Just Another Recovering Person

Archive for June, 2009

The Side Effects of Recovery

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The mafia hit my house last night…….
Time Warner Cable

In a push to make my life more convenientI have bundled service (cable, phone, internet) through Time Warner. So as the service goes down at 5:30 pm last night (was still out at 7 am this morning when I left for work) so goes my connection to the outside world. No email, no phone, no news. So as I am sitting there watching my son play Sonic for the Wii, my cell phone rings and rings and rings. Some of the side effects of recovery can be cauliflower ears, loss of hearing in the right ear, and even head trauma…especially if your signifcant other hits you in the head with something to get your attention because you have been on the phone too long.

I took 3 calls last night, 2 text messages, and they all dealt with situations with spouses, ex-girlfriends, and wives. I have learned when I speak to the guys I sponsor, it is not unusual for my wife to blurt out something when I am talking because she does not understand what I am trying to convey to the person I am speaking to. She is looking at things from a non-addict perspective and even though she has the best of intentions, it does not help. I usually end up outside on the phone for privacy and concentration.

I learned very early on not to go beyond my experience level…….
2 reasons:

It does not help them
It does not help me

Alot of what my guys were talking about last night is that they want me to solve their problems for them or tell them exactly what to do. I got caught up in this early on thinking I was helping and I wasn’t. Today, I have to be more realistic than this and let them know at some point common sense has to prevail. That decisions need to be made, not based on impulse, but rather based in facts. I have been stressing this in my own recovery as of late…..

What are the facts of the situation?

I can make up all kinds of here-say, rumor, and inconsistencies  based on my thinking and consulting myself on my own problems. But what are the facts? There is a line in the Basic Text that rings as true today as when I first read it.
If it isn’t practical, it’s probably not Spiritual. I need to be able to have the willingness to look at all sides, and make sound decisions based on facts, not on feelings. In the past when I made decisions based on feelings, all bets were off. Alot of people got hurt, myself included. So I need to be able to step back and look at the situation, gather the facts, talk to others, and make decisions about my own life.

At some point I need to move my life forward and participate in it.

It seems easy to trade opinion or advice for experience especially when I am trying to help. In the end, if I move away from experience and tread into areas were my ego is the guiding voice instead of experience, a dangerous road lies ahead. It’s not one I am willing to walk or guide anyone down today.

Take Care…..Bob D.


Left Holding the Bag that’s not Really There

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So as she stormed up the steps in a 15 year old tantrum she uttered the words, “Fuck You Bitch”. At first I was like, Oh Hell No, she did not just say that to me. So because I do what I do, I stormed up after her and told her in no uncertain terms that she was not going to speak to me or her mother like that again. She told me I had “Hit my head, to get out of her room, and Fuck You”.  So I smacked her mouth and her leg, and went downstairs.

I was out of breath, out of patience, out of my mind with anger. 30 minutes passes and she comes downstairs and gets a yogurt out of the refrigerator and sits on the counter and acts as if nothing has happened. We try and talk with her. She begins to tell me that she blames me for all of the problems that caused us to move 6 years ago, that I ruined our finances, that it is my fault. I told her that I had problems, but her mother and I also made some bad financial decisions. I asked her where she had gotten this story from.

She turned and looked at her mother…….

I felt like I had been left holding a bag that wasn’t really there to start with. My daughter then asked me why I did the things I did. I told her it was my fault, that I have an inability to deal with life and it was an easy escape. She began to cry and told us that she thought it was her fault. That she was the reason I used drugs. I told her no, and we talked for about an hour. After we were done my wife turns to me and say. “You know that was all an act to get out of trouble, right”?

It felt like the wind had been taken out of my sails. It hadn’t been 4 hours earlier I was sitting in a car dealership, proud, proud of myself for my credit score not being as bad as I thought. Proud I made the decision to take that old 1987 Chrysler 5th Avenue and another trade-in to get a decent car. For the first time in my life I would be driving a newer vehicle that I would not need to have 2 names to sign for. A 2002 Toyota. I was able to not rely on my wife to handle it for me, I did the work, took the responsibility, and drove off the lot with it.

