I don’t know… There is no excuse for the madness. There is no excuse for the lack of self-control.

I don’t understand what drives people to make fools of themselves like this. Yes, these women were caught with someone’s cell phone, but guys are just as guilty of throwing punches. Some people are even walking around in states that allow it with guns hanging off their hips. IN PUBLIC. GUNSLINGERS!!!

What might have happened here in this video if one of these people had been carrying a weapon? Men were involved here too, they’re just not shown until later in the clip.

Good lord. What a hot mess.

This is why staying inside and having shit delivered is the way to do it. Screw all this madness. I don’t want anything to do with it. Being a social animal just isn’t that big of a deal to me and if I think I need some mental stimulation, I can take the cats for a walk, open a book, or turn on the Food Network.

No drama.

Inpatient Rehab

I realize not all people are fond of change. In fact, the mere idea of it freaks some people out. I – and a handful of others – like it – a lot. Change offers opportunities to learn things, which is why I have never been opposed to going back to inpatient treatment for my drinking. I’ve been to rehab seven times. Each time I went somewhere new, sometimes to a new state, and the one thing I loved most about going each time was the newness of the situation. I like new stuff – doesn’t matter much what it is.

Is that weird? Am I the only one on the planet who gets into that? Probably not. Hopefully not. That said – rehab is good for other things besides a change of scenery. If nothing else, it provides the new resident with a time-frame from which to experience life without getting stoned, lit, drunk, or high.

Most treatment centers that I’m aware of offer programs of at least 30 days. Thirty days in a structured environment offer residents time away from their drug/s of choice. You can’t get fucked up in treatment. If you do, you’ll get kicked out. Time away from our drug/s of choice allows our brains a change to air out. New residents will meet new people who suffer from similar illnesses. They’ll be introduced to structure and they’ll get to learn about their drug/s of choice. Most importantly, residents get the opportunity to come to realize WHY they go after drugs rather than say “No Thank You.”

None of us were always addicts or alcoholics. We evolved into it. Why? That is the question to walk into treatment with. The answer might just surprise you.

I highly recommend going. I think the one thing that freak folks out the most is this idea that treatment is like jail. It’s not. I’ve been to jail and when you get sent to jail, you can’t just walk out. Treatment is a place to go and stay for a long minute, but it’s only temporary. In rehab, you get to go outside and sometimes you even leave the property and go places. In one of my treatment centers, we did yoga on the beach. In another treatment center, we had equine therapy. In yet another, we went to freakin Disney Land. No shit.

Some residential centers look like a business while others look like a big house. There’s always lots of groups. Big house groups and smaller more personable groups. Unless you’re rich – you will have to share a bedroom. Take headphones. Also – I’ve never – not one time – been allowed to keep my phone. It’s confiscated on admission along with other items deemed contraband. You will be allowed to use a phone – just not your own. And you will get your phone back when you leave – so chill out.

If you can remember ONE THING – remember that residential treatment is temporary. And – If you can manage to walk in with an attitude of intending to leave with something – anything memorable – you’ve already scored.

What EXACTLY Is The Function Of A Guardian Angel?

That’s a lot of grains of sand…

Especially in light of the duties of our spirit guides?

I’ll try to keep this short. It’s Saturday and everyone’s got stuff to do.

Okay, first who coined this term Guardian Angel? The name itself implies there’s some guarding going on. But guarding from whom? From what? How does our Angel do this? Especially when the things we most likely need to be guarded from are tangible and our Angels are NOT. (That I know of). Aren’t they invisible?

And second – if our Guardian Angel has the job of guarding, and our Spirit Guides have the duty of Guiding – I mean I get it, one guards while the others guide. But is the job of looking after a human SO humongous we need both entities? Or numerous entities? Why only one Guardian Angel but numerous Spirit Guides? What happens when one Spirit Guide wants to do one thing for me and another wants to do something that contradicts thh first one? Then what happens? If they’re all always on the same page, why do I need or get more than one? Do they take naps?

