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Life Goes On (was Oh Well?) Part 3

Old 01-10-2021, 01:16 PM
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Whatís a WMD?

I have an iPhone now. I like it except for that itís really just a phone for me and also I canít look to remind my feeble memory of what those before me posted.

oh yeah, kick butt. Actually theyíve cleaned up their act. Iím pretty sure there was strife in their little kingdom and that was likely the reason. So... next time it happens, Iíll ask first if everyone is ok. Seems like the decent thing to do before I pull out the boot.
(They wonít tell me, but it will soften the blow, I think.)

My boy cat went missing for a week. I figured he must have gotten stuck in someoneís house that had home away on a trip. He did! He was just across the street, having been inadvertently locked in when the people moved out. The house sitters found him. Poor boy; his front claws are broken off. I canít even imagine how that was for him, hearing me yell his name several times/day and not being able to come home. . Anyhow, he was ready to go outside again by evening. Nope, sorry bub.

You know what flips? I am getting close to the point where it really doesnít matter how other people see or define me. Itís pretty awesome. What sorcery is this? I think itís... living with integrity. Who knew?!?


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Old 01-10-2021, 01:39 PM
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The last line in your post is amazing, O. Something to aim for.
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Old 01-10-2021, 02:25 PM
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Thanks, Briansy. I think I have to rephrase a bit, though. It does matter to me if I can be of help to other people, so I did get the tiniest twinge of self-satisfaction from you saying that last line was amazing. I mean, it is, right? But I also experienced more than a tiny twinge of irritation (or embarrassment or, dare I say it, anger) the other day when I thought someone had dis'd me. I'm a work in progress, for sure. But yeah, thanks.

Long time no see; I'm very glad you're back.

p.s. Flips - it is never a useless jumble of words when you write. I appreciate when you come here to say your stuff. Sincerely, wholeheartedly. I don't suppose that will stop you from making light of yourself in the future, but anyhow just thought I'd say so. And also I'm sure you'll be just great in your job. Try not to get your undies all bundled up in anticipation. In fact, who wears undies anymore unless they need to leave the house? They should be pristine once you need them.

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Old 01-12-2021, 02:08 PM
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Just did a little excavating as I realized we are nearing the one year anniversary of my last first drink. It was "this Friday," so to speak - 1/17/20. I've been feeling a little frayed around the edges for the past couple of days and for some reason that frazzled bit connected with the prior drinking self. Or needing to drink self - in the past.

I'm not sure how to explain the feeling, but that's ok. I know I was whistling a happy tune a year ago today (even while grousing about my boss), no worries at all about drinking. Today I also have no worries at all about drinking, but I Know Better. Good thing I've perfected that mantra, "I Never drink Now."

I did have a bit of a conversation with the woman who secretaries my home group last night. I've been not liking it for quite some time, but hanging in there because the people there were very kind to me and I like em. Also, I've been the lovely Zoom AV Girl for the past 8 months or so. I just don't like the meeting - it's supposed to be for newcomers, but we do not do well at all attracting OR retaining them. So I was wondering if talking about this was something to bring up during a group conscience? She said pretty much, "Talk to your sponsor." And, "Maybe you need a break.' And, "Here's how this meeting started, in case you want to start your own." When I clarified that my question was about how we "do" the group conscience thing around here, she said, "Oh, you could also suggest a group conscience."

I think not (lol)

I've got other meetings that feel much more comfortable, so I think I can let this one go...
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Old 01-13-2021, 02:51 PM
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Congrats on that achievement Ob

D
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Old 01-14-2021, 05:23 AM
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Hi O,

A comment on the meetings, from my experience. I encountered quite a few beginners' AA groups on Zoom that didn't seem very attractive to beginners at all, including myself. They were all local meetings that originally met in person and moved to Zoom during the pandemic. I was even wondering where the beginners were as often I was the only one saying anything, even just sober day count. Often the meetings seemed more like a club of a few old-timers, quite repetitive and not very engaging, and I wondered why they called themselves "beginners' meetings" at all. I am not shy and easy to engage, but felt no motivation to go back a second time or to reach out to any of the members. Most of the time they also said nothing to encourage beginners to reach out, instructions how to do that etc. I think these were the factors in why those meetings were ineffective for new folks.

There was one exception, and it was pretty clear why that meeting was popular and typically had >60 participants each time, with what seemed like a very varied membership in age, experiences, style, and with lots of beginner shares. The general vibe was quite different from the other meetings I tried, not only from the chair but from most of the members. They also usually announced an email address (and put in the chat) newcomers could write to if they were looking for a sponsor, even just an interim one. Some members directly posted they were available for sponsoring. In general, just a much more encouraging and interesting atmosphere. I was also planning to switch to other kinds of AA meetings that would be topic-oriented or discuss the program, but at that point I was fully engaged in the SMART program and didn't feel I needed anything else, so I stopped looking for more compatible AA meetings.

