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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Under extreme pressure, diamonds are made...

The challenges I face these days are being met in a very foreign matter. I face them head on, instead of doing the 50-yard lurch and jerk, cowering in the shadows of a bell tower.

I am doing everything differently, including taking direction and making choices and decisions based on the needs of others instead of being based on self.

I have a hurdle to meet tomorrow and have committed to doing so. I am contacting the powers that be and telling them where I am working so they can start garnishing 50 per-cent of my earnings, for past due child support.

Ordinarily I would have waited and let them find me. Which would not be hard to do-they seem to know where I am working most times before I do.

But that would be entirely self-centered and not the next right thing, as uncomfortable and difficult as that is for me.

I can assure you, this decision is not martyr based, it is based on responsibility and commitment.

When my sponsor visited me in the VA hospital, I asked him how to proceed with my life, having turned away from all I had, in order to try and save my life. His response was, "Do everything differently." And so it goes.

I spent the afternoon yesterday at a sober pool party with my sponsor and about 35 other sober adults, and a maybe a dozen children, whom I assume were sober as well. (However there was this six-month old little boy though, demanding and crying and alternately laughing and sleeping, much like me when I was loaded, but who am I to judge.)

I just returned from my Sunday morning meeting, which was on self-centeredness, don't ya know, so as usual, I was right where I was supposed to be.

My sponsor mentioned on the way back to the Ox, that I was selling my Higher Power short. As I have just recently become acquainted with my H.P. and don't know him very well, I think it's understandable.

But we talk every day, so in time, I may learn to trust.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A matter of perspective...

I really don't know where the statement I am about to make derives from, but I am going to toss it out into the ether without fear of some cosmic reprisal or buggering.

This time in my life; these moments, these circumstances, may in fact be the start of the best year of my life.

Yeah, I know. I'm stunned too.

Something has happened; a psychic change, a spiritual enema, call it what you will, but regardless, I am not the same.

I face each day in these times ready to live my life, in the best way I know how, and my gratitude for being able to do these things is palpable.

My needs are being met and the list of real needs has gotten quite smaller and yet the wants don't enter into it.

My wants or lack of getting what I want kept me sick, alone and bitter, for longer than I can remember.

My now, ( as in present moments) while challenging, feels rewarding. And I am operating from a place of strength, humility and conviction.

Yet I am able to do the things I am called upon to do without too much grousing, if you don't count mowing a lawn straight up in 98 degree heat. A few choice words were uttered during that experience, and it really is medically or physically impossible for a lawnmower to perform the acts I was demanding of it.

My bad.

I have run across several folks living on the street over the last few days and instead of making a joke (like-What's the best thing about dating a homeless girl? You can drop her off anywhere.) I feel empathy, and I wish them better circumstances.

Then again, this could be a brain tumor, ending in me suddenly smelling cabbage and singing the Hokey Pokey in Portugese.

In fact this might prove it-"Põe o seu pé direito em, põe o seu pé direito fora, Você põe o seu pé direito em E você o sacudode todo sobre. Faz o Hokey Pokey E você se vira em volta, Isso é o que é todo sobre. " I thought I smelled cabbage.

But for now, to quote one of my mentors...Life is good and I surely am grateful.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Ox

A dear friend coined the phrase referring to my present living conditions. Oxford House-The Ox. It is the year of the Ox, in Asian culture and represents to me I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this given place in time. Cool.

The Ox is an older two-story affair, a couple of blocks from my favorite Street in Dallas; Swiss Avenue. There are eight of us cohabiting and of course being who we are, situations arise, friction develops and lessons are placed before us to learn. We have two house dogs; Ronin, (I thought it was Roman-my bad) a black lab mix and Belvedere, a madly affectionate toy Dachshund.

We share a computer; we have our own rooms-complete with cable, a work out room, large tv's in the common areas, laundry facilities and kitchen. It would appear several of us are in the food service industry-which seems natural, considering the amount of drug and alcohol use in this industry-but are all, thank God, in recovery.

I took the bus for the first time yesterday but had to get a ride back to the house from my manager, as for the first two weeks the conditions of my living arrangement dictate I have to be back prior to midnight-I suppose before I turn into some form of orange gourd. And orange is not my color.

There is a large adjustment in all of this, not only for myself but the other guys involved. I am the new guy. Therefore anything that appears odd or different within the house casts suspicion on me. I can accept that. I would do nothing to jeopardize this situation as getting here was indeed a gift and it allows me to practice the axiom, live and let live.

This has been described to me as an investment in my future and I would have to agree.

I now have to mow the lawn before I go to a noon meeting.

Responsibility-it's not for everybody.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Father's Day that almost wasn't...

Three days ago, after my trip with my girls, I was on top of the world.

Two days ago I received two, rambling, hate filled, dramatic, long (really long) diatribes by text message from my 18 - year old twins' Mother that I was to under no circumstances contact them because my contacting them was annoying and unappreciated and I was Mr. Horrible and if I loved them I would have blah, blah, blah....(She even forbade me to contact my youngest daughter who was visiting her sisters...who is not even her daughter.)

I have tried to repair that relationship every way I can, but in their world love equals money. Sad, really. But I know I have a part in this and I own it. However, I refuse to be the brunt of all their problems.

