Monthly Archives: February 2012
Does this bottom make my genes look big?
Just to let y’all know i’ve added another definition to my GlossAAry Page. This time i get to the ‘Bottom’.
A bottom is the single, earth shattering, mind altering, conscious raising cataclysmic event that forces the alcoholic to see his disease for the first time. Illusions are washed away in a tsunami of reality and a sinking feeling of Titanic proportions forces the drinker to call out for help.
Not all drinkers have a bottom, and some bottoms are bigger than others. My bottom was huge, whereas other have cute little tiny bottoms.
Regardless, once you come out of your bottom, you’ll never be the same again.
Good news! Mrs Demeanor, my wife, has graciously acquiesced to begin a blog detailing life with a recovering alcoholic. Be sure to get in on the ground floor of what is sure to be an impressive edifice rising high on the horizon of the blogosphere.
Check out now what? and leave a comment of encouragement!
i didn’t sleep last December. There was a lot going on.
That is what i told myself. I had 5 a.m. phone meetings 3 times a week with a sponsor in the States for one addiction, i was attending 3-4 AA meetings a week, working 35 hours, maintaining 6 blogs under 2 1/2 different personas, attending cultural events to write freelance journalist articles for 2 different web zines, spending time with my kids and new wife… I was too busy to sleep, so i dozed as few as 3 hours a night and cat napped whenever i could steal a spare 5 minutes. At the end of this experiment i fell asleep while talking to a client. My brain shut down in the middle of a sentence and i wondered what i was talking about when i reached the end.
On a normal work day, i make a pot of six cups of drip coffee to put in my travel mug and drink on my way to the office. Once there, i make a double espresso (instant) for my first meeting. i have another double espresso at 11 a.m. and another after lunch. Then another double at 4 p.m. i usually drink another 5 cups of filter coffee when i get home in the evening. For those of you too lazy to add, i drink between roughly 15-20 cups of coffee a day. This doesn’t include Coke Zeros.
i maintain 6 blogs, write short fiction, submit articles regularly to websites that publish about “Yeaman”, am trying to get the courage to begin rewriting a novel i finished a couple years ago and am revising a proposal for a nonfiction book. After getting home from work at around 6.30pm, i regularly stay locked in front of the computer until bed time, when i sit in bed and review movies i watch on my tablet. Because there is a God and he’s a geek, i have downloaded applications that permit me to write articles on my cell phone when i’m commuting to work and my tablet when i’m in bed. After the batteries die i have a notebook for articles, a smaller one for observations and another for notes while visiting cultural events.
Sleeplessness, caffeine, writing… You name it, i can find addiction in it. Fortunately, i was never one to experiment with hard drugs because even though i quit drinking, i can get addicted to absolutely anything. The argument could be made that in my early months of recovery, i was addicted to sobriety.
It all comes down to this:
My addictions define me, so i must choose them wisely.
One of my wise readers said that sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself.
When i think about how long i was lost, i realize i wasted a lot of time wandering the wilderness.
Then again, i couldn’t have arrived at where i am today if i hadn’t visited some of the places i visited when i was lost. Some people have to go through hell before they can get to heaven.
Got this comment from our brother In The Same Boat and i thought it would be better served here on the Front Page rather than buried at the bottom of a post somewhere…
Today I hit a new milestone. As I was walking back from the cafe, where I spent the evening reading after a long work day, it occurred to me that I had not once thought about alcohol since getting up this morning. No regrets of my past drinking. No weird cravings. No gratitude that I quit drinking. Just a busy fulfilled day. I don’t think that has happened in a long time.
Of course, thinking that thought blew the streak but it is only an hour before midnight. I’m wondering if I will see the time when having thoughts about alcohol is unusual, and I can just go about my life. And if so does that put me in danger of a relapse?
In my drinking life, i tried to quit a handful of times. My record was six months. i tried to cut back countless more (drinking only two glasses of wine at lunch, drinking only on Fridays, drinking only outside the apartment, drinking only inside the apartment, only drinking what i had on hand…) and none of these ever worked.
If i had gone to AA at that time– before my bottom–, i think i would have stuck with it for a while before getting bored, telling myself a couple lies about maintaining and then bid everyone adieu.
i needed to hit bottom so hard that i woke up in a hospital with my arms tied to the bed rails while my wife waited to see if the damage the pills did to my liver was fatal. i needed to hurt my son so badly he refused to talk to me for three weeks. i needed to see my daughter sobbing in the hallway after visiting me where she thought she no one could see her.
i’m intelligent enough but i’m not very bright. i needed all of that crap to hit me in the face to make me realize that AA would continue with or without me, but that i could not continue without AA.
