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Stepsherpa

Stepsherpa

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

I didn't get it at first. The whole "it's all about me" thing. The selfishness of my alcoholism. The root of my spiritual malady. Me, what I think. How I put myself at the center of all thought. Self centeredness? Yes. Extreme self centeredness. I would tend to lean toward those who would say I was being too hard on myself. Until I saw myself using that selfish angle too. A victim? Yeah. Feed my self-pity. What an endless stream of attention I could receive when acting as the depressed. Believing myself depressed. Unable to find my way out of myself.

Acting as my own worst enemy was like opening a petcock of attention from others who felt the need to offer suggestion. Hey, act better than me? Smarter? Whatever as long as I'm the center of it all. Bad press is still press.

Like the thief? I steal my emotional security from others or my fancied arrangement of others in my mind. My altered reality. I apply everything I can find in others to crate my self worth. I used to think it was as simple as manipulating others to like me so I could like myself but...It goes much much deeper.

I'm talking professional survivor here. A lifer. Not some light weight no. Every minute of every day I am out to fend for myself and myself only. Harsh? Yes. Very much so. Fortunately for me? Others can see bits of themselves in me so I get away with being considered sick. A sick alcoholic. Rum dumb.

Truth be told? Since my spirit was stolen? I am and have pretty much always been a virus. A predator of the worst kind. I am kind, considerate, modest and self sacrificing on the outside? While mean, selfish, inconsiderate and self-centered on the inside. My outer stage presentation is generally all things to all people. Leader, follower, mirror image, whatever it takes to get my own needs met.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

I rescued my cat from the New Hampshire wilderness. Poor thing. A seemingly helpless kitten sure to become tasty "take out" for any number of predators lurking in the woods beyond the tree line. She was infested with fleas, the hard shell black ones. Mountain fleas. Not the soft shell city flea you can simply pick and squish. No, his or her (not sure) little body had been invaded. It was up to me now. My compassion, my feminine side. I would save her. Rescue her from eminent danger, the seemingly natural course of events to come. I knew what was best and stepped up. I am an AA man on a mission from God.

 

Actually? She was not that much different than my girlfriend I met at the AA Christmas Alcathon. Not the him/her thing. The rescue I mean. She was being serenaded by a group of blood thirsty vampires and I was there to save her life..These men and boys wanted one thing only. To make her their zombie. Their own personal stay home mom. A permanent security blanket at home so they could cruise the AA circuit feeding on the flesh and feelings buffet. Sucking on the emotional security of the new girls. I would change all that and make her mine. I would treat her right. She will love and respect me in return. I'll give her a good healthy AA life.

 

Anyway..I went straight to the pet store and bought the high dollar dual diagnosis flea collar. Money not an issue here when it comes to saving lives. It was guaranteed to kill fleas and also pretty much anything else living within a two foot radius.  A hasmat suit, respirator, and rubber gloves came in the box so, I put on the gloves.. After a few days with this collar on she was certified clean. Job well done. Eh, except for an odd eye twitch that supposedly would subside with a little time and was considered a rare side effect. I tried to read the chemical make up of the flea collar but to no avail. I was used to seeing buzz words like high fructose corn syrup while analyzing ingredients and not familiar with chemicals surrounding the breakdown of a flea's nervous system resulting in death. I tried to make out the tiny words, something something Nazi something, twins maybe. Not for use on kittens. Strange. 

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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

I left some money under the seat in my truck thinking I was somehow hiding it from myself. Really? I was just afraid to take it all with me. Not sure how much, maybe a grand or more. A small stack compared to what I separated into two pockets. Most of the wad came with me. Left pocket was for when the right pocket was empty and I had a moment to consider my options before replenishing the empty pocket. All hundreds except for the one I broke to fill up with gas on the way. The lesson learned, words of advice taken long ago...Never go to the Casino without a full tank to get home. I briefly wondered how this tidbit of common sense was available. As if setting myself up? Is this a sign post? Plain old denial? What? Obviously I wasn't stupid? It made me feel secure like I was thinking or, using my head maybe, doing the right thing. But that's where the self reliance stopped. The blurry line somewhere between making sure you could get home or proactive? And gambling with my life.

 I had previously won big "for my league" and got out of town with most of it...The scenic ride over Donner Summit up $6800. and headed for the coast dreaming of all I could buy.. See ya later Nevada! Thanks! I got new tires on the way home and a much needed washer dryer set with plenty of cash to spare. Plus putting back in the bank the money I brought with me, every penny. I was truly winning. I couldn't wait to go back Jack, and... do it again.

