Monday, December 7, 2009

Tis the season!

I've been meaning to write (blog?) and I said I'd continue writing/blogging (that feels weird to say I'm blogging) and well, I just haven't but I thought I might share about the holidays.

Ah, what a time of year?! I have become less of a holiday fan since I discovered Santa was not real. That I'm pretty sure of. Drinking more became a great reason to celebrate but then that started to not be as fun. That was so gradual too that it was hard to discern if I was just depressed, hated winters, drank too much, or disliked the holidays or all of the above. As I got older, I just started to feel like the holidays were a time where everyone had more money than me to spend on their loved ones and I wasn't popular enough to get invited to Christmas parties. So I found it much easier to just starting hating the holidays. I'm the same with weddings. I went to 8 weddings in a summer once and after, I hated them. Hate is a very strong word. I don't hate much not even weddings or the holidays but I began to dislike them STRONGLY. Now that I'm sober and have a few months of the program under my belt, I must say this holiday season is proving to be less scary and much more approachable and unintentionally, positive. I've participated in several wacky concepts such as a Vestival, mine was a bit more conservative but this is a learning process! I had my first SOBER party, a holiday housewarming party (I'm a multi-tasker!)! My first attempt at hosting without booze and not really allowing booze. Kinda crazy. I realized I was racing around, wanting to say, "Now it's time for a cocktail!"so I could kick back but I never stopped. And all my friends didn't know each other so well, it must have been a hoot watching me spastically run around, play with the kiddies that came, offer people spiced nuts and cider who were trying to make awkward conversation. Oh well, everyone said they had a great time. Of course I think they are just being nice. But I realized for some that it might be a relief to go to a party with no booze even if you aren't in the program. Maybe you have a newborn or kids or just don't drink that much (they do exist and I think they were at my party!). It turned out well. I'm already planning my next sober event, My BIRTHDAY! To be celebrated ON my birthday, goddamnit!!! Yet another reason whyI dislike the holidays. Because on Dec 31st I'm balling my eyes out about getting older while other people are convincing me that this must be the best birthday because everyone is celebrating for ME! Let me assure you, they are not. And for a self-centered alcoholic, you want your own day. You want it to be all about you.

But actually, I've just finished the first part of my 4th Step and have emerged feeling lighter. I have a few events this week that I'm going to that involve alcohol and I feel prepared for them. In the past few weeks, I was feeling good enough to start going to parties where there was alcohol and will you looky-there! All of the sudden, I'm Miss Social Butterfly. Truly extraordinary. And I feel good. I'm not hiding or scared or blubbering with excuses. It's awesome. It's like I'm ready to be re-integrated.

Before I jump back onto my pink cloud, the reality is that I'm not done my 4th Step. I listed a bunch of my fears today on the ride to work which there seems to be a common thread of self-consciousness, fear of what people think about me, fear of making mistakes etc. While I feel that I'm playing things pretty safe, I haven't always done that but those fears were there then too and what motivated me to drink. The party is a perfect example. At one point, I thought to myself, "This is where I would begin to want to get drunk." I was exhausted by the end. Mostly because all I had was my spiced nuts and cider to relax me (those didn't really work). So I just more and more uptight that the music was okay, that people were talking to other people and then these moments of thinking, "We are all adults. Come on! I don't have to hold my friends' hands!" And then I would relax for a millisecond.

So I'm coming around on hating/ disliking strongly the holidays and finding it's much easier to just surrender to them. I rationalized a little saying that I had my holiday party (which I pulled off too without getting too stressed at least ahead of time) so if nothing happens between now and Jan. 1st and I'm socially disgraced, I still celebrated sobriety, my new home with the man I love in a place I love, great new friends and reconnecting with old ones. Afterall, isn't that what the holidays are all about?

ps Can I just say how warm and fuzzy my home felt after everyone left! It was awesome! So much love and coziness, beautiful new plants and tasty treats left in it's wake. Thank you.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 92; Meeting 92: Back at the Ranch

On Monday, I completed my 92nd meeting in 92 days. Pretty awesome though I imagine nothing of a spectacular feat, I'm happy to finish something I set out to do and complete a project as this blog. I think I wrote about that already in my last blog.

