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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Tattooed really. The skin I'm in scarred for life with another's mark. As if a shield of emotional security has been stolen, peeled away leaving me exposed, spiritless bloodied muscle and bone. Vulnerable now? Who will it be next? Who will take me and use me then discard me like the trash I am. I am nothing now, I am all gone.. I will never be anything, I can't remember what I was, if I was anything before the abuse, the assault?  I am numb.  

Will you be my new friend? Yes you are kind and compassionate but I'm afraid that's not nearly enough stimulus for me. I need you to hurt me so I can feel but you don't understand. Who will hurt me? Nobody? I'll have to hurt myself. I will have purpose. With pain I will know how to act. I will relive my horror so I can feel. I am my own victim. How can I harm myself today?  My girlfriend? Yes I will create betrayal there. I can mistrust her and feel the fear. Will she leave me or desert me? betray me? Yes. I can never trust her. She's probably cheating on me right now! I am extreme. I need extreme. Fear. there is power there. I can feel the power of fear. But fear alone is too much to handle so I need to balance my fear with alcohol. Alcohol, my anesthetic. 

I remember only pain and am full of fear. I drink and forget. I remember again and am full of fear. again I drink and forget. I am alcoholic in full flight from reality now. I can no longer listen. I am too self centered to hear. I have become unteachable. Unreachable. I have lost the power of choice and drink to get drunk and shut my mind down everyday. 

It's difficult to explain. Complicated. Piecing together the fragmented life shattered in extreme betrayal. A sexual assault. Is this my fault? Should I instinctively know how to cope with adult situations as a child? And who says stealing another's emotional security is an adult issue anyway. If it is? Well, I never want to become an adult. Why would I ever want to treat people that way? Maybe that's why I never grew up. I was stunted. Stopped in my tracks. Being exposed to the evil of humanity completely overwhelmed me. Shut me down, I could go no further. I had lost the power of choice. Crushed by a crisis I could not evade I simply waited now. Someday someone will come along and fix me. Take away my secret. Make it ok. I'll just wait right here in my imagination. In my fantasy that's acceptable to me where I'm happy and people like me.

Yeah! People get married and have families! I'm sure they will all love me. Work hard and have careers? Houses? A big Christmas tree! Like on TV! Family fun! That's what I'll do. I'm going to have all that as soon as someone brings it to me. Someone new? So I wait. But they don't come. They can't. So I again do what I do to feel. I accuse them of betrayal, all of them whoever they are.. I spiral deep into my fear. My self pity. My noise so I am not alone. Nobody will help me, nobody loves me.  I again cannot live with myself so I balance my selfishness with alcohol. I am drunk, I am sober, full of fear.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

First off? What I'm not. I am not an AA historian. I basically know enough to make me dangerous in a conversation. I am not an authority on alcoholism although I myself have been sober in AA for 35 years.. I am not an authority on recovery even with an open mind on spiritual and scientific matters I have not found a fix all solution to the alcoholism illness..  And I am certainly not a leading authority on God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit. Heavenly Father, or any denomination of Christianity or other Religion for that matter. So, to be clear? I don't know what's best for you the reader so, to claim I understand the inner workings of the alcoholic mind based on anything but my own experience is as it should be, open to ridicule. If it can't be backed up? Shame on me is the proper use of shame and I welcome it as a repercussion to my dishonesty. I welcome it and am willing to learn from it.

But what I do know? What little I do know? I believe and though it is always subject to change as my life changes? My self reliance continues to grow. It is me, who I am right now. I am armed with facts about myself I have learned in AA.. So when asked if I am alcoholic I answer yes. Yes I am alcoholic and I am not afraid. When I am asked about the spiritual realm suggested in the Big Book 12 Steps? I offer what I know and do freely as my own experience.  Yes I became willing to believe in a creative intelligence underlying the totality of all things or, a Higher Power (Step 2). I may also refer to this Higher Power as the God of my understanding. So, am I a so called believer? Yes I am. Have I made a decision to turn my life and will towards this power? (Step 3). Yes I have.  Do I believe as everyone else believes? No. It is my own conception of a spiritual power greater than myself (Step 2). So to be clear. I am powerless over alcohol and have lost the power of choice surrounding it(Step1). I am willing to believe in the spiritual nature of things as a powerful alternative to my own best thinking surrounding alcohol(Step2). My willingness to surrender has brought me to a decision where it is better to believe than not believe(Step 3).

