Which side of the line?

13 Apr 2016

It was a good meeting last night.  I was emotional – wondering about how I try to bring my nascent recovery to home – where there is so much focus on the past.

I dealt with my feelings – the emptiness I felt, the only way available to me.  I ate a very large and delicious selection of sushi, but it cost too much and I was using it as a crutch for the way I was feeling.

C. said that the names on Skype triggered her.  Well, her unfounded accusations trigger me.  It puts me in a place of real danger.  Close to where I was when I reached out to other women to soothe my pain.  It is a lonely place – that line between acting out and staying sober.  Just across it is the answer to my needs.  Just across it is the continuation of my demons.  What is on this side of the line?  Loneliness, anger, depression, anxiety.

I have to place my outer circle in that area just inside that line.  Where good things can grow.  Then I won’t be tempted to deal with negativity in a self-destructive way.  Good thing I was so tired last night – I was too tired to get into any trouble with my boundaries.

low, Low, LOW

12 April 2016

Low,

Low,

Low mood right now.  Not only because I’ve travelled back to Ottawa overnight, but C. called me at my desk at 9 am accusing me of being on Skype with G..    I can’t believe how completely stupid that idea is – given what I’ve told her.  She is an irrational victim of this entire situation.  But she triggers me.  I feel rejected, isolated, angry, sad.  What do you think all of those things make we want to do?

Eat, yes.  And act out.  Find someone to soothe me.  Tell me everything will be ok.  Entwine limbs with me.  Skin-on-skin.  Kiss me and touch me like a lover does.  Well, there is no one like that for me.  Not anymore.

Instead, I marched up and down the cold streets of Ottawa.  Trying to ignore every lunch board and restaurant entrance.  I so wanted to go to the Food Hall at the Rideau Centre, and take out my anger and frustration on A&W or KFC, as I always do.  As I always have.

Instead, today I walked.  Slowly. Deliberately. I noticed a lot of women out walking too.  That was not such a good thing.  It puts me right into the place of wanting a woman to make everything feel better for me.

As if that would happen.

So here I sit in limbo.  Journaling as if it will help.  I feel quite desperate.  Sigh.  Back to my shit job.  Or faking that I’m doing it.  😦

*Sigh*

5 April 2016

C. was in a self-describe “pissy” mood tonight. Blaming me for everything. Putting words in my mouth. Saying that I compared my “healthy” life to her unhealthy life during the worst of her depression.

What a load of bullshit. But she is flailing to find meaning in what has happened to us.

A Gentle Path

2 April 2016

I’ve been reading a library copy of “A Gentle Path Through the Twelve Steps” on my Overdrive phone app.  Great book, and I’ve been focusing on Step One,

We admitted that we were powerless of our addiction –
That our lives had become unmanageable.
Carnes talks about recovery as a transformational journey, with some elements that I can be sure to come to understand or feel:

•I accept the life that I have known is over.

•I move into a new and blessed phase of my time here.

•I accept pain as my teacher, and problems as the key to a new existence for me.

•I seek guides in my life and understand that they may be different than I anticipate.

•I accept the messages surrounding me.  Negativity is replaced with positive acceptance.

•I realize that I have had a hard life, and that I deserve better.

•I let the spirit melt the hardness of my heart.

•I comfort and nurture myself.  As part of the surrender of my pride, I will let others give to me as an act of faith in my value as a person.

•I accept my illness as part of the trauma of this culture and my family.

•I appreciate that in the chaos of the now, my instinct and beliefs may work against me.  My recovery friends help me sort out healthy instincts and beliefs from unhealthy ones.

•I recognize that time is transforming my loneliness into solitude, my suffering into meaning and relationships into intimacy.

•I do not blame or search for fault.  It is not Who, but How and What happened.

•I commit to reality at all costs, knowing that that is where I will find ultimate serenity.

•I accept that life is difficult and that leaning into the struggle adds to my balance.