 

Then the rain came down. Don't gamble when you're broke. Rational thinking I guess? Probably works for the stiffs. My last trip to Reno was a total loss from the start.. It was bad. Somehow I believed this time would be different. I would win big and stop just like before. Like there was such a thing as a blinding winning streak. Keep it coming. Quit my day job. Take my winnings and go home once a week that's all, just once a week and the rest of the time enjoy my time not working. Maybe enter toe emotional world of sports betting. Now, I only lost about $2800, but I needed that $2800. That wasn't from some savings account or shoebox, that money was accounted for already. It was for my current bills. I had been living barely week to week. I was actually broke and had just enough to pay what was basically due or over due. So really? I had stolen the money from myself and creditors to begin with and the pressure was on to double or triple it. As I drove home this time with the hole in my soul? Feeling like I had laid myself down on a drill press and just tore a hole in my chest, I told myself.. self I said? I will never do that again. I had surely learned the gambling lesson. Alcoholic? Gambler? Compulsive? Delusional? Well, yeah. Even who I was became a crap shoot. My entire life was a gamble.

 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Money! money! money! money! Now sober and working? Look at all the money I've got. I me mine! Hundreds laid out on the bed. Me and my money! This is great! Finally I am somebody..

Ok sure I hear at the meetings about the hole in the soul? The flawed character, defective even? Dysfunctional behavior yeah yeah..Lacking in responsibility, no coping skills. Not anymore no, not me. I've got money!

So now what? Lesson number 454 in living sober. Fear of financial insecurity will leaves us? When! Lesson number 453 was if I don't brush my teeth they rot and fall out and I got that. And lesson number 452 that led to lesson 453, I can't live on cookies and milk. AND lesson number 451 that started it all,  go to the Dr. when something is wrong with me. Lesson 450, does everybody get weird rashes on their face? No. It's as if I have no common sense, yet I know not to walk in front of a speeding bus? I just don't get it. There's got to be a line somewhere. Somewhere between inward and outward reality. Lesson number 449. I'm not everybody? And 448, slow it down to 24 hours at a time? Cripes! What ever happened to lesson number 2, keep it simple. That's freaken long gone. Now I'm hung up on lesson 449 and just moved on? I can handle it? Give it to me I'll fix it? I know what's best for everybody? But that never works. That was lesson 2 hundred something I think. I can't manage this mess!

 

I've got money but I don't know what to do with it? I can't manage it properly? Really? What am I a 2 year old? I'm 28 years old! A grown man! Damn this whole alcoholic thing.. Damn it to hell! I would do just about anything to be normal. Or what I think normal is. This is it then. Alcoholism. This is why I can't have nice things. It's the alcoholic curse, I can't blame the alcohol anymore, I stopped drinking it. I'm doomed to live in the ism!

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

 Sometimes I do wish I was one of the smarter ones in AA. The educated crowd. That like them, I could read and retain with sufficient memory what others seem to easily grasp. AA history? Additions to sober living through Carl Jung philosophies or Emmet Fox teachings. Christianity? Buddhism? The progressive understanding and effectiveness of Bill Wilson's experience with religions. If only I could see clearly the relevancy of some letter written from Bill W to Sister Ignatia in the AA archives or grasp the undertones of Dr Bobs religious base. I would love to be able to remember who alcoholic number three was and be available for discussion when it arises with the new man? The name of the Hospital where the guy in the bed picture was from? What year Alanon was formed or the first 12/12 published? I would quote old Grapevine articles with assurance.

 

Participate, be a part of it all when and wherever? Ebby? Sure, Ebby was to become Bills sponsor? Spiritual advisor maybe? He shows up at Bills door unrecognizable   on fire from the religious leanings of the..the.. I can't remember. ((Oxford Group)) Got it! The Oxford group. But I can't retain any of it really. Even if I am lucky and remember it.. It's been proven time and again that even at my sharpest? My best? I still suffer in self. The selfishness and fear are still here. Oh not anywhere near the paralyzing selfishness and fear I showed up with but still here and there lurking. Oddly, my hope lies in the simple willingness suggested in the Big Book 12 Step format. No intellect needed really.. I am willing therefore I am. Not willing and I become nothing. Fortunately I can grasp the importance of willingness. I have found, seen times where all I seem to have is willingness? I am ok with just willingness. I get it. Willingness is indispensable. I read it in the Book and retain it throughout my day. Simple, yes, simple is good for me..

 

 The big question I ask myself arises often? Especially when wallowing in a new or seemingly reoccurring blank spot. How have I lived this long in this world being so incredibly burnt out in the head? I mean really now, I am freaken fried yet still manage to live sober and follow a suggested spiritual path in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. The Book says I am to give away what I have found. What could anyone possibly want that I have to offer? All I have really found is willingness. How do I give my willingness away? Doesn't another need their own willingness?