I had a similar dilemma to yours about a SMART group - it was the very first one I attended last year and the beginning of a very positive journey full of invaluable help. But then I tried other meetings and figured some were just much better fit for me for various reasons. For a while, I had sort of a guilty conscience stopping to go to the first group, especially as the facilitator even mailed me a free Handbook of the SMART program. I kinda felt obligated for a little while, but then saw it was a general courtesy, somehow he could have his hands on those books and sent them out to many people who wanted them, mostly new folks as those were the ones who hadn't had a book yet. But I left the meeting more and more dissatisfied relative to quite a few of the other groups, so I just stopped going to the first. I still plan to check in sometime at a later point, mostly to express my gratitude for helping to kickstart my sobriety, but don't feel I have to, really. I am sure this is very common in all recovery groups: people come and go, some move on exactly because they have progressed on their sober journey and need something different. I think any reasonable member is probably happy if they crossed paths with someone that could use the help, even just very transiently.

Just sharing because I've had this somewhat similar experience even in my short (not even 2 months) time with the Zoom recovery meetings, and definitely agree that some of the beginners' AA meetings could use some improvement to actually serve the function they claim.

Reflecting on the circumstances around the last relapse after some good sober time is definitely a good thing - I've been doing something similar this week. I never had a year or more, but relapsed last spring around the 2 months mark I am nearing now, and kinda feel some similar pulls. I have also been attending less meetings in January, and kinda justify it with a busy work schedule, but am now reminding myself that the meetings and actually working a program have been some of the key things making all the difference for me recently. So better not to get into a belief I have it all learned and figured out - that's exactly how I started to fall in the past even after my very short stints of sobriety.

Congrats from me as well, O! Reading some of your experiences on these threads inspire me in several ways because it's it's clearly from someone who takes all this very seriously and follows it up, including discussing many of your dilemmas and all. That's definitely helpful for beginners and probably anyone
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Old 01-14-2021, 02:56 PM
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Thanks, Aellyce. It's gratifying to know that what I write is helpful to some people at least some of the time.

Yeah, that "Newcomer" meeting is primarily made up of people who have long term sobriety. Most of them have really valuable things to say (briefly, even) but there are a few men who just get on my nerves with their brand of the program. No need to explain why - I don't think there's anything I need to examine there. (Miracles will never cease! I, O, have no need to explain. lol)

Good catch on slipping away from the things that helped you, too. I have a tendency to get drawn in by new experiences and then fade away after the novelty is gone. That hasn't worked out so well for me either. I can see a day when I may feel it's time to dispense with the meetings, but going pretty much every day for the past year sure hasn't hurt me. I have this bulletin board full of sticky notes, you know. Top/center is one that reads "Rationalizing anything is a warning sign." I can't exactly remember the context, but I still feel that's true for me some six months later. For me, not doing something is one thing; having to come up with a reason (for myself!) that I'm not doing something is a completely different story.

I'm glad you popped in.
Stay the course!

O
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Old 01-15-2021, 04:55 AM
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Yes, I have a very strong novelty-seeking temperament. I sometimes wondered if it would fade with aging, but that only happened for me during times I was depressed. And I know of many people who had this as part of their personality and they lived through life still highly motivated by the desire for trying and exploring new things in their 70s and beyond, as long as they stayed relatively healthy - my father was one. It is beneficial in many ways; a recent example, for me, is how the experience of the life changes during the pandemic has been more uplifting and progressive for me than otherwise. I could use this period to my advantage in several ways, including finally getting serious about recovery and getting rid of several things that held me back in life.

But it is also well-known as a risk factor for developing addictions of many kinds, and we can't rely on inspiration from novelty alone to stay sober long. For example, I relapsed back in the spring when I was doing nothing else, and certainly not being mindful of how novelty/fading novelty can influence new sobriety is dangerous. I definitely tripped on that earlier last year, when I was first surprised at how my desire for alcohol decreased a lot when COVID started (in retrospect, I think mostly because I had lots of new experiences to focus on for a while, plus a formal excuse to stay away from a work environment that can be quite triggering for several reasons)... I even jumped into some replacement obsessions straight away (some very familiar), which were nowhere near as bad as alcohol for me, but some could have been harmful even directly on others if I hadn't recognized and corrected them relatively quickly. Of course when "pandemic life" and my newer aspirations became more just challenges and a routine like any, the interest in drinking also came back full-force as there was no recovery work applied at all.

I will probably never become a person who is not interested in understanding how everything works, but rationalizing is definitely very different from exploring cause-effect relationships, the two are not even inspired by the same motives. I still need to rationalize many things for my work (it's part of the nature of what I do and will be even more with my new career), but not necessary in personal life. I love the idea of putting a reminder of this somewhere often visible - thank you, I might do a version of this for myself
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Old 01-15-2021, 05:18 AM
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The point about rationilization-as-red-flag is really true to me too. Itís like letting myself off the hook in advance for past and /or upcoming bad behavior.

a preemptive self-pardon, as it were . . .


PS-so very happy about your upcoming one year soberversary O!
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Old 01-15-2021, 05:29 AM
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I love my sticky note board. It's a jumble of colors and thoughts and overlapping reminders/revelations. (I wonder at the "re" in that word revelation. It fits with this notion someone reminded me of recently - that somewhere we already know - so things are re-revealed. Until we recognize once and for all and stop forgetting.)

