Saturday, November 27, 2010

4 years on, well almost.

The house is quiet, Lady B had to work and took the youngest with her. Later we are picking up the oldest then going to a hotel for the night. Her roommate is having her family Thanksgiving here, it is a whole dramatic event, so the best thing to do is get the hell out of Dodge. Mich and the kids plus some other friends will come over to the hotel and take advantage of the pool and hot tub. We will probably go see a movie tomorrow, my choice is Harry Potter but I am out voted on this one, have to go see it on my own.

I think I am safe in safe in saying Monday I will have 4 years sobriety. November 29th 2006 I walked into a treatment center. Mentally I wasn't ready to quit drinking, just needed to get the heat off and get my ass out of a lot of trouble. Sanity returned within a couple of days and I was willing to do the footwork again to pursue a sober life. My life was filled with unhappiness, hopelessness and unease at this time, within a short few days hope and a glance of serenity started filling up my heart and head. I reconnected with the joy I had once had before when I was on a spiritual path void of alcohol and drugs. Call it what you will, miracle or good karma but I survived a 10 year relapse and found recovery once again.

I have weathered many changes in these 4 years. The first was my daughter being removed from my home and going to live in a group home for troubled girls. Next was her being pregnant at the age of 16. I am grateful to say the birth of Angel turned her life around considerably, though she still makes big mistakes but most 19 year old's do. I have learned not to enable her too much, to be there for her as best I can. She once hated me and today she says I love you when get done talking. I am a part of her life and the life of my grandchildren.

A spiritual path was opened to me about 9 months into recovery. The path of the Dharma has been a wonderful learning adventure, it has brought me inter peace and mindfulness I never had before. I never built a spiritual foundation during the previous 9 years of sobriety, probably why I drank again. My spirituality is like a lot of peoples some days strong, some days weak. Today I have a sense of awareness about my inter suffering, which is a pain in the ass sometimes because I really don't want to take spiritual actions, I want to be a baby and wallow in my pity or anger. I work a lot on knowing life isn't about me and my needs, if my partner is upset it doesn't always mean it is something I have done, same goes for other important people in my life.

I have written a lot about my dads death and will only say it has been a big opportunity for growth and self awareness.

I have learned and am learning about close relationships. I tried to force someone into loving me, chewed up a lot of money but it was money well spent because I learned you can't do it. My relationship with Lady B is good. I have learned I have no control over her feelings and like I said if she is upset it isn't always about me. I have learned to not be such a people pleaser with her, I don't need to do things just to try and force her to be happy. In my previous marriage what came out of my 4th step was I was a big people pleaser and enabler, doing this would send my serenity out of balance. For the most part Lady B is too independent to allow this to happen, her pride is equal to mine in this area. I am learning healthy relationships aren't always lovey dovey, we have periods of quiet time. I crave to know everything is alright when the quiet sets in, I want my fear of rejection to be removed, my crazy mind whats to run in case hurt is forth coming. All of this is just screwed up perceptions, false fear, and my old friend low self esteem messing with me. I am learning I really need to make it clear when I am joking, this was evident yesterday, especially when Aunt Flow comes to visit. My joking is has a dark or cynical side to it, when she isn't mentally in good spirits she takes it personally, this is my bad because I sounded critical when I wasn't. I honestly think it is a good thing there are 90 miles between us. If we had jumped into this by moving in together, I doubt neither one of us would be taking the time to think things out. Even though we talk daily we haven't felt the need to put on false faces to keep the house from being in turmoil if one of us is having a down day. I am sure she is learning about herself as well.

I have changed careers in this 4 years also, another thing I have written plenty about. Changing careers has been an exercise in footwork, mental and spiritual. I have had to chance my way of thinking and doing things. I have learned more about acceptance and living in the moment. I have learned to use my voice, to stand up for myself when need be, to check my motives before I speak. The people I have and do work with are so much different then those who work in manufacturing, I have had to learn how to take a different approach to handling situations. Smile moment; we will intuitively know how to handle situations which use to baffle us! I don't take for granted my insights nor my other gifts, what I have is blessing. What I have has been there all along, it was hidden from view for the most part and needed a spiritual kick in the butt to come out. It needed a spiritual path to be use properly, for me to see my strengths and weakness and work on both accordingly.

