Just Another Recovering Person

Archive for November, 2009

The Drive


I’ve never minded driving that much. I always thought I would make a good over the road truck driver. My dad was one for a number of years. Driving I have found is one of those yin and yang types of things in life. I can see some of the most amazing things that I wouldn’t get to see if I flew constantly, but I also have to deal with the frustrations of traffic and becoming tired from driving too long. The trip we took was 13 hours of driving each way. I drove every mile of it myself, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The kids have always been decent on trips. They have the uncanny ability to sleep most of the way there and still want to sleep that night. I guess we are fortunate in that regard. My wife it seems already had a plan in place. Although she said, “I’m ready to drive when you want”, the pillow and blanket had already given her away. The snoring was the nail in the coffin.

We headed out at 5am on Tuesday morning. My wife had made a decent purchase before we left. She bought a TomTom. I was not convinced on this small device. I’m still not quite sure how it is that they don’t charge some time of basic user satellite fee. My son even made a comment that we were resting our entire trip on that thing getting us from home half way across the country….Besides it could also be a Deceptigon in disguise.

The first few hours of the trip I was already familiar with, 71 south down thru Cincinnati then on towards Louisville, then towards Nashville. I’ve been able to go thru almost every state on the east coast so I do know a little about how to get places. We were making decent time until we got to the Nashville-Memphis corridor known as “The Music Highway”. This is I-40 that seemingly goes on forever, we ran into some traffic and a slowdown there but after that it was smooth sailing. I’m not going to bore you with every bump for the next 700 miles. Once we crossed into Louisiana everyone began to get excited.

 I began to get tired. Everyone was tired at that point. I knew pulling into Monroe that we weren’t far. The TomTom has from mile to mile point and overall miles to destination and it seemed as if everyone’s eyes were glued to it. The last 15 miles were the longest I have driven in a while. We soon pulled up to my mother-in-laws house and after everyone fell teary eyed out of the car and hugged for minutes I heard the magic words I had been wanting to hear for the last 13 hours……..No it wasn’t would you like to lay down and rest…..It was let’s get in the car and go eat. So we did, but I didn’t drive. I rode in a new Escalade, with heated seats, to a Mexican restaurant.

It was nice to sit down and eat, well eat not sit anymore. After we finished eating I was informed we were then going to drive to look at some relatives Christmas lights. What Joy!!!! Although tired I told myself to go with the flow, and I did. We went and looked at the lights and came back to my in-laws place. I was then informed that I would be going hunting the next morning with 2 uncles. Deer season is already in and I couldn’t miss this opportunity according to them. What time are we getting up? 3 am. Great, I didn’t realize I would travel half way across the country to only get 8 hours of sleep for the next 3 days……..

Tomorrow I will tell you about the hunt, the in-laws, and moments of tension…..

Take Care….Bob D.

 

 

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My Role in Twilight:New Moon or Tweenlight:New Money


I saw the original “War of the Worlds” on AMC last weekend. I forgot how good that movie was. I saw the remake and thought it was fair. I’m sure that the original 1938 radio broadcast was just as good. I’ve heard parts of it, I can only imagine what was going through people’s minds.
Kind of like with Twilight. I’m sure I’ve seen this story before. Wait….I have. …..

It seems in 1941 a young Lon Chaney, Jr. as Larry Talbot introduced us to the Werewolf. I could go on about Bela Lugosi as the vampire we all know and love. I understand there is a remake of The Wolfman slated in production right now. I believe the release is in February of 2010.
Is it just me or is Hollywood running out of ideas?
I understand that Twilight really should have been called Tweenlight: New Money…….

My role in the new movie was simply this. A bystander caught up in some hooplah over a worn out idea that will make billions based on the dashing good looks of Hollywood’s young. I see the tabloids about these folks and I guess it could be jealousy or it could be stupidity. Stupidity on our part for creating a global phenom that has already occurred once in history. That’s kind of an oxymoron isn’t it?

 We are heading out to Louisiana to visit family for the Holiday. I can’t believe it is Thanksgiving already. One of my dreams is to take my wife to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. My kids could really care less, but this is something her and I have talked about doing.
This would be the first time we have left Columbus for a Holiday away from home. Until her mother moved recently, all of both of our families have lived here. My wife’s father passed away 7 or 8 years ago now. She has a couple of half-brothers here but rarely see’s them. So this would be the first Holiday with no family.

