Procrastination

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The best way to get something done is to begin- author unknown

For some of us it’s not just fear but procrastination, and the crazy part was that I would go to any length to get high. I never put that one off I can assure you. Surrender is a process, and I wonder why I had such a hard time staying sober.  Procrastination, in many ways, has always been an art form for me.  In fact, the masterpiece is so spectacular that I forget to actually put the oil on the canvas. I tell myself that I’ll finish what I think I should have started but never actually get around to it. Twain once said “why do tomorrow, what you can put off until day after tomorrow.” That little voice creeps up on me, and I’m riddled with fear, anxiety, and anger for not having gotten done more of what I actually set out to do. My recovery can be the same. I tell myself that  I’ll stay home tonight because I don’t “feel” like going to a meeting, doing step work, or writing.  Like a snowball rolling downward, I’m in a tailspin and I get irritated, frustrated, and full of self pity. This all happens in a matter of minutes because I avoid doing the task at hand. What gets me unfrozen? Following the inner voice, and doing it  whether I “feel” like it or not. Procrastination can be a beast, so I ‘act as if’ the monkey is off my back even when I feel like I’m still carrying him.  I thank God I have something to do whether I want to or not, and I understand better today that forcing myself into action will breed in me an intrinsic virtue that the idle will never know,,,,good day!….b

winds of change


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It’s inevitable,  winds of change are going to blow. Everyone goes thru transformation, and looking over my shoulder, I turned inward as if I had the power  to change my life when it turned south. I found out that I don’t have that power, it must come from  God. You may have different experiences, but my subsequent  recognition of how powerless I really am is the catalyst from which my life blood flows today. It’s an education that books or money cannot buy, but it sure has cost me plenty. So, what do I do differently today as opposed to yester years? I still swing from trees, don’t knock myself out, and wake up and actually remember.  The biggest change is that I do not use mind altering substances anymore. Growing up, the creek swing was where we went for fun. It was the only excusable reason, in my opinion, to skip school and get a buzz. I told the principal once that I had hauled hay the afternoon before, so I needed to take a day off from school to cool down. He wasn’t amused. It’s hard sometime, but honesty is the underlying truth that frees me. Change creates fear, and fear can create paralyzing, freezing thoughts that can cause me to do nothing, With change also comes courage and the recognition that I can have fun in sobriety.  I can keep laughing at myself, swinging along, turning it over, and asking God to make it on more day.  For a long time, I felt like I was missing out because I wasn’t getting blitzed. What I don’t miss are the hangovers, the alcohol sweat pouring out of me like spout water.  I still can create a little chaos, but thankfully I’ve built a rapport with friends in recovery and life that can call me  on my baloney. They know when I get sideways, but they still can’t keep me from jumping out of trees…..good day!…b

Let Go and Let God

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Thinking, obsessing, or worrying about the future has never changed it, and even God can’t change my past, but the Creator, loves me in spite of it all.   I only have today. What should be a natural process of self-reflection often goes awry when I play the same distressing scenes in my head over and over again. Feelings can be a tough draw. Maybe you do the same. I ask myself, “how could she?”, “what was I thinking”, or “why can’t I stop this?” Several years ago, I was introduced to an idea by a mountain biking buddy on a trail around Lake Fontana.   He was, and still is, one of those spiritually enlightened giants. He might as well have been talking a foreign language at the time. I was replaying a painful but necessary break up and analyzing every nuance of details that I could recall. What I really wanted was for him to fix the situation. What I know today is that he doesn’t have that power. The urge to ruminate can strike at any moment, taking over my thoughts when I’m driving, in the shower, or maybe even when I’m working out.  Before I know it, my mood is melancholy, my emotions feel raw, and my thinking turns negative. His words?…..”let go and let God.”   I saw it on a plaque three years later on a wall in an AA meeting.  There are those who offer a smile, a handshake, or a hug that can encourage me in ways like none other. There are those too who encourage by their words, always uplifting no matter their ordeal. They seem to have the edge, a spiritual connectedness that reminds those around them of a quiet confidence. They also get that life is short and circumstances will change, and occasionally their words are as profoundly amazing as a blood red moon…..good day!…b

