Reports from the Bunker

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Posts Tagged ‘Sober

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

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“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable” AA – Step One

To keep it simple, this had to be the step and it is the right words to use, but to me, like many other alcoholics, there is a good deal more that is brought to mind and rings true.  I am powerless over alcohol and many, many other things, like Depression, Anger, Resentment, Self Will, Laziness, Excess, Fear. The list goes on and on like that.

Though I have not had drink in close to 3 and a half years, I have no more power over alcohol today than I did when I was drinking and it takes more strength that I have on my own to keep from picking up the next drink. It takes more strength and wisdom than I possess on my own to keep doing the right things and to have the right attitude; to be myself and the best self that I can be.

I forgot all of this and even once I remembered it took so long for me re-commit to the program of recovery that I entered three years ago. That said, here I am once again and I am grateful that it has been there waiting for me, that I have AA and a higher power.

I am starting over, right here at Step One and as my form of meditation, I am going to write my way through each of the steps, as I started to once before and I hope that this time I make it through all of them before I choose to start over.

So, is Step One really?

Step One is really the admission of our own humanity, the first of many humbling steps in AA.  When we contemplate and work on Step One, we come to examine the human and self efforts that we have put forth in the past and acknowledge a few things:

1. Alcoholism is a disease, it is an “allergy”. Alcoholics process alcohol differently than other people and it simultaneously does more cellular damage in us and produces a powerful and urgent need for more. It is also a disease of the mind, producing obsessive thinking, so that even when the physical craving is not present the obsessive craving is. The disease also has effects that a broad reaching; inebriation as an avoidant coping mechanism is psychologically and spiritually unhealthy and all manner of moral/character defects spring from it, stunted mental and emotional growth, anxiety, mania, self absorption, grandiosity, guilt, shame, self loathing, depression, sexual misconduct, poor hygiene, poor life and relationship skills, control, self seeking…the list goes on an on. This is how, ultimately, it makes life unmanageable.

2. We are powerless over this disease and ultimately over the defects of character that have resulted from it. We can never, drink like normal people do.  If you have been in the program a while, you might see that we are powerless over almost everything. Nothing is truly in our control, except, our decision to put the right effort into our own selves.  This is not to say that we are weak, by any means, we are talking about recovery from an otherwise incurable, physical, psychological and spiritual disease.  Could I go the rest of my life and not pick up a drink, maybe. I am firm in my belief though that I would likely still suffer the miserable side effects of the disease without a spiritual and task driven program like this one. If anyone has found something better, I encourage them to do that instead.

3. Our “running the show” has left our lives a wreck, whether it is the very tangible consequences of not unpaid bills, criminal charges and failed health, or simply strained and ruined relationships, we have not only poured ourselves a pool of terrible hell and misery to bath in, but we have splashed it upon others.

If we are alcoholics and it has taken the usual amount of time for us to find our way to AA (without court orders), we are typically ready to listen, understand and admit, having tried everything else, controlled drinking, switching brands, types and times, following systems of rules, abstinence on our own, therapy, rehab, etc..etc..that we are powerless over alcohol.

For me, right now, the second part is bigger…My life had become and remains unmanageable, why? Because for the last year and a half, the manager of  my life has really been poorly qualified and wholly inept, we cannot fire him, but he does need demoted. That manager is me, I have been trying run the show, which keeps me too busy to work the steps and leads me to do nothing but give myself the opportunity to make poor choices, which invariably I make.

My name is James, I am an alcoholic. I am powerless over alcohol and my life has become unmanageable. This has been my first step (take two). Thank you for sharing it with me. I look forward to sharing my journey through the steps, as well as my experience, strength and hope with the world.

Written by jamesjanus

January 10, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Dreams and Nightmares

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Kim had a dream last night that I was taking pills and stumbling into cop cars, perhaps it was really a window into my past, the entire description of the event sounded plausibly like something that may have happened to me in my former life.  I had strange dreams last night too, one was horrifying and still lingers.  My biggest fear was realized in it.

I was at someone’s house, a man, older and we were meeting in person it seems for the first time. I do not recall what I was doing there; I know I was writing poetry again and there were piles and piles of dusty books in this library at the mans house. There was also an upright piano and some other instruments. He had to excuse himself for a while, to eat dinner or do something in another part of the house. He pointed to a wet bar on the far side of the room, indicating I should help myself to some refreshments.

Distractedly  I looked around the large library, examining book titles and the walls, taking it all in with awe and wonder. Without connecting the bottles to their contents, without even a thought that I mixing an alcoholic beverage, my hands reflexively poured a few ounces of some foreign Vodka into a tumbler, followed by a splash of tonic.  I sat in an old, leather high backed chair, and scooping up the book nearest to me, I sipped on my beverage while I thumbed through the pages. The drink was good, so I made another, and another. I was fingering the keys on the piano with my eyes closed when I felt the buzz come on and with it the light bulb. I was drinking alcohol, I was buzzed. The delicious beverage I had been pouring was Vodka and tonic. I stared into the mostly empty third glass, ‘Two years sober, and I just blew it without so much as a conscious thought toward it, without intention, OH god, I am gonna have to start my count over, all over at 1 day’ There was a moment of protest in my head, the disease telling me that maybe I could drink again, that I could handle being moderate, Yeah I thought to myself, maybe I can – I looked to a clock on the wall and slumped 15 minutes I have been here alone and already I have had three of these. I chuckled at myself, but I was crestfallen that I could wreck two years of sobriety on reflex, without intention.

The fear of that lingers as I am in fact approaching my two year mark. I suppose, as long as I stay a little scared and vigilante I will be alright, but what a fucked up dream.

Written by jamesjanus

June 16, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Posted in Addiction

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