Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Malady of the Spirit

The past ten days or two weeks have been hard. My brain has been very busy. I haven't been sleeping well, and I've been waking up early. A lot of confusion, wanting to "make deals" with my recovery. A hard time staying away from "just one" binge, "just one" good drunk to take the pain away for "just one" day, my brain trying to convince me that "just one" won't hurt, in fact it will help, I'll get that magical insight and solution to all my problems, and after "just one" good solid spree the urge to drink will evaporate forever and life will be great.

My brain actually believes this shit.

Fortunately HP has been able to keep my brain from taking charge. Sometimes it feels like the tool HP has placed in my hands is good old-fashioned white-knuckle will power, and if that's what I got, that's what I'll use. "Any length..." Since my heart and soul are still largely made of stone, and my brain is off on its own agenda, HP seems to be leading me by the butt lately. AA meetings, step workshop, church, church group meetings, hanging with my sponsor, prayer, BB and 12X12 reading, Bible reading. I've found myself leading a few meetings, and I've taken a coffee commitment. I've added a Sunday morning Bible study at church, a couple one-time service commitments with my church group, and the divorce class I originally intended to join starts in a couple weeks. My butt is dragging me to do the things people tell me I need to do to make this work.

And through it all, not only does my brain seem impervious to what's going on, it keeps saying, "Have a drink. C'mon. Let's get drunk. You've been sober for 197 of the past 235 days. You deserve a vacation."

Strangely, I seem to be the only one overly concerned about this. As long as I don't drink, and I show up at the times and places I'm expected and/or committed to, and have done the things I'm supposed to have done, people seem to think there's nothing to worry about. I'm the only one who seems terrified of the whole situation. Even my cats have been especially serene and affectionate lately.


I suppose I should try to be more sympathetic and patient with my brain, because steps four and five have given it a lot to handle. It's clear I've only made a start on steps four and five. I've opened Pandora's box, and a lot of stuff has been coming out since last week.

It's dawning on me how many other things besides alcohol I use, and do, addictively and compulsively. Cigarettes, coffee, and marriage, for example (there's other things, too, and unless you're my sponsor you're unlikely to hear them all!). I can recognize addictive patterns and behavior I had when I was ten years old, long before substances entered the picture. All of it, not just alcohol, has been chronic and progressive. Maybe some of it isn't quite as egregious without alcohol greasing the skids, but it isn't going away on its own.

I'm starting to see the addictive nature of my relationships. Probably anyone who has had the patience to glance at my travails with my wife and son, documented in this blog, recognized it long before I did.

It's painful to acknowledge the burden I've been trying to put on my little son's tiny shoulders, what this nasty little dance my wife and I have been indulging ourselves in could cost this innocent child. My wife didn't "save" me, she couldn't magically transform me into the man I want to be, any more than a 12-pack could. Any more than I could transform her. So our answer, unconsciously, since we had "failed" each other, was to have a child, who would magically make us into the parents we always wanted for ourselves.

How long before I start resenting, being angry with, and pulling away from my son because he hasn't transformed me into a happy, strong, attentive, committed and loving father, into the man I want to be???

I'm asking the wrong Son to redeem me, I think...

I'm looking to my own tiny son to give me the redemption that can only come from God. I'm using my son the same way I use alcohol. The same way I use my wife. And the wife before her. And the wife before her. And jobs. And diplomas. And on and on.


God, please remove this obsession with alcohol from me, and my addictive and obsessive behavior along with it. If not for my benefit, then for my innocent son's.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Fifth Step

Other guys have talked about what a release they felt, like a huge load off their backs. The Big Book says,
"Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We can begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe."
So, I was expecting harps and choirs of angels. But my Step Five just wasn't that big a deal.

Maybe there was stuff I didn't talk about -- I didn't consciously hold anything back, but it could be there's stuff I haven't uncovered, that I don't recognize, that I'm in denial about.

What I felt most was disgust. Like when I start cleaning the kitchen sink after letting dishes pile up for a week or two, and discovering rotten sights and smells. Finding all the garbage.

The progress, I think, is that for once I didn't feel self-loathing. What disgusted me were the defects of character, and the behavior they have caused. All sitting there together in a big stinking ugly pile. But they felt detached from me. No more a part of me than what's in my garbage can.

