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Stepsherpa

Stepsherpa

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

A guy I met yesterday told me that he drank for 40 years mostly everyday plus had a serious Xanax addiction going full tilt. He quit cold turkey or funky chicken, angry bird... No AA, NA or similar recovery.. Seemed like a decent guy really, good natured anyway. My age. I liked him even though we had very little in common as far as alcoholism recovery. Although come to think about it he did joke about Church.  Might be something there, I don't know. It was in passing. I was still baffled at the whole quit Xanax over night thing. Benzo's can turn on you hard if you quit abruptly.

Anyway, he went to detox and hasn't touched a drop since.  Supposedly fine with one Xanax a day currently even though the addiction brought him down on his face just six months ago.. Says he hits the bar everyday still and buys the rounds of Rum for his friends and relatives. No AA. No real aftercare except occasional counseling which is more than not just to keep his Xanax script open. OK, now I'm just assuming with the script thing. Doing his thinking so it's more suitable to me. Whenever something shocks me I try to control it. Anyway.

My first reaction was shear disbelief after the stream of stories of things jumping off the walls at him and his attempt at sneaking away down the street with his imaginary brother in his sockies and Johnny. Picked up by the cops and brought back. Being strapped down tight wanting to fight anyone and everyone as he screamed at them for trying to kill him. Apparently the detox wasn't all that aware of his Xanax addiction until Mr. Hyde showed up the next day. It was bad. There was one specific hand sanitized dispenser that would jump off the wall and attack him.

All I could think was, no AA? Nothing? How is that possible? I don't see or hear of this kind of willpower much. This kind of wake up call one takes alone, no fellowship or sober camaraderie to speak of. I went to AA everyday at first. Twice a day when I could for the first two or so years. But now that I think of it? I was really whacked out man. Really whacked out..

Maybe I've been spending too much time lately wandering the AA warehouse in the company of alcoholics and drug addicts who just can't grasp the concept of most addicts being addicted to themselves. Alcohol is a symptom of underlying causes. Drink to get drunk yes but also self-centered and selfish to the extreme. Survivors really fighting their own individual wars with themselves. Wrapped in their bondage they simply cannot break free from on their own. Forever looking to win for loosing. Their willpower remains insufficient. They drink and drug for a reason and usually like me? It's not the taste of Smirnoff Blue and stomach bile in the morning or by noon. It's the effect. The temporary removal of the bondage. No more pain.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

 Live! I get it. "Live" my life one day at a time sober in AA. It's the "let live" part that can have me whirling around bumping into things. I kind of thought let live meant muster up a sufficient defense so I wasn't affected by people, thereby letting them be whoever they wanted? Not really a total control freak, more like a manipulator. Bouncing from person to person fancied or real in my head,  placing them in a lesser position than me with justified resentment or justified self seeking motives. That whole they're screwed up and I'm ok thing. I couldn't just raise myself up, I had no self worth on my own. I needed to bring them down first and then arrange them to meet my needs.. Now I'm better than them so go ahead and let them slide as they stumble into my path in my world. Besides, it's one day at a time but we're all in different days right? Sure thing. I can justify anything for an emotional security boost. I really am the worlds Chief critic. The Captain of controversy....

Little did I know, live and let live was just my way of jockeying for position as I go through my day, selfishly creating my own security. Like my selfish interpretation of the sick mans prayer in the Big Book. Pray for the sick bastard. Yeah, poor thing has no idea what they are doing acting as they do. Why don't they simply consult me? Mr. AA. I can let them know what they're doing wrong. Wrong is something I know all about.  Probably not writing or did a lame fifth Step. Not working with others. Maybe they don't believe in God. Yep..I have no problem finding fault, making others pay for how I feel about myself so I don't need to look at myself.. If I'm feeling less than, I simply pump myself up with selfish delusion. That playing God thing. Or playing what I think God is anyway. There! Fixed! Going on through my day creating a trail of bleached bones as I pick everyone clean and create my high self esteem. 

