Your Road

This blogging world is something. It’s such an outlet and a huge world of help, compassion, support and sharing. For those of us that stay anonymous, there’s a freedom to express ourselves without anyone knowing who we are in our day to day lives. It’s safe. Following blogs allows us to have a peek into someone else’s life and their pshyche. At times, while reading a post, I can actually imagine that persons’ living space-their family, their pets. There are posts that make me laugh out loud.  (these are mostly from Sober Mummy-compliment!) There are posts that make me sad and make me wish I could give the blogger a real-life hug.  Some posts make me angry and some frustrate me.  No matter my reaction to a post or whether or not I choose to comment, I know that while there may be vast distances between the bloggers that I follow-whether mentally or spiritually or locationally, I know that we all have one thing in common.  That is addressing and exploring our relationship with alcohol.  Learning to deal with something that has become a problem in our lives. Trying to learn how to give it up or cut back. Trying to live differently.  Better.  Fuller. And of course, not hungover.

I also notice a strength in my fellow bloggers.  Because, even with anonymity, putting something out there in cyber space that others will see and possibly comment on requires an honesty about ones self.  A positioning of vulnurability. There are some posts that I read that are so tangible to me,  the pain of the blogger reaches out through my screen.  Or their joy.  Or their ambivalence.

 
What an outlet this is!  And what a gift to not only be able to share my experience for whatever it’s worth, but to share someone elses.  And while the blogger may not realize it, it is so easy for the reader to see the progress they’re making.  So easy for me, the reader to see the struggle of a fellow blogger.  To feel their disappointment when, even though they have made incredible progress in giving up alcohol, other parts their lives seem to be even more topsy turvy than while drinking.  (of course we know that their lives aren’t more topsy turvy, it’s just that they aren’t disconnected like they were before.) It’s inspirational to see someone in such pain plodding on with what they know will, in the long run,  give them a better life. Trying to do the right thing-knowing what the right thing is-in spite of the pain in the process. There are bloggers that decide, after not drinking for a time, to try moderation.  There are bloggers that make me wonder if they actually want to quit. Or I read about a blogger’s, yet again, Day One. They write about it, knowing they will get some stern comments.  But, they keep putting themselves out there, hoping that there will be just one comment that will make it all click.  Of course it doesn’t actually work that way for most of us.

Why?  Because there’s work to be done.  Deep, internal, soul searching work. And so, while we may put our struggles and successes out there for all to read, it’s a personal journey. And, it takes courage. We all want to get to the same place-the place where we are not spending the greater part of our days and lives with alcohol as the premier focus.  There are many ways to get there.  However, what is kind of nagging at me is that many think that THEIR way is the only way.   And they are extremely and strongly vocal (or verbal in this case) about their views.  I don’t think there is only one way.  What may work for you may not work for others.  For example, I am not a fan of AA.  The idea of having to carry around a belief that I will always be “sick” and that I am powerless does not sit well with me.  In fact, I refuse to believe that I am powerless over alcohol.  Yes in the sense that if I decide to drink and I drink too much, I will become drunk-thereby giving my power to wine or vodka or whatever.  But I will not live my life avoiding situations where there is alcohol. This won’t and will not work for me.  I have found a way that works for me.  A support system and a way of being. BUT, if AA works for YOU and that’s the only way you can get and stay sober, then by all means, that’s what you need to do. I have even suggested it to a fellow blogger or two who seem to never make any progress on their own. The same is true of rehab. I believe at times, it’s the only thing that can remove a person from alcohol.

Some people need something that is black and white and regimented.  Others-like me- work better when they can create their own “program”.  Combining several schools of thought to personalize the process.

The point is, that there is no one way to get and to stay sober.  For me, it’s having a strong spiritual belief system.  It’s about eating properly, exercising regularly. Blogging and reading blogs. Ordering a Mocktail when everyone else is ordering a Cocktail. Being aware of triggers and not allowing myself to “buy into them”.  Knowing what situations to avoid and to leave early if necessary.  Reminding myself on a regular basis what it’s like for the 24 hours after drinking that bottle of wine. Knowing that my body is healing after years of abuse.  Continuing to look deep inside-with a therapist if necessary-to connect with myself. To heal myself.  To go past the fear. To have a Sober Toolkit.

I also realize that there are some things that cross over no matter what path someone takes to sobriety.  Things that should be done and work across the board.  I think it’s important to respect everyone’s journey.  To remember that we are not all made the same way.

 

rumi-quote

Namaste

 

 

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Disconnectedness

We-my SO and I-live in a condo. We’ve been here for 12 years and know many of our neighbors.  One of our neighbors puts together a Happy Hour about once every month or so, always inviting the same group of us-about 5-6 people. It’s no big deal- a BYOB thing that starts around 5:30. I usually leave by 7.  While I was drinking, I left by 7 so that I could go home and finish up my opened bottle of wine without anyone being a witness to it.  Giving the impression that I was a totally cool, under control , can stop at one kind of drinker.  To be honest, I don’t think anyone gives a shit and a few of those people knock it back without thinking about what anyone thinks.  Now I leave at 7 because by then, I’m done.  I’ve had enough chit chat, I’m not getting drunk and I want my dinner.

