Reports from the Bunker

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Step Two: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to Sanity

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“Remember that we deal with alcohol-cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power-That One is God. May you find Him now!”  Big Book of AA, How it Works

 Step Two, I am realizing today presents a problem for me, one that is perhaps unique to someone who has had more than a few days sober.  I know, deep in my heart that God helped me to get and sober and continues to help me stay that way. I do not have to believe anymore.  

That said, for most of my sobriety God has been a formless, secret and invisible benefactor. In spite of trying them on and professing to worship a variety of higher powers, I have taken no name for God and not set of rituals and associated beliefs into my heart and for the last year I have found myself wondering if that is not blocking me off from God in some ways, either small or vast. 

There are times at which I feel like I know God better than any human has the right or ability to, and other times where I feel that I was a fool for ever thinking or believing anything about God at all. 

God can restore me to sanity, but only if I am ready and willing, only if I can come to God. But If I believe in a God, then why do I lay awake at night now, pondering and agonizing over my own mortality, why don’t I have the certainty in my heart that there is an after life? 

There are so many times I find myself wishing I had the certain and absolute beliefs that Christian’s and other followers of organized religion have. I wish often that I could be Christian actually, maybe non-denominational or Catholic, but they are too distant from my personality and my understanding of God and much of what I see of their God, I cannot condone. 

I could go on and on about this, the point is, I am in existential crisis and Step Two is not a matter for of wondering if God can restore me to Sanity, but rather a question of whether or not I am going to allow God to restore me to sanity.

Chances are, I will have to transform myself or be prepared to transform myself even further and mold myself to fit God, rather than find a God that fits into the mold that I have made and that is a very uncomfortable thought. 

I know that for me, finding the answer will start with consulting Walt Whitman, a dreaming of a cave I used to fly to to talk with my vocational ancestors, unchaining my mystical, spiritual self and embracing it without being embarrassed, self conscious or afraid. 

Written by jamesjanus

March 8, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Sobriety Re-Boot (Step One)

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Since around the time that my mother’s cancer got bad, perhaps even longer, I have not been the same, haven’t been myself and have been way off center. I haven’t felt right or been acting right and suddenly that awful trajectory has slipped into overdrive. When you are a recovered alcoholic and you find yourself lost or in a tailspin there is just one thing to do, start over at Step One and walk all the way through, this time do it better, if you think you did it with a willingness to go to any lengths, go farther. Go to more meetings and get a new sponsor.

It is my intention to do all of that starting right now, before I am lost and hopefully better with greater abandon and willingness to surrender than any time before so I don’t have find myself back this far again. As part of my meditation and conscious contact, I will try to write something, hopefully with Gratitude every day. When I am focused on a step, I will write about it. I won’t publish my (next) fourth step here, but I will talk about it.

Step One

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol— that our lives had become unmanageable

4.6 years or 1684 days ago, I was without exaggeration dying.  Having one fat bloated foot in the grave and the other in pool of whiskey. I was an alcoholic of the hopeless variety and at 34 I had an illustrious drinking career spanning almost two decades.  I had tried to moderate, tried to quit and tried to deny my problem, sometimes I even acknowledged I was an alcoholic, but didn’t think that was a problem.  I couldn’t see how it was destroying my relationships, my mental or emotional state, or care about how it was killing me.  So, yeah by the letter of it, I know Step One for a fact everyday.

That said, if you aren’t paying attention the fine print between the lines of Step One can be overlooked, forgotten or ignored.  At nearly five years sober, I alternate between understanding and forgetting that my powerlessness over alcohol is almost the least of my problems (because I have no desire to drink today), because there is a list over things, which stacked end to end could reach to the moon and back, that I am also powerless over and unable to do shit about. Just like continuing to drink or trying to conquer it without God’s help, continuing to try to have power over any item on this list will make my life unmanageable.

What am I powerless over? In short form it is:

People:  Examples, My stepsons Autism, his attitude and his choices (when I’m not around). I cannot make my friends sober, or make them do things that are good for them, I cannot make my wife work out, take medicine or go to the doctor, I don’t get to choose for other people and I CAN judge them, but it will only make me unhappy and less useful to them.

Places: Examples,  Can’t change systems or my very much about my place in them. Schools, Courts, Work, Police, Creditors all operate and have the authority they do and I will not be able to overcome that

Things: Stuff breaks, cars die, houses are in their state, money is never abundant enough, traffic goes however it goes, rain, sleet, snow, heat. I have power and authority over absolutely none of these things and that is just how it is, no amount of fear or worry, or rage or pleading or pleasing is going to make that change.

and my life has become unmanageable

Because for nearly five years I have been prone to distraction and dropping out and holding back, my life, while so much better than it was before, is not managed like it should be today.  I have multiple lawyers pursuing me financially and have met suddenly with around between 12 and 17 thousand dollars that absolutely must be paid out to creditors and taxes in the next 8 months or so and I am sure that my ex wife will be following suite since she isn’t getting payments. Almost comically I am in jeopardy of losing a fucked up mess of a house that I don’t even have a mortgage on because I have neglected to pay the taxes! Holy shit, who does that?

