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Monday, October 31, 2011

The Lost Mother

Mom and her horse "Rita"

As a child, my mother suffered much worse things than I ever did. Physical and sexual abuse from her alcoholic father. My grandfather. I wasn't there of course, but from what she's told me over the years, I'd bet mental illness as well. Who wouldn't with a childhood like that. Her mother died when she was very young. I never met the lady, but I hear she was good. She had left my grandfather while my mom was a kid.

Mom never really grew up. Had me and married my dad at a very early age. 16 or 17 I think. She considered herself a hippie. What she actually was, was much different. Buck-wild with no identity. A child who was indifferent to everyone's needs except for her own instant gratification. She ran around on my dad frequently and often brought me with her. After she left, and my dad divorced her, she disappeared for a few years. We'd see her from time to time. As a child, that primal instinct to be with my mother kicked in when I saw her. It hurt that she didn't seem to have much time to even say "Hi".

The day came when my dad walked into my room and said that she wanted to see me. I don't remember how old I was. It was a Sunday and it was my birthday (or close to it). I must've gone silent, because my dad told me I didn't have to go if I didn't want to. I tend to abruptly go silent if something isn't sitting well. I said I would, though. She picked me up and took me to my aunt's lakehouse. Gave me a couple of toys and we called it a day. For quite a few years (and husbands) after that, that was pretty much the routine. Going out to eat, getting guilt gifts, spending a weekend here and there.....

These years brought alot of disappointment and grief as well. She'd say she was coming, not show up, and I'd be crushed. She spent an amazing amount of time partying. She drank and did alot of drugs. Never right in front of me mind you, but looking back on different occasions, certain things make a whole lot of sense. As a child and early teen, I never really knew why we'd go right to some stranger's house after picking me up... with me sitting alone in the car for an hour or two. There were quite a few shady things that went on, that in my later years I realized were starting to fall into place. She'd been involved in numerous illegal activities and been through many unhealthy relationships. Some of the relationships were potentially healthy, however, and those were the shortest lived.

Today, her past has caught up with her. She's become a sad recluse. Most folks wouldn't even recognize her. She's still delusional in a lot of ways. Still an active addict. Lives in a rundown house in central Alabama. I call her from time to time to see how she's doing. She loves to give me advice. She's always saying she wants grandkids (not sure that I'd let her see them when that time comes). One of the things that gets me most, though, is that she expects me to take care of her when she's old. I don't like talking to my mom, and when the subject goes to that... well... let's just say that my serenity starts slipping away. I'll do my best to make sure that she is ok, but I have my own life and future family in which to devote everything I have to give. To make damn sure that my children never experience what I had to. Or she had to.

This Is Halloween

Happy Halloween! It's another gorgeous day in New Orleans. I had a beef taco salad for lunch. Had a great meeting at the Mustard Seed. Sitting in PJ's right now.

At the meeting we discussed controversy and giving advice when we shouldn't be. All the stories were pretty much the same. That isn't a bad thing, though. It reinforces how alike we alcoholics are. We like to be know-it-alls, and we like to try and advise people. The results from this can sometimes be disastrous. Even in recovery we have to be very careful what we say to people, especially the ones new to the program or who are still out there suffering. My sponsor tells me that it is ok to help if you are sharing from experience or have specific knowledge in the area. Even then we have to be aware and cautious (sometimes avoiding certain subjects altogether such as love, politics, religion, etc). When it was my time to share, I kept it brief. Talked about the truck driver a bit, and how I was only doing what I could to help... but had to be responsible about it too.

Today is turning out to be a bit harder than I thought. Was going to try and treat it like a regular day. It's just a bit difficult spending it by myself. Usually spend it with Sarah and surrounded by friends. I love her and I miss her. That's all I'll say about that. I work tonight so maybe my mind will be on other things.

I hope everyone has a great Halloween and gets lots of Reese's cups! If you do, have one for me. :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Giving Out Chips and All Hallow's Eve... Eve

Corny title, but hey, it's nice to have some of my goofiness back.

Had a good day at work. Had a really good... and surprising meeting too. I got there about 15 minutes early so I went in and helped set up. On my way to the restroom the moderator asked me if I would hand out chips. Not potato chips. Not fish and chips. AA chips. I paused for a moment. I'm always up for any kind of service work that is asked of me. Before I accept it, though, I give my sobriety date. Some service work requires that you've been in the program for a certain amount of time, you see. He said it was ok. It's not a monumental task. Doesn't have to be. I'm just stoked that I got asked... or as he put it "volun-told". It's a small reminder of how far I've come that someone actually singled me out to do something like that. Wouldn't have happened back when I was half-assing it. I just sort of lurked in the shadows back then.

We had a great speaker. He told us his story from when he was in boarding school and kind of sheltered to when he started his drinking career in a college fraternity. After college he said he'd become very successful at his job, but drank non-stop when he got home. His first wife divorced him and took the kids, and his second wife died of complications due to alcoholism. None of this gave him cause to stop himself. He said it wasn't until he'd suffered mild brain damage after an intense bender that he quit. I think the whole room found something to identify with in his story. I certainly did. Oh. I ran into my sponsor there too.

Now, some people have asked me what I'm going as for Halloween. I wince a bit at the question, but then answer that I'm working that night. I usually do something with friends. Dress up and go to a get together, watch a scary movie, then maybe walk up to the cemetery (and take pictures of it through the fence). It's fine though. Can't celebrate them all and I need the money. Gotta prioritize. Anyway... I'm off Wed. so I get to go see Buckwheat Zydeco and The Subdudes! Last free concert in Lafayette Square of the year. Woot.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

10 Things I'm Powerless Over in Alcohol

This one is going to be a downer. It will sound like a pity party (and perhaps it will be). Any active users out there can take it as a cautionary piece, though. So I'll print it.

I met with my sponsor after work. Showed him my list of things I felt powerless over in active alcoholism. I decided to show it to him before posting it here. He liked it, and we discussed it in-depth, but he was looking for something a little different. I'll go into that in a minute.... And show you my list.

After we met, I called Teresa and dad. Talked to them for a few.

After I got off the phone and continued walking back to the place, an overwhelming feeling of loneliness came over me. It was a very palpable, almost physical feeling of pain. I say "was". I mean "is". These past few weeks have been horrendous in some ways. An emotional roller coaster. Not everything has been bad, though. I've had some really good times. I haven't let the bad effect my recovery. Actually recovery helps. I don't know what I'd do if I weren't active in the program. Well. I do know. I'd be drunk right now.

It's a beautiful day, it's Halloween weekend, and I have no one to share it with. Or that wants to share it with me. It's nobody's fault but my own. I know that. But it still hurts like hell. Words can't describe how horrible it feels to have friends and the person you love most turn their backs on you. To be an outsider and no one will allow you to even look in. Take that as a word of advice that I can give if you are out there currently suffering the disease. It may not happen, but usually it does. You lose people over your addiction.

