Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So now you know

So now you know what I look like, this was taken at the family reunion,
Michelle, Grandpa and Angel

Monday, June 29, 2009

More of the Story

Saturday went the way God intended it to, we got started later than I wanted to because my friend was working with her sponsee, the sponsee went as well but rode with another guy, I hadn't planned on either, my morning mediation was on "it's not about me". We got there in time for the afternoon speaker meeting and then all of us went to the park and walked around, so I had no time alone with my friend, I asked the guy who was with us if it was cool that we were going to eat Chinese for supper, he was hesitant but said yes, later he told my he know I wanted to spend some time alone with N and didn't want to get in interfere, I told him it was cool which it was because he is my friend and I like being around him as well. The talent show was really good, couple of hilarious recovery skits plus some good musicians. There were only a dozen or so of us at the dance but we all had a great time N dance country swing with my friend since I have two left feet and she danced the better part of rock with me pulling some other guys out on the floor on occasion, plus we had couple of slow songs, I had the DJ play "When you saying nothing at all" by Alison Kraus. Through out the day I did some light flirting, the night ended with a tight hug and a peck on the forehead.

Yesterday morning my phone died, got it replaced today. Prior to leaving for the reunion I sent N a private facebook message saying that my feelings for her were deeper than just friends and that I had saw a woman child transform into a woman and my eyes were just opening up to that, I also told her I wanted to talk to her alone because there is more I need to say to her, part of which was written in the previous blog post. N's computer is down, I told her to use mine yesterday but she never got around to it. The reunion went well, saw some cousins, visited with a few but for the most part hung around my immediate family, my sponsee and I had a good visit down and back.

I left work at 3, talked to N off and on, she was having a bad day, I didn't interfere much other than give her my thoughts on a couple of things, she was also very tried. She was online when I left and figured she would be checking her facebook. We meet later for a meeting on the benefit we are involved in, she was a bit distant, she left without saying anything to me or giving me a hug, so I know she read the message. I went over to a mutual friend of ours and told her about everything. We both agreed that N probably needs time to digest what I wrote, it might be a bit scarry with me moving and all, or it may be she didn't want me to feel this way and doesn't know how to tell me. I can mess my head all up playing a guessing game but I won't, can't say I am completely calm about all this either but I said what I had to say because I needed to. I needed to tell her how I feel, to find out if she feels remotely the same. Maybe tomorrow she will be up to talking to me, if not then I will have tell her I am sorry if I hurt her and it wasn't intensional. Like a blogger friend says life is complicated. I stick by my guns about relationships though, I need to be more accertive in a companionate way, so if N just wants to stay friends or what ever, either one of us are into the sex bubby thing, I have once again made progess on one of my biggest fears.

On this wanting a relationship thing that has been running through my post, I guess it comes from feeling a bit lonely, really wanting someone to just snuggle and kiss, being told and knowing I have a lot of great qualities for the right person and also accepting that I am a good looking man, that I don't look 46 and even if I am not buff and I have lot more to offer than pecks. Maybe part of it is the empty nest thing also, I am going to be alone soon and even though I have been there before there may be an underlying need to have some one around, know that I don't have to have Mich's 100% approval of who is hanging out at the house. I have also grown enough emotionally to understand the what it takes to be a companion, a lover and a friend, one of my awareness practices is to understand lust without the rest is an unhealthy craving.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Follow the bouncing post.

Well it is only 8:45am my work load is really light so thought I would start a ramble. One day I will try a 55 Friday, but this will be more like 5555 words give or take 100 ;-D We are still not laying people off but our big agricultural sprayer customers are slowing way down so we don’t have a bunch of summer orders, for the most part people are building stock items for parts we sell to John Deere and doing piddly stuff to keep them busy, the guy who does testing has been playing a lot of solitary on the PC and management isn’t saying anything. Did I tell you the one thing I like about this company is they are very laid back, probably never work for another quite like them.

I mentioned that one of the guys I sponsor was banging dope over the weekend. The guy M has been working with me since about October, he is one of those sponsee’s that will really sink his teeth into recovery for a short time then abruptly stop and usually relapse. We will have a few weeks of talking and seeing each other at meetings or him coming by the house then nothing. During his absence’s he wasn’t always drinking or using, he would get passionately involved in Charismatic religion and that would work for short periods of time. M has mental health problems also, so his mind send him in different directions with out much thought, and he is seeing a counselor for this. The good thing is his time out after a relapse is getting shorter, so there is willingness. The other night I told him I wasn’t sure what else I could do for him, I suggested he concentrate solely on the fact that he was powerless over drugs and alcohol, nothing more, nothing less; to stop worrying about the causes and any other form of mental masturbation that he has the habit of doing, to keep it simple. He told me he had also stopped journaling and stopped reading the Big Book, I had suggested he read pages 86 and 87 every morning, so I suggested he start doing those things again because along with meetings and hanging out with recovery people he was staying sober doing those things and was happy. I will always be there for M and I hope he can find a recovery practice that works for him, like always the choice is his, I can carry the message but I can’t carry the alcoholic or addict. I only know what works for me, my sponsor and those I am closest too, but there may be someone else out there who can help M, well besides God.

The disease took a member in town about 45 minutes away from here, some of us know him, he would show up at events we had with his sponsee’s or we would see him when we went to meetings there. TK had around 7 years clean and sober, it is still unclear whether he was using again or not, stories are going around both ways. The sad thing is TK started isolating and distancing himself from people. In one form or the other he took his own life. It is sad and tragic, I reiterated at the mental health hospital meeting and the jail meeting last that this fucking disease kills!! I have known people take their own lives after they got sober because they just couldn’t deal with the feelings that where coming to the surface. I don’t know what the stat’s are but I have heard that just as many people commit suicide after they get clean and sober as do those who do it while practicing. One of my special friends still has a hard time accepting the nature of the disease and while deaths due to the disease of addiction or alcoholism sadden me I have learned to accept them as the nature of the disease, shed some tears, say a blessing and move on, might sound a bit harsh but that’s how I deal with those loses, I also remind myself and others “but by the Grace of God, there go I” we who are alive, clean and sober are miracles for today, may our “today’s add up.

Tomorrow is the Nebraska state AA reunion in a town 1-1/2 hours from here. I am taking my friend and her 2 daughters with me. The reunion use to have a lot of speakers but the area lacks the funds to have as many as they once did. Tomorrow morning is an old timer’s forum, in the afternoon there is an Al-anon speaker followed by an AA speaker, and then our area delegate will give her report from GSO, in the evening is a talent show followed by your choice of large meeting or dance. About 75% of the districts have hospitality rooms so you cruise around talk to people, meet some new ones and sample the goodies in the hospitality rooms, so really you don’t have to pay for lunch or supper. The town where the reunion is taking place has a nice park so I told my friend that during the delegate’s report we would take the girls over there and walk around, then go out to supper at a Mongolian barbeque restaurant, during the talent show the girls can go swimming then it is time to dance. If my friend wasn’t going with me I would opt out of the dance and head to the meeting where my comfort zone lies. I am still afraid of reject so I can’t ask someone to dance, even though I can dance and love music I am scared shitless that I will be judged and ridiculed by my partner, this is one of those deep seated fears that I am trying to work on but is extremely powerful and goes back way too many years. Yes I know I am not being judged but they telling that to a deep seated feeling of insecurity, that scrawny teenager still lurks in the recesses of my mind and over powers the average built and somewhat attractive man.

Sunday I will return to the same town as the AA event for a family reunion. It will be the first time just the decedents of my maternal grandparents have had a reunion on our own, always in the past family reunions have included cousins so many times removed you need a NASA data base to figure out who is who, that is if even you care and honestly folks I don’t. It will be nice to visit with some cousins I haven’t seen in years. I have a niece from Tacoma WA and one from Chicago coming in for it also, so I am looking forward to spend time with them. My family isn’t a drinking family so there won’t be a ton of beer there; I was always the one going for a drive to drink a few in the past. One of my sponsee’s is dating my niece who is also in recovery plus my cousin and her boyfriend are both in recovery so more than likely we will hang out together. Strange new twist for me, I am actually looking forward to attending this, I think I am finally starting to shed some of the terminal uniqueness and not worrying about not having anything in common with my relatives, I am alright just sitting still and listening or taking a stroll if I need some personal quiet time, sharing what I have to share and leaving it at that. Also Angel will be there and she spends a lot of time by grandpa’s side and grandpa spends a lot of time by her side. Oh yeah Angel is going to make a liar out of Grandpa, she will be 1 on July 4th and the way things were going I didn’t think she would be walking by then but the last few days she has been stand on her own and taking a couple of slow steps, so know how fast she progresses she may have the walking started by the 4th.

