Rotting past…

I just came across a quote that my Jungian therapist gave to me some time ago, written by Annie Lamott, about Forgiveness, for mourning the loss of my past, as I have been so wont to do.

“Giving up all of having had a better past.”

I have spent— no let’s call it what is exactly — wasted — too many years trying to just cope with life, and have most of that time liberally doused it with the most unholiest of water, alcohol. I am easily tempted to beat myself up for this. Tempted to angrily punish myself for what an idiot I was — am. But, in reality I know that’s being too hard on myself. Most of us tend to focus on our most prominent misgivings when we look back like that. From what I understand this is actually quite natural.

So Ms. Lamott is urging us, when we do look back, even if the view is negative, to nevertheless forgive ourselves for being human and to give up and let go of our angst-filled notion of wishing we had had a better past.

Indeed, what’s past is past. Yes, it lies belly up, putrefying, rotting, in the basement of our memories. But we don’t need to go down there to purposely smell it. The past is over. Our only hope is to let go and hope for a better day, today and tomorrow. Easy to say…

May we all have better days.

Nelson

Here we go again…day 1.

Yup, here I go again. But THIS time, I’m really going to do it. How do I know that? I don’t know how I know, I just know that I know. There is something different about that. I’ve committed myself to 30 days starting today. If I do the 30 days — which I am certain that I will — then I will continue FOREVER. I’ve told my friends, who are all chiefly drinking friends (the main thing we share in common anyway) that I’m doing this 30 day thing and that I have to have their support. In fact I told them that if I don’t do this 30 days that I’m going to quit my job and go into rehab and then a half-way house and disappear. Yes, I’m open to rehab, finally, if that’s what it takes to get and keep me sober. I don’t think I’ll end up there — but I am willing to do it now if I need to.

So here we go. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get and stay sober. A.A. meetings — anything and everything to do this, by God’s grace. I choose LIFE! See you there!

Nelson

Christmas greetings….

The Spirit of Christmas

While the word “Xmas” is most often substituted for “Christmas ” these days. The fact is we cannot and dare not take the “Christ” out of Christmas.

Christmas is an honouring and celebration of the birth of the man, Jesus. Yes, much controversy surrounds his history and legacy because, well it was 2000 years ago! That’s a long time.

What time and archeology and good historical analysis have shown regarding Jesus, however, is that most likely the historical account is true, that there was the man named Jesus, who made some pretty dramatic claims about his mission in life, and backed most of those up.

So, the historical Jesus account was most likely true. The possibility of his being physically resurrected from the dead is still hotly debated. Were he not actually resurrected then a lot of Christianity’s claims and ground to stand on could be severely challenged.

All that said, despite the Crusades and the burning of witches and all of that horrible stuff, most modern day scholars and theologians agree that Christianity is, and was always meant to be, a philosophy that promoted PEACE and can and should be promoted as one that was meant to originally be a spirituality rooted in and born from compassion and love.

What is compassion? Love in action. I’m sure most philosophers or theologians would whole heartedly agree, if challenged to define “God”, would say that He or It’s greatest character attribute is love. Even Islam believes in this (although interprets the ultimate application and ruling of that quite differently than modern day Christians do!)

So, safely said, love IS God’s ultimate essence. And how is love expressed? By compassion. Where there is compassion there is love….and there too is “God”. That’s the “It” aspect of God.

The true spirit of Christmas, then, is truly “tidings of good will” arising from our care and compassion for others, which is ultimately love in action. God, through us, being God.

That my dear friends, is my sermon for this Christmas. Feel free to comment! I wish you all a most blessed Christmas.

Nelson

Our significant other…

Ruminations of my “significant others” now a few years past….I lost my last two loves due to my alcoholism….

The truth is…neither one of us can fulfill or complete the other. Our own fulfillment and completion can only come from within ourselves. The best that another can do, if we are fortunate, is give us company, comfort, sympathy, even pity…as we go along our own journey and path. And if together, keep our feet warm together at night, and with luck, hold our hand as we pass from this form of being that we call “Life”, to the next. That is it.

We are each individually responsible for just ourselves. As one, we are born to this world…and as one we shall leave it, company (preferred) or not.

Nelson

“Friends”…

Ok, so I’m a week or so into my taper-down program. I had 5 drinks on Thursday, 2 on Friday, 2 2/3 on Saturday. A wee bit more last night because on Friday night I couldn’t get to sleep until after 3 AM and woke up around 8. That always happens when I drink less—super bad insomnia kicks in.

Last night I treated myself to a home-made pizza. I say “treated myself” because I’m trying to give myself positive reinforcement in the classical psychological sense. It hasn’t worked much before (!) but is still worth doing, even if it only helps a teensy. Hey, every little bit counts in this damn battle!

While the pizza was cooking, guess what happened? One of my best drinking buddies called me! Never fails! I don’t know how many times I have done well at limiting or quitting my drinking and then he suddenly shows up, which seems weird because he works a thousand miles away! He comes into town once every 6 or 8 weeks. He was just here a couple of weeks ago! I didn’t answer his call this time. I “successfully” ignored it!