(Every few years she feels she needs to remind me of my failings in case I've forgotten. I don't know who left her in charge of that - but I thank her for her input.)

It takes two to destroy a marriage and she definitely played a part in that. But it's not about her. It's about me and my reactions.

I am powerless over people, places and things, and I will always keep my heart and door open for the girls if they ever wish to have a relationship with me. And I pray for the Drama filled Mama, and may she go to heaven...within the next fifteen minutes would be great.

I did receive a text from my youngest wishing me a Happy Father's Day.

And so it was.

So I'm one for three.

I went to a meeting this morning (the topic being restraint of pen and tongue- for the love of God) and afterward waited over an hour for a bus. None came. So I walked about five miles. God hasn't seen fit to cripple me yet so I'm grateful I can do it. (But the day's not yet over.)

Note from 10:00 pm. - One of my twins text messaged me a Happy Father's Day, and that she still loves me. Thanks God, I'm two for three.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Letting go...

The trip was great. Being with my wonderful, funny girls was the best day I have had in a very long time. It was enough to get me through whatever difficulties I have coming.

To change subjects and to get to the title of this post-I am letting go of an old idea, for now. Comedy, or more importantly, performing standup.

Yes, I love doing it, and yes I can do it clean and sober, but I find I am as addicted to applause as I am a bag of "white widow" and a six pack of bass ale. It also feeds my already strained ego and fuels the grandiose delusions that have permeated my 49 years.

That is not to say I will never do it again, who knows? However the path I am on at the moment, which is rebuilding a life-one day at a time, one moment in time, appears not to include that.

More later...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Obsess much...

That was the me that used to be. Not that I have given it up completely, but obsessing on things outside of my control is horribly counter productive. But it takes practice... laying down the obsession and morbid thinking (that being the worst case, and I mean worse, that my addled mind can create.)

For instance, I have been accepted into Oxford house, a sober living house for men, however, I don't have the money together to move in.

That will take me about two weeks...if someone else applies and has the money...well, to the victor goes the spoils. But there is nothing I can do about that, I have done everything I could... and now the tricky part.

Leaving the results up to God. That faceless, formless power that I absolutely have to rely on when my best is all I can do.

Sure, one day at a time applies, and I have to focus on that instead of two weeks from now, because if I don't I'm peeing down my leg thinking it's raining. Meaning I lose focus on the Now, and where I truly am, and reality takes a backseat.

So today is all I have - as usual.

God also granted me a gift today. I was able to borrow my sponsors car so I can take my twins to Central Texas to see their little sister, before her tenth birthday. For once I haven't disappointed them.

Just me and my angels...

Thank you God.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Changing my o's to e's...

Let us look at the following statements, one's that up until recently were everyday occurrences: I've got to get up because I've got to go to work. I've got to go to a meeting because I've got to help others. Seem pretty average? They are. They also are the seeds for resentment.

If I change the two simple letters within those statements they appear as the following: I get to get up because I get to go to work. I get to go to a meeting because I get to help others. These statements while similar couldn't be more different than the one's above. They are the seeds of gratitude, a state in which I need to stay.

Resentment never hurts the other party...but will eat my lunch with a spoon. I heard a great definition for a resentment, stated by a woman far wiser than I...

A resentment is like setting yourself on fire hoping the other person dies of smoke inhalation.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Expecting miracles...the fact of the matter.

They tell me to do that-expect a miracle-those folks in recovery and I sometimes fall short of the mark.

In my self-centered; grandiose mind, a MIRACLE would have a lot of zeros separated by a couple of commas; or I would be discovered doing standup comedy, or be a famous author, or SHE would walk into my life and realize I was the one for her.

No, none of these.

I am beginning to think in a different way.

The fact that every morning I hit my knees, asking to be kept clean and sober (after vowing I would kneel to no man-ever) and hit them again at night, thanking a power greater than myself for that privilege...and pray that I may be of service during that day to others...

The fact that I have not taken a drink or used a drug to change the way I feel, when things don't go my way, for 45 days...

The fact that I walk to work most days, performing a job I don't particularly care for, and try to do my best while there...

The fact that I attend at least one meeting a day, and try to listen instead of hear myself talk...

The fact that I am willing to take direction from others...

That I get to talk to my three daughters several times a week, and have them glad to hear from me...

That I may help my Aunt and Uncle, who cared for me and saved my life as a child-and are doing it again, without question or expectations...

The fact that friends have not turned away, after my behaviour would have been enough for that response...

I never expected these-but they are the miracles in my life today.

My new disclaimer...yeah I know.

Okay, the old disclaimer was tired. The ideas were outdated and keeping me stuck in a place I don't want to be now for something more refreshing.

I have recently changed my views regarding women. Seems I had some issues with the fairer sex due to past pain and self- centered fear. (Yes...duh applies.)

I'm done with that.

Being in recovery has helped me change my entire life, perceptions and attitudes. I cannot change my history but I can change my today and my future.

I recently realized that the women I know in recovery are some of the strongest, bravest, most gentle and kind teachers I have ever had. You exemplify integrity and spiritual growth, and I hope you know who you are.

Some may know of my past marital and relationship history and been a participant in them as well. It's past and that's where it the past.

I own my part in those failures but claim no more responsibility in any misery you may be experiencing. I am sorry, but it's time to get off the cross. We need the wood.

Thank you all...