Archive for the ‘Illness’ Category
Step Three: Made a Decision to Turn our Will and Our Lives Over to the Care of God As We Understood Him
This time, much like the first time that I worked my way through the steps, at Step Three, I feel as though I am standing with my toes dangling over the edge of a vast cliff and attempting to will myself to leap. Before me, a self and a way of living that is uncertain and unknown, behind me is my past self, all that I have believed and known and been and all that I must let leave behind. What is before me is less uncertain today and what is behind me that must stay behind is much less that it was the first time. And Yet, where I am going MUST be where I have not dared or been capable of before and what I will leave behind is clearly what I have clung to and been unwilling or unable to release before.
Highly metaphorical, I know, so what exactly would I be leaving behind? and What awaits when I leap off that cliff? To the first point, I am not sure that I know right now. I only know that holding on to it has been allowing me to slip back into spiritual and emotional sickness. The central task in this step is to ask yourself how far are you willing to go? Am I ready to really and truly hand my life and my will over to the care of God? Get ready because here comes the insanity, not having done so is allowing me to fall back into sickness, threatens to get me drunk again and is potentially causing me to make other people miserable and my response to the central questions of this step today, at this moment is: I don’t know. Not the response that I want to have, and I see in it the absolute insanity of my sickness, but there it is in full glory.
What if this time upon examination I realize that I have to change my views on sex, or am called upon to truly take up my calling and dedicate myself to being a prophet? What if, I have to let go of writing all together? Or feel compelled by God to become a real minister? What if my entire world view must change? Am I ready to join a religion or a church? Because I don’t actually have a defined understanding of God and maybe that is the problem! What at the end of the day am I willing to change, relinquish or bring into my life in order to achieve the promises entirely, have serenity and know that I am serving God and my fellow man at my best potential.
I suspect that moving past this and starting my next 4th through 9th step will illuminate the answers, but there is the rub eh? To get to those steps, I have to take a leap of faith, I have to drum up within myself the worst case scenario, assume that I must go that far and then say “yes, I am willing” – In short, I have to be Abraham with his son on the rock and blade in hand, ready to go to any lengths. I don’t know, I doubt, I am not sure. I am afraid.
It isn’t all fear and negativity. I dream sometimes of a me for whom God has expunged fear, doubt, rage and frustration; A me without violence, who knows and understands the path of serenity, love and compassion well enough to teach it and who reaches first for spiritual solutions to all of his problems. I dream of a self that is patient and kind and loving; who pursues his dreams and goals, that is useful to himself, his family and his community. I dream of using my gifts in some way that it benefits the sea of humanity around me. Though each of them frighten me because, I don’t know how to be sure what those paths or how to achieve any of it, or what I might miss over here if I do. It all scares me, but I really do want it and I always have. I wonder (not doubt) what my wife would say if I told her I I want to go to divinity school – not saying that I do necessarily, but who knows right?
Anyway, today was more of a rambling attempt at self discovery than I real blog entry, but this is where I am at. God Bless us all
has been in the hospital for a week, she went in because she had been feeling weak and on Sunday last week she laid down, she stayed in bed until Thursday and didn’t eat or drink much. She has always been very able and independent, so no one checked on her and didn’t think much of it when she didn’t return calls. It was quickly determined that she had a large tumor in her colon and maybe something in her Liver. She has cancer. Yesterday, it was determined that it has in fact spread to her liver where it is ‘inoperable” She is 77 years old and some of the opinions so far are bleak. The truth is that the biopsies are not back yet and we have not heard from the Oncologist (Cancer Dr.). So, we wait.
The emotion of it all seems lodged deep inside of me and apparently, no ready to deal with it yet, I am yet to get it out. I can say a few things from a perspective of gratitude however, I am grateful that, unlike in the past, I am present and capable of being there for my Mom, for my oldest sister, whom along with myself have taken the bulk of the load in dealing with this. I am dealing with it properly at this point, feeling it, but not reacting like an alcoholic and just doing my best to be helpful and be there for my family. My sister said today “I know I can rely on you (and Kim) and you will be there”. This is new. That I have taken time off work and have been doting on my mother and making it to the hospital often, all of it new and I am so filled with gratitude to God(s) and AA and my wife, which is another story.
My, wife, my Mo Anam Cara, my sun, my moon and the stars in my sky. Kim has been there for me and my mother and sister every step of the way, staying home, leaving work early and when she is at the hospital, doing what she can to keep us all engaged and look after Mom. Alone, at home, she is supportive and attentive and loving. This is hard for her too, she has just really started getting close to my mother, she sees it hurting me and it also opens relatively fresh wounds about the loss of her own father.
Facing the potential loss of my mother to Cancer is hard, it brings into laser focus the reality of our mortality and I look at myself and around me, wondering “when”, when does it happen to the rest of us. Also, those things I am grateful for are another source of pain. I want lots more time with her, I am just beginning to be a real human being, to be a decent son and I want her to get to see more of that, to be a part of it.
The summary lesson here I suppose is, whenever I start taking people and relationships for granted, I need to remember that our existence here is fragile and we never have as much time with people as we think we do. If there is someone or someones out there that you love, don’t neglect that and don’t put off engaging with them because you might run the clock out long before you think.
