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!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day 54 & 55; Meeting 54 & 55: Sad Dog A-howling

Meetings and my program have begun to resonate for me again. My meeting last night (I walked out of the 5 men in a basement scenario earlier in the day and went to a meeting in Oakland reminiscent of one of my SF regular meetings) was exactly where I was supposed to be. Granted, there were like 20 dudes there and like 4 women but the guy who shared talked about a lot that I felt was similar to my situation. Impending doom, wanting to kill myself every weekend and then when it comes to recovery, finding answers in the unlikeliest of places (kinda felt a little sheepish that I'd walked out of that other meeting but I had just recently done a 5 60 plus male crew with a group of Half Moon Bay farmers while housesitting down there but oh well gotta do what feels right, I saw it as an opportunity to set boundaries for myself and my comfort). I got a lot of answers in that meeting with the 5 farmers at the end of a dark, dirt road in Half Moon Bay (I passed the meeting twice on Highway 1 because I couldn't see the sign) last week.

This morning I woke up at 6:15AM, this is the time I normally get out of bed during the week. Not sure if I got up naturally or if a certain furry creature nonchalantly made noise since I control her feeding;) I decided I was going to go to a 8AM meeting in the city that I usually went to during the week when I had lived there and since there would be no traffic and I was up, I figured it would be a good idea. I showed up and it's a different crew on the weekend but it still felt comfortable and familiar. I love the room that this meeting is in. My old coworker/ friend works at the non-profit that houses this meeting, I like the neighborhood and have gone to a few meetings held there over the last few months. I'm finding that it's nervous-making going to Oakland meetings alone. The same as it was when I first started going to meetings in SF. I just don't know anyone and what the meetings are like. I met a few women last night at the meeting in Oakland who I will probably call. I made sure to reach out cuz I don't want to have to keep running back to SF to do my program.

We read Step 1 of the 12 and 12. I think I'm going to read the 4th Step today. I realized I hadn't read Step 1 and I'm on Step 4. I really liked it. It talked a little about having a high-bottom and how the program had originally been designed for the worst of drinkers and had to be designed to accept all even those who were just headed to be alcoholics. I found it comforting because I find myself still going back to Step 1 regularly because I'm feeling uncertain that I belong in the program. I had coffee with a friend afterward and found myself questioning myself and feeling so insecure. She told me her story and I was worried that I was being a fraud by trying to be her friend. I felt guilty when I left. Hoping that she likes me and doesn't realize or think I'm full of shit. So bad. Where does that come from? I think that's something more than just feeling like I don't fit in the program.

I'm trying to work on setting realistic times of returning to the house with my partner. I'm really bad because I never want to let people down so I basically lie about when I'm getting back and then let them down anyways and then make an excuse (there is always a reason because the time I set is totally unrealistic but then it seems like it's not my fault). My partner and I have talked about it so I'm working on it. It's really hard and I feel like a bad girlfriend when I say out loud how long I'll be gone. And I even thought I set it pretty generously but I was 45 minutes late. I felt really bad about it and came home to him not here and immediately assumed he was mad at me because I let him down and then proceeded to snap at him about something else when he did come home not being perturbed that I let him down (or I didn't even give him the chance). I am still super happy. Just feeling things out. Fuck, it is cold! Fall is here. The sun is not out, the fog is in and this apartment has no insulation. The dog upstairs is a foster dog and howls every time the family leaves. It's so sad. Bearable but still sad til he started barking last night while they were gone. I told them it was happening but I think I need to tell them again. I was going to email and the manfriend recommended that I tell them face to face. Of course we felt differently. Feeling things out, settling in. And I keep bumping into shit and am covered in bruises like I did when I drank. I think I'm grumpy cuz it's cold. Pity party. Or I had too much coffee. Probably too much coffee. Or I'm coming down from an insanely exhausting week of moving and housesitting and perioding. Just pooped. Or I'm an alcoholic and dealing with any of this is hard because of that. Who the fuck knows? I think I'm cranky. Gonna go read or something. Thhhhfffttttt.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 50-53; Meetings 50-53: Breakthrough!

I just cannot wait for each day to be over to scurry home and be in my new apartment and be cute and silly with my manfriend. I love love love my new apartment. All has been so lovely and well. Great landlords. Lots of space. Wonderful meals (and even bread) made by my manfriend each day with the most important ingredient: Love. I really think we have not yet had time to just be together. When we first met, he lived in Santa Cruz and I was in the City. There was a lot of alternating weekends and not much time in between and a whole lotta driving. We took things slow and that's what we wanted but never just got that good few months of just spending every minute together which is also good because it keeps us excited all the time to be together...most of the time at least. haha. This past week I have been taking public transit and it has been wonderful! Total honeymoon stage but I'm lovin relaxing on the train and MUNI, reading a new book, spotting new graffiti I've never seen. It's least for someone who has driven all the time. It slows me down and I can relax and zone out and not worry about getting in a wreck or sitting for hours in traffic which has gotten so bad since they put the S-turn in the bridge.

Things have been going really well despite the craziness. However, I have not been resonating with meetings both new and routine...until tonight. Every single share from tonight's meeting resonated with me: compartmentalizing my life, lying to my parents for so many years (I haven't even begun to unpack that mess), not struggling and surrendering to my Higher Power. Whenever things get difficult, it's typically because I'm not letting go and trusting in my Higher Power. I'm trying to control and make things go my way. Right now, I've been trusting in my Higher Power in fits and starts. I am so conditioned by my alcoholism (that feels a little weird to say, I must admit) to want to control my life and all it's actors but shit turns bad and I get miserable and frustrated the minute I start to tense up.

I decided to give up my commitment at this Friday meeting because I live in the East Bay now and well, staying on Friday at work so I can go to a 7pm meeting sucks. And I don't think I want to do that week after week. There had been the assumption that I had given up my commitment the week before because I got someone to cover for me since I had to go back down to Half Moon Bay since the people I was housesitting for missed their plane (I still made it to a meeting HMB). I got someone to cover for me but the GSR left me a message and I called her back and left a pissy message offended that she assumed I would give it up without communicating that to her. She kinda put the idea in my head and I thought today, maybe I should give up my commitment. I'm also trying to work out seeing my sponsor and change that time. I'm amazed at how proactive I'm being. Often times, I would bail on commitments feeling guilty and shameful. This was a new wonderful experience taking responsibility and bailing with dignity and less drama. I feel like my old self would have just not shown up one day and just felt embarrassed and evasive if I saw anyone around town that went to that meeting. And I would feel awful for a long time inside.

