Tuesday, March 25, 2008

When Pressed to Think

Lately I haven’t really been pressed to think about anything. I know this sounds like a terribly uninteresting subject, but it goes to my state of mind. I’ve been itching for something interesting to do and I’ve come up dry. I solve Sudoku in the morning and have started on crossword puzzles, but I want something more. I’m going to make this post a short one because I want to buy a Rubik’s Cube to keep myself stimulated.

I was going to post an important journal entry, but realized after attempting to proofread it that I hadn’t actually completed it. I tried to finish it while in the café, but it’s an especially painful one. I want more time with it.

I think I really need performance goals.

Without Wax,

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Doorknob Crashed…Again!

Happy Easter! Like Jesus, Doorknob has been resurrected! Not to take away from the righteous dude on this festive day, but it happened two days ago. I’m just posting it today.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Technical Difficulties, my laptop, affectionately known as Doorknob, crashed again. As it did back in 2006, the cause was similar: the CPU board popped out, only this time it was warped; both due to the underlying cause of a broken CPU fan. It took me two weeks of moping around trying to think what else could’ve been the problem before successfully repairing it. A lot of that time was unproductively spent blaming myself for being a failure. In a sense, I still do, because what tool it took to repair Doorknob was already on my key-chain. I made the excuse that without my computer toolkit, I wouldn’t be able to complete the repair. So, I waited until I had a chance to travel to Mark J.’s house to pick up some stuff he’s graciously storing for me; the toolkit being the major item I needed for the repair.

Wanting to save up for a better laptop kept me from diving into repairing Doorknob also; he’s so out of date: Pentium II w/ 96MB RAM, 3GB hard drive, and Windows 2000. But, like me, Doorknob trudges on. It gives me more breathing room to shop for his replacement, but don’t tell him that; he might get jealous (of course, this is being typed on Doorknob). I can’t imagine sell him since no one in their right mind would buy such an out-dated piece of equipment. But then there is one born every minute.

The most important things is that I can just type up my journal at anytime and spend hours at any café on the Internet daily spending quality time responding to others in the sober community. It’s a healthy release for me.

Without Wax,

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Bridge

by vgm8383
Nothing moved me more inspirationally than the documentary The Bridge. It didn’t have to move me very far either, just a little nudge to throw me off track.

The track that I’m referring to is my repeated cycle of use. I get an urge, I find enough money, buy a large 1.75 liter of Canadian whiskey, and start all over again. Maybe just to maintain or to really kill some daemons, or celebrate a minor victory or a major defeat, whatever excuse, but I must get sloshed. Sometimes I’m trying to avoid passing out; other times intending to. Sometimes I’m trying to avoid blacking out, but it happens anyway. Sometimes (very rarely) I’m intending to blackout. Either way, I’m happy to see a good portion left when I wake and sad when I don’t. When I finally run out it means either another trek to the liquor store, or if I don’t have money, suffer through withdrawal and possible Grand Mal seizures. When all is done and over with I somehow find the funds to buy another bottle and the cycle repeats.

It’s like a NASCAR track. I pull into the pit to fuel up and I’m off and running. I may hit a grease spot on the track, slide and crash. I may make it completely around, where I run out of fuel and have to gas up again.

All I know is that I’d like to get off the track all together.

Late night, early February, just after my last drink, but before my first meeting, I’m scanning the cable guide for something to watch and come across an interesting documentary: The Bridge. It’s described as a video documentary of 24 suicide jumpers from the Golden Gate Bridge in the year 2004. My morbid curiosity is peaked and so I switch to it thinking if it gets too depressing I can always change the channel. Truth in advertising; within the first few minutes a common everyday man climbs over the railing and drops to his death.

The Golden Gate Bridge holds a special place in my heart. I drove to San Francisco when I’d lost my first job. I walked the seven-mile span of the bridge, looked over its railing, found it awe-inspiring. It is, for me, the most beautiful romantic bridge in the world. What better place to end your life?

More people commit suicide from the Golden Gate Bridge than any other place in the world. I didn’t know this until watching the film and definitely didn’t make the romantic connection when I walked over it. But, I guess this idea has an attraction for suicides.

The crew would film these suicides using telephoto lenses, and then interview the family and friends. All the suicide victims had so much in common with what was going on in my life: drinking, job loss, homelessness, etc. However, I didn’t want to commit suicide. So, I thought I’d better get into action.

