A journey to embrace, explore, and honor the Freedom and Power inherent in active recovery.

No more shame...

No more shackles....

No more secrets.

The path--and the Power--are within. Be Free.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Damned Brain

I get these ideas in my head, and I start playing out entire
dramas with them....I know no one else can relate! (Opposite!)

Once it starts, the outside world, reality, all
fades away.

One of my issues is this sense of 'not fitting in.' It goes deep
to several old issues and has a multitude of triggers. I have
made strides in quieting the old critical voices and in now
trumpeting my own abilities, but there always seems to be some
place, some thing, or some one which I allow to fester envy or
bring me low.

One chief difficulty is being around other men. Last night at a
meeting, the guys present seemed so confident and attractive and
capable....and all my self-confidence and contentment threatened
to go out the window. I felt like the odd man out, like I didn't
measure up. I'm working hard on not evaluating others based on
looks (for good or for bad,) as well as not selling myself short.
But sometimes it sneaks in.

I didn't give it free reign, however. I pushed past it and continued
talking and working on being a part of the group rather than retreating.
I didn't allow my fear or reserve keep me from participating or giving
my opinion or joining in. I'm learning to focus on the present and not
dwell on the old stuff. I try and remember that everyone else has voices
and fears and insecurities, too, and that a big part of our disease--
and this culture--is in covering up those realities.

So I want to de-power all those old notions. I'm trying to see the complete,
messy, and fully human vision of all people, including me. I choose to
know that doubting myself is based on insanity and learned behavior, not
legitimate reason. I give all the love and acceptance I need to myself,
and realize I am just as I need to be.

Just because something's in my head doesn't make it a fact. Maybe
one day I'll be smart enough to figure that out.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I feel as though I've been running in a blizzard for two days.

I'm beat, nauseous, physically weak, and filled with dread.

I'm exhausted, mentally numb, and achy.

But I wouldn't change a thing.

This physical defeat is a byproduct of all the emotional,
psychological, spiritual changes that have been taking place
over recent weeks. I know this. If I gave in to the old and
just gave up, not striving any longer or pushing myself,
I would probably have that superficial bliss of mindless
ignorance. But I won't.

The drive is in me to not only look past the physical lies of
limits, but to recognize it for what it is--a normal aspect of
tremendous growth and the birth process. As a friend said, I feel
like I'm dying and giving birth at the same time. I am.

But it's only the fear and the differences and the uncertainty that
still exist which cause me to look upon the lagging energy as a
detriment or a deterrent. We never get rid of ego, fear, doubt,
and the likes; we just learn how important it is to keep them in
check. And with time and practice, we get better at turning to
our Spirit and Source instead of old habits.

We learn that we master them; they don't master us.
As a public speaker I heard says; "I have cerebral palsy, but
cerebral palsy does NOT have me."

Today I have doubts. Fears. Pain. Distractions. Desires.
But they do not have me.

Thank you for my sobriety.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Owning my Stuff

Well, I pride myself on being as equally honest with self as I try to be
with the world. So I have to take my lumps and address a few things.

I absolutely believe there are things inherent in AA that are
in need of addressing. That has not changed. But I am more
cognizant of the fact that the vast majority of my animosity with
the program was directed at a single person who had 'hurt' me.

To be fair, I realize that I share most responsibility for that hurt. After all....
* I came in vulnerable and capable of being hurt
* I didn't respond to the warning signs
* I  accepted their opinion (criticisms and condemnations and dismissals)
of me as more valid than my own idea of me
* I did not defend my own boundaries.
* I did not refrain from going back for more after I felt the pain
* I did not confront or stand up to the person as immediately or as directly
as was my responsibility
* I probably am as guilty of the same things I blamed him for (defensiveness,
withholding, etc)
* I placed more demands on another person than they deserved

I do not, however, buy the AA philosophy that we are to shrink from
confrontation or ignore another's part. Yes, mine is the only part that I
have any power over. I still need to process a broken heart, to be angry.
But yes, refusing to allow it again is my full problem. Recognizing that
I may have caused hurt too has taken longer to see.

I have had an immensely painful time overcoming what I saw as betrayal,
and the possibility of opening up to anyone new has been whelming.

The answer is that being hurt is simply a given if you are alive. To
what extent you risk is equal to what extent you can be hurt, but
it is also equal to what extent you might experience the good stuff, too.

Without the possibility of becoming vulnerable to another person--
purely, surely, balls-out vulnerable and real--there is no advancement
of intimacy. We get what we give. So if we hide away and stay safe,
we also miss out on connection.

I think the person that bummed me out so bad thinks I created the
"AA-bashing" blog (as he calls it) as a means of getting back at him. Nothing
could be further from the truth. I so deeply associated his presentation
and his spirituality and his program as the same thing. (To be fair, if you
present yourself to hurting vulnerable people as having The Answer if
only they will listen to you, don't be surprised if they come to you.)
This has been my representation of AA for 2 years. As I failed to trust and
believe in him, much of that naturally spilled over into what he believed in
and promoted. For better or worse.

