Saturday 10 February 2007

the wireless panacea

so this is what my head told me ... "go wireless and everything will be fantastic"
... my home will become a haven of modern techology, with music, sound and vision in every room. Movies on demand, and no more sitting at a desk to surf the net .... it will be great for my recovery, i can surf sober sites and blogs from the couch or my bed ..... blah blah blah.
The good news is that my quick fix of the week wasnt a drink or a drug. This time it was an expensive new laptop and a wireless router .....
Of course after 10 minutes i realised it wasnt going to cure all my problems, but i am happy to have this setup, its very exciting.
Having said that, i havent made it to a meeting in nine days, until today. Saturday. phew. Time to breathe.
In bed for 2 days, off sick from work. Heavy cold. The real deal. (i think) - although still LOADS of guilt, hungover from when my reasons for not going to work werent quite as valid ...... heavy workload, very stressful working environment, visitors to the office from the US, things going on .... kids at the weekend ....
its so easy to let "anything" get in the way of getting to meetings. Makes it worse when they are valid reasons, I am tired, and stress ....
But the point is .... well, I stayed sober. Didnt even contemplate a drink or a drug any more than the usual. But missing meetings like that AINT a good idea for me. I lose my center. I lose perspective. I start snapping at people at work .... stress shows. I go out and buy expensive laptops and wireless routers that i cant afford ....
So going to a meeting today was awesome. i feel centered, balanced, and reconnected. am planning another, possibly 2, tomorrow.
i love recovery, i love AA, i love being sober.
i just need to remind myself that its because of meetings, and putting the work in, and my higher power, that i am in position to love those things, and many more.
i mustnt forget.

Tuesday 30 January 2007

Flu, Girls, Headspace ..... and recovery recovery recovery .....

Okay. Flu is a bit of an exageration. But im a guy right? Dont we all turn colds into flu? Mind you I didnt take any time off work. (and I didnt stop smoking either).
Last week was a bit of a whirl in my mind. With the benefit of hindsight, I think I was coming down with something from Monday onwards ....... oversleeping, getting paranoid, worrying ...... sore throat ..... but at least I kept the meetings up quite well. Over the counter cold remedies kept me going ....
And a DATE. an actual date. With a girl?! Cant believe that. And it went really well. And I was a true gent. Despite all my fears and worries and paranoia. (i sometimes think I am just a walking ball of paranoia).
I think I want to see her again as well. And I think she might want to see me again too. I think she might even think that I am a nice guy. I think I might even be starting to believe that myself .... could it be true?
Someone at work resigned today. I am very proud because he is moving on to a better job - and I gave him his first job, 2 years ago, and have been training him up. I am letting him go 2 weeks early, and even helped him negotiate with his new boss to be, and am providing his reference.
Just about a year ago, this dude saw me at close to my worst ever. How things change!
Been doing good meetings. Am particularly into mens meetings at the moment. Dont know why exactly; i am finding an intimacy there that I like.
Got another commitment. In fact, I am sharing it. I put my hand up a millisecond before the other guy, so I suggested we both take it. That felt good.
BUT IM STILL GETTING NOWHERE WITH STEP 4!!!! Asked sponsor to set me a deadline. He wasnt too keen on that. Instead he told me to make diary appointments with myself to do it. ARG.
I also feel like i am in the twilight zone - 11 months and 6 days and 58 minutes!
Why am I hung up on getting a year? I have had a year before and relapsed, so it doesnt mean that much. Is there a pride thing going on? so I can be "over a year" at meetings when you go round the room with sobriety time? Dont even want to think about it. Quality not quantity. My recovery is the best its ever been right now, a day at a time. I keep a one day whie NA keyring on me (with my keys on it, dur.).
Thats enough for me right now.
This time a year ago I was going down down down. And there was further still to go.
That could come back at ANY TIME if I pick up a drink or a drug. Its bloody scary to think that, but I need to keep those thoughts close, so it doesnt sneak up on me and grab me by the balls.
Recovery is so precious and so fragile.
I keep having this dream. In my dream, I relapsed, but didnt tell anyone.
I was in the shower this morning, and the dream was so real I wondered if it actually were true! Thats how little I trust myself.
ARG. One day at a time.
The monkey mind is racing!

Tuesday 23 January 2007

musings from the swings and roundabouts ....

SWINGS AND ROUNDABOUTS: This is a shortened version of the fairground proverb 'What you lose on the swings you win on the roundabouts', current from the beginning of the twentieth century in various forms. It is used to mean that things will balance out in the end. Penguin Dictionary of Cliches

Recovery ... insomnia ... fear .....
YEsterday I was full of fear. Dont know what was going on.
Perhaps it was my early start - to get to an early morning meeting!
whatever the case, i went from having an amazing weekend to having a really shitty day yesterday.
I felt nihilistic and self destructive. I didnt want to be at work. I mean, really didnt. I was angry, resentful and bitter (inside). Outside I was perfectly normal.
In a weird act of putting myself first, I used my state of mind to get myself out of work and to a doctors appointment, for which I had a genuine need, and had been putting off (due to work commitments).
On my way to the doctors however, I passed one of the places I used to stop off at to get some alcohol in me, and to wash down some pills. This way pretty much a daily thing.
All of a sudden, that option seemed incredibly attractive. After everything!
Moments like that really catch me out.
The fact is, I kept on going. But it terrifies me that one day I could be caught off guard, and take the opposite choice. The instant gratification, self destructive, easy way out ...shirking responsbility, washing away worry and unease. YOUCH.
Well I got to the docs, got the niggling problem sorted (i hope). But I still felt LIKE SHIT and so I ate it away instead.
Well, I went to be sober anyway .... and woke up this morning even more full of fear. Having overslept, I didnt get to work til 12.00 and all the fear, worry, anxiety and shame came flooding back ....
Me getting in post 12.00, following a 2-3 day dissapearing act on the back of increasingly imaginative excuses.... used to be a regular occurence, and I would get the (quite justified) silent treatment for the people who knew what was going on, who were covering for me, who were doing all the work ....
Well despite today being totally genuine ... oversleeping as a result of insomnia/not feeling great, on my way in i felt really awful, like I was stepping back in time.
Called my sponsor who couldnt talk. So I spoke to a friend in recovery and explained the situation. She laughingly told me not to do other people's thinking for them, that I had nothing to feel fearful or shameful about. She was right.
Funny thing is - when I got in, nobody has really missed me anyway! They had mostly all been in a meeting all morning.
All my worry for nothing.
I had an incredibly productive day, went to a mens meeting in the evening, and now I feel a whole lot better.
Yep. Swings and roundabouts indeed.