In an effort to stand for something besides my own selfish needs and arrangements I ask my new found conception of God for willingness. I ask only to be humble before my God and others. A willingness to be humble is key to overcoming my selfishness, my obsession with alcohol. I pray for courage and strength in an effort to inventory my life (Step 4). These thoughts and actions bring security to the otherwise unknown or emptiness I tend to create myself when alone.. The newfound willingness found in humility and surrender(Step 3). Getting it all down in black and white(Step 4). Letting my God now know that I have seen myself, that I  know the nature of my alcoholic thinking. Humbling myself before another man with my truth without the selfish dishonesty of past self appraisal. (Step5). 

AA is not Stepsherpa's Anonymous. It's Alcoholics Anonymous. I understand that I am not the only alcoholic in the halls, there are as many degrees of alcoholism as there are members of AA although I generally identify myself as the hopeless case described in the Book even today.. This of course brings with it the defenseless extremes described when drinking alcohol that seems so very long ago, the seemingly inability to think rationally and find myself powerless over simple decisions like should I drink or leave it alone (Step 1).  Also the underlying presence of obsessive selfishness and fear dominating my life daily with or without the alcohol (Step 10). If I am to work Step 10 into my daily life it is wise to keep clear in my mind why with consistent service work with others in AA.(Step 12).

Or in my experience I can fall into the depths of complacency waiting for life to bring me a security boost.. This can come from winning or losing, being happy or sad. Always based on my self esteem, how I measure up with people. People can dominate me and I drop my Higher Power, selfishly over ride my willingness in hopes of some instant gratification through people. People have the power and I choose to unknowingly worship them.. At first my spiritual security isn't really missed as I have replaced it with new self serving arrangements or even shiny things. I am drinking others with impunity. I begin to feel uncomfortable as if I have drank too much and attempt to fix myself by myself as if now I have grown into normalcy. I can handle an emotional hangover. No. I am powerless over people places and things. The new arrangements begin to fail and shiny things loose their luster. I continue to drift into the unknown where nothing matters anyway. It shows itself as a familiar place where I belong. I am again nothing and belong in the nothing. I am sent back to somewhere in my childhood where I am again nothing and will never amount to anything. I am trapped in my selfishness and fear, beyond human aid.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

The people worshipper is mentioned in the Book. People worshipper? Who knew? I thought I didn't want anything to do with people. I never realized without people I was empty? I'd need to look at myself and well, there was nothing there. So I filled my head with people. Arranged them to meet my needs real or imagined. Sought my self worth through others approval, my emotional security in acceptance.

Also a mention of the state of mental goose flesh that whole "needy" realization would bring. Ugh, needy is the worst! As if I had no choice in the matter. I couldn't simply want to be involved with people as friends or whatever no. It was always deeper than that. Always heavy.  I used people for an emotional security boost .  I needed them. I was needy. And to me needy means creepy.

Goose flesh? Nice one.. Some of this Big Book wording cracks me up. I mean who says "goose flesh"? It's right up there with Whoopee Party. I'm still not sure what that is. Whoopee party. Sounds like a swinger thing.. Kooky.

Goose flesh? I'll go with pretty damn uncomfortable. That fits.  Like, people could make or break me depending on how my arrangement would be taken. Again with the Book, if my arrangements would stay put all would be well or atleast I'd be happy. As if they like me they really like me! . So that's how it is? Without people places and things I am just an empty void of existence? Pretty strong language but I'm afraid it's true. I've got to face the facts here. There's more to alcoholism than alcohol. There's the ism. The lack of self reliance, lack of maturity. The common coping skills that never materialized. Basically? I fell down and could never seem to get back up. So I just acted as if everyone else fell down and I was the last man standing. I knew what was best. I knew better as long as the rest of the world behaves. Me. it's all about me! damn man. The self will run riot though I usually don't think so thing from the Book.. 