The retaliation comes at many levels from as many angles. I rarely catch it on time, it's constant. All I see is people are in my way, against me, different. Like it's them, their fault first as I can't see myself at all.  That I'm standing on their head or I've kicked them to the curb with my selfish self-seeking attitude. When it comes to creating relationships or intimacy? I'm with a dog at a classic car show. Sooner or later I'm going to jump on a paint job or knock something over. People cringe when I come by. All the while defending my right to take my dog wherever I go as if it's a part of me. I simply cannot see outside myself..So really? The "let live" of the slogan "live and let live" is still all about me. I'm not about to let go of anything and risk vulnerability by letting anyone live their own life. It's the one huge thing in AA that I struggle with. Fear. Letting others be who they are and not being afraid of how they affect me. 

The 12 Steps suggest the spiritual path. I can get on it easy enough each morning in meditation, I'm willing to love and understand everyone.  But staying on it? That takes work for me anyway. "Constantly" I believe is the word used to describe my suggested efforts here in my Step 10. Constantly, as in, all the time? Damn! Who can do that!

 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Surrender was not a sign of weakness anymore. It was strength. The willingness to believe in a spiritual realm was a key element in living life I never knew existed yet, here it was in my face. The God of my own understanding. As if overnight I had calmed down. In spite of my still negative racing mind there was a new kind of peace that came over me.  I wouldn't say I was accountable but I had seemingly stopped running.

 

My first real awareness or say, clarity came on hard and fast as I began the second look at myself while writing my 4th. Sure, the first part was easy as I listed resentments. Pointed the finger at all the people places and things that angered me, got in my way, dominated me my entire life. Yep..It's all their fault. Blame was the tool of the day seemingly everyday as far back as I remembered. Blame had gotten me this far but now without the booze? It was insanity. Untreated alcoholism. The blame was boundless. My willingness to believe in the spirit of things offered courage overpowering blame. A willingness to piece together my fragmented reality seemed to come from nowhere with no real explanation.. I couldn't put my finger on it or selfishly use it to validate myself yet, here it was. A willingness to believe followed by a willingness to put the pen to the paper. In that order.

Could they have been right? "They" meaning whoever was dominating me, jockeying for position, forcing my fear by creating my overwhelming obsession at the time? I was in completely new territory here in the Big Book 12 Steps. It wasn't as simple as them against me no, it was me against them. I had somehow created this whole distorted version of me in my life? So what now? I was not the innocent victim? Then who was I? Blame was such a powerful destructive tool, I couldn't use it against myself. I could see that acceptance was needed but how? I couldn't accept anything really. I had to be in total control in order to validate myself.

Damn! People dominated me. I had a seemingly justified resentment and was beating myself senseless over it. I thought I had the power of anger on my side when actually this anger created complete chaos. These resentments took all my energy to maintain each day. Placing all the responsibility on others for how I felt about myself. They're doing this to me! There was no other explanation. I was fighting it. Fighting to create my own emotional security. 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

A Doctor who shoots himself up with a high powered sedative in the attached garage and hopes to make it to the bedroom before he passes out? Makes sense to me. Or should I say yes, I can imagine it happening.   As they say around the halls? I identify. I can't really compare because I never had a garage and home and dope at the same time. But that's me. And the Doctor thing? I have no idea what it's like to be a Doctor nevermind finish High School. I received a G.E.D. at 35, 8 years sober. I wonder how I can identify with the Doctor Alcoholic Addict at all?

Well? For me? The story of the Doctor and his wife Max isn't really about how much booze or drugs were consumed. It's what happened afterward in sobriety. Being willing to become honest with myself and risk everything by looking at the bigger picture. A willingness to accept a larger picture that includes others where yes, they too have lives and feelings. The 12 Step revelation that, I myself, although living as the extreme example of self will for my entire life? Cannot rely on booze or high powered drugs for relief. And honestly? Although I can't really describe what exactly willingness is? I am willing anyway. There's a kind of power there. A courage.