I drove back down to the Santa Cruz Mountains last night where Myles is still housesitting. Needless to say, the animals (12 chickens, 4 cats, 1 big droopy dog) have gotten very comfortable with Myles and are now total barking and meowing and crowing hellions. The big daddy cat is in total heat and howled-meowed all night, the dog barked at the massive raccoon trying to get into the chicken coop most of the night which therein caused the rooster to crow most of the night. Amazing. Amazingly little sleep. I finally dug some ear plugs out at around 5:00 in the morning but by then the damage was done and with my meds, I don't fall back to sleep so easy. Oh well. It was nice to go for a walk this morning and I wasn't hardly as cranky as I am most mornings when I get enough sleep. Happy for a weekend. Feel myself relaxing slowly. Two days rarely being enough time but it's beautiful today.

I won't be driving 30 miles to a meeting though I still wish one were closer since I'm not doing my 90 in 90 which seems like a silly reason but this place is really far from ANYTHING. I had a great meeting with my sponsor last night just talking about my week and where I was at and where she was at. We hadn't done that in a while. The last few meetings she's been pushing me to do my 4th Step and they've been tough going through the resentments I had done but last night we just checked in. We checked in about remembering to turn it over and the misery I begin to feel usually stems from my need to control. I'm so conditioned to want to know how all is going and how all is going to happen and work out, I barely even notice. The time up in the mtns last week helped me remember my Higher Power and reconnect spiritually which amazingly helps me relax. Who knew?!

While I feel the results of 90 in 90, there is something somewhat anti-climatic about it. I am finding that I'm feeling some of the feelings I felt when I went into this. Drifting, bummed that people with 20 yrs or more are still having to constantly maintain their program to stay sober. A guy with 26 yrs sobriety said that he doesn't so much as want to drink as that he is frightened of alcohol. I have to say, I feel the same way about alcohol. Like a true alcoholic now that I've done my 90 in 90, I'm looking for the next best thing. Shiny objects, quick solutions with fast results.

I've really enjoyed writing this blog so I think I'll continue to maintain it. It's indulging and well, I've heard from one person that it helps them feel closer to me and that I love. And there's just been oodles of support from many of my friends not in the program and that I love too. It's helped me join my worlds a little bit after I pulled away to build the foundation of my program and friends in my program, I feel stronger to spend time and interact with my "normie" friends. I only hope that a silly blog or this process will strengthen and support that bond.

I read in the Big Book last night that as much as you want to go out and do this program with other people, AA is a program about you and Spirit and your relation to God. I took a lot of solace in that because even on Thursday at a meeting, I had gotten so outside of myself, so self-conscious at my lack of tattoos and lack of hipster hair (I did just get a new haircut, cleverly quipped, the Steve Perry. I soon noticed half the boys in Oakland have this haircut. haha so maybe I do have hipster boy hair at least), my lack of fixy riding and skinny black jeans that after hating on myself, I started to hate on everyone in the room and then I just felt like poo and didn't want to be there. And the recurring theme with many people's shares (some without tattoos even and some with) at this meeting was "focus on the similarities, not the differences". This is what I was not doing. And it's true. And it's also true that my comfort in meetings is only a portion of this program, that really this is about my connection to God (which makes me so uncomfortable to write but it doesn't read the way that it feels). My sponsor continues to be concerned at my criticism of meetings. I told her I'm just really critical and I'm just telling her how I really feel (is that so bad?). And the Bay Area is my home I love to hate. With people I equally love to hate.

I am lucky to have a naturally strong connection to God, Spirit, whatever when I put the work into it. I don't write or talk about it as it doesn't necessarily fit into the ways of my Christian upbringing but unfortunately, I only have those terms to really describe my spiritual connection so it doesn't seem like the same God that I was forced to go to church every Sunday to be close to. Ugh. I hated Sunday school. I never even understood the basic shit they were trying to present, all the archaic stuff of disciples, walking in the desert, Jesus and last suppers just got me confused with what the importance of connection to spirit was.