I have started taking care of my mother, it started with both of my parents because of dads dementia. I have no ill feelings over this. I am grateful I am able to do this. I chalk this one up to Karma, paying back for when they took care of me and living life correctly. Oh sometimes I get up set with my sisters, my brother has never been attentive or said he wanted to be towards my parents needs so I accept him, my sisters have both said they would help out and not followed through. I accept they have their own lives, they do what they do and it is not my job to judge them.

I humbly owe I all am today to my Higher Power which I choose to call the Dharma and the fellowship of AA. I have my disagreements with AA and some of the people at meetings. Over all when AA's message, the steps, the traditions and service work are kept simple the way Dr. Bob intended it to be, AA is the best way for people like me to get and stay sober. People who needed to know it was alright to believe in a God of our own understanding, people who need to be around other ex-drunks to remember they were once hopeless drunks and can return to living in Hell with one sip. I feel the message of selfishness being the root of all our troubles, seeming to get side tracked by a lot of mumble jumble; too much prayer without footwork and sometimes making AA an Idol to be worshipped. I am grateful for those who see this also, stay around and make damn sure the message is carried on as intended. If AA didn't exist I like others would either be dead, in prison or a mental institution. I am grateful for the fellowship of friends in recovery, those I know in person and online. I am grateful for camp outs and bonfires with fellow travelers on the road to happy destiny!

I am grateful for this blog, it has been my journal and a healthy outlet. It has also been a way for me to stay productive when I had too much idol time on my hands. I am grateful for the fellow bloggers I have met along the way. Some are gone and I miss them and hope they are well. To those who are still here, thanks for being my friend. We may never meet in person, but you have touched my life, you are a part of the journey.

Well campers, I need to get something in my stomach, then off to a noon meeting.

Peace Love and Light!!!!!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Yesterday and Today

Hey wasn't that the name of a Beatles album:-)

Yesterday was good, Lady B, her mom and I made some of the food. We were given the task of making sweet potato casserole, irony is none of us like sweet potatoes, so we laughed as fumbled our we through making them but those who ate them said it was good. Mich's boyfriend/Carter's dad show up to my surprise, I don't hate the kid nor is he not invited to spend time with us, just don't like that he is a lazy pot smoker who spends too much time playing Magic cards and not enough do things around the house. Carter was in a really good mood, he was laughing, smiling and talking up a storm. Angel was her usual busy body self.

I knew the uneasiness would lift once I got to town and around Lady B. Her mom is really nice and we get along well, same goes for her sister.

I stopped at the cemetery on the way to Kearney, poured some coffee on my dad's grave, mediated for a few minutes and smiled. My dad was like me in he liked his coffee. I also poured some coffee on the grave on of one of the best characters I ever met in AA. George was something else, he chained smoked, drank a lot of coffee, teased the women in a harmless way and grunted when he talked. He died while I was back out drinking, feel bad I didn't to tell him how much he meant to me. His grave is a short walk away from dad's, when I visit dad I also pour some coffee on his grave and if the wind isn't blowing leave a cigarette in memory, he was friend of my dad's too so it is cool their stones are close together. George didn't have any family AA was his family, his sobriety date is on his stone, kind of cool.

Today I woke up hacking bad with drainage again, not sure if it was caused by the dry air in Lady B's bedroom or the junk just flaring up again. But after a couple cups of coffee and a few cigarettes, yeah I know shouldn't smoke but the chemicals in the cigarettes help at least that is my rationality, I was better. I did the Black Friday thing. Went and bought some fuzzy sleeper socks for $.99 for the ladies who work for me, figured I could give them the socks with candy attached, not much just a way to show them I appreciate the work they do. Lady B had to work but she had me buy some jeans that were on sale for her youngest. I bought her youngest a sleeping bag and battery operated lantern. I didn't find anything for Angel or Carter but got some ideas. I am going to get Lady B a garnet necklace, not sure if I will buy locally or see what I can find on line. Mich is going to get her rent paid up plus maybe a little something, need to find out how much back rent she owes first. I didn't go shopping early, 9am so the stores weren't too bad.

I took Lady B's youngest out to lunch then to buy groceries. He wanted spaghetti taco's for supper, so that is what I am making him, made lasagna for Lady B and I. Since Lady B works retail figure she would be having a very long day, so making supper and doing laundry is a simple way of saying I love you.

All in all it has been a good day, relaxing even with all I did.

Have a sweet one campers!!!