Sunday 21 January 2007

JACK BAUER eat your heart out!

A good day. No. a GREAT day.
A simple day, spent with, at different times, my three girls, my parents, a good friend in recovery, and a number of other people's children!
Nothing spectacular happened - but considering what I was doing this time last year ... boy, being sober is spectacular enough.
The day almost ended with me witnessing a nasty argument between my 17 year old and my ex wife when i dropped them off. it was over something really petty.

Dont get me wrong - my relationship with my ex is now really really good. Especially considering we could barely speak a word to each other 6 months ago.
I saw their argument for what it was; I saw both sides. I didnt pass immediate judgement.
However, after a moments thought, I offered my daughter to choice of whether or not she wanted to come back to my place. There was nothing loaded in my offer. No one upmanship whatsoever, and I can honestly, honestly say that.
I was frightened by how the ex would react, but we discussed it calmly, and she was grateful. My daughter came home with me.
Now, the truth is that I didnt think it was appropriate for my daughter to stay in the house in that atmosphere. I believe that my ex overeacted, and she holds grudges. No physical danger, but my daughter would have been emotionally isolated for the night.
However, I didnt cast judgement, I didnt do it for one upmanship, I didnt do it out of anger, or spite. I did it out of love.
Actually my ex was quite pleased with the arrangement.
(And time was, the last thing I wanted was my daughter staying an extra night, because THAT got in the way of my drinking and using).

The icing on the cake, for me, is that after I had cooked her dinner, she was doing homework on the PC, I was watching TV, preparing for the premier of 24, Day 6 - she sheepishly appeared and told me quite unembarrassedly that it was her time of the month and she didnt have the appropriate supplies .... I jumped in the car, drove out and got what she needed ....... well, the fact that a) she was able to talk to and b) that I was able to drive, is an amazing thing in itself.

The hilarious thing (to me) is that when I returned, I settled down again ... 10 minutes to go til 24, and she reappeared, apologetically telling me I had got the wrong kind. WELL I AM A BLOKE AFTER ALL!!!!!
i didnt even think twice. I just got back in the car and went to a different store.
As I left the house she said "sorry Dad", and I replied "you havent got anything to be sorry about".

The long and short of it is, she now has 4 different brands of what she needs (yes, I am still a compulsive...), she is happy, 24 is recorded and waiting for me (Jack Bauer's missions are NOTHING compared to mine!) and I SO SO GRATEFUL for another day of being sober and being present and being emotionally and physically available.

Saturday 20 January 2007

little steps

I took my youngest daughter ice skating today. An outdoor rink outside the natural history museum in Kensington. I was so happy to be able to do it. Its such a (relatively small), normal thing, but it was really important to me because it was keeping a promise I had made 2 weeks ago.
Slowly and patiently, I taught her to skate.
She wanted to rush off on her own immediately, but I encouraged her to hold my hand.
It was wonderful.
I heard myself saying, over and over again ...
"you can still go fast if you move your feet slowly" ......
Eventually the significance of what I was saying hit me! Nothing too deep, nothing too profound, but very apt, especially for me. At the moment. In the moment. A day at a time .....

Friday 19 January 2007

Stuck In A Moment

"you can never get enough
Of what you don't really need"

Im not the words biggest U2 fan by any means. I respect what they do, and I like some of their stuff. I heard this song on the radio today. One lyric in particular really struck me .. the one above. It really rings true for me. I can never, ever, ever, get enough. I have heard alcoholism described as the disease of more .... that's also pretty true for me. My sponsor doesnt like to over analyse - he says "once an addict always an addict". However, I've also heard him talking about his (previous) attitiute - "one is good, two is better!" and that kind of makes me laugh as I SOOOOOOO understand that - particularly as a recovering valium addict.
So I went to this lecture yesterday; it was a free lecture by a treatment center in London. It was billed as a lecture on the relationship between sex addiction and chemical relapse, although actually it ended up being a pretty straight "nature of addition" lecture with a section on sex at the end. It was really good. He talked a lot about the relationship between recovery and reality.
The striking quote I took away was "If reality is your friend, your recovery is in good shape" (or words to that effect). I liked it, although I got a bit depressed because he was talking a lot about acceptance of mortality and death, and the fact that we seek oblivion (or a state of being oblivious) partly to ignore those realities. Yikes. Heavy stuff.
Well my girls are here tonight. Very happy about that. In their PJ's I gave them for Christmas. What I feel really happy about is that I KNOW that they feel safe and cosy here. How cool is that? Very, very grateful for that.
But back to the quote above - it is so true, in that that is what I can BELIEVE as an addict, although in reality the opposite it true. I need to have faith that I will get enough of what I need. I need to be able to differentiate and to want what I have before I start wanting things I dont really need ........

Thursday 18 January 2007