Theater Class Journal Entry Number 1

He waits, surrounded by fake souls trying to feel belonged
He waits for what seems like an eternity, to be one of these genetic perfectionists
Waiting, writhing in pain and misery from the world that surrounds
A million things are missing from his ice cold unnatural life.
These things leave an empty hole that devours everything good.
There are attempts to satisfy these things that he yearns for
None of which yield anything worth true value
Every one of them come and go, like strangers robbing the dreams of night
Why is he doomed to this fate of uncontrollable chaos?
Why is he so alone?
Nobody deserves to bear the burden that is destined to him
For that which he desires, is far beyond any comprehension that mire mortals know
These are things that cannot be falsely replaced by generic superficial emotion
They are the self that is NEVER present
While waiting for the winged angle to liberate him, he cries
Crying at night, waiting for the one to set him free
So afraid of being decimated by fear of acceptance he cowards behind an artificial facade.
How the others laugh at him for not being like them, they are the perfect ones
Why is his fate doomed to this sultry misery?
Continently searching to provide a relief for this intolerable PAIN
Oh how this thorn has been creeping in unnoticed and festering in his side over theses years
Prying at his soul day by day, hour by hour, until he will not take any more
This Volcano of frustration is close to erupting, something he cannot avoid
The fire burns deep within, longing like a beast waiting to be released
Rage and torment are present, but nobody can see his desire to be like them, the perfect ones
Finally an explosion of mass proportion decimates all that was known to him
And In the waste a lone glimmer of home shines into the darkness guiding the way
This is the beginning of the glorious transformation in which he defines himself a new
It is the longing and yearning, along with the hope of being accepted that fuels his desire to undergo this perfect dream
For it is not merely a dream, but a reality in which his temptations and desires are made real
Almost perfectly complete, he can rejoice in his magnificent triumph over them.
For now he is, one, no longer cast to the side to be swept away, he is their masterpiece.
Sculpted from the very pressures of like them, selfishness has taken its course
If everything is perfect now, why does he still yearn…
Why something is missing, something that he cannot fix.

-Justin. Written September 8, 2004

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Theater Class Journal Entry Number 1

Humility?

Humility, it was a word I often heard growing up, sitting in the Catholic church pew, as I half listened to the priest drone on about telling stories of this Jesus guy who  we were supposed to believe died for our sins some two thousand years ago.

I never really cared enough to fully pay attention or think enough about what the word actually meant.

As I live through sobriety, I have come to try to live by this word.

Regardless if you’re struggling with alcohol or generally annoyed by other people or situations, taking a step back and thinking about how you can’t control other people or situations instills a sense of humility and your place in the world.

One of the guys in AA told me about this passage in the Big Book and encouraged me to read it whenever I find myself wanting to control other people or situations.

The terms “alcoholism” and “sober” can be substituted for anything.

“When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, think or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs too be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

Page 417, Alcoholics Anonymous

Remembering this has helped teach me humility in tough situations and is something I try to practice every day.

J.

Humility?

Happy Sober Holidays

I want to wish everyone happy sober holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia – whatever you celebrate or not.

Christmas Day will mark one month sober for me and I am grateful that I will be able to celebrate it sober with my loved ones.

Its only been one month since I have decided to live my life without alcohol once and for all, but I feel good. Really good. I’m eating healthy and sleeping well and have felt the mental fog lift so I can think clearly.

I am still attending AA 4-5 times a week. I don’t know if it will be a long term thing for me, but I always feel better after a meeting and will keep trying to embrace it with an open mind. I have found that keeping things simple and embracing life with an open mind makes things easier and has kept my ego in check.

I still feel like drinking from time to time. Its not so much a physical reaction, but a feeling of nostalgia that comes and goes from time to time.

Justin

Happy Sober Holidays

Sobriety, Its a Physical Thing Too

In addition to feeling better mentally, (I am thinking more clearly, I have also noticed some positive physical changes from not drinking.

First, sleep. Since becoming sober, I have noticed that I am getting a lot more sleep than when drinking. Usually, I would have to drink to fall asleep and then I would sleep 4 or 5 hours and wake up and toss and turn until I had to get up for work. This would leave me tired and unrested in the morning and I would feel like I was in a fog all day.

After a week or so of getting sober (the first week I had terrible insomnia) I started to fall asleep easily and sleep soundly through the night. I am now waking up early feeling refreshed.

Second, blood pressure and heart rate. Since becoming sober, my blood pressure and heart rate have decreased to within the normal range. While drinking, my blood pressure was high enough to be considered stage 2 hypertension and my resting heart rate was extremely high. Both of these have decreased significantly since quitting. This may also be connected to quitting tobacco as well, but I’m not sure. I switched to nicotine gum around the time I quit drinking. The first few days were rough but now I feel that its manageable with the gum. If you want to quit tobacco, give the gum a shot. Target has the least expensive, in 220 packs.