When I was active, I was powerless over just about every aspect of my life. I showed my sponsor my list, and while he thought it was good stuff, he wanted something more specific. I think it's important to note that these are things I feel I was powerless over because I was too damn stubborn to work a real program and fix them. I'm not using "powerlessness" as an out or a justification. The list doesn't exactly match up with the subject, either, but I still got a lot out of writing it. Maybe you could consider them more symptoms of a disease I was powerless over.

1) Lack of control over emotions. Anger, frustration, anxiety. When active or even sober and not recovering, I've found that I crumpled to these emotions very easily.

2) Finding solace and escape in trivial things. Facebook, Doctor Who, video games. My sponsor said they weren't bad things to enjoy. Just not as a crutch and not to get away from feelings and reality.

3) Inability to express emotion or love. This is something that has developed over many years and was compounded by alcoholism.

4) Taking things like hobbies, etc. to extremes. Example: Being on vacation and spending more quality time with the camera than the one I should be enjoying it with.

5) Compulsive and impulsive behavior. Regardless of the consequences.

6) Withdrawal and seclusion from social interaction and from those I love. Such as coming home from work and automatically going to hide in my own little world to avoid facing people or situations.

7) Doing things that hurt the ones I love. Whether intentionally or not, I still did some very hurtful things. Lying, manipulating.... You name it, I am accountable for it.

8) Complacency. Before I realize it, it's already been there for a while. This has seriously hurt any attempt at recovery I've made in the past.

9) Losing interest in things that seem too challenging.... or even scary. Facing my problems head-on being a big one.

10) Lack of patience. Desire for instant gratification.

I was told that these are problems almost every alcoholic faces, and was assured that it gets so much better as you work the steps. I'm on number one now. I was also told to keep the list and make a portfolio from all my written work. As I progress, I'll be able to look back and see just how far I've come.

My new assignment is to write at least 5 (more specific) things I'm powerless over. The first one that came to mind was "drinking while knowing it would destroy my relationship". He said that that was what he was looking for. We're meeting again in the middle of the week.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Truck Driver Returns

First of all... A couple of things I've accomplished today. Talked to the boss about moving up in the company. He wants to meet next week so we can map out a game plan. I'm still seeking a second job and still am researching continuing my education, but while I'm there, I should be striving to make a better leader of myself. A pay raise isn't such a bad thing either. I have some hospitals I need to re-apply to later. Looked up my medical benefits enrollment dates and will be applying for that tonight as well. Let's see... got my credit report a couple of nights ago, researched improving my credit...

Keeping busy with things I need to be on top of anyway. Called my sponsor too. We're meeting tomorrow after work at the Rue. Gonna start my stepwork.

Our Friday truck driver came around today. We talked a bit. He seems to be out of control. He went back out last week and ended up with some girls. He said he'd tried to call me about the meeting, but dialed the wrong number. He thought I was upset about all of it. I simply told him that I was not, that it's his life, I have my own recovery to work but am willing to help in any way I can. I told him that he could call me anytime day or night, but he really needed someone with a story similar to his who is actively recovering. He has so many things going on that I have no experience in and I still don't have enough sobriety to go out and give a bunch of advice. I did try to get the fact across to him that the day would come when he would lose his wife and kids. If he didn't get help, he'd go back out one time too many and that would be it. I don't think he believes me.

Like I said, though. I have my own recovery to work... and I'm working it hard. Laid down a very firm foundation. I have noticed substantial changes in my life that wouldn't have happened otherwise. I'm enjoying it and the infinite possibilities it brings.

May post again later....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

An Evening Full of Recovery

Sitting up the street having a burger and doing laundry.... and a Diet Coke. Yes, at Igor's. The only place I can wash at this time. Told my sponsor and he trusts me. I think. I forget that someone in my position has a harder time gaining trust. That's ok. Just means that I have to work harder.

I really needed this evening. It snapped me back a bit from what happened earlier. The business meeting was interesting. We nominated and elected several people into different positions in the group. Chair, secretary, etc... They offered to allow me into a lower ranking position, but I had to decline citing that I didn't feel like I had enough sobriety. I will be doing service work, however, by helping set up for business and regular meetings. I told them I'd do whatever they needed that was in my capacity. We talked group finance too. Woot.

The regular meeting was fantastic. My sponsor was there as well. There was alot of discussion about how folks had gotten into the program and their lives prior. I wasn't much up for sharing tonight. Just listened. Perhaps the biggest thing I left with, though, was that we as alcoholics like to blame our problems on everything and everyone around us. We don't truly start recovering until we realize that we are our own problem. I love that. Not a new notion, but it never gets old.

Afterward my sponsor and I went to the Rue (coffee shop). We just talked tonight. I shared with him some of what has been going on lately. Well. Everything that has been going on. One thing being Sarah and how I should back off and work my program. She may come around when she sees how well I'm doing or she may not. Talked about today too. He gave me some very good advice. I appreciate it very much. He also gave me an assignment to get me started in working the steps. List 10 things that I'm powerless over in alcoholism. I'll share that here after I've shared it with him.

Something else that I just remembered. And this is something I've never thought of. We were talking about how we'd both tried to function in society and work and still drink. It doesn't work. There is no such thing as a functional alcoholic. Basically, if you aren't recovering, some aspect of your life almost invariably is a wreck. I want to look deeper into that.

...........*I just moved my clothes over to the dryer.*

Writing tonight has helped a ton, too, dear reader. Thank you. Now I am going to tear into this cajun burger. G'nite.

A Dark Day

Here's a pic of Sophie I had on my phone.
I used to send Sarah pictures when she was away.

It was indeed a dark day. A day that I'd feared for Sarah for a long time. Her cat, Sophie, passed away. Some may be saying, "Well. It's sad, but it was just a cat." Sophie was so much more to Sarah, though. She was her pride and joy. A source of comfort... and one of the last things she had left from her grandmother.

Sophie was very old and spent most of her days lying by a window in the sunlight. She craved affection and liked to play in her own limited way. She was also a sickly cat. She had heart problems, diabetes, was so big and frail she had to be picked up to be put on the bed, she had external tumors, and in the end they'd found a couple of massive internal ones. I used to gripe about how expensive Sarah's cats were to take care of. Didn't show them the attention they needed either. Only now in my recovery do I look back and say to myself, "She loves those cats like she would her children. I should have too." I was a sick person who couldn't even show myself the love I should've shown them.

I was sad to see Sophie go. I held her in my arms as the vet gave her the euthanizing injections. It was one thing I could do for her and her momma. Sarah is away on business and couldn't be there. That made it twice as hard. Sarah did have the vet put the phone to her ear. Sophie recognized her immediately and gave a sad meow. I couldn't hold it together and broke down. On the verge of that now actually. It was heartbreaking seeing her go, but I'm an emotional train wreck because I know that Sarah is devastated. She wont let me be there for her. Well. I am there for her 24/7. For anything she needs. I guess I mean she wont let me in. It hurts me that she hurts. All I want to do is hold her and make it better.