I mean – we only have ONE spirit that needs guidance. AmIRight? So – this all seems a bit much.

And if we’re all so guarded and guided, why do so many of us get into so much trouble all the time? If it weren’t for our Angels and Guides – would the human race have already wiped itself off the planet?

Is their work THAT subtle? Maybe. Who knows.

I must concede that because I do not know something doesn’t mean it’s not going on. And I for one would feel pretty teensy-eensy insignificant if I didn’t think I had something out there who/that has my back. I already know I’m about as significant as that grain of sand on that beach across that ocean over in that other corner of the planet.

But if I don’t matter – if I don’t count – then what the fuck am I doing here?

The Porcupine And The Rabbit

There is always a way.

Figure it out.

Do You Remember Back 10 Years Ago When …

You weren’t where you are today? Remember what you were doing and who you were with? Remember life before kids and pets? Remember who you were when you were still in school?

Are you still that person?

Sort of a hard question to answer, isn’t it…? Yes, I think so. Not exactly. Sort of, but not really Well, yeah, sure I am – I’ve just changed … Those answers all apply.

I think this just goes to show how vast our internal capacity and landscape is for change and evolution. A little hard work goes a longggg way. We can travel great distances from who we were to where we are to who we will become depending on what we do today. It’s pretty fantastic to think about.

Just a thought.

Wait A Minute! Why Does Fate Get To Author My Life?

?

So. What do we do when we realize or become aware of this internal force that’s been driving us our entire lives? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Bueller?

Do I follow this impulse, this movement inside me, or do I pull up on the reins and say, “Whoa there. Let me just think on this for a moment.”

I could do this or I could do that. I could stay here, go down there, or go over there. For whatever reason, something inside me helps (or so I’d like to think) me make decisions. I’m pulled toward one thing and this moves me away from the rest of my options. What the fuck is this sensation?

I thought about this earlier and wondered if our lives ARE written out for us – but not in stone. And when we become aware of this sensation, we can think independently of it, and using our free will (or so we think???) write it ourselves. On paper. And do something else. Entirely.

It’s pretty cool, but it also opens up all possibilities (that I’m aware of) and requires that I take the time to consider everything. At the very least this is time consuming and could get overly complicated.

Hm…

A Wild BEAST Monster!

Ew!

We could look at our addiction as a monstrous and toothy beast that needs to be chained up and kept at bay.

It might be helpful to recognize that people, addicted or not, are complicated and complex with multiple moving inner bits and pieces. Our addiction and our cravings and our urges and our behaviors are just some of these moving inner bits that can be viewed by other people. When we look inside ourselves, we can see that the word “I” refers to something plural – not singular. Having mixed emotions and thoughts about something or someone is evidence of this.

When the part of me that is my addiction screams for a drink – I can direct the other part of me that ISN’T my addiction to say “No. Shhhh. You can’t have a drink. Go sit down and be quiet.”

I believe this is an example of self-control. And people who want self-control can have it. It’s within. It requires an internal search.

A Conversation …

Which option/voice in our heads to agree with…?

“It wasn’t my choice to drink.”

“But you did it anyway?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, whose choice choice was it?”

“Mine. But I didn’t want to do it.”

“That doesn’t seem to have anything to do with anything – does it?”

“What? Not wanting to drink””

“Yes, because you went right ahead and did it anyway, didn’t you?”

“Yeah.”

“Why do you think you chose to drink when you didn’t want to?”

“I don’t know.”

“You’re the only one who does know. Don’t you think? How could I know why you did it? How could anyone know? Have you thought about that?”

“I shouldn’t drink if I don’t want to.”

“Okay, but you did. What does that tell you?”

“I don’t know.”

“I think you do know. You just don’t want to look at it. Did someone force alcohol down your throat? Did someone make you swallow it or did you do it because you had an urge to do it.”

“I had an urge, but I still didn’t want to do it.”

“Maybe a part of you didn’t want to do it. But there’s another part of you that did. And you let THAT part take control of your behavior. You let that part reach over, pick up some alcohol, and swallow it.”