Most of my family does their own thing. The go and see in-laws, those that are married anyway. My sisters have families of their own, and my Mom is getting too old to cook a big dinner for everyone. My dad would rather be with his friends or by himself  so I have always attached myself to my wife’s family. I am a little apprehensive, just because it is outside of my comfort zone but I will be okay. I told my wife I would take her to see her mom, and I will. These are the kinds of promises I can make and keep today. What a gift.

I certainly hope you enjoy your Holiday with friends and family. For some in recovery Holiday’s can be an especially trying time. My suggestion would be if you are planning on going to an event to have a back-up plan. A back-up plan, not a bail-out plan. Take a phone with you and numbers in case you need to call someone. Locate an OPEN meeting in your area. Some meetings aren’t held because of the Holiday and the facility being closed. Take your book. It can be easy to slip away and read a few pages to help get our minds back in proper perspective. Most importantly…DON’T USE. It is amazing how quickly our minds can switch gears during events like these, and the social acceptability beckons us to be a part of rather than a part from. It would be easy to fall back into the old ways of thinking and old behaviors while at a family event. The feeling to use will pass.

Be Safe.
Take Care…..Bob D.

Anonymity and The Clark Kent Saga


My name is Bob D**** and I am an addict.

See you thought I would reveal my true identity didn’t you? I am under the impression that this is a form of press. I mean the site name is “WordPress” correct? I am told that I need to maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and film. Why do we do this or not do it?
I see a lot of posts where people use their full names, some with credentials, others not. They disclose they are members of various programs. It really doesn’t matter to me if you want to do that. But I am reminded that I cannot associate my name with a particular fellowship because no one person represents that fellowship. I cannot speak on behalf of Narcotics Anonymous. That’s probably a good thing, I could say something that could embroil the fellowship in controversy and folks could die.

We talked a little bit about anonymity inside the rooms. Is it that important? We have “celebrities” that go to meetings and we know their last names because of who they are and what they do. There are people in my area who know my last name and where I work as well, I’m not a celebrity but it really isn’t that important to me. I understand there are jobs and positions it would be best not to have such disclosure. It could place people in jeopardy. Everyone has the full right to recover in a safe place, but let us remember that we aren’t a secret society.

With that being said our’s is a fellowship based on attraction rather than promotion. I could spend countless hours shouting to the heavens about what NA has done for me but it is more important to show folks what the program can do. This is done based on how we live today.
The flip side of anonymity is that there are some who attend NA events or wear NA clothing and make asses out of themselves in public and the general public see’s this and says…..”See that shit isn’t for me, or It doesn’t work”.

I know of a story of some folks who were at an event in Ripley, WV. They went to a Bob Evans and saw some folks there wearing NA shirts. They were carrying on loudly, swearing and so forth. The waitress looked at my friends who were in NA as well but not wearing shirts and said, “I’m glad those NA folks left. A family left because of their swearing, you’d think they would have better manners than that”. This is the perception left by a group of individuals at an NA event. Perhaps we shouldn’t worry so much at times about protecting our own anonymity and worry about protecting our fellowship from our own behavior.

Maybe I should just start using Clark Kent as my name and see if anyone catches on….The Saga Continues…….

Take Care….

Self-Pity and the Art of the Slow Dance


Self-pity is one of the most destructive of defects; it will drain us of all positive energy. – Basic Text Page 77

I always found it odd that when talking or writing to others that they would “send some positive energy” my way. What are we talking about here “The Force” or something?!? Is Yoda on the way? I understand now how negative energy, negative feelings, self-pity can play a vital role in recovery. Hell in life for that matter. The quote says “destructive”. That’s pretty deep. I believe self-pity eats us from the inside out. I can find the smallest of things and my feelings, my thoughts would lead me to believe that the end of the world has come.
We talk about making mountains out of mole hills and not just situations either, I believe our feelings do the exact same thing. They blow up to the point our actions and reactions are affected.
Some of us (myself included) want to slow dance with self-pity, take our time with it, either out of attention or just not having the tools to pull ourselves out of it. Too often I don’t tell those closest to me what is on my mind or what I am feeling. You would be hard pressed to believe that especially in what I write about but that is the answer in itself. The downward spiral begins and things seem to pile up. The old saying of measuring our insides compared to the outsides of others takes hold. It would seem that everyone in the world, except for me, is happy or enjoying their lives. That sense of “Why does this shit keep happening to me” turns from being a sense or feeling into almost a mantra. I see patterns in my self-pity. Attention mostly, as I alluded to before, which shows me even in the most negative of defects they are still self-centered.