That's where I am today.

I haven't drank over it and will not. Going to be a big evening of recovery that I seriously need right now. I have a business meeting at 6 followed by a regular meeting. My sponsor wants to check out my home group, so he's going to meet me there and then we'll hang out afterward. Looking forward to it.

Goodbye, Sophie Monster. You're with Sarah's grandma now.

Addition- 10-28-11

Alot of people have already read this, so I feel that it would be useless to go back and edit it.

My friend William called me on something today. And I would to thank him for that. He told me that, in this post, I was painting myself as a hero. I think he is right. I can assure you, dear reader, that I am by no means a hero. Far from it. And I wasn't the hero I should have been in Sarah's or Sophie's life. I'd like the chance to be, but that isn't what this note is about.

William and his sister Katie were there at the clinic, you see. William's actually the one who took Sophie and paid for it. My presence, even though it was for Sarah and Sophie, was marginal and I certainly didn't deserve to hold her while they put her down.

I'm not disputing everything that I wrote before. I just worded certain things wrong and possibly didn't include all the necessary facts. Whether I did it consciously or not, I think William has a very good point and I would like to apologize.

The blog may very well be about me and my recovery, but I can't get so caught up writing about myself on these pages that I forget those around me.

Thanks again, William :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gospel Music and James Carville

Went to the Second Harvest concert tonight. Didn't know the last one is actually next week. Gonna be a lot of zydeco there. Can't wait for that. Tonight's group was excellent. The Blind Boys of Alabama performed. Awesome gospel music. I had a good time, but it was bittersweet. I found myself missing one thing. That's all I'll say about that. Had a blackened catfish po-boy from the Oceana tent. That's the restaurant where we ate while they were filming Kitchen Nightmares. Shoulda known better than that. The catfish had the consistency of scrambled eggs. Still.... The money went to the Second Harvest food charity, so I wont complain further.

On the way back I found myself kind of down. Thinking a bit about the past, the present, and visualizing a future I want more than anything. We live for today, but we can have hope for tomorrow. Anyway. Just when I found myself in need of cheering up, who do I practically bump into? None other than James Carville and family. He was really nice. Looks just like he does on TV. Kind of reptilian, but with a big heart.

As you can see,
he was really excited to meet me...

That brightened my day up a bit. I'm back at the place now. Will spend my remaining evening time researching jobs and credit. G'night, all

Oysters and Building a Better House

Fried Oysters by the river.

That's my little splurge today. Been a while since I sat down somewhere and ate (even if it was just the Riverwalk). Usually I'm sitting in Jackson Square on my off days eating something from Subway... And that's nice. It's a pretty place and you often hear live jazz piping down from somewhere in front of the cathedral.

Sitting in PJ's now thinking of things to write. I got alot accomplished today. The noon meeting was good as always. We talked about how we had changed in AA. I've been talking about this alot in groups and on these pages the last few days. Again I shared that the program has been working very well for me. That I have noticed big changes in myself. Others have too. I spoke a bit about last night's impromptu meeting with the lady at Mojo's and how there was a time, not so long ago, that that wouldn't have happened. It really was an awesome experience.

Still working on rebuilding my credit. Still working on a better career situation. Still trying to put money back. And I'm actively working toward giving a very special young lady the house and family she's always wanted... I can do it. I consider it a big part of my recovery as well. Makes me happy. There's no better thing than to give someone you love something they've always dreamed of. She still isn't talking to me, and she may well never. I can't let doubt hold me back, though. Hope and faith are two wonderful things.

Wasn't sure if I should write about that right now, but it's part of what I'm doing. In this blog it is essential that I maintain honesty and hold nothing back. It's not something I share often here. I don't even know if she reads this. If she has, however, I don't want to make her uncomfortable.

The last Wednesday concert in Lafayette Square is tonight. Wellllll.... It starts in two hours. Can't wait for that. I'm not even sure who is playing, but it'll be fun regardless. I even have a few aquaintances that may be meeting me. I'll post again later about it.

There ya go.... It might sound like a lot, but I think I'm keeping a good life-balance. Thinking it may be about time to start on "The Lost Child Pt.3" too. That will more than likely pick up in my teenage years.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cajun Burgers and Impromptu Meetings

Well this evening has thrown me some curves. Not bad ones. Not at all.

A friend who is visiting New Orleans from Australia offered to take me out for a burger... at Igor's. That is a bar. Now he isn't a drinker, he just really likes the burgers there. And I'm not afraid I'll give in to temptation and drink or anything, but I did call around to let folks know what I was doing. My sponsor said that as long as I didn't sit at the bar and remembered I was there for dinner it's not a big deal. And to have an out if I needed one... so I'm cool with that. Haven't had one of their cajun burgers in forever.

The other curve was when I went to Mojo's Coffee for my second meeting. It was on the schedule but no one was there. I hadn't been to this particular one before, so it may not even exist anymore. When I went upstairs to check, an older lady followed me. She was looking for the meeting too. I didn't have the heart to tell her that it would have been a men's group. Sometimes they let ladies hang out though. We sat and waited for a bit, then decided to have our own meeting. Nothing formal. She shared the reason she was there. It was mandatory as she had gotten a DUI about a year ago. She'd just gotten sentenced and started serving. She told me about the events of the night that led up to her arrest, what incarceration was like in New Orleans, and that she'd stayed away from alcohol this whole time.

I shared some of my story with her. About how I'd been in and out of the program for a while. What I was doing to stay plugged in. I told her that I'd hurt someone who means more than anything to me. Told her about some of the trouble I used to get into. Shared some of how AA works, but I had to be careful how I shared because it was only her third meeting. Goes back to me not being in a place to give too much advice. I also directed her to some of the better meetings around town. The Mustard Seed being one of them. She sounded excited about that.

It's amazing the opportunities that have arisen for me to help people in my own little way. Wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't found a clearer path. She was shocked when I thanked her for helping me in my recovery. As it says in the 12th Step tradition, "You can't keep it unless you give it away." I signed her court slip afterwards and we said goodbye.

Doing Things Differently... and Ramen Noodles

Wow. So glad I made it to the meeting on time. It was a nice little crowd. The older lady who moderates often was there too. She's a gentle soul who just emanates kindness. I always feel right at home when I see her and hear what she has to say.

Her topic today was a bit split. Dealing with the upcoming holiday season and going back and forth from the program until you actually get it. As far as the holidays, I mentioned that I may very well be by myself and I'm responsible for that. Not something to drink over though. I was, however, anxious to share because the "going back and forth" part has been something I'd dealt with over the past several years. Certain tendencies and attitudes coupled with complacency invariably led me from any recovery I may have been trying to start. And that led to drinking. I've talked about the symptoms of a dry drunk in a previous post. One was "less participation in a 12 step program, or dropping out altogether". That was me. Hello. I'm Jay and I'm an alcoholic.