The friend who is going with me to the AA event is the one who has stirred up some special emotions within me. She was the one who’s house I was at Sunday and with the exception of last night she has found a reason to be over at my house every night since. She told me when we where camping a couple of weeks ago that she was mad at me for leaving and said she understood it was selfish of her to feel that way. The topic of my leaving is something we try and avoid as much as possible. I told her Wednesday night that we need to make the best of the time we have together while I am close and that is happening, the hugs are getting tighter the special smiles are too. When she was over at the house Wednesday night I was playing some old music for her daughter and started to busta move to some old funk and she said “I hope to see more of that Saturday” just a simple statement but it was a good statement. We are having an Indian supper and disc burning evening Monday, I have Nan bread, Biryani paste for a curry and will make saffron rice, sorry the dessert will have to be a layered chocolate cake. I have a bunch of classic rock and soul music that we are going to turn into play list for my friend and her daughter. Tomorrow will be a good day to visit both on the drive and walking around the park, I am hoping we can both open up a bit more to what is going on inside, I may have to take the lead here and tell her my feelings. I have thought about this from different angles and feel it is better to let her know and accept her reply whatever that is, than to not say a word and have 2 people walking around with hidden feelings. Here is another odd thing and maybe a God thing, we work together and I am a fairly strong believer you don’t have a relationship with a co-worker, so now that I am leaving this attraction comes to the front. Maybe if this had happened before it could have been uncomfortable for both of us. I have watched her grow and strengthen which adds to the spiritual attraction. Physical attraction in women has always been a third of the attraction for me, I need to be spiritually and intellectually attracted as well, the physical attraction to her isn’t overwhelm which I find refreshing, so the lust level isn’t heavy. My ideal couple has always been John Lennon and Yoko Ono, John could have had any stunning woman he wanted yet he connected with Yoko who wasn’t a beauty queen but was attractive, John fell in love with a woman who completed him and he saw the attraction at deeper than skin level. I think a lot of people, myself include, start at the physical and work there way inward if they ever do, guys definitely do this, women seem to see deeper when choosing a partner. Anyway that’s my perspective on that. Alright so I understand that the whole thing with my friend is as Kevin Griffin would say “me telling myself stories” and that I need to understand expectations and prospective, the story I am telling myself may just be a story and she may tell me she just likes being with me as a friend who she won’t get a chance to spend much more time with very soon. She may say she is too afraid to get any closer, she may say any number of things. I have to open myself up to all possibilities, I need to be open to Right Speech, Right View, Right Intent, Right Mindfulness, I have to open myself up to my Higher Power. If all of this is for nothing then I have learned something for the next time I find someone I feel I am attracted to and connect with, bit by bit I can learn not to take rejection personally, not with someone who is already a friend anyway, it will be easier for me to take a chance and roll the dice, instead of sitting at home wondering what might be. Everything is a lesson in understanding suffering and using the Dharma to keep on the middle path as much as possible and trusting my God, good old 3rd step. Maybe Monday I will have a different tale to tell, but this is me in this short moment in time.

Well that’s all for now. I know the ball bounced around a lot on this post but the nice thing about writing for me is I get things out, I open up to me and I open up to anyone who is still reading this.

Until the next time
Peace Love and Light

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Jacko and Farrah

Just a quick note about the loss of 2 celebrities today. I remember Michael Jackosn back when he was a litle kid only a few years older than me, I thought the Jackson 5 were the second best group after the Osmond Brothers, years before I discovered the Allman Brothers. Over the years I have really cared less about most of his music, although I did like Off the Wall. My music is more blues influenced, folky singer song writer stuff, mixed with progressive and punk, but I always respected Michael for his talent. When he became the unusual eccentric person he was to the end I always fell a bit of sadness for him. There was something missing in his life that all the money and fame couldn't buy and I think he did try to buy happiness and secure his place in pop history. My heart has been broken more by the death of other musicians but I am still sad that he has died, I feel compassion for a lost boy who was cruelly treated by the media and society for being a sick eccentric. I hope his spirit is a peace now!!

Farrah drove my teenage hormones crazy, that poster and those nipples where quite erotic for there day, thanks Farrah for the good dreams. I admire her for the serious woman she became, the Burning Bed is a classic. I also admire the strength she showed in the later years and her charity towards others. It was sad the way her life ended. Blessings to you lovely lady.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's Official I'm moving to Lincoln

Shadow you are so right the simple thing would be for people to treat others as they want to be treated, I doubt if Nugent and the rest would like to be blown to pieces or tortured slowly.

Well my house was purchased so now there is no turning back, no more time for self doubt. I told my boss and the president of the company this morning that starting July 2nd I would be in and out until the 10th which would be my last day at work; there are a couple of people who can do my job with a refresher course. It is dead slow right now with July and August looking like the same; the powers that be have my cell phone number so they can call me if there are problems. The trouble with doing a job for 10 years is there is a lot of information and rhyme reason stored in my head that just can’t be written out in a procedure. I told my boss and the president of the company I appreciated them sticking by me during the black years. My leaving hit them rather hard but they understand my need to move on and pursue a career that my heart is really into. They also understand my need for a bigger community.

My recovery friends are really expressing their sadness over my leaving but once again understand and wish me the best. I will be in Kearney every other week or so because of Angel, my mom and Mich, so I will see as many as possible, plus a lot of people like to go to Lincoln shopping so they can visit me and have a place to crash if they need it. I still have plans to be involved in weekend AA events in Kearney and we have a big campout planned in August with the Happy Campers group.

There is a tiny bit of anxiety happening, but I am living in the moment and doing the footwork available. I sent an application to the Lincoln Housing authority yesterday; they have houses for rent, so hopefully I can find a house through them. Job wise is a matter of sending out resumes and waiting. I figured out that over the last 28 years I have only had 5 jobs, 2 of them for under 2 years, I have had a couple of part time jobs but I don’t count them. I am in hopes that my job record and military background will assist me in landing a job at a treatment center or halfway house, I have had good karma with job interviews most of my life and I hope it holds true this time.

Well I another topic for tomorrow, one of my sponsee’s was banging meth this weekend so I will write about that tomorrow. Tonight my home group is having its annual cookout and speaker meeting in the park, I am going early to help set up, I have nothing else to do.

Until the next time
Peace Love and Light

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You may say I am dreamer

Well I didn’t think I would be writing this soon again but it is flippin dead at work and I need something to keep me occupied for another hour. So here are some thoughts or a thought that has been running through my mind this afternoon.

I wish there was a way to get everyone to listen to and follow Thich Nhat Hanh teachings. Yah I am extremely bias to his teachings, I love the man’s writings, and he has such a wonderful way of explaining things. He is very humble and understanding. Thay not only teaches the Dharma, he also talks a lot about Jesus of Nazareth and his true message. Why do I want people to read or listen to the words of Thich Nhat Hanh? Because this world we live in is sorely lacking in compassion, loving kindness and tolerance. Today at work there was a video email going around, the email was Ted Nugent spouting off about killing people and such, total intolerance, now grant it Ted Nugent is a complete horses ass and should be taken with a grain of salt but the fact was people were praising what Nugent had to say. I spoke my peace and said that violence was not the solution and it would only create more violence and suffering for everyone, needless to say I was scoffed at. Yes folks I am a weenie liberal pacifist, although one who spent 21 years serving in the armed forces, so I don’t know anything. I hear all this intolerance and it really can make a person sick, Rush Limbaugh the king of intolerant talk radio often gets played on the radio, my boss calls the virtual players in computer Hearts vulgar names. Different co-works often step into my office, I share it with my boss, they say degrading things about other workers, engineering or upper management. If only the media would replace the barrage of intolerant talking heads with people like Thay, I don’t care what religion they are or aren’t as long as they talked about the alternative to violence and intolerance, maybe after awhile some of the message would start to sink through the ignorance of the people who gobble up hatred and fear. It really is sad you know. And if just isn’t the right wing doing this, the left is just as guilty and in the name of Right View I had to stop reading or watching intolerant liberals. We are the fortunate ones, those of us who understand that intolerance is unhealthy for us and creates spiritual sickness. I raise my coffee cup to my Christian, Buddhist, Pagan, Islamic, Jewish, Naturalist, agnostic and the rest, brothers and sisters who live their lives in peace and do their best to show the rest of the world how to live via example. We don’t have to preach, we can simply state our beliefs without getting into a fight, short sweet and to the point. We carry loving kindness and compassion around inside of us and it shows on the outside with the people we encounter daily. This is something Thay has instilled in me, but it has been there all along, via my early encounters with Jesus and Native American shaman, it just took reading and listening to him to awaken the understand and show me the true sense of it all. There is no way to change the world, the media and people in general over night but maybe tiny steps can be made if we join together in unity for the good of our world and it’s future.