I have found an outlet in writing. I have heard often in recovery that we should “journal”. This is my journal. Sometimes in writing it si easier to  see the patterns of self-pity creeping in. My problems aren’t unique and I don’t consider myself cursed. What I do know is I have a relief valve in writing.

Sometimes I still don’t feel like opening up to others. It could be out of ego or pride. It could be I just don’t feel it’s necessary for everyone to know my business. I talk to my sponsor on a regular basis about things. He knows all there is to know about me. I trust him, even at times, when I don’t trust myself.
I talk to my HP about things. I just voice my concerns about things, people..events. It works out.
I talk to my wife more. Early on it was difficult for her to understand where I was coming from. I believe she has started to see how the addict mind truly works. We have gotten past the “You shouldn’t feel that way” talks from early on to more of just listening. I have always said it is not up to me to tell someone how they should think or feel. Your thoughts and feelings are valid to you, they may not necessarily be in line with reality, but they are still yours.
I don’t like dancing with self-pity much these days. I did it for too long. I get to see a lot where I work at, especially self-pity, and it allows me to be grounded. I could be in far worse circumstances and really haven’t that much to complain about. The kids seem to be our main source of peace disruption these days. But everything is temporary….they can’t live with us forever. I see now why my parents were so anxious for me to leave….Maybe they were tired of dancing as well.

 We are making plans to travel next week for the Holiday to Louisiana to visit my wife’s family. Friday will probably be my last post for a week or so but I will post a couple of more times and who knows, maybe one from the road….with pictures…..commentary….all that shit!?!

Take Care…..Bob D.

Step 12 and The Real World


I just started reading the 12th Step. In NA I was taught that the steps were not a foot race to “feeling better” or “getting better”. Too often I see folks trying to do a 4th and 5th Step with under a year clean who are not ready for the emotional aspects of Stepwork. This is what I was taught and it has worked so far so I don’t question it.
So I am reading the 12th and, for me, it had a practical approach at what living this Step was really about. It simply for me is doing what I learned in the preceeding 11 Steps and the results show in how I live my life and help others.
While in recovery I have put aside my belief in coincidences and luck. I came into work this morning and talked with a co-worker who has a friend who is in trouble. The details aren’t important. I got together a schedule, some literature, and circled some meetings in the area.
I knew in doing this that it would disclose that I was in recovery, that I was an addict, that I attend NA. All of that seemed less important than the person who needed help. This for me is the essence of our program. I did nothing special, nor do I need any recognition for it. I reminded myself that someone made themselves available to me to receive help, and I can do the same.

This person looked at me and said they would have never have guessed that I was an addict, by the way i carry myself. Not using it as an excuse. It took awhile for that to sink in. I was speaking about this to one of the guys I sponsor last night. There is a line in our Text that says:

We are not responsible for our disease, we are responsible for our recovery.

Too often we want to use this line as a free pass. To act the way we want to, and then blame it on being an addict. This is bullshit. Whomever is teaching newcomers this thought process, has had their own recovery stop.
What this line means is that I did not do anything intentional to get or deserve this disease. For the longest time I thought I had done something wrong, that I had inherited this maybe genetically, or circumstantially. In the end, what does it really matter? I ended up in NA one way or the other, so why spend countless hours examining and re-examining my life to find out “where it all went wrong”?
Our loved ones did not see some cloaked, mysterious figure and said……

Look…There goes the disease of addiction again, destroying our lives!!!!
What they said was…..
I don’t know where your Father is kids.

I have to move forward and take some responsibility for my own actions. This is what we mean by being responsible for our own recovery. This is accomplished by staying clean, going to meetings, doing stepwork, being involved, and making ourselves available to those in need.

 

The Domino Effect


I stayed home on Friday because I wasn’t feeling well, and I had to clean out the basement. I’m laying on the couch a little after one and the front door pops open and it is my daughter with 3 friends behind of her. Her eyes got as big as half-dollar coins and she blurted out..”What are you doing home?”
The better question in return was…”What are you doing home at 15 past 1?”
Long story short she was skipping school, I took her back, she got 2 days of detention and 1 week’s grounding. AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She wanted to be bitchy because she couldn’t see her boyfriend (whom I don’t care for) and wanted to pick fights all night Friday. I sent her upstairs and her mood had changed by the end of the weekend.

Last night the stove fried out and I have been working with the landlord on finding a replacement because it is not a freestanding unit but rather a drop in type. He seems to be having difficulty finding one, so I will help look.