Peace Love and Light

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Illness and Confusion

I hate it when I get a head cold/sinus infection. My head gets all cloudy, buzzy and for some reason depression and confusion set in. Started out Tuesday morning, woke up with nasty drainage, headache and head pressure. Tried taking over the counter medicine again but that crap makes me even more fuzzy headed, I have zero tolerance for mind altering substances. Yesterday the drainage had let up, it just stayed put causing minor congestion plus confusion. The worst thing of all was the depression it brought on, like a freaking freight train. We got off work at 2 and by 2:30 I was home in bed trying to sleep it off which somewhat worked, I tried doing some housework but it only helped a bit, was still tired/foggy and laid down once more.

A large part of my mind was telling me the depression was due to Thanksgiving and fears associated with the holiday and holiday season at hand. I admit there is some truth to this, I don't like family gatherings. I identified the dislike as a feeling of being caged in, summer gatherings are fine, I can move around outdoors, breath the air, focus on nature. My past experiences with holiday gatherings are one of always feeling like an outsider when sitting with the other men or women. I lack key interest in conversations; don't like sports, don't know much about engine or transmission specifics, don't know much about detailed mechanics or building stuff, don't kill things,I am a Liberal. My old friend great expectations kicked me squarely gonads, I place expectations on myself that I need to be like them, that they are looking down on me, all of which is utter bullshit. My inter fight is to understand and accept all of this. The past has no hold on the Reality of the present, the past is the past just as impermanent as everything else, if I cling to the past I cling a non-reality based notion. This is a case of minor PTSD for me. I can't blame my dislike of gathering on a dislike of crowds, I am perfectly fine at AA events and accept my limits on what I can and cannot converse about maybe because at recovery functions where there is always an underlying sense of commonality and unity, there is no ego telling me I need to prove I am worthy. Hell of it is, I am not even spending Thanksgiving with my family, dad is dead the one person I was comfortable talking with, my mom is going to my cousins house with my aunts people I have zero in common with, 2 of my siblings live out of state and the other is going to her step sons house up north. I am going to Lady B's family gathering, I get along with all of them and am accepted, it just all comes back to old fears and the pressure of having to try and fit in. The gathering starts later today, Mich and the grand babies will be there. So once again I will visit with people who could care less that Elton John and Leon Russell just released a brilliant collaboration album, Eat Pray Love is a must see movie one to be viewed over and over to catch all the wisdom laid out, Tom Delay was convicted and hopefully will spend time in prison and not mention any of this. I will listen to talk about football and NASCAR and other things I find boring. I will accept it isn't about me, it is about others. I will find my pleasure in being with people who care about me because I am who I am and I care about them.

I woke up this morning feeling clear headed as evident by my writing this post. I know much of what was messing with my head yesterday was just the illness screwing with me. I did my best to focus on just allowing the anxiety/depression to just be what it was, to stop fighting it which has helped with my acceptance this morning. I also focused on the Buddha and cause of suffering. The Buddha wasn't a God but yesterday I used him as a Higher Power, a way to refocus and bring reality back. The craving which was causing the suffering was a craving to feel the perceived sense of magical family, the one which is pounded into our heads during the holiday season. I believe I put too much stake in this sense, my sense of family isn't very strong and never has been. I love my family, even the extended family who I rarely interact with, I would drop what I am doing to assist them in an reasonable way I could if asked, even my Fundamentalist sister who sees my spiritual belief's as a gateway to Hell. I reflected back to the time when I was in meetings, feeling insecure because my concept of a God didn't fit with the Christian concept people where so profoundly testifying about. I have to not compare my insides with others outsides, dangerous place to go. My feelings about God and sense of family just are what they are, nothing is permanent, maybe one day the joyous sense of family others have will come to me but for now I don't feel it and it is alright to feel this way.

Another hiccup I have with Thanksgiving is the hatred of gluttony. I have a very ugly selfish side which wants to blast people for gloating about all the damn food, constantly talking about how much they are going to eat, making sure they are stuffed. I personally find this spiritually wrong on many levels but I would be wrong to use my anger in a selfish attempt to ruin their enjoyment.

On a different note. Shadow the reason for a young peoples AA meeting, is that in rural Nebraska, young people haven't built a peer group. They don't stick around long enough to meet others like themselves. In Lincoln and Omaha due to larger populations young people find meetings they congregate around, then go and do things together afterwards or before, plus create their own events. Our hope is to take the model of the bigger cities and use it here. Even if 2 kids connect and go to other meetings together for peer support it will be worth it. Just as I cling to the preconceived notion this Thanksgiving isn't going to be wonderful because my past experiences weren't wonderful, so do young people cling to the notion they can't relate to older alcoholics and addicts. It is all a crap shoot but one worth rolling the dice on.