I suppose I first experienced this connection as a dope smoking, acid tripping hippie going to Steve Miller shows at Great Woods trading Oreos for beer at 15. Probably around 16, I discovered my hippiness as well as my connection and comfort in nature and being outside. I also became a semi-vegetarian when I was 14 (I've really only had a bite of hamburger or any red meat since then). I felt an extraordinary connection to animals from a very young age beginning with finding turtles in our backyard, to dressing up my cat Oliver, my love for the Muppets and my first animal welfare campaign to keep the boys in the neighborhood from throwing stones at this couple of ducks that were trying to nest in the creek by our house in the burbs. But that all seems pretty normal kid stuff (I'm somewhat embarrassed at my bland suburban upbringing, needless to say, my childhood was pretty easy and blessed). I also loved sports, bikes, boys and art and normal kid shit too. Thinking back though of where I connected spiritually first, I believe it was through animals. I used to spend hours in elementary school drawing animals. My mother encouraged me to always draw instead of watch TV. I loved TV but my parents were sometimes strict about it. MTV was just blowing up with Adam Curry, Michael Jackon's Thriller, Cyndi Lauper, Prince (one summer, I had a babysitter that only wore purple and used to lip sync Purple Rain songs into the iron) and Madonna. I loved doing art projects and I was blessed to have some very creative babysitters each summer. I also had swim lessons every summer and I hated swimming, I'm still a crummy swimmer. In school, I would hide in the stacks by the dewey decimal system for whatever the Animals section was and just draw cats, tigers, ducks, squirrels, turtles, horses, giraffes anything I wanted to draw. While studying art in high school and before college, I would also do this in museums and libraries, copying the masterpieces of Van Gogh, Rodin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Chagall (my favorite), Frida etc for hours. Art and animals and nature was how I connected to Spirit and thankfully these were concepts that were readily available to me. As I've gotten older, their lessons have continued to be simple but have a deeper impact (even the Muppets). I realized that my cat, Bella, had taught me how to love unconditionally when she ultimately passed. Bella was a terrible cat, skittish and temperamental and always pooping on my bed. But she slept every night on my back or my chest. The minute I sat down she was purring and smiling and blissful. I loved that cat so much. That was truly one of the greatest gifts ever I could have received from anyone or any animal or anything.

Okay, I think I'm just babbling now. I wish I had the skill like some of my amazing writer friends to truly craft my feelings about Spirit in a less simple more coherent, more impactful way. I so love the skill of being able to write and create but it's a blog. You get what you get. And I can't be spending all hours of the day crafting a silly blog then it wouldn't be a blog I guess. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. Thank you for reading (and thank you to JB for watching my cat, Disco in a pinch)....xo

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 90; Soon to be Meeting 90: Complicated

I'm making this complicated. Truth is, I kinda lost count. I wasn't counting my therapy sessions as meetings and then I started to so today is my 90th day, my 90th day in a row of attending an AA mtg (6 days out of 7) for 90 days, attending therapy on Wednesdays and spending one Saturday doing a service project all day (oh wait but then I attended a meeting right after!) so I've spent the morning trying to count knowing that I'm done today but worried that I've rationalized and cheated somehow so in case anyone tries to doubt me, I KNOW WHAT'S RIGHT! And this was supposed to be fun;) Tonight I will attend my 90th meeting in Half Moon Bay.

I've also been recently demoted from the 4th Step back to the 3rd. This was a welcome demotion I must say. One of the reasons I haven't written has simply been time. And the 4th Step takes time. First, it was time that I wasn't giving it, having moved Oct 1 to Oakland and commuting every day and settling in to living with my partner and settling into my new home and environment. Then, my computer cord broke. Now, Myles has several computers but he also sometimes uses 2 at a time and well, this one is real small. Excuses, excuses. What I realized in all of this, is that my sobriety had to come first and the blog was kinda part of that but kind of not. It was something separating me from the sobriety of AA maybe. For whatever reason, it became hard to keep up even though I thought about writing every day. This was also a good project in reflection because I get really excited about things and then like getting distracted and excited about something else only to leave behind a formerly very exciting unfinished project that heaven forbid I may have gotten other people excited about and left behind. Terrible, I've done this since I was young and I think it's so I never really fail. I just drift off. And the shiny object of potential blinds those around me to the fact I can't finish anything.

