Just Another Recovering Person


This post is from July 2009…I hope you may get something out of it. Thanks for reading.

Beyond The End of the Road's Blog

Jails, Institutions, and Death.
At some meetings it is repeated as it is read. I prefer not to. Hearing it reverberate in my own head is enough.

It’s at the end of the reading “Who is an Addict?”. I am sure these 3 words are not unfamiliar with any 12 Step fellowship in one form or another. There are other words scattered through out as well…

Dereliction
Degradation
Demoralization
Unemployable
Insanity
Guilt
Shame
Relapse

I am also reminded that a relapse, if we survive it, might bring the temporary relief we are looking for. There is no guarantee even in relapse. The temporary relief that it might bring. That seems to me to be a pretty big gamble.
I have known a few addicts who are in and out, in and out, in and out.
I understand that this may be a part of someones story and for those who…

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Returning to meetings has been awkward. The first one I went back to a few weeks ago felt like I was walking into the rooms for the 1st time. I received smiles and welcomes and at the passing out of chips there was a long pause when ‘Surrender’ chips were offered. Glances in my direction as this ‘new fellow’ has come into the AA fold. I sat with nerves, strange nerves, as if I felt the need to explain myself, and I would just not at this moment.

It never ceases to amaze me how when I need to hear something it has always been presented in some form or fashion. When I walked in I needed to hear something that let me know that all of the negatives I had been stacking up in my mind as to why I should return to meetings were nothing more than my diseased thinking leading me further away from the very ideals, the very principles that helped save my life.

I heard folks talking in a clear and concise manner about the steps, about sponsorship, about experience, about life. I didn’t hear about ‘Drug Court’, and resentments about WSC or how, ‘The fellowship isn’t the same when I first came in’. It never ceases to amaze me to this day how we are reminded that we recover in the here and now…Day to day, moment to moment, and yet we live and feed off of the resentments of the past. Resentments founded in our very own recovery, our own Fellowships.

After the readings were done we went around the room with introductions. The floor was then open for discussion…. I could not wait any longer……

My name is Bob and I’m an alcoholic. I was told when I first came into recovery that if I went to a meeting other than NA, I should respect the house I was in.
It’s been almost a year since I have been to a meeting. It’s not that I have drank or used anything, it’s more that I felt disconnected from recovery after moving here and I just simply told myself each day that I was doing ok. In truth, I felt like I was losing my mind these last few months….So much has transpired over the last 2 years…..

And so I told them what was going on. Who I was, where I had been, and more importantly where I was at today. People listened; nodding their heads and making me feel welcome. I described how my mind is able to convince me of almost anything. The justifications I had been using, the behaviors that were becoming more prevalent, and lastly the loneliness and isolation were killing me.

Some people commented and I found I wasn’t alone. I was told of a man from the area that sober/clean decided that it was a good idea to jump off the Vicksburg Bridge in Mississippi because he was unable to come to grips with the realities of life sober without meetings. This may sound like a stretch but I remember my NA sponsor’s-sponsor telling stories of people who were in recovery for many years that simply just stopped coming to meetings. That they didn’t use, but they just faded into the woodwork of denial and behavior that led them to the rooms to start with.

 

I truly believe that using whatever substance is merely a symptom of the disease of addiction. That the behaviors, the feelings, the perceptions of self and reality were there long before the 1st drug was ever picked up. The mind is truly an amazing, complex thing. Our abilities to reason and evaluate are somehow not in alignment with what reality it is. The obsession or, ‘That fixed idea that takes us back time and time again to our drug of choice, or some substitute to try and recapture that ease and comfort we once knew’. That ease and comfort is our pillow and blanket from reality and self.

After the meeting people came up to me and told me they were glad I was there and had decided to come back. That they needed to hear what I had said as much as me needing to say it. I am currently going to 2 meetings a week and feel much better about things. My next step is to find a new sponsor which I am dreading to be honest. I have so much respect and love for my old sponsor I am afraid I will allow the comparison game to get in the way.

Our house has been quite and we have heard from our daughter sporadically. I worry quietly and try not to alarm my wife. I miss our daughter but I don’t miss the chaos and drama that comes with her. Our lives move forward in spite of her decisions. We have come to find out she told several people here different versions of how and why she decided to leave, none of which are important because I know what the truth is. I tried calling her today and got no answer. I sure would like to hear her voice…..

Take Care
Bob D.


Over the course of the past 2 weeks some things have come to my attention. The plans my daughter made in moving back to Ohio I don’t believe were any real plans at all. She isn’t staying who we thought she would be staying with. She has made no effort really to contact the person with whom she had a job lined up with, and she is staying now with a relative I would prefer her not to be around.

She also posted she is gay.

I have a ton of thoughts going through my mind. I find it hard to concentrate at any given time of the day. It’s not the gay part that bothers me, it’s more the fact that I really don’t believe it.

