~REBLOGGED~ Summer in Sobriety, Down by the Pool

Ann G. Kroger is great about expressing in various stories and posts what it’s like struggling with alcoholism. this one in particular spoke to me.

I wrote the other day about not seeing how people could be not suicidal.  well similarly, I can’t imagine someone that doesn’t drink regularly except rigid non-drinkers (part of that is my upbringing).  I’ve never imagined a middle-ground.

anyway, this is a neat little read.  and it’s valid for me coming up, as I’ll be hosting summer shenanigans again m’self soon too.

Ann Kroger

Hobo WeddingMy friend was telling me about a woman she had recently met. This woman was newly sober, just a couple weeks in. She was concerned that summer was around the block. Her husband and her were renowned for their pool parties, and she was worried that if they did not serve alcohol, no one would come. Two weeks sober and she’s are worried about pool parties? I would have laughed if I hadn’t known she was dead serious.

When I first got sober, I had my own obsession: my wedding day. As I remember, early on I met a girl who had met a boy on AA campus and had gotten married. She was telling me about their relationship and life, but I didn’t get further than… “Wedding? Hold up, you had a sober wedding? No one drank? No endless champagne toasts? No open bar? A dead sober wedding?” I…

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Proclamation of Addiction Rehabilitation Graduation

~~>  I “graduated” from Townsend last night,  <~~
~~>  and tonight’s my last night of required Group sessions.  <~~

with the above opening alone, there’s so many directions into which I could go:

  • I gained a lot of valuable lessons from my 10 weeks in the program.
  • I gained insight from things that were said to me last night from other patients.
  • I’ve decided upon my future approach to alcohol: <insert decision here>.
  • I’ve still yet to decide as to what the fuck I’m going to do about my drinking.
  • I respect myself more for getting into the program.
  • I respect myself more for enduring the extension.
  • I respect myself less for allowing myself to be persuaded into the extension.
  • this was overall a beneficial experience.
  • this was overall utter bullshit and a complete waste of time.

I mean, not only are there many options, but numerous of them even contradict others.  I guess what I can say I’ve definitely gleamed from this is: I’m not really sure about anything.

things I can say are probably true are that I overvalue the opinions of others, that I’m not as strongly in Control of myself as I would otherwise like to be, that I had a serious drinking problem, and that I’m impressive on the shore front.

I don’t know if I’ll never be able to control it, I don’t know if I will work on not drinking at all, I don’t know if I’ll stay in “recovery”, I don’t know wtf “recovery” even means to me.

I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad.  My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty — love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity, to name a few.
~ Brene Brown ~

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

part of me says the trick is to journal when I am in each of the three main forms: anti-drinking (never drink again), moderate-drinking (or controlled drinking), and fuck-it-all (ready to Quit at everything).

at the moment, for example, I would be in the moderate category: I don’t need or even really want a drink right now, nor any of my other addictions (over- or under-eating, self-injury, pills, speeding, etc.), but I don’t think that I need to give it up for all times forever and ever; moreover, I’m not running through my Suicide Plan in my mind at the moment.  I’m just kinda … hanging loose.  I mean hell, I’m even coherent and motivated enough to write a blog entry.  this is an improvement!

but conversely, not being in the pits of despair, I’m not sure just how far I’ll go in a given situation to stop Hurting — how much I’ll drink, how deep I’ll cut, how many I’ll swallow, how fast I’ll go….  but does any of us ever really know how far we’ll go until we’re actually pushed there?  and even then, how do we know that’s our limits?  aren’t there times that we think, “oh man, this is the worst!”, only to later admit to ourselves, “ahp, we were wrong; this is the worst!”?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

there’s a seedling in me that says I should be making this decision about drinking now, while I’m moderately level.  because when I’m sad, I’m distraught; when I’m happy, I’m manic — we Crazy blokes have no middle ground.

similarly, though, that means the rare middle ground is very foreign.  I’m not commonly here; so why would I make a decision about Situation C when it so rarely occurs?  that’s like saying, “we’ll always keep a bucket of water in the library for fires, because it’s the safe thing to do, even though there’s so rarely any fires here.”  …okay, so that was a shitty simile.  but you get my drift?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

so then here we are.  back at the starting line of the What the Fuck Do I Do Now race.  and even though I’m the key competitor and judge, I still feel like I’m going to lose….

in the company of 411

I want a drink.
I’m triggered.
I’m Alone, with Brian right next to me.

l(a
le
af
fa
ll
s)
one
l
iness

Thursdays were always my worst for drinking.  even if I didn’t have anything to do on Saturday, I still drank more Thursday night than Friday.
because I was so Alone without being alone.