But the blog, I'm finishing and for that I'm proud. Though I may not have written every day and yes some of the rules got added, what was consistent was my commitment to going to meetings. Even when I didn't want to and even when I wasn't doing any other work on staying sober, going to meetings was easy but I quickly learned that it wasn't enough. I have struggled these last few weeks doing my 4th Step. My sponsor is frustrated and even reducing me to tears (we have an understanding that I need her to yell at me sometimes to get me "with it") and telling me to not think she's "going to be surprised when all I want to do is drink because this is a program of action etc etc and I'm not doing the work".....and I wasn't and last week I was wanting to drink. Really bad. And showed up to my Friday meeting with her with barely anything done of my 4th Step. That's when she made me put my head down and hammered out alot of my 4th Step which with life and work and love, became a little too much to bear. I kept finding myself repeating the 1st three steps as though I had forgotten them. I was really overwhelmed on Wednesday. Myles and I were going out of town to housesit and I was taking some time off work. And I felt really crummy on Wednesday, bad morning, Myles and I had our first fight (ok, maybe the second). I was a total treat. Yay! Vacation! "Hey honey, wanna spend 5 days in a secluded cabin? It'll be soooooo great!" Needless to say, my sponsor recommended I stay behind. I was a little worried she'd "break up with me" if I went. I really needed to get out of town and it's hard to defy someone that knows you but is still getting to know you and who has helped you considerably in spite of that. But I did defy her and was totally worried that my HP was going to ruin my vacation with my boyfriend. We cooled out after our fight but it was still a little tense. But thankfully, we had 12 chickens, 4 cats (1 in heat, 1 that's 5 weeks old and not litter box trained, 1 that's awesome and a momma cat that is totally skittish and growls) and 1 big Weihmahreiner (how the fuck do you spell that?) who is a total barrel of love but who has an affinity for sleeping under the covers with you and farting (all 80 lbs of himself to take care of for 5 days secluded in the woods. And thankfully, this woman's home needed some cleaning so I took to the task.

You know, cleaning makes you feel better and with an un-litter box trained kitten, there's has been plenty of cleaning and unfortunately at times it's not working as well as others. The 5 week old kitten provides hours of maximum cuteness overload that I seriously didn't now that I was capable of fathoming. Where does the cute gene come from? Or rather where does the ability for us to find things cute originate from? Cute is much more than aesthetic, there's more to it. There's action involved. What makes this adorable kitten's attempts to clean himself just the cutest thing in the world (his belly is so big, he can't lick his hind legs, he gets a bit frustrated and ends up on his back like a turtle:)) Is it helpless innocence? Of being in the world ill-prepared and having no idea? I'm just working through this. Like I said, I've been in the woods for the last 5 days.

We've also been 27 miles from the nearest AA meetings and coffee. I tried finding coffee closer and went on the other side of the mountains only to have slower, windier roads albeit shorter but taking way more time. The woman we are housesitting for drinks tea=no coffee maker and we didn't bring one. It's been really nice and we've indulged in all the Lucky Charms one couple can eat, cookie dough, nachos and macaroni and cheese:) Isn't love grand? You can eat like a pig and your partner still loves you to pieces. Pretty funny.

My final meeting is tonight, HP-willing, that I make it. I've almost hit 9 deer and 1 possum trying to get to meetings these last few days. The few people I've told this to, have said, "Great, so you can take Sunday off!" Well, I think the point of this exercise among others has been for one to realize that indeed meetings aren't enough and that you don't do 90 in 90 and then you're done. You do 90 in 90 to realize the importance of not only the meeting but the whole program. And this I feel I have realized...for now. I've focused on my new friendships. I even got a new commitment (after 4 rounds of nominations, geez, what does a person have to do get elected in AA?) at one of my new meetings in Oakland. I've always discovered how much I like to control everything and how much less frustrated I get when I let go, surrender and turn it over to something great than myself. I've realized the importance of being "right-sized". That I am cunning and will try to use whatever I can to work something in my favor. I also realized and remembered or rather decided to face the truth that I got high soon after quitting drinking. I believe I need to adjust my sobriety time from there so I'll have to spend some time figuring it out. It's just a number and sober is sober however, I've heard it all from many different people in the program some of which have a lot of time. But I have committed 90 days to this program. And I've gone to what can equate to 89 meetings (tonight will make 90). And I might even continue to write as this blog has helped me gather support and give people a peep into this amazing ever-changing process of being sober that has been so lovely and fucking hard. 90 in 90 will just be a title then, representing so much more. Thanks ya'll for those that saw me through and for those who took the time to read. Sorry I couldn't respond to you all but please I love you tons. Maximum love. xo