It’s not a denial disbelief, it’s I know my daughter. If you have read any of my posts you will be able to interpret that she truly is the child of an addict. She has her own set of issues to deal with that have nothing to do with using, as we addicts all do after the drugs have been removed.

I believe that she is searching. I believe she is trying to find herself. I am trying to understand the path she is taking and it is for her to discover, but I also know her ability to make consistently good decisions is nonexistent.

If this is truly what she wants, if this is truly what will make her happy than I will support her. I just feel at no time during the time she has been alive has there been one thing that would lead me or her mother to believe that this is her lifestyle choice. It has been a total surprise and shock to our family. I have racked my brain trying to get my mind around this one, but for me it is just another long twist in an ever strange and bumpy road with my daughter.

When she calls I continue to ask if she is ok. I ask if she is looking for work. or if she has been to see old friends and family. We constantly get…’I called so and so’ or ‘I will do it tomorrow’. My fear is that this relative she is staying with is caught up in some shady dealings including prescription fraud and welfare fraud. I am afraid she is going to get caught up in this nonsense and I have voiced my opinion to her only to have her tell me she knows what’s going on and isn’t a part of it.

I was looking through the local directory of meetings online and I see where the Wednesday Night meeting that I went to when I first arrived has been changed to a Text Discussion meeting. What stood out is that it is a 3rd Edition Text Meeting.
I know what has happened here. There is a fellow with substantial clean time in our area who is disenfranchised with the fellowship and has manipulated the group into this extension of his ego.
Some meetings have been cut and due to geography I have decided to switch fellowships and go to AA.

I talked about this at length after my arrival here and finding that meetings were virtually nonexistent and being manipulated by one or two people for their own benefit. I cannot be apart of this and I do not feel I can or should take on a struggle to change something, that in time, will extinguish itself. Our literature reminds me that the self-seekers will ‘Be on the outside looking in’.

I am going to talk to my wife about it this evening.

I hope this post finds you well.
Take Care,
Bob D.

 


This is a repost from the archives. It still holds true…Hope you enjoy.

Beyond The End of the Road's Blog

Ever wonder what it would be like to set of a series of events that would change people’s lives for the worse? I’ve done it……..

The question that never has an appropriate answer is ‘Why do bad things happen to good people’? How can we determine when something is good or bad? Some events will never have the full explanation that we would like. Our never-ending quest for the answer that makes full sense to us and validates events is like the search for a perfect day. It always changes based upon my perception of events.

I used to try to figure things out. I had to have the answers. Why is this happening? What would cause a person to think this is right or this is fair? How is it I am trying my best and things keep falling down around me? I no longer believe that events in…

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Forks in the Road


First and foremost…my demise has been greatly exaggerated.
 My apologies to you……

So much has transpired since my last post, the most important of it all is that I have not used. I have been clean for 6 years, 5 months, and 19 days. To be honest with you I have learned the true meaning of desire, it is a state of mind and body, not of willpower or determination.

I have learned acceptance on an entirely different level. I have learned that obsession and compulsion truly make up the core of our disease. I have learned that intolerance and projection is a reality killer for us all. Most of all…..I have learned to let go, and stay in the here and now.

My daughter has moved out.
She turned 18 on April 15th, graduated High School on May 14th, and moved out on May 30th.

She went back to Ohio. My wife and I had numerous talks at night in the dark. The ‘what if’s’ and ‘if only’s’ ran rampantly. My daughter was given an opportunity of a lifetime here by a business owner and passed it up. She received a few letters from colleges but not the one’s she was looking for. About 3 weeks before graduation she approached me and told me that she loved us but did not want to live here and asked if I would buy here a plane ticket back to Ohio. I told her yes……..

2 Weeks before graduation my daughter fell ill with Strep Throat. It was a bad enough case we ended up in the emergency room where she had a fever of 103. The week before graduation was spent on running back and forth to the school, handing money out, and trying to motivate her to do some basic things. It dawned on me that she had given up on us because things weren’t working out the way she wanted them too. I dealt with boys calling the house all hours of the night, her not coming home, and a weeklong senior trip to Panama City, Florida which involved the police. Long story short, I felt my control as a parent slip away, the little I had left anyway.

I knew that the best for all involved was for her to go and experience life. This became a point of contention between my with and I. My wife felt she wasn’t mature enough to handle it, I agreed, but I knew ultimately what was going to happen. She was going to leave one way or the other…..

Standing at the airport gate I felt lost. I felt small. I felt like the world and my HP were showing me something that it would take some time to understand……

Ultimately I only have power over myself and my perception of reality.

As I hugged her and cried as I am doing now, I wanted to change so many things that I can’t. I told her what I have told many of you in the past in posts and I don’t believe I ever told any of you this but it seems fitting now. It is something my Father said to me in a phone call that changed our relationship. He said, and I said to her……

For whatever I did or didn’t do, know that I Love You.

