Monthly Archives: July 2013
When i was 22, i created my own holidays. This is something i want to start doing again.
One of the holidays i made up was Rebel’s Night. Every 31st of July, i would take off work and do whatever i wanted. The first one was celebrated with a couple friends as we drove along the interstate in a rainstorm, listening to great songs on the cassette deck, pounding Little Kings and throwing the empties out of the window of our speeding car.
The night ended when the rain had stopped and we drove backroads until he stopped at a small river where i got out of the car, stripped off my clothes and baptized myself a rebel in the dirty water.
Ironically, the last Rebel’s Night was observed when i used the occasion to gather the courage to call a girl i’d met on my travels in Europe. That led to living together and marriage, which spelled the end of Rebel’s Night.
Here in Yeamen, the theme of the Tuesday night meeting is “Adventures in Sobriety”. i’m not a big fan of this subject because it reminds me that i did a a whole case of exciting things back in my drinking days but that my sober life is a little calmer. Too calm. Boring.
Last night, i realized this is a pile of Schlitz.
Except for some Rebel’s Nights, i did not have many adventures when i was drinking. i had drama, but getting in a drunk driving accident, getting my ass kicked, receiving an eviction notice and attempting suicide are not adventures, they are enormous screw ups.
On the other hand, working on a book and actively exploring my city’s day and night life are constant adventures. My real adventure, however, is the spiritual work i embarked on over years ago. i had no idea how much of an adventure exploring myself and trying to change would be, nor did i know of the immense rewards.
And i’m not done, either. Recently i was forced to realize i’m still painfully shy and socially inept and that i really needed alcohol as a crutch in social situations and without it i’m pretty lame, but that’s OK. Or it’s not, but that’s the way it is and i have the tools i need to work on it. It’s all part of the adventure.
Let me take this opportunity, though, to wish those of you fighting the good fight against a baser nature a happy Rebel’s Night, for we are the true Rebels of this world.
In the rooms the other night, someone mentioned she considered herself lucky to be an alcoholic.
If I had to have a disease, I’d choose alcoholism.
i get this.
Alcoholism is a terminal disease. Left untreated, alcoholism causes death. Alcoholism: there is no cure but there is a treatment.
Alcoholism is a rare disease in that the remedy not only lets you maintain your lifestyle, but actually improves it.
If i had my ‘druthers i wouldn’t be a drunkard but if i have to pick a sickness, i’ll be an alcoholic.
Seether – Remedy
Clip the wings that get you high, just leave them where they lie
And tell yourself, “You’ll be the death of me”
The other day in a meeting, someone shared how his last drink was the night of November the 10th, so his soberversary fell on Armistice Day. He talked about how symbolic he found that, and i thought it was pretty damn symbolic as well.
Which got me thinking.
Drinkers play tons of games (and not all of them mental, lol), but it’s not because we non drinkers can’t have any booze that we can’t have any fun. So, i’ve created a Not Drinking Game called Soberversary.
The rules are simple, all you need to do is go to Wikipedia and search the date (without the year) you last had a drink. Look over the list of Events and find one you think sufficiently symbolizes the last day of your drinking life, and share it here!
i’ll start. i quit drinking on January 11, 2011. When i enter January 11 in Wikipedia, i get the following list (that i shortened here a bit because the original was longer and more boring).
1055 – Theodora is crowned Empress of the Byzantine Empire.
1569 – First recorded lottery in England.
1693 – Mount Etna erupts in Sicily, Italy. A powerful earthquake destroys parts of Sicily and Malta.
1759 – In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the first American life insurance company is incorporated.
1787 – William Herschel discovers Titania and Oberon, two moons of Uranus.
1805 – The Michigan Territory is created.
1861 – Alabama secedes from the United States.
1863 – American Civil War: CSS Alabama encounters and sinks the USS Hatteras off Galveston Lighthouse in Texas.
1908 – Grand Canyon National Monument is created.
1922 – First use of insulin to treat diabetes in a human patient.
1927 – Louis B. Mayer, head of film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), announces the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, at a banquet in Los Angeles, California.
1935 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.
1943 – World War II: The United States and United Kingdom give up territorial rights in China.
1949 – The first “networked” television broadcasts take place as KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania goes on the air connecting the east coast and mid-west programming.
1949 – First recorded case of snowfall in Los Angeles, California.
1960 – Henry Lee Lucas, once listed as America’s most prolific serial killer, commits his first known murder.
1962 – Cold War: While tied to its pier in Polyarny, the Soviet submarine B-37 is destroyed when fire breaks out in its torpedo compartment.
1964 – Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Luther Terry, M.D., publishes the landmark report Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States saying that smoking may be hazardous to health, sparking national and worldwide anti-smoking efforts.
1972 – East Pakistan renames itself Bangladesh.
1973 – Major League Baseball owners vote in approval of the American League adopting the designated hitter position.
1986 – The Gateway Bridge, Brisbane in Queensland, Australia is officially opened.
1996 – Space Shuttle program: STS-72 launches from the Kennedy Space Center marking the start of the 74th Space Shuttle mission and the 10th flight of Endeavour.
2003 – Illinois Governor George Ryan commutes the death sentences of 167 prisoners on Illinois’ death row based on the Jon Burge scandal.
2013 – One French soldier and 17 militants are killed in a failed attempt to free a French hostage in Bulo Marer, Somalia.
From these events, i choose January 11, 1949.
1949 – First recorded case of snowfall in Los Angeles, California.
i find this date symbolic because i’d always said i would quit drinking when hell froze over…and i was right!