Yeah you can start playing John Lennon now, “you may say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one, I hope some day you’ll join us and the world will live as one”

For what it’s worth those are my thought right now.
Peace Love and Light

Monday, June 22, 2009

Madman Acoss the Water

Couldn't think of a clever title for this post, so am using the title to the album I am listening while I write, now thats clever ;-D

It’s hot here today, not Sarah in her bikini hawt or Texas hot just straight up hot, temps in the high 80’s to low 90’s, so the whining has begun. We have gone from rainy, stormy, muggy and a bit cool to fairly hot overnight, MySpace, facebook and general conversations are alive with comments about the heat, last week it was the rain and storms. I guess people are never satisfied are they; we want things our way damnit and if we can’t have it that way we complain. I don’t complain about the heat, I dislike the opposite, the cold north wind cuts right through me and my old hippie ass hates wearing shoes and too many articles of clothing, so I accept the heat and always comment back, “well it beats 10 degrees and a 30mph north wind” but that just me. I try not to bitch at all, there is always a positive in every situation if I look for it, although there are things that take some serious thought to find a glimmer of good in what is going down, if nothing else there is always a lesson to be learned and building a strong connection to one’s own God.
I had a good weekend!! I didn’t do much of anything Saturday, wrote the long post for the blog, which I enjoyed doing and it was therapeutic, writing about my past helps the healing process. I watched a couple of movies, spent time at home with Mich and Angel, and just chilled with no schedule. Father’s Day was good also, spent the first bit of the morning with Angel we had breakfast together, then went to my Sunday AM meeting from there to a friend’s house for the afternoon. My yard isn’t a good place to air out the tent in, so I took it to her house, she has a big fenced in back yard. I helped her mow and do some other yard work, plus a couple of odds and ends. Yes I was doing something for someone else but it was work I thoroughly enjoy doing, so it wasn’t work at all, plus I enjoy her company. Today has been spent in anticipation of finding out if my friend is going to buy my house, never got the call so evidently she didn’t find out either, there is a middle man involve in all this so we have to wait for him. I didn’t let it bother me much; I will know when I know. When she talked to me Friday she said it was 99% guaranteed the deal would go through, just waiting for the final green light from the middle man. The limbo of moving to Lincoln should be ending soon. If she can’t get the money then I will just have put the house on the market and see what happens. If we go get the green light then I can inform my boss I am leaving, start sending out resumes and looking for a place to live. Mich was looking at apartments today.
It is all about living in the moment and acceptance. The Serenity prayer in action. Accept the things I cannot change, the weather. Do the foot work to change the things I can, get some down time and me time, do what I can and can about moving to Lincoln. And the wisdom to know the difference, mindfulness in practice.
Until next time. Peace Love and Light