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Sharing is Caring

“Shoot me straight,” is a good Southern expression that means tell me the truth. Socrates, a philosopher who sojourned in the meaning of truth, proves a good point. People in the marketplace would ask him why he always admired the fine shoes for sale while he walked around barefoot, and he replied, “So I can see what I am perfectly happy without.” Some one passed that story along so that a few hundred years later we all might learn from it. Here’s another from a friend in the program who will share her story tonight in a speaker meeting. She writes…..”5 years ago today I lost my brother to this horrible disease of addiction. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think to myself if I had of ‘just.’ I know that he is in peace, that I can only just imagine like the peace I feel when I’m being of maximum service to others. The truth is he never knew there was any other way to live. It’s really sad when I think that at one time I had also accepted that I would die from this disease as well. God has given me so much today to be grateful for!!! Today I will not be sad, but I will reflect on what the disease has given back to me and my family. It’s given me my life, because I was dead when I walked in the rooms. I love you all!!”…Three years sober, and she cares enough to share what takes guts, courage, and faith. We are all writing our own stories, each day a new page in the chapter on Life. Thankfully, others share so that we all might learn from their experiences as well as our own….good day!…b

Rules

IMG_20150927_092745Coach told us to wear the blue jersey to the pep rally, so I wore the white one. It wasn’t even a rule to be broken, but I still wanted it my way. From a long way back,  it has almost always been like that. I was a knee baby then, but I can still act like an adult child now. I’ve heard emotional growth is stunted in adolescent development when drugs and alcohol are involved. That explains it I guess. “I’ll show him,” said the chip on my shoulder. I forget even though I don’t like them, rules are not made to be broken. At one time, our AA forefathers thought it best to come up with some rules to “foolproof” the sobriety movement. After 61 of them,  some wisecrack came up with Rule 62 which is ‘stop taking yourself so seriously.’ The group then scraped the rules idea altogether. Thank goodness for the lighthearted. Laughter was one of the first sounds I remember at my first 12 step meeting years back, but I was so solemn that I couldn’t crack a smile. I’ve learned in recovery that some circumstances in life just aren’t that important, and rule 62 applies.  What are important are the traditions. They are the tie that binds members who say they have a desire to stop drinking. No tenants, no covenants, and no rules. I fit into that puzzle much more nicely. It’s probably the main reason I gave it a shot at all. I could elaborate on my rule breaking antics, but that’s what caused much of the problem. The solution is where I want to live today. Acceptance that rules have value and meaning in my thinking has caused a shift in understanding where I end and others begin. It’s just the way the world works, and I did not get that concept at all for a long time. I try to apply Rule 62 as often as I can. It is a difference maker in my life…blessings!…b

Desperation

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Letting life flow can be as difficult as letting go. Ultimately,  they meet together at a place called surrender. Until I became desperate enough, the fact was that little in my life had changed. Sometimes a man has to lose it all, just to get his life back. Desperation is so painfully obvious to others that even I can’t hide it. Out of those moments  come some of the most passionate and creative changes in a man’s life.  Some call it a gift. I call it a blessing. Holding on and refusing to let life flow is hard work. Its easiest to just open up and let the flood waters go. They say water follows the path of least resistance. I did too before I became desperate enough to surrender. Unfortunately, I have to be beaten to a state of complete annihilation to slow down.  It’s kinda like looking down the barrel of a 12 gauge shotgun backwards, …….but your arms aren’t long enough to pull the trigger. That’s desperation. Its an all time low to recognize that I’ve become the man I had always despised. Reaching over the next morning to take a swig of the bottle next to the bed is completely demoralizing. Today, I have a reprieve and a desire to change. It took all of it for me to want a better life. I want to keep this joy and freedom desperately.  For a long time  I was unwilling to yield to the pain and heartache I put on myself and others when I would relapse into old patterns and behaviors. I’ve been there, and I don’t want to go back. God gives us all chances, and I’m grateful for mine …..good day!…b

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Loved ones

I have family and friends who don’t understand addiction and have had an extraordinary feeling of confusion when they have seen me,time and again, attempt to turn myself into a moderate drinker. I, too, had those thoughts that I’m not hurting anyone but myself. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The disease of addiction affects everyone in whom an addict comes in contact. Perhaps I have even asked you to let me borrow your wallet, car, or condo. This disease has no boundaries. It is puzzling to others after circumstantial evidence and consequences have proven the experiment wouldn’t work, why I would go round after round like a hamster on a wheel. Then thru twists and turns, peaks and valleys, I get help by working the steps. Loved ones begin to ask, “you’ve been at this sober thing a while now, shouldn’t you be over it?” Perhaps they mean well and are looking to fix me or maybe they are just curious.  It’s fine to admit that I don’t know everything, but trying to help someone who doesn’t want it is futile and only creates resentments for both parties. I can’t  snap out of it. An obese person can’t just drop 20 lbs. any more than an anorexic person can see their frailty simply by looking in the mirror. We all wished we could, trust me.  It is a day at a time ordeal, and each waking day I have to ask God to keep me sober. What we have in common are deep wounds that cause us to resort to varying methods to distract us from who we really want to become. We don’t want to keep disappointing our family and friends. No man wants to die with a needle in his arm, a straw in his nose, or a bottle in his hand. I used these to kill the pain of what is faulty deep down inside of me. It is tragic to watch, it is painful to live, but there is hope. My experiences have taught me that until I became willing and ready to work at sobriety, nothing changed. The caveat is that no one can do it for me. I have to remain honest, ask for help, and help others. No one is promised tomorrow…..good day!….b