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day 63-75; Meeting 63-75: Hail to the weekend

I just ate my ice cream after it fell on the floor. Like the bowl flipped over and splatted on the carpet with my 2 scoops inside all drippy and wonderful. I rationalized that since Myles just vacuumed yesterday and we own a Dyson and Disco's my cat and her hair is everywhere that it's probably fine. I pulled two cat hairs out of it and I ate it. hehe. It was great. I know that's gross. But funny how we rationalize.

What's been really standing out this past week is my procrastination which I just found out is attributed to my alcoholism. Amazing, I know. And is probably an obvious thing to find out since I haven't written in 12 days. "90 Meetings in 90 Day: Drying out 12 days at a time!" Doesn't quite have the same impact, does it? Well, I'm not doing this for impact. I know, hard to believe. And thankfully, I don't have to do a perfect program which consistently I find myself forgetting. I do procrastinate with everything especially at work which might be attributed to other reasons but still. So of course this is also the one thing that drives me nuts about my partner sometimes since I am equally guilty of it myself. He doesn't so much as procrastinate as bite off more than he can chew let's just say.

I used to really beat myself up about my procrastinating ways. I still do but when I lived with my old roommate, I certainly did. Things were always so ship-shape in his house and I would find myself walking by the same thing that I had put by the door to go downstairs for weeks sometimes. Feeling terrible every time I looked at the object but not wanting to deal with it. This has gotten a little better. One of my favorite indulgences is to putter. I love puttering. Now that I'm sober I have more time to putter. Going from one thing to another not finishing any one larger task but doing like 4 or 8 at a time and staying with them as long as I want and then switching to a new task. I have always liked doing this. I allow myself to just relax and not judge myself, I feel good as I am and it's a process in self-acceptance now that I think about it. I get a little bit of everything done while relaxing. When I start to get frustrated or judgement creeps in I stop and go read or end the act of puttering. I know this sounds silly but it's nice and one of my favorite weekend pasttimes.

I have been working for the weekend these past few weeks. Oh and the bridge is falling down, everybody, so the entire East Bay is on Bart every morning which doesn't really mean anything because I was already carpooling and commuting and loving it. I just have to Bart it now and it's super expensive to get to work for my budget-$11.00/ day!

Today I found myself frustrated at the plans not unfolding as I had anticipated and getting frustrated because I discovered (gasp!) that I was trying to control everything. This is MY weekend. This is what I need. What about ME? Why do I have to wait for YOU? Why haven't you done this (for ME)? This is not a good spiral. And it's probably partially sugar and excess caffeine consumption induced on my part too. So I went to a meeting.

And I feel stupid lonely. I have like 100 AA phone numbers of people to call who gave me their number. I just got a new commitment. I'm too far from the friends I started to make in SF (and I just want to chill the fuck out in Oakland on the weekends but am just starting to meet people from the program, this is the first weekend I've done that). My non-sober friends, I can't seem to connect with. The ones that live close and far. It's beginning to feel like no one has time for me although I know it's not personal perhaps more coincidental. I'm even trying to make concrete plans with times and shit for my old friends. I never did that. I'm not good at building relationships new or old. As I go further along in this program I feel distanced from my old friends too. What's crazy is I'm afraid of making effort with my new friends. I know they will have coffee or call me back almost more reliably than my friends of 10 yrs. My part in this is that I can be just as crummy at calling people back too. And I refuse to believe that even though it's the truth. I appreciate the understanding of new AA friends. I am understood in ways I've never been. People are funny too but still gentle and yet not. I can say anything and I can apologize less for myself. I feel fully recognized and accepted for who I am. And there's alot of good stuff that has come out of the last few months and with the distance of my friends who have not experienced that journey, I feel frustrated that I feel like they don't trust me or notice. As I begin to feel things and change and then other days not feel or change so much, the people in AA are understanding of the ebb and flow. They know thats it's not a perfect path and as long as you minimally do some of the basics, you'll most likely feel better and be alright. So as I make baby steps to form new relationships there is a separation process happening naturally which is sad and good and strange. Or maybe we all just keep missing each other.