Saturday, June 20, 2009

18 Years gone by, the story of an Alcoholic, an Addict and one Beautiful Girl

18 years ago today my daughter Michelle was born, she weighed in at 3lb 10oz and was 4-6 weeks premature. This is post is about her and for her and also about my ex-wife and me.
My ex wife had to have a complete hysterectomy when she was 30 due to endometriosis. We wanted children, my ex desperately, I believe she thought it would fill a void in her life and keep her off the pharmaceutical drugs she was always having a tough time kicking. In 1991 I was stationed at an Air Force base in the high desert of California, one of my trainees found out she was pregnant, she was 19, didn’t know who the father of the baby was, she didn’t want to keep the baby because she understood the baby would interfere with her Air Force career and also her partying. One of my friends suggested we adopt my trainee’s baby and so started the process of making sure the trainee got to her doctor’s appointments and arranging for a private adoption. My ex was present when Michelle was born, and we drove to the hospital every day but one during the approximately 6 weeks she was in the preemie ward. Michelle was a very healthy baby with the exception of having a nasty case of colic, thank God literally that I was sober at the time otherwise that might have been disastrous. I wish I could say Michelle’s birth created a miracle and my ex was freed from her demons but within a month of Mich coming home my ex was in trouble, while Michelle was in the ward I started calling her Michy or Mich and it has stuck ever since, my ex was busted at the Base Exchange for shoplifting and I took her to a rehab in Venture that last for maybe 5 days. What did start to happen was that early on Mich and I started building a strong bond one that has lasted until this very morning for better and worse.
In 1992 after 10 years in the Air Force I got out on buyout program and we moved to Nebraska which is my home, my ex was from England. The first 3 years of living here where uneventful for the most part, it took me a bit to adjust to civilian life and find a job that I could put energy into but it happened. My wife was up and down with her addiction and I was still the primary care taker for Mich. In 1995 my ex had a heart attack due to a weak artery, Mich was in the car with her, they were at a convenience store and Mich was smart enough at 4 to go for help. This event would mark the beginning of the end for my ex and our marriage. My ex would end up having to have open heart surgery to replace a couple of arteries plus she was given a pace maker. My parents helped out as best they could but they lived in Arkansas at the time, so Mich was shuffled around while I was at work. My ex wasn’t able to get physically or mentally well after the surgery, her addiction got worse and so did the depression. In February of 1996, she made her first of 3 suicide attempts in that year, by the time the last one happened in September I had come to the full realization that I didn’t love my wife and that the marriage was unhealthy for Mich and me, in October we moved out and to another town.
I was 9 years sober in 1996, I was a single parent working a full time job and living in a different town away from my recovery support system, even though I admit today that I was having strong problems with my recovery the habit of going to meetings and visiting with my recovery friends was keeping my sober, well maybe dry, there were a lot of underlying resentments building that I didn’t recognize until 11 years down the road. I was doing the best I could for Mich, taking her to school, daycare and the usual, she was well feed thanks to a gift of liking to cook, and she was clean and happy. My ex was sporadic in her visits and also in having Mich spend the night with her but Mich was just happy to spend time with her mother. By the late winter of 1997 I had stopped going to meetings, I was use to taking Mich to meetings with me and in the new town it wasn’t common for young children to attend meetings, hindsight I should have searched around for a meeting that would have accepted us both but I didn’t, no one in the fellowship reached out their hand to me at those meetings and I felt alone, my bad. Somewhere in late winter or early spring of 1997 I started getting thirsty for a beer, now I had enough AA in me to fear buying a six pack of Bud so I opted for a 6 pack of NA beer and guess what I wasn’t struck blind ass stupid drunk, in true alcoholic fashion I started buying the NA beer by the cases since it was cheaper that way, yeah right, hind sight once again. My disease was a few years away from full activation but my ex’s had reached hurricane status, I was called at 4:00am on Mother’s day to come and pick up Mich, my ex was living in the middle of the country in a mobile home with a guy she had hooked up with, she was sick and needed to go to the ER, the sickness was a combo of drugs and beer. In June of that same year I was schedule to go on deployment to Alaska, I had enlisted in the Iowa Air Guard in 1994, my ex was going to have Mich for those 2 weeks and my parents who by now had moved back to Nebraska where going to take care of Mich until her mother picked her up, this was also the start my parents taking care of Mich on occasion and in the end me. My ex never showed up to get Mich, in August I found out my ex was admitted to a mental hospital, then treatment and finally she was put in a halfway house about 30 miles from where we lived. My ex was doing really well at the house and reconnected with Mich, my drinking NA beer was not talked about and things were good for the most part. My drinking was starting to show its first signs of having an effect on Mich though and this was financially, I couldn’t afford new clothes very often, even though I was making decent money, I was also starting a habit of running a few minutes late for work, which I blamed on having to get a 6 year old ready in the morning.
During the next couple of years I moved around a bit, my ex ran away from the halfway house with the father of one of the girls there, she moved 250 miles away from us. I got involved/move in with a woman who was mentally abusive to me and physically and mentally abuse to her own 3 girls and sometimes Mich, alcoholism was really kicking in and I am drinking the real stuff by now. This relationship lasted a grueling 9 months, I have since explained what happened and why to Mich and told her it was a big mistake that I was ashamed of, Mich still remembers this period and once in a great while brings it up, usually in the context of her dad and his choices in women. Mich would periodically see her mother for the odd weekend and even spend a month with her, from what I know my ex was up and down during this period but had yet to get really ill again. By this time my folks had worked it out so that I could move to the same town they lived in, I changed jobs, the one I still have today by the grace of God, we settled down in a small town of 700 people where Mich would become a part of, I lived on the fringe of this rural community, only attending school events and hanging out in the bar later on.
The year 2000 rolled in, New Years Eve Mich was with her mom for the holiday and I was at home drinking heavy jamming to Pink Floyd. I picked Mich up from her mom’s on New Year’s day, my ex seemed really down and sad, a few months before she had asked me if she could come and live with us but I said no to her, partially knowing it wasn’t a good thing to do and partially because she didn’t know how much I was drinking and wanted to keep it that way, although I am positive that Mich told her daddy drinks a lot of beer. New Year ’s Day 2000 was the last time Mich or I would see my ex alive, she took her own life in February, and Mich was 7 years old. Over the years Mich has seen different counselors, because I wanted her to come to grip with her mother’s suicide but I know now it affected me way harder than it affected her.
One of my mistakes as a single parent was always over compensating the absence of my ex in Mich’s life. This was done by buying things when I had extra money, giving in to having pet’s I know we couldn’t take care of, lack of discipline, over all giving in to her will, Mich is and has always been a very strong minded and persistent person and I am laid back and lazy so it was always easier to give in than fight. When she was 12 years old I voluntarily put her in foster care because I couldn’t control her, my heavy daily drinking had nothing to do with this at the time so I thought. We were reunited after about 4 months, with the help of family counseling, things went well for a period of time but by the following summer things were back to normal. When she was 13 she started hanging out with other kids, some of them much older than her late at night, I didn’t care because it made her happy, I would later find out this was when she started drinking heavy herself, smoking weed and having sex. By now my alcoholism was full blown, Mich did as she pleased, I would cook and do laundry, kind of clean house mainly kitchen and bathroom plus pick up stuff, the house would eventually start to smell because of a dog we had, I neglected the poor thing, he had fleas and mange really bad, this is one of those sick things in my drinking years I am not proud of at all, I would eventually put the poor guy down out of compassion. What I am trying to say is Mich was starting to be ashamed of me and the house she lived in, she stayed away as much as possible and I was so low down I couldn’t blame her.
In 2005 I got my first DUI and managed to keep it a secret, oh yeah by then my parents had moved away because it was breaking their hearts to see the mess my life had become and what I was doing to Mich and how powerless they were to help. Eleven months after my first DUI I got my second and tried really hard to keep it a secret, I was driving illegally with no insurance, I was sentenced to 5 days in jail and worked out a way for my niece to have Mich stay there, my niece who is now in recovery also was one of the few who know about all that was going on and tried to keep my secrets. June 20th 2006, I was suppose to take Mich to Sioux City Iowa meet up with a kid she had met online and his mother, they were going to go to Minnesota for the WARP tour concert, here is the sickness of an alcoholic my friends, I did not know the kid or the mother and was letting my 15 year old daughter go with them for 2 days. My car had a major breakdown the night before we were supposed to leave and I couldn’t find another vehicle to take. Mich was devastated, I was actually going to put her on a bus but my niece talked some sense into me about sending her up there with people unknown and the chances of never seeing her again. Mich hated me that day, she hated what I had become, she hated the broken promises and lies, she lay on her floor all day long and cried, she eventually took an overdose and was rushed to the emergency room. I lost custody of her that night. Over the rest of the summer she was in foster care, we worked with a counselor and family advisor, Mich hated my drinking but I couldn’t quit. She came home in August so she could start school under the condition that we would work on things, she was resentful and the house was filled with negative energy. In November I was arrested for a second time for issuing a bad check, this was the second time Mich had to watch her dad taken from her house in handcuffs , not something you want people to witness in small town America. It was while lying in that jail cell that I know I had to get help, I was ashamed of what I was doing to Mich, I was tired of playing games with my probation officer, I just fucking tired of the alcoholic game in general. I know there was no way I could quit on my own with just the help of AA this time, I was too far gone and needed to be in a secure environment and away from my daily routine, from work, from family and the rest. My mom, my oldest sister and Mich all took me to treatment on November 29th 2006 and thanks to a lot of different elements not the least being my Higher Power, I have not had drink since.
I wish it was all roses and sunshine for Mich once I returned home from treatment but the damage was done and she would have to suffer the consequences of her actions and the repercussions of being a child of an alcoholic. Spring of 2007 she was caught with tequila at school, put on probation for minor in possession, this was her second one, and she got in trouble at a party the year prior towards the end of my drinking. She was still a ward of the state but living at home. September of 2007 she was busted again for minor in possession of alcohol and disturbing the peace. I was still in the habit of letting her do her own thing on weekends because I felt sorry for her and she was also a professional by then at manipulating me, my problem not hers. This time the judge came down hard on both of us. Mich was removed from the home and sent to a girl’s group home 100 miles away, it was at the group home that she found out she was pregnant and would have to move again because the home wasn’t set up for pregnant girls. The pregnancy was a blessing in disguise, even though Mich hated the idea of moving to Lincoln it was the best thing that could happen for both of us. It was in this home that we started to bond again. I would drive down there every other Friday, attend counseling sessions with her, by the way this counselor was the first in a list of counselors that was able to connect with her, we would go to an AA meeting after counseling then out to eat, sometimes with people in recovery sometimes on our own. Mich accepted her own alcoholism, she started helping the other girls in the home becoming a role model and confidant. We learned to talk to each other openly, I started learning to say no without guilt. She started to respect me again, thanks to my own recovery. On July 4th Mich gave birth to a healthy baby girl who you all know is Angel. In August Mich was accepted in to an independent living program and returned home. Mich has had relapse but as far I as I can tell she hasn’t started drinking on a regular bases, her commitment to Angel is too great for this right now. She doesn’t go to meetings anymore, her time is spent with her boyfriend and other friends, I stay out of her life in this aspect. She has enough knowledge about her disease and recovery that hopefully if she ever finds herself in trouble she will get help.
Not everything in the last 18 years has been a mess. In my drinking I supported her by going to school events, even if it was after having a few beers. I supported and even encouraged her individuality, I bought her punk rock music when she showed an interest in it, turned her on to Ramones, the Clash, Dead Kennedy’s, Blackflag, Iggy and others, in fact she stole a bunch of my stuff both punk and some classic rock and didn’t care. I taught her about being tolerant to those who have different views than ours, I instilled a sense of equality in her so she doesn’t care what the color of a person’s skin is, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or lifestyle. Like her old man she does share a rabid dislike for bigots and hypocrites. We have done camping trips and road trips. The promises say “we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it” I live by this when it comes to my life with my daughter. I understand my mistakes and acknowledge them, I know that if I start drinking again I will only create more damage and this time the damage will include Angel, I don’t stay sober for them but they are part of my thought process when I think the drink through on those odd days when an ice cold beer sounds good.
My beautiful little girls turns 18 today and I am grateful I am alive, clean and sober and can celebrate the day with her. I am grateful we have a strong relationship today considering all we have been through together. I am sad my ex choose the ultimate act of selfishness to deal with her disease and is missing this glorious day, I hope she found some peace.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Trip Inside me

