As I end this day…

As I end this day, I do so with gratitude. I’m ever so grateful to still be alive. I drink gallons of beer every day, but for some strange reason, life keeps me around and ready and raring to live another day. That’s gotta be a gift from God.

Alcohol gives us everything. So we think. But, the truth is, it’s the devil in sheep’s clothing. It will kill us at every opportunity. If there is any real evil in life, Alcohol is its gasoline. Drink gasoline and you die almost immediately.

So?

Nelson

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Drinking and blogging….

I don’t think I have ever drank and blogged before, but here goes.

I had a pretty good day today. No major stress, no hangover. But, I went to my local “Cheers” and had a few. Quite a few. Why? Cause I wanted to. That’s it. I’ve got soup to eat shortly, so that I don’t have a horrendous hangover tomorrow. You know…when we drink on an empty stomach, we have the worst of the worst hangovers the next day. So, I KNOW BETTER! I know how to drink, to mitigate tomorrows hangover! What a winner I am! Right….

I wish that I didn’t know, so well.

My point is…how we so willingly not only drink, but even pay for, our POISON, behooves me. Yet, we do. Why? I’m still trying to figure that one out. The “nature of the beast” some will say. I have to agree. In fact, I’m seeing it all the more as some sort of THING that possesses us, in the most evil sense of the word. Like, it’s demonic. What does “Demonic” mean? Well, a very evil force that however much we would like to dismiss…those of us caught in the grasp of addiction…we just have to consider. No priest, sadly, can exorcise this from us. Why?  I think it has to do will our WILL, which means it is within our own power, somehow. But, how to do??? That is the question. The answer, even with A.A…still eludes me.

We’re all in this together. Welcome!

Nelson.

Day 14…detour?

I’m wondering if I should stop counting the days. 2 weeks ago I planned to not drink for 2 weeks straight. HA! So much for that plan. Counting the days was supposed to keep an exciting tally of the number of sober days. That sure as hell didn’t happen. Like usual, my plans fell apart. Like usual, I failed. Ask me if I’m surprised! Nope. But, but, but! But what? Ha-ha! These two weeks were not in vain. I’ve learned and realized something very, very important. Something that I realize, now more than ever, is critical, critical to my having any hope of successfully getting free from the bottle. In AA they call it “Hitting Bottom”.

I’ve resisted the concept of “hitting bottom” for many years. When we are truly “addicted” to alcohol, in a nutshell, “hitting bottom” means sinking to your absolute lowest state of being in your alcoholism. For many, that means having all sorts of horrible stuff happen because of the drinking, like losing your job, your family, your home, your health, your money. Some end up on the streets, or living in a rat infested flea bag hotel on skid row. Those are the worse case scenarios, of course. Many hit bottom before any or all of those terrible things happen to them. Every persons “bottom” is different.

“Hitting bottom” is beautifully described by David Schoen in his excellent book, The War of the Gods in Addiction, wherein he states, “it is…the (emotional) recognition of the hopelessness, futility, and misery of continuing on the arrogant, delusional path that one has been on”. And, as Bill Wilson, the co-founder of AA once said, “hitting bottom is the essence of getting hold of AA—really”. Until we realize that there is absolutely nothing that we can do in our own power to free ourselves from our alcoholism, we will continue to stumble along and experience one defeat after another—just as I have been through in the past two weeks! Yet another defeat.

Yup, you see, my “plan” to quit drinking over the last two weeks was still MY plan, another vain ego effort to lick this thing using my “higher-power”. Using my higher-power—not depending upon it absolutely. And that is why I failed. I did it innocently, of course, because I had not yet hit my absolute “bottom”. But, last night when I was back at the pub licking my wounds and feeling terribly sorry for myself, I finally experienced—lived and felt and realized full blast the absolute futility of trying to do this with my own power and clever ego plans.

I finally experienced total ego collapse and defeat. I gave up and let go. It’s taken me FIFTEEN years to reach this critical juncture! Fifteen years. What a waste of my life! But, I know its been a necessary waste. So not a “waste”, really. Its simply been what I have had to go through to get to this point. Such is how insidious and horrible the bloody ALCOHOL has been in my life all these years. Who would have figured!? Not me! And that’s the very nature of the beast. It leads so many innocently and willingly down the road to destruction, misery and death. God willing, I’ve just taken the detour.

Nelson

Day 8….advice from a toaster.

My toaster taught me something today. I have owned this toaster for about 7 years. Until a week ago, I could never figure out which button on it added or subtracted extra time on it, to cook the toast longer or less. THIS WEEK, however, I finally figured it out. Yes, this week, during my week long sobriety. I now know which button to push if I want to cook my toast longer or shorter!

Tonight I thought to myself…”Hmmmm…isn’t 7 years a LONG time to finally be able to figure out which button to push, out of two choices all this time….? ” Well, ya….DUH…it IS a long time to finally figure that out! So, tonight, I’m wondering why it’s taken so long… I KNOW why! The alcohol, of course. The damn booze has dumbed me down for so many years that I couldn’t even figure out how to work my bloody toaster!!! My toaster!!! 7 years!!! Is that not pathetic? Yes, it is. It’s also amazing how the drug, alcohol, works. How it has kept working all these years, behind the scenes, so to speak, keeping me stupid. Amazing. I know I’m not alone. This is scary shit.