I am at this point newly sober again and willing to consider the "in my face" fact that life and everyone in it isn't all part of my own personal stage show. It's simply not all about me and I am tired of being a survivor. Always reacting to the world actions as if it's me against my delusions everyday. As if I'm so full of fear I can't see outside of myself. The Book mentions a self imposed crisis I cannot postpone or evade. I kind of get that. Like, it's me. I am creating my malady. Not as if everything is my fault, more like the facts are in and I'm at the center of it. More like, it is what it is. When whatever it is comes around to me and I am involved? It just goes off the rails. I can't put rational thoughts together. I can only create selfish confusion. It's all I can seem to do whether I want to or not. It's not my fault if I have no options..

I've been the director sure, I am running on selfishness to compensate for extreme self centered fear forever arranging people places and things to validate me. To provide me with a sufficient emotional security boost to face myself whoever I am in whatever situation. As the permanent director I have the benefit of being all things to all people. Creating what I believe to be a neutral safe zone in all my affairs. After all? I am rewriting the script every time it comes to me. But how? How can I risk letting others take the lead in the show? What if they don't like me? I know they won't like me. Then what? I fail or others fail and it's my fault? The extreme self centeredness again?

No, this isn't going to be easy. Letting go of my control. Letting others be who they are. Loosing the power of control and being simply a participant. Sure I can see it. I can talk about it. I just don't know how to do it without a self seeking string attached. I am afraid if I let go they will turn on me. All I know is right now just staying sober and going to meetings, I'm fighting for everything I have which is not much. My picture is actually small for something that supposedly encompasses the world and it's people.. So what do they mean by we ceased fighting? What else is there besides fighting? If I let go of fighting I let go of myself? Then what! Maybe they mean I just need to take myself out of the middle of it. Of everything.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

My old sober friend Joe said that short phrase to me one day many years ago. It stuck, I was tattooed. It was what he tried to do each day sober in his own life. "Seek peace and be a right guy" is what was passed on to him from some other AA member who's name I can't recall, maybe his sponsor.. He wasn't a brainwashed Big Book thumper like me, no. He was a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous. The fellowship? The 12 Steps? The meetings meetings meetings, all of it.

There was a kind of validation in being an extremist for me. A mixed message, one to tell myself and one to express to others. I was one of the chosen few? Yet would act much too humble to mention it. Big Book was the only way? Yet I openly admit we are all children of God and have a right to be here. When I heard someone say at a meeting that we are only as sick as our secrets? I was pegged. But misery loves company so as long as someone else was pegged like me? I was ok. The old adage, a drunk safe cracker comes to AA and becomes a sober safe cracker was always good for a chuckle but the truth was there, right there. There was more to this whole Alcoholic thing than the alcohol. As if I considered myself royalty for being such a life long royal screw up.

My defects ran amok. I did change sure, as many were removed while others became obsolete. Some remained for a time, some simply absorbed by enablers, some needed daily attention. Lots of change but not always for the better. (Better) being my ability to seek peace and be a right guy. I could face facts like, I didn't actually hate any particular individual anymore, I just hated everyone equally. I knew this was not recovery, it was more like recoverage. The knack of covering everything up.  My recovery was just change, creating security in the familiar. The problem was still there, the negativity. The comfort in the chaos. The resentment, anger, frustration. People in my way? A breathtakingly haunting past of unresolved issues always circling the mile marker? My mind still raced uncontrollably even in my freshly painted on sober suit of patience love and tolerance...

I was hate, still. I brought the hate. Hate was power, hate was the power of resentment I wasn't ready to completely let go of.  I wanted to sure. I wanted to let go of it all! But kept on arranging and manipulating, I could not completely let it go. I hung on to my "self". Actually some of the worst flaws in my character I could not let go of.. And did my best to validate myself by leaving this selfishness behind for others in ever so subtle ways. Oh, I'm spreading the love. No, not at all. I cannot seem to leave the self seeking behavior behind. I can't let go of the power. Like a male dog peeing on bushes everywhere he goes? I'm marking my meetings as he marks his territory. Always looking for an emotional security boost by selfishly manipulating the security from others. Making others pay with their souls the price of my involvement as if I am here now. Kiss the ring. Like me? Accept me? So I can "like" myself..If not? I will make you pay for how I feel about myself so, one way or another you will be mine. I appear to welcome you when I am sucking you in long enough to get my emotional needs met.