My many years of jockeying for position, better philosophies, intellectual cures for my Spiritual malady had come to an abrupt end. Life as I had been living it was over. The alcohol no longer worked.  Everything went sideways when I put the drink down. No more anesthesia. Nothing to validate me now but the big problem that's apparently been here all along, people! 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Selfish & self-centered, that’s what we are when we come to AA.  And then I finally admitted to my innermost self that I was an alcoholic, I came to believe that the people in AA were telling me the truth, I made a decision to do what you said you had done, I wrote about my favorite topic – ME, I bored somebody for half a day listening to it, & as a result I’m in a position where all I care about is being of service to God & my fellows.  How powerful is that!  And I think too many people miss it.  It is so incredibly powerful!  Eight & Nine for me are conventional ways of getting rid of conventional guilts, I felt guilty because I WAS guilty.  If you came between me & a drink, I took the drink.  And it wasn’t about saying, “I’m sorry.”  I said “sorry” all my life.  Sorry, sorry, sorry.  Then I would do it again & get caught.  Sorry, sorry, sorry.  And then I’d do it again & get caught.  Sorry, sorry, sorry.  It wasn’t about saying “sorry”, it’s about living my life differently.  I don’t know how, but people in AA do.  And I come here & you share about what it is like, you share your experiences with me about being a mother & a daughter & a sister & a friend & an employee, without picking up a drink.  And you allow me to take your experiences out into the world & live them & they become my experiences.  I am the woman I am this afternoon because of the men & women of Alcoholics Anonymous have shared their experiences with me.  Ten, Eleven, & Twelve are the Steps that keep me in the middle of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Step Ten says that the process is powerful, keep using it.  Keep writing about it & talking about it.  Ask God to remove the defect, make amends if necessary, & then turn your attention towards somebody you can help.  What is it I can do for you, how can I be of service?  It seems to me when I’m focused on MY problem, God can’t do a thing with it.  When I’m focused on YOUR problem, God can come in & take care of mine.  What can I do for you, how can I be of service?  Step Eleven, my prayer in the morning is very simply, “Thy Will be done”.  I’m so naïve that I truly believe that the rest of the day is God’s business.  My job is to not drink, show up, & live life to the fullest; the rest of it is God’s business.  My prayer at night is a little scarier, I offer it to anybody who would like to use it.  My prayer at night is, “Dear God, please have people treat me tomorrow exactly the way I treated people today.”  And I know when I’m going to say that prayer tonight it will hold me in good stead.  I don’t flip people off on the freeway anymore, I still count but I don’t announce the number of items in the “10 item or less” line at the grocery store.  And I don’t live my life so much out of virtue as I do that I’m going to say that prayer tonight.  I challenge you to use it.  I guarantee if you use it for 90 days it will change your life.  And Step Twelve is the greatest gift you’ve ever given me, an opportunity to take a little of my past & give it to another alcoholic, to look into the eyes of another alcoholic & say, “Honey, you don’t have to live that way anymore.  Take my hand, come with me, sit in the middle of Alcoholics Anonymous, COME ALL THE WAY IN & SIT ALL THE WAY DOWN, & you never have to live that way, a day at a time.”

 

Patti O. from Mission Viejo CA

 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

I recently overheard some great gossip so feeling a tad weak I decided to feed on it and keep it going. An argument between two people setting up the chairs at a local meeting. This wasn't told to me directly, no. I overheard it from someone who overheard it. I guess that would be gossip twice removed or pretty much by the time I repeat it? Lies. The only thing that was the same was there were two guys involved.

I was ready to carry the mess. Hopefully find someone to listen intently to my new version , co-sign me, like me so I can like myself. It was pure checkout line gossip now. Like when you look in the grocery basket and see $200 dollars worth of nothing?  Fear creeps in because all you see worth anything is a $3.00 bag of your favorite cookies that is already open and missing a few, so you can't just get out of line and split. No way to make a run for it without a possible shoplifting arrest and well? You're much too old for that.. So you look for trouble. Trouble is power. Just stand there and crowd the person in front of you with a subtle bump to the back of the ankle so in some way you can make another pay for how you feel.. When they turn and look as if you're going to get a bag of frozen broccoli in the face you smile and apologize. You're now the manipulative weasel. These people got nothing on you. 

 

HEY LOOK! Brad Pitt is losing his kids complete with pictures of the horrific life he leads in his house the size of a Amazon distribution center.. Next paper? A not so shocking front page? Madonna rallies for freedom of speech, teaches F-bombs to 2rd graders in New York. Yikes! Atleast I'm not them!  I wanted to feel better about myself so I read a few paragraphs in hopes of validation through another's grand screw up. It worked. I didn't even want to be Brad Pitt and had a newer softer sympathetic place in my heart for Guy Richie. I  am now feeling fine who I am thank you. Clearly above it all. Everybody is screwed up and I'm ok.

 

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