Well it has been a busy week; generally I write my post at work in the afternoons while it is dead but this week I have been filling in for the shipping manager so there has been no dead time what so ever, which is a good thing because the company is getting their money’s worth.
The camping trip went well, the guy who rode up with me is just coming back around after spending a year back out doing research, he realizes he can’t do it alone and wanted to reconnect with fellowship. The campsite was back down a canyon road 12 miles of all sand, rutted and washed out in places, saw a lot of deer and even a couple of spotted fawns plus a bunch of turkeys . There was no cell phone reception so we had to drive back out to the high ground for that. The cabin was tiny!! Just enough room for 3 bunk beds and a roll away bed, with about a 4ft aisle in between. I took one look inside the cabin and said “no way in Hell”, too much like a jail cell, it also reminded me of the cramped barracks I saw at Dachau concentration camp, so I slept in my tent since there was plenty of room and I had an extra air mattress. We had a couple of good fellowship meals, midnight NA meeting. The float down the river was awesome, lots of fun, lots of serenity; I will have pictures to post in a week or so. When we drove over to the campground where the main group was staying, the lady who runs the campground came up to me with her land line phone saying it was an important phone call. The call was from my sister, my daughter was in the emergency room and I needed to call back and give them permission to run blood work test, I talked to Mich and she told me she was having severe abdominal pains, her appendix was remove a few years ago, we agreed that I would call her back in a couple of hours to find out what was going on and if I need to head home. This was at 8:00pm at about 8:15pm the voice of God banged and it started down pouring, a wicked storm moved in which would stay in the area until the next morning, no hail just heavy rain and wind. The thing with Mich sadden me and mad me afraid, I sat in the pickup alone because I didn’t want share my fear and sadness with the others, I thought I could work it out, but something else came to me, and that was I did want to be comforted but by only one person. I came to relieve I have deeper feelings for one of my friends than I thought I did, all reasoning tells me that we can’t have anything long lasting but damn I was craving her comfort, my head started to get all messed up even worse than it was. Anyhow I finally found out Mich just had a really bad urinary tract infection, so everything was alright. The drive home was good, no one rode with me, so I left the radio off and paid attention to the landscape and vegetation, we stopped and had a nice picnic lunch at the only national forest in the state of Nebraska.
So yesterday comes, I have been emotional and semi depressed since the ordeal of sitting in the pickup alone. By the time I got off work the depression was getting worse, I told my friend about this, yeah the same one I have feelings for is also a co-worker, I have really seen her blossom in the 2-1/2 years we have been friends, we confine in each other at work and sometimes outside of work, she is the only fellowship member at work and also one of the few sane people. Driving back from a store the freaking flood gates start opening up and shit is blowing around in my brain like the leaves in a storm. I become partially aware what is happening and know I have to call a member of AA for help. My sponsor is unavailable until really late at night, so I call a woman I highly respect with over 30 years. My problem is I am afraid that I am on the pity pot and feeling sorry for myself because I want someone to comfort me, I am afraid I am being selfish in this wish. I tell my friend this, I tell her all that is going down with the exception of the feelings for the other friend which isn’t as important as the rest. What my friend tells me is, I have been spending so much time taking care of others lately, my daughter, in a roundabout way her boyfriend who more or less lives with us, my sponsee’s; planning organizing and being contact person for recovery events, service work and meeting commitments, that I haven’t taken time for me. She told me it sounds like Scott has lost himself by being too busy. She also reassured me I wasn’t on the pity pot, that I was just hurting and need to somehow find a way to get in touch with the hurt and sadness and let it flow, that it is harder than we think to come to grips with the fact that it is alright to have feelings and feel them, even though I am halfway decent and dealing with the everyday ups and down getting hit with a heavy dose is tougher. I need to find some quality alone time so I can be still and not get so overwhelmed, I need to let go of the false pride and let others help me. I need my 30 minutes at lunch time to read again, something that has gone by the wayside lately since Mich and Angel have been home at lunch so I pay attention to them, didn’t realize how important those minutes of reading where until today. The loneliness will pass again once I am back to being good with me. People aren’t taking advantage of I know this, what happened was I got caught up in a whirlpool in the river of life and couldn’t escape until and I had a bit of a breakdown. It seems like a hard road opening up to people more, I thought I was doing so well but thanks to my old buddy pain, I found out I still have a long way to go, I have to be willing to walk up to someone or call someone and say can I cry on your shoulder for a minute because I hurt and I need to feel loved.
I feel better today, my friend and I had a nice talk at break and I told her what was going down, she lovingly kicked me in the ass and gave some of my advice to her back to me. Maybe down the road when it is safe I will tell her I care for her on a more deeper level but for now I am alright with the way things are, the craving has passed, it was a craving built out of neediness and want of a soft shoulder. I joke about it sucking to be human and having these needs but it really isn’t a joke some days. But from a spiritual perspective this is the better way to learn through a bit of pain, to become more aware and maybe someday I will have the honor of sharing this with someone else who is in pain and helping them out the way someone took the time to help me out. This weekend I will do my utmost to spend time alone with me.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sober Float

Well I really doubt if I will get a chance to write anything until Sunday or Monday so thought I would do so now, big weekend ahead again so it is a good topic for a post.

About 15 of us are headed up to Valentine Nebraska, the heart city where people send their mail just before February 14th to be post mark Valentine for their sweethearts. Valentine is also the home of the “Butt Bandit” this is the notorious individual who would smear his butt and genitals with Vaseline or lotion and leave an imprint on the windows of businesses, churches, schools, hotels but alas he is no more, he was busted last year for indecent exposure, the bandit made national news much to the displeasure of the county sheriff. Valentine is a 3-1/2 to 4 hour drive north, 65 miles of which is through a section of the sand hills where there are no towns or anything except a couple of ranches, beautiful country in a barren way.

We are going up for the first annual Sober Float. The AA district up there is sponsoring a float down the Niobrara river, the deepest river in Nebraska, if provides the border between Nebraska and South Dakota. I found a cabin that sleeps 7 and it rents for $52.00 a night, bathrooms and showers are community style; it is located in a campground so there will be room for the 3 or 4 tents that will be pitched also. Originally I was going to sleep in the cabin on a bed but will probably end up in my tent since we have more people going up who don’t have tents than do. My tent is a fairly large 3 room cabin tent so my friend and her daughter can still have part of it. The numbers have bounce up and down since Sunday; partially do to a couple of people not having the fundage and then late comers jumping on board for some fellowship. There a few of us from the Memorial Day campout going, no my lady of interest isn’t one of them. The district will have 8:00pm meetings Friday and Saturday nights, and then we will have meetings around our camping area, AA and NA again. We start floating Saturday afternoon around 2:00pm, we have the choice of taking a tube, canoe or kayak down the river, the trip last 4-1/2 hours through some very beautiful country, the river doesn’t run very fast so it is a relaxing ride. The afternoon temperatures are suppose to be in the mid 70’s which is just about right, personally my skinny ass would prefer 80’s or 90’s but I am a sun worshiping heat demon.

Over all it is going to be another weekend of fellowship, living recovery, showing others how to live in recovery, spirituality and fun. The cooks have already set up the meals, I have breakfast burrito duty again but I like doing it, nothing like a good pat on the back for fulfilling someone’s appetite with good food. Oh yeah they are making smoothies again, God bless them!! Hot dogs, smokie’s will be roasted along with marshmallows and smore’s made. There will be couple of late night bonfire meetings, hopefully some hiking and mediation. I am unfamiliar with this area so I am not sure how much wilderness area there is. We will also sit down with the guide book on state parks and places of interest and plan out something for mid July. Trying to have something every 3 weeks or so.

Hope you all have a great weekend. Be good to yourselves.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Doing the "Next Right Thing" Boogie

O.k. God what have you done with my selfishness. You know I always use to think about self before I said sure or no problem or before I just did something without thinking because it was the right and compassionate thing to do at the time. I always had ulterior motives, even if I was acting out of kindness.

At the 5:15pm meeting we had one of those guys who has been trying to stay sober for around 10 years show up drunk again. He has never wandered too far from meetings, disappear for a few months then back, stay sober for a while, maybe even a year, then start again. He has worn out his welcome at the common treatment centers, and also in using the local hospital for detoxing. Four of us stayed around last night to talk with him. He said he was beat down this time for good and wanted to get sober, he was asking and crying for help, we started crossing off the places he couldn’t go and came up with a place in Omaha that is down and dirty, umm humbling , part of the program is feeding and taking care of the skid row drunks and junkies. Two of the guys live next to each other and one has a fishing pond so they bought the guy a bottle of Windsor took him home to fish, spend the night and then take him to Omaha. I talked to one of the guys this morning and our drunken friend is still willing to go to Omaha and detox and is on his way there. I hope he makes it this time, all we can do is help him get there the rest is up to his actions and God. Last night I didn’t have to think too hard about helping take his man to Omaha, at that time we thought we could get him into detox right then, found out it would have to wait until morning; Omaha is a 3-1/2 drive plus time spent checking him in and stuff. It crossed my mind about how late of a night it would be and that I would probably just call work and tell them I would be in late and why, it was a quick thought process no debating.