Thursday night is when Brian gets online and hangs out with his best friend.  I think it’s great that Brian actually has a best friend (Blair in Florida and DevRex, the bloke in question, in Ar-… in Ar-… fuck, in Ar-something… ::looks at snail mail list:: oh right, in Arkansas).  but I don’t like being Alone.

for those who are new to my writings, you’re alone when there are no other being (not necessarily humans, though usually so) around you.  you are Alone (or 411, as I call it sometimes) when you’re lacking Connections.  said Connections can easily be made via a phone call, a text, an email, some chats, etc.
for example, Brian and I have been sitting at each our computers in the office for over an hour now.  he was chatting with DevRex the whole time; and for a while, I was chatting with a FetLife friend.  via that Connection with my buddy, I was not Alone.  but then he got offline.  and now I’m Alone.
(Zero is still at his grandparents’ place.)

I can handle being Alone when I’m actually alone.  because then I learn how to turn it into Solitude, Serenity, Privacy.  and even so if someone else is around me and I at least a book or headphones, I’m fine then too.  I have something into which to escape.

but when it’s Brian.  when I’m here, and he’s in a world of which I’m very much not a part — I don’t like it.

and that’s not fair to him.  he should be able to have a social life without me.  please understand, that’s not what I’m asking of him.
rather, I just … I just don’t know how to not feel Alone.

my phone doesn’t work at the moment, so I can’t call or text anyone.  it’s 1am on a Thursday night, so most of my pals are asleep.  (but just in case, both of my Google account’s chats are opened, lol.)  I mean, hell, I even resorted to stopping by Facebook for a few minutes.

part of me is saying, “stupid fuck, just go to bed.”  but I’m always scared to go to bed on good days.  because especially with my bipolar and multiple personalities, I never know who I’ll wake up as tomorrow — happy or sad, Jamie or Bree, depressed or eager … or a nasty concoction of varieties.
…but more on that another day.

anyway.  I wanna drink.  I want a fucking drink so bad right now.

but I’m not gonna.  instead, I’m going to post this, take my last set of meds, and cut my loses.  if all goes according to plan, I may even be able to go to bed without crying or vomiting tonight.  (it’s always one or the other recently, and often times actually both.)

namaste, bitches.

quitting the game, surrendering in war

I remember when I went to the mental hospital back in April 2004. I remember my mom talking about now they have no idea how to scold me (I was 17 years old then), for fear of causing me to have an attack or to cut. she was frightened to even approach me sometimes; I could see it.

Loneliness leads to nothing good, only detachment. And sometimes the people who most need to reach out are the people least capable of it. ~ Adelle DeWitt

 

and my dad? he told me that until I got out, until things got “back to normal”, everything would have to be about me.

he said it again when I started rehab. that lots of the plans and goals he had for the family and even for his own life, they were going to have to be postponed because everything was going to be about me … again.

say something; I’m giving up on you.
I’ll be the one, if you want me to.
anywhere, I
would’ve followed you.
say something; I’m giving up on you.

I don’t like reaching out. I’m capable of it, but it usually leads to negative effects in the end. and I’m tired of being the cause of bad shit in people’s lives. and in my own life, in regard to depending on others.

and I
am feeling so small.
it was over my head;
I know nothing at all.
and I
will stumble and fall.
I’m still learning to love,
just starting to crawl.

I also remember when Brian turned it off. when he decided it was time to stop fighting against me. and honestly, truly, I don’t blame him. I long wondered why he put up with it for so long anyway.

say something, I’m giving up on you.
I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you.
anywhere, I
would’ve followed you.
say something; I’m giving up on you.

I remember him being in tears, telling me that — for now — he was done. he was done with it. Brian had decided that he wasn’t going to try to discourage my drinking, because the battle was too exhausting for him; he was tired of fighting.

and I
will swallow my pride.
you’re the one
that I love,
and I’m saying goodbye.

there was a boy many years ago who stole my heart. he helped me in so many ways, and he helped me at the time create myself into who and what I wanted to be. he put me on the right path. everyone considered us to be boyfriend and girlfriend, to be dating — we were carrying out all the dating rituals, even. but it wasn’t technically “official”.