The next day Stewart called and asked if I wanted to go to a meeting. He took me to my home group Mar League. It didn’t have to move me far, just a nudge into action.

Without Wax,

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Savoir Stewart

It wasn’t enough to admit powerlessness, realize that alcohol was not the greater power that was to restore anything, nor turning my will over to God, I needed the help freely given to me by my savoir Stewart L. He knew more about me than I’d consciously let him know. A man dedicated to service, Stewart has helped hundreds of men and witnessed even more slip back into alcoholism, and die. Being a Big Book scholar, he’s a sponsor I really look up to.

Stewart remembers our first conversation considerably better than I. He often uses is it to humiliate me at meetings. I was extremely drunk when I called the Night Owl line. Stewart called me back and asked if I wanted to go to a meeting. I explained that couldn’t because I needed a new Big Book. I’d used it as a coaster for my whiskey bottle and had spilled alcohol all over it. I couldn’t imagine bring a Big Book reeking of whiskey to an A.A. meeting.

Merely four days sober, he brought me to my first A.A. meeting at my home group Mar League. I was so much suffering wet-brain that I could not remember anyone’s name, yet everyone remembered mine. Aaron S., who maintains the phone list, had just brought a new stack. I remember having once had that service commitment. Quickly grabbing up one, I looked for my name on it:

Wax W.
Cell: (XXX) 555-3467
Sobriety Date: 08/22/2005

Tears welled up in my eyes for those lost years of sobriety and service I yearned for. Quickly wiping them away I took a seat in the front row. There were many touching poignant things said by fellow A.A.s before Britney T. asked me to speak. It is a great honor to be one of a handful of people chosen to speak in a room filled with over a hundred. I choked up when spoke and almost lost it completely, yet I don’t remember what I said. I remember saying that Chapter 3, ‘More About Alcoholism’, was just what I needed to hear. I thanked one lady for coining a phrase I now use often: ‘drinking at people’. I laughed out load when she said, “I’d drink at my father just to get back at him, and he’s dead.” Like that will make him turn over in his grave. People thanked me that night and the next week for what I said. I kept me coming back.

The following nights Stewart took me to a half-a-dozen meetings, and I found another half-dozen within walking distance of my apartment, all different locations, sometimes with the same people. That was spooky because it was messing with my memory. I couldn’t recall if this was someone I just met a few meetings ago or from two years ago. Again, they all remembered where and when they met me, yet I didn’t. This wet brain has finally subsided enough to where I feel somewhat normal.

Stewart and I spoke much of the Big Book, working the program of 12 steps; what his part would be. Before my last sobriety date of February 1st, 2008, Stewart told me he couldn’t be my sponsor because he felt he was doing most of the work. He said if he feels he’s doing more work than I, he wouldn’t sponsor me, and at that time it was true. I vowed never to ask him again. Well, he must’ve witnessed my sincerity to become sober because he asked me for permission to sponsor. I took it as an honor and agreed. I highly respect this man.

Now lately I’ve found him a little short tempered with me. Maybe he sees that I’m not all that serious, but I don’t dare ask him for fear he’ll through in the towel. He often has a habit of spreading himself too thin and he has been lately. Chocking it up to that, I’ve doubled my efforts in my studies of the Big Book and 12x12. That seems to have sufficed for now.

However, in my weekly men’s meeting, Problems & Solutions, or as Michael M. would call it, tears and cheers, the subject of finding a new sponsor was brought up. One of my counselors at treatment said it’s okay to have more than one sponsor (up to three) and I’m considering finding a second one. But like girlfriends, I imaging letting one sponsor know of the other may cause your life to become complicated. There’s also the hierarchy approach: letting the latter of the two sponsors know of the other, but not visa versa. This is a nasty sneaky thing to do with women, but is it of sponsors? All’s fair in love and war, but sobriety and serenity? For now I’m shopping for my second sponsor in a group Stewart does not attend, just to cover my bases.

Without Wax,

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Technical Difficulties

A few days ago, I started posting in my blog, but then a few things happened.

No, I didn’t get drunk and stuffed in a shopping cart. Something worse than last time though, and for some reason I didn’t freak. I dropped my new camera and nearly broke it. Then my laptop failed to start up for no reason. The later being the biggest reason I haven’t posted in days. The camera still works, although I have to baby sit the lens. It fell on the lens when it fully extended in telephoto mode.