So I'm still settling in and getting used to my new place, lovin playing with my kitty. She seems really happy in her new place. I never knew a cat could adapt so quickly. Unfortunately, it makes me realize how unhappy my old cat was. I just thought all cats hated moving. She has turned the papazan into her makeshift "cathouse". So cute. Okay, there I go again talking about cats. Ah, the simple things.

I had a crazy thing happen to me today. Unrelated but in 4 years of working in Bayview Hunter's Point, a predominantly Black neighborhood with the last stronghold of Black/ African-American (SF only has 6.8% Black population down from 13.4% in 1970), I've never had a cop straight up ask me if I was lost. What was funny (and the only thing funny about it) is that I wasn't so much as lost as unfamiliar with riding the bus. So I was walking back and forth along 3rd and Oakdale (there's been a gang injunction at this intersection because of violence), looking for the bus stop. I knew exactly where I was, I stop by this area often and have agencies along this cooridor I've maybe rode the bus 10 times in my life. Seriously. I have loved driving up until the last few months. Sad I know. I was trying to get to a meeting and the route had to take me through Bayview. Most white folks would probably not do this due to their stereotypes and the news that comes out of this neighborhood, well, maybe they would but the reactions I get when I tell most SF privileged white folk that I work in BVHP is somewhat shock, relief they don't work there and a little fear it seems, and guilt that they feel all these things. All assumptions and yet not. It's going through a complex change and I have been so privileged to hear first hand about it's history of the neighborhood, people and industry, the generations of people there from the South, the community and commitment to maintain the community. I truly love working in this neighborhood and find it sociological fascinating as well as just a loving, awesome community to collaborate with. So these two cops motion me over and ask me if I'm lost. I laugh as a beat up maroon BMW rolls by honking and shouting, "HI KATIE!". I seemed confused and then realized why they were asking me.... because I was white. Woah. They then asked me, "So you know where you are?"....I said, "Yes, that woman just drove by and said my name. I've worked here for 4 yrs. Fear not, I know people." I really just needed to know where the bus stop was but this offer to evacuate me made me feel a lot more unsettled then the fact I had to take the bus through Bayview to get to my AA meeting. Man. Crazy. Two Black guys sitting at the T line saw the whole thing and one shouts across, "That's messed up stereotyping you like that! He shouldn't be bothering you! San Francisco is diverse, they know that! Especially this neighborhood! San Francisco is for EVERYONE! This isn't Oakland! San Francisco is home to everyone!" I mentioned I had just moved to Oakland, but I've heard this stereotype before, San Franciscans think Oakland is way more dangerous. Turns out he used to date one of the pantry coordinators I work with after some shouting back and forth. Feeling right where I was supposed to be.

I will continue to be better about writing. Things is slowing down. Going to meetings has been routine but tonight felt good for many reasons but it relation to the program, I feel reengaged. Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day 42-49. Meeting 42-49: Settling in

I'm more than halfway through with 90 in 90. Spent my first night in my NEW apartment in North Oakland on Saturday. I was supposed to be here on Friday night but the people I was dog/ housesitting for missed their flight. Pretty funny. I was so ready to be done too despite how much I loved this beautiful LOVEABLE golden retriever. She was SOOOO good. So easy. The sweetest dog. I had even made a run to my new apartment halfway through the day with all my barest essentials on Friday because I thought I was totally done.

I can't even finish writing this. So much is going on, I can't keep up and I'm so beat. More soon.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 35-41, Meeting 36-41: Yup, still here but, one more rule

Showing up.

The last week has been a whirlwind. I've been housesitting, moving and GOING to meetings (except for one day, more on that in a second).

Today's meeting was a little awkward. I was showing up for my friend who was speaking. Showing up. But I'm struggling with feeling like a fraud. I suppose it could be that I'm feeling a little uprooted. My room is in shambles and half my stuff is in one place, the other half in the other and I'm staying somewhere entirely different. But I showed up. And for that I was proud. Selfishly proud. Realizing that all the conversation I had tonight was all about me. But really that just means I'm right where I'm supposed to be and it's the right place. Ugh, feeling so self-conscious about doing the perfect program. Knowing I don't have to do that.

Right before the meeting, I also showed up to a bar in the Haight for a fundraiser for a race coordinated by the best friend of my cat's original owner, my cat's former owner committed suicide last year. I really wanted to be there. I couldn't commit with an RSVP but as this cat's current owner, I thought I should be there. She brings so much joy into my life. I knew I had to go. I stopped at home to print out a card with her picture on it to write a quick note. I'm pretty broke right now so I wasn't able to make more of a donation besides a few raffle tickets but that's okay. I do what I can in those situations. I try to. I'm already feeling overextended. But I wasn't sure how it was going to be either. I haven't been to a bar I think since I started to go to meetings. The first year I went out with my friends to bars all the time because I wasn't going to meetings and I didn't want my friends to treat me any different or be uncomfortable with my sobriety. Going to meetings has made me more uncomfortable with going to bars. Maybe because I know how good I got it now. I have found an alternative to building a community that doesn't involve drinking. I showed up today and realized that everyone was wasted and it wasn't so bad. I had a Diet Coke, hung out with my roomie and his girlfriend and got some good one-on-one time with the best friend. It was great to see her too. I found out she found out I was moving to the East Bay from this blog which I felt kinda bad about but she said that she felt better reading this and knowing how much the cat makes me happy and is a part of my life. Seriously, the worst part about housesitting this week is that my cat isn't around. Although my boyfriend by my side is a pretty close second;) just kidding. I do wish R. had seen how sweet D. was while I was printing out the card. She was sitting on the printer, then biting the printer than standing on my bedframe that is mattress-less in the most awkward way batting at me to play and being so funny. I think she misses me too. I'm excited for us to have space together to just hang out and play. Spending time with her is one of my favorite reasons to be home. Just in case you didn't think I was a total cat lady...sheesh. Cheesy I know. But she is the best, R. Thank you for bringing her into my life.