I told her to be safe and within a blink of the eye she was gone through the gate……

I told my wife last night that I missed her. I don’t miss the fighting, the drama, the pain, but I miss her. She has a lot to learn about being a person, and how to treat other people. She is currently staying with an Uncle and his girlfriend. I miss her voice….When I call sometimes she will answer and sometimes she won’t….that’s what hurts the most.

Today is my son’s 14th birthday and he is awesome. I have said before that he has been a rock through all of this and he has. My goal is to concentrate on him and help him to the best of my ability. It was at this point in my own life, at his age, that my father left, and I was lost. Now I can be here for him.

My wife continues to support me in all that I do and our relationship is strong. I will be returning to recovery meetings next week after a long absence. I could give a million reasons as to why I haven’t been going but the truth of the matter is I put it all on hold, good, bad, or indifferent. It was my decision and I have suffered for it. Not by returning to active addiction but by suffering in silence which someone told me a while ago I could do or I could choose to live. The person that told me that was an intake nurse at the treatment center I walked into on December 19th, 2005.

I will choose to live.

Take Care,
Bob D.

Things I Didn’t Say…..


This word has come up in more than 1 conversation as of late. It has come from my wife, my mother-in-law, and myself. My wife told me the other night after a series of family events, that she, is miserable.

I looked at her and asked what she wanted to do.
I’ve done that now for the last 6 years.
Asked what she has wanted.

After we moved I made a confession here and to others in private that part of the reason I moved our family half-way across country was done partly out of guilt.
Guilt for what I had put my wife through while in active addiction. That I felt that I had owed it to her, to be near her family, to find some level of happiness for her that I simply hadn’t been providing.

She told me she wasn’t sure what she wanted, that doubt had begun to fill her mind. I simply blurted out…’We could go back to Ohio’.

She said that would kill her mother, if we left now.

I wanted to say……

It’s already killed me.

I didn’t.

I should have.

I laid down that night in more pain than I have in a long time. Regret for things I didn’t say.

The next evening we had a talk. I asked my wife if she was still miserable….She said, ‘Not as much’.
I told her I couldn’t stand for her to be this upset. We then did something we hadn’t done before, we walked and talked through the series of events that led to our decision to move.

I don’t know if it made me feel any better, but if anything we talked about us. We talked about how we felt. We talked about the kids and our concerns. It’s funny when going over events how our perceptions can change or be revealed. I still harbor doubts, I still am holding onto some resentments, but I am still here.

My life has changed. I have changed. Some of it for the better and some of it not.
I am disappointed in myself these days. I am disappointed in our set of circumstances and the way we are treated by others here. We have family here that seemingly aren’t that concerned about us any longer, and I think that’s what hurts the most. To know I left behind my mom, my day, sisters and brothers to have other family members treat us like we were the gum off the bottom of their shoes is demoralizing. It is and has been spiritual paralyzing.

I try to find the bright spots, the positives in any given day but they are few and far between. I take comfort in the fact that I am still clean, my wife and I are closer than ever and my daughters graduation from High School is right around the corner.

We ordered her ring and her cap & gown this past weekend. We are waiting for her ACT scores to come back and she has mentioned going back to Ohio after graduation. I think this would be a good move for her. Employment opportunities here are very limited and I really don’t see her staying. I don’t want her to, it’s time for her to begin her life.

My son is doing fair. He is caught between 13 going on 14. Still wants to hang onto mom but be on his own a bit more. He struggles with school. His laugh is infectious. He is my rock.

I live day to day…moment to moment as we all do. I am humbled today. I am fearful.

I am still here.
Take Care,
Bob D.

Ghosts of War


I was listening to NPR news after the story broke on the 3rd Battalion 2nd Marine Regiment urinating on dead fighters in Afghanistan and the reporter repeated a quote from a Taliban spokesperson saying that this was, “ Above and Beyond Inhumane Practices”.

I wonder what Nick Berg’s family would say to this.
What about Daniel Stern’s loved ones?

Should our soldiers act in a way that is above what we feel only others are capable of? Perhaps one of those dead fighters was responsible for the death of a comrade. If not on that day, maybe on some other day. Did we reduce ourselves to a level we reserve for others? Is the art of warfare been lost on some trophy hunters whom only revel in the glories of YouTube hits?

I can only offer this…
All is fair in love and war.

 

My schedule at my second job has been cutback significantly. I guess we are at that time of year after the glow of the holidays has faded that reality sets in and people have to pay for what they bought. I should be able to get to a couple of meetings.
I have mixed feelings now. Crazy as it sounds it has been so long since I have been to a meeting that I am nervous thinking about it and I have no idea why. Perhaps it is just my diseased thinking telling me that I don’t need meetings. That it’s been this long, what purpose would it suit to go back.
I feel like I am on the outside looking in all over again. Any words of experience on this topic would be greatly appreciated.

I hope this post finds you all well.
Bob D.