I'm on my 4th Step and have been for some time. It is not that fun dredging up old resentments that I hold onto and taking responsibility for my part in them. Not fun. My meds make things harder to feel and some of the resentments I remember but can't tap into the feelings of, feelings that in the past before my meds, were so intense. And luckily I don't go back to that intense place but then how to I comprehend it's validity if I can't feel the remnant of the resentment because I'm on so much prozac (even though I totally love it)? My sponsie says I don't need to re-live the resentments and the feelings. I'm finding that it's important to be specific and specifics are also not my forte with such a terrible memory that I have.

And recently my own self-pity is just nauseating me. I can't stop saying "sorry" every other word. And saying how terrible I am at this, and terrible I am that. You know, that's why friends are nice, they lift you up and remind you why you are so great.

I think I'm just unwinding from my week. I don't mean to crap on everything and everybody. Sorry if it sounds like that. Oops, I guess I'm not sorry. Gah! Things are actually going much better and I am super happy living in the East Bay. I just wish I had more time out here. Commuting is still not old and I love being able to read and walk more. It's fun to have my own space and figure out how to share with someone and have little projects and make meals and steal kisses and stuff. I dunno. Maybe I'm just rationalizing. Maybe it's cuz I'm an alcoholic. Alcohol makes my life unmanageable. I can't live sober without the help of a Higher Power and maybe today, I just need to turn it over to HP.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 58-62; Meeting 58-62: 2/3rds of the way there!

I'm all riled up. Probably because I had too much coffee today and TJ's mini-chocolate peanut butter cups. I have so much hatred for myself. This fucking guy at this meeting tonight....gah! I don't really want to start from the beginning or wherever but yesterday I got swept up in this project that I decided to volunteer for: to remodel (tile and paint) the Main Office. This woman has been trying to rally volunteers to support her and get more donations but it's amazing. The meeting that I met her in, she shared. I think it was Thursday night. Her story is grim and crazy. But she made this plea to support a sense of community and that she's been trying to create that and not sure why it's so hard. And she has been rallying support to repaint and tile the room. This room is like my Monday meeting. There are mostly men in a rehab program down the street that attend. People barely put any money in the basket despite there being over 40 people in the meeting. Meetings on this side of the Bay have been different as they probably are from city to city. The room has that office type ceiling that you install piece by piece, fluorescent lights, dirty fairly new linoleum, chairs that have slip covers that are also new. It would probably feel better if it got a makeover. It would probably be easier to keep coming back. I thought to myself, I want to be part of community. I felt pulled to introduce myself to the woman and tell her that I'll be there on Saturday to pick out paint colors. I've never really felt part of anything I feel like. By choice. But I'm realizing that to feed my soul, I need to build and give and be a part of something. And doing that makes being sober a bit easier.

I showed up on Saturday and I was the one of two people who showed up. The other woman works for her. Another woman showed up 10 minutes before the end of the meeting and tried to override all the decisions that we'd made. Na-uh. I volunteered my boyfriend to also take part and offered his services if they needed someone to do the tile and help paint. She had people lined up already but I thought I would offer. Before I knew it, I was calling Myles, picking him up, taking him to Home Depot, buying paint, looking at hinges (she wants to replace the doors on the lockers too), tile etc. We found the exact tile we wanted and a vision began to take shape and all 3 of us were excited, laughing and joking. It was really fun! For someone that's not great at volunteering, following through with ideas to show up and even having been notorious at my paid job as not working well with (some) others....I was quite proud of myself on Saturday. I told the woman, J., that I would help her drum up some support. I started to get really into the project. She gave me some flyers and I told her I would make announcements as I was shopping around for new meetings in the East Bay and will probably go to a bunch of different meetings this week.