I've been struggling with my commitment as coffeemaker on Monday. I'm finding it interesting that the two meetings that I have commitments at I don't like sometimes.....hmmm. I walked out after 35 minutes. It was a hot day and the smell of homeless male was overpowering. I have a ridiculously sensitive sniffer. I called my sponsor and she told me I was being a baby and that I need to learn the 3rd Step Prayer and it's good I walked out and called her. I was cranky. She got mad that I was goofing around at meetings and told me I need to pay attention to do the work. I knew I was acting like a 5 year old. Maybe I should get a commitment at a meeting I do like? And many people have concurred but I don't think I could bear walking away. Unfortunately, I feel like I made myself too known. But that could be me being self-centered. Well, I still consider myself shopping around to some extent. Which kinda sounds like I haven't fully committed to the program when I wrote it. I thought that Monday night was my Home Group and that's shifted a bit. Sometimes I think my Friday night meeting is my Home Group. I need to get a Home Group. And I reminded myself that I've only been in the program for 4 months despite being sober for 20 months (since yesterday). But today I've felt as though I've been drifting from my program a bit.

Tuesday and Thursday, I went to my morning meeting. Wednesday was insane. I drove something like 70 miles in a day. Every Wednesday I have therapy. I felt awful that I couldn't make it to a meeting but I did make it to therapy~I've been going to therapy for over 3 yrs. I've asked for permission in my meetings that I could count my therapy as a meeting. I had heard that other people had done the same. I had other people recommend I release from needing to finish 90 in 90 and just start over. That it's okay. Others said you can double up on some days which I said I wouldn't do. I had banked an extra meeting on Labor Day so now my count is even. So it seems like there are several interpretations of 90 in 90. Whatever, my reasoning is, I decided that for now, until I'm moved and things calm down a bit, I will still go to a meeting on Wednesday if I can swing it but if I can't, my therapy will count as a meeting. I have been going to meetings on Wednesdays up until now. That's one more rule.

I'm almost halfway through but I haven't been writing and as I predicted, it is getting hard. I have been drifting and socializing like a middle schooler in my meetings this past week. Friday was good though. Saturday I almost didn't make it to a meeting as we were moving all day and I was pooped and exhausted going from where I'm housesitting to the City to the East Bay and back to the City to meet one of M.'s friends who was here visiting and who was kind enough to host us in Seattle in December. But somehow my Higher Power got me a to a meeting, a great meeting with what seemed like oddball folks. I find that it's easier for me to share when I don't know anyone. It's gotten harder as I've gotten to know people at these regular meetings. Perhaps that's why I find reasons not to like them. I used to like Monday meeting at times because it was surly, tough, grim and diverse. Perfect for a crummy Monday. Which it dawned on me this week was my new favorite day at work because my boss doesn't work Mondays. Duh. It only took me a few years to figure that one out. So maybe that's what changed. Who knows. Things are shifting all the time for me right now. All I can do is hand it over to God. It's been nice. Awkward and uncomfortable and I feel like my reflexes are to hold tight and control so I have to consciously let go and let God (while not being self-conscious about the fact that I've found God). Keeping it simple. But man this program works and I can't express it because I'm embarrassed that I believe in God and feel my Higher Power now and He/She/It leads me to the next right thing if I pay attention to it. If I surrender, I will not stray from my path. It's crazy! I mean, the God piece of this program is what deterred me years ago from coming back. To me God is Spirit, Energy, One, Love, All. Saying "God" allows me to sync my interpretation of God to what I experience when I feel connected to the Earth to people to events and happenings to the world around me and Time and to Spirit. So crazy. And in this room where I knew no one on Saturday I could express that openly and express joy. I guess that's hard for me to do in front of people I know and care about. Maybe something from childhood, if I'm celebrating or being silly, I'm not working hard enough or something. So I constantly am "at work" on myself, struggling, creating drama, depressed etc. This program has allowed me to learn how to celebrate and be grateful in a safe space. Say thank you and not be judged for being goofy when it's serious.

So I will do better at keeping this blog maintained. I've seriously gotten such incredible feedback and the people who are reading it are not who I thought would be reading it and some are and some aren't. I wrote it with some key friends in mind and frankly, it's brought me closer to some unexpected ones. Very cool. And only pounding it home, how blessed I am. And if I can't celebrate with my Higher Power and ooze light and love into all things created by He/She/ It, I think I would burst. So there. I am blessed. I AM SO BLESSED.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 33 & 34; Meeting 34 & 35: Sign on the dotted line

My stomach has been wrecked for days. My heart pounding. Transition is imminent. I didn't realize how stable I was until I started to make changes. Woah. I'm staring at the afternoon of a Sunday without a meeting planned. Heading to a block party to get to know my new neighbors. So nervous! Going to sign the papers and commit to a month. Ha! Lay down a security deposit that I have but....still feeling financially insecure. I'm dying to just get it done already but also nervous for what's to come, the good and the bad, the just different. Shit, it's been a while. I've been the most stable in years living in the same place for the almost 3 years, at the same job for 4. That was my goal when I moved in, to settle down, slow down. In 2007, there had been a lot of moving and breaking up that left me emotionally drained. My current home was where I had solace. Unfortunately, I also had easy access to the hella fun city of SF;) and my partying ramped up. Wow. I've been so fucking miserable at times over the last 29 months and 24 days of sobriety. I really never thought that anything would break in my lame life. And seriously, to an outsider, it's no big deal maybe, but to me, getting my own place, with the prospect of sharing a life with the best man-friend around, creating my own sober dwelling feels totally over the top and really this is how things always happen don't they? All at once. We plan and we think but then realize that when you just let go, life will take you where you want to go, man;) haha But that shit is true. I've spent years freaking out that I don't have a new "life plan". I used to throw around the joke that I finished my 5 year plan 4 years ago and that is true! The last of my 5 year plan was getting a reputable job in the non-profit sector. And I've been combing the depths of my MIND to PLAN the next 5 years for almost 4 years!! I couldn't understand why I couldn't pull it together! Miserable. And not to say I've got it figured out. Letting go is like a muscle. And for me it'll start to spasm every time I consciously try to make it work. I am practicing trust. Trusting in the universe. Trusting in myself. That I'm not going to fuck things up, offend someone needlessly or do something that results in the disdain of all those around me. But I still think I will. It feels so programmed. The shame and the guilt and the fear.

