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Oh Well? Part 2

Old 06-24-2020, 08:30 PM
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Old 06-27-2020, 08:04 PM
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Hey O

How are things going being back home? Thinking of you.
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Old 06-28-2020, 05:21 AM
  # 283 (permalink)  
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Hey Hawk, thanks for asking. I've been "about to" post an update any number of times, then always find something else to distract me. Not a bad thing...

Home is good. I like it here and like it even better every day as I settle in bit by bit. I've yet to do the second round cleaning, but it is really quite tidy and getting homier every day. Last week while I was in my office, I noticed for the 1000th time that I have art made by the girls that I've intended to frame for years. I finally ordered frames and got everything hung and really like it. Most of it went in my office, so this has become a place where I really enjoy spending time. Started a puzzle last night, so now I have something to do during conference calls. It will help me to focus on what's being said rather than doing all of the other things I get distracted by when I should be listening.

Went back to the sober home Thursday evening for a little birthday celebration one of the women was having. Just three of us hung out, but that was fine - I like the three of us best, anyhow. Eldest came over Friday to celebrate my birthday with me. She brought a meal and cheesecake. We ate and watched "Mom," and it was very low key - just what I wanted. At one point, while she was hugging me, I said, "Thanks so much for coming. At least one of my daughters loves me." Ugh. Called her yesterday morning to apologize for that and she told me it was perfectly ok, not to worry about it. I told her no, it was wrong of me to do that pity thing and even worse to involve her in it. I insisted that she accept my apology and she did, disclaiming that it was unnecessary.

As predicted, middlest sent me a non-emotive "Happy birthday" text. At 10:30 that night. I didn't get any joy out of being right about that, but I did get some satisfaction (?) that I knew in advance it would play out like this. Control, you know - it's a thing with me. Neither hide nor hair of youngest, as per usual.

I noticed yesterday morning that I was feeling uncomfortable, so arranged for a call with my sponsor (K) that afternoon. Told her the story of all of the recent jazz with middlest and noted that although I'd been prepared for this, I was feeling something and wanted to talk about it. She told me that our alcoholic selves create a sick family, that the impact we have is further than we can know, that middlest needs to come back in her own time. At the conclusion of her second explanation in this vein, she asked me if any of that resonated with me. I hemmed and hawed and finally said, "I'm struggling because I don't want to be disrespectful, and my kids tell me that saying 'I know' is rude. But I know those things you said and I'm not complaining about any of that stuff - I understand all of that. I just know that I was feeling uncomfortable and when I'm feeling that way I have to talk with someone." K responded, "Of course you do, and I'm so glad you wanted to talk." After some discussion, she went on to acknowledge that I've been harmed in my previous relationships in and out of the program and she is sort of handicapped because she doesn't really know me yet. Said she wants to get to know me better so that she has some understanding of where my emotional triggers are because she doesn't want to cause any further pain. Further, she volunteered that our relationship has no hierarchy and I don't need to be so careful in how I speak with with - it's fine to be frank and open with her. So, wow. In the middle of that conversation, I was ready to fire her and by the end I was thanking my lucky stars for having happened across this strong empathetic woman.

I'm meeting up for lunch with one of my friends from the sober home today. I don't want to go. I just want to stay home and putter around by myself all day. But I know that I'll really enjoy hanging out with this woman and I certainly know that it's important for me to resist isolating.
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Old 06-28-2020, 06:27 AM
  # 284 (permalink)  
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O wrote that her sponsor said: "She told me that our alcoholic selves create a sick family, that the impact we have is further than we can know,"

Heavens forsake! The above appears to be blame and shame from your sponsor, for creating a "sick family". Crikey, O, if I were you, I'd run this past Daniel! It's a common theme around SR AAers, that self-blame, blame-others (resentment) and shame, led to what ultimately became excessive drinking. I really don't see how a sponsor could make that statement if she truly was a "strong empathetic woman".

Hawkeye, Dropsie, if I'm seeing this wrong, please let me know! I just wish O to continue with her hard-earned sobriety. I self-flagellated for far too many years, and can only speak of how I'd react to such a sponsor statement. Sorry to make you a third person, O.
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Old 06-28-2020, 06:40 AM
  # 285 (permalink)  
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Tats, I see where you are coming from, but I donít read that statement as shaming so much as speaking blunt truth about what growing up in an alcoholic home does to family dynamics.

I think we have to acknowledge that our addiction does have negative lasting impacts, particularly on children who donít have the defenses or life experience to set proper boundaries and that this does affect them well into adulthood.

That doesnít make us bad people, just people with a problem we are working to overcome. If we donít acknowledge the elephant in the room, we are doomed to step in pachyderm poo forever.

Happy birthday O!

