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!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day 15 & 16, Meeting 15 & 16: I love a parade!

I know I shouldn't do this...but I'm writing my blog while I should be working. Oh well, I was pretty punchy last night so I'm not feeling uber creative right now. I went to my usual meeting on Monday night where I am the coffeemaker. And I don't know if it's the stars or what but man, it was unrulier than usual. I have the key to the meeting and I like to get there early to make the coffee so it's usually me and a few homeless regulars that chill outside but yesterday they brought their friends and there was a whole gaggle of mentally unfit and some who weren't, presumably alcoholic (though it's speculated they just come for the coffee) homeless guys and their stuff, their "helping" and hand-washing, their palm frond flower making, their drinking the milk before the coffee is made, trying to pour water in the coffeemaker that has a used filter in (this is the "helping" aspect), and of course the fuse blows (more "helping") because the tea people must have tea. It was comical. And they were loving me. Just me and the boys with 40 minutes til the meeting started. Yes, I was a little uneasy as well but humor is one of my best weapons, or so I think, and slowly people I knew trickled in.

This is the romper room that exists in the back of this meeting. And it's a large meeting too. Homeless guys coming and going, getting coffee and then going outside, talking loudly when people are sharing. And it's all okay, really. No one says anything or reminds them of the rules. It's really interesting. And the shit doesn't bother me or irritate me as that stuff sometimes does, at least it didn't last night (thank you, Prozac). I feed hungry people for my day job so if dude wants some milk without coffee because he's hungry, he can have it. But as I mentioned before, humor is helpful when the self-professed crackhead with only 12 hrs sober starts trying to make hot water through old coffee grounds. "I'm sorry I don't believe we met, I didn't think I'd have a manager with this commitment," or something like that. By the end, we are joking that we are acting like a married couple and he tears up during his share about his newfound friends. Take it for what it is. A lot of friends at the meeting said to me, "Stay away from him, dude is angry and dangerous." But he was laughing and yes, I was cautious. And he was very "helpful".

I went out to dinner with some folks and it happened really naturally with very little planning. It was nice and I was on fire. Silly me. Yes, I love a parade and I love to make people laugh. I get worried that I get too carried away and out of control and the attention is almost like a drug for me too. This is the ego that I've been struggling with as I love the attention and I love when I feel good and I love to share that with other people and get them giggling about life's shit that is just funny. And if you've been reading, you know that sometimes it backfires when you call someone's boyfriend the spitting image of a pussy band lead singer. So maybe it's my newfound acceptance of Step 1 but I felt pretty good last night, in spite of the chaos in the back of the room. And I kept myself in check and didn't get too far ahead of myself.

This morning, I also got thee to a meeting. It was painful getting up. I'm still so tired from being sick. I need like 14 hrs of sleep straight to catch up it feels like. I went home early yesterday and took a 2 hr nap before going to my meeting. I like the morning meeting and it's the same feeling I get when I go to the gym in the morning. Nauseous and like I've accomplished something for the day and I can chill in the afternoon. I shared this morning even though I've been trying to listen more. I wanted to share about how awesome it is that I accepted Step 1, that I am an alcoholic and I belong in the rooms. This was huge and I wanted to share it. I talked about how therapy when I was using was like sand paper with a large grit, only removing the obvious superficial stuff and the program was more like sand paper with a fine grit, doing the fine tuning of my self that therapy can't maintain when I'm only going once per week and using. Alcoholism has affected all parts of my life and many times I have attributed my character defects to other stuff: overbearing parents, sheltered upbringing, genetic predisposition for depression. And it's not the worse thing that's happened to me. And that came out of the meeting today too. It's interlaced and manifests itself in everything but it's not the worst that's happened. And it doesn't have to be to be in the meetings and join the program either. What's lovely is that it takes all kinds....