I told everyone that I didn't want to use words like "changed" or "get it now" because I've used those words so many times before. I'm doing my recovery differently than my half-assed attempts in the past and it's working. You could say that I AM actually working my recovery. I'm following the guidelines that are set out by the program and have become a much better person for it.

So what are things that I've noticed about myself lately? I'm more direct with people, but in a healthy way. I no longer obsess with trivial things to escape reality. I make more conscious decisions before reacting in certain situations. And I have a clearer path in planning for the future. Those are just a few that stand out.

Still not perfect. Still have a lot of work in all aspects of my life... but who doesn't. I'm thankful for today and looking forward to all the great things the future will bring. And I'm sick of ramen noodles. I'm going to New Orleans Hamburgers and Seafood for lunch tomorrow, dammit. ;)

I lit a candle for someone before I left today.

Exhaustion and Future Steps

I'm a bit late posting. I was on the phone for a while with a friend. Not much to write about today. The Mustard Seed was ok. I just don't relate well with the guy who moderated. Doesn't seem very happy in his recovery. He acts as if it is more of a chore. I have to remember, though, that it is his recovery. We all do it differently and we don't judge.

I shared a little about behaviors I'll have to make amends for in the future... to people I've lied to or taken advantage of. The subject, though, was about the fourth step... doing a searching and fearless moral inventory. This is vital by itself and helps pave the way for the ninth step (making amends to those we've harmed). Now that step is going to have a huge list attached to it that I wont be able to share on these pages. Since I am nowhere near these steps, there wasn't alot I could say. But that's alright. Ultimately, the meeting left me feeling good. Called my sponsor afterward.

After that I made my way uptown to visit a friend who works at my bank. Talked to him about getting a card to help rebuild my credit. Then I closed at work.

Sorry if tonight's post isn't as insightful or poetic as others. I'm just exhausted. To pep things up, I think I'll attach a video from our June vacation. That beautiful gal, with the bird trying to eat her glasses, is Sarah. Goodnight, Cupcake.... wherever you are.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Dry Drunk

Something that has been eating at me for about a month now is a counseling session I was in while in Georgia. The counselor went over 4 major symptoms of a dry drunk. What is a dry drunk? "A sober alcoholic who develops a set of habits and attitudes that take the joy out of their life and for those around him or her. Those habits often precede a relapse into drinking, even if the alcoholic has been sober for years." When I saw these symptoms I thought, "Dear God. This is me!" I slipped and slid in my disease for a long time. I didn't always know it or recognize the behaviors. Neither did those around me. They just knew I was acting like a butt-head. When I started studying this, everything made complete sense. Every time I'd come off a bender, I'd make all of these promises (promises I'd genuinely intended to keep), be ok for a while, and then complacency would sneak in not followed too far behind by all the symptoms... Then BAM, I'd be right back on a binge. It's a sneaky, cunning disease.

Now I'm not putting the blame on anything or anyone, but myself. I made those decisions consciously. Not in the correct frame of mind, however. I would sometimes try to resist, but to no avail. I was too sick and not ready. As a result I hurt myself and alot of people I care dearly about. When sober, I was a dry drunk a significant portion of the time.

I went online to try and find those symptoms to write about tonight. Instead I found this in an article here. Found a lot more than I bargained for and it's as scary as crap. I'll tell ya what's different after the list.

Symptoms of a dry drunk are as follows....

• acting self-important, either
by “having all the answers,”
or playing “poor me.”
• making harsh judgments of
oneself and others.
• being impatient or pursuing
• blaming others for shortcomings one suspects in oneself.
• being dishonest, usually
beginning with little things.
• impulsive behavior which
ignores what’s best for oneself and others.
• inability to make decisions.
• mood swings, trouble with
expressing emotions, feeling
• detachment, self-absorption,
boredom, distraction or disorganization.
• nostalgia for the drinking life.
• fantasizing, daydreaming and
wishful thinking or euphoria.
• less participation in a 12-step
program or dropping out

Getting active in the program has done tons to keep me more grounded. I now know what behaviors to look for and deal with them then and there. Even if I have to call my sponsor. The steps will be invaluable in addressing these defects of character. The most powerful weapon against falling into that trap again is awareness. And then immediate action. Whether it's going to a meeting, stepping back and evaluating the situation, or just going for a walk. Still not perfect, but I am a LOT better.

I think it's important to note that I never stopped caring or loving. I was just allowing myself to fall into a deep, dark hole.

Some info was referenced from

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Newcomers and Civic Duty

I love New Orleans during
Halloween season!

Worked most of the day. Gotta look at a second job. I think I know where I can find one quick, but it's with the competition. Ready to start putting money back and preparing for that future.

Not much to say about work. The truck driver never called to take me up on that meeting invite. The dude simply isn't ready. I wasn't ready, either, for a long time. Hopefully he'll come around, but I have to concentrate on my recovery.

The meeting was good. I saw alot all familiar faces who knew me as well. First time I'd been back to that one. Didn't have a lot for the discussion. It was about being a sponsor. Could only share a little. I did get something from the meeting, though. The sponsors went around and talked about how, as a rule, they didn't work with people who are addicted to narcotics. They said they just couldn't relate and didn't want to jeopardize someone else's recovery. One lady shared that she had tried before and it was a disaster. It's not that they didn't want to help. They just didn't feel qualified.

Something else I've never heard discussed in a meeting was about how serious a circumstance you must be in to be there to begin with. We usually stay fairly lighthearted, but it is a very grave and delicate situation, indeed, for a newcomer to enter those walls. I liked how they stressed the gravity of it. It reminds me to be realistic and responsible when doing a service. And where I am in sobriety isn't nearly enough to start trying to advise people. Can be a dangerous thing.

Let's see..... Voted today. State and city election. Stayed focused on education and healthcare. Back at the place now. May watch a movie or something on my laptop. May even post again later. Ya never know.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Truck Drivers and Thugs

Been at work all day, so I didn't get to post this afternoon. This one wont be a long one.

As alot of you know, I was held up at gunpoint last night. The guy had every intention of shooting me. Through the grace of God some cars came down the road and spooked him. This has caused me to re-evaluate some things. My beliefs being a big one. What I've done with my life being another. Instead of going straight to a bar (not that I had any money if I'd even wanted to) , I went home and stared at the ceiling for the rest of the night. Called my sponsor today.

They say your life flashes before your eyes in a situation like that. It literally does. That's not a figure of speech. Mine did. I thought of my family and what they would do, I thought that I'd never be able to see or hold Sarah again.... He started raising the gun and I knew that I was about to die. What was probably seconds seemed like hours. Then, and thankfully, the cars came and he ran.

