Tuesday, February 28, 2006

CoDe Breaking

I'll try to post this when I can pirate an unsecured wireless network.

There's been a lot of ups and downs since moving to LA two months ago. Still in sober living, and it's going okay. Some frustrations, primarily about lack of a quiet spot to read, write, blog, and just experience quiet. The guys are okay. For the most part, respectful, trying to get clean and sober, trying to get their lives together. There's a core group of about a dozen right now. At least half a dozen have come and gone, sometimes not even lasting a night. Most of these guys have had problems with the law, and most have addictions in addition to alcohol, the most common, and most awful, crystal meth.

We have kids that are still teenagers. I'm sort of "Uncle Phil" to one kid. I taught him how to do laundry. (!) The last guy in is 21, just out of jail, never been in recovery. His first day there, I gave him a Big Book and 12X12, and inscribed them with his name, the date, and a reference to the Promises. I figured, he may not last the night, and if he goes I want him to have them to take with him. He's made it a few days, so we shall see.

All in all, I benefit from the experience, strength and hope of my housemates, from the responsibility and accountability. Nevertheless, I'm ready to get my own place as soon as I can afford it! :)


I can't afford much of anything right now. I'm a temp. I got my first assignment the day after I registered, a 3-day gig that lasted 6 weeks. The client, a small business, talked about hiring me, wanted to tie my compensation to the growth of the business, which was cool with me. After a few weeks it was clear the office was so chaotic there was no way the business would grow. So I left. Unfortunately I'm still "on the beach" and sweating bullets about finances.

From a practical standpoint, leaving the assignment may have been a doubtful move. From a recovery standpoint I think it may have been a great step forward. I could have stayed, believing that I would go to work one day and everything would be completely different -- the owner would see the obvious, that his business was a catastrophe, and would support me in straightening it out. God knows I've spent my career doing just that. "Just that" being, believing in pretty stories against all evidence, and not believing what is right in front of my eyes.

The word I've heard used for this type of insanity is "codependent." About a year ago, in my first 90 days sober, I read a book about codependence. It was another "moment of clarity" in my journey -- it was as much a biography of me as the Big Book is. At this point, the issues of codependency have been bubbling to the surface rather naturally. Maybe it's partly from living in a sober house, watching guys relapse with regularity. I can't afford to relapse, so I can't afford to be anything but honest with myself, I can't afford to nurture self-pity or resentment. So I can't afford to buy into anyone else's bullshit, any more than I can my own. When I see someone relapse, or let his business go to the dogs, I have to choose not to go down with them, and recognize I can't "save" them. I have to recognize it's sad, and pray for them, and be thankful it's them and not me.


Needless to say, this codependency challenge is hardest for me when it comes to my wife. She's just as unpredictable as ever, flipping from reasonable and supportive to a hateful, spiteful, self-righteous liar, cheat and thief, in a few hours. I try to remember she's sick, and pray for her, but I'm not immune to the hurt she causes me, and the fear of damage she could do to my son and/or my relationship with him. I've found myself being less accomodating toward her, placating her a bit less.

Does my behaving differently have an effect on her behavior toward me? Not one little bit. Which just reinforces the truth of what AA teaches me: "Do the right thing and trust God." Or, as my church teaches: "Do all things as unto the Lord." I'm as powerless over the people and things around me as I am over alcohol. I can't change change or control my wife any more than I could change or control my drinking. If she chooses to play God in her own life, I can't do anything about it. My responsibility is not to let her crowd out God in my life.

Better her than me.


Saving the best for last: my son is doing fine. :)

I love seeing him just about every day, and he loves it, too. He keeps asking to come to Daddy's house. I can't bring him to where I live, so my "quality time" with him depends heavily on whether my wife despises me on any given day and will allow me to spend time with him at her place. So I'm VERY eager to be able to afford a place of my own!