More soon....I'm now late to the block party;)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 29-32; Meeting 30-33: Evidence of spirit

You now get to see how I work. Pushing the envelope. 4 meetings to report on! Wow. Let's see if I can do it. This could be a long one. There's been a lot going on.

Ever since last Friday, there's been a lot of surrender. I saw an amazing new apartment out in the East Bay on Sunday fulfilling all of my Bay Area apartment hunting fantasies (this would be my 14th home I've lived since '97!). Thanks to my current landlord/ friend/ roomie (and longest place I had lived since I was in college, almost 3 yrs here!), I had the beautiful luxury to take my time and get it right. Thanks to another friend in the East Bay that I hadn't seen in FOREVER and by chance saw on Saturday, who then hooked me up with his friends by Sunday that had a downstairs apartment that was almost ready and hadn't even hit CL, here I am by Thursday negotiated on terms I might not have been able to negotiate with someone I didn't know and ready to sign a lease on Sunday. Amazing.

I am excited and had been intent on my own place for the past few months. Worried I was trying to pull a "geographic" (really, I'm moving across the Bay, I thought that would be reasonable), I spent time really delving into what made my current living situation challenging. As much as I love my roomies and have one of the sweetest set-ups in 12 yrs of renting, it was time to go explore this new sense of self. I needed my own space to do that. I also had never thought I needed to live in a sober environment but realized this is another luxury that I could afford. If I was going to be out in the world, constantly figuring out every minute how to deal with the trials and tribulations of sobriety and how to deal with people now that I don't drink and how to spend time with my friends that still do and blah blah blah, I might as well make home my safe haven. I've never really had that before. I haven't had my own place since '99 when I was renting out of a studio in Redwood City for 6 months while getting ready to transfer to a Big-Girl school from community college. I live pretty simply and not too settled in so I'm looking forward to making a home that I can open to others and eventually get cozy with my man-friend;) He's a much better decorator than I am, anyways. And he fixes things and that's hot.

Monday was my usual chaos festivity that is my coffeemaking commitment, me and the homeless guys. Once again I got to sit in back with this new sweet baby that just got borned and her mama, a new good friend and one really smelly guy. I didn't share, I listened and was distracted. Checking email on my phone, texting.... The speaker was a friend's husband and he had just celebrated his two years. It was right up my alley as I am coming down the home stretch of this year approaching my own 2 yr anniversary in January (don't worry, there will be ice skating this time!) Til then, one day at a time. He made a list of all the things he had gone through in the last two years sober: weddings, deaths, bachelor parties, celebrations and hard times. It was an awesome and creative way to share. And so positive. People who are positive, really at any time, but especially during challenging times, I have so much respect for. I really know how far I have to dig to find that and I am so grateful for the people that have it readily accessible when the going gets rough. One of my managers at work is like this. At the most random times, she will throw in these kernels of positivity and because of the program I think, I catch it now and honor it. It's not the fake, Pollyanna, sarcastic stuff that I like to throw around that always makes me smile. It's the real deal and genuine. You can feel it. And it lightens and sheds new light on whatever you are speaking of no matter how hard.

Tuesday was the PIG FARM!!! I was up before the crack of dawn at 4AM. At the warehouse by 5AM and off to Morgan Hill. I had been wanting to go to the Pig Farm for some time. It started as a joke between the warehouse manager and I but then I was like, hell yeah, I'm going to the Pig Farm. I'm into exploring the boundaries of my newfound sober mornings and oodles of time I have in a day because for the most part, I feel pretty good (anything is better than the hangover and overall sluggish feeling I had when I drank). But I think this was pushing it as I am now home sick with some weird lung thing and really frickin tired and feeling sick.

We bring our spoiled produce down to a Pig Farm in Morgan Hill twice a week. About 10,000 pounds of stone fruit, cabbage, carrots, celery etc. We have this great guy, Archie, that has about 40 pigs. I went down and met Archie and Archie Jr, his son, and got the grand tour of this place while the sun came up over the Central Valley. These are the kinds of things that make me keep going to work everyday. I'm pretty lucky I can go to a Pig Farm and count it as work, go home for a few hours to sleep and then work the rest of the day. This is one thing I realized.

These were very happy hogs. I met Oink, who is their pet boar. Oink is maybe pushing 400 lbs tusks and all. There was a little pot-bellied pig that just wandered into their property who wagged his tail like a dog and was a little rounder than my cat but about the same size. So cute! Then there were the Bacon Hogs and the hogs that had been "put out" because they didn't get along with the other hogs. There was Grunt, the male breeding hog and guess how you can tell that a hog will be good for breeding? Shorter legs in front than in back. Ask me about hogs, ladies and gentleman and I'll learn you a thing or two! One hog had gotten too fat and couldn't be sold til he lost some weight. Penny was the Alpha hog who I don't think liked me too much and yes, probably would have taken the first bit had I fallen in. But these pigs were very happy and very loved (and not that smelly!). I learned how he keeps the smell down and the effects of different types of produce on the moisture in the pits and bellies of the pigs. He had many makeshift pens with all different size pigs. The little ones were adorable and love to be petted and have their ears scratched. It made me happy that even though these pigs were going off to market they got a good run at Archie's Pig Farm. And Archie had a lot of love for them.

Archie's farm looked like something straight up out of a horror movie however. Seriously, with the sun coming up over the hills. It was an old flower farm with makeshift plywood roofing, strewn with scrap metal, old farm equipment and overgrown. I think he said it was about 14 acres. It was pretty awesome though. I do love me some horror movies. And it was great to get to know another aspect of the work that I do at the food bank. Anyone who knows me, knows I love to meet new people and hear their stories (well, and share my own). This was such a treat. It was great to get to know the driver that I drove down there with as well. We had lots of stories to share and he's a talker like me and has been at the food bank for about the same amount of time. I couldn't believe he had 4 kids in college and graduate school. I had no idea. It was a good morning to start. But as we were heading back, sitting in crazy awful Peninsula traffic, I started to fade and get a tickle in my throat and not feel that well. I thought I was just up too early or maybe allergies.