Alone I am still full of contempt. Self pity. I blame life itself for my malady. An extreme example of self will run riot. Alone there is nothing to like. Everyone is a threat to my self serving need for control, for power. It's me against the world and I'm the worst enemy.. I am screwed and cannot hide from myself. The frustration is incredible.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Well? The actual mechanics are made clear in the Book. The program of recovery and directions in masterly detail. Here? I'm just talking a bit of my experience with it.

It says we all have sex problems, we'd hardly be human if we didn't. What can we do about them?  I get that sure. But also believe with me? I had sex symptoms. The only real "problem" I ever had was self centered fear. Fear dominated my life and I in turn medicated myself to cope with it. These coping skills were not the norm, they were self taught or lets say a result of a selfish need to survive. To combat the terminal uniqueness. A way to adjust to that whole overwhelming square peg thing.

Now, a real reach would be that I have pretty much always had a mind and spirit that never were actually working in unison. Maybe addicted to nicotine at birth? Maybe a genetic flaw? I suppose anyone could fill in the blank here. Picked up other unresolved family sex issues as my own? Others took their fears out on me?Beating me with selfishness until I was no longer moving or a presumed threat.. Maybe to be under control I was to become invisible. But from what I myself have seen in an effort to connect the dots in my downhill spiral? I walked straight into a cement sign post. Trauma in early childhood had separated my mind and spirit as if exposed to an emotional hand grenade blast. I was blown apart. To recover by myself? Absorb the blow? I would need to rely on my mind now. My spirit was no longer there. It was dispersed into my surroundings and nolonger accessible.

 Others rage, the intensity of their anger and hate, fear. Violence. This is what I see, this is who I am. I believe what others believe now. I have lost the power of choice , the courage and strength of the spirit. I am alone now with only my fear of people and people hate me so now? I hate me too. I am angered by myself now, extremely frustrated as I live in disconnect. Apart from, as they say. This is all new. I am shocked and can only see myself as others see me now.

Broken apart from the norm where apparently children are able to be children. To learn and develop? That's not happening, I am definitely an oddball, different. My mind wants to follow the norm and interact, communicate. Participate. But the courage offered by my spirit is not available. There is no power, no willingness. I am nothing. I am just like they said, a nothing. And worse? I will never be anything but a nothing. I have no future. My past is gone and I cannot negotiate the present. My only hope is to find people that like me, accept me for who I am. But what do I offer them for friendship, acceptance? I have nothing.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Anonymity at the level of radio press and film? What does that really mean? I suppose it's wise to have a look at who I'm actually dealing with in AA before I can understand anonymity. Why Alcoholics (Anonymous)? Why would being anonymous protect the sober member and the fellowship as a whole? If something works for some why not make a movie about it or grab a Mr. Microphone and share it with the world? Turn up the volume! (( Hey good lookin!! we'll be back to pick you up for an AA meeting later!!)) Most are only trying to help right? Get excited about recovery? Have a heart, share a heart.  A new found hope. Actually participate in something positive for once?  Do less harm? The happy joyous and free turn that frown around make lemonade thing. No more pain, please no more pain....

Many newcomers like I was cannot see themselves yet, and lacking sufficient coping skills feel completely abandoned in every corner of their life. Wife no wife, kids no kids, job no job.. Even your old reliable basement bedroom (safe place to isolate and masterbate) at Ma's house has been turned into a den. You're out and sober. It's fly or die. You better do something like, now! Today!

So you surrender and go to the treatment center where you grab a plate and enter the recovery buffet line with everyone else. Where everyone is an addict so there is no stigma, no blame. Only drama as I look at myself. Still a crisis, me them whoever. I get a glimpse at my people problem. A peek at fear. I've removed myself from my addiction obsessed life but am still a mess. I wouldn't recognize myself in a mirror. I am only seeing what I believe is safe to see. I am afraid to let go.