I have been really amazed and teary eyed at how my thinking has changed; the tears are tears of joy and humility to my Higher Power. Text message “we are taking a meeting to Mike at his apartment, are you in” reply “sure”, Mike has throat cancer and just finished chemo, he is weak and pretty frail, he rarely makes meetings, we took a meeting to him a couple of weeks ago, an NA meeting which is odd for me since I don’t go to NA but the guy who organized the home meeting knew I could be counted on to be there regardless of my preferred fellowship. Via this meeting we started the ball rolling to do a fund raiser for Mike, hamburger/bratwurst feed and silent auction with hopes of raising some money for him to help him out with his medical and living expenses. Phone call “hey man can you give me a ride to -------“ reply “sure no problem”, phone call “hey man, I am short on support, can you help out at the jail meeting” reply “ sure, no problem”, phone call early in the morning “hey man, sorry it is late but I really need to talk to someone” reply “no problem, what’s up”. These are just a few basic examples. This has absolutely nothing to do with me and everything to do with “made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand him”.

People talk about just doing the “next right thing” for the most part I am iffy with this statement, reeks of impulsive thinking to me and impulsive thinking and action has gotten me in more trouble than anything else. But if we place our lives on a spiritual plain, then the next right thing comes from following the spiritual path, from the Higher Power. I thought about the “next right thing” this morning. As a Buddhist I follow the Eightfold path; Right View, Right Intension, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. Part of my morning mediation is the willingness to follow the Eightfold path to the best of my ability, it also consist of asking that the bondage of self be removed and that I may practice loving kindness and compassion throughout the day. When I think about the miracle of getting out of self what I need to understand is that the prayer and mediation are really working. That through spiritual practice we really can be less selfish and self centered, a power greater than ourselves will enter our lives and minds and refocus our thinking and energy. I do the “next Right thing” as I understand it from my own spiritual perspective.

Do I do this all the time, Hell no. I still do things for me and life is still about me, but bit by bit the mortar of the old drunken con artist is being chipped away. I actually thought about not going to the 5:15pm meeting last night because after I pulled up there I saw the vehicles of a couple of people who’s perspectives on recovery go against mine to a certain degree, but I remembered it isn’t about me, it is about the still suffering alcoholic, that alcoholic in part was me last night and it was my friend who showed up drunk and wanted help. Money or lack of creates the most selfishness within me, being willing to pay my debts first and using what is left over for my needs and wants is still one of the harder things to for me to work on. I also have cravings for female companionship, an addiction to nicotine and coffee, crave a new job/career, want of financial security not riches but being able to make ends meet plus have some left over for stuff, all these still create suffering and suffering comes from being selfish and self centered.

Also this isn’t just about people in recovery. Getting out of self really took center stage when my dad’s mental and physical health was starting to fail. My mom was having a tough time in caring for and dealing with him, she was confused about certain business matters. I was called on to help and would also stop over and check on them regularly. Believe me there were days when I didn’t want to deal with them, when I had my own “stuff” going on but in the end I did because I know it was the “Right” thing to do. This also applied to my daughter being in a group home and pregnant, sometimes she wanted junior to come with me on my visits, plus other little things I wasn’t comfortable doing, but I did them and I would take junior with me even if there was very little conversation on the drive down. My compassion for my parents and my daughter became greater than my own selfish wants.

I guess if we are mindful or if you like God conscience we can see and know where we are needed and when to get out of self for the benefit of others, we understand what the “next right thing is”. Thich Nhat Hanh is one of my favorite teacher’s, he talks a lot about how happiness and peace come from loving kindness and acting with compassion. We/I use to think happiness would come with enough money, the right woman in my life, lots of music, lots of books, comfortable car, good camping gear and power tools and a job I loved. No happiness comes from living a life of loving kindness and compassion towards others or a life dedicated to that practice, even if there are failures at least we are trying to live this life to the best of our ability. Only when we give up the spiritual life do we fail. When we get rid of self or at least minimize it then we have no “self” to worry about, our concerns aren’t creating fear, anger and other things that lead to suffering. Damn that sounds sooooo easy but I know and you probably do to that it is an ideal worth working on and that there will probably be some pain and discipline associated with the work and man some days I really hate them both.

That is what is on my mind today.

Peace, Love and Light

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Drive to Lincoln

I just got back from Lincoln; it is 2 hours on the interstate, 1-1/2 20oz cups of coffee, ½ pack of cigarettes, 1 rest area stop away from here. One of the reasons I went was to check out a northwest subdivision that has duplexes for rent at a reasonable cost, I wanted to check out the neighborhood and the proximity to Lincoln proper. The neighborhood is alright, nothing great but not total ghetto either, I am sure I wouldn’t any problems there, proximity wise at worse I am a ½ hour way from most things, and less than that to where my recovery friends hang out and some of the meeting places. I also went down to visit a friend of mine, that didn’t turn out great, she had an unexpected guess show up so we didn’t get to visit like we would have liked to, I will just have to call her tomorrow on her day off, need her to do some favors for me but wasn’t able to ask with her friend around.

The drive down was awesome!!! It was an overcast misty day here, there was low mist all along I-80 which is basically the Platte river valley, visibility was down to about 2 miles in some areas. Nebraska along I-80 is flat between Lincoln and the far western part of the state, so on normal days you can see are far as your eyes will let you, 5-10 miles or so. The last few months I have been in the habit of driving without the radio on and today was no different. By doing this I listen to my thinking, also the music stuck in my head, today it was an alternative version to the Stones song “Play with Fire”, for years I have been a hard core music person, I own somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 cd’s, part of changing me is changing the habit of always having to have music playing, breaking the obsession for noise or others persons words in my life. My eyes were fully alive to the nature I was seeing on my trip down. The mist brought out the colors, the various greens in the grasses, the underlying green of new prairie grass topped by last year’s brown stocks. The patches of yellow where provide by the wild mustard plants, white wild daisies spotted the median. Along the barb wire fences clusters of wild plum and choke cherry thickets. Lots of scrub pines and cedar trees, plus other trees short and tall. Of course you have your cattle herds grazing, different breeds that only those of us raised around them know the names of, one small herd of long horns which I absolutely love, long horns have the prettiest markings of any breed of cattle but you don’t see that many out here because they aren’t the best meat producers. Another thing I notice due to my background is cornfields, I notice how high it was, who got a late start and who didn’t; how the further east I got the higher it was so it was planted earlier which means they didn’t get as much spring rain as was did, mud and planting don’t go together. Think about all the chemicals addicts have put into their bodies trying to intensify our senses, even alcohol, we never needed them campers. We can do using a few simple spiritual techniques once we learn how. Wow how easy it is to just turn the music off, the cell phone and look, oh yeah to still have to be alert enough to the traffic, semi’s don’t care if you are having a spiritual moment or not, but it is there for me and for us. Simple stuff for a complicate mind, reality what a concept!!!

Bits and pieces of this post where going through my head on the way home and I couldn’t wait to get them out. The drive home was one where I had to pay closer attention because the local fauna, otherwise known as white tail deer like to run out on to the interstate starting around dusk. The thought of hitting a deer while I am going 75mph gives me the willies, one of those respectable fears in life.

Well this is my tale for Sunday. Don’t know what tomorrow will bring; only the Muse knows and she may decide to take a day off.