I don't know the politics of this program but they are there. Apparently, the Main Office has a reputation or something but the woman I was helping has had many challenges is drumming up support and tonight I witnessed them. I live in kind of a hoighty-toity neighborhood. Newly gentrified but socioeconomically and racially diverse which I love about it. It's not the sterile burbs and you still feel like you are in the city but you have space to breathe and it's lovely. I'm really blessed. So I walked to a meeting by my house. It was a meeting about the 6th and 7th Step which I haven't gotten to yet. I was nervous, I didn't share. I liked the meeting at first. I introduced myself to a few people went outside and some guy started barraging me with questions about the colors, who I was doing the project with, if I'd be serving "veal and pesto" at the BBQ. So getting defensive about my white privilege and assuming he's implying that I'm some white person going in and cleaning up the Main Office to make it better for the miscreants....I snap, "Why would we be serving veal and pesto? Can you help out and BBQ?" and this guy says, "I was being facetious." No, really? Jerkface. He goes on, "I'm no suburban grill master but I can cook." The way this guy said it, what a fuck. "Who the fuck are you?" Seriously, if you don't have anything nice to say. Luckily someone came over. I don't know what came over me but all the reasons I don't like the area I live in. Talking about how the area he lives in has been gentrified but he's not part of it?!?! Does anyone even understand what gentrification means? Bitching about how the neighborhood has changed. I was too distracted by my pride about the project I was working on to even begin getting into urban social change or whatever. Argh!

So this is what's like to be in the grips of the 4th Step maybe. Way to dreg up everything I hate about myself and the world around me and then starting stripping away the layers of resentment to uncover more, newer resentments. Awesome. I've been putting this off for the last two weeks. My sponsor knows it. We met today and did a little work but I really don't want to draw this out and she agreed. It is not fun. I lashed out at one of my best friends that's not in the program because I think her choices merit her to consider some help. I came home cleaned my room, started the laundry and weeded the garden furiously. Then went to this meeting with this stupid guy. Gah! I resent privileged white people that live in neighborhoods they don't think they are gentrifying, that cook but would never admit to BBQing because that's too suburban and so unlike his urban, progressive ass. So... BAY....AREA. My home I love to hate. Gah!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 57, Meeting 57: Reeling

Last night was a little intense. I have yet to find a Tuesday meeting and I'm really wanting to get more into the "meat" of my program but am feeling a bit like I'm in the program for the first time again going to meetings in the East Bay. I showed up at this meeting near my house (which is awesome), in a small, cozy room of this church with couches (double, triple awesome) and only about 12 people (awesomer). I noticed they all had notebooks. They asked the first timers to the meeting to introduce themselves and then informed us that this was a 2.5 hr long meeting! Oh hell no! I burst out laughing, and said, "That's too bad since I have dinner on the table at 7:30!" because my boyfriend is awesome and well, there's no way I'm staying at this meeting, ANY MEETING, for 2.5 hrs on a Tuesday night. Everyone laughed, sympathizing with my reaction and the other first timer, and the secretary said, "Feel free to leave whenever you need to." That was nice of them. This was a 10th step meeting I presume. Everyone had a notebook and was scribbling furiously, closing their eyes intermittenly (they were meditating I believe). I'm not at the 10th step and they asked me if I wanted share early on. The secretary asked after the first person shared if the first-timers wanted to share because it gets hard to get a word in. Jeez. I shared but just my stats: 20 months sober, 4 months in the program, just moved to Oakland from SF, getting to know meetings etc etc. Ha. Nothing really too deep about me and my alcoholism. And then the meeting was off and running.