“Yeah.”

“So once you see that you have the power to choose – you can also see that you have the power to follow up that choice with your behavior. When you don’t want to do something – you don’t have to do it. Not when it comes to drinking.”

“Yes, but it’s so much harder. I drink even when I don’t want to.”

“I hear that. But does it make sense to you that you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do?

“I don’t know. Not really.”

“So what can you do to get control of this part of you that wants to drink?

“But I don’t want to drink.”

“Okay, but you’re not just the YOU that’s talking to me right now. You’re a complex individual made up of many working parts. And there is a part of you that wants to drink. And that’s the part YOU listen to and then act in agreement on. It is possible to disagree with that part of you and NOT follow up with agreeing behavior? You don’t have to drink just because that part of you wants alcohol. You can tell it NO.“

“Oh.”

“Do you think it might be a good idea for you to think about learning how to control your behavior?”

Blank stare.

“If I reach over and grab my coffee cup and drink some coffee, is this action a behavior?”

“Yes.”

“What if my coffee cup has alcohol in it? Is it also my choice to NOT reach over and drink some because I’m trying to stay sober and free of alcohol?”

“Ooo.”

~~~

For Those New To Sobriety~

Here’s a little something to shine the light on… I think many of us have these worn down mental pathways of thinking that reinforce ugly feelings. And once we feel these ugly feelings – they – in turn – reinforce the ugly thoughts. And we go ’round and ’round in ugly circles. What might be worth trying is doing something that breaks this habit of thinking. In other words – participating in a new behavior.

Distracting ourselves with a funny movie or a good book, going outside or starting a conversation with someone about a subject we care about – these are easy things we can do to break into that habitual way of obsessing about something in our minds. In addiction and during early sobriety, it’s easy to obsess about things – to return to those habitual ways of processing information and solving problems that no longer work for us because they only cause us angst. These can be things a person said or did or things they didn’t say or do.

I think part of the new journey for addicts and alcoholics, once we get clean and sober, is to form new mental pathways that reinforce good and positive feelings. This takes work. And patience. And time. And the practice of new behaviors.

My Cats Are In The Trash.

My cats.

Meet Starla and Buster. Oh, sure. They look sweet. But, as I lay here in the dark and warm cocoon of my bed covers I’m listening to them tear into the small trashcan next to my favorite chair in the living room. Of course, they know they’re not supposed to be in it. If I go out there they’ll both run to hide under the couch.

It’s something different every night. Last night I listened to them chase each other across my kitchen counters. I never go out into the house to confirm the source of the racket because I’m certain no intruder would ever be so outrageously LOUD and rambunctious. At this point I’ve turned the noise of their ruckus into a guessing game. I listen as they crash into something or some object crashes to the floor and without going to see what it was, I guess. So, far I’m batting 100.

Every morning I wake and rise to discover knocked over vases, plants, books, dishes, or nick-knacks. Nothing in my home is safe. Nothing is ever placed so high that they can’t reach. I’ve tried. But they either climb or jump to attack whatever has their attention. Sometimes, things just happen to be in the way when they’re chasing each other. If I want to save anything from the hell-bent destruction of my precious furry babies, I have to keep it in a box out in the garage. With the door locked because I swear if they had opposable thumbs and knew how to unlock doors – they’d take out everything I value.

Once they get bored with what they’re doing they jump on my bed and sniff my eyebrows. If I leave them outside my room with the door closed, they claw up the carpet outside the door. Or meow. Or both. I can’t win.

It’s 5:11 a.m. and I know they want to be fed, but that isn’t about to happen. Neither, unfortunately, am I going to be able to fall back to sleep. Who, besides news anchors and paper delivery guys, gets up at such a godawful hour? Okay, maybe bakers get up this early, but that’s it. Okay, and military personnel. And medical professionals. But that’s it. No one else gets up so early. Okay, maybe new parents with infants.

But not me. Not on purpose.

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