Maybe I didn't feel a big release because there was not much I haven't told someone about, sometime in my past. I've had plenty of shrinks, and I've been blessed with people I've trusted that I've told my secrets to. I've talked about the really awful shameful stuff, even shared some at meetings, because it isn't the most embarrassing stuff to disclose. So it was the most embarrassing things that I disclosed for the first time, rather the most shameful things, if you understand my distinction, and I guess the truly shameful things are the ones that weigh so much.

I didn't feel delight, peace, ease, didn't feel fear falling away as though exfoliated. It was a spiritual experience, but not a burning bush. I certainly had no strong feeling that the drink problem has disappeared. It's still a daily decision, sometimes a daily struggle.

Maybe step five was underwhelming because I'm still in early sobriety -- most people don't seem to embark on the steps as early as I have. Maybe it's because I'm doing the steps according to the schedule of my workshop, rather than working a step only once I feel secure in the previous step. Maybe the first character defect I need to work in steps six and seven is "impatience." :)

In any case, I see I'm kind of wallowing in a form a disappointment in this post. I am, actually, feeling some pride and gratitude about it. I DID it! Not perfectly, not completely, but I made a start. I should probably consider what I wrote in my last post, that the vast majority of the guys in my workshop are doing their steps for the second, third, sixth, seventh time -- apparently they didn't do it "perfectly" their first time either, once and for all time! I hope in 5 or 10 years, I'll find myself in another workshop, working the steps for the fifth or tenth time, and getting new insight and new growth in my life and deeper serenity in my sobriety.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Taking Steps

I'm doing a step five with my sponsor tomorrow. I don't really feel ready for it -- my step four is pretty half-assed. I'm trying to keep up with the step workshop I'm in. There's 15 or 20 guys in the workshop, and only 3 or 4 of us are "rookies," doing the steps for the first time. So I always feel behind: less than, different from, not as good as, etc! My sponsor wholeheartedly supports the workshop, and isn't particularly worried about me doing all the steps "right." I can always start again from the beginning as soon as I'm done. I'm starting to get suspicious that you never "finish" doing the steps...

I found an apartment today. I'm dropping off the deposit and application tomorrow, so unless someone grabbed it late this afternoon it should be a done deal. It's a big emotional step -- letting go of the house, and moving on.

I still haven't talked to my wife to let her know I'm staying where I am and not moving to LA. Still chicken. My sponsor's been out of town for a few days, so I want to talk to him about all the stuff that's been banging around my head, and how to handle the conversation with my wife and the ways it may go, without creating too much new wreckage.

Sunday was a tough day for me. I was getting a lot of relapse signals. I did some reading in Living Sober and Staying Sober, and found a lot of insight in both. I was particularly struck by the discussions of relationships, family recovery and codependency, which led me to Love is a Choice, which focuses specifically on codependency.

I recognized before the importance of my relationship with my wife, and I've had a vague idea that I have codependency issues of my own. What's clearer to me now is how strong my own codependency is specifically in my relationship with my wife, and the potential threat this particular codependency is to maintaining my sobriety. It was the likeliest culprit in my relapse a couple months ago.

At some point, if I am to maintain longterm sobriety, I will have to delve into my overall codependency issues. Right now, to establish a stable early recovery, I need to at least bandage the codependent attitude and behavior I have with my wife. In terms my favorite oldtimers would comprehend, I have to avoid trying to work her program (especially since she doesn't have one), clean up my side of the street, then let go and let God. I can't control outcomes, and I can't control her. If I try to, I'm risking relapse, and I don't ever want to go there again.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Red Meat

I'm plugging another blog. RootsRadical is the real deal about recovery from alcoholism in AA. This post says a lot about him. He's coming up on his first AA birthday, he has a great new job, things are going very well for him. This is a potential minefield of complacency: "Gee, my life is really good... I'm happy... maybe I'm not really like... maybe I can cut back on... maybe there would be no harm in... "

Instead, Roots reflects on the folly of relapse. He remembers where he was a year ago, he remembers where alcohol took him, and warns himself (and me) what alcoholism does to us. He notes the location of the slippery slope, and chooses to walk away from the abyss again today.

This is AA without compromise, without apology, without excuses. Roots is the guy who grabs your lapels after the meeting and tells you what you need to hear. A crusty oldtimer, after just a year.

"If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it," Roots can give you help along your way. This the red meat. (So to speak!)

Clarity and/or Insanity

I don't know if what I'm thinking is a moment of clarity or alcoholic insanity. The idea that's lodged in my head is to file papers for legal separation, without telling my wife beforehand, without even telling her I'm not moving to LA.