 

One of the biggest learnings I’ve had from reading the first chapters of this book is that stress and fear are at the heart of all addictions.  Stress and Fear.

There is a high correlation between childhood emotional, physical and sexual abuse and subsequent addiction.

Until we can accept the fear, anger and sadness, we cannot grieve.

Carnes suggests that after 90 days in recovery, the addict can share a First Step.  For me, that would be on or about 23 June 2016.  Give or take.

I have to remember that inside me is my True Self, and my Addictive Self.  I can choose to cultivate and/or access either of these people inside me.

 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

 

April Fool

1 April 2016

I feel a bit wobbly getting vertical, after being sick in bed for three days.  I did manage the bus trip back to YOW overnight on Tuesday, but I felt so bad at the bus station that I never seriously considered going into the office.

The good news is that I met all my inner and outer commitments during this period of illness.  If I could avoid all of my temptations like this all the time, I wouldn’t be an addict.  It’s strange, though.  In my physical weakness, I find mental strength or maybe I’m overplaying the accomplishment.  Maybe I was just so ugly sick that I couldn’t bring myself to trigger behaviours.  I wonder as I get stronger what my choices will consist of.

April 1.  April Fool’s Day.  April Fool.  A day to remind me of all the stupid, silly, irrational things I’ve done in service of my addiction.  Or maybe I should say dangerous, selfish, unforegivable things I’ve done.  I’m going to take some advice from my Employee Assistance Program consultant, and try to do 30 fellowship meetings in 30 days.  Daily meetings for a month.  Take it one day at a time.  Try to recover one day at a time.

Maybe I should worry about recovering from an intestinal illness first!  It turns out that the my neighbourhood in Gatineau has been under a (ahem) “preventative” boil-water order since Wednesday.  I got word from my landlord  today when I sent him the rent via e-transfer.  Glad to know that the foul taste and my foul stomach today was not of my own doing.   The pain and perspiration and chills kind of ended this afternoon when I made a trip to the toilet.

Still feeling a bit weak and undernourished, I decided to eat a healthy meal tonight.  This led me to Govinda’s an All You Can Eat vegetarian buffet next door to the Sandy Hill Community Centre.  There isn’t a lot on the menu, but Iit’s hot and fresh and vegan.  Rice and curry.  Lentils.  A pleasant soup. Nice home baked bread.   Sort of like banana bread, without the bananas.

I tried not to scarf down the food like I hadn’t eaten solid food in four days . . . but I haven’t had solid food in four days!   I weighed in at 257 lbs this morning, down 10 pounds from what I was getting home last week.  The yoyoing can’t be good for me.  I wish I could get below 250 lbs and keep going.

I guess that will come with regular cycling – but it doesn’t seem like the weather or my kit or my health are all in alignment to begin that routine.  I certainly don’t think I can ride to the Clinic tomorrow for my first men’s group therapy session.  Or can I?  What are the alternatives?

1) Walk for 4 ½ hours (x2)  Cost $0

2) Ride for 1 ½ hours (x2) Cost $0

3) Bus for 1 ½ hours (x2) Cost $15

Which  do you think I’m leaning toward?

The weather doesn’t sound nice for tomorrow.  80 percent chance of precipitation, totalling 1-3 mm of rain over the course of the day.  I don’t want to get caught out in it and get really sick.  If I was feeling strong I would suck it up.  But I’ve been feeling so shitty this week that I can’t even imagine slipping back.  Plus, after the session is done, I have to get back home to do some work.  Tomorrow is not the day to screw myself up for another few days.

I’ve noticed that I haven’t had too many passing thoughts about addictive behaviour while I’ve been sick.  It seems when the body is weak, the mind is strong.  And vice versa.  I’ve been coughing up a storm sitting here at the restaurant.  The lady keeping things organized at the hot table offered me ginger tea, of which I’ve just taken a couple of sips.  It is warm and gingery (go figure!)  Not like the teas and mouthwash that S. had me making and using.  I should get back to those soon.  Maybe it would help my scratchy throat.