Middlest will come around eventually. You just keep doing the next right things for your recovery and your actions will speak for you.
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Old 06-28-2020, 08:21 AM
  # 286 (permalink)  
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Tats, it's true. My drinking-related and workaholic ways had a major impact on the family. It didn't upset me in the least that K believes that because I believe it too. It was, on the other hand, kind of irritating that she was telling me this as if it was something I didn't know. I would much rather have her approach me with the stance that I've done a lot of work already and don't need an education. What's strong about her is that I'm certain I can say that and she'll take it in. A far cry from previous sponsors who would see that as some sort of pathology. Like my counselor in rehab #1, who responded to my frustrated, "I know all of the things" statement with a snotty, "Why are you here, then?" (Shocked me into angry silence, but of course I was there because I was still drinking despite knowing all of the things. How could she not "get" that? )

Thanks, Hawk. I know this will all work out eventually. I was just unexpectedly knocked sideways there for a bit. Knowing and feeling turn out to be two completely separate things, huh?
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Old 06-28-2020, 08:30 AM
  # 287 (permalink)  
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Ah, got it, O, I'm very glad indeed that your'e OK with her approach. You too, Hawk, thanks for your reply.
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:58 PM
  # 288 (permalink)  
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And thank you for rushing to my defense, Tats. That was very sweet.
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Old 06-28-2020, 09:55 PM
  # 289 (permalink)  
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Happy birthday sista.

I have been thinking for some time about how the expectations of addicts both by themselves and others is higher than the general population. The process of becoming sober seems to be confused at times with becoming perfect with no resentments, anger, ego etc. I realise that the reason for this is that those emotions are bad for all and worse for us, but even addicts get to be human IMO.

I was thinking about this again reading the most recent posts here by O and others. We all have huge guilt abut our kids and that is usually justified. In my case certainly for my eldest. But to turn that into shame and to make it such that our kids get to do (or not do) or say (or not say) anything because of our role in creating their trauma in my view is not good for them nor is it reasitic. But still I do it with my eldest and she plays it either knowingly or not. And that is not good for either of us.

What to do - no idea. I dont think she knows she is doing it and the "conversations" are so hard not sure they don't do more harm than good.

About the sponsor conversation, I was struck by the remark about firing her because she was telling you things you already know. People tell me things I already know constantly and if they didn't I would never learn anything becuase they would assume I know everythnig they do. Also because knowing and knowing can be two totally different things.

Thoughts for the day.

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Old 06-29-2020, 05:21 AM
  # 290 (permalink)  
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Thanks for the birthday wishes, y'all. I wish to have no more birthdays, but it's bound to happen.

I completely agree with you about not turning the guilt into shame. In fact, I'll see your guilt and raise you some remorse. Today, I don't feel guilt or shame, but I do feel deeply remorseful for what I did to my kids. I do hope that one day we'll be able to discuss this in a dispassionate sort of way that allows me to own my stuff and hear theirs, but I don't know when or if that might happen. If it does, it will be a gift. In the meantime, I'm doing O and have dropped the transactional approach to making up for past transgressions by being a doormat. Eldest gets that and in fact applauds it. Youngest asks virtually nothing from me and I do intend to help her out in some surprise ways just to sort of even things out with help I've given the other girls. Not from guilt or any attempt to buy her affection, just from a sense of fairness. I write least about youngest because she is the most distant from me, but I hold deep admiration for her boundaries. Middlest is perhaps shocked that I've developed this backbone and doesn't care much for it. That's purely speculative, of course. But it kind of fits.

What to do about that? Not sure, but it feels like 'dispassionate' is a good place to stay in those conversations. You know what you did, I know what I did. It's understandable that our kids might try to capitalize on those wrongs without perhaps even realizing that's what they're doing. I think if it's a direct confrontation, "You did xyz, and I'm pissed about it," then we say, "I totally get that and I'm truly sorry I did xyz." And leave it there. We can't fix what's past, but saying so does no good. We're doing our best just as we always did our best (even though it wasn't what we were capable of, it was still our best), but saying so does no good. If it feels like there's an indirect "you owe me" sort of dynamic going on, then I think we notice that and let it go without saying a word to the kid. I don't know. What do I know? Those are just my thoughts at this moment while safely ensconced in my solitary bubble.

I was struck by that thought about firing my sponsor too, Drops. It wasn't really about "firing," it was more like, "Oh God, here we go again. I don't think I can do this another time - live through the assumptions yet another woman is going to make about me." It was that Get Away Now impulse. It's a vivid clear sign that something is very threatening to me (or perhaps my ego) when my head starts screaming, "I knowwww!" I think I did the best I could at that moment by hearing her out and responding as tactfully and honestly as I could. I hope you don't think I go around this world thinking I know everything. I most certainly do not, but I definitely do want to be in charge of my own "not knowing." I've got zero problem saying, "I don't understand" or "Can you explain this to me?" or "This is what I think - what do you think?" or even "Explain this to me like I'm a 2-year old." In fact, this easy acknowledgement of my own ignorance is something I value about myself at least as much as I do that I'm well-read and observant. "At least as much" because I worked to develop that trait of humble curiosity.

I don't know what it is that bothers me so very much about this, but certainly it is in no large part related to my family of origin's "affectionate" ribbing of the kid who displayed their ignorance or lack of knowledge. There's a certain way that people sometimes (it seems?) preemptively put me in the position of being less knowledgeable and therefore lesser than. It feels unfair.