The first thing the court would do is send us to a court mediator to work out a "parenting plan." What I want to do is not argue my point of view, not push for what I want, make neither accusations nor excuses -- just present information honestly to the mediator, so the mediator can make a recommendation to the court for what's best for my son. The court orders what I and my wife are to do, and that's that.

I wouldn't have to argue with or try to negotiate with my wife any more. No more trying to navigate through the thicket of anticipating how she will react to what I say or do, and what she will do next. I wouldn't have to choose between exerting my self-will and submitting to her will. All I would have to do is follow the court's instructions.

There's something comfortingly Third-Step-ish about it.

I don't even want to tell my wife I'm not moving to LA. I have no idea what she may do if I tell her. I think she will be furious. She may come unglued. The potential consequence I fear most is that she may suddenly, without warning, pick up and move my son even farther away. If she does that before I file, I have no legal recourse at all.

On the "clarity" hand, she has a track record of suddenly and arbitrarily moving away with my son, and creating obstacles for me to have a steady, regular schedule with my son. From that perspective it seems reasonable to anticipate that she may respond to the news in the same way. If so, then I should think "strategically" about pre-empting this response by not discussing with her beforehand that I'm not moving. Just file the papers, without giving her advance warning. Fait accompli.

The downside, of course, is that it would be Pearl Harbor and we will be at war. Whatever slim hope I've had of reconciliation and restoration of my family will be further, greatly, diminished, if not extinguished. I'm thinking separation rather than divorce, simply to leave the door ajar in case of a miracle. I should anticipate my wife would up the ante to divorce. So be it.

On the "insanity" hand, this kind of suspiciousness and distrust, and trying to pre-emptively take control of a situation, are classic alcoholic thinking and behavior. So maybe what I should do is be forthright in telling her I'm not moving, and why I'm not, hoping that her better nature will prevail, she will accept my decision, and she will be willing to make a good faith effort to reach agreement directly with me. And, if my fears turn out to come true and, say, she takes my son with her across the country, I need to accept that as part of life on its own terms.

I've made up my mind not to move to LA. But I sure don't know what to do next.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I Don't Want to Go

Moving to LA is looking like a bad idea. I don't think I'm going to do it.

The move is risky under the best conditions. If I were sure my wife was going to stay put; if she had a stable job and stable place to live; if she were supportive of my recovery; if she were trying to encourage and facilitate a regular and predictable relationship between me and my son -- then I would only be dealing with the stress of moving to a new city that I don't want to live in and where I don't know anyone.

This past weekend emphasized to me that I cannot count on a single one of the "ifs." (Have I ever mentioned that my wife is bipolar and takes a lot of lithium?) It also reinforced just how much I don't want to be in LA.

One thing that seems to have sunk in from AA: I make lousy decisions, and I'm better off following advice. I've discussed my planned move with my family, my sponsor, quite a few AA friends, I'll discuss it tonight with my church group, and I'm scheduling appointments with my pastor and my shrink. So far, the advice I'm getting, given the whole situation, is to stay put in the town I'm in, which is my home and where I have a lot of people who know me and care about me. My best chance of staying sober is here. In LA, I'm hoping for the best, taking a chance with odds that aren't great, and rolling the dice.

By moving to LA, I'm leaving my life in my wife's control, still trying to react to her next move. I've always operated with this crazy assumption that, once she does this and finishes that, then she'll be stable and predictable, suddenly she will meet me halfway, and everything will be fine. But it never has been stable -- it has always been chaos. Why should I believe that simply by moving to LA, I will see different behavior from her? I'll still be accomodating her, and she will have no reason or inclination not to keep taking advantage of it.

I need to stop accomodating and stop trying to appease my wife.

There is no reason for me to assume I will see my son any more frequently, or have a more predictable and stable life with him, by living in LA than by staying here. It could even be worse in LA -- proximity would give my wife more opportunity to manipulate the situation (and me) to her convenience.


So, then, I have to face the next logical issue: if I can't reach agreement with my wife -- we've been going, at best, sideways for six months -- then we need agreement imposed from outside. In my state, according to the attorney I spoke with yesterday, I need to consider filing for legal separation, which would include a binding "parenting plan" of custody, visitation schedule and support payments.