There’s one woman that’s always invited.  She’s lived here awhile-everyone owns their units so it’s not a transient group.  Anyway, we talk when we run into each other in the parking lot and of course she’s always at the Happy Hours.  While she’s nice and whatever she is, I just can’t really resonate with her. I’ve asked myself over the years why not, but can’t really put my finger on anything.  She’s about my age, divorced and worked for many years at a hotline for domestic violence.  Joe Biden is her hero (who is a good one to have). I know that she cares-at least about domestic violence.  She quit that job a few years ago and doesn’t work anymore.  She posts a lot on Face Book.  I get the impression that she thinks that she’s a 2016 version of an almost 60 year old, Southern Carrie Bradshaw-from Sex and the City. I don’t mean that as a compliment.  In almost all of the photos she posts there is either a glass of wine or a cocktail. We notice those things now,  don’t we?

So at this particular Happy Hour, we were talking about some of the animals around here.  We are on a canyon-it’s woody and beautiful. There are coyotes at times. There’s a lot of deer.  I love the deer.  And while you’re not supposed to, I feed them on the QT.  We don’t compost and we eat so many veg and a ton of fruit.  So, I keep a bag and put rinds and ends and scraps in it.  Then, when the coast is clear, I dump it in my secret place.  Another neighbor has fed a feral cat-Sylvester-for years.  And, I’ve caught him feeding the deer bananas. Anyway, at the Happy Hour another neighbor and “CB” (Carrie Bradshaw) started talking about Sylvester and she made some kind of negative comment about him and wished that the other guy would quit feeding him.  Then they started talking and laughing about a video she’d watched where someone put a kitten in a dumpster.  That pissed me off.  And, I said so-nicely of course. But, I said that I did not find that funny at all.  In her long Southern drawl she said, “Wellllllll, it didnnn’t get hurrrrt.”  (Only a Texan can turn a one syllable word a 5 syllable word!) I said I still didn’t think it was funny and that studies have shown that when children exhibit this type of behaviour towards animals it’s usually an indication that they have some serious problems.  Because this didn’t happen in my home, I let it go.  However, it continued to bother me for several days and I found myself asking myself what it was that was bothering me.  When I figured it out, I sent her a text.

First, I started off saying that I hoped that her upcoming trip was a good one. (It must’ve been because there were plenty of “beverage” pictures posted on FB from all the different places she went). I went on to say that I had been wondering why I was so bothered by the video she said she’d watched and her reaction to it.  That what I realized is that her reaction to it and even the fact that she watched it showed a “disconectedness”.  That so many of us are disconnected not only to other human beings but from everything else in the Universe.  This includes animals, plants. Everything. I went on to say that I felt that we are all connected-all created by the same Force sharing the same space.  That this disconnect is what helps to cause and contribute to wars, to racism,to terrorism, to domestic violence.  Being disconnected allows us to be “us and them”. That I feel that in many ways it’s a disregard for Life itself. Her response? “Okay. Sorry to offend”. I said that I wasn’t offended, that it made me sad. I will say that I did not do this expecting anything from her. For all I know she thinks I’m a total nutcase and is laughing about me while watching that kitten in the dumpster video.  I said it for me.  Because not saying something, in my mind, was the same as condoning it.

While this may make no difference to CB or have any impact on her life or behavior, I have noticed an effect on me.  When I start to judge someone-without knowing them-say someone I’m walking past in the grocery store-someone I will never know, never speak to and probably never see again-but all the same making a judgement, I find myself saying to myself,“Disconnected”. Telling myself that am disconnecting.  Reminding myself that we are all connected.  We don’t all have to like each other. Or agree with each other. Or hang out together.  Even so, because we are all human beings, we are all connected.  I am reminded daily-hourly- here in the US of A right now of the disconnectedness-by what’s happening on the political scene.  How one candidate is giving voice to thousands of people who believe in the Us and Them way of being. People who will act on the least provocation to unleash pent up hatred.

Of course alcohol is a wonderful way to be disconnected. To stay disconnected.  And maybe that’s the whole thing.   If we can allow ourselves to be connected to ourselves, then it’s harder to be disconnected from others.  If we can only allow ourselves to learn and do the work-whatever it takes-to connect with ourselves.  To work past the pain, the anger, the fear, whatever it is that keeps us wanting to stay  disconnected from ourselves.  To learn to stop using alcohol to stay disconnected from ourselves.  Because to me at least, if we can connect with ourselves-if we can learn to not only tolerate but to love ourselves, then we can’t be disconnected to others.