God…IMHO

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IMHO means, “In my humble opinion”, used for years in online Forums, but which have gone by the wayside recently, sadly.

Anyway, some people who go to A.A. have difficulty conceiving of God, of believing in God. I know. Here is my conception of God, borrowed from Jung. He said, “God is the name by which I designate all things which cross my willful path violently and recklessly, all things which upset my subjective views, plans, and intentions and change the course of my life for better or worse”.

To which I will add, God is the magic in the moment, the spirit in the spritzer. Goosebumps when we know something extraordinarily unusual and unique is happening. The inner knowing in a situation that would otherwise behoove us. The bird that lands close to us during our most desperate moments. A sudden coincidence that we cannot explain. The colour of the blossoms that catch our eye, the scent of the flowers that suddenly overpower us. The fresh breath of a child as they grasp and hold us without expecting. The pictures just sent from my daughter of her son playing languidly in the beach sand. The lingering moment between sunset and darkness that stirs something within our souls. That is God, and then some. Perhaps those reading could add to this in the comments? That would be nice, and another gift from God.

Is that sort of God difficult to believe in? I don’t think so. To me, that’s just the type of God I need! The one I have been longing for.

And in the end, if you still have difficulty believing, ask God — as a pure act of faith, which just means having great hope really — to reveal himself/herself/itself to you in some special way… he will, if you are open to it and looking for it. The little bird in my description above was just one of many ways he did for me. I feed the birds from my patio. Each spring the Junco’s leave for cooler weather in the deep forests. Each fall they return. One morning, in particular desperation I asked God for a sign, anything, to know that he cared, that he was there. I walked into my living room and there flew down the first Junco onto my patio, returning from the summer. I gasped with unbelief, but soon grasped the belief, the sign. That is beyond coincidence. That’s GOD. If he did it for me, many times, he will for you. Just ask! What have you got to lose? Nothing. So give it a shot…and let us know what happens!

P.S. When Jung was asked one day if he “believes” in God, he answered, “I don’t ‘believe’, I KNOW! (that God exists), because of his life-long experiences. At this stage of my life, I can say the same.

Nelson

Dead end street…

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So I took the detour a couple days ago and, just my luck, ended up on a dead end street! That’s a good thing! It’s a good thing because I finally understand the utter futility of trying to overcome this beast by my own clever thinking. You see, I’ve always fancied myself as a pretty clever guy.  Yup, cause I know I was brought up in a good family, I got myself a UNI-VERS-ITY (said in a Southern drawl) education. I’ve probably read several thousand books in my life, from philosophy to physics, science to social studies, politics to religion.

Yep, I’ve got the brains and braun. I shouldn’t be a drunk! But I am. And not one shred of my upbringing or education can help me with that, as it turns out. It’s all just “stinkin-thinkin” in the end. I’ve spent the last 20 years trying to disprove that simple fact. Damn!

At the beginning of every AA meeting someone reads, “How it Works”. In there it states:

We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol—cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power—that One is God.

The key is to “let go absolutely” and to look to and rely upon a higher power–call that God, or the Universe, or Cosmic Consciousness, or Synchronicity, or even just the community of fellow AA’ers–it’s all the same. It’s a power outside of ourselves, above and beyond our own stinkin-thinkin.

As for me, thanks to the past two weeks of trying once again under my own power to stop drinking–and failing–and after 20 years of doing pretty much the same over and over and over again, I have finally LET GO ABSOLUTELY and am ready for my higher power to do for me what I couldn’t do for myself.

Let’s see what happens now. Thanks for joining me on the journey!

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

Drunk

Yup, I’m drunk. Well, sort of. It’s funny how when we are hungover, we can drink the next day with impunity…doesn’t matter how much we drink, we can’t get back the buzz from the night before, or so my experience has been. Well, I started drinking today about 1 pm…and finished at 7:15…8 drinks over 6 + hours….I guess I spaced them out too well. Ack. Whatever.

I’m back to work on Monday. So, I’ll do my best to cut back to “normal” levels by then. Maybe I’ll even put a day or two in sober? That would be great, but I’m not holding my breath or counting on that. The only thing I’m counting on is my higher power to maybe kick in and intervene and give me’s a break? That would be great.

Thanks to those who commented today. Much appreciated.

I hope I feel ok in the morning. God willing.

Fresh corn on the cob for dinner tonight. First of the season. Nice.