I emphasized, “successfully”, because normally, almost without fail, I cave and join him for beers. He buys me a couple, which is nice, but then I buy myself another 6 or 8 and start myself on a bit of a bender for a few days (or weeks) as I try to manage the drunk-hang over cycle. This time, however, I’m not going to cave!!! I’m going to tell him that I’m on the wagon and have other commitments to attend to. If I don’t tell him I’m busy he will encourage me to join him regardless. In times past when I’ve resisted he’s explicated, “Don’t be a pussy!”. Some friend eh? Well, he’s one of those guys who has a drinking problem even worse than I do but will never ever think that he does. As far as I know he has never, ever, thought about limiting his drinking. When he came down with gout a few years ago, he started taking allopurinol, which cured the gout and freed him to continue drinking, unabated. Was he ever happy!

Some friend, indeed. Actually, I like him very much. I enjoy his company. He’s got a great sense of humour and for the most part is caring and compassionate. He is blind, however, to his own drinking and just as blind to that of others. It’s hard to ignore him, then, because we are otherwise good—almost best—friends. Well, as much as I love him (as a friend), I know that I need to love myself more and continue on my own private path to wellness, which means. not. drinking!

Let’s see how this plays out…

Nelson

Thanksgiving blessings….

So last night (Tuesday night here in Canada) I cooked my finally thawed out Turkey and really enjoyed it. Well, after the blood stopped flowing anyway. Whilst carving it, the knife slipped and I severly cut my thumb, right on the joint. I narrowly missed hitting a major vein and tendon, thank God.

The turkey was delicious. I enjoyed a second helping of the same tonight. My thumb is in wraps. Totally bandaged. I have all my first aid and emergency responder training, so I knew what to do last night.

Someone messaged me today that they fell off the wagon, big time. I responded by telling them just how much I can relate to that. I’ve been off the wagon for ages! In a controlled sort of way, lucky for me…I can still function day to day…although I have difficulty figuring out just WHAT day it is from day to day! Not important. Not while we are caught in the grip of our alcoholism. Every morning when I sit on the John (the “WC” for our Great Britian readers) I ruminate, try to pontificate even, but end up having to just truncate all of that and figure out what day it is. I’m usually pretty close, within a day or two. I don’t wear a watch, so it’s not that easy!

Anyway, my point is. To my friend here who fell off the wagon, SO WHAT!? Like, it’s not an easy thing to fall off the wagon in our culture!? Getting on the wagon is the hard part. Those of us here are trying to get on and stay on the bloody wagon because we know that it’s not good for us and if we keep on like this, then the booze is going to KILL US!!!!

Everyone here knows that the booze will kill us, if we let it. IF WE LET IT!!! I know that that is easier said than done. Well, as for me, unless I stroke out or have an Upper GI bleed-out, which is beyond our control (especially when on blood-thinners as I am) I am NOT going to let this dis-ease kill me!!!

Join me. Your company is most welcome, and by the way, you are loved, by me and all the rest of us here on WordPress. Don’t forget that! It just might be the ultimate secret and path to our being free!!!

Nelson

Thanksgiving…

This weekend was the Thanksgiving celebration here in Canada. As for me, I am very, very thankful — to still be alive and more or less well, given the volume of my drinking, given the extent of my addiction. I drink a lot every day, but I’m still able to get up and do my job and function quite well, even with a hangover. It’s not where I really want to be, however. I’d rather be free, totally free, finally free, from drinking. But alas, that goal eludes me yet .

I saw a friend of mine in the drugstore this morning. Let’s call him Paul. Paul’s a drunk like me. Not quite the same as me, though. Rather, he is the other type of drunk compared to me. I drink every day. He doesn’t, until he picks up, and then he drinks every day for a month or two, or three, 24-7. He’s a “Binge-drinker”. He described to me today how once he starts, he can’t stop. Early in the morning he waits for the liquor store to open, so he can stop his shakes, his insatiable craving for more, more and more, but just enough more to settle him down. Just enough, he said, so that he can make it to work. Then he paces himself throughout the day. Just enough to keep functioning while he’s at work. Just enough to not be noticed by his boss and co-workers. The truth is, “just enough” isn’t enough–they all notice! They can smell him a mile away. They tolerate him until they can’t tolerate him anymore, and then he gets fired. He’s been fired once a year for the last 10 years. The last time he got fired, it was because he showed up early for an important board meeting. To “prepare” for it he drank a half bottle of whisky. A few minutes into the meeting, he suddenly passed out, he literally fell forward and head-planted onto the boardroom table. Head-planted, passed out, right there in front of all of the head honchos. They “let him go” when he regained consciousness. After these typical two or three month benders, he ends up in the hospital, where they detox him, wish him luck, and then send him back out again. He’s been to rehab. It doesn’t work for him.

Today when I saw Paul, he said he’s been sober for 2 months now, but is jobless, once again. He seemed discouraged. Well, he’s in his early 60’s. It’s getting harder to find work between his binges. Frankly, I think he’s been damn lucky to keep working all this time to date. Damn lucky. He asked me to call him to go for coffee soon. I couldn’t find his number on my phone, so I asked him for it — cell number? home number? home address? I asked. Why all the detail? Because I think he might kill himself soon. I wanted his home address in case he doesn’t answer his phone when I call him to go for that coffee, so I can tell the police where to go to find him, drunk or dead.

This is alcohols effect on some, on Paul, on me in a slightly different way. What to do? WHAT TO DO???

Nelson