Coming Out

I am trying something new.

I truly believe that anonymity is over rated.  Especially these days.  And especially for me.

And I know that it (or how I’ve used it) has kept me from recovery.  In a huge way.  There is something about speaking the truth.  As long as I held back this information, it kept me from fully accepting this aspect of myself.  I was using anonymity.  A lack of integrity.

Integrity: having moral or ethical convictions and doing the right thing in all circumstances, even if no one is watching you. Having integrity means you are true to yourself and would do nothing that demeans or dishonors you.

 Now that doesn’t mean I have left all discretion to the wind (I wouldn’t tell a prospective employer- at least not in the interview)  but I’ve been examining my own tendencies and reasons for “hiding” my alcoholism.  My main and most cherished excuse from fully accepting who I am and to remain anonymous- what will they think?

Only a small part.  Tiny part as compared to the real reason.

Even in friendships where I knew I would not be judged I withheld.

Why?

The unwillingness to fully commit myself to sobriety.  Bet you more savvy folks knew that was coming.   I wanted a back door.  Just in case. Guess what else?  These were also friendships in which the other may drink but have no issues.  You know.  They can take it or leave it.  But I wanted to reserve the right to take it when we were together and none of the discomfort of having outed myself.  Oh- I take it back. I’m not really…you know…. I’m ok now.   HA!  Busted.

If I wish to have a sober life for whatever time I have remaining in this world then it is time to drop the facade.  Time to own it.  Time to come out.  And really, at this point, I’m not so sure I really give a crap about what others think of me…. a benefit of wisdom or as in my case, age.

Certain things become less important as one grows older… and old.  And other things, things we never much cared or thought about become like gold.

By His power and Grace @ 6 weeks.

 

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July 31 – Feast Day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Spiritual Exercises and the Twelve Steps   

An amazing connection. Thank you Catholic Alcoholic!

Catholic Alcoholic

Saint-Ignatius-Loyola1I have the book: The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. I’d tried to read it, study it, and bounce around in it. Then I’d put it away, not ever able to really “get into” it like I’d hoped. I purchased it years ago hoping to get inspiration and understanding about myself and my relationship with God. But the book was over my head.  I couldn’t sustain my interest long enough to really incorporate the exercises into my life in any meaningful way.

I remember thinking, “I wish there was a “Spiritual Exercises” for Dummies book I could read.  I laughed at this thought when I considered that’s basically what the 12 Steps are! Spiritual Exercises for Dummies.

But that didn’t satisfy me either. The 12 Steps were too simplified. And truthfully, they relate only to a small part of the vast Exercises. I wanted the meat of…

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about face

30 days.

Of rigorous honesty and soul searching.  With myself and those close to me.

Of sobriety.

It’s a new beginning.  And an ending.

Blessings in disguise.

With each passing day, I am more and more relieved to be done at the cheese shop.  Not proud of the exit but it was a much-needed and overdue humbling.  It has brought me to the place where I can say without a doubt that alcohol no longer has any place in my life.

Worth the price.  The shame.  The humiliation.

Leaving behind the walk-in full of alcohol.  The liquor store next door.

The constant references to alcohol as in “What wine would go with this cheese?”.

The Friday and  Saturday happy hours before closing.

Being the punching bag for the owner’s frustrations.

It was all worth it.

I have been working part-time since the start of April at a natural food store.  Worked there as a buyer and wellness consultant for 11 years prior to the cheese shop.  Last week the owner called me in to the office and asked if I would be interested in a full-time position.

It feels like I’ve come home.

Only He can turn the garbage into gold.

 

a cringeworthy surrender

Saturday June 17, 2017

I arrived to work at the shop and was told to leave.

Monday June 19, 2017

I arrived to work….  and was “terminated”.

Tuesday June 20, 2017

I left it all behind me.

For however long the Lord sees fit to give me life.

I’m finally ready to own up to it.  To write about it.

That case of wine in just 4 days….my first binge.

And my last.

It will be my last only if I can change my constitution.  From what the Big Book describes as being “constitutionally incapable” of being honest with myself to one of raw and brutal, face to face look in the mirror truth-seeking.

And God’s grace.  Although I must be runnin’ low in that account.

The following is an excerpt from one of my earlier posts…one that has almost ended up in the trash countless times because of the denial embedded within it.  I’m glad I saved it- so I can contemplate my own BS as difficult as it is to read through.