Nelson.

Day 13…super discouraged.

I did it again. I was doing great yesterday until a friend called. I made it out to the 2 pm AA meeting. Met a guy who I think can be my new sponsor. Was feeling good about the day—and then one of my bar-buddy friends called. 10 minutes later I joined him at the pub. 4 hours later I staggered home. What happened? I dunno. I really don’t know.

Ok, maybe I do know, a little. I read an article this morning that talked about how powerful environmental cues are for triggering addictive acts. The article was specifically talking about the power that FRIENDS can have to evoke that trigger. Too bad I didn’t read that article yesterday!

So now I’m suffering today. I feel like crap, physically and emotionally. I feel like I’ve poisoned myself. A few days ago I was feeling so well, so healthy. Not today. I’m so discouraged. Where is my “higher-power”? Is it not powerful enough to get me through this? Am I destined to get worse and worse, eventually lose everything and end up dead, or at least in rehab? Bleh.

My friends know that I’m trying to do this this week! Why are they calling me? I guess they don’t think I can do it, and they are RIGHT! What to do. What to do???

Keep on keeping on, I guess. “Let go and let God”. Keep going to meetings. Get that new sponsor. All of the above plus “whatever it takes”. I’ll have to cut those “friends” off. Tell them, at least, to stop calling me, which of course just isolates me further, but thank God I live in a big city that has lots and lots off AA’ers. I can make new friends. I just gotta stay alive in the meantime. Alive, meaning stay sober, busy, being OK. Funny how I’m looking to AA now for help. I’ve been in and out of AA for many years. Mostly out. I’ve had trouble with some of their philosophy. I don’t care about that now. They are there, open, willing to help.

To be honest, I’m really scared. I’m feeling the full POWER of my addiction. Now that push comes to shove it has reared its ugly head and is trying to convince me that I’ll never be free, that it will forever dominate me, that it will kill me before it ever lets go of me. Whoa. I’m not even a religious man, but I am now! God help me! God, please help me…

Nelson

2…1

Still drinking like a fish. I’m quite hungover this morning. I am SO tired of hangovers. I am feeling SO discouraged. I had planned to slowly taper down my drinking this week. Most of my plans go the same way. What can I expect from a DRUNK? Ohhhh, but the good news is that alcoholism is only a SYMPTOM of other underlying disorders. Sobering up doesn’t guarantee a change in personality. Ok, it does guarantee an elimination of the alcohol caused behaviours, like drunk texting. And it does guarantee that our health will improve. Oh alright, I’m being a pessimist. I could use another little miracle again today, like the bank deposit the other day.

So at the beginning of the week I decided that if I wasn’t sober by tomorrow (Saturday) that I would enrol in the Daytox program on Monday. I’m going to revise that a little. If I’m not sober by Sunday evening, then I’ll do it. I’m going to detox myself today, tomorrow and Sunday, using alcohol only as absolutely needed to help with the withdrawal. That’s assuming I have any withdrawal effects. In previous years I’ve had virtually no withdrawal effects other than feeling WEIRD. That and insomnia, but I have med’s to help with that part.

I’ve only gone to one AA meeting this week. Another disappointment, but I’ll go to one today for sure…

I’m really on the edge here. I’m feeling very powerless (Step 1) and not feeling very confident, but I do believe that there is a “Higher Power” of some sort at work, and available to me. I’m old enough, have had enough life experience to be convinced of that and that I’m counting to come through for me now, through meaningful coincidences, the Jungian concept of Synchronicity, just as it did on day 3. That’s MY “Higher Power”.

 

5…

The countdown has begun. I have 5 day’s to taper down and quit my drinking. If not accomplished by this Saturday, I will be enrolling myself in the local Daytox program as I described earlier. Last night I was at my usual watering hole and had my usual fill, but starting today I’m beginning my taper down to zero drinks by Friday. I think I can do this. While I don’t have what AA would describe as a classical “Higher Power”, I do believe in a higher power of sorts; call it the “Universal Intelligence”. And aside from that, I do believe in the power that an AA community can provide. Even AA suggests that for those who have a problem with believing in God, that the AA community can be substituted for that.

So, starting today as well, I’m going to be going to an AA meeting every day for the rest of this week and will likely continue doing the same indefinately.

For those interested, I’ll be reporting in every day this week as the countdown continues, with actual numbers of drinks consumed each day.

Cheeeeeers!

Nelson