Reports from the Bunker

the only complete man in the industry

Posts Tagged ‘Lost

where are we going and why am I in this handbasket?

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I am not sure where the Universe is pushing me, what it has planned for me or what myself, my loves and my destination will look like in the near future. In other words, I am so entirely lost that there is very little I know and undertand at this point. I am not sure if I don’t know who I really am, or if I just don’t know how to be, accept and embrace who I really am. A few days ago those thoughts had me terribly bothered. Monday night, something happened and I couldn’t tell you what exactly, though my intuition tells me it was a spark, an ember of the fire that will lead me to a promised spiritual experience, one that I am yearning and working for. I have, more often than not, felt quite simply, grateful and positive since Monday night. I am still lost, much is still very unclear and I know little more about my destination than I where I am presently, but for now, I think that is just fine. I don’t know. I don’t know what God, or myself, or the world at large expects of me, in a broad and general sense. I do know a few things, such as, there are things I can do each day that are positive and necessary, that are helpful to others and will aide me in getting outside of myself. I can do some chores around my house, cook my family dinner, spend quality, honest time with my wife and kids, go to work and be productive, go to the gym and put in my best effort. I can read, pray and do step work and go to a meeting, share honestly about my experience, strength and hope and offer any aide I can to other alcoholics, which for now is limited to physical services like rides, sharing at the tables and trading phone numbers and calls. I can resist the temptation to go back and edit rambling entries like these, allow the imperfect to be just that and not worry about anything more than the action of writing, as a quiet meditation and a practice. 

I would like to thank AA, my friends there, those who started the whole thing and I would like to thank my Higher Power for the grace, strength and courage I have been given to go along with my existence and the existence of all other things. I am confused, I am uncertain, I am lost, but that is alright, because I don’t have the steering wheel anyway and I believe the power that does will get me where I need to be.

 

Gratitude.

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Written by jamesjanus

February 8, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Explosive Thought Poo