I probably will not like what's ordered, my wife may not like it, but at least it would be stable and I would have some legal recourse if she reneges. Plus, I wouldn't have to go through the constant ordeal of trying to negotiate every single time I see my son. I would know exactly what my minimum responsibilities are and exactly what my parental privileges are.

The questions I have to ask myself are: Am I, honestly, motivated by trying to provide stability and predictability for my son and myself? Or am I actually trying to exert control for the sake of being in control? Are there other options that I should consider? Should I make yet another attempt to reach an agreement directly with my wife?

The most discouraging thing about trying to work out an agreement with my wife is that I don't trust her to abide by what we agree to. In the past several months she has built up a pretty good track record of unilaterally discarding agreements and commitments, big and small, as soon as they become inconvenient to her. How do you negotiate and compromise with someone when you don't trust their intention to live up to their word?

I also am pretty sure she will go ballistic when I tell her I've decided not to move to LA. I think she's counting on it at this point, so that I can relieve her of some of the burden of taking care of our son (when it's convenient for her and/or she needs a break). I don't want to speculate about how she will want to "punish" me for it, or how she will try to get some "justice." It would not surprise me at all if she suddenly picked up and moved to yet another city, state or country. It couldn't hurt to have the court encouraging her to stay put.


I seem to be trying to talk myself into hiring an attorney and drawing up some papers. I have to be careful not to convince myself of anything. I need to seek out advice from people I trust and people who have expertise and perspective to shed light on the situation. This is too big and important, and I'm too ill-equipped right now, to try to make this decision by myself.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


If you haven't been following Bob's Trudge the past week or so, I recommend it. Bob is coming up on his 6th AA birthday on March 15 (way to go, buddy!)

On March 1, Bob started recounting what he was doing each day six years ago, on his last drunk before coming in to the fellowship.

His story is not that unusual, I think, but the way he has been unrolling it, day by day, is pretty gripping. To follow it each day gives a sense of what it was like to go through it in real time, how bad, how damn slow and relentless it felt to hit bottom.

Juxtaposed with his memoir Bob shares his daily life today, which is heartening to a newcomer like me. He's an example of what it means to try to apply the principles in all his affairs.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

You Have Everything Going For You!

Bikipatra put her finger on an issue that has dogged me all my life. In her blog she wrote:
"As far as I am concerned the attendance at Yale of a Mexican waiter's daughter is a symptom of grandiosity and pomposity. I wanted to go there because I was mentally ill. That I was gifted enough to go is an inconsequential detail."
Substitute "Yale" with another snotty eastern college plus an Ivy League b-school, and substitute "Mexican waiter's daughter" with "depressed, isolated, fearful, lost boy" and it becomes the story of my education and career.

I picked out a college based on "I'll show them all" and "Once this and that and the other thing happens, then I'll be happy." A few years later, since that hadn't worked, I added "I'll be financially set for life" to the motivations and went to business school.

Like any good alcoholic (pre-beginner though I was), I really expected a credential from an impressive, prestigious, superior, self-satisfied, rich, powerful school would magically transform me into a person with all those same desirable qualities.

The education was fine, I imagine about the same as any other college or business school. The problems are the gilt-edged, high-profile diplomas.

There was no magical transformation, needless to say, but a whole value system and self-identity seemed to come wrapped in the diplomas, like dead fish in yesterday's newspaper. I've struggled to knuckle under to the demands of the values and images, even while I've simultaneously rebelled.

The images, values, and assumptions are very powerful, reinforced by powerful institutions, and part of me is always sure something is wrong with me if I don't measure up to my diplomas. As Bikipatra points out, a lot of people around us, even some of those trying to treat our diseases, are drawn, unconsciously, into the assumptions and images, and have trouble seeing our credentials as symptoms rather than easy solutions.
"You can just walk into a 100K job any time you want. Take a high-pressure, rat-race job and you'll succeed at it without breaking a sweat. You're smart. You're talented. You're experienced.

Obviously, since you went to business school, your career is your top priority, you crave working 80 hours a week, you're confident, strong, a leader, you're inspired by corporate mission statements and you believe in the strategic-plan-of-the-month. You have all this education to "fall back on," so once you "pull it together" you can get right back in the rat race!

You have everything going for you!

Accomplish! Achieve! Earn!

All you need are self-confidence, self-assurance, self-reliance, independence..."
I haven't shown anyone anything, my education and my job have never given me happiness or satisfaction, and I have no financial security. In AA they always say "insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results." So why on earth would I want to "pull it together," embrace this persona of a corporate drone, and make myself miserable??