Someone, who is seriously ill, who has a program of recovery that works miracles, has worked miracles for him, but who has held back and hasn’t been paying attention in class because he is a terminal fool.

My life is no longer unmanageable because of alcohol, but because God talks and I don’t listen, or I am too afraid to do what is right, or speak up or take charge. Fear, Fear, Fear, Fear, Fear until I am tired of being afraid and lash out with anger, upsetting everyone and thinking I can control everything. I am it seems at times a  farce, a comical exaggeration of a man.

With a powerful need to escape all of this, I will drop to my knees today and say unto the Teeth Mother, the other Sacred Muses and the Word,  my own Step One

I admit that I am powerless over alcohol, other things, people and places and having forgotten that, have made my life entirely unmanageable; I am lost and adrift and will not find my way alone.

Step One: The Prodigal son comes home, having made a mess on his own.

 

Written by jamesjanus

March 6, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Things to consider about guns, mental health and the light of the universe (notes)

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The constitution provides the right to bare arms, and provides that “congress shall pass no law…”

Gun restriction or prohibition laws ought to be by necessity a matter of Amending the constitution

We have an psychologically immature congress has too much idealogy while being bereft the of maturity and the intellectual ability to pass simpler legistlation and so will not be able to pass any constitutional amendment

 

Any other legislation passed, the Supreme Court has said time and time again will be struck down if brought to them. Therefore, the frenzy of paraniod certainty by gun owners that the government will take their guns away would be laughable, if the ramifications were not tragically clear; when it comes to this subject, reason is hardly applicable.

 

By way of the unspoken social contract that binds human beings together as a society, this should not be necessary though. Concessions when it comes to weapons and munitions whose sole purpose is to mortally wound other human beings should be happily provided for in the interest of protecting each other. What is more, to suggest that any weapon not clearly intended to be used for hunting is designed for anything other killing people is either delusional or shamefully dishonest.

 

The vast majority, of even severely mentally ill people are not dangerous. However, it is truth that our society finds it hard to swallow that all dangerous people are mentally ill. No stable human being, with serene and unstressed mind kills other people.

 

Given all of the guns in the world, of any type, size or caliber and unlimited ammuntion,  I can safely say today that I would never kill anyone. I will never walk into a public place and start killing random people. In my current mental and spiritual state, I am not likely to kill anyone, period.

 

Today, 1 in 17 Americans have a serious mental illness, 1 in 5 of those are not insured and have limited or no access to medicine and treatment

 

It is by logical reason that we see the vast majority of those whom argue against gun regulation as deeply unstable an potentially mentally ill, which makes me nervous for them, and everyone else.

 

Before doing any of the following, we should all be made to carry and review this list 

 

While we rant on about the evils of socialist universal medical coverage

Classify and slander our poor as degenerates, profligates and criminals looking for undeserved handouts, saying so to speak “let them eat cake”

while we continue to treat behavior borne of untreated illness by locking up the afflicted and calling them monsters and animals

Every time we argue in favor of reserving the right to kill another human being

Whenever we find ourselves making idle threats from paranoid fear that someone might take our precious guns away

Every time we speak with violence

When we embrace the ever present and seemingly benign idea that some(one) MUST win and others MUST lose

 

Guns will not resolve or prevent incidents like Sandy Hook, though restrictions may curb them, that will not end it either. Universal access to a far better than present mental health system will go the farthest, but tragedy and violence will continue on for as long as we embrace violence and reject our own culpability. These recent tragedies and many, many more like them are a natural consequence of not only our collective actions and inactions, but the very culture, religious practice and idealologies that we practice daily. In short, these are the random and unstoppable acts of monsters that couldn’t be avoided, these are consequences and they are early, light consequences compared to what will be in the future.

 

I have spent the last many years sweeping and cleaning the streets on the road between God and myself, then listening, listening with my heart, my soul and my mind. I read no bible and consult no preacher and I do not care to. I know nothing of God that anyone else has told me and I know no more today than I did when I was a very young child, but I understand today in ways I could never have understood before. God has been speaking to me on this matter for some time.  I am only telling you this because I want it to be understood where I am coming from.  Here is what I have been shown, in my mind and my heart.