Thanks for calling this out for more attention, Drops. I mentioned it because I thought it was significant, but didn't really think about it aside from noticing the knee-jerk reaction and being pleased or maybe relieved that I sat through that discomfort and was able to kinda talk about it with her. Thinking about it now, I think maybe this bristling arises (only) when I'm already feeling emotional. I initially typed that the bristling happens when I'm feeling insecure but then realized that's not true. I think it's true when my emotions are heightened in any number of ways.

I think I could riff on this for quite some time but am "thinking out loud" right now and it feels like this contemplative thread is going to follow a long and twisty path until I get to the "why" of it.
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Old 06-29-2020, 07:41 AM
  # 291 (permalink)  
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There are three levels of knowing.
A story: someone goes to the doctor and gets a prescription. Takes the prescription homeand puts it on the shrine and bows down, reciting 'one pill in the morning, one pill in the evening' but takes no pill. Soeone else gets a prescription, but asks the doctor to explain. The doctor does so and the person takes the prescription and explains to everyone in great detail, but takes no pill. Someone else takes the prescription, gets the pills and takes them according to the instructions.
The knowledge attained by the third person is real direct experiential. The other knowledges are blind knowledge and book knowledge. Neither by themselves are curative.
While contemplating what the knowing is, rather than saying I know, observe the underlying tendency. The tightening, clinging, grasping that happens inside, relax. Let go.
At the same time, think of the sponsor, or daughter, as the very most important person in the world. Care for them with a friendliness that forgives.
Live the knowing. Be the knower.
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Old 06-29-2020, 03:05 PM
  # 292 (permalink)  
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While contemplating what the knowing is, rather than saying I know, observe the underlying tendency. The tightening, clinging, grasping that happens inside, relax. Let go.
That's my goal exactly. It's almost autonomic, this reaction. My experience is that once I figure out where my reactions are rooted, I am then much more likely to not even form an attachment.


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Old 06-29-2020, 07:36 PM
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sorry,O, to be late with birthday wishes, and i certainly send wishes for a great next year!
also read about your 150 sober days on another thread, which is an AWESOMELY nice number
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Obladi View Post
That's my goal exactly. It's almost autonomic, this reaction. My experience is that once I figure out where my reactions are rooted, I am then much more likely to not even form an attachment.
Good, just be patient. Keep going and it'll work out. Create a safe zone inside and around by caring for yourself in this way of developing in-sight and project that caring to all around. This'll reduce internal, and external, tension, increase security and thus enable deeper in-sight and relaxation.
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Old 06-30-2020, 06:29 AM
  # 295 (permalink)  
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Though I wrote the other day that milestones are no more significant than any other day, the beast doesn't seem to agree. I'm not pulled to drink at all, but the dull pointed pain in the center of my chest was with me the moment I woke up and persists three hours on. It's 5 months today. So I meditated, attended a meeting, took my medication, ate breakfast, and am fortuitously meeting with Daniel today. Will send a text to my new sponsor K as well to see if she has some time to chat.

Thanks for your well wishes, fini. You certainly deserve celebration having hung with me this entire time.

Grymt, in a meeting last night, we read a chapter from Living Sober - it was "Live and Let Live," and much of the message was learning to let go of our irritations, grudges and resentments toward others. At least a few of the suggestions were to simply walk away or otherwise leave/avoid the offending party. And it occurred to me that the person who irritates me the most is myself - and that I was effectively dodging myself by diving into the bottle. Leading with my feelings as well as my love for the other person involved when I become irritated is definitely helpful in this new sober way of life. So I will keep on as the path is promising even though it's pretty rocky sometimes.

I'd rather be hiking that trail than sitting with a drink in hand for days on end just to avoid the rocks.
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Old 06-30-2020, 06:35 PM
  # 296 (permalink)  
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Destinations aren’t even possible without the journey.
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Old 06-30-2020, 07:10 PM
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there is that saying to “lead with what you’re looking for”.
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Old 07-01-2020, 05:41 PM
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Is there?
I never heard that one, but it sounds like a very good idea.

Daniel and I talked over this quick anger (I realized it was anger!) that flashes up in these times when I feel like someone else is schooling me about things I believe I already know. I really got no further than my previous conclusion that it feels unfair. That plus I "don't suffer fools lightly." But we already knew that. The good thing I noticed and hadn't thought about before is that I'm not getting all in a fuss about nonsense at work anymore - or at least right now. I think that's because (a) I had a good long break, (b) I don't have to deal with people in person all day long, and (c) I'm finding that the folks on my team are being very receptive to my help.

I just realized that I probably only drank for around 4 weeks out of the last 11 months. That sounds pretty good, huh. Not the drinking part, of course, but the trajectory path is looking great.
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Old 07-01-2020, 07:12 PM
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might it be helpful to assume that the people who “school” you about stuff you believe you already know do not KNOW that you believe you already know what they are trying to offer?
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Old 07-01-2020, 07:13 PM
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ha!
just realized that the above post might well be putting me into that category!
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