Sunday, September 18, 2005

47 Years Looking for the Quick Fix

I've been a little shaken this week. The falling-out with my sponsor shook me up. He had become a good friend over the past year, and I may have lost the friendship, along with the disillusionment as a sponsor.

I feel vulnerable and at-risk without a sponsor. I know I need to get a new sponsor, and I know four or five guys I'm thinking of approaching. I recognize that if it doesn't work out, I just get someone else, no big deal. But a part of me still is the Rugged Individualist, wanting to do it all myself, I don't need or want a sponsor. And I don't trust my own judgment now, and fearful I'll ask the "wrong" person.

This "shaken" feeling has been reinforced by seeing my own character defects in my sponsor. The same hubris, cockiness, and blindness to my own shortcomings, that I was particularly aiming at my wife.

And just in case that wasn't enough, my meeting with my shrink laid it out quite plainly. I went there looking for answers to my son's situation -- let's face it, I wanted ammo to get my way. Instead, the session ended up highlighting what my responsibilities are as a father, many of which I've been faking, making excuses, taking shortcuts. Nothing earthshaking, nothing that isn't as plain as the nose on my face: I have no control over my wife or what she does with my son. I am not in sole control of his schedule. When my son is with me, he needs me to be consistent aqnd patient. His behavior will respond to mine. If I want him to pick up his toys, I have to pick up my own toys. No strategic weapons for total victory here. Very simply: Phil, you know what you have to do, so do it!

And you know what bugs me the most? That I can recognize these attitudes and my behavior (more accurately procrastination) as the same traps I've always fallen into. If I don't have assurance that everything will be perfect, completely under my control, then I try to avoid it altogether.

I know what it takes. "A day at a time" means I have a responsibility to others, to God, and above all to myself to make the most of today. I know now that epochal, radical alteration of my life does not happen in an afternoon. I've spent 47 years looking for the quick fix. It's still easy for me to be impatient and discouraged. I haven't yet internalized that incremental effort and incremental change add up to big things.

So, all in all, I guess, this week has been a gentle nudge for me from HP. I've been a bit slack in putting recovery into practice in my life every day. It's not that I seem to be in immediate danger of deciding to get drunk today. It's more that I feel kind of fuzzy around the edges. It's hard for me to concentrate enough to write this, to identify and articulate feelings and thoughts. Not sharp, not focused -- kind of fuzzy.

I'm truly grateful for the experience, strength and hope I find in others' blogs. For instance, just in the past few days, Pepa, Scott, Blue, Dave, Trudge, and Lash have said things that expressed my own thoughts and feelings, so much better than I can myself. And this is just a sample, I could point to many others. I'm truly grateful, too, for the remarkable joy, pain, courage and growth of some bloggers in their first days of recovery, such as Steph, Grace, and Jane. Their journeys inspire me, and remind me how much I want, and believe I can have, the continuous renewal that a spiritually-centered recovery offers. The journeys of the "oldtimers" show me the result of that continuous renewal, and the good life that I want, and that I believe I can have.

----------------------------------------------

Heard at last night's meeting: "Recovery is not for those who want it, nor for those who need it. It's for those who work it."

43 Comments:

At 9/19/2005 11:47:00 AM, Blogger Blue said...

How eloquent to call yourself a “Rugged Individualist”, I want to do it all myself at times, then my friends just call be a stubborn hard-a*s… so next time I will say I am just being a “Rugged Individualist”… but really it’s a good post and I’m glad you are uneasy about being fuzzy

 
At 9/19/2005 12:09:00 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

Hang in there Phil...
sometimes when I am feeling fuzzy around the edges, I just go with it for that day, do the best I can, and remeber this too shall pass.

I have changed sponsors a few times. They have been hard sometimes just because I moved, one time, I felt that I outgrew my sponser, and another time because I knew this sponsor wasnt helping me. I have had the same sponser for 5+years now and its ok... and its ok to change sponsors... I am grateful for your honesty and vulnarability that you share, it helps me,

 
At 9/19/2005 03:41:00 PM, Anonymous Rusty said...

It is a bummer about your sponsor. In a way, it almost sounds like discovering that your parents are just people, too. It seems so simple, but it can be kind of traumatic. Anyway, I just wanted to say hang in there...you're a good guy and a good dad. And you're not alone. :-) Oh, and if you do find that quick fix, you'll let me know, right?