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Before any of my other friends, I knew what my path was; I knew what I wanted to do with my life, at least in a general framework. I had not yet started high-school when I realized I wanted to be a writer and poet. Ill-equipped for learning within the confines of any institution, I assumed I would not make it through college, so starting in middle school and continuing beyond high school I set about a rigorous study and practice of literature, language, philosophy and communication. In all humility, I would come in time to discover that my cirriculum was much more intense than any school would have been. I took the hard road one could say. By the time I was 20, I had written (and thrown away) two novels, had poetry published and was giving readings all over Detroit and in little bohemian galleries and cafes as far away as the Irish Hills. I read constantly and wrote for hours a day, I always had a notebook with me and even if I was occupied all day and found myself at a party, I would dissappear for at least 30 minutes to write for a while.
There are certain truths and realities to this kind of life, the life of a dedicated poet and freelance writer and chief among them are that accomplishment and reward come slowly, if they come at all. In my early twenties, some 13 years ago, I found growing in me a lack of patience, a material desire and a yearning for more immediate accomplishment than my choice could provide. Thus, I found my way to my career as a business and technical writer. At first, given the instant rewards and more swiftly and easily won accomplishments, I was elated and felt victorious. I told myself, whatever they are intended for and produce, all words are words and all writing was writing and  I was getting paid to do it.
Yet, there was a sacrifice it seems. For ten years now, I have struggled to read, to write and to enjoy writing, anything not related to my occupation and it has made the job itself sour to me. I lost the discipline and the joy of it somewhere. What I do write is now so clinical and lacking in soul, emotional honesty and full expression that it reads like a grocery list or a technical manual. It is in fact seldom that I can contact that energy that enables me to write in a very personal way and most of what I write is about topics, subjects, events (in a deeply clinical fashion).
When I write anything now, I am obsessed and anxious about it being useful, being a usable, purposeful excercise and with it being praise-worthy. Kim and I had a discussion last night about how I should write daily if I want to get back into the discipline. Sounds simple and honestly this is not the first time it was suggested, not the first time I will have attempted it, but she said several things that make it different and multiple realizations last night during our discussion and today in my head make it different.
– What to Write
When I practiced writing daily and when the love and joy were there, what I wrote hardly mattered – sometimes I would just write stream of consciousness lists of word, write a word, then the next word after it that entered my head and on and on. Sometimes, lists of favorite words, words I loved because of how they sounded. I wrote essays, journals, none-sense, fragments of poems and dreams and just anything without concern for quality, or purpose. I did it to write, I did it to feel the pen in my hand and the paper under it; also to type, just to feel my fingers hit the keys, often closing my eyes and just languishing in the feeling of my fingers on the keys, the music of the typewriter hammers or the more quiet clacking of keyboard keys on the computer. To feel connected to the ancient practice of wordsmithing and to the spirit and ghosts of those who have done it before me and the divine spirit of inspiration that has driven us. Usually, there was no drive to accomplish anything, so when I did decide to accomplish something it came easy.
– Make it personal, honest (when it must be a cohesive thing)
Comparatively, one could examine my life today against my life 15 years ago and find that it has grown dull. I am sober, in no great danger from myself, my lifestyle choices or anyone else. My time is not spent amongst the self important or the intellectually elite anymore and such is my perspective that I don’t really want to be. More and more of my friends are clean, sober or both and are, for the most part pretty mellow with lives as simple as mine.
This would not really be my perspective though. I would instead point out that I have more going on now and more of it enables me to relate to other people and allow them to contact the things that I write about. I am sober for the first time since I was a pre-teen, my whole life and person has and continue to change dramatically. I feel human for the first time ever, happy and hopeful are also new. I have two kids in my life whose anecdotes, antics and victories and struggles I can write about. I can write about my struggles having gone from childless to having two kids in grade school and trying to figure out how to be not just a parent, but more delicately, a step-parent. I have their mother, Kim, the love of my life and our relationship which while exuberant and loving is challenged by the ghosts of our relationships past and my own alcoholic personality challenges that rear their head sometimes. Learning to balance work, home, health and AA is another big thing for me to address.
In a way, not much has changed, the more exciting part of my writing has always been the inward struggles and thoughts of my life. For sure, many of those struggles and thoughts are different now.
– Try doing it at the end of the day
Typically, like today, I write my blog entries at work with fragmented effort through the day as I am able to sneek them. it would be better to have the day behind me and write about or whatever I am going to write and do it all at once.
– That I need particular conditions, things etc to really be able to do it
Excuses, nothing more. I don’t need anything except the conviction to re-obtain the discipline.
There are some things that will be helpful however
It is time for an new copy of Letters to A Young Poet
Reading one of my literary hero’s
Dig out and play with drafts and poem fragments
Though I need to try and be careful not to make the entries anything but what my fingers determine needs typed and must forget that there is a potential audience, I still think that for ease the blog is the best way to do my daily writing. So, this blog will change yet again to some degree and if it is not interesting to anyone who reads it regularly, or the entires have no cohesive themes either among or within them, you have my apologies.