Unlike last time, I don’t fell I can repair this laptop. I don’t know why it failed this time. I tried popping the CPU back into place like last time, but that didn’t work. I also don’t feel as motivated to repair it this time. I just don’t think I can do it. I’m also a little concerned about totally killing it since it’s now my only method of charging my Palm Pilot via USB cable. My Pilot’s DC charge socked it not working lately.

I’m used to creating my thoughts in a word processor, so I’ve been a little bummed out over the past few days. We have a computer at The House and I should be using that, but I have limited access. I don’t think I’ll be able to upload pictures from my camera. I should try though.

I’m currently composing this post at the library. I am able to transfer from a USB flash drive, so if I can compose and transfer to that, then head to the library, I guess it wouldn’t be so bad.

I should just go with the flow, expect the unexpected, and always remember this A.A. phrase: “Expectations are Resentments waiting to happen.” So, I’ll chalk it up to His will for me and not stray from the path.

I’ve ask June W. if she knew someone that’s trying to get ride on an old laptop and she knows someone. It’s a Dell Pentium 4, 40GB hard drive going for $250.00. I think I could swing that if he’ll take a majority of it as a down payment. That would be sweet.

I only have 30 minutes left to finish this post, so I’ll sort of fill.

Today is my third day in outpatient meetings. I try to keep my mouth shut about most thoughts that creep into my head, but I can’t help taking other people’s inventory. And since this is my private anonymous blog, I feel that what’s said in the group, stays in the group…and my Weblog. Those who don’t agree can stop reading now.

Billy D. is an alcoholic who’s trying to generate sympathy for his cause, and not very successfully from the group’s response. He’s upset because his wife filed an order of protection (a type of restraining order) against him for strangling her. In his defense, she did start it, but then she always does. Only this time, he fought back.

He was drinking heavily when he locked himself into the bathroom and started taking copious amounts of Zanex. His wife got pissed, broke down the bathroom door, and fought with him to flush them down the toilet. At this point he did something that, he claims, he’s never done before: he strangled her.

She called 911, police came, found red marks on her neck, and promptly arrested him for domestic abuse. In my humble opinion, he should know better that men do not win in a domestic fight. And frankly, he did try to choke her.

So, he moves out to his parents’ house. Still drinking, he plows into the back of an SUV and leaves the scene. Good for you, Billy! He drives his totaled car back to the house, parks it in the garage, then drives back to the scene of the crime in his dad’s truck, still drunk, to see if anyone is injured. He sees only one police car, no ambulance, and assumes no injuries. He’s lucky there were none.

After driving back home, he hides in the basement until the police knock on his door. He’s receives a ticket for causing damage to property and leaving the scene, a gift. It should’ve been hit and run.

Time’s up…I’ll see you tomorrow.

Without Wax,

Friday, March 07, 2008

Sincere Effort

It’s been one month and one week since I stopped drinking and started this last attempt to stay sober. February 1st is my sobriety date, which coincides with the anniversary of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, the year my slide into utter alcoholism started down the steep grade. I am sincere in my effort to do whatever it takes to live a sober life, for the rest of my life.

My counselor, Lucy L., convinced me to restart journaling in my blog. She was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’d decided to make some entries when I first started to get sober this time, but hesitated for one reason or another. I will faithfully backfill with the complete ugly and beautiful details from where I left off. It won’t necessarily be in chronological order, but it will be thorough.

From day one coming into The Pit Stop everyone was friendly, staff and patients. It’s a far cry from The Treatment; I’m so glad I don’t have to go back there. I did not get along with my assigned counselor.

Lucy is a very thoughtful, intelligent, and beautiful woman. She’s been described as a blonde Teri Hatcher. I think she looks more like Virginia Madsen. Looks aside, we communicated very well on our first meeting. We easily spoke of my drinking habit. I then felt comfortable enough to turn the tables on her and ask her of her using history. She readily opened up and shared that she was a methamphetamine user. She used that experience to springboard into her career helping addicts. She’s good people.

There is so much to express about this concerted attempt to work the program that I cannot even attempt to articulate it in my first post. There’s much more to come.

Please visit this blog often since I will be updating it as frequently as possible. I appreciate all feedback, positive and especially negative…err, constructive.

Without Wax,