A few minutes until the meeting starts.  Time to gather my coat and thoughts and get myself to the Community Centre.  And put my boots back on.  It seems that no one comes into Govida’s with anything on but sock feet.  Nice touch for a Krishna Temple/Student Cafeteria.

Re-Entry. Tdot.

26 March 2016 –  5:30 am, Toronto

It would have been to easy to step off the bus and walk over to Denny’s for a Grand Slam breakfast.  I made that visit several times in the Autumn, upon my late evening returns to Toronto.  Walk over to the restaurant and take a swivel stool at the long breakfast bar.  I recall lying to C. about my arrival time, telling her the bus was late, to justify the lateness of my arrival home.

I soooo love the food.  All variation of eggs, hash browns, breakfast meat, chicken steak with gravy, etc . . .  I also appreciated the time to myself.  Gathering my thoughts, preparing to re-enter the world of husband and father.  I recall watching the end of one of the Blue Jays’ playoff games from that stool in Denny’s.

And, of course, there was a woman.  A young, lovely hard working Latina.  Barely looked up the first time I came in, but remembered my chocolate milkshake on a subsequent visit.  She reminded me of the woman who did my pedicure at the Men’s Power Spa – M.  Both young, and beautiful.  Sassy and Spanish.  I remember wishing that I could speak Spanish when in their company.  I have some understanding, but my spoken skills are muy mal.  Maybe some effort in their native language might have tipped their interest from me as a customer, to me as a man.

My first black ink day in the journal.  Borrowing a pen from dear son G’s desk, as both he and I were reluctant to go downstairs for a blue pen.  He is furiously pretend-typing on his pretend-laptop.  I am lying in the lower bunk, under his Fire Engine Red duvet, half writing and half sleeping.  It’s been a relaxing day and a half since I arrived.  “Sleepies” before anything else, on Friday morning after my early morning arrival.

Realization

25 March 2016

It’s just past midnight and I am at the bus station. With 200 of my closest friends! Haha. They are sending at least four buses to Toronto at 1 am, so goes an extra long Easter weekend. I walked over here from St. Stephen’s . It took about 50 minutes, not sure how far it was. Oh, wait. Let me check Google Maps. Looks like I did a little over 4 km. It was cold, the wind was blowing too. Not much precipitation. I was glad I got the walk in. 20 minutes of exercise is one of my “outer circle” activities. The behaviours that I want to use to enhance my life, replacing the destructive behaviour that I’ve been engaged in.

The meeting tonight was good. Intense. B. did her First Step. She was very brave. Spoke well. Moved many of us listening. I shared about that line I saw in the Buddhist book,

I am powerless over my desires,
But I am not helpless in my choices.

It gives me hope. Mixed with the hope is a healthy dose of dread. C’s trip to Al-Anon has made her aware of the fact that I will never be free of what troubles me. I may learn to curb it, to manage it, or embrace my imperfection. In the back of her mind, she will always fear that I will continue to act out. Or slip. Or relapse. I wish it wasn’t so, but I know she is correct. The desires and strategies I’ve been demonstrating – although magnified or exagerated – have been there all along. Inside me. They ARE me. I am losing the wish to celebrate those qualities of my personality and psyche, but to deny them would be as much of a mistake.

I met J. tonight. His first meeting. I am a veteran now. No longer the “new guy”. Or so I will think in my head.  It must have been tough for him to come in.

I got to the church a bit early. The choir was practicing in the sanctuary – for Easter Sunday I would think? No joyous hymns on Good Friday. I guess Presbyterians don’t do Holy Thursday? No Last Brunch, or Washing of the Footsies?

J. and I made chitchat in the foyer after I finished shoveling off the steps and walkway outside. When I walked in, I glanced left and saw two lonely looking snow shovels leaning against the wall. Thinking about my service to the group and to our hosts, I picked up one and heaved slush for 10 minutes.