Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Adolescence

I identified with Kenny's post about loneliness. Sometimes I get that old feeling, that I'm alone in an alien world. It came over me briefly last night, alone at McDonalds having a cup of coffee. The urge to flee, run away, somewhere, anywhere, to hide. I'm grateful I don't get that panicky despair very often any more, and that I've been given some tools to handle it. Last night the tools that came to hand were being responsible for the second thought I have, along with good old Rule 62.

I had just left my wife and son at her apartment. I drove them to LA, after she came back the previous day from surgery in Mexico. I was so happy to see my son's delight in being with his mommy, at his "usual" home, playing with the little girl next door he adores, after almost three weeks apart from these people and things he loves so much. At the same time, I had spent 24 hours with my wife so I was ready to strangle her, and I was going to go back home alone after being with my son for those three weeks, so I was already missing him.

I was taking my new sponsor's suggestion by checking bulletin boards at a couple Alano clubs to see if anyone in the Fellowship was seeking a roommate or tenant. I stopped for a cup of coffee, just to settle and center a bit. And I briefly had this view that my life is ridiculous and insane. But before long, I was sort of smiling to myself, yeah, it is pretty nuts in a lot of ways, but it's the life I have and I'm actually starting to enjoy it. Then I got up, went to the Alano club and caught a meeting.

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The meeting turned out to be a small men's cross-talk, discussing problems on people's minds. I didn't share -- I didn't know anyone and I was still feeling a little "alien." I was grateful that my problems seem so small compared to the ones others face. At the same time, I felt at a loss to offer anything that would help.

The day before, my book study meeting was chapter seven, Working with Others, a manual for how to twelfth-step a prospect. It felt like a Plato dialogue, the self-assured confident twelfth-stepper, knowing exactly where he's going, leading the poor schlepp of a prospect into the light through structured conversation. This twelfth-stepper is willing to jeopardize his family, bring a drunk into his home to smash the furniture and burn the beds, in his commitment to carry the message. I realized, this is beyond my grasp, I can't make sense of this yet. I readily identified with the prospect, but the twelfth-stepper is in a different league.

At the same time, my response was neither, "There must be something terribly wrong with me," nor "The book is bullshit." It was simply, "I don't get it." Maybe in time I will, as so much of the book has become clear gradually.

This stuff makes me think I'm in something like the "adolescence" of recovery. I'm no longer a baby in the program, I'm not the same man I was a year ago. But my recovery is not yet mature -- there is much more to be revealed. I like that, actually. I love the changes I've experienced so far, and the prospect of more to come is exhilirating.

I want it all. I want everything life has to offer me. I want every blessing God wants me to have.

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A few days ago Dryblog posted a link to a site of California recovery resources. With a couple clicks, I was looking at the page of an organization that runs sober living houses and apartments in the part of LA I'm moving to. Last night at the Alano club, the director's card was on the bulletin board. Hmmmm... Any thoughts?

22 Comments:

At 12/13/2005 05:43:00 PM, Blogger dAAve said...

good post Phil.

I've had the same thoughts about 12-stepping. I am NOT willing to bring a drunk to my home just so he can tear it up. I may go to his place or meet with him at our AA club, but not my home. Maybe I just don't get it either -- yet.

 
At 12/14/2005 09:16:00 AM, Blogger Shannon said...

Phil you are soo cool...
and its ok if you dont want a drunk to come into your home and tear it down,...what I get out of that chapter is that me an alcoholic, can help another suffering alcoholic like no other... I have the expirence stregnth and hope to offer, and that is key expirence... just sharing, what I know and have learned and expirenced about working/living the program of alcoholics anonymous, sharing about what I went through and how I got here... the chapter also mentions (I think its in this chapter ahahhahaha) we can not transmit something we dont have... to me that means that I may not always be able to help. I have no expirence in dealing with heroine, I may not be the best person to help someone with that, but I can still offer help, a ride to a meeting, introducing that person to someone I know has that expience... Ok I think I am on a soap box or something... sorry...

I too can relate with the feeling of being an alien every so oftern and am soo glad that I dont expirence that as often either...

did I mention how glad I am you are back??? : D

 
At 12/14/2005 04:02:00 PM, Blogger Phil said...

Dave and Shan: Thanks, I'm glad I'm not the only one. :)

 
At 12/14/2005 06:07:00 PM, Blogger Mary Christine said...

I always had some drunk living on my couch and I had little kids in the house! Now my daughter always has some drunk living on her couch and she has little kids - and I tell her - Don't Do That! Your kids come first! You guys have better sense than I had.

 
At 12/14/2005 08:52:00 PM, Anonymous Logan Wick said...

That might be something worth looking into, Phil. I'm glad you're back and I'm glad to be back as well.

LW

 
At 12/14/2005 08:58:00 PM, Blogger Phil said...