The good news is that I'm safe and will be alot more careful on the street from now on. Still pretty rattled, though, and may not sleep.

Our weekly truck driver came around today. Trying, as I was, to treat it like a regular day, I asked how things were going. He said he'd stopped taking his medication and was craving going out at night. I gave him my number and asked him to come to a meeting with me tomorrow. Whether he does or doesn't is up to him. Hope he does tho.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Europeans and Service Work

Just had a really good conversation about politics and war. Otherwise I would've started writing sooner.

Now. What was on my mind...? Talked to Teresa before my second meeting at Rayne Memorial. We were discussing "The Lost Child Pt. 2". She'd had very similar experiences in her family between her folks and her grandparents. She also opened my eyes to the idea that in the past I've pushed people away because I didn't think I deserved them. It's a good point. My history is littered with some pretty rotten things on top of a deep-rooted fear of abandonment. Definitely something to explore.

My homegroup meeting was ok. Not many wanted to share. The theme of the discussion had sort of moved to performing service work. Maybe there just wasn't as much interest in the subject. I shared that I was probably not in much of a position to give advice and such right now. I have opened myself up to people and shared my experiences. Told them where meetings were. For now I think that is service enough. I need to be listening as much talking.

...Funny. I just got invited by a bunch of Europeans to go hang out in the Quarter. When I told them I didn't drink, they asked what I was doing in New Orleans....

Ok. I'm back. Not much else to write really. Gettin' chilly down here and I didn't bring any winter clothes. Guess I'll be shopping next week.

A Little Lightheartedness Goes a Long Way

Here's a sign that I see everywhere around town. For six monosyllabic words, it makes a lot of sense. The video is from my day at the Blues and BBQ Fest. Thought I'd keep it lighthearted this afternoon, plus I have to meet someone. Also for your consideration, one of my favorite stories ever. It's a little Taoist piece of unknown origin. It's called "The Stonecutter" and it describes me well.

Had a good meeting. We went around and discussed our defects of character. I described mine then shared that, being newly back, I was still working through alot of them. I can't tell you how nice it is to walk within those walls and have people recognize me immediately... even come up to me and start talking. Going to my home group tonight.

Anyway..... Here's the story I promised.

The Stonecutter

There was once a stonecutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life.

One day, he passed a wealthy merchant's house and through the open gateway saw many fine possessions and important visitors.

"How powerful that merchant must be!" thought the stonecutter. He became very envious, and wished that he could be like the merchant. Then he would no longer have to live the life of a mere stonecutter.

To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever dreamed of, envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. But soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants, and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession.

"How powerful that official is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a high official!"

Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around, who had to bow down before him as he passed. It was a hot summer day, and the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence.

"How powerful the sun is!" he thought. "
I wish that I could be the sun!"

Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and labourers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below.

"How powerful that storm cloud is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a cloud!"

Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind.

"How powerful it is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be the wind!"

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, hated and feared by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it -- a huge, towering stone.

"How powerful that stone is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a stone!"

Then he became the stone, more powerful than
anything else on earth.

But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the solid rock and felt himself being changed.

"What could be more powerful than I, the stone?" he thought.
He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stonecutter.

The Lost Child- Pt. 2

The little boy lived an almost storybook life out there in those woods. Surrounded by a loving family and a beautiful world. It was all he knew now, and he didn't mind it at all.

He didn't know much about change. Just the easygoing life of the country and being the center of attention. Inevitably change would come, though.

And it did. One night his dad brought home a lady that he worked with and had started dating. This new, unfamiliar element was met by immediate suspicion and confusion. Who was this person, this outsider being introduced into his safe world? His father's intentions were very serious concerning her and before long they were married. They would be moving out and living, what seemed like, a million miles away from the only place the boy knew as home. He was plucked from the love and protection he had gotten so used to and taken to live among, what seemed to him, total strangers. He went to a new church, had new family, went to a daycare... He was scared to death of this new life that he had had no say-so in. Fear would eventually turn to resentment, and resentment is a mighty grown-up feeling to have.

So is guilt. The child actually felt guilty for having left his grandparents. He would have to deal with this for years. He felt guilty calling someone else "grandparent" (as wonderful as these new grandparents were). He felt guilty calling someone else "momma" even though the first one wasn't exactly a winner. He found himself openly comparing his new family with the people who had raised him. Not to be mean, but to alleviate some of the emotion. This still bred resentment toward him.

He'd spend weekends out in the country from time to time. When it was time to go home, he would cry and hug everyone because he didn't want to leave. His father didn't know how to deal with this. He was confused and perhaps took it personally. This confusion would turn to anger, sometimes even spanking the boy for not wanting to go. He got a spanking one time for putting change in an envelope to send to his mommaw and pawpaw. He would begin fearing his father too, and they would start drifting apart.

This was the beginning of a world the child would create in which to escape. A world that the child still lived in well into his adulthood.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Cup Full of Regret

Having a coffee at PJ's then meeting a friend for a bit before work. Spectacular meeting at Mustard Seed. And spectacularly hard. We talked about regret. The older folks lamented that they wish they would have gotten sober when they were younger. Some felt they had wasted a lifetime and others had the realization that it took all the bad in their pasts to get to the good they enjoy now.

When it came my turn, I shared that I counted myself lucky that I stopped at 38. Fairly young by today's standards. I still have quite a few years to make better decisions and build the life that I want. I talked about things lost. Things found. And then things lost again. Mainly jobs and relationships. Not to boast, but I've lost some really good jobs.... That may sound a bit lighthearted, but I can assure you it is very serious. I've had friends and relationships come and go. The ones that stuck around took shit from me over and over again. I'm eternally sorry to all of you and am eternally thankful to the ones who never gave up on me. I got there... eventually. You find out who really means "through thick and thin" when you go through a sickness like mine. I couldn't be more appreciative of where I am right now and to finally have put that malady of the heart, mind and body behind me.

I talked about Sarah and how horrible it was for her to live with my illness. She'd had a lifetime of hurt and sorrow from family and friends. Instead of holding her tight and not letting go when she shared the bad stuff with me, I just added to it. Again, I'm so sorry, Sweety. My bull-headedness may very well have cost me her too. I hope not.

Will write more tonight. Going to try again at The Lost Child Pt. 2. It'll be late posting if I do. About to head down to the Riverwalk and maybe a quick ferry ride before I leave for work.

This band was playing right outside the coffee shop.
I think they were from Tulane.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Doctor's Opinion

Not that Doctor. I'm not that big of a nerd. My sponsor and I read "The Doctor's Opinion" from the Big Book after the meeting... I picked up my chip tonight (as seen on the right). We had an awesome topic too. Honesty. Now I'll discuss what I got from our reading after I share with you what I shared this evening at the group.