My days now…
Before any of my other friends, I knew what my path was; I knew what I wanted to do with my life, at least in a general framework. I had not yet started high-school when I realized I wanted to be a writer and poet. Ill-equipped for learning within the confines of any institution, I assumed I would not make it through college, so starting in middle school and continuing beyond high school I set about a rigorous study and practice of literature, language, philosophy and communication. In all humility, I would come in time to discover that my cirriculum was much more intense than any school would have been. I took the hard road one could say. By the time I was 20, I had written (and thrown away) two novels, had poetry published and was giving readings all over Detroit and in little bohemian galleries and cafes as far away as the Irish Hills. I read constantly and wrote for hours a day, I always had a notebook with me and even if I was occupied all day and found myself at a party, I would dissappear for at least 30 minutes to write for a while.
There are certain truths and realities to this kind of life, the life of a dedicated poet and freelance writer and chief among them are that accomplishment and reward come slowly, if they come at all. In my early twenties, some 13 years ago, I found growing in me a lack of patience, a material desire and a yearning for more immediate accomplishment than my choice could provide. Thus, I found my way to my career as a business and technical writer. At first, given the instant rewards and more swiftly and easily won accomplishments, I was elated and felt victorious. I told myself, whatever they are intended for and produce, all words are words and all writing was writing.
Yet, there was a sacrifice it seems. For ten years now, I have struggled to read, to write and to enjoy writing, anything not related to my occupation and it has made the job itself sour to me. I lost the discipline and the joy of it somewhere. What I do write is now so clinical and lacking in soul, emotional honesty and full expression that it reads like a grocery list or a technical manual. It is in fact seldom that I can contact that energy that enables me to write in a very personal way and most of what I write is about topics, subjects, events (in a deeply clinical fashion).
When I write anything now, I am obsessed and anxious about it being useful, being a usable, purposeful excercise and with it being praise-worthy. Kim and I had a discussion last night about how I should write daily if I want to get back into the discipline. Sounds simple and honestly this is not the first time it was suggested, not the first time I will have attempted it, but she said several things that make it different and multiple realizations last night during our discussion and today in my head make it different.
– What to WriteWhen I practiced writing daily and when the love and joy were there, what I wrote hardly mattered – sometimes I would just write stream of consciousness lists of word, write a word, then the next word after it that entered my head and on and on. Sometimes, lists of favorite words, words I loved because of how they sounded. I wrote essays, journals, none-sense, fragments of poems and dreams and just anything without concern for quality, or purpose. I did it to write, I did it to feel the pen in my hand and the paper under it; also to type, just to feel my fingers hit the keys, often closing my eyes and just languishing in the feeling of my fingers on the keys, the music of the typewriter hammers or the more quiet clacking of keyboard keys on the computer. To feel connected to the ancient practice of wordsmithing and to the spirit and ghosts of those who have done it before me and the divine spirit of inspiration that has driven us. Usually, there was no drive to accomplish anything, so when I did decide to accomplish something it came easy.
– Make it personal, honest (when it must be a cohesive thing)Comparatively, one could examine my life today against my life 15 years ago and find that it has grown dull. I am sober, in no great danger from myself, my lifestyle choices or anyone else. My time is not spent amongst the self important or the intellectually elite anymore and such is my perspective that I don’t really want to be. More and more of my friends are clean, sober or both and are, for the most part pretty mellow with lives as simple as mine.
This would not really be my perspective though. I would instead point out that I have more going on now and more of it enables me to relate to other people and allow them to contact the things that I write about. I am sober for the first time since I was a pre-teen, my whole life and person has and continue to change dramatically. I feel human for the first time ever, happy and hopeful are also new. I have two kids in my life whose anecdotes, antics and victories and struggles I can write about. I can write about my struggles having gone from childless to having two kids in grade school and trying to figure out how to be not just a parent, but more delicately, a step-parent. I have their mother, Kim, the love of my life and our relationship which while exuberant and loving is challenged by the ghosts of our relationships past and my own alcoholic personality challenges that rear their head sometimes. Learning to balance work, home, health and AA is another big thing for me to address.
In a way, not much has changed, the more exciting part of my writing has always been the inward struggles and thoughts of my life. For sure, many of those struggles and thoughts are different now.
– Try doing it at the end of the dayTypically, like today, I write my blog entries at work with fragmented effort through the day as I am able to sneek them. it would be better to have the day behind me and write about or whatever I am going to write and do it all at once.
– That I need particular conditions, things etc to really be able to do itExcuses, nothing more. I don’t need anything except the conviction to re-obtain the discipline.
There are some things that will be helpful howeverIt is time for an new copy of Letters to A Young PoetReading one of my literary hero’sDig out and play with drafts and poem fragments
Though I need to try and be careful not to make the entries anything but what my fingers determine needs typed and must forget that there is a potential audience, I still think that for ease the blog is the best way to do my daily writing. So, this blog will change yet again to some degree and if it is not interesting to anyone who reads it regularly, or the entires have no cohesive themes either among or within them, you have my apologies.

Written by jamesjanus

September 30, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Posted in Writing

Tagged with , , , , , , , ,

Gratitude, Attitude, Affect

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I forget to pray for the angels
And then the angels forget to pray for us.