I finally found the nerve to ask him, to make it official. and he said no. my Depression was too strong for him. when I hurt, he hurt. and he was tired of hurting.

say something; I’m giving up on you.
and I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you.
and anywhere, I would have followed you!
say something; I’m giving up on you.

well so the fuck am I. why does everyone else get to quit, everyone else gets to run away. but for them, I have to stay and fight. I have to take on this beast alone. because when I ask for help, when I start to lean, I break them.

hell, an unnamed friend of mine who I’ve known since middle school, she occasionally comments on how she’s impressed that I haven’t broken Brian yet or at least haven’t forced him to flee — because, she points out, one or other has happened to every other guy I bot officially and unofficially dated.

say something; I’m giving up on you.
say something…

if everyone else gets to quit, I do too.

I’ve been cold with Brian the last few days, distant. it’s because I’m tired of being hurt too, I’m tired of fighting. and because of my illnesses, that’s what this is turning into — constant pain and battles.

now note, I do realise the issue isn’t with these other people, but rather with me. I recognize that I’m the broken one, that I’m the damaged one. I get that if I were actually better, I’d hurt others less, and therein they’d hurt me less. but that’s not who I am, and I’m starting to realize that’s not someone I can be. rather, I’m going to be forever Damaged.

Brian said I couldn’t quit dating him for his own good. I made a promise to that.  well, we’ll just have him break up with me for his own good.  I’ll continue to be distant from him — from everyone but this blog and possibly Twitter, honestly –, and I’ll let our relationship fall apart.  then not only will he be able to leave, but then maybe he’ll leave with less guilt — because I’ll be the one who things.  as always.

I realize this is counter to “recovery”.  but it’s apparent that it’s what needs to be done.  because I don’t want to be hurt again. and because I’m tired of fighting too.

gravity

re·lapse
 /'rə-laps/

verb (used without object), relapsed, relapsing
 1. to fall or slip back into a former state, practice, etc.
 2. to fall back into illness after convalescence or apparent recovery
 3. to fall back into vice, wrongdoing, or error; backslide

noun
 4. an act or instance of relapsing
 5. a return of a disease or illness after partial recovery from it

Gravity
is working against me.
and Gravity
wants to bring me down.

I started the seven-week Townsend intensive out-patient rehabilitation program on November 6th, 2014.  my last day should could have been this Friday.  but instead, it’s been extended three weeks to January 15th.  why?  because I’ve relapsed many times since I started.  for example, one relapse lasted three days.  another occurred just this weekend at the Bowl Game.

oh, I’ll never know
what makes this man,
with all the love
that his heart can stand,
dream of ways
to Throw it all away.

so Brian and I met with the counselor (yes, the same one from a previous post) about the question of extending my treatment.

“what do you think?” the counselor asked me while we were alone.

“I think I’d like to call Brian in here.”

“that’s fine.  but why?”

“because if it’s just up to me, I’d say no, that I’m done with all this.”

“done with it?  relapsing this weekend doesn’t sound like you’ve completed the program.”

I said ‘done with’, not ‘succeeded’, you dumbass, I thought.  but instead, I said nothing and simply shrugged.

oh, twice as much
ain’t twice as good
and can’t sustain
like one have could.
it’s wanting More
that’s gonna send me to
my knees.

Brian talked about wanting me to be happy, about how I should really give the program a chance and do it correctly.  all very good points.

oh, Gravity,
stay the hell away from me.
oh, Gravity,
has taken better men than me.
(how can that be?)

but I don’t know where I stand.  Brian mentioned how he truly believes I want to get Better, but he doesn’t know/understand what I exactly I perceive to be Better — sobriety, controlling my addictions, etc.

just keep me where the Light is.
just keep me where the Light is.
just keep me where the Light is.
c’mon, keep me where the Light is.
c’mon, keep me where the Light is.
c’mon, keep me where, keep me where the Light is.

but honestly, I don’t even know if I want to get Better anymore.  I’m tired of fighting.  depression, addiction, borderline, OCD, anxiety, eating disorder, self-injury, bipolar, so many fucking physical ailments too … I’m feeling really outnumbered in this Battle.  and the more I fight it, the more I’m realising I just don’t care if I Win anymore.  I’m ready to Surrender just to be done with it all…

From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.
~ Jacques Yves Cousteau

“tis but a scratch”

I feel like I’m in war.

I’ve got my family and (most of) my friends encouraging me in this war.  they’re calling themselves my allies.  they’re offering weapons and supplies.  they tell me if they could, they would even join in the battle.  they’d take up arms too.