I hit a wonderful woman's meeting I had not gone to before. It was pretty large, had a fountain outside, in the basement of a church and I saw a few familiar faces which was nice. The speaker was a former mechanic for Muni who had gotten hit by a car in the 90s while working up in Hunter's Point. During the crack epidemic in the 80s and 90s, dealers were firing at government workers on site up in Hunter's Point. It took an ambulance 40 minutes to come to her aid. She died 6 times. Amazing story. And man, could this woman laugh and just oozed with love for her work as a mechanic that she could no longer do. I spend a lot of time in Hunter's Point. I'm the agency rep for all of our member agencies that distribute food in Bayview/ Hunter's Point. I have some strong relationships out there and even some that have become friends. And I know the history of Hunter's Point in the 90s and the violence in those neighborhoods today are from beef that have been passed from generation to generation and at times forgotten but still taking lives. Many of my colleagues in Bayview/ Hunter's Point face death on the regular whether it's from turf or from illness (there is extraordinarily high rates of asthma and cancer in Hunter's Point). My job seems so easy compared with what they face everyday and still get up every morning to help their community. The faith is strong in Bayview. And while this is something I'm supposed to separate: getting food out to the community and fulfilling God's will. For many of the agencies that I work with, it is God's will that they distribute food every week to those who need it most. And on Wednesday, this was the first time I fully acknowledged this to my agencies.

On Wednesday, I went to a meeting early on and then I had a neighborhood meeting for work with all my food pantries (def: weekly farmer's market style free grocery and produce distributions; there are 200 throughout the city every week) in one room for the first time ever. Able to share and map out what these regular meetings will look like and meet one another. Typically, these events pull about 75% of the RSVP list so I figured about 7 people would show up as I had gotten 11 yeses, 3 maybes and had left 6 messages and gotten no response. This is how it goes. I'm used to it. But Wednesday morning, 20 people showed up by 10:20 (there were only 4 there by 10:10 ;)) This was amazing. I felt so good inside. I wanted to meet with them all day! These are all my favorite people that I work with in one room. We went around the room for an icebreaker and I asked them what gets them out of bed every morning. I think I knew what the answer would be and I think I just wanted to hear it. For many of them, it was God and Jesus Christ. And He filled the room in that moment. It was so moving. There were also many husbands, wives, children and moms that also got them out of bed in the morning. It was so inspiring and perhaps greedy of me cuz I knew what they all would say but a fantastic way to start the day. This is another part of my job I love: building relationships, making connections and facilitating solutions. I am trying to pass the lead position off to someone else in the group but they decided they prefer me to do it until they get to know one another. I'm surprised that many of my co-workers were able to appoint a lead in the first meeting. That was extraordinarily invigorating and I can truly say I have so much love for all those that were in that room.

Now it is Thursday. Wow what a few days. Is this my Higher Power at work these last few days? I'd like to think so. The Source/ Spirit/ Higher Power/ God can be so strong in my life sometimes. The success and beauty of it are fear-inspiring. It's not even Friday and the range of love and bliss that I have felt in these last few days is something to take notice of and to be grateful for. There are good things to come, my friends.

I was late to my meeting this morning as I was trying to do too much and I didn't feel that well. But yet again, I am so glad I made it and it was right where I was supposed to be.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day 28, Meeting 29: Coming into the light

I lay here ready for bed, my kitty curled up next to me sleeping soundly on her paws. I find so much bliss in her little purrs and sweet cat-like ways. She is Good.

Today I felt movement. Movement due to my efforts at letting go and spiritual surrender. I feel close to finding an apartment but understanding if it's not ready to happen yet. I feel solid in my relationship and that things will work out with the man I love if that is what is supposed to be. These are Good.

I spent the day puttering around to my absolute delight. Doing whatever I wanted in my space. Breakfast with the manfriend, looking at an apartment (fingers crossed), meeting with my sponsor, vacuuming, spot-cleaning my carpet, watching football, hanging out with the roomies, playing with the cat, reading, napping, organizing and applying for apartments. Waking from my nap to the sound of rain outside on the windows. I love these types of days. It was full and I felt Good.

I've spent some time in the last few days mulling over my Higher Power. What It is and what It isn't. Being fearful of it working and the success of this program. Today I was so overwhelmed with how I've surrendered and things are starting to move and shift and open. The release is a relief after feeling so stagnant. And it's amazing because nothing has really even happened yet but I can still feel a transformation. For today.

I went to a meditation meeting as I have been assigned to meditate and begin a more regular spiritual practice. I used to have one before but I haven't begun again since entering the program. We meditated by candlelight listening to the rain outside sitting high above the Outer Mission. Very cool. I shared. Was a little impatient toward the end because I didn't know what time it was and it went over but it was a good meeting and close to my house which is nice. I found myself feeling the closest to the neighborhood that I live in for the first time and a little sad that I'm trying to move to the East Bay and get my own place. But it was okay. And it will be okay. Good stuff.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day 25 , 26 & 27; Meeting 26, 27 & 28: I don't fucking know goddamnit!

My count is a little off, but I think you follow me. Wow, was last night rough to the bone. Good morning to rain and thunder. Early wake up (5 AM) on a Saturday only to lay in bed and watch episodes of Dexter with my honey. Safe. Yes. Sober through another day. Waiting for La Note to open so we don't have to wait for a table for once. Buttery, goat cheesy, egg-delicous, oatmeal-raspberry-pancakey goodness.. oh! with provencale tomatoes. Goddamn. I am so spoiled and blessed.

Last night was the hardest it's been in a while. My bones feel tired. It's probably just the rain but still. Fuck, did I want to drink. And I didn't even really want to drink per say, as go rage. It had been a hot day and hot week for that matter. EVERYONE seemed like they were out and prowling around the Mission. It was one of those nights where I knew that it would lead to what would seem like a great night into day time but only leave me hungover, cranky and ill... oh, and hating myself.