I once had a sticky note doorway. I liked that a lot too. It was on the jam (?) of the doorway into the kitchen. Even when I didn't/don't pause to read, it's somehow comforting and uplifting to have these words/thoughts floating around in my space.

Those first two sentences of your last paragraph are amazing. It can be a tenuous balance for sure, but the more dry I am, the easier it is to identify the distinction between intellectualization and investigation. I agree it's all about the motivation; and I have my physical feelings to help me distinguish which is which.

I'm off work today but need to get working on an overdue task. Oy, procrastination! The kind that hovers all night while I'm sleeping and is right there at the bedside the moment I wake up. I am committed to working on avoiding procrastination as much as I possibly can, pretty much by any means necessary (including delegation!). Uncomfortable feelings about my shortcomings are too dangerous.
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Old 01-15-2021, 05:41 AM
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Oh Hawk! I didn't see you fly in while I was posting.
I'm so glad you're back with us. So glad.

I'm happy about rounding this corner, too. It's feeling like I'm wrapping up this chapter - and what an amazingly peaceful sensation that is. I'm not done by any means, but I'm satisfied with what I've "written" this past year and have no need to edit any of it.

(The beast moves in to hover silently, almost mist, as I write this. I notice IT, accept IT, and that is all.)
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Old 01-15-2021, 07:03 AM
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There was a time, O, when I didn't think you'd 'make it happen'. That time has long since passed. I have an 'IT', too, O, but 'mist' is a great description, I think of mine as a naughty and annoying pet, to be ignored. I'm looking forward to your Anniversary celebration!
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Old 01-15-2021, 05:14 PM
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I'm so happy for you, O. You've done the work and it's freaking awesome to see.
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Old 01-15-2021, 07:37 PM
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yeah, O, i keep trying to wait to tell you how i just keep smiling whenever i think of your one whole freaking sober year , keep trying to wait til the actual day, but...couldn’t do it!
so absolutely delighted to see you at this milestone, and wish you many more.
(and in case you feel weirdly odd (or odder than possibly usual) when the day arrives, please do tell. i remember feeling rather bizarre on my six months day, and anniversaries can be just so weird and have muddled, complex feelings around them)

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Old 01-17-2021, 05:41 AM
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Well, we still need to go through the 12-day vigil until we get to the anniversary of the actual day.

Wow, when I think about it right now, that's one hell of a long time to be trapped, confused and frightened.

I chaired a meeting the other day and spoke about the need to hit "rock bottom" and how that's not a helpful concept for me... for me, it was clear that my rock bottom was the grave. And back then, I didn't care. At. All. Dying would have been a relief. I didn't say that (though maybe I should have), but I did say that I seemed to have found a bottom line.

This guy then shared how he basically does the "play the tape forward" thing with his sponsees when working on Step 1. My immediate internal reaction was, "Bah, that damned tape never did a thing for me - I always knew how it was going to turn out and I Did Not Care." But I continued to listen (because I'm learning to do that) and he caught my attention by clarifying his assignment. He tells his sponsees to think about what the worst thing could be if they start to drink again. I thought, "I'd die, of course. And I wouldn't care. ... So... I guess that's not the worst thing that could happen. Actually, the worst thing would be to have to continue living that life. And not dying."

If 12 days was hell (and it was), imagine that could become my life. I think that's what I did imagine that last bender, and that's where I found my bottom line.
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Old 01-17-2021, 08:23 AM
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To heck with 12 day vigilópreemptive congratulations on your one year soberversary O!

WOW and well done! So happy for you!

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Old 01-17-2021, 08:58 AM
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now i'm confused.. i thought you said it was on the 17th?
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Old 01-17-2021, 10:10 AM
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Love this -- we made this deal before, but lets tackle the procrastination monkey in 2021:

I'm off work today but need to get working on an overdue task. Oy, procrastination! The kind that hovers all night while I'm sleeping and is right there at the bedside the moment I wake up. I am committed to working on avoiding procrastination as much as I possibly can, pretty much by any means necessary (including delegation!). Uncomfortable feelings about my shortcomings are too dangerous.

My own view is that for me procrastination is a kind of addiction/compulsion and has similar causes and effects. I need to do something that makes me uncomfortable, so I procrastinate. It is not about being lazy, it is about being fearful. And then it takes on a life of its own. In a way, a lot like drinking.

Did I ever suggest the website Why we Suffer -- if not, he is smart. I have scoured his website and have no bought all his books and plan to read them as for me he really resonates like our man Lance.

XX

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Old 01-17-2021, 10:16 AM
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Sorry to cause confusion, fini. It was 1/17/20 when I started drinking, and kept on going without stop until I left for rehab 1/29/20.
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Old 01-17-2021, 10:22 AM
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Ok, Drops!

Whatís the plan?

How about we figure out first what is and is not procrastination that ďqualifiesĒ for eradication in this first part? How long should the first part be?

Hereís a draft goal for the first wave: I will not allow anything that is date-driven go overdue.

Thoughts?

p.s. I recall you mentioning the book (?) but not a website. Iíll go take a look!
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