I wanted to talk about something that goes on a lot in our fellowship. I call it the “Domino Effect”. What it is, is how one person can affect another person(s) recovery in a relapse. This is prevalent especially with newer members.
I was speaking to 2 members after the meeting last night whom were obviously upset over someone relapsing. The person who relapsed we will call Jane.

These 2 individuals were crying and upset because Jane is calling them not only telling them of the relapse but how NA is to blame for their problems. As newcomers we often stick together, sometimes like blind sheep trying to lead one another, perhaps because we are intimidated by people with time because we feel like we can’t relate or the person with time treats us differently. It can even be as simple as members with time not making newer people feel welcome. We become too involved with cliques.
This leads newer members to huddle together to weather the storm. All too often as in the case I saw last night the relapse of one person is now affecting 3 people because they stuck together and don’t know how to deal with those feelings.

I reminded them that we do not get to make choices for others in our lives. I don’t get to pick who stays, and who leaves. That all I can do is be supportive by telling the person…”I will be at this meeting tonight if you want to meet me there”. I can’t save anyone. Just as loved one’s in our lives watched us disintegrate we are now forced to put those same shoes on and watch new acquaintances do the very same thing. We have the opportunity to see the insanity of our own disease at work in others.

I have learned, painfully, as well as others that no one stays clean for anyone but themselves. I told these folks it sucks, it hurts, but there is nothing I can help with until the person wants to help themselves. That moment when the desperation becomes so great they are willing to change. I told them that the feeling wasn’t foreign to them, that they had went through it themselves and know what I’m talking about. I knew that I had come to the end, I am grateful there were folks that helped me sort things out like this, watching people who sat beside me in a meeting one night and were found dead 3 days later.

There is something more to be said than….”Don’t fucking talk to them”.
There is something more than that. If this were just a disease of talking we would all be in trouble, but it is a disease of thoughts and feelings which help contribute to the Domino Effect.

Take Care…..Bob D.

 

Recovery During the Holidays


Nowhere in our NA literature that I can find does it talk about extra strategies or precautions to stay clean during the holidays. Being in a Just for Today Program we can put emphasis on this by recalling memories, perhaps painful ones, of holidays past. Thanksgiving is fast approaching, as well as Christmas (I know I’m not ready either) and of course New Years.
We put a lot of undue stress on ourselves because of these days. I know I do and will include something at the end of this post that I was saving but feel it is relevant now.
What about Veterans Day, or Sadie Hawkins Day? Do I put this same stress on myself say perhaps during Mothers Day or Sweetest Day? Probably not but then again maybe so. On any given day I can put stress on myself. The holidays magnify this, I believe, based on expectations and feelings.
It’s odd what my thinking will conjure up on any given day about a number of things. Fleeting memories can bring about self-pity and for some denial. I am reminded that I need to remain vigilant no matter what the day.

The following is from a post that I did for our area’s upcoming December newsletter. It really speaks for itself and feel that it stands on its own.

 

When at the End of the Road…

 

December is always a mixed month for me. December 19th is my clean date. I spent Christmas in a treatment facility 4 years ago this month away from my wife and 2 kids. I held a picture of my 2 children on Santa’s lap, while crying beside a detox bed at the shambles I had made of our lives. My daughter had written a letter that I still keep that started off by saying…..”Dad I don’t know if I will get to see you for Christmas this year or not….”
I tell you this not to garner your sympathy but to remind myself of where I came from and what I am. The pain of those memories is a driving force in my recovery. The day I forget the pain I caused myself and those who love me the most, is the day I am well on my way out the door of Narcotics Anonymous.
With each year that has passed the holidays have become easier to deal with. Some of us have difficulty in dealing with holidays especially due to some of the things we have done in the past, and I fully understand. I have learned through step work and the amends process that some situations can never be made right. That I have to find some way to deal with the guilt of my past actions. I have found that in spite of how I feel, especially when my diseased thinking wants to tell me how I ruined that Christmas and that I am worthless, that it was instead the turning point in my life that makes it possible to be here this year and more years to come if I continue to do what you have taught me.
I have not found any “Christmas Magic”. What I found was the solution that had eluded me my entire life. A program for daily living that made the impossible become possible. I owe a debt of gratitude to Narcotics Anonymous that can never be fully repaid no matter how long I stay clean.
I have you to thank. My extended family of recovering brothers and sisters who showed me the way when it seemed like the darkest point in my life. I am grateful for each of you. I wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season.

 

Take Care……Bob D.