Came home after work to my roomie drinking pink margaritas already rocking out to hip-hop. My blood started pumping in that way where before I was sober I would take a shower, pop a beer open or have a margarita with her, start getting ready: flashy heels, tight jeans, make-up, feels like the devil's inside, wondering where I might find blow tonight if I want it or pulling out the leftovers from the weekend before, and what kind of trouble I might get into. I'd buy a pack of smokes to start the night, turning heads at the corner store. Let the night begin. I would feel fabulous, beautiful at this moment. House music or hip hop would be pouring from my room and my car. My gaze would get slyer, sexier. Yes, you could call it "the zone". haha. Some call it "Super Katie". In that moment, I would become not myself. "Ms. Peabody, the librarian by day, the Piddler by night." Leaving my day behind which yesterday was such a let down after a rough week. Long conversation with an agency about how my visit and my perceived authority upset them. My struggle to communicate my respect for this woman and the program she runs by giving her space and letting her slide on some of the rules but in the end realizing that I let her slide because I don't want to deal with her ego and that she and I clash on the way that we like to do things. She's in it for the glory and that's a train I don't feel like I get paid to stop.

Instead I dragged my ass late to a woman's meeting, in a hoodie, no make up and some sandals. My jeans are usually tight;) Funky I'm going to a meeting instead of a bar. The person sharing drew me right in. Once again this "miracle" in front of me. This woman's story blew my mind and shook me a little. But I refused to feel grateful. I sulked in late, angry that I wanted to go out and couldn't. Angry that I had quit drinking because I couldn't manage alcohol. Because alcohol and cocaine make me want to hate myself enough that stopping is a good idea. And that when I stop doing something that makes me hate myself, I get angry. Argh. Then I realized that the commitment that I share with someone else hadn't been done. Fuck! My sponsor saved a seat for me near the front right by the speaker. Double fuck! So I make my way up to the front walking by the still packed box of literature and take a seat. Harumph.

I shared because no one claimed "burning desire". I announced how bad I wanted to drink. I found myself clenching, squeezing my fists together. Then the tears. I'm a crier, what can I say. My sponsor hugged me. After the meeting, the woman who shared came over, I said something stupid but she was so great. Worked out my literature commitment with the other person who said she got there too late to do it and it had been her responsibility. I had sat there pissed at her throughout the meeting but not entirely sure she was responsible for dropping the ball because I have such a bad memory a lot of the time. Silly. I was so pissed at myself. I am so pissed and angry at myself. A lot.

Spoke to my sponsor after the meeting who thankfully would not give in to my pity party. She said I'm not doing the work. I'm trying to do things my way and it didn't work before so why would it work now. I hadn't memorized the 3rd Step Prayer as assigned. I hadn't been meditating or praying. Not doing the work so of course I feel like shit. Hmmmm. She told me to stop saying "I know." Or she would respond, "You don't know!" It became pretty funny. So we started shouting at the tops of our lungs, "I don't fucking know, goddamnit!" hehe. Trouble. I felt better. Still a little disoriented from my pity party. Exited Bernal Heights and headed down Mission Street and the feeling of wanting to go out just hit my like a ton of bricks. There were so many people out it felt like they were closing in around me, prowling the streets. The urge was so great. I just focused on driving and getting to my boyfriend's house. Who was there, sober and alone. Peace.

Part of my 3rd Step is examining my connection with a Higher Power. This is the part of the program that deterred me in the past. I quit drinking because I had begun to feel spiritually abandoned. I had done some minimal work connecting with Spirit and my version of God or Higher Power when I was drinking and using to gain some semblance of spiritual guidance. I meditated because I was struggling with stress and depression, low self-esteem etc not alcoholism or addiction. It was part of my therapy work. It would just be an added bonus to have confidence and being a whole person and if I just had enough discipline to go to the gym every day and eat right and not make bad choices then I wouldn't be so hungover the next morning and I'd be able to stop drinking and get myself in bed at a reasonable hour. hehe. Cunning, baffling, powerful. I thought if I felt better, I wouldn't drink so much. But I only thought this with the most fleeting thoughts. I knew I needed to quit but would rationalize my patterns somehow and not even realize I was rationalizing them (but in that, I hadn't really even come to terms that I was still depressed after 15 yrs since it started, so I really just meditated because it was part of my work on this earth and make me well overall. I realize now that wasn't enough.).

One day I realized that I had started to feel vacant. And each morning I woke up hungover, it was obvious. I now felt more alone than ever, to the point that my angels had left me. I've heard that you have angels watching over you until you are about 27 years old and then around your Saturn return (I'll get into this new agey stuff another time but you can Google it, bear with me), they leave. I've believed this because, shit, someone's or some thing has been watching over me. Call it 9 lives but mine were getting used up. Angels or spirits of loved ones that have passed on, I believed they were keeping watch. When I honored them and acknowledged them and listened to myself or my heart or my intuition or whatever, all would be well. But then I started pushing the envelope. Making bad choices the last year or two of my drinking. I'm not Catholic and I didn't grow up super religious but I really felt like my angels had thrown the towel in in disgust at how blessed I was and how I was just trying to fuck it all up. So they said, "I'm outta here, Katie. You're not doing your work. You're not filling your part of the deal." The deal of the universe or something. The more abandoned I felt, the more fucked up my choices were.

I've also been told (no, I don't believe everything I hear just what I like and what resonates) that cocaine casts your soul out each time you do it. And I just remember that horrible emptiness that started to get filled with thoughts of suicide and self-hatred every afternoon or evening I would wake up after being up for all night and the next day. Crazy dark shit I hadn't felt in years. I'd stare at the same corner in my room and think about how I was going to do it. In retrospect, in the last 4 years, I've had this rebirth of suicidal thoughts. Those are the years that I had been doing the most cocaine and getting sober. I've spoken to close friends about them mostly to reassure them and myself that I wouldn't do anything. I just wanted to stop feeling what I was feeling. Clearly, another reason I drink. And another reason I need the program.