For most of my life I have had two best (maie) friends, they were the closest people to me, I never let anyone get as close as them. I am now, with Kim and we will discuss that sometime. Four years ago, one of them, call him Roy; he shot and killed himself, seemingly without warning. Perhaps it is understood that it was drug and alcohol related. I came so close to shutting down entirely at his funeral. Then I crawled into the bottle deeper and stayed there for years and the grieving continues and is still intense when it catches up with me.
I am coming up on two years clean and sober, which I think plays into my anguish over my other best friend we will call him Duncan. He had a problem with IV drugs and has been clean, but not sober for the last three years. Since the revelation that his wife was pregnant last year, he has been hitting the bottle hard, even when sober he is moody and unapproachable about serious topics, walling himself off. His beautiful daughter is several months old now and though he loves her, he is a mess. He gets drunk and belligerent, just this weekend verbally attacking me and Kim and only half joking with threats of physical violence. He gets to rambling and slurring and saying cruel things, then simply angry but not making any sense at all. His wife, whom I also consider a good friend, has been patient with him and stood by him through some serious misbehavior and she is being taxed to her limit. Duncan has always suffered from a self-loathing put there by his father, now I am sure he is certain that his wife and daughter would be better off without him and he is doing everything he can to self-destruct and push them away and it is breaking my heart to watch it happen. I am no idiot, I know if he succeeds in pushing them away what comes next. He will start using again and either overdose or purposefully end his own life, the very thought hollows me out and then fills me with pain. I have no idea how I could weather another dead friend, much less another suicide. So, I am heartbroken and at the same time angry. I am coming into a wonderful time in my life, one that should and could fill me with joy and peace, one that I have looked for and always anticipated sharing with him and his wife. Although my new life, sober, with Kim and the kids does provide me those things, the worry and heartache of Duncan are never far from my mind and when I try to share my joy he simply spills his misery on it. We are supposed to be happy now, he has an amazing wife and career that can go places, we have cobbled together a giant family that enjoys one another’s company and looks out for one another. Instead, I stand here happy with my life, which in spite of some challenges has many more blessings than I probably deserve, while he pisses on what he has and tries to throw it away. So there is that heartache that often distracts me from my happiness.
Then there is the little farmer, Kim’s eldest, who is struggling for acceptance not only from his peers, but from adults too. He is a beautiful and unique child and in spite of circumstance and lacking unconditional acceptance from his peers and many adults, I suspect including his father, he still has his mother’s warm and wonderful heart and there is still time to make sure he keeps it. I see a powerful creative energy bouncing around in him and just waiting to be directed and unleashed. We will find the right thing and he will thrive, but for now, his largely unfulfilled quest for acceptance and praise causes him pain, which causes her and I pain, her of course to a much larger degree. My tribe, my family is almost entirely comprised of people who in their childhood were just like the little farmer boy, different, struggling for acceptance and uncertain of their place in the world. I know I didn’t prepare most of them for him, but I figured they would just see it, like I did. He wanted so badly to have them see him this weekend and embrace him. Duncan, who should know better, seemingly with direct intention, showed him nothing but rejection. To my embarrassment and shame my people, all of whom should be able to empathize with the young man, did not behave as I would have expected and did little or nothing to give him what he was looking for. This also breaks my heart.
The truth be told though, in spite of these pains and other challenges, like finances and my own quest for job security, I am happier than I ever have been and while I don’t know the details of how to pull it all together, I am excited about Kim and I’s future. Funny how the places I rejected and was certain would not bring me joy or fulfillment are exactly where they are ending up coming from, kids, family, home instead of work, peace, quiet. I must find a permanent job, a secure job. I want to ask Kim to marry me, but I want that security first, without it I feel like I am constantly a hair’s breath from being an albatross instead of a partner. And be it large or small I want to provide the best wedding possible for her and to go somewhere after, whether just her and I or with the boys. I pray constantly for some opportunity to present itself and I search constantly for it on my own. So, if you are listening universe; I am grateful for Kim, for the boys, for all of my blessings, but I could do much more for them and others if the right opportunity came along, so if you can make that happen, that would be great.
Well, I should get focused on work. By for now!
The Dr. at the little Urgent Care clinic apparently diagnosed me with Restrictive Airway Disease not to be confused with Restrictive Lung Disease (IPF) which is a death sentence. None-the-less it underscores my needs to quit smoking and get back into a good cardio routine, I had a serious bout with this the last time I spent a month out of the gym.
Of course, airways with restricted and spasming bronchial airways did little slow Kim and I down this weekend, I don’t know how many times we fucked, but it was many and magnificent. Sometimes it left me wheezing and panting pretty hard, but it was worth it! We also got some amount accomplished on packing up and preparing for our move and spent some time both alone relaxing and with some friends of hers by a backyard fire. What is great about her friends is that many of them are in recovery also and we can be sober and swap stories.
Speaking of which, if I haven’t mentioned it, I am a friend of Bill’s, or at least I was. I ran into a couple of issues that forced my decision not to continue going:
- I just plum didn’t like the AA as I was finding it here. Not as warm, welcoming or sincere as the people in Durham. I wasn’t under the impression any of them were actually working the program.