Three meals a day? Yes. Clean bed to sleep in for maybe 28 days at least? Yes. Half way house or sober living facility afterwards? We'll see. Reclaimed personal hygiene? Yes please. Friends? Yes. Group therapy centered on addiction? Ok. Pretty girls your age? Just a little. Higher Power? No thanks.

I have found a new camaraderie in the world of the clean and sober. A safe environment I easily mistake as reality. A world where I am judged by my intentions like Lucky Larue. Yes it's a crazy nutty world on the outside as much as on the inside but I'm getting that whole (I am he and you are he as you are me and we are all together) thing.. My treatment center stay offers emotional security, a newly discovered strength in numbers. There is no anonymity. 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Step 4. Next we launched out on a course of vigorous action. Well? I may have wanted to launch? I may have been boxed in and choking on reoccurring sharp fragments of my history, gasping for my seemingly last breath for the absolute last time. The really really last time. At this point in my sobriety I wanted to pick up the pen more than anything if only because others were doing it and I wanted to be like them.. Or simply because I had never been this desperate. Especially sober and able to feel the desperation and fear.

So, simple enough. We listed people whom we had resentment toward. With whom we were angry or had been. I can do this! My life is on the line here! Just quitting drinking is shaky at best, I get that..I'll eventually pick up the alcohol again unless I can find out why I need it so badly. The answers are in the 4th. I know it. So that's it then. I'll go home and get quiet as suggested by my sponsor. Pray for direction from the Higher Power. Get the Big Book out and read Step 3. Get my new 9x12 spiral bound notebook there in front of me and a good pen with lots of ink.  Find out what is at the root of my alcoholic symptoms? This is it! My big chance to get some answers. Why I've been such a screw up my entire life and drank like I did.!

May as well review the 3 pertinent ideas also in preparation. The abc's on the page wrapping up Steps 1 and 2 leading me into my 3rd Step decision. (A) I'm alcoholic and cannot manage my own life. (B) probably no human power can relieve my alcoholism. (C) God could and would if He were sought. Yup. I am convinced. I have made my decision.

I'm ready to launch! My life on the line. The program of recovery laid out in masterly detail lies ahead. I have the willingness. I am ready to get down to causes and conditions surrounding my alcoholism. This is my life or death mission. I'll write for atleast 2 hours tonight. Get my list of people institutions and principles down, maybe even finished!

Suddenly the thought hits me. It comes over me like a warm snuggly security blanket and I feel happy joyous and free.. Is that new girl going to be at the meeting tonight? Seeing I'm putting all this effort in preparing myself to write my 4th Step? I'm working the program right? I am thinking about it? Discussing it with myself. Maybe God sent her to me. Maybe she's Gods will for me. So, I'll go to the meeting tonight and follow through on what may be Gods will. I will absolutely start my writing tomorrow night.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

 I was standing in the coffee line at a good sized local AA open speaker meeting one night. Basically? A mess from fighting my way through the people forest all day by myself.. I arrived late and was scanning the hall for a open seat. I saw one up front and thought, no way. No protection there. I'm too self centered right now to negotiate the labyrinth of people who generally would not mix, right? To get there, smack dab in front of the podium.. I was on the outside looking in at this point. Like the untreated looking for treatment. Wondering what this meeting can do for ME. The thought of what I could bring? It was blocked by self centered fear. It just wasn't there. No courage. People dominated me.

The speaker at the podium is basically engaged in a full on profanity laced verbal assault on AA's spiritual principle. Live without the let live part. Also selfishly thumbing his nose at the letter sent around the halls from home base New York for the group secretary to read at the beginning of each AA meeting. Respectfully suggesting to please be conscious of profanity as it's not a very positive reflection of the AA spiritual program. He didn't care. It wasn't a spiritual program to him, anyone could see it was all about him first before any God or Gods. Here he was, the Alpha-holic..Telling "his" way as if pitching a kitchen magician infomercial. Doing his best to overwhelm you, control, box you in.