I have a few friends who are refusing to acknowledge the war.  it’s not that big of an issue, or it’s all in my mind, or it doesn’t really affect them.  whatever the case, they don’t get involved.  they are the countries that still expect commerce and trade whilst bullets are flying around me.

immediately surrounding me are the countries who “know better”.  they “advise” me on how to approach the whole war.  they too offer weapons and soldiers.  but I worry they only want me to win because it’s good for their own economy.

then there’s me.

my country has been in wars for over two decades.  as soon as one starts to slow, another begins.  multiple wars, multiple battles, multiple fights.  the casualties are high.  my soldiers are tired.  they’re ready to forfeit.

 

 

I’m tired of reaching out to friends, and all of them telling me to just “wait it out” until I’m actually sober, and that things will be/get better then.

I’m tired of people telling me how much better it will be, that it will all be worth it.

I am waking up miserable and desiring death every morning.  your laughter, your love, your friendship — I’m tired, and I don’t give a fuck about it.

I am metaphorically bleeding out, and everyone is telling me “it’s just a flesh wound“.  fuck you, assholes; I’m fucking dying.  I am bleeding to death; I can’t breathe; I can’t feel; I’m falling apart.

 

 

I’m done with them.  I’m tired of having my pain ignored and belittled.  if it’s so fucking easy to be happy, then you can have it and enjoy it.

me, I’m getting close to being done.

 

I mean, via how many different venues must I plead?

AA: Step One

Step One:  We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.

 

Alcoholics Anonymous – Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

“Few indeed were those who, so assailed, had ever won through in singlehanded combat.”   ~ p22

 

Joe McQ – The Steps We Took

“When I’m trying to put something together, I may be trying to drive a tapered be into a hole wrong end first.  I keep hammering and hammering, but the thing won’t go.  I drive and force and maybe I’ll finally look at the peg and say, ‘This peg won’t go that way.’  Then I’ll turn it around.  But I can’t turn it around until I admit that I’ve been trying to do it the wrong way.”   ~ p20

“We humans are not meant to depend on our individual selves; we are meant to rely on each other.”   ~ p20

“[…] we will never be everything or know everything.  When we realize our powerlessness, we can seek a source of Power.”   ~ p22

“We’ve got to learn the value of saying ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I made a mistake’ or ‘what I’ve been trying doesn’t work.'”   ~ p23

 

Joe McQ – Carry This Message

“Bill Wilson reminds us in the Big Book that suffering alcoholics are very sick people.  We are dealing with very sick, undisciplined people.”   ~ p27

“Step 1 is the foundation of the principles.  The second Step is believing, the third Step is deciding, and Steps 4 through 11 are action.”   ~ p32

“In Step 1 we don’t really know what we are going to do next.  We just have to say, ‘What I’m doing is not working.  I give up.'”   ~ p33

 

Marya Hornbacher – Sane: Mental Illness, Addiction, and the 12 Steps

“To the practicing addict with mental illness, a life up there in the light seems almost as frightening as a life down her in her own private hell.”   ~ p2

“When I first came into the program, I found the idea of admitting defeat insane.  I already felt defeated, by my illness, by my addiction, by my entire life.”   ~ p2

“[…] we aren’t admitting powerlessness as an end in itself.”   ~ p4

“Sobriety is not something that can be found alone; we need the help and company of our fellows.”   ~ p7

“Neither mental illness nor addiction can be willed away; they both require serious action proportionate to the  seriousness of the disease.”   ~ p8

“Step One does not tell us we are failures; it shows us that the way we have been doing things has failed.”   ~ p9

 

Marya Hornbacher – Waiting

“That uncertainty may be the most painful part of not knowing a God; no one is there to reassure us that a God will take the pain and confusion away.”   ~ p6-7

“The notion that we are powerless is powerful, and for many of us painful.  We have suffered under the delusion that we were in control of our addiction for a long time, and the realization that are under its control is very hard to accept.”   ~ p7

 

What I’ve Learned

I’ve tried all sorts of things to control my Addictions — only one drink per hour, not drinking alone, no cutting when I drink, speed no more than 15 mph over the limit, call Brian before I cut, must eat at least 400 calories a day, only speed during the day, only speed during the night, can’t eat more than 2000 calories a day, drink only beer, etc.

I have addiction.  it is a disease, a mental illness just like depression or OCD.  and just like those, I can’t control it based solely on willpower.

I will start with my alcoholism, as that is the most severe; it is my MER — most effective reward, or drug of choice.  but as I work through this program, I will keep in mind everything.

I really do think I want to get better.  at least, for now.  maybe down the road, I can learn to manage it again.  but for right now, I can’t.  right now, I have become powerless against alcohol and addiction, and my life has become unmanageable.