- The defects, this entire bit confuses me and troubles me. For starters, I don’t remember that much of my life. For another thing, I don’t share the common persons morality and things they see as moral character defects, I do not. Lust and sexuality are a big no-no for the christian God, who would see all humans stripped of their sexuality. Not so for my gods. Also, with exception to any of my family and friends that my addiction brought pain, that my distance and coldness caused stress, I do feel I need to make amends and remove the active addiction and flaws that caused that. However, for the most part, if I have deliberately committed offenses against someone, violence, theft, cruelty, I held at the time and still hold that they had it coming. I do believe that sometimes violence and cruelty are the answer, the just thing and my fundamental right.
- Even with my fundamentally different morality, I knew that I was misbehaving last year and the early part of this year. I had a romantic and sexual relationship with a married mother of two and did my best to lure her away from her husband. I am not sure I am sorry for this, but I was very much aware on some level that it was wrong enough that I couldn’t reconcile it with the tenets of the steps in AA, not if I intended to continue the affair. I suppose amends to her husband would be in order, if the revelation wouldn’t cause more damage than could be amended.
Today, I am done misbehaving (in accordance with my own morality) and I have been thinking that, with a deserving partner and two young boys in my life, there would be great benefit to becoming the best me that I can possibly be right? So, in spite of the continued presence of the first two issues I have with AA; it seems that making a return to the fold might be a good idea. So, I am putting serious consideration into starting to look around and finding decent meetings I can go to and digging back into the books and the steps. I wouldn’t have the same amount of time to dedicate to it as before, in terms of physically interacting with meetings and members, but that is alright. Perhaps I could get Kim to engage in some of it with me.
Well, my sick weazing ass must be getting back to work.
the Impending Doom makes a couple quick passes at your life. By and by things are fine, a little stressful but we are getting the house we want, signed the boys up for a great summer program that should benefit them in an untold number of ways, I have Kim and the boys and I am busy and feeling useful at work. But, there are things, this week I have been:
- Crazy Sick with a horrid case of chronic bronchitis, complete with bronchial spasms which has cost a ton of money we didn’t need to be spending right now
- In one auto accident that was my fault (don’t cough and drive) and accelerated the need to have my car looked at and repaired
- Had to run all over Troy, Livonia and places in between
- Gotten very little sleep and still not accomplished the bulk of what needs done
And then, there was yesterday. I called about the summer program for the boys and found out there was a mandatory orientation coming in the evening and it would be our last chance. The plan had been to get to the clinic for my lungs and go do laundry or pack. Instead I made my way over to Troy to meet up with Kim and go to the orientation. On my way, on the freeway not far from my exit something fun happened.
I was cooking along at 70 in the right lane, a couple hundred yards ahead of me was a white work van, attached to it was one of those small trailers that you can haul a car or boat or something on. On each side of the trailer, covering the otherwise exposed tires are two car tire sized, heavy fenders. I watched as the van hit a bump and one of them tore off, at first I thought the entire wheel had come off. With myself traveling at 70 and I suppose the heavy metal fender hurtling toward me, bouncing and jumping off the concrete, time froze and I watched considering the trajectory which was going to have it slamming into my windshield, directly in front of my face. A single thought, my usual singular thought in these moments was “Oh, this is a stupid way to go out“.
I was on the phone with Kim and when time unfroze, I yelped out something, looked to my left, there was a car next to me, so I veered left as far as I could, hit the brakes and braced for impact. The fortunate maneuvering left the fender striking the upper right corner of my hood, then glancing on the windshield, leaving a nice spider crack, but me still breathing and my car still operating. The van drove on like nothing happened and I just resigned myself to heading to Kim’s work.
We made our way to B&G orientation and that went fine, very good and encouraging in fact. We followed up with dinner where we talked about how wonderful it was that everything was falling into place. After that it was off to the clinic, I will skip the stupid details there but suffice to say it was under staffed, busy and we were there two hours. Another hour wasted at the pharmacy left us near home at close to midnight, Kim was in her car directly in front of me and suddenly driving uncharacteristically slow, then Hazard lights. Fuck, all I could do was laugh about it for a while, then I got very frustrated and angry with the universe, her car was dead, either from lack of oil or from the oil turning to sludge. We left her car there, but I am certain I didn’t sleep until 2 or later last night; anger and brief outburst and (wonderful) sex came first.
So, we were up and out the door early this morning so I could drop her off at her companies Troy office, got her there, headed to work in Livonia myself and was about half way there when she called and asked if could come back and get her. This is where the story starts to get incredulous, some fucking belligerent knuckle-head made threats against the office she works at! What the F. I have to admit Doom, even for you this getting creative. So, it is turning around and heading back to get her, wondering the whole time if I will get there before this maniac. I did and who knows if he is actual going there at all, but none-the-less I wasn’t gonna leave her there to find out.
Finally, I got to work, she went to her companies nearby office. I am exhausted, sickly and have been trucking from arrival until I paused to write this. What a damn week~