And with all this, I continue to wonder if I'm alcoholic enough to be in this program. And each time I wonder, I come up with the "yes" and inch my way closer to giving myself over to the program even though I'm technically at Step 3 (you kind of work 1, 2, and 3 together). But I get flustered when people not in the program ask me about certain things and the fact is, I'm still learning. And sometimes I feel like I sound like a brainwashed moonie all giving myself to Higher Power and shit and "turning it over". I'm not 100% sure about my concept of God but you know what? If it keeps me from staring at that corner with those thoughts, I'll fucking take it for today, goddamnit. I'll keep coming back because maybe the program is also keeping me alive. And if it takes being sober to stay alive and feel better, it resonates with me and I like it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 22, 23, 24; Meetings 22, 23, 24 & 25: Humble as a ham can be

I don't enjoy writing 3 meetings worth of a blog. I'm tired. PMSing. Went to a meeting tonight discussing Step 7 about humility...Humbly asking God to remove my character defects. After circling the meeting I was late to, the meeting I wanted to go to, searching for parking, I headed to a meeting closer to where I live that started a bit later. Of course that was right where I was supposed to be.

I am not that humble. I'm finding I'm spending quite a bit of time this week teasing out my sense of humor from my self-centeredness; my extrovertedness from my opinionated self; my knowledge of self from my self-will. This is hard. I know my confidence is really shaky. I know I can be cocky and my self-esteem can be very low at times and I know I overcompensate typically before I "crash". I enjoy being a ham and I am always willing to take "one for the team" if no one feels like taking the lead on something. I don't mind taking the lead and I'll do my best at it but it's not my preferred place to be. I have forced myself to be comfortable with it and even like it. And I can truly say I do. I love making people laugh and I do enjoy being the center of attention.

I found myself tonight defining what humble and humility mean to me. There is something about those two words that seems weak to me. This is probably something about how I was raised by a strong-willed moderately feminist mother and my dad, the athlete and baby of his family. I was always taught to speak up and I've spent the last few years FINALLY learning how to listen and shut the hell up. My parents don't do that so good. My parents are terrible listeners and even worse at sensing. They can sometimes fill a room with their assumptions and opinions without hearing a word that's been said. (My parents have also given me a very blessed upbringing for the most part and for that I'm very grateful. They also love me very much and have grown despite these frustrations.) I find them constantly in a state of rationalizing situations and very controlling. One would probably say these are all tell tale signs of being alcoholics and I would have to agree. I even said it to my dad the other night but was a little fearful to press the issue thinking it better for me to just focus on my own sobriety.

Humble and humility to me mean doormat. They mean boring. Quiet. Uninteresting. Selfish. Ha! I actually think by being self-centered and egotistical I'm doing service for the world! Entertainment at it's finest. Step right up!

Why is that? Most likely I'm rambling but thought I'd spend some time exploring that a bit. I wanted to share tonight too. I didn't. It was a new meeting for me but I'd been to one at the same place. I was happy I got there in time and didn't only go to part of a meeting. I was proud of myself for doing that. I really want to complete this 90 in 90. I've found it hard to keep up the daily ritual of blogging and I'm beginning to feel myself falter a bit on getting to meetings.
Today was a close call. I spent a lot of the day trying to schedule my meeting in without it being too late. I had to go to therapy in the East Bay and the bridge just opened again and I sat in almost 2 hrs of traffic just trying to cross the bridge after work! When I came home tonight at 8, there was still bumper to bumper traffic going the east. Ew. I really hate traffic.

Yesterday I went to a good morning meeting. Rode my bike to the meeting, then to work then home at the end of the day. I took my time coming home. And had a quiet evening with my roomie teaching her how simple chocolate chip cookies are to make (she said I'd make a good mom :) , watching a movie. I hadn't done that in a while. Went to bed contented with a bellyful of cookie dough. Yum. The fire alarm kept going off in the school by my house. This was the second night in a row that it went off and that I wore ear plugs. But it was okay even though I've made it sound really dramatic all day. That feels like an Old Katie habit: being overly dramatic. Prozac has definitely helped tone that down a bit. Now I'm just disruptive and funny.....or so I think.

Totally rambling. Man, this blog shit makes me self conscious.....

I went to two meetings on Monday. One in the early morning and one in the afternoon, my usual Monday evening parade. It was a day filled and devoted to the program. I met my sponsor in between. And she even came with me to my evening meeting where I am the coffeemaker. It was great to have her there. A bunch of people had come from a BBQ and I felt a bit left out but they brought leftover desserts to put out with the coffee so it made me look like I was doing a much better job at being coffeemaker than I was;) I gave some of the people shit for not inviting me even though I didn't know who had it. But I still wanted to go. I think I really expect people will like me and be my friend without any effort. And often I don't have to put in much effort to feel temporary unalone. To form solid friendships I do.

I realized that I continue to want my own place and space. I think I need to look to God on this one. And that sounds so fucking weird. But for him to guide me to lead me to what I need. I know that I need my own place. It has been hard being around my roomies and their "habits" as much as I care about them.

To be continued.....sorry that was so crappy. Frankly, I'd be amazed if people are still reading this. I think I need to email it out to folks but haven't been really feeling it so I may not want folks to read it. Ugh. I hate this self-doubting pre-menstrual bullshit! Argh. Good night!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Day 19, 20 & 21; Meetings 19, 20 & 21:

Happy to have tomorrow off. Grateful to have had a restful weekend filled with cable tv-watching, reading and some QT with the man-friend.

I managed to get through most of the weekend calmly. Stressors of financial insecurity were in the forefront of my mind and have been for some time. Wrestling with my ego and self-centeredness. For my homework, I was supposed to compile a list of the attributes my Higher Power holds. I'm still working on my List of Unmanageability as well.

I am hopeful that my decisions today will allow for more time with the program in the present and going forward, allow me to cultivate a love that I see extending into my future. Sometimes you have to take one step backward, to take two steps forward. While this may sound cryptic, I'm not feeling like divulging all that went on today at least as it relates to my personal life.

It's ironic that I entered into writing this blog so lightheartedly and my biggest challenge I'm facing while writing this blog is my front of all my friends and the Inter-web. hehe

I feel as though I have a good momentum getting to a meeting daily. It's not as stressful as it first was to make sure I get to a meeting, that I will find a meeting.

