Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The hits just keep on comming.

So on the heels of being told there is little to no chance of ever getting back together with the woman I love I find out that once again I meet the minimum requirements for a teaching job but that they will not be going forward with an interview And that a good friend of mine passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer.  Just when I was feeling good about my life...life hits like I was told it would.  Now if I was still drinking either one of those events would have been Plenty for me to get wasted over in an attempt to forget.  All three back to back? forget it and look out.

Today I realize that I was the one who asked the question of my ex.  Her answer was not what I wanted to hear but I cannot control what other people feel.  I am a bit proud of myself for asking, before I would have just hoped for the best.  Today I realize that I am a new teacher with very little experience so it's no surprise that other more qualified teachers are getting the jobs I want.  Today I realize that I can't do anything about my friends passing away.  It's times like this that I winder" is this what I got sober for?"  The answer is...Yes!

I got sober so I could hear and take critical advice and not get defensive about it.  I got sober so I could take more classes and get more education to make up for my lack of experience.  While I am saddened by my friends death now that I am sober I can remember many of the good times we had together.

I was totally in my own head with all of the stuff going on so what did I do?  Went to a meeting.  Who was there randomly?  My sponsor.  It's funny how when I do the right thing I get the help I need.

11 Months

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I could go 11 months without a drink but I did.  At this point I am painfully aware of my faults and I'm sure more will be revealed. I am finding that people who don't drink don't really want to hear about what I am not good at.  They want stuff done.   One of the difficulties I have right now is sharing my minor successes with people and not reacting to their " shouldn't you have done that a long time ago" or " how old are you" comments.  For someone like me who neglected life for 20 years it's a big deal to end the month in the black and have all my bills paid.  Not so much with others.

The biggest difficulty I have now is letting go of the woman I love, who I was with for the last 6 years of my drinking.  She is happy I am sober but is not interested in getting back together and I am crushed.  It's not the reason I quit drinking but I was hoping that the sober me would get another chance to make things right.  I need to remember that not everyone else wants me to make it right.  Some people want to move on  and I think they wish I would too.  I have to realize that I had my chance and I blew it.  I am not alone, there are plenty of guys like me.  I am not special.

There are times when being sober is so awesome and my life is so much better now than before.  I don't even really think about drinking much which is nice but I was hoping to share some of my newness with my old love.  It's kind of lonely without her.  But life on life's terms means I don't have to like reality but I sure as hell better deal with it.  There are worse things than feeling alone and sad and drinking will not make those feelings go away.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Long Break

Well I have not posted in a while but that's because I have been so busy.  When I re-entered life it was going at full speed so it has been an abrupt return for me.  I look back on the days when I didn't do much but drink and I would often say that there wasn't anyting to do.  Today I get more done by noon than I ever did in a week while I was drinking.

What I really like at almost 11 months is how differently I handle situations which used to baffle me.  Now when I'm upset I take a moment instead of ranting about it.  If I make a mistake I own up to it and move on and the world does not end.  I no longer feel like I need to correct the world.

It's not that by quitting drinking that my life has gotten easy, life is hard, it's just that now I am dealing with my setbacks and problems like everyone else instead of pushing my problems down into the pit of repression.  And you know what...It feels good.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fixing the past

 Once I got sober I started to recognize how horrible I was to the people I love while I was drinking.  No manner of apology can ever erase some of the pain I caused and I have to accept that.  I have a tendency to want to "fix" everything right away and that is just not how it works.  It will take time to turn my life back around and I need to be patient with myself.
The problem for me comes when I want so much for a person to see how I have changed but all they can see is the old me.  Well the old me has been around a lot longer than the new me so guess who is going to come to mind first when someone things about me?  I need to stay confident that I am doing the right thing even if people never come back to me.  It's hard but I need to deal with reality now and not in a dream world like when I was drinking.
Sobriety is just the first step in my recovery.  It is a difficult first step to say the least but after that I can take a look at other character defects and begin to solve those with confidence.  Some of my difficluties will take longer to fix but if I keep at it I am confident that I can become a better man.  One day at a time.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Anger management

I didn't think I had an anger problem...that's because I never let myself get angry.  When I was a child I had a bad temper and as I entered adolescence and began to self medicate I realized that drinking made me forget most of my anger leaving me with only drunken rudeness to worry about and lets just sat that's not much to worry about.  So I created this anger management theory of either "whatever" or "fuck you" with no room for negotiation whatsoever in between the two.  Not very useful. 