Bible Verse

Pains

How memorable the mental anguish and physical pain, but how easy to also forget; cold one minute and hot the next, irritable, agitated, and poisons so dangerous that it takes hospitalization to remove them. Withdrawing and detoxing are not easy nor fun. After all of that, the ease and comfort still is the first place my mind goes when I’m in pain. It can be mental, emotional, or physical…..depression, bad relationship, or a hurt back. Mine happens to be the latter now. I have had lower back problems  thru out my life. It started in my early twenties with some sports related flair ups. This time I was changing a flat, and now it hurts to even get out of bed. I ice it, take ibuprofen, wear a brace, and use a TENS unit, but it is killing me and my first thought is demerol, percocet, lortabs, or morphine. Why is that you ask? Because I have the mind of an addict and although I know how to kill the pain, I have to carefully consider the repercussions.  I know from experience after flipping off a mountain bike in 2011 that I’m grateful I had a helmet on, and I’m grateful I survived. But again I started taking pain pills, and the next thing I know I’m drinking with them. Normal people don’t do that. What happens is it produces a euphoric high, then cravings, obsessive thoughts, tolerance increases, and I do that until I pass out. Day after miserable day, I become enslaved again. So, I have learned that my body and mind do not respond normally to pain nor pain killers.  They awaken the monster inside of me. I will pray, I will take it easy, and I will be honest about it…..so that the monster does not come alive and kill me….Good day!….b

Children of God

Children are gifts from God. Even when I want to throw up my hands and scream at mine, I must remember that. No one has expressed it better than the words, faith, and actions of popular radio host Rick Burgess of the Rick and Bubba Radio talkShow, whose toddler son was found drowned in the family’s pool in 2008. Gut wrenching, horrific pain, and thru it all, Rick has spoken candidly about his growing faith and belief in Christianity while going thru the trauma. Like those of us in recovery, it is a day at a time ordeal. Whether your atheist, agnostic, monotheistic, or your teetering on the brink of disaster, watch people and who they cry out to in times of desperation and sorrow. It’s deep and it’s heavy, but I watch a child and I see God. They are forgiving, resilient, loving, and compassionate. I aim to become more like that.  It’s not perfect, it’s not always pretty, but what my kids teach me has been life changing. Night before last, my 17 year old son came home after spending the weekend with his cousin who lost his father at age two. My son lost his mother at age 10. They have a kindred bond that only they know and understand. That is why I crave the fellowship of people who are like me and understand me. Today, I am fortunate to have friends who can give me guidance with their experiences raising kids and living sober. It’s no small feat, raising two teenagers in a ‘dog eat dog’ world.  As tears welled in my son’s eyes, he reminded me that I had reverted back into some negative and old behaviors. No, I haven’t picked up a drink yet, but my gut instinct tells me he is spot on. I thanked him the next day for having the courage to call me out. I have to listen to my childrens’ voice, it is how I hear God…..good day!….b

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Religiosity

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I once had lots of it,  bucketfuls almost. Religionness is what kept me in a circle of theology that if only I went to church more, studied my Bible more and prayed more that God would somehow find favor with me, and my white picket fence, starched shirt lifestyle would fake everybody else off. I can never do enough, pray enough, or know enough I have found. It is a gift, and a favor from God all along. I had plenty of conviction, but my real life was far different from my religious life, and I have learned that a “double minded man is unstable in all of his ways.” I had to get honest, but getting honest in church is far different than me getting honest with God. The reason is because I am the same as everyone, H-U-M-A-N, and my experiences have taught me that church should be a place for sick people to get well. Everybody is recovering from something. It may be lust, pride, gluttony, envy, dishonesty, or strife. Addiction is a symptom of those problems, created when my basic instincts spin out of control. Thankfully, weaknesses and character defects do not define me anymore. I could never overcome them by ‘acting’ religious.  Church provides a community of like minded believers, but wanting to do good and get it all right is where I went all wrong. It’s not like a coat I can take on and off to suit me or others.  Religion is man made and my faith is not predicated on sound systems, sermons, or sedans in the parking lot. Addictions do not bow down to religion; but a spiritual transformation can and will relieve me of the bondage of myself. The temple is within me, and I must work daily at preserving its spirit well….good day!…b

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