Peace Love and Light

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Crazy, anal and still in recovery

Crazy thoughts from dreams and the moments of waking up. I am still crazy after all these years and differently still anal.
I woke up still remembering a crazy dream; I won’t get into the dream other than to say that an ignorance I thought was somewhat under control reared its ugly head and reminded me that this defect of character was still present.
The next thing I heard was the dogs going crazy and I thought a possum had manage to get into the house via the duct work, the cats have found a way to do this. Thing is I didn’t jump up or get excited, just started thinking about a way to catch it without killing it or if I did have to kill it do so without much of a mess. No idea where the possum thing came from I haven’t seen any around here, but they are thick in other parts of town. Strange how the mind works.
Next I headed to the kitchen to start the coffee and saw the kids had forgotten to turn the porch light off again!! Well my dad in me flared up but calmed down pretty quickly. Someday they will have to pay their own electric bill and understand why the old man would get so anal over stuff like this, karma works this way.
Later I went to the noon “12 and 12” study meeting, a meeting I rarely attend but I had heard the “God as we understand him” people have been standing up to the thumpers in support of the newcomers who don’t or can’t understand God. The thumpers were not there but we had a brilliant meeting on the 5th step.
This evening I am taking some people to an AA campout 15 miles south of town; there is a potluck supper and campfire meeting. I made my famous macaroni salad with peas, cucumbers, green onions, bell peppers, eggs and cheese, the old farm kid in me knows you never go to a potluck empty handed unless you are dead broke. I am looking forward to a good evening of fellowship with people who I care about.
So what is the point of all this. Well I still have work to be done on me. I need these reminders of ignorance still lingering, of having a bad temper just under the surface to keep me aware of how much I need to still pay attention to what is going on and be aware of my actions and reactions. Need to see how I can go about things with expectation and how the Higher Power will mess them up to teach me something for the good. I still need to know that I am crazy and anal even in the best of times. I haven’t graduated from the daily lessons of life. I still need and want what the fellowship and through it my Higher Power has to offer.
Well I need to call some folks so HAVE A GREAT ONE.
Peace Love and Light

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

John Lennon Watching the Wheels

I love this song and this video of John is great, also this is my first attempt at adding a video to the blog, hope it works.

"She don't need AA she has Jesus"

I don’t subscribe to cable TV for me it is a waste of money and also it keeps me from being productive, I am just lazy enough to sit in front of the TV, channel surfing and not get any reading, chores or other constructive things done. I do rent DVD’s though, they are convenient, and I can watch what I want and when I have the time. I read about an HBO series called True Blood that was just released on DVD so I rented the first 2 discs last night. The series is about vampires who have now been able to come out of hiding due to synthetic blood, it is bottled and sold it in bar’s and stores so the vampires no longer need to kill for blood if they choice not to. The story takes place in a small town in Louisiana and revolves around a young woman and the vampire she befriends, will they become lovers? O.k. so one of the main characters is another young woman whose mother is an alcoholic or drunk as she calls her. In one of the episodes I watched last night, this woman was sitting on the porch talking to another main character explaining to him why she hates going home, they are drinking shots of bourbon ironically, he ask her why her mother doesn’t go to AA meetings or try AA, the woman replies, “She don’t need AA she has Jesus”, her mother is a Bible waving, Jesus loving drunk who is waiting for Jesus to save her all the while her vodka bottle sits right next to the big ole family Bible.

Disclaimer notice before I start rambling; I do not believe AA is the be all and end all for recovering from alcoholism, it just works for me and is working for a lot of others I am in contact with, secondly I am not anti-Christianity but I do dislike fundamentalist religion whether it is Christian, Muslim, Zionist or even Buddhist, fundamentalism breeds intolerance and intolerance breeds violence and produces suffering for innocent people.

Ok back to “she don’t need AA she has Jesus”. When I am sober I can trust a Higher Power, I can follow my Higher Power driven conscience and for the most part be an honest and caring person, I don’t harm others intentionally or if I do I make amends PDQ, most of the times I stop myself before I act on a biting notion in my head. This was true in my past life in recovery and my current life in recovery. When I was out doing my 10 years of research for you all, there were times when I would venture into religion, wimpy trips into the Tao and a 9 month Bible study via the Methodist church, attended church and worked with the youth group sometimes half crocked, I was also a member of a peace group and worked as a volunteer for Democrat candidates in 2006. All of this was done in order to try and fill a void in my life, thinking that these things would make me really happy, give me a purpose in life and once I had a purpose my drinking would somehow subside, not go away, I never once even after all my knowledge about alcoholism wanted to quit drinking completely, I wanted to drink socially with control. When I am active in my alcoholism it is my Higher Power, it has total control over me, I do things against my better judgment, I lie, I steal, I cheat, my ethics, values and morals go out the window just like my beer cans. I am undisciplined and unruly. I don’t become an Atheist but I am not principle enough to follow spiritual guidelines in my life, won’t and probably can’t trust a Higher Power even though I still believe in one. So yeah I didn’t need AA because I was waiting for something else to fill the void and cure me, though I wouldn’t have put it in those terms back then.

When I hit the wall and dropped the shovel of self destruction and found myself back in the rooms of AA the void was slowly filled up. It was filled up with you all, you who understood my pains, fears, hatreds, you who loved me until bit by bit I learned to love myself and once again accept me for me. Funny thing about my past, when came into AA in 1987 one of my problems was I hated not being true to myself, I hated the facade I had created because I thought you won’t like the real me, during those 9 years of recovery I drop the façade became very comfortable with just being me but once I started drinking again that old fear of people not liking me for me came steam rolling back and so did that ugly old façade. I found in AA what I was looking for in religion and those other organizations, I found a sense of belonging, a comradeship, I found true hope via interaction with each others and genuine happiness. Eventually after I relearned to not compare my insides to your outsides, my perception of a Higher Power to yours, I was able to find a spiritual path that was comfortable and workable for me. The main thing for me to remember in staying on this path is what happens when I drink any alcohol at all and the only way for me to remember this is by regular attendance at AA meetings and associating with people who are on the same path whether those people are bloggers or the ones I get to physically shack hands with and hug.

In my time around recovery both past and present, I have witnessed people get sober via AA, find religion, stop going to meetings and eventually they think they are resistant to the allergic reaction caused by the first drink and end up drunk again, praying for Heaven to help them out of Hell. They became isolate and insulated from the reality of the past. They were surrounded by fellow believers of who the majority of have never experienced the phenomenon of craving that afflicts those of us with alcoholism. Churches, temples, synagogues, mosque, covens and the like are all great places of worship but for a lot of people who are alcoholic they lack the interaction needed for long term and healthy recovery. From my limited perspective I see the actions used in recovery programs is more beneficial than prayer, rituals and ceremonies, I am more grounded in “faith without works is dead” than in osmosis or blind faith. So yeah I am a skeptic for the most part, I believe in balance, I believe there is a yin and yang quality to recovery and religious practices, that one needs both if that is the path they choice. People can have one without the other and stay sober but if you are having trouble staying sober, just putting the plug in the jug without spirituality may not be enough or just going to a place of worship without the support of fellow recovering alcoholics may not be enough. I need the Dharma to complete my recovery and I need recovery so I can practice the Dharma. If I every say “I don’t need AA I have Buddha” please slap me up side the head with the “12 and 12” or a hard copy of the Big Book any edition will work. When I think I am at a place when I don’t need to share from my gut the pain and ugliness of living the life of a drunk, when I think I have out grown the Fellowship, when I think I have no more living problems that you can’t help shed a little more light on, if I start getting bored with meetings and stop showing up or talking about them online, then you need to show enough love to bring me back to reality and I will do the same for you. Like Bill and Dr. Bob we can help each other when others can’t, remember that Dr. Bob was a highly religious man more so than Bill but he couldn’t get sober and stay sober, Dr. Bob says the importance of Bill was that through his experiences with active alcoholism he know what he was talking about and spoke his language, thus explaining why 1 alcoholic can reach another alcoholic better than all the professional non-alcoholics combined.

So for those who “don’t need AA cause they have Jesus” as the good doctor says my hat is off to you, but if you find you can’t stay sober with Jesus, Moses, Mohammad, Buddha, or any number of God’s or Goddess’s please stop by a meeting sometime and let us tell you about how we couldn’t stop on will power or prayer alone, how well we remember the loneliness, fear, shame, pain and anger. We know what it is like to not be able to hold a full cup of coffee or hot tea because the shakes where so bad we kept spilling it, we remember losing control of bodily functions, damage done to children, spouses and lovers, we know the sound of jail and intuitional doors slamming shut and locking behind us, yes we know many things because we where once just like you. We also know that believe it or not, we can’t say sober without giving away what we have been given, so here have half a cup of coffee and feel free to ask as many questions as you need to, you will find we have no rules here just suggestions and the only requirement for membership is a desire to quit drinking, not a pledge to quit just a desire, think you have the desire to quit and make some changes in your life.