 
At 9/19/2005 05:55:00 PM, Blogger doughgirl said...

Phil,

This post says so well exactly what I too have been going through. I am seeing in my sponsor behavior that I truly cannot live with, though I have been told that if I can see it, I am probably in it. You are right...those are my behaviors staring me back in the face. I want so much more than what I see. I want to be a better person. I dont want to be the person with ust the booze removed, I want to be...Happy, joyous and FREE. Free to be me...whoever, whatever, whereever that is.
Im right here with you :)

 
At 9/19/2005 06:23:00 PM, Blogger dAAve said...

I think you articulate QUITE well.
I frequently need to be reminded that I can't have it all at once. Possibly by day I die, some recognizable progress will be made. It's the effort that counts.

When I feel fuzzy around the edges, I just change the razorblade.

 
At 9/19/2005 11:30:00 PM, Blogger lash505 said...

Thats a hard one, because it has not been something I have had to do yet. Yet it sounds like your protecting your sobriety by already having people in mind take that position. That is a good thing.

 
At 9/20/2005 12:40:00 PM, Blogger Phil said...

Blue: I'm jealous of being called a stubborn hard-ass. My friends call me a cowardly weasel. :)

Shan: Thanks, it's good to know sponsor changes work out -- if the next one doesn't, then maybe the one after.

Rusty: Give me another 47 years, and I think I'll have it! :)

DG: "Happy, joyous and FREE. Free to be me...whoever, whatever, whereever that is." Yes! Exactly! I know you're having sponsor issues lately, too, and Steph just changed sponsors. It helps to know I'm not alone.

Dave: I would change the razorblade, but I'm not allowed to have anything sharper than a beach ball.

Lash: That's an interesting point, Lash, I hadn't thought about it like that. I've been aware of, and have tried to hang out with, the guys who "have what I want." And, Lordy, have I been conscious of the guys who relapse, some of them the last ones you'd expect (not to mention the "oldtimers" who have been dry drunks for years and will die sober, angry and miserable). So I think, unconsciously, I've kept in the back of my mind, what will I do if I have to change sponsors? Cuz you just never know... Cunning, baffling and powerful.

 
At 9/20/2005 03:29:00 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

its a great day today!

 
At 9/20/2005 03:32:00 PM, Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Sponsor issues are not uncommon. Since you are in your first year of sobriety, it would be wise for you to find another sponser, someone you can work with and check in with regularly for your own peace of mind. The idea of a sponsor is not cast in stone, and sometimes, they come and go just like other relationships in life.

For us, however, sponsors are necessary, and function like a check and balance system. I hope you find someone new with whom you can work soon.

 
At 9/21/2005 07:04:00 AM, Blogger Scott W said...

God will present you with a sponsor that will work with your program. Like Barbara said, every relationship has its end.

 
At 9/22/2005 05:14:00 AM, Blogger Andy said...

Good luck with sponsorquest... I agree with Scott - th HP will be there with you and for you.

 
At 9/22/2005 05:50:00 PM, Blogger soberInsanity said...

just getting over some sponsor issues myself. its tough stuff, but part of the journey. good luck.

steph

soberInsanity

 
At 9/24/2005 11:22:00 AM, Blogger NMAMFQLMSH said...

must be something in the air

 
At 9/24/2005 02:09:00 PM, Blogger Scott W said...

Long time betwen posts...

 
At 9/26/2005 04:31:00 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

Hey Phil... how are you? whatcha been doing?

 
At 9/27/2005 09:38:00 AM, Blogger Helena said...

Phil, thanks for putting your story out there. It really does help others, regardless of their recovery and from what...it's all a journey from hell into something that is hopefully less hellish.

I love the quote:

Heard at last night's meeting: "Recovery is not for those who want it, nor for those who need it. It's for those who work it."

Just what I needed to hear.

 
At 9/27/2005 11:50:00 AM, Blogger Trudging said...

Phil honey I am so glad that you posted. I am so glad that you are talking about what is going on.

 
At 9/27/2005 02:46:00 PM, Blogger Da Gal said...