Or, if it was spiritual? And he had some conception of God that empowered the fragmented dictatorship he presented? Or had that whole gutter mouth and God relationship I hear about sometimes. Like God and he are buds and he and God shared profanity laced prayers because well? They are that close.. He was obviously entitled to do or say, act any way he wished as his free speech as he saw to express it, was more important than silly small time AA where some of us are here to clean up our acts. That makes no difference if you can't see you're dirty or bow out of the brainwash.. I get it. That whole "I'm here to stop drinking only" thing... So any one there was basically at a Bob's Anonymous meeting or Joe's maybe.. Whatever the speaker's name was? This was not an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I thought to myself what's next? Podium politics! Global gossip? The speakers view on Syrian gas attacks? Gun control?The guy I recently bought a new truck from was Russian...Should I change my sobriety date?

 My first reaction was, what did I just walk into? The usual negative banter at the Wise Cracker Lounge on payday? Raising our glasses and self esteem to those fools who aren't divorced or fired or broken hearted parents like us? No holes barred here! Everyone is screwed up and we're ok tonight.

One after another he flattened boundaries as he overtook the room..  Napalm, Dynamite, Gun powder, Toxic gas, Small arms fire, Character assassination.. We were pinned down and getting hit hard by this act of self will run riot, surviving at best.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Speaking for myself? An alcoholic who mistakes their mind for their spirit like I did for many years? Remains untreated or unable to support sufficient change in overcoming the hopelessness of alcoholism.. Their growth will remain stunted under a self serving low ceiling in an attempt to find a intellectual cure for their spiritual malady.This popular trap is easy to fall into. Denying the Spiritual malady exists.

We're talking addiction on a mass scale today so, of course there will be options offered that feed the masses. It would be irresponsible if there weren't. Like fast food. We as a society feed our bellies and also our minds while opting to neglect the spiritual realm for lack of the instant gratification offered with say, a ready and waiting Big Mac and fries on the fly. Benzos or opiates can rescue a drowning mind from a bad day in seconds to minutes. Meds can change us also but unless followed by an attempt at mind altering willingness of some kind? (Willingness being the key to the spirit). The meds stop and so do we.

Most are at best medically warehoused for a time only to pick up their old mindset again assuming over time a different result awaits. The selfish thinking of the survivor.. As if life would be complete if only they bring back the McRib. In actuality? We're starving ourselves on pork flavored chicken nuggets but at the moment? With a little BBQ sauce? The hunger problem is solved!  No different than making our own arrangements to have our minds meet our needs for a quick fix feel good diet of people to save me, help me in the ever unfolding drama we can't control.. Give me people who understand right now! Who will validate me! But without spirit? We are starving there also as if drinking people until we are overdosed and sick.. 

Like buying a new shirt will bring attention from others? I mistake attention for acceptance. Notice me and I think I know what you think. I love my new shirt so you must also. In my selfish mind and sometimes self seeking actions I arrange you to think like I think so now? I can trust you. It's all about you and me now if only for a moment in time. My needs are met as if my fast food order is ready. The problem here is I alone don't like myself and have just arranged you to cosign me as if you were me. So in reality? Now? I don't like you. How could I? I hate myself already and suffer daily with no self worth and now I have you acting just like me so.. Do I subconsciously make myself pay for being a hypocrite? Maybe...Is there a part of me that is aware of my constant dishonesty yet remains inaccessible? Where I bounce off my low ceiling of self reliance? Yes, maybe, not sure, I don't know.

I need control. I need to create my own emotional security.So I rely on my own selfish thinking to make these arrangements and overcome my fear and self-centeredness, power through it all. Create my above average level of self esteem by stealing some of yours? You now like me so, I now like me. This is the extreme selfishness of the hopeless state of alcoholism as I have seen time and again in my life as I strive to surrender to the Higher Spirit of all things each day to live sober. This is my best thinking. A seemingly ongoing war between good and evil each day sober no different than each day drinking. More mental hopscotch. Nothing changes until I am willing to address the Spiritual malady.

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