Alright I hear yeah yelling at me over cyberspace, enough already. Thus ends my tale for today.

In Fellowship, Peace and Love

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Decision Made and Kept

When I got out of the Air Force in 1992, I was reluctant to move back to central Nebraska where I was raised, even though my family was here, I had become comfortable in bigger cities with their multitude of colorful people, shops, restaurants, parks and such but my ex wanted to live by family and I never told my ex “no”. I have stayed around because for years I never could afford to move, being a daily drunk and chain smoker takes up a lot of funds, my daughter was better off in the small town school systems, during my drinking daze my enablers were here as well, oh yeah I was too chicken to try and change the things I didn’t like. Well 17 years have gone by, 10 of those years spent in relapse. My baby girl will be 18 years old in 18 days, she has a baby of her own and a life she needs to start living her own life.

I have been in manufacturing for 16 of those 17 years with 14 of them being in management. I am grateful for what I have learned and working with negative and power driven people has helped me spiritually, they have taught me to be still, to refocus my energy and attention when I start getting upset by their words and ugly behavior. I have increased my people skills and taken the leadership training I learned in the Air Force further. I have learned to sit at my desk and mediate. But the time has come to move on, to practice Right Livelihood. To use my talents for good, to help others, and to use my living experience in a positive way.

I have been kicking the idea of moving to Lincoln around since the first of the year but never set a date, part procrastination, and part fear, part I am providing for my daughter and granddaughter while I am here. I spent a lot of time in Lincoln the spring and summer of 2008, I meet new friends in the recovery community and enjoyed the fellowship there, and Lincoln has a bigger mixture of people in recovery, more alt’s and bohemians than there are in recovery out here in central Nebraska, more options in Lincoln as my buddy down there tells me. I enjoyed the bigger city conveniences of Lincoln along with its small town vibe. All in all I fell in love with this city.

Well the graduation is over, my daughter is working solid hours and making decent money as a waitress, she is taking advantage of the old mans kind heart and not putting any money aside for a phone, insurance, deposit on an apartment, I am babysitting every other evening and on weekends. I don’t blame her for this, I am the one who is allowing it, I have made mention of her needing to spend her money wisely and save it but I haven’t been aggressive about it, I still have a fear of becoming my old man who was overly aggressive, so I finding a balance with her is still tricky for me. As much as I love having Angel live with me and my daughter and I get along fairly well, there are things I don’t care for, boyfriend basically living in my house, them sleeping all morning and a few other minor things that are part generational and part parental. Friday I made a firm decision to have my house ready to sell by July 1st, by house I mean a mobile home. This gives me time to do the few repairs that need done and sets a deadline for both of us. The house should sell fairly fast, it has new storm windows, heat pump, newly remodeled, and it is very energy efficient. I talked to a friend in recovery last night and she is interested in it, I am pricing it to sell and not making any money on it, so if she can get the financing I think I have it sold. I can use the money to help me relocate to Lincoln. I am in hopes of getting a job as a staff support member at one of the treatment centers, halfway houses or group homes, I also have other talents that I can use to find a temp job or two until I find full time employment. The main thing is to move down there before the University of Nebraska starts their fall semester and the town is over run by students.

If I said I wasn’t a bit apprehensive about all this it would be an outward lie. I am sad that I won’t be spending a lot of time with Angel. I am worried about Michelle. I am just a bit nervous about finding a job but not too much, my resume is good and solid and I don’t need much to live on. Michelle has to grow up sometime, she needs to experience life as an adult, paying bills and making ends meet. I am fairly comfortable in the fact that she will probably stay here for one more year, which is only a 2 hour drive from Lincoln. She wants to go to massage Therapy College in Denver but hasn’t made any moves toward starting anytime soon. There is a massage therapy school in Lincoln as well so maybe with the old man down there she may move as well, she likes Lincoln as much I as I do. She has a boyfriend issues she which needs to figure out too before she makes any changes in her life.

I guess what I am trying to say is, I got off the pot, made a decision and decided to follow through with it, well I guess that isn’t true until the pickup is hauling the last load. The decision wasn’t made in haste. It was made with trusting my Higher Power and understanding that it is a good thing to do something for me. Oh yeah Lincoln has a Zen Buddhist temple so I can further my Dharma education. I don’t mean to sound selfish but since I have been back in recovery I have pretty much given myself to the care of others and gladly so but now I see an opening for me to do something I want and possibly need to do. If I can maintain a certain amount of humility in this change then it will be for the benefit of others as well as me.

I wrote this yesterday during a dry spell in the afternoon, by 5:00pm things changed a bit. Michelle has never been the most punctual person and I have long ago quit harping/talking to her about it. Sunday she was 5 minutes late for work and told to go home, yesterday she dropped Angel off at my work so I could take care of her for the evening. Mich was running late for work and called in to let them know. I received a call at 5:00pm from her work saying she was fired for tardiness. Which got me to worrying about moving now with her not having a job and boyfriend not having a job either? I found Mich at her boyfriend’s house and dropped Angle off with her mom. I then got in contact with an older member in recovery that I use as a back up sponsor because my sponsor is really hard to get in touch with before 10:00pm. I sat down and talked with him, told him my concerns and what was going on in my mind. I know I need to let her start experiencing life, she needs to learn responsibility and as long as she is under my roof she won’t do that, intentionally or unintentionally. I can either stop enabling now or keep on doing it and prolong the inevitable and mess up my plans to move on with my life. I have to remember that letting her grow up is an act of love, maybe not a comfortable act but tough love never is, we seem we always seek the easier softer way in dealing with life. We talked about my decision and about heeding the calling for change and how he did the same thing at about my age. I reflected back to my 5th step and that list of character defects, a couple where people pleasing and enabling, both Mich and my ex wife. I am facing 6 and 7th step situations and will follow through with the steps, take step 3 to heart and trust the Higher Power, use step 11 to calm the soul. Oh yeah and a big dose of step 1 because I am powerless over my daughter. It isn’t like I am buggering off to the Pacific Northwest or Norway; I am just moving 140 miles down the road. The date isn’t written in stone but it does give her a date to work on and figure things out for herself. Just because my parents enable me doesn’t make it right to enable Michelle, the old adage 2 wrongs don’t make a right, plus some bad family habits need to be broken. I am grateful I am willing enough to reach out for help, to know that even though my thinking my be on the correct plain I still need to talk things over, that I ain’t too big for my britches and understand it is alright to receive a little reassurance now and again. I talked to my sponsor last night and he reiterated that what I was doing was a good thing and to press on.

Well thanks everyone for letting me bend your ear again.

Peace Love and Light

Monday, June 1, 2009

Earth, Wind and Fire

My laptop sits on my desk which is in the kitchen. When I watch Angel I put her in the highchair and pull her close to me, sometimes she eats and watches me read or type away on other occasions I go to Youtube and bring up videos for her watch. Saturday it was Earth Wind and Fire videos, I love watching her get a kick out of the flashy videos and the music, grandpa dances around, croaks along to the lyrics and we have a great time, she is starting to really feel the rhythms, moving her body around. Bring up videos up on Youtube is one of those little pleasure of being a grandparent, we have sang and danced to Peter Gabriel, David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust, Allman Bros, Chris Ledoux, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Dixie Chicks, the Kinks, Stevie Ray Vaughan and other old school artist, just because grandpa is trying to plant a subliminal seed in her mind for good music, nothing selfish about that:-D The simple joy in just having fun with my little buddy, all giggles and smiles, inaudible words coming from her mouth, chubby arms, legs and butt moving around. Some people can’t handle a drama less life, being domestic and simple seems boring to them. If that is their bag then so be it but for me I will take cleaning up smashed banana’s, smeared in cookies and the rest for those moments of pleasure shared watching a video. Screw all the material bullshit, big bank accounts, and all that mess. Simple pleasure comes from simple things which leads to happiness and inter peace. Take away the laptop I could still mumble lyrics and rhythms to a few hundred songs, still do a silly dance, the laptop is just a bennie that I am grateful I can afford to have.