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

It's coming hard and fast. Building momentum in the past say 10 years. Pushing. Huffing and puffing at the door. Will it finally get inside? Will abstinence be overthrown? Replaced with a six gun filled with magic recovery bullets?

 

Do no harm. I get it. Nobody I know anyway wants to harm anyone. Intentionally anyway. We've seen pain, we've lived the suffering of untreated alcoholism. We feel pain and fear whether it's ours or someone else's. Many of us like myself are co-dependent. I live others lives as a hopeful alternative to my own fragmented realities. Sometimes there is short term relief. It's difficult to measure. It's more like seeking security in the familiar. I do what I believe or at least think others want and they're going to be happy so in turn I'm happy. That whole like me so I can like myself chestnut.

Then again, nobody I know lives by the Hippocratic oath. It's not an AA requirement. We're generally not doctors, healers, hell we're not even missionaries. We're alcoholic men and women who have found recovery in the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. In my world? The Big Book 12 Step world? This suggested program of recovery begins with a admission of hopelessness. There is no selfie stick and book on positive affirmations offered. Just the admitted loss of reasoning needed to simply take a drink of alcohol or leave it alone. A powerlessness. That is my ticket. My winning ticket. 

Seemingly we are a doomed lot. The fellowship offers opportunity. A comfort zone for those of us who find a new beginning through kindly acts every night at the AA meetings. Camaraderie, emotional security offered to those of us who's lives have been ravaged in the grips of alcoholism. So yeah. We're damaged people. We don't want to hurt anybody anymore than we already have. We have been rescued. AA is our safe place and for once? We are not afraid when people are kind. There is nothing to steal.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

It's about giving, I get it. Giving freely, learning to give freely I should say. Willingness. Sharing myself, my abilities, my sober benefits, without expectation. Grace. 

 

It's easier to give at Christmas, most everybody's doing it. Christians anyway. I'm more than not Christian myself. Enough to not show "full frontal" in the Garden of Eden anyway. So it's my time of year to move freely. I can give a little or actually give a lot more. Awareness is high. I could give everything I have away and get away with it so Yeah! I'm ready to get in line and give freely of what I have found..

I found a new place to give this year. (((THE NURSING HOME))). It's a heavy place really. Mostly emotionally torn up roads that detour or close and end here.. On any given day the people coming in and out are struck with emotion coping with their elderly and sick. Family members putting their axes down for a hour visit in peace. The old man walking back to his car five times to check on himself. Lost and alone while his wife lays in her room waiting for it all to end. What do you do here? What do I have to offer here? Everything I have cannot measure up to the needs of these people.

In years past the family shelters, halfway houses and such. They were easy in comparison. Not that there's anything easy about a battered women shelter of Family holding shelter, no. Absolutely not. I mean wrapped winter hats and gloves, mittens and puzzles well, It was a easy fit in comparison for me. Me, not them. I could buy a pile of seemingly good stuff and wrap it all up and drop it off at the shelter Christmas eve. Done.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

I'm referring to one of my experiences with the 7th Step of the program of recovery as it is laid out in masterly detail in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was not about the conception of God anymore really. That is pretty clear. I have my personal beliefs in a spirit underlying the totality of all things. I'm good. Nobody can talk me out of or around it. This is about the process of surrender to this power that goes back to the beginning with my willingness to put down the booze. Actually a time I didn't think mattered really in light of what was to come next.

The willingness to believe turned commitment to my own sobriety has varied over time from the Heavenly Father, Mother earth and sky, to Quin the Eskimo, and back again and again.  It's the process, the willingness to take action I can now see in others who value their own conceptions that may be quite different than my own. I am no longer alone yet have my own beliefs. I am not afraid as there is nothing to defend, nothing to steal.

It's the willingness that binds us. The willingness to give freely. The freedom from self centered fear.  We can be vulnerable, we can take a risk with the emotional security offered through our willingness. I begin to live in the new world as if born again into the old. Step 7 is my second chance at life. The whole new pair of glasses thing. It's all just not about me anymore and well? I am relieved..