Well campers I need to take a hot bath, let the stream wrap itself around me. I will stick around the house until noonish then load up and head to Kearney. I hope all of you have a great day and weekend whether you are with family or not. I am smiling at stubbing my spiritual toe, the pain is residing and it is time to move forward.

Peace Love and Light until next time

Saturday, November 13, 2010

First Taste of Winter

We are getting our first taste of winter and it isn't too bad. Been cold and rainy last few days, thought I would wake up to ice yesterday but we were smiled on and the over night temps weren't too low. Last year at this time we had snow on the ground and lots of it. My chariot is now a Honda Prelude, so I hope we don't have a ton of snow, not sure the car sits high enough to get around the streets. Not really worried, what will be will be, just have to figure it out when it happens.

Worst thing with winter is adjusting to the lack of light and the chill in the air. The lack of light brings on slight seasonal depression for me. I am such an outdoor person I have to mentally prepare myself for staying inside and laugh if you must but to wearing shoes again. I don't get bad depression just get low for a few weeks. I am fortunate in that I understand what is happening, can work with it or at least tell others what is going on.

Working with mental illness is a big part of my job. My understanding of mental illness increases daily it seems. This understanding is helpful in my personal life as well as professional. I have more patience and empathy than I did before. Lady B's youngest, who lives with her, is Bi-Polar, my understanding allows me to know what is illness in action and not get angry so easily. Mich is also having bouts of depression not to mention bouts of ugly co-dependency. There are a lot of people we associate with or who are in our lives, that have mental illness. I have always been empathetic with people with mental illness but now I understand a great deal more about how it effects them, how they can cope with it and live fairly normal lives given the right treatment.

Getting fired from the treatment center sucked. The door that was closed by the firing opened a door to a wonderful new career. My levels of living experience, my insights from them and my drive to find resources for myself and the organization, is something I can put to use at this job, something I wasn't allow to do at the treatment center because I wasn't college educated. I am not blowing my horn here, by Divine Providence, Karmic law or whatever, I have been given a gift. Some of the gift comes from practicing Mindfulness daily. With mindfulness I stay calm, I don't over react, much, I can See what needs to be done, or listen to others and see their words. We alcoholics and addicts have so much to offer the world once we get sober. Sad truth is many who suffer with alcoholism and addiction never make it to the place of seeing what their full potential is.

The reunion was alright, Lady B was bored but a trooper. We didn't stay very long, it was mostly standing around and talking, I didn't want Lady B to feel left out so I talked to most of my old friends then we headed back to the hotel. We had a good weekend together which was the main thing.

I am at Lady B's right now, we just finished breakfast. Later I will see Mich and the kids. Not sure if Angel will spend the night or not. One of the things Lady B had to point out to me was I was assuming it was alright for Angel to come and spend the night every time I was in town. She pointed out it would be nice if I asked first because sometimes she is too tired from a long week at work to have another active kiddo under foot. Mich was also taking advantage of us always watching Angel too. Mich has to learn when you are a parent part of the gig is you have your kids 24/7 and the fun nights out just don't happen as much as you want them to.

Have a great weekend ALL.

Peace Love and Light

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Reunion Weekend

It is 10am and Lady B is still sleeping like a rock, no kids this weekend, hers or Angel. She has had a stressful few days and really needs the sleep, as for me, well something about growing old has stopped me from sleeping in the way I use to. There was a time when I could sleep in until 10 or later but anymore I am usually up by 8:30 even if I didn't get to sleep until after midnight, kind sucks but that's the way it is.

Later on we are taking the 5 1/2 hour drive up to Sioux City Iowa. My old Air Guard branch is holding a reunion. It has been 9 years since I have been up there. 9 years ago I was fully into my Alcoholism. In those years I never made the drive without beer in the car and between my legs, I drank on the way up, I would start drink on Saturday as soon as drill was over, usually 3pm. My deployments with the unit were one big drinking vacation as well. None of my friends know what a sober Scott is like and to be honest it will be a challenge for me interacting with them sober, not sure how much we have in common with being sober and them drinking. Not many of my old friends are heavy drinkers, for most it is just part of the escapism that comes with being a Weekend Warrior.