Once upon a time I sat in rooms and watched as men and women, their heads hung in shame, confessed before a crowd of peers that they had lost their recovery. Some had drank again, others just stopped doing the right things, stopped showing up and their disease and therefore their lives had once again become unmanageable.  At the time, I told myself this is important, this is truth, remember this. I sussed out the dangerous pattern that every one of them had followed. First, they stopped showing up and without the accountability, they slowly stopped doing the steps and the other rituals, they told themselves they are strong enough now to go it alone anyway. Soon, they lost sight of what was important, of whom was important, then they decided all of those things were okay and then before they knew it, they were in trouble and they started tossing out whatever good things existed in their lives, dancing all over the self destruct button.

The ones I met were the lucky ones, I knew that too, many never make it back, dead, in prison or on the way to both destinations.  I took all of this in, once upon a time. I made myself pay attention so  I would remember the stories.  I told myself, this will never happen to me, I would never be so dumb.

Then…I stopped showing up. I stopped doing the steps and staying vigilante; I decided I was strong enough to go it alone, I forgot all about those people and their stories, the same story, over and over and over again. I decided I was special, I was the one in a million alcoholic that could carry the burden by myself. For a while, I think perhaps I did alright, or I just wasn’t tested. But I too lost sight of what was important, I grew selfish and lost all gratitude for the things I was given every single day. I grew negative and greedy and over the last few weeks, I nearly drove the best of my blessings out of my life. All to learn a lesson for the millionth time since I started with AA. I am not special, I am not immune, I am not different.  It will happen to me, as it has everyone else. I am not the one that can do it when no one else can. That is apparently a very hard pill for me to swallow and keep down.

The truth is that, while I am not weak, I have a disease that is stronger than I am, it is so much stronger than I am that it takes the help of everyone around me, rituals, constant maintenance and the aide of God to relieve me of the symptoms.  I have to accept that and surrender to it. I have to believe too that maybe this was all by design, maybe I never really gave myself over entirely, my will, my commitment. A lesson hard learned and as usual not at my expense alone.

To that end and with the choice of not doing what I needed to, I hurt someone. I hurt Kim and while I am remorseful, I know that I must be more than sorry, that I must right myself and make amends for my poor judgement and the ensuing behavior.  She has forgiven me my trespass and that in itself is something to be grateful for, because my behavior could easily have cost me her and the boys.

The subject of Kim, leads me to something else, to another apology and amends that I must make.  To my Higher Power, the god I pray to. In the last two years I have been showered with blessings, almost non-stop; The love and kindness of friends and family, a job, not being drunk and experiencing hope and happiness – then the coupe de grace, this woman, this wonderful amazing woman who loves me more than I deserve, those beautiful boys of hers and the experience of connecting with them and caring for them, all of it heaped upon me as though I was deserving of it. My response, my response was greed: to ask for more and throw fits when I my requests went unanswered or a small bump appeared in my path.  I seldom asked anyone what I can do for them, what I should be doing to be worthy of the gifts I was handed, I just asked for more.  I am sorry it got to here before I saw all of this, but I know now what I have, what I nearly lost and that I should be thanking you and the universe and the people around me every day for the things I have.

So, I will learn soon what it is to stand in one of those rooms and say I lost my recovery because I thought I knew better. thought I could go it alone.  It doesn’t matter that I didn’t drink, because ultimately that isn’t the point, the point is to be rid of the defects of character that made being an addict possible. The point is to be restored to being a valuable, useful, purposeful human being that is of use and value to the people around him, rather than being a drain or a terror.  So, thank you, thank you to everyone for dealing with me.

The affect of losing sight of the blessings in your life is the elevation of things that do not deserve to be important, the turning of your own attitude to darkness and the destruction of those things in your life that are good.  Kim, the beat of my heart now, the sun in my sky, I love her and the kids and I nearly let it all go because I wasn’t doing the right things and I lost sight of what was important and stopped appreciating my blessings.

Remember to ask Mr J, everyday, Am I in Recovery? Am I doing the right things? What do I have to be grateful for? How can I serve other people today?

Written by jamesjanus

June 25, 2010 at 3:52 pm