I hadn't even planned on speaking tonight, but I was getting too many "Oh Yeah..." moments from listening to the others. There was a lot of laughter from hearing some the misadventures such as when someone got a flat and changed the wrong tire. Mine was when my friend and I frequented a karaoke bar in Anchorage. We always had some kind of plan for picking up the ladies. One night I leaned in and told him that we were using our Scottish accents tonight.... because what woman doesn't go crazy for a bad, obviously fake accent. And my friend is Polynesian. It was butt-headed unrealistic thinking. Things got more serious when I moved on to the days when I would seclude myself and not want to see anyone. I built, as I call them, alternate realities. Layers of lies that I even believed myself. And maintaining these fake realities, building upon them was a full-time job and became exhausting. Inevitably, the walls would come crashing down around me and damage the ones I love most. I shared how I had found a new honesty by opening up to recovery and writing on these very pages. You, dear reader, are one of the reasons I was able to pick up that chip tonight. Thank you again.

Here's an excerpt from The Big Book that I wanted to post. From The Doctor's Opinion in the front. I've linked them in case anyone is interested. Here goes.

"If any feel that as psychiatrists directing a hospital for alcoholics we appear somewhat sentimental, let them stand with us a while on the firing line, see the tragedies, the despairing wives, the little children; let the solving of these problems become a part of their daily work, and even of their sleeping moments, and the most cynical will not wonder that we have accepted and encouraged this movement. We feel, after many years of experience, that we have found nothing which has contributed more to the rehabilitation of these men than the altruistic movement now growing up among them.

Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks—drinks which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.

On the other hand—and strange as this may seem to those who do not understand—once a psychic change has occurred, the very same person who seemed doomed, who had so many problems he despaired of ever solving them, suddenly finds himself easily able to control his desire for alcohol, the only effort necessary being that required to follow a few simple rules."

I believe the psychic change he speaks of comes after the moment of clarity. When the realization comes upon one that he or she cannot continue without destroying his or herself and the ones they hold dear. When their eyes are finally open to the damage they've caused and are genuinely remorseful. This is when I opened up and decided to work my recovery. I have become more honest with myself and everyone around me. I heard someone say earlier that it was nice being able to tell the truth without hurting people.

It's a wonderful feeling to finally be free of the chains of alcoholism. One day at a time.

Missing Angels and Making Lemonade

Hey! It's Oct. 18th! My journey in recovery is a month old! I ran into my sponsor at the Mustard Seed meeting. He was on his way into the church for Mass. In the meeting we had a great, almost intimate discussion about the program, what brought us there, and how we stay in it. Not a big group, so it's easy to get talk time. Talked to the moderator for a bit afterward. She's a tough old gal with a heart of gold. Always glad to see her walk in.

Replica of one of my favorite statues.
Found it in the courtyard before my meeting

On my way to get lunch, I nearly freaked when I realized my card wasn't in my wallet. Ends up I left it at the restaurant last night. Then I got to PJ's and all of the tables were taken. You may say I went for an upgrade. I'm sitting in the Royal Sonesta Hotel's PJ's right now. Nice leather chair, CNN on the flatscreen, and plenty of AC. I may have to change my regular spot. Sometimes when life gives you lemons, a little patience and perseverance mixes to make the best lemonade.

I go tonight to pick up my chip. My sponsor will be there and some folks that I'm getting acquainted with. One person will be missing, however, and that is the person I wanted to share it with most of all.

Monday, October 17, 2011

One Month's Eve

Little late getting back. Went for gumbo with a new friend who has never been to New Orleans. Made my 12&12 meeting at Rayne Memorial Church. Aaaaaaand tomorrow night I pick up my one month chip. May not seem too special, but for some it's a milestone. Plus I plan for it to be my last one month chip. (Yep. I've had several.) Gonna hang with my sponsor afterward and read some more from the Big Book.

Second half of the day was a bit interesting. The Preacher, whom I've mentioned previously, sat beside me at PJ's. I kinda like his style so I leaned over and told him that if he ever wanted to write something, I'd post it for him. His eyes got wide and he asked me if everyone in the world could see it. Quickly I responded by saying everyone in the world has access to it. Almost everyone. "Can I start a blog?", he then asked. This was no longer a simple situation, but I didn't mind at all. I said anyone could, just go to so-and-so dot com and set it up. It turns out that he doesn't know much about the internet, so I set it up for him.

Have you seen this man?
If you travel up and down Canal Street during the day, you have.
He preaches on the corner of Decatur. With a megaphone.

I got him set up as best I could, then told him I had an AA meeting to go to. When it's ready, I'll post a link...

Well. That's about all I got. Have a few other things I want to write about, but I'll save them for tomorrow. Teresa and I were discussing the differences between abstinence and recovery, and I want to dedicate a post to how it was being an active alcoholic in New Orleans.

Blogging and Reprieve

We were talking about the importance of daily reprieve at Mustard Seed today. Lots of people in recovery associate this with prayer or meditation. At the meeting we went around the table and most said that they don't usually pray for one day's relief like they should. That's how we do it in AA. One day at a time.

The moderator explained that he didn't pray in the morning because he's usually so out of it that he doesn't remember what he prayed about..... Now, I'm not sure that that's how it is supposed to work, but his isn't my recovery. We do aspects of it in our own ways. Basically whatever works for us. I've been doing some praying myself over the weeks. Mostly for guidance and protection. He then mentioned that someone suggested journaling, but he wasn't up for that either. Ah ha! I had what I wanted to talk about.

One of the best things I've done for my start on the road to recovery was to open up to the world and honestly share what I was going through. It's made me more honest with myself and my loved ones. It also helps keep me from going back out. This blog has been invaluable, and I want to thank all you who read it. Hopefully, others who are suffering can find a little light here.

The guy who said that he couldn't remember what he'd prayed about later in the day also said he wouldn't remember what he wrote about in his journal either. While speaking I tried to indirectly iterate that I journal on a blog and often go back and read it again. I have to remember, still, that we recover in our own ways.

Anyways.... Had a nice lunch in Jackson Square. Hung around for a bit and enjoyed the pretty weather. Then I came here and started writing. Going to another meeting at 6:30, then home.

Will write more tonight.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

BBQ & the Blues

Today started at the crack of dawn again. Rushed to work with the anticipation of hitting the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival. Two o'clock rolls around and I'm already headed to the restroom to change into my fest gear.

The first thing I do when I get there is look around at the food booths. Hadn't eaten much yet. There was one set up by everyone from Emeril's to Rouses (local supermarket). I was hungry for a meat pie so when I saw that they had ones with BBQ pork, my mind was made up. Grabbed some skewered shrimp too..... and then later a pulled pork taco. The portions aren't very big. I don't eat nearly as much as I used to, but each alone wasn't enough to make me full. Grabbed my diet coke and made my way to the stage. Didn't even give beer a second thought (the vendors were pushing it pretty hard as that's where they make half their money).