Third, weight loss. Since becoming sober for good 2 1/2 weeks ago, I have lost 7 lbs without changing diet or exercise. When I quit drinking  the first time back in June I lost 45 lbs in about 4 months (I have drank off and on since then but haven’t regained any of the weight). It feels great to fit in clothes that I haven’t wore for years and it makes plane trips my more comfortable.

Have you noticed any positive physical changes since becoming sober?

J.

Sobriety, Its a Physical Thing Too

A New Little Friend

I was extremely busy yesterday and I had to wake up at 4am to take my fiance to work so it was a long day.

After she got off work, she was scheduled to get her 2 yr old daughter for the weekend. I had never met her before so I was kind of nervous. I have always been kind of awkward around kids who are too young to talk and have a conversation. I don’t do baby talk or any of that. I guess I try to have a conversation with them as if they were an adult and it has always frustrated me that they can’t respond back. Its kind of like talking to my dog, I want him to understand what I’m saying but he just looks at me like I’m an idiot and runs off to get in the trash when I’m not looking.

We picked her up and immediately I felt a sense of ease. Her daughter was sweet and funny. I really enjoyed meeting her and everything went really well. I was pleasantly surprised. I made a new little friend.

This got me thinking. What would have happened if I were drinking in the same situation? I probably would have gotten really aggravated when she wanted to climb on me or when she grabbed my glasses and bent them like Stretch Armstrong. Instead, I was calm and collected and it really didn’t bother me. I was thinking clearly and rationally enough to realize that she’s just a child and that’s what kids do. Its fine.

The whole situation made me really happy that I’m not drinking and once again reinforced my thoughts that dealing with things sober is not the end of the world. I don’t need to run to alcohol to deal with every uncomfortable situation.

Its supposed to be very mild today ( we usually have snow on the ground by now). 65 degrees F (18 degrees C for the rest of the world) so I’m looking forward to enjoying some time outside in nature.

J.

A New Little Friend

Thoughts on AA

First, let me say that I have been going to AA off and on for the past 10 years.

Usually, I would go to the open speaker meetings. I picked these because they were the most comfortable to attend. I could just sit in the back of the room, sip on some coffee, and keep to myself. I found it a little comforting listening to other people recount their struggle with alcoholism and it made me feel a little better about myself but I never really participated or attempted to follow any of the steps. My ego got the better of me, I didn’t need these coffee chugging chain smoking addicts. I could do it on my own, my way.

I always struggled with the God part as well. I grew up Catholic, attended Catholic school through grade 12 and went to church each Sunday. After graduating high school, I realized religion wasn’t for me and identified myself with being agnostic. So when they talked about God in AA it always made me a little uncomfortable. I have since come to terms with the fact that there is a power greater than myself and I cannot control everything.

The day I admitted to another person that I was an alcoholic, I went to a meeting again. This time, I went in with an open mind and a sense of desperation. Whatever I was trying to do on my own definitely wasn’t working and I was willing to try anything. So, I went to a closed discussion meeting and admitted to a room full of complete strangers that I was an alcoholic. It was one of the scariest things that I have ever done. But, then something strange happened. No one judged me, no one thought of me differently. Everyone I talked to after the meeting genuinely wanted to help me. For the first time in many years, I didn’t feel alone.

I’m still trying to figure everything out but I have been humbly attending regularly with an open mind and every time I leave a meeting I feel a sense of peace and hope.

Have you / Do you attend AA? What have your experiences been?

J.

Thoughts on AA

A Bit of Good News

A little over 4 months ago, I stopped drinking after 15 years of heavy drinking, the last 3 or 4 of which I drank heavily on a daily basis. Due to the withdraw symptoms, I was hospitalized for 5 days to detox. While I was there, I had learned that I had done a great deal of damage to my liver over the years. After I got out, I kind of ignored it and never got any type of follow up tests done out of fear of what they would find.

I came to realize that it was the anxiety, fear, and depression  that were the root cause of my self medicating with alcohol..

Since I was hospitalized, I drank off and on and always managed to recover from it without spiraling completely out of control. Then, 3 weeks ago, I was in a situation out of town that I was all too familiar with and started drinking heavily again. This led to another trip to the the hospital emergency room where I thought I was dying due to a panic attack.

It was at that point that I had decided that I had had enough. I couldn’t keep going through life like this. It was too exhausting and it was killing me. So, I decided to get help. I went to a shrink where I was diagnosed with a couple things anxiety and depression related and signed up for an extensive outpatient therapy – both of which are going really well.

Yesterday, the doctor at the therapy place wanted me to get a blood test again for my liver. This scared the shit out of me of what they would find. I felt the anxiety come over me like a fog that I couldn’t see through. All last night all I could think of was drinking to take the fear and anxiety away. Its kind of ironic that I wanted to turn back to the thing that got me where I am today.

I made it through the rest of the day and night without giving in. I went to an AA meeting that kind of helped but mostly just tried to stay busy.

Today, under the assumption of pending doom, I learned that the tests all came back good and everything is within the normal range. I felt the fog lift the moment I found out and could go about my day.

Navigating life without numbing my senses is just something I’ll have to deal with, one day at a time.

J.

A Bit of Good News