Day 1…oh ya.

Whoa, “Day 1” packs an emotional wallop for me. I can’t remember the number of times I started an entry in my written journal with it. ALL FAILED. Sometimes I made it to day 2, most not. Well, THIS “Day 1” is different. LOL…I ‘ve said just that a bunch of times too. I’m writing myself into further insanity. I should just give up, give in, quit my job, live on the streets and hope to get thrown into a government run rehab program. Ah….no thanks. This Day 1 IS different. How so? I just know it is. I don’t think I ever wrote that in my journal.

Yesterdays plans all went to shite. I still drank my face off at my “Cheers”. I don’t care. Today is another day. Well, and I had a good excuse. My friends knew yesterday was my last planned drinking day, so they helped me out with that. That’s what good friends do, right?

So today I’m going to start detoxing myself, using alcohol, but only if I’m feeling desperate and in withdrawal, which has rarely happened during my million past failed attempts to quit. Ok, it did happen the last time, about 6 months ago. I had a small glass of wine about 2 in the morning because I couldn’t get to sleep. It helped, it worked. So I’ll do that again if I have to. Only if I have to.

This Day 1 is also different because I am doing bunch of extra things to help me. For example, my therapist (a Jungian) urged me to add a spiritual element in the mix. She suggested I light a candle and just stare into the flame to have a few quiet moments before I meditate. Well, I did light a candle, but I didn’t meditate. Instead — hold on to your hat’s — I drew a card from my Tarot deck. Let’s not get into what kind of spirituality we all think that is. It doesn’t matter! What matters is if it add’s that spiritual element for me, regardless of how much I or anyone else “believes” in it. Ok, so before drawing the card, I prayerfully asked God, the Universe, the Infinite Intelligence and Donald Trump for wisdom and guidance. No, I didn’t really add Donald Trump into the mix! And so, what card did I draw???

Using just the 21 “Major Arcana” cards, all in the right side up position, I drew card VII, number seven. Coincidentally (?), 7 my favourite, my “lucky” number. Nice. In a nutshell, the Chariot card means “moving forward towards success; a conquerer”. Another nice. I’d call drawing that card a meaningful coincidence, a rosy Synchronicity. At the very least, a nice bonus and encouragment for the day, for this new and fresh Day 1, of many more days to come.

Nelson.

3…

It’s still early for me to report, but something kind of amazing and wonderful happened when I got up this morning. I had lingered in bed, feeling very down and discouraged, depressed even. Dragging myself out of bed was hard, like opening a soup can without a can opener. Anyway, while the coffee was brewing I decided to deposit a cheque into my account, using my iPhone to snap a picture of it with my online banking. When it asked for the amount, I was a bit confused because it looked like the amount was already there. Well, it was but that was the current balance of my account. The cheque was for the exact same amount as the balance of my account. After snapping the picture and depositing it, I even checked the balance, subtracting the cheque amount from it, just to be sure. The same. What are the odd’s of that happening?

Call me spiritual, but that seemed like a sign to me. It certainly felt like a sign and my spirits were immediately lifted. “Ok”, I thought to myself, “I can do this”. This, meaning follow through with my plan to quit drinking. And that, knowing that the Universe, or God, or what have you is there to help me. That, in Jungian terms (Carl Jung, the Psychiatrist, a contemporary of Freud) is called a Synchronicity; a meaningful coincidence, and I’ll take this one, thank you very much!!!

I’ll report back later with the days results.

Nelson.

Profound despair…

I think I have identified a common thread for most alcoholics. I’ve been observing my “bar-buddy’s” lately for this, then this morning it hit me. Many, if not most, alcoholics suffer supreme loneliness and profound despair towards life. The despair is a shared sentiment and feeling of, “There is nothing that I can do to improve my lot in life, so I might as well just drink. At least it gives me some relief”. The loneliness drives them to the pub’s and bar’s for at least some semblance of a social life and freedom from the “four walls” for the single ones, or from the horror at home for the rest.

Do I include myself in this morose description? To some extent, yes. And well, we often have to really know something, experience it ourselves, before we can recognize it in others. I live alone. Many nights I can’t bear to be at home along and so go to the pub for relief from the loneliness and boredom. At least my pub friends understand me, accept me, even care about me and visa versa. My despair towards life comes from feeling that I have little or no control over changing the things that bother me, in many cases for years and years living with a profound sense of loss of myself. Approaching 60, I often feel that life has passed me by, that I have spent most of my time and energy just barely surviving. Not achieving, like so many others I see around me. I’m just surviving, barely surviving. That’s discouraging, extremely discouraging.

And yet, I think that what makes a bit of a difference for me is that for some blessed reason I awaken each day with a small glimmer of hope. Hope that one day, perhaps even today, I will be free from the need for alcohol. Hope, that I will yet be able to become fully me, before it’s too late.

I hope that I can somehow pass that glimmer of hope on to my friends. Too many seem so lost in their loneliness, so lost in their despair. God, guide me.