It’s like in the movie “A Christmas Story” towards the end a grown Ralphie’s voice says, “When our joy is at it’s zenith the unexpected happens”.  I spoke to my sponsor last night. He told me last night I looked preoccupied. I told him it has been a roller coaster the last month. With my daughter, my wife’s mother, my wife. Sometimes I feel like I am sponsoring my wife! She is having such a difficult time with her mom because her mother won’t make any decisions about her life. She wants us to fix it for her and we can’t. She has to make the decision. My wife understands this but her mom just wants to call and complain about how terrible her life is and why isn’t anyone helping her, when that is all that has been done, people helping. This gets my wife worked up to the point where she is too emotional to deal with the in’s and outs of our lives.

It’s a short work week of 4 days because of the holiday. I am hoping for a nice 3 day weekend with my family. Trying to heal a family is more difficult than I ever imagined. I have to leave it in God’s hands because it’s easy to see what my hands did.

Take Care…..Bob D.

It Was 1983 and My Neighbor Had Cable

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I remember sitting around the glowing box and it’s new found fascination with a generation courtesy of MTV. The countdown had begun to the World Premiere of Michael Jackson’s epic video “Thriller”. Being from a small town in Ohio when the “World Premiere” label was attached it gave it some weight, I mean even our small town was included. I remember watching the video and thinking it was pretty cool. A lot of video’s then were cool. Why it is MTV even has a channel still on the air today I’m not sure of. Do they still even show video’s? Anytime I turn it on there’s some bullshit reality show on. Anyway it was a chance back then for us to watch and see a creative process of blurring music and art together into one genre.

The death of Michael Jackson brings about memories for me of a different time. I was watching the news last night and CNN should be ashamed of themselves. Trying get people to talk about his problems past and present with every “guest” who was on the air last night. What about his finances, what about the molestation charges from 2005, what about The Neverland Action, is this a result of painkillers or prescribed medications. I am sure there will be a slew of shows, specials, and investigative reports dedicated to these subjects, but for right now can’t we just let it be known that The King of Pop has died?
Instead of a celebration of his life and music, once again we are asked to revisit every negative thing that happened with him over his 40 year music career. All that really needs to be said is, “He was Michael Jackson-The King of Pop”.

I watched some of the shows last night dedicated to Farrah Fawcwett. I had that poster from 1978. I always thought Ryan O’Neil was a schmuck until I watched the show last night. The guy loved her. They were meant to be.

I was coming in to work this morning with my Krispy Kreme doughnut and there was a guy coming towards me to cross the street. It was more than obvious that he is blind. The company that trains seeing eye dogs are constantly downtown putting the dogs through their paces, so it is not unusual to see seeing impaired folks downtown. This guy was alone and trying to cross the street and fell down. I approached him and asked if he needed help. He told me no. He was struggling to get up and I asked him if he was sure. He said, “well I guess I could use a hand”. I helped him up and asked him where he was headed and he told me. I pointed him in the right direction and told him to be mindful that downtown has some raised bricks at the crosswalk intersections. He went on his way.

I came inside to work and cried.

I don’t know why. I didn’t tell the story so people would pat me on the back for being a human being. No one saw me do what I did, except God. Maybe it was because my motives were pure. Maybe it’s because I can feel empathy. Maybe it’s because at some point in our lives we are all blind, stumble, and need a helping hand up. We struggle and then say, Yes, I guess I could use a hand. Those who can’t or won’t often find themselves still laying in the dirty streets of life……struggling.

Got It Figured Out?

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I went to my home group last night and it was hotter than hell in the gym of the church. I knew there was something I had forgotten about summertime in that church and it is the heat. We had a speaker last night. She has over 6 years clean and spoke about 10 minutes. I was surprised and disappointed in a sense. It’s not that she told using stories (in a way she did but didn’t it was weird) it’s just that I guess I was expecting more. It was like reading one of the stories from one of the previous editions of The Basic Text. I used, I got clean, and things are OK. It’s incomplete. I mean I don’t have to hear every detail of her life but it’s always helpful to hear what works and sometimes more importantly what doesn’t work.