I am pretty comfortable about talking about my misery. I definitely like to keep it real. I call myself a realist and have am intimately acquainted with my dark side. Through this program, I have been able to count my blessings more than ever before. I'm not sure sometimes if it's because I feel like I got into the program early before I could do any more damage but hearing people's stories sometimes blows my mind....and also makes me wonder if this program stuff is helping me. For instance, when I first started going to meetings, every meeting I showed up to had a 20 yr pluser telling everybody that it's one day at a time and it's still really hard even though life is better and some that never had the promises come true and some that are still wanting to drink every day. This was not a good way to keep me coming back. Tonight was one of those nights. And there are most things that I can handle or have heard about that don't make me cringe. But I don't know if it's my meds but I can't seem to handle horror movies the way I used to (but still really love them) and talk about "child fuckers" as it was so delicately put last night. Hearing this woman laugh at her misery about her therapist ex-husband who was having sex with her children was a little too much for me to bear. I can't tell you how badly I wanted to run out of the room. I didn't know her. They all knew each other. I was judging her because I thought she was crazy. And everyone was taking deep breaths and seemingly praying for her and I didn't feel like I had the tools to digest this.

I'm still dying to talk to someone in program about this. I feel a little vulnerable and a little freaked out still. I called my sponsor. I have no idea why this affected me so much. I think it was compounded by the intensity of the room and the size, another guy's share about wanting to kill himself, one other guy that was super intense, another's niece just got the shit kicked out of her and she's 17 and the fact because the meeting was 2.5 hrs, they were each alloted like 10 minutes to share. I was there for one hour and 5 people shared and they were all super intense. I wish I had known someone, I wish I could have stayed and just worked through it a little bit.

Before I left a woman gave me a list of other meetings that were like that (which will help me stay away until I'm at the 10th Step I think) in case I want to go again.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 56; Meeting 56: Calm before the storm, not really but it's pouring now!

Seems like the meetings are just cranking themselves out. I decided tonight that I needed to start sharing and put some more effort in. The topic was "How you got through the day?" I talked about how my days used to be. That I thought if I just cried enough, I would detoxify by crying. And then I wouldn't cry anymore. I did that for almost a year. Getting crazy with my friends. So angry and snapping. Again, it's hard to tease out how much of this was from my depression and what was from not drinking anymore or being sober. It's amazing that this program helps you Live Sober. I get that now and that's really why I came through the doors. I didn't come here to stop drinking. I don't want to drink. I do want to do blow again. But I don't want to drink. If I did do blow again, I would have to drink. And drinking was my "gateway" to doing cocaine so....if I figure out to keep alcohol out of my life and manage life sober as best I can. I should be relatively happy if not productive or whatever.

Today was good. Overall I give it a B+. It was a gloomy day. It's been a steady 60, a little bit chilly. Not too much wind which is nice but no sun. My boss doesn't work on Mondays so that was nice. My morning coffee worked really well. This does not always happen. I took my meds and popped into my usual Monday 9AM meeting. There's been some inter-departmental grumbling and this is where a lot of it comes out. Awesome. 9AM. This is sometimes not my finest time to be privy to it. This morning I felt pretty good. I had gotten a ride into the city. We made it in 20 minutes. I have very little money and these rides are a godsend absolutely right now. As I try to pinch my pennies so I can continue to be happy living here, it's definitely the most I've pinched. But yesterday and this weekend, I was just showered with good fortune. One minute I'd be thinking, "I need hangers." An hour later we were walking down Telegraph and there was a huge box of hangers. Now, I believe that enough of these types of experiences validate the whole lot. One isolated, that would be a coincidence. But you know when they are coincidences I think and when they aren't. But maybe, there are no coincidences and there are times I believe that too. Today was one of those days because not only did I find hangers but I found a trash can and a dish rack the same way also within hours of mentioning I needed them. I must say too, that this is a great place to live off the fat of the wealthy so perhaps it's a coincidence but whatever it was, it was welcome because the only money I have right now is for food.

I started this blog last night and now it is pouring rain (that's not a coincidence I named this blog that, I watched the weather;). I really like it. I know I won't in February but I like it now. Yesterday was a good day certainly not perfect but I allowed myself to not be perfect. I've been really hard on myself and I think I need to keep practicing and remembering Steps 1,2, and 3 and it will help. And get going on my Step 4 because I'm totally not doing my work. Have a great day everybody!