Learning how to express appropriate male anger is my latest character defect I am working on and the other day I had a bit of a breakthrough.  I was visiting a friend of mine who has a dog and Fido had chewn two small holes through a soccer ball and had torn the bottom off of it completely. Another "friend" thought it would be funny to put the deflated ball over the dog's face like a mask.  It got put on and I was pissed but I didn't want to flip out on folks, so I stayed quiet, and was happy when the dog escaped.

The second time the "mask" was attempted to be put on the dog was running away and my " friend" said " It seems like he doesn't want it to be on"  and using my best authoratative voice I said " Well then don't put it on him then!" just that, no speech or grand gesture,  and it worked! The dog was safe, no more ball mask and most of all no escalation.

Not a huge moment but one that I will take with me and build on.  While I could have spoke up sooner I felt good about expressing my anger in a way that helped to stop a situation rather than cause it.  These are the little things that make sobriety so amazing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Was Blind but now I see

Admitting I was an alcoholic was like removing a prism that I was looking at my life through.  I could finally see that it was me and my bad choices that were ruining my life, not the "world" or "they."  It's amazing to me that for sooo long I felt like something different would happen when I drank besides me getting totally wasted and turning into a dick.  I never had One beer.  It was all of them.  I never left any wine for cooking.  I emptied every bottle I opened.  I didn't think I had a problem, I just liked to drink and my life, for some reason, was not working out for me.  One day I would drink like a normal person and my life would get better.  Some days never come.

 I made  no connection whatsoever between by drinking and my utter lack of ability to carry anything through.  Start with five classes, drop two and get C's in the rest if I was lucky then take the next semester off because I wasn't " ready."  Quit a job because the boss was an asshole.  Drop a woman because there was another.  It's funny how once I stopped drinking the "assholes"disappeared, I got willing and I missed the woman I loved.  Well it's not funny at all.  It sucks.  But you know what, it's a fact.  I don't have to like it but I do have to deal with it. Admitting that I am an alcoholic let me start making the climb back out of the pit of incomprehensible despair that I had fallen into.  The truth really can set you free.

Not Hiding

Today's topic was not hiding from alcohol.  As if one really could just pretend that it didn't exist.  It reminded me of when I would take a week, well more like three or four days, off of drinking...only to "celebrate" afterwards.  I cannot hide from alcohol.  The great thing about admitting that I am an alcoholic is that I don't have to hide from it anymore.  I might not like it, but so what?!  It's a fact.  I have a problem so I should be careful about who I hang out with and where.  My old " friends" across the bay? probably not.  A friend's birthday party at a bar?  Sure.  As long as I go to say " Happy Birthday!" say hello and catch up, meet a few people and leave I'm fine.  I knew when it was time to go.  I am not drinking but I still have the thinking so when I saw the second bottle coming around and the crowd getting to that fevered drunken pitch right before all hell breaks loose I cut.  So much fun to drive home without fear of getting pulled over.

I don't have to shield myself from alcohol.  That would be impossible.  All I have to do is remember one simple thing.  If I have one more drink I will die.

Monday, May 30, 2011

At Five Months

You will become an example.

A friend of mine I have known my whole life was taking a year off of drinking. He wanted to see if he could do it as he had heard that a true alcoholic could never do such a thing. The day came when he was to have his first drink and it was no problem. Two beers with lunch and waiting 45 minutes after his last drink did the trick. Then the big game came. " I remember getting there" my friend said, " and that's it. I woke up passed out in bed with my girlfriend asking me how my night was." He was bummed that he drove home but not as much as his girlfriend. " Your an idiot for driving like that!" was her first response, followed by several others indicating my friend's lack of mental ability. At the end of her rope she uttered the words my friend and I thought would never be spoken. " Maybe you should hang out with TJ more often." My friend almost fell out. Had this poor sweet woman seen me with my 3 bottles of wine a night alone in my apartment crying myself to sleep every night? Had she seen me pouring water in the hard liquor bottles so nobody would know how much I drank at night...only to finish of the bottles later? Had she seen how badly I treated the women I knew when I was drinking?
She has only known me for 5 months and she has only seen me sober. 6 months ago I would have gotten hammered with my friend at the game and who knows what would have happened. Instead I am an example to someone! The only thing I would have been an example of 6 months ago would have been a worthless drunk. Today I am the kind of guy a woman wants her man to be more like. Recovery is a trip!