There was a ton of time left over so the chairperson asked if anyone had a topic. The topic of having a support group was brought up. It seemed like a good topic until 15 minutes into it my concentration began to wain. It was just too hot. I spoke briefly on the topic, and then the meeting was over.

On a different subject……..

I have been writing on here a little over a week. I have written almost everyday or every other day on different sites for almost 3 years now. It’s not that I feel I need to keep a diary or journal. I have found it very therapeutic to put the stuff that runs through my head down on paper. Sometimes it only makes sense or nonsense after I read it later. Putting my thoughts and my actions down for others to see doesn’t necessarilymake me more accountable to anyone, because I have the power to edit! It does however make me more accountable to myself. It allows me to see patterns and motives. It was like that yesterday and everyday. I told a guy I sponsor that things get revealed to us as we are ready for them. It never fails when I say something cool like that it’s not that far down the road that it applies directly to me. I don’t believe in coincidences and luck is for losers, so when some things were made apparent to me yesterday (Judging Others and Not Talking to People in My Own Support Group Enough) I paid attention. It’s so easy to give experience these days and not follow it myself. A friend out the meeting reminded me in a comment last night:

“When I believe I have this figured out, my mind will tell me I no longer need to do this, and then I am headed for trouble”.

I hope you enjoy your day……
Bob D.

Dad..Your Not an Addict Anymore


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This is what my son said to me last night. I had to take it with a grain of salt because he was in trouble for breaking the rules at the pool and got ejected for a day. Manipulation runs rampant in the family affected by addiction which is a family disease. I have come to understand and take responsibility for my actions and have done my best by not only making verbal amends to them, but also living amends to do the best I can today.

It started with a couple of phone calls from guys I sponsor. I used to complain that no one called, not they call every night. Ahhhh… being of service to others. While I was speaking to one fellow this is when we found out our son had been ejected. In trying to talk to him about it, being 11, he reaches for a distraction. “You only want to talk to me because I am in trouble, you’d rather talk to your NA guys”.

Then it goes something like this:
What do you mean dude.
Your gone at meetings all the time.
I go to 2 meetings a week.
Yeah but your gone and your not an addict anymore.
What makes you say that?
You haven’t done anything crazy in a while.
Yes. Is there something you want to ask me?
Are you sure?
Well it doesn’t take away from the fact you got in trouble. I am right here, right now. I can’t time travel, so let’s deal with this now.

So we go upstairs and my wife had walked down to the pool and talked to the lifeguard who said he was just not following the rules. He pushes the limits of the rules and so on. While we were having this discussion the phone rang and you guessed it was another sponsee. My wife gave me the look, which means she is not of the understanding mood. Of course, I have to say something smart ass to add to the problem because that’s what I do.

We end up talking about our son, the affects of addiciton on the family, my lack of timing, and of course me.

I did some reading today of other people’s blogs and I stumbled across blogs that say that the way to beat addiction is through Christ. There are those who feel that they have “beat” addiction. There are others who claim to be “former” addicts. I don’t believe there is a right or a wrong way to find help, it’s when my way becomes the only way a problem arises. It belittles those who may be trying for the first time in their lives to find a positive direction. I know for myself at no one point in time I arose off of the couch and said, “Today is going to be the day I change my life”. It was neat when Dr. Phil would say it but that was for everyone else. Quitting drugs was always a good idea, as long as it was a date in the future. I never had a drug problem until the drugs stopped doing what I wanted them to do which was escape from life, escape from myself.

Where is it I am supposed to go to talk and learn about these problems? If I went to the customer service counter at Wal-Mart and told the clerk I was not feeling right about life and wanted to use, they would probably call the police.
We all need to communicate in one way or another. Isn’t church a form of a support group?
Isn’t blogging a way of communicating or reaching out? When blogs start out with I used to be this or I used to do that, there is always, always the potential for it to be done again. This is where I need to remain vigilant. I need to be mindful that drug use is just a symptom of the disease of addiction, there are other ways it can manifest itself in apparent ways in my life. Not so much if I allow it, but rather if I choose it.

Take Care……Bob D.