“I’ve been reflecting on why it was that my drinking was much worse before I first became sober…  when I started drinking again, after nine years sobriety, there was not the progression I had so often heard of in A.A .   Even though my tolerance did remain high, I didn’t drink anywhere near to the extent that I had in the past.”

Yeah well.

The progression has arrived and it’s apparently made up for lost time.  One of my many “yets” has become my reality.

I really couldn’t believe the total and absolute loss of control.

I do now.

It’s over.  I surrender.

It’s true.

 It takes what it takes….and then some.

On a clear morning

Amazing. You give me hope. Thank you.

In Others' Words...

Can you imagine the hopelessness of trying to live a spiritual life when you’re secretly looking up at the skies not for illumination or direction, but to gauge, miserably, the odds of rain?
Anne Lamott

I lived in Seattle for more than a decade.  When you live in the Pacific Northwest you develop a nuanced relationship with the weather. Most people seem to have the impression that it pours there all the time.  Not so, PNW rookies.  Not so.  It rains a little bit almost every single day for nine months out of the year.  Lots of gloom. Meteorologists in the Northwest are prone to saying things like, “It’ll be a brighter grey today.”

I always loved that.

As usual, this morning I woke up long before the alarm at what Favorite is prone to calling, “stupid o’clock.”  I stretched.  I waited for my eyes to focus and adjust to…

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ghostlines

There are marks that leave their legacy on our life.

We can grow and outgrow, improve ourselves and even be healed to the extent that we provide for our families and contribute to our communities….thanks be to God, but…

the ghostlines remain.

The unseen patterns and lines etched into the canvas of our souls are there.  Our changes in behavior and thought may remove the black lines, however,

the original marks will forever be there.

Indentations that, sometimes loudly, sometimes almost without perception, call us to not forget….

from where we have come.

I was born and raised in a farming community.  When I turned 12 tender years of age, that community was forever changed by IBM.  It became a bedroom community for those commuting from the great city of N.Y.

And along with all the sophistication and knowledge came the judgement on those who had made their simple home there for the years gone by.

We were the “uncultured”; the folks that didn’t matter much.

We weren’t in their circle.

Deemed the “lesser” folk.

My best friend had moved away and my parents were divorced.  My mother worked.

Hard.

We were left alone.  I was alone. Left to ourselves.  Left to myself.

In retrospect, we were feral children.

That’s what we were.

At the time, all I felt was freedom; the times were the late sixties.

What I felt at the time was not what I thought.

It wasn’t freedom.

It was fear.  It was pain.

Unprotected.

And lost.

I’ve come far beyond those pain filled times, however the deep seated feeling that I’m somehow less than, remains still…..even now.

Those are some of my ghostlines-  I know them for what they are.

I know they are ghosts….

but

they still and will always have power over me if I allow them.

I’ve had a couple of restarts since my last post.  Something happens when I address my sober time as counting days, weeks, months and years… it always has.

I fall.

Time is a funny thing for me in sobriety.

I pray that with time, I’ll have the ability to celebrate mile markers with everyone else…

for now-

I was sober yesterday, I am sober today and by the grace of God, I’ll be sober tomorrow.

 

dear neighbor

You don’t know me.

I don’t know you but I know who you are.  You dated a friend of mine a while back and I witnessed the happy pics of you on Facebook when you were together.  They were pics of when you were dancing at the old hotel in town.

You looked beautiful.

I could tell that you were a drinker because, well, it takes one to know one;  but it wasn’t obvious.

I know things didn’t work out and you are in the same situation you were before, which wasn’t good or healthy.  I’m sorry and I so want to reach out to you.  Things…relationships, work, life in general….everything can be different.

You are in my prayers and if our paths cross again and you are sober I have promised the Lord that I would offer my hand.

In the meantime, I thank you.

You began to enter the cheese shop but stopped short.  No, the package store is next door….you realized it but not before my glimpse of you left me dumbstruck.

It was about 5 o’clock “happy hour”…

You looked as if you just got out of bed.  I couldn’t tell if your cheek was black and blue or if it was a last-minute smear of blush to try to look “presentable”.  You had a smile on your face that didn’t match your appearance.  It was more of a grin divorced from reality.

It broke my heart.

I know you won’t remember coming out for more.

I’m truly sorry…..

but

I have gained from your misery.

You have unknowingly made me stronger….

your face is etched sadly and forever in my mind.

There but for the grace of God go I.