Yes, I was desperate, despairing, lonely, hurting, vulnerable, and weak.
That's pretty well the general state of folks who do come to the
fellowship. Yes, I am bitter, and yes, I do need to move on.

I wanted something to replace all that had been lost. I thought a friend could
help fill the void. The thing I needed was to turn to self and learn self-reliance.
The thing I needed was to face the pain and learn my lessons, but I instead
sought comfort in promises and affections. Another person can never provide
answers or comfort to us. It isn't their job, it isn't smart to need or want
that deeply.
What is the separation between forgiving, yet being cautious enough
to not get screwed again? How do you find balance in moving on and
being emotionally receptive to the new, and yet not be weak and foolish?

How do we learn to forgive entirely, accepting that others are doing their
best with what they know and are capable of?

How do I learn to trust in life and people and remove my dark thoughts
from sabotaging things or keeping distance?

I'm learning. I'm trying. I'm searching.

I don't want to be guilty of the very things I condemn. Sometimes the
way we see is so deeply altered by the story we think we know, nothing
else is possible. Sometimes we forget that others have defenses, too,
and they're there for a reason. Getting angry over things not being what I
want them to be only furthers hurt-- it doesn't relieve it.

Today, let me work for reconciliation. I don't want a life filled with
conflict and regret. Peace.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Do you drink because you're lonely, or are you lonely because you drink?

One of my chief focuses in overcoming addiction is to
openly and honestly address the weaknesses and lacking
which existed in life before the addiction started-- the
problem with life that led to the addictive behavior in
the first place.

I find that is the only way to effectively change the
dynamic in my life; address the issues at the heart
of the matter, not the (for me) incidental manifestations
of that/those hurts and pains.

(If I have a brain tumor, and I get dizzy and break
a bunch of dishes, simply cleaning up the dishes does
nothing to solve the problem. I'm just engaging in busy
work while the problem continues to exert itself
in my life in different ways. Lack of detection and
lack of treatment does not eliminate the problem.)

By focusing on the power to transform self and
be the co-creator of my own world, I allow for things
to be different than I have known them to be.

If I acknowledge emotional pain, then I can address it
and take steps to advance past it. If I have deep
loneliness and separation, then those ideas and habits
need work. If I have low self-esteem and a lack
of my own promise, then I need to develop a sense of
self and own my own space.

Every one's needs are different, and the approach to
finding what works--as well as what actually works--
may indeed be different.

There are many paths, and so long as they lead to the same
destination (or positive healing, discovery, recovery,)
it's apples and oranges as to which one is taken.

Some are content to stop at the disease as being the
origin. I see there is something far deeper that was intact
long before the disease took form. My need is to address
that in order to heal and thrive.

May all find the path appropriate to their needs.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Life is a Beautiful Struggle

Some old issues got a spot of attention over the weekend,
and of course I was in just the 'right' state of mind to
run with it.

I know better than to let such things even get started,
but sometimes they seem almost to have a mind of their

I did the mental discussing  for a bit, disallowing that I
was actually furthering my imagined dilemma rather
than dissipating it. By the time I knew I was obsessing,
I was in it to win it.

So, I journaled and meditated to get my right thinking
going. I read some great books (of which I always keep
a supply on hand.) I countered my typical unhealthy
thinking with aggressive alternative thoughts.

I did yard work. I walked laps. I did housework.

But when your own mind is out to get you, the
power to successfully retreat or become sufficiently
distracted is dampened.

I called every (helpful) person I know to talk it out.
(Yeah, it is a short list.)

I got myself worked into such a fit at one point
when I started listening to the lies and disbelieving
my own ability, and that self-pity and self-sabotaging
gave me the first true 'desire' to drink that I have had
in several weeks. I just felt so insane and unable to
squelch it, and for a minute, drinking became the only
means of quieting the thoughts.

But I know I am worth more than that.

Finally, as it often does, I made way through it.
Sometimes it's just a matter of waiting out the
insanity with sufficient resolve. Choices. Hard, scary,
personal work and choice.

I know that no one else's actions or inaction are worth
hurting myself over. I know that I have to care about self
in the face of no one else on the planet doing so. I must
not give in to a complacent heart or mind, no matter
how low feelings seem to be. Feelings pass, but my
progress and serenity are hard to come by.

Being so horribly sick this last week, fighting the
weekend blahs, having old resentments rear their ugly
head, loneliness, etc.; it all forms a beautiful cocktail of
misery and discontent.

But I don't want to hurt anymore. I don't want to
be in that awful place. And I will fight tooth and nail
to do what I have to to ensure my footing.

I'm okay with not having all the answers.
I'm good with having bad days as part of the parcel.
I'm fine with being in the midst of 'finding myself.'
An admission of searching, as opposed to resolutely
'knowing', may be the smartest move I ever made.