I saw a variety of groups. There was a little funk and some real gritty blues by a duo from Mississippi. After an hour my back was killing me from carrying my laptop in my backpack. Left briefly to get a quad chair from CVS. Called my sponsor to check in. He was watching the Saints game with some guests so I quickly told him everything was cool on my end and that I wouldn't keep him. He was ok with me calling when I did. I got back just in time for Marcia Ball. Took my chair out of its nylon sleeve and saw plastic falling out. It was dry-rotted. Test of patience. I could still sit in it and decided to just take it back after the festivities ended.

It was a wonderful show. I just sat and relaxed and listened to the music and watched the people. It was a bit of a downer watching all of the couples dancing and holding hands. Didn't let it get to me. I was there to enjoy the cool breeze and the bands. Still. Wish ya could have been there, Cupcake.

Well. I thought it was about time to post something that was a bit less of a downer, so here ya go. Not the most interesting set of paragraphs in the world, but that was my evening.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jay's Decade That Was

I'd like to thank all the folks who have wished me well and offered an ear. The thing is.... alot of people who have been reading my blog aren't aware that this has been building for about 10 years.

I'm sure I was headed in that direction long before that, but my heavy drinking began in 2001 when my ex-wife and I split. I was sad and alone for a little while. Then the realization came over me that I still had this nice apartment in Nashville, TN, had a decent job, and could basically do whatever I wanted. I don't claim to be the most mature person, but what followed was downright infantile.

Everyday after work, I would buy a twelve-pack of beer and something to cook for dinner. I mean really cook. Salmon, steak, aparagus, pasta, jambalaya...... I'd drink my beer, eat, drink more beer, play on the computer, keep drinking, watch South Park: The Movie, and maybe go to bed around one. This was when I was still functioning and going to work. I was king of my lonely little kingdom. My parents got concerned and asked me if I wanted to come to Alaska.

When I got there I found a social services job almost immediately. Still drank when I had days off (I was a live-in Home Alliance Coordinator). It was a terrible job. Things were gradually going downhill. I partied quite a bit. More than quite a bit. Blew money left and right. Ended up leaving the job. In this one circumstance, I had good reason. They'd stuck me in a house with two psychos who were constantly trying to kill each other. Went back to my folks' house and after a month or two got a job (briefly) in the medical lab where they worked. I stayed with them, continued to blow money, continued to drink, and take advantage of their hospitality in every way you could imagine. And for that I am sorry. Step 9...... They left Alaska not long after and I stayed behind.

My functionality as an alcoholic started to decline with the lab job. I was starting to call in alot. This was one thing that led to me losing it. After they moved away I went to Anchorage. I had a series of jobs and never failed to screw them up. I worked at the airport for a near-record 3 years. I called in alot there as well, but never seemed to get into trouble. I had graduated to vodka and was drinking about a fifth a night. Still made it to work on most days. Other days I was more interested in playing PS2 and boozing. It didn't take long before I wasn't even showing up for my job. You see how this problem creeps its way in and takes a stranglehold if you let it?

Let's see... Drank and partied for 7 months straight on Maui. Don't know how I did that being broke most of the time. Came to New Orleans in 2006 and volunteered after Katrina. Ended up living in a house with no power. Slept in a tent in a bedroom. Moved into New Orleans with the kind help of my parents. Thank you. Continued to drink drink drink. Got jobs and lost jobs. Met the most beautiful woman in the world. Made her life hell. I'm so sorry, Sweety. I wish I could redo it.

It was about a year later, that I broke down and admitted I needed help. She was behind me all the way. Went to rehab. Came out and was drinking again not too much later. It had gotten to the ugliest point it could get. Now I was just laying in bed and drinking 24-7. Tried treatment again. Each attempt became more and more half-assed. I think I just gave up and took that poor, wonderful woman and the rest of my family with me. I lied about everything, withdrew, when I wasn't on a binge I was a dry drunk, and I would say very hurtful things. This was a terrible cycle for a while.

"What's different now?", you may ask. I realize that my rock bottom isn't living under a bridge somewhere. It's betraying her and everyone else I love. And I do love all of you. I never took my recovery seriously and that is the reason I kept sliding. I have an awesome program now. Great sponsor. One or two meetings a day. Getting counseling next week. Helping others however I can. That's just to name a few. I'm trying to change me from the inside. I ain't getting any younger. There's no better time to start working on the dream than now. ....And maybe it isn't too late for the most beautiful woman in the world to walk that road with me. Even though I don't deserve it.

When the Rooster Crows

Still sort of early, but I'm closing tonight so I thought I'd record the first part of my day. I got up just as the sun was rising and met my sponsor at Mojo's before the meeting. We chatted for a little while. He asked if there had been anything on my mind since we last met. I told him I was working on patience and tolerance. He gave me some advice and said that he still does too sometimes. Doing better though. I was at Zara's Grocery getting a Diet Coke afterward. They couldn't take a card for payment unless I was spending 5 dollars. Instead of being rude or rolling my eyes I smiled and said, "Ok. Thank you." I didn't have any cash and it would have cost more than the drink to use an ATM. When I went outside, the guy that was behind me asked if I needed money for a coke. It was very nice of him and I told him that I appreciated it very much, but I would just go to the next store and use my card. As a habit, I don't carry much cash. It's safer in the bank.

Anyway. Back to the meeting. The subject was gossip and the harm it can do to recovery if not dealt with correctly. Now I know that there's plenty of talk about me right now (and some not-so-good). I've seen a few things on Facebook that have stung. I've even had to block a couple of people so I couldn't see it. Not sure if that was the right approach or not, but I didn't need it in my recovery. I notice that I've lost a couple of friends on there too. Can't blame them and can't let it bring me down. Maybe the biggest thing I got from the meeting, though, is being more social afterwards. I actually hung around and talked... I never did that. And ya know what? It helps.

After we were done, my sponsor and I walked over to the park and started reading the Big Book. We discussed it a little and parted ways. Told him I'd call him tomorrow. We're meeting again Tuesday to read and talk more. Get my one month chip that night too. Woot!

And for someone who may or may not read this. I know you already know, but I never went to the emergency room. Should have told you a long time ago. Was too afraid to own up. I'm sorry.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Truck Driver

Won't lie. It was a pretty tough day today. The entire day was devoted to work. That's not a bad thing though. Called my sponsor on the way in.

We have a guy that comes around once a week. He's a truck driver. Young and loud. Has a wife and kid. He confided in me last week a problem he was having at home. It's not too dissimilar to mine. He had been going out and getting drunk, plus some things that aren't similar to my story. Anyway. He finally admitted it all to his wife and she put him on the couch. I asked how it was going this week. He told me he was still in the doghouse, but they were working on it. I wasn't sure how to convey to him the importance of not being complacent and going back to that again. We alcoholics are a hard-headed lot. It's not quite as easy as someone saying, "Don't do it." Sometimes we slip and slide before we grasp the idea that this can really ruin our lives and others. I told him that there would indeed come a day when she wouldn't take him back. That he was lucky she was willing. Giving him that, I said good-bye. It's up to him and him alone what he does with it. I have to concentrate on my own recovery. For which, I have to say, I am doing with gusto. ;)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Lost Child -Pt. 1

The country can be a magical place. Countless worlds to explore that often go overlooked by an older, more cynical mind. For a child, however, a lake, a forest, or even an old dirt road can present endless possibilities.