These diplomas and credentials I have "going for me" are nothing more than another symptom and expression of my disease, and "pulling it together" means nothing less than walking away from recovery.

Monday, March 07, 2005

All Too Familiar

I spent another day with my son yesterday. We had a wonderful time together. I'm so grateful he is doing well, a happy, cheerful boy. He really is a pleasure to be around. He is growing and changing so fast. He loves to count, loves to read, loves to climb all over Daddy, LOVES to run. Yesterday he climbed all the way to the top of the McDonald's playground tower for the first time. And he started learning to identify the colors of the dots on his blanket.

I'm grateful to have a clear enough head, and the beginning of willingness to set aside my self-absorption, to be able to focus on and enjoy my son. He really is very engaging, and I seem to be open enough for him to engage with me. I love him so much! :)


My resentments and distrust of my wife are still going quite strong. Even as I was enjoying my boy playing, the "McDonalds-on-weekends-dad" image was not lost on me. My wife and I didn't have a fight or anything -- I think mostly because I responded to her with silence when I didn't have a response she wanted to hear. Walking around her rather scruffy neighborhood, I was incredulous, once again, that she chose this environment for herself and our son, as preferable to working together to rebuild a good family and home in a safe and friendly neighborhood. She complained a lot about how early she has to get up to get the boy to day care and get to work on time, and how uneasy she is taking our son to the car (wherever she found a spot on the street the night before) in the morning with all the weirdos hanging around.

In some ways the day was all too familiar. My wife had said she was going to go out grocery shopping and running errands while I was with our son at her apartment. She ended up sleeping all day, getting out of her pajamas long enough in the late afternoon for me to go to the grocery store with her.

How many weekends were spent like that when we were together?? A typical Saturday and Sunday routine was that we would have plans to go to the beach, or the park, or some other activity. I would get up at 7:00 am (with a low-grade hangover and far too little sleep, of course) with our son, and be with him by myself until noon or one or two when my wife finally woke up to drag herself around the house the rest of the day.

Weekday mornings I got up (hungover and unrested) with our son, got him dressed and started on breakfast until the fulltime nanny/housekeeper arrived and I took off to work. My wife seldom stirred, let alone woke up or got out of bed, before I went to work. I really have no idea what my wife did all day. Supervised the nanny/housekeeper, I guess. Sat on the patio telephoning her friends about how wealthy and successful she's going to be, any day now.

So I don't really have a lot of sympathy with how tough my wife's life is now. She decided she would have a better life on her own. She decided to move to another city to make a living, without considering the consequences, without considering the obstacle it created to my ability to help.

I just hope she holds it together for a few more weeks until I can move to LA, find work and get settled a bit, and be better prepared to be the primary caregiver for our son -- then she can go ahead and come unglued and indulge herself in the nervous breakdown I see coming.


When I was out in my wife's neighborhood, I wanted to run away from it. I don't want to live in a dirty, crowded, alienated, scary urban neighborhood. I had enough of that growing up -- it, too, is all too familiar. Some of the oldtimers in AA think I'm making a big mistake moving to LA, even though those who know me best think I'm doing the right thing.

Yet, staying sober and building a life in LA come down to the same things I need to stay sober and build a life here.
  • Avoiding isolation -- engaging in the community, and being open to being engaged by the people in the community.
  • Trusting in God -- even though I'm moving to a place and circumstance I never imagined myself in, a type of environment I consciously moved out of years ago, where I can't readily see God's purpose for me, I have to believe that God's purpose will be revealed.
  • Putting first things first -- my son deserves a father who is the best father he can possibly be, and I will not be happy and serene if I am not the best father I can be. The first priority is showing up. Where he is, that's where I must be.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Phil Hits Bottom

The varieties of experiences "hitting bottom" are extraordinary. Some people go fast and hard, some young, some older. For me, it was a long, slow, inexorable descent.

Some people have said I had a "high" bottom -- whatever the hell that means. I heard a woman say her bottom was so bad, she didn't even make her bed every morning. To me, that sounds like a "high" bottom...

...but no bottom is "high" if you're the one sitting on it.

I like a couple things I've heard. Alcoholism is an elevator going down -- and you can choose to get off at any floor! Another guy put it this way: we need to raise the bottom to where we are.