I could just say "ditto... ditto...ditto" Great posting, now I must go back and read more. I forget who noted it above but they hit the nail on the head when they said something about awakenings with our sponsors are like realizing that are parents are simply parents - not the superheros we sometimes make them out to be.
Staying the course is the most important thing for me in recovery. A great saying that this makes me think of is this... "No matter how far down the road of recovery I am... I am equal distance to the ditch from someone just starting out."

 
At 9/28/2005 05:22:00 AM, Blogger Blue said...

ok Phil are you practicing being a stubborn hard-a*s by not posting?

Hope you are doing ok...

 
At 9/28/2005 09:53:00 AM, Blogger NMAMFQLMSH said...

O.K. Phil you can post now. Please! You o.k. my friend.

 
At 9/29/2005 07:40:00 AM, Blogger Jane said...

i miss you phil!

 
At 9/30/2005 07:38:00 AM, Blogger Grace said...

How are you Phil? :-)

 
At 9/30/2005 10:33:00 AM, Blogger NMAMFQLMSH said...

Really you can post now. I really don't want to stalk you. But I will come here everyday until you post.

 
At 9/30/2005 07:37:00 PM, Blogger Grateful said...

Phil, We need you. Please post.

 
At 10/01/2005 06:56:00 PM, Blogger NMAMFQLMSH said...

O.K. here we go. I'm back today to stalk you. Phil oh Phil...where are you? It's o.k. you know. To come back and post. Please let us know you are alive.

 
At 10/03/2005 06:35:00 AM, Blogger dAAve said...

You are not celery. I shall not stalk. But I'm getting tired of seeing September 18, 2005 as your last post.

 
At 10/03/2005 11:51:00 AM, Blogger Shannon said...

Yes Phil... hope you are ok... as you havent responded to your blogger friends, who are buggin you everyday... :)

we just miss you... hope all is well

 
At 10/03/2005 06:17:00 PM, Blogger NMAMFQLMSH said...

La la la la...just hanging around waiting for a post. Hmmm I wonder if my friend Phil is o.k. I sure hope he at the very least e-mails me because I am going to stalk him like celery...lol.

 
At 10/04/2005 01:13:00 PM, Blogger Blue said...

Maybe he doesn’t like celery and is just holding out for guacamole?

 
At 10/04/2005 03:49:00 PM, Blogger NMAMFQLMSH said...

O.K. O.K. I'll bring guacamole but no strippers. Oh Phil I can't see you.

 
At 10/05/2005 09:02:00 AM, Blogger Blue said...

We don't need stripers just dangle a feather boa in front of Dave...

Maybe that will bring Phil back

 
At 10/05/2005 09:02:00 AM, Blogger Blue said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 10/09/2005 01:41:00 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

Seriously Phil... how are you??? MIss your posts...

 
At 10/10/2005 12:39:00 AM, Blogger K said...

Hey I'm starting to think you and April ran off together somewhere. Miss your posts, hoping your doing well, always in my prayers.

 
At 10/11/2005 03:08:00 AM, Blogger Trudging said...

Alright Phil, where the hell are you!

 
At 10/19/2005 07:10:00 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

Phil! Come back now!!! we miss you!

 
At 10/27/2005 06:28:00 AM, Blogger Blue said...

Hi Phil....

That's it just wanted to say hi...

and to let you know I am keeping you in my prayers....

miss ya

 
At 10/27/2005 08:24:00 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

PHIL??? PHIL??? PHIL??? It has been a month... where are you? Are you ok??? Did your computer breakdown??? Just been wondering about you. Take it easy.. Shan

 
At 11/12/2005 05:13:00 PM, Blogger Jane King said...

Where are you Phil

 
At 11/14/2005 08:29:00 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

I think we should high-jack Phil's blog until he comes back,.. has anyone heard from him via email or otherwise?

 
At 11/24/2005 05:48:00 AM, Blogger NMAMFQLMSH said...

Happy Thanksgiving Phil.
I miss you and I see you,
JJ

 
At 11/25/2005 12:38:00 AM, Blogger K said...

Happy Thanksgiving Phil, where ever you are.

 
At 12/02/2005 09:03:00 AM, Blogger Boston B. said...

nice reading your blog.

 

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