There was once a boy who spent his earlier years in just such a place. He had a huge family, and there were always cousins, aunts, and uncles around who doted on him. He was the baby of the baby. He liked drawing, catching bugs with his grandma, fishing, and even preaching the gospel from the front porch. There was never a lack of things to do that would capture his innocent, creative little mind.

He had a loving father, his grandparents were always there for him, he had friends that he would sometimes play with. He had a mother who didn't want him. She could be loving and protective, but she could also be ignorant and harmful. There was many a time when she would choose her wild lifestyle over the well-being of her only son. Doing drugs and being intimate with people he didn't even really know right in front of him despite the crying and the fear. She would eventually leave him and it was perhaps the best thing she ever did in her life. And his.

Things got better from there. The boy and his father moved in with his grandparents. Things became much better. Dad would work, he would spend the day outside being free and running wild, grandma would sit on the porch shelling peas. Everything seemed to have it's place. Church every Sunday, using his tiny hands to help grandpa carry firewood, walking the backwoods with his uncle to catch crawfish. It was a wonderfully simple life he spent with people he truly loved.

His mother never turned back up. He would see her from time to time at the lake with some of her more upstanding friends, and sometimes she would even act happy to see him. He couldn't understand why she would say "Hi" and then go back to her party. His grandmother was his mother now. His grandparents helped raise him and taught him many valuable things that he would forget over the years.

To be continued....

Up and Running

I don't usually set my alarm on days when I work late. Normally up at a not-too-disrespectable time. Today, however, I found myself waking up at 10:30. It was hard getting to sleep, but must've slept hard when I finally did. Anyway. I bolted upright and ran to the bathroom to get ready for the day.

Called my sponsor on the way to the streetcar because I don't like to put that off. It was a brief call. The streetcar was pulling up at about the exact time I got to the stop. Found and empty seat too, which is usually a miracle among all the tourists. Very relaxing ride.

Was relieved when I realized that I'd gotten to the Mustard Seed on time. Walked to the back with the hearty anticipation of being able to listen to and share about today's subject. Now the Mustard Seed hops around locations during the week, and I think you can see where this is going. No one was at Immaculate Conception Church. There was a time when I would have said to myself, "Oh well. Guess I'll go grab some lunch." or call Sarah and say, "It's not here today." and go home. I know the other meeting place though. No excuses for a cop-out. I jogged probably 10 blocks to get to St. Patrick's Church. When I arrived, I was a sweaty mess. Almost 10 minutes late, I grabbed a chair and parked beside a lady who had made room for me. Thank you, lady. It turned out that the topic of the day was patience and tolerance.

Patience and tolerance.... Splendid topics for a big bag of ego like me. For someone who thinks that the world works for and revolves around them, these can be a challenge. I listened to the others and frequently found myself thinking, "Oh. Yeah! That's me. That makes sense." When it came time for me to share, I had to try and organize my thoughts. My mind was still racing from the rush. I can be a very impatient person. Somewhere in my mind I have this notion that the world should run on my time. I tend to get very antsy when things are happening slower than I would like. I get annoyed with people in traffic, movie theaters, walking on the sidewalk, at work, at home, restaurants, streetcars..... Ya get the idea. I could probably fill a page. Doing better with it now. I make a conscious effort to catch myself when I feel myself getting judgemental or irritated. Still by no means perfect, but my stepwork will help immensely.

Had a tuna sub in Jackson Square afterward. I listened to a trumpet player perform "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" as I ate. He wasn't exactly a master on the instrument, but I enjoyed it.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans says, "Eat Fresh."

Here at PJ's in my usual seat. Drinking the same vitamin water... enjoying the same view of Canal St. Go to work at 4 again. Same department. Tonight will be another test in patience and tolerance. It's not like I'm in the Quarter scrubbing dumpsters. Sometimes things are only as bad as you make them.

May write more tonight after work.....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Good and the Bad

Today started on a really upbeat note for me. I made my daily call to my sponsor. We arranged to read the first 5 chapters of the Big Book aloud starting Saturday morning before the "On the Dot" meeting. I readily and happily agreed. Still I kinda dreaded getting up that early. Then I thought... You never had a problem getting up at the butt-crack of dawn to run across the street and buy another bottle. You can sure as hell get up for this. Have to say I'm looking forward to it. AND I haven't been to that meeting in a while.

Speaking of meetings, I've been getting alot out of the "Mustard Seed" downtown. It's a small group. Mostly business people on lunch. I spoke at length about anger the other day and learned quite a bit about myself from just being honest. Today we discussed the importance of making meetings regularly. I shared how I used to be a clockwatcher, paying more attention to the time than what was being said. But then I shared that in the past weeks I've actually been listening. This has made an entire world of difference. I now look forward to my meetings... sometimes making two a day. My entire outlook has started to evolve into something much healthier. I've even started making friends, which is something else I never bothered to do.

After that I had a nice lunch by myself beside the river. The river is kind of my place. I get a little bit of serenity from watching the ships go by or just watching it flow. After that I found my usual seat at PJ's coffee on Canal St. When I left, my day started to change.....

That feeling of serenity kinda went away. I think I'd started worrying about Sarah. I have good days and bad days when it comes to that. This day seemed sort of split in half. I still love her. I wish to God I had a rewind button. This is where I am NOW though. You can only move forward and try your damnedest to make things right. This is the real deal, Cupcake, and there is still a gigantic place in my heart reserved for you if you'll have me.

Work was a bit of a challenge too. A test of patience, if you will. I've never been a fan of the area I worked in tonight. Not even by a longshot. I did well, though. Even found myself bantering with some people.

So. All in all, it was a good productive day. Now I'm just hanging out before bed. Don't usually go to sleep before one or two. Some nights I run into a neighbor in the courtyard and we discuss politics, the city, or even physics. I can enjoy a good, open-minded discussion again. And for all these things, I'm grateful.

Sushi and Preachers

 Today- Called sponsor and arranged to meet before the morning meeting Sat. Discussed the importance of meetings and staying plugged in at Mustard Seed. Had sushi on the Riverwalk, Sitting in PJ's now having a vitamin water. Going to work at 4 and wont get home til about 11. Forgot to mention yesterday that I met the Preacher of Canal St. He's the guy with the megaphone at the corner of Chartres. People think he's crazy but he's actually very smart and socially conscious. I know. Boring stuff, but I like to write about it. I also like sushi on the Riverwalk. 

Will write more tonight when I'm winding down.