The Big Book Step 7 is short reading. I can assume it is also short in understanding. Limited in it's content. It isn't, there's a lot there. It just appeared that way as I still remained at times under a heavy fog of new found recovery. Unable to grasp the magnitude of the Big Book 12 Step process. It is a summary of my sobriety to this 12 Step halfway point with questions like, reviewing the first five proposals is my work solid so far? Yes. Am I cutting corners with my own selfish arrangements? No. Am I in fear of losing my emotional security if I let go of people or emotional enablers? Sort of still so I pray for willingness.. Are their any obvious half measures? No. Am I making mortar without sand, forcing my way through this whole 12 Step thing? No. Am I willing to serve my God and fellows who may or may not be suffering. Yes. This is who I am now, this is my purpose. My willingness is strong. The Book says it's indispensable and I agree. I see it now. The willingness is indispensable. I get it..

Now Steps 8 and 9. I will need room to move if I am to serve this purpose so it's time to clear up my street. I am sober yes and willing yes but still outside my AA safety net is a world of selfish bondage that chokes me, limits my movement. But I have seen myself in my 4th. It was me mostly. I am accountable.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Well? Detox is hopefully behind you. You're finally sober and going to AA meetings everyday. Some days it's a life or death mission and others you're simply going along with the gag still unaware of what it is to be grateful. There is a difference now between happy joyous and free and impending gloom and doom. The one dimensional view,  trying to kill yourself has changed. It's now a full feature movie with lots of rewrites creating a new you that comes and goes with each daily curtain call. You're a participant in a fellowship of empowerment with it's positive affirmations.

The old you just a harmless shadow in tow around the halls. You're safe for now as another shining AA beacon of hope. A room full of people as a buffer between you and your past. They like you, they really like you and with that? You like you.. Sober and strong, you tow your self around easily engulfed in camaraderie and fellowship. As if the past has not gone away but it's not here either. For today. It's one day without one drink, get to a meeting, and repeat while everything else is circling at the mile marker. No pressure here, You have plenty of time to clear the runway. Some even say do a Step a year although that doesn't seem right..

Yes you're weird but it's no secret. It's not a bad thing, right? Everybody is weird. It's just with the alcoholic like you claim to be? The extremist? When you said your name at the meeting and you were actually alcoholic? You have to wonder. Is there more to it? 

Life is a baffling ball of confusion you seem to always pick up and take home right? Right? When whatever it is becomes too much? Or you seem to use up all the weird in the room so others are all seemingly normal? You quit and retreat to some point of emotional security. Usually the nothing. The nothing, where denial reigns. Neither a happy or sad place really, just nothing. Booze or no booze. 

Blame is the defensive weapon of choice with it's justified feelings of betrayal. Selfishness and fear on all sides brought on by others you're sure. It's them, they broke the connection. They've abandoned you, you're on your own. Again with the people! With blame you fight back as the underdog. Alone now, shielded in self-pity you win. You are validated in the self, the nothing... You're ok now in your familiar hurt, for a while anyway. Whatever it was or is? It's everyone else's fault. When delusion is all you know well, you welcome the security of it. It is safe, familiar.   

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

The Big Book is pretty much all out Christian. I mean sure, you can deny it if you like, if denial makes more room for you and your own philosophy. Some deny Christianity simply because they don't like the word or what they believe it represents.. I know I did?  I couldn't even say the word God in the beginning so any willingness to believe was directed to a Higher Power not God. God meant religion. Religion meant Catholic. My cousin was Catholic and I hated my cousin so I hated Catholics.

It's just when you stretch the Higher Power thing out to include a doorknob? As if a doorknob represents an object with no human power? You lost me in the end zone. That old school is a bit too old for me. I say reel it back in a few years to atleast when people did read and follow the 12 Step directions in the Big Book. Or both Books, Big Book and 12/12.

  Bill with his documented mixed beliefs, his willingness is progressive. Beginning in the Big Book with the "my own conception" suggestion?   Ending with calling the one true God by name in the 12/12 with a nudge and a wink. He means Jesus! See! I told you! It's a Jesus thing! SUCKERS!

Oddly I don't seem to care once I see it for what it really is. Jesus? Ok, what's next. At least I'm not following Jim Jones to Ghana. I can follow Bills experience, his experience is safe. I identify with Bill. I can do this, I can be open minded. I'm all alone now anyway so who cares what I believe?

Then comes Bob with his heavenly Father story and Silkworth co-signing it all. Ok fine, AA is loaded with Christian undertones but what about me? The suffering agnostic alcoholic who has but a tiny chip of willingness? I lean toward Bill. Bob is creepy and Silkworth represents authority so he's out. So that's settled. All hail Bill W.. Have I chosen wisely? For me? Yes. All of it was too overwhelming so I needed to choose a side. If not I would compare until I compared myself out of AA altogether. Sabotaging my recovery as usual because I couldn't figure it all out and control it. I would need to quit, cut and run. Again.

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