Your turn! Please share your event and its symbolism in the comments….
First off, a huge “Thanks” to those of you who read and commented and sent me good vibes about my last post. Your suggestions really helped put me on the right track. As did a nice talk with my sponsor.
But before i get into that, let me just say i think i was a little misleading in that post. If i came across as a guy wallowing in guilt over my past mistakes, this isn’t the case. i did stupid things when i was drinking and sobriety has given me the clarity to see just how messed up some of those things were. i’m pretty good about ‘Respecting the Past‘ and i have a lot of tools that help me make a mental adjustment when i need to.
The question i popped in that last post was more of a question of semantics, and that’s how i presented it to my Sponsor last night.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
That quote is from the AA Promises and i thought i must be doing something wrong if i still had regrets. My Sponsor, basically, told me this is more of an ideal goal to shoot for, but not achievable for everyone. What’s important is not necessarily eliminating regrets, but more not letting them control me. And i’m cool with that.
i also mentioned my guilt over not being a better parent in the past, though i realized thinking that thought is a dangerous monster to feed. My Sponsor reminded me that every day i’m sober is one more day of “the past” that my children can look back on and remember and think, “Dad did the right thing today.” And it’s more recent to boot, fresher in their minds.
So thanks again, everyone, and here’s a dry toast to kissing regrets goodbye!
i have a lot to learn and, unfortunately, i learn as slow as a snail in syrup.
Today’s example of this is regrets. i’ve posted before about how i do regret my past and i just can’t get (dare i say it? – yes, i dare) past it. i know i’m not supposed to regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it, but i do.
i did some pretty shitty things in my past. If it were just me, then yeah, i could probably let it go. But i hurt people in my drunkenness. Badly. i cannot say i don’t regret this.
Now i know i have to accept my past. i can do this. I know i have to recognize my past led me to where i am today and i do. Job done. But i regret hurting loved ones to get here.
If regret means
- Wishing i had not hurt people
- Feeling sad that my drunken decisions adversely affected others
- Experiencing pangs of guilt over my past actions
then i regret the hell out of a lot of the bullshit i pulled back in the day.
But i’m trying to get better. Case in point, i’m opening this up to my readers in general and i’m saying that i don’t know how to stop regretting my past actions and i’m asking you to help me with your advice, suggestions, tips and whatever else it takes to help me get over these regrets!
Thanks in advance, peeps!
i met this guy a couple years ago, soon after i got sober. He seemed nice enough, but i secretly mocked his positive outlook when he wasn’t around. See, i have a hard time believing in happy optimists because i suspect they’re either lying to themselves or me.
Anyway, i started seeing more of him. At first it was just in the rooms, then i’d happen bump into him at random places (in the street, for example) and soon we were spending a lot more time together. He kind of grew on me, so i learned to forgive him his outlook on life even if i still found it Pollyanna-ish, naïve, and just plain silly.
After that, though, i started seeing him all the time. Like he’d show up where i work, and even in my apartment! Imagine my shock the first time i woke up and found him in my bed with me!
…that happy, joyous and freaky guy i used to make fun of is me. And now that buoyant boy aspect of me is moving in and taking over. Slowly, surely, and thankfully.
When i drank, i looked forward to drinking and i looked forward to drinking because i looked forward to forgetting i had nothing to look forward to.
Sobriety not only saved my life, Sobriety gave me a life worth saving.
A corollary to that expression is,
Sobriety not only gave me a future, but gave me a future i can look forward to.
You know me (and if you don’t it’s because you’ve had your shots), i’m all about living in the present. Still, i can’t deny i’m looking forward to spending vacation with my family because being sober means i’ll be able to enjoy it more. i’m also looking forward to this weekend because there are 2-3 concerts in the park i’m going to see. i’m looking forward to going to bed soon because i’ll curl up under the blanket with my electronica and read and watch movies…
i’m looking forward to 10 minutes from now because i’ll ‘meditate’ to good music while i wash dishes and i’ll feel good about turning off the lights on a clean apartment. i’m looking forward to a few minutes from now because i’ll post this puppy and have the feeling i’ve accomplished something. i’m looking forward to a few seconds from now because i like looking for funny pictures to attach to these posts.
i’m not saying life is always good, but it’s a damn sight better. And keeps getting more so.
Despite my best efforts at hiding it, i know y’all know how much of a sensitive wuss i am.
When my children were little, i often read to them the beautiful book by Sam McBratney called “Guess How Much I Love You”. The only problem was, i could never get through the whole thing without getting all choked up. i’d have to struggle to swallow the lump in my throat in order to fight to finish it.
Last night, the same thing happened while i was reading Saint Francis’s Prayer in the Twelve and Twelve. i was in bed, reading along quietly, when i got to the prayer and, for some strange reason, felt compelled to read it aloud. i tried three separate times and failed miserably each time in making it to the end without guy crying.
So basically, i’m just checking in to let you know i’m still a pansy.
A version of “Guess How Much I Love You” read by a guy who contains his emotion much better than me.
What do you do when The Voices tell you to give in and up? The answer is insultingly simple.
Think of something else.
i heard in the rooms that our brains are capable of only having one thought at a time. If that thought is one you don’t want, to change your mind you only need to change your thought.
Those of us in Alcoholics Anonymous like to use the Serenity Prayer for this, and we have no exclusivity on it by any means. You could try the Buddhist “Om” or even the lyrics to your favorite song (Bob Marley works well). Mentally repeat this mantra for a couple of minutes and soon your train of thought will be sidetracked and back on the right track.