What all the bottoms seem to have in common are the emotional and spiritual components. Whatever our outward circustances, we all seem to have shared complete emotional despair and spiritual bankruptcy.

There was a famous airline crash in 1989 that I've often thought of as a metaphor for me hitting my bottom. In mid-flight, a DC-10 lost all of its control surfaces: rudder, ailerons and elevators, along with the tail-mounted engine. The pilots, through ingenious improvisation, managed to keep the plane aloft, and contrived to steer by varying the thrust in each of the two wing engines. They were able to get the plane in position to attempt a landing at a deserted airport in Iowa.

There's a graphic, horrifying video of the final moments of the flight. (It was replayed endlessly on TV, but DO NOT click the link if you have any qualms about risking nightmares.) One of the remarkable things about the video is that as the plane approached the runway, by all appearances it looked like a normal, everyday landing of an airliner. I would never guess that anything was wrong, let alone that the plane was completely out of control.

And the plane almost made it. At the last moment, a wing dipped and hit the ground. The plane burst into flames, cartwheeled and broke apart, and burning wreckage careened down the runway for many long horrible seconds.

(As an aside, and where my metaphor breaks down: more than half the passengers and crew, including the pilots, survived that plane crash! The brilliant, heroic conduct of the flight crew has become a textbook case of "resource management" in handling a crisis aboard an airliner.)

By all outward appearances, there was not a serious crisis in my life. I had a job, a career, a home, a family. It looked like a routine flight, heading for what looked like a routine landing. In truth, I was out of control. It was only by ingenious improvisation (which we alcoholics are famous for) that I could maintain the appearance of routine normalcy, using every last ounce of my focus, attention and energy. My life was, actually, a highly stressful emergency, not at all a routine flight.

I feel like my long, slow, inexorable, out-of-control descent into alcoholism finally came to an end when I hit bottom last summer, like that plane hitting the runway at the end of its flight. Now I've got this flaming wreckage tumbling across the bottom. The old-timers tell me the first year or two of sobriety is hell -- I guess it takes that long for the wreckage finally to come to a stop, so rescue operations can begin in earnest.

Some days the best I can do is not drink for today, remember that I'm still in the wreckage, and trust God that this, too, shall pass.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


We accepted an offer for the house. So I'll be moving to LA in the next few weeks. I'm going, probably tomorrow, to find an apartment near my son's day care. (Also near where my wife tells me she's planning to move, again -- this would be her 8th residence in 7 months.)

I'm sure this is the right thing to do: simplify my life, be near my son, and let go of the broken dreams and painful memories (not to mention financial burden) of this house. It breaks my heart, though, and it gives me a feeling of failure.

It scares me, too. This feels like a "reverse geographic." All my resources for sobriety are here. I've just started going to a church where I feel a strong sense of belonging. Now I'm pulling everything up, and going to a new, unfamiliar town where I don't know anyone. I'm afraid it will be too much for me, and I won't stay sober.

Which is, of course, pretty silly: "Without help it is too much for us." My life is ALREADY more than I can handle, and has been for a very long time. Changing my location and my circumstances won't change that a bit.

My deeper fear, really, is that I will fail at what is motivating me to make this big move and big change: to be the best father I can be to my son. I'm moving so I can be with him and part of his day-to-day life. But I question my ability and willingness to do that, and to be a positive influence on him. My entire life is marked by isolation, irresponsibility, selfishness, laziness and giving up. These are not exactly the tools Ward Cleaver used as a father...

Even as I write these words and express these fears, I recognize that the answers are not hard to see. First, I need to stay sober today. (And tomorrow and the next day, but those are worries for tomorrow and the next day.) I need to find and attend meetings, lots of them, take commitments at them, and embed myself in the life of the fellowship in my new community. I need to find a church home, in the same way. I need to find a job.

Above all, I have to work the steps and apply them in all my affairs. I'm working my fourth step right now -- which is, of course, a real monster. My third step is hardly secure -- if it were, I would not be fearful of the changes I'm making in my life, or of my responsibilities to my son. I would, instead, embrace them with optimism and joy.

It's all a bit overwhelming. Especially since I feel insecure in my sobriety, impatient to "finish" my recovery, and I continue to fall into the insane idea that I have to handle and solve everything on my own with only my own resources. Sheesh... sometimes I feel like I've made no progress at all.
"Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines... We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection."

Willing to grow. Progress. Do not be discouraged.

I think maybe I'll go spend a few minutes reading, meditating and praying... :)