Mary Christine: LOL I, for one, don't have better sense. I just don't have the courage and commitment you had. If I let a drunk into my house, I would stand a better chance of getting drunk with him than he would of getting sober!

Nice to meet you, BTW! Looks like you started blogging just when I went on "hiatus." Great to have you in the sober blogging community! :)

 
At 12/14/2005 09:13:00 PM, Blogger Phil said...

Logan!!! Great to see you, buddy!! :) I've been getting a blank page pulling up your blog. (With Firefox -- I haven't tried IE, come to think of it) I hope you're still blogging.

Thanks for your comment. I'm sort of leaning toward it.

 
At 12/15/2005 06:26:00 AM, Blogger Trudging said...

Phil are you willing to go to any lengths to stay sober?

 
At 12/15/2005 09:16:00 AM, Blogger Phil said...

Trudge: **Phil goes into fight-or-flight stance** Why? What am I screwing up? What am I not doing I should? What am I doing I shouldn't? Should I be letting drunks live with me? Should I live in sober living housing? What??

 
At 12/16/2005 10:10:00 AM, Blogger sirreene said...

Rule 62 is the name of a Very good friend of mine! :)

 
At 12/16/2005 11:33:00 AM, Blogger NMAMFQLMSH said...

Phil I just wanted to say I'm so happy you are o.k. and that you came back to fill us in on what's been going on. Stay strong. Being lonely sucks...been there...still there sometimes. I fucking see you bro! I love to swear.
I see you,
JJ

 
At 12/16/2005 01:02:00 PM, Blogger Phil said...

Rule 62, for my non-AA readers, states, "Don't take yourself so damn seriously!" And it is a VERY good friend to us extremist, dramatic alcoholics! :)

Sirreene and JJ: Rule 62 is a nice antidote to feeling lonely. Cuz loneliness is just a feeling, it's not real any more. I don't have to take that feeling too seriously any more when it sneaks up on me, because I know I'll feel better soon.

 
At 12/16/2005 04:54:00 PM, Blogger Mary Christine said...

Thanks for the welcome. :-)

 
At 12/17/2005 12:31:00 AM, Blogger lash505 said...

Email me and we will catch a meeting and maybe lunch or dinner in LA.

 
At 12/17/2005 10:45:00 PM, Anonymous Hsien Lei said...

Glad to see you blogging again, Phil. I'm impressed with your writing and your honesty.

You're the featured blog at Genetics and Health this week.

All the best!

 
At 12/19/2005 11:42:00 AM, Blogger Shannon said...

how cool you are featured!

 
At 12/20/2005 09:11:00 AM, Blogger Jane said...

and you got a great review i might add...

phil - i kind of feel strongly about this, so listen up. don't do anything until YOU are 100% sure that you are not risking your own recovery. when my ex-husband and i were one (me) and three (he) years sober (through NA) we invited a struggling addict into our home, and ultimately it disturbed us enough spiritually that we both relapsed.

some people may be able to invite people into their home and carry the addict, others may need to just carry the message (which i believe is much more effective) let your life be a living message of recovery.

but for god's sake don't be a martyr. don't sacrifice yourself.

as far as sober living houses are concerned it really depends on the facility. we are blessed in my town to have many resources for recovering addicts. some of these facilities have a real community feel to them. people help one another. there is a one year sobriety requirement to get housing at one place i am thinking about, then there are other places that have a revolving door of people who are still very much struggling, which makes the environment very crazy and dangerous.

for someone who isn't even in recovery anymore i have a lot of opinions eh? i may not be sober anymore, but i did gain some insights during my journey.

also, i want to mention that the principle of recovery IS "one alcoholic helping another" so be certain to reach out in any way you CAN help... safely.

i hope you find what works for you.

oh, and what the hell are you doing drinking coffee at mcdonalds of all places. that's just not right. actually, you are American and therefore don't participate in the Tim Horton ritual. my bad. i can't believe i just said 'my bad'. god. ok i'll shut up now.

later dude.

 
At 12/23/2005 05:22:00 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

Just stopping by to say Merry Christmas... hope all is well... Shannon

 
At 12/24/2005 04:05:00 PM, Blogger NMAMFQLMSH said...

Happy Holidays to you and yours from me and mine.
I see you bro and I miss you,
JJ

 
At 12/25/2005 08:15:00 AM, Blogger Shannon said...

Merry Christmas Phil! :)

 
At 12/27/2005 05:25:00 AM, Blogger Grace said...

Merry Christmas Phil, good to see you back :-)

 
At 12/28/2005 03:53:00 PM, Blogger Phil said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, all!

Hsien Lei: Thank you, doctor, for your kind remarks. This blog is, indeed, therapeutic for me. My blogtopian friends definitely have become a significant part of my recovery.

Shan: Oh, yeah, I'm the feature! :) No more buttered scones for me, I'm off to play the graaahnd piaaahno...

 

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