I attended my first business meeting on Friday as part of my literature commitment for that meeting that made me want to carve my eyeballs out with spoons. I ended up getting snappy at my co-lit commitment person. I think I'm going to move that just one of us get the commitment. My friend is struggling sharing her raffle commitment as well. It just makes for too many cooks in the kitchen, at least for the business meeting. Of course, my first thought was to figure out a way to organize the GSR's agenda, all our decisions and report backs. My sponsor laughed when I told her that and reminded me that the program is to remain unorganized. She also said that my job is perfect for an alcoholic as it allows me to continually fine tune and encourage people to work better together. I'm not sure how I felt about this but it was funny.

Saturday I went to a meeting in the East Bay. A small meeting. My entitlement oozing out of me in a room of only 5 people. I found myself getting so angry when they had asked us to sign up to speak and they skipped my name and made me go last. Argh. The topic was how you got to the meetings. I mentioned the deep denial with my family and friends and how easy it is for me to go back to wondering if I'm alcoholic enough to be in this program.

Today I went to a large meeting. I was happy to see so many people there as it seems like everyone is out of town and this is a weekend in the past that I've gone up to Truckee to welcome my Burning Man friends back and hang out on the lake for one more weekend. I haven't gone up all summer. I was feeling a little off. Took a bath before I went to start afresh and wash away a bit of the anxiety from the events of the day. My share was awkward (and so is my blog tonight, sorry), the topic was God. And the 3rd Step is still fairly new to me.

I'm looking forward to cleaning up my room, meeting with my sponsor, eating some cookies with my roomie right now and watching Season 5 of Lost. Thanks, M. I love you with all my heart to the depth of my soul.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Day 17 & 18, Meeting 17 & 18: Cover your mouth when you cough, I don't want to get alcoholism

Ha! Bet you thought I had disappeared. Actually, it's been kind of a long week. I got my first obnoxious comments which sort of threw me off, sort of but not enough to fight back (well, maybe a little) as I was expecting these sooner or later being that I'm sharing on the World Wide Inter-Web. I had an awful meeting on Wednesday. I spent the whole morning hating on myself, getting all professional-ed up for a meeting at City Hall only to simultaneously trash myself and my secondhand, no-good clothes and self (the worst part is that I had a brand new dress that for some reason I couldn't bear to wear, seriously, being a woman sometimes!?!) only to arrive at my morning meeting rushed and end it with tears streaming down my cheeks because I couldn't share and 10 minutes to get to work on time. Shit.

This is the first time a morning meeting has really backfired. I talked to some other folks that go regularly and they had also sort of warned me of this as well. Luckily through my brilliant skill of fellowship (profusely sarcastic), someone reached out and told me just to make an agreement with myself to check my head at the door. That I promise I'll get back to it at the end of the day. It can get mad, build up bigger and stronger and be as terrible as it wants to be, but it just has to wait until the end of the day to unleash. Not right now. After calling my sponsor and wailing to her on the phone, I did this (which totally distressed her, oops). And it worked! The thing at City Hall was no big deal. I realized my anxiety had started the night before and had just extended into the morning. Talking with my buddy helped a great deal despite being an unlikely character for me to unload on. But he was funny and just what I needed to get my day going.

The topic had been anger and I realized that the only person I get really mad at and criticize and tell them they suck is myself. I do this so I don't hurt anyone else because I'm a people pleaser. So even if I'm angry, I turn it inward even though I'm waiting for someone to set me off, it never happens because what overtakes it is my desire to be liked and then the jokes come flowing and then we are all laughing and, "I'll just internalize my anger for the both of us, don't you worry your pretty little head, you didn't do anything wrong!" Jeezus, the burden. Must I really do this kind of psychological martyrdom? And then I burst into tears because that was a little too much to realize on a Wednesday morning with only one cup of coffee in me.

Thursday morning I was singing the praises of the program. With only a full day of meetings ahead and the crappy Wednesday behind me, I was one happy, sober camper. Oh and I biked to the meeting and to work so I was getting some exercise which is always a good thing. Then I came home and called my dad who I hadn't talked to in a while. And we just started talking and I told him about being in the program and my drinking and drug use in the past years and he was shocked! Literally shocked! Speechless in fact to the point I was wondering if it was a good idea that I opened up to him. He had no idea. Which I thought was surprising given that often they criticized my drinking as the reason for my irritability but my dad said he just thought I was depressed. This is the chicken or the egg debate. Did my depression cause me to be an alcoholic or did my alcoholism cause my depression? He asked toward the end if this is a cry for help and should he fly out on the next flight. I laughed. No dad, the cry for help was a long, long time ago. This is a cause for celebration! That I was smart enough to stop and go to the program! Yay me! He was left wondering what he did wrong as a parent. I tried to reassure him it was the nature of alcoholism but he just couldn't believe that I would be so vulnerable. ?!?! He didn't say that but this was implied. He even joked about the time I got suspended for drinking in 9th grade, that he thought that was just what kids do and how they learn. I said, "Dad, you mean the time I puked everywhere at the school dance, got rushed to the hospital, had to have my stomach pumped because my blood alcohol level was .25 and would have probably died if I hadn't....." Woah. He kept calling himself naive. A naive father. Even I thought I was being overdramatic. But this is the whole thing with realizing Step 1, people will try to lure you back into drinking unexpectedly. The denial runs deep in my family. And frankly, I barely felt strong enough to do any convincing having just completed my 1st Step. My dad literally thinks that alcoholism was picked up by hanging out with the wrong people. Like a cold. That my cocaine use was something I stumbled on, that doing enough cocaine I thought I was going to die was something that someone must have shown me and I did by mistake. I couldn't possibly have done this on my own! I'm not even kidding. This is how my parents think. But my dad took the high road and promised to be more of a "student of the program" and learn more about it and even get the Big Book which he was familiar with (?!?!) so he could support me. And I asked him not to offer me beer and wine anymore when I came home or he saw me (he's done this several times in the last 19 months) and he agreed. He said he was just trying to keep the fridge full when I came home with things I liked (?!? He has a listening disorder.) so I told him that I love fizzy juice beverages and I love to drink those now! He said he could do that.

Off to my regular meeting tonight. Happy 3-day Weekend Friday!