Old Friends and the Uncomfortable Factor

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An old friend came over last night. I’ve known him for over 10 years. Traveled roads together, all that good stuff. He is not an addict. He has been supportive, but why in the hell did last night feel so awkward?

I wanted to make amends with this person. Tell him I was wrong for using our friendship as a tool of manipulation…..I didn’t. It’s not that I couldn’t find the words, it was more like my willingness slipped right out the door. I don’t know what the hell happened.

I cooked some food out on the grill and we caught up on what each other and our families had been doing. His daughter is pregnant at 18. His ex-wife has moved out of town with his other daughter, work is a hassle and school is a drag. It sounded like the same conversations we had before, except I had no crutch to lean on. It was just me sitting there and I didn’t have the willingness to open up. I can sit in a 12 Step recovery meeting and have no problem telling people how I feel, what’s going on in my life, and here I am with a guy that’s supposed to be one of my oldest friends and I can’t open up. I find it frustrating and disappointing in myself.

I learned early on that a lot of things are uncomfortable. Relearning how to live life and all that is involved with it is overwhelming at times. What my brain wants to tell me is I should be past all of this by now. I guess I’m not. I’m trying to give myself a break but am finding it difficult. I found myself not wanting to use, but looking for something to comfort myself from these feelings. So I didn’t talk as much as what I could have. The whole damn thing just felt awkward.

I called my sponsor last night before he arrived and wished him a happy anniversary. He has 6 years clean. For some folks this doesn’t seem like a lot of clean time. I have learned that multiple’s of years clean doesn’t necessarily equal what I want out of recovery. There are some in this area that are considered “Spiritual Giants” based on their clean time alone. But yet seem to find themselves in situations where they don’t seem to be living and enjoying life without the use of drugs. There are others here who maybe clean but live dirty. My sponsor still has what I want, and I am grateful he is in my life.

I am wondering if the situation with my friend is one of not being able to relate to him because he is not in recovery himself? Has my perspective of things changed that much? I could drive myself crazy with this so I need to just let it go……

Take Care…..Bob D.

My Father

I hope that you enjoyed your weekend. I did. Somethings that needed to be brought to light were and I am in a different place now than I ever have been. It comes down to amends and a person confirming what I knew all along, I guess I just needed to hear it from them.

Before I write about it, I want to make one thing clear here, this was an amends that I needed to do and the way the conversation turned out was not at my prodding. It was with my father.

I called him and talked to him for Father’s Day. I knew that an amends had to be made and I had put it off long enough. I said what I needed to say as far as the amends were concerned and he began to talk:

You know son, I know that you and your wife talk. Your sisters talk to one another and it’s if Dad says he loves us than why doesn’t he do this or that. Show up here or there. Be involved with the grandkids. It’s just that I don’t. I just do this, this way.

His voice drifted off and he then talked about hockey…..

After 40 years it was revealed to me what I had suspected all along. My dad was never ready to be a father nor a grandfather. He just was not or is not able, and that’s ok. At least now I know, now I understand, now I get it. I thought for the longest time it was me and it isn’t. Oddly enough after getting off the phone with him I felt relieved in a way I hadn’t been before. Not so much for the amends that I made to him, but the result of the amends was made to me.

I spoke to my wife about it afterwards. All I could do was smile. Crazy. It was a smile I’ve waited to smile sincerely in a long time. My eyes seemed wider to the facts of my life as I understand it. She was and still is disappointed in my Dad for things in the past with our children.  I don’t think that will change.

I have to be wary of ego inflating situations like last night. Being able to help our area grow by starting new meetings in areas of town where there have been none before is dangerous ground to tread. Addicts tend to put other addicts on pedestals especially when there are only a couple with time. I have addicts asking me specific things. I feel like they are hanging on my every word. I am no guru, or spiritual giant. Just another guy trying to stay clean. My diseased thinking will tell me that I am important. That what I have to say is the gospel truth. That I can manipulate people and situations. That I can make people like me, no wait, look up to me like I’m someone special. If I cannot remain humble I will be humilated. I plan on talking to my sponsor about this, but I just needed to put it out there.

I hope you enjoy your day.
Take Care…..Bob D.