 

  • First, God is love and that which is love, is God, that which is not love is not God and gets in our way.
  • Not working to ensure that everyone among us is at least healthy and cared for is not love, cuts us off from God and renders negative consequence
  • God is not Violence and is not with us in it! Whenever we embrace violence by reserving the right to it, contemplate and plan for it or conduct it, we are walking alone, not with each other and not with God. No matter how just the cause may be, violence is not love and violence is not God. Rather than imagine God is with us, or praying that we will be kept safe or win, when we go to conduct violence in war or elsewhere we should pray for forgiveness and a return to the light as soon as possible. We should pray we can live with the consequence that it will render for us, invidually and as a collective people.

 

 

Some years ago I read something from Buddhism that suggested our very way of life, the competitive, capitalist culture, the notion that there must be a winner was itself violence. I laughed and shrugged it off as foolish. Today, I am entirely ashamed of my ignorance, as I have been shown that this culture of winners and losers is the very birthplace of violence and indeed all malevolence.

 

We will go on “winning and losing”, “pushing and shoving”, “having and not having”, but let us do so with a sense of clarity; Violence like Sandy Hook and Aurora should not be ascribed to abstract Devils, or a singular evil monster, we must accept that the blame is collectively ours.  God challenges us to be honest and shoulder the burden of guilt even as we continue to embrace exclusion, prejudice and greed, arguing against providing everyone care, equal rights and opporunity and continuing to reserve the right to shoot each other while stocking up on the weapons to do so.

 

 

Written by jamesjanus

February 15, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

For future reference and a little fun bio of embarassing moments

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my younger stepson:

Shit his pants at school, removed his underwear and threw it in the trash

Was playing hide and seek with his dad and got his nuts clipped by a mouse-trap that was hidden behind a chair

While nursing a tummy injury, fell once and busted his ass on the stairs, then later that same night, feeling better ran across the floor, slipped, fell and landed on his ass again

Watched a show about blood hounds, decided to pretend to be one, stuck his ass in the air and dragged his face all over his grandma’s carpet, giving himself horrible rug burn and left his face all scabbed up two days before school photos.

He is hilarious sometimes

Written by jamesjanus

October 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm

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Next right thing

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My wife Kim, myself and our youngest boy have all been very ill with this horrible flu that has been going around. This weekend I chose to push through it (being the least affected, though trust me that is cold comfort) and be as productive as I could.

It may not seem like it in the moment, but when I do the right things, when I am productive and useful to others, I always feel happier and more centered. There is still much to be done, but I spent my time trying to order the house and get giant piles of laundry done. It is staggering how easily I give into my laziness and excuses when all I get out of it are negative feelings of ineptitude, guilt and shame. Instead, when I am productive I feel happy, more confident and more fulfilled.

I think upon entering AA four years ago, that was best advice given to me, “just take it one day at a time, and always ask yourself and your higher power what next right thing is, then go do it.” I want to get better at following that consistently.

Written by jamesjanus

October 1, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I am not okay

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While, I am sure it is obvious to Kim, it seems subtle to me. I am trying to be strong, trying to dislodge the giant ball of shitty, soul eating emotion that is stuck inside me, I am trying to be there for my family, my Mom, my sponsee, for Kim and the boys; I try to go through the motions and appear okay, but I am NOT OKAY! Prayer and meetings aren’t helping at all and the only person that I believe could help, Kim, feels so far away. My fault or hers, our mutual, I don’t know. The only thing I do know is that I want more than anything to know the words to say, to have some expression that will help her understand and help me to make the ball of shitty emotion explode and bleed out of me in river of tears and screams, but they aren’t there and Kim has grown so resentful of my distance and the adverse side affect of my not being like my true self, that when I started to to open up, when for a brief moment the words were there and I felt the ball moving, she jumped on me about NOT Sharing and I shut right back down.

I wish it wasn’t this way, I wish it was changing, that when it gets too big, when I get scared, I didn’t shut down and turn into something less than I am, than I want to be, but it hasn’t changed yet and I doubt it will, which is one of many reasons why on a long enough time-line, everyone who is too close to me gets weary of me and today, though I should be grateful and yada-yada, I am not, I hate being me, I hate it and I am so fucking tired, I just want to lay down and give up.

Written by jamesjanus

September 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Just a random thing that wrote itself in my head

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Positive energy must flow from you, out over people around you like a river rushes down the mountain
some like fish and animals will swim and drink of it, being cleansed and nourished
some like the sand and dirt will flow along with you
others, like reeds will bend to your momentum
The rocks, the rocks will dig in and remain, some fighting and attempting to block your current
Never mind them, in time your waters will polish and carve them into proper shape

Written by jamesjanus

September 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Posted in AA, Writing

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