In these financially trying times, have you ever considered how precariously close (or not) you might be to the financial precipice? Have you ever calculated how many paychecks away you are from living on the street?
A week ago, in my regular Tuesday night AA meeting, two people shared their stories. One was an elderly woman who confessed that she is incapable of hitting a 3-year sobriety mark. After a couple years, she inevitably gets complacent and ends up back at square one.
The second guy was, literally, homeless. He’d gotten sober with AA and was able to maintain his sobriety for 28 years, despite having stopped going to meetings. Then he started drinking again, convinced he could drink like a “normal person”. That lasted 3 months. Then he went on a 6-month binge that cost him his wife, his daughter, his job and his home. He now comes to meetings obviously in need of a shower.
This got me thinking… i live feeling secure in my sobriety, but if a guy with 28 years of sobriety can fall, i’m not so pretentious as to think i’m somehow immune. Like the illusion of financial security that evaporates under the harsh light of reality, how far away is a possible relapse? Is there a specific set of circumstances with the potential to create a cascade effect that, in a matter of hours, would have me drowning in booze and then washed up? How close am i really to moral bankruptcy and becoming spiritually homeless?
If the generous victims in the group are any measure, i am always close enough that i should never let down my guard.
Be it Recovery or just Plain Life, we are none of us alone in this journey.
There are the people who have blazed the trail before us, now showing us the way. There are those who march beside us, cheering us along. There are those, too, who walk behind us, pushing us forward on our paths.
This post is a Thank You to you, my readers, the Enlighteners. You are brightening my way, and i wouldn’t want to try this without you.
[This post was inspired by a reply i started to Melis, who was visiting from her blog, iamnotshe.]
The AA Promises should come with a warning.
“Be careful! These promises come true!”
The danger is that AA / Recovery will lift me up so high that i lose sight of why i needed it in the first place.
I need to remain grounded, otherwise I might get carried away. The more my recovery brings me, the more I need the meetings to keep my feet on the ground and my AA Fellowship as ballast.
The other day, Mrs Demeanor and i saw (the band of the year) Band of Skulls live in a hole-in-the-wall bar with all the tables removed.
i graduated from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan and i mention this only because East Lansing is an hour and a half away from Detroit and in the 1980s, Detroit was the Rock and Roll capital of the United States. Any band big enough to play Los Angeles after New York had to hit Detroit en route. The rest of the nation was optional.
Thanks to the proximity of my college town to this Musical Mecca, i saw acts like The Who (on their very first final farewell tour), Roger Waters, Pink Floyd, The Clash, Van Halen, Neil Diamond (three times), Stevie Nicks (twice–i’m eclectic, so sue me), Midnight Oil, Melissa Etheridge, BB King and many others i don’t remember.
The major reason i don’t remember them is that the 1½ road trip to Cobo Hall / Joe Louis Arena / the Pontiac Silverdome / Pine Knob was made with a carton of smokes on the dash, cassette tapes blasting speakers to capacity and a cooler full of beer in the back seat.
The first time we (meaning my 3 friends that i always did this kind of crap with) went to U2, we were in a skybox. Drunk off our asses, one of my friends finds an extra stud earring deep in the pocket of his trench coat and asks me if i want my ear pierced. Why not, right? So we numb my earlobe with ice from the cooler and sterilize the earring with warm tap water from the sink of the skybox and one of my buds pokes it through–halfway.
He freaks out when he hits the cartilidge because there’s a little blood and can’t finish me off so i walk around the adjoining balcony area of the sky boxes with a bloody diamond stud dangling off the side of my head, approaching random strangers, asking them to pierce my ear until i finally find this bemused high guy who pops it through.
i lived many epic moments “live” and while nothing i’ve ever done in Yeaman approaches this kind of revelry, i tried to be drunk enough for the few shows i did catch. Which made last week’s concert kind of special because it’s the first rock concert i’ve attended since going off the booze.
Guess what!? It wasn’t the same and i don’t mean that in a good way. i’m not going to lie and put lipstick on a pig and say she’s a Babe. Apparently there are some things that go down a little easier if you’ve got a couple belts under your belt.
i was impatient, sore, old and stone cold sober.
The upside? i enjoyed the music more than any other live act i’ve seen. There were moments of bliss where i got chills and a little choked up as the music washed over me from the stage. i may not have enjoyed the whole concert experience as much as when i drank, but damn, i appreciated live music on levels i never knew existed…