We have a hotel room for the night, if it starts getting too crazy we will head on back to it. I know both of us could use some hot tub therapy. There has been a lot of drama at work, so the hot tub will be a good way to message the drama away.

I am glad I have Lady B to go with me. I am sure I could have handled this without her and without drinking but it is nice to have another in recovery there. I am spiritually fit but like I mentioned the guard was a big drinking event in the past. I want to be there because the unit and the people in it are a big part of my past, one I enjoyed to the fullest, even without being drunk. When we worked together we were like a well oiled machine, there was great camaraderie. It will be nice to hear what has happened in my friends lives.

Well the bear has awaken and is in the process of transforming into a lamb, I made a second pot of coffee to assist since I drank the first one. Really she isn't that bad just takes a few minutes, cigarette and coffee for her to get fully awake and clear headed.

Have a great weekend my friends
Peace Love and Light

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More on What's Happening

This is Sioux lookout, located about 10 miles south east of North Platte Nebraska, my present home, the water in the foreground is an irrigation channel that goes for at least 150 miles. This is the highest peek for many miles, the Lakota Sioux and probably the Araphoe used this peek to watch the migration of settlers along the Oregon Trail, plus watch US Army movements. When I was a teenager you could still climb to the top, you can't anymore probably do to people trashing the pasture land and messing with cattle, not sure but there is a big No Trespassing sign on the fence now.

We did a few camp outs this summer, not as many as last summer because Lady B works on some Saturdays. Spent Memorial Day weekend at our little hide way in the canyons. Lady B and her oldest son went with myself and a few others tubing down the Niobrara on the 2nd annual Soberfloat, they both had a blast and Lady B was thinking about the next summers float when we left, whether to tube or canoe, plus different lodging. We borrowed her dad's RV and the cost of gas was more than a cabin rental. I have hopes of buying good used pop up camper and Suburban for camping season next year. Lady B and her youngest aren't tent dwellers. Lastly we rented a cabin at a really lovely state park outside of Omaha in late August, we used this as base camp for going into Omaha for the air show at Offut Air Base. This was my birthday present for her youngest son. Made brownie points on this venture and now it is going to be an annual event for youngest birthday according to him. Neither Lady B or youngest had been around fighter jets before and the Thunderbirds were the main attraction, total rush for them, did my old Air Force heart some good also.

My relationship is good. Some days I worry when the conversations a bit bland or overly quiet, wander if I am doing something wrong. I just remind myself, it isn't always about me and also I can't take her hostage nor she me. Healthy relationships are just like this, not every weekend is chipper, we humans just don't function like that 100% of the time. We see things from different lights, so what may be of major importance to me may not be to her and this goes the same with her. I don't always give her the feedback she expects the same as I don't get the feedback I expect. We both take the relationship a day at a time, no future plans of moving in together, one both of us have ties to the towns we live in so moving either direction is out of the picture for now. We accept each other for who we are, blemishes and all, don't try and change the other. She is very independent in a lot of ways and I like this. I have been around way too many Co-Dependent people and it bothers me. We found out her youngest is Bi-Polar, he is 9, this has been a challenge but now know why he behaves the way he does makes it easier to deal with him, he was also placed on a med the equals things out for the most part, so the highs and lows aren't so drastic.

Michelle's relationship with Carter's father is a roller coaster. She has some Co-Dependency issues going on. There is a lot of verbal abuse, sure both parties are to blame, he is a control freak also. I try and stay out of their lives unless I see it is effecting the babies. She is like a lot of young women and men too, when she is ready and willing she will do something about the conditions of her life but not until the pain is enough to finally say enough is enough. Every time they break up I hope it is for good and she finds a strong and stable relationship, with a good hard working and fairly sane man. I recently learned they are both drinking and partying which is out of my hands, once again just have to keep my ears and eyes open.

I am extremely grateful to be sober and that I have a spiritual path to walk on, without it none of what I have written would have taken place I still use the Dharma as my guide, it fits my soul like a old pair of sandals. I stay in contact with old AA friends and go to meetings in Kearney most of the time when I spend the weekend at Lady B's house. Still haven't connect with a group here. My lame excuse is been busy at work or at moms, truth be told when I get done in the evenings I am exhausted, still lame excuse but I have serenity and awareness of my disease, recovery plays a great deal in the work I do, I carry the message in a very subtle way.

Well my spiritual kin, I hope this has satisfied your curiosity for now.

Peace Love and Light