Monday, November 16, 2009

30th Day "age will not worry them"

I'm coming up on 30 days sober, my first whole month of sobriety without treatment. I'll have a post for my first month of sobriety this weekend.

Sincerely Yours,

-- Without Wax

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lack of Care

Originally uploaded by Ruben Silva
There is no pure solution to addiction. I am addicted to alcohol at this time. I’ve seen friends successfully abstain from substances only to find another, albeit much less destructive habit, that possessed their lifestyle. Some have changed their way of thinking for life, some have made A.A. their life. None have ever become normal again.

Neural pathways are like that. You get into a habit that rewards you and if you don’t have any other reason, you just go for it! You just keep doing it.

This other reason may be religious upbringing or pure discipline initially. Some people notice their character defect and put up, what I would call barriers, but for lack of sense, we drink. These other people are called ‘normies’.

I searched the Internet to find an A.A. definition that I could link to and found nothing that could really define what I thought was a proper description of a normie.

normie: a person who can feel the need to stop drinking (or using) because of some fear of loosing complete control.

Loosing control, for a normie is what they seek, but in a limited way. Okay, this is in a point of view from an addict like me: Normies have this fear zone which allows them to not go past any given point, even if they are inebriated. When they loose control, they want some kind of social acceptance that it is Okay. A boyfriend, group of peers, or strangers at a bar may cokes them into acceptance.

After that, if a person does not have a disciplined set of values to fall back on, he/she may resort to what feels best. Guys like me seek out women that have those values. It’s a standard A.A. trait. It’s in the Big Book, somewhere. Often, alcoholic men find wonderful women (like I did with June W.) that adore them. I mean, she doesn’t adore me anymore.

I feel June W. did have that required set of values. She grew up surrounded by a the constant pluses and minus of desire and success. She learned what worked, but most importantly, she learned what failed. She learned how to avoid that.

That, is what kept her from becoming an addict.

She had every temptation available and yet she deflected it. She had good upbringing. That’s why guys like me seek out women like her because we lack family values. In learning that we don’t, we often build these extended families.

In my case, it didn’t work. I may be the extreme when it comes to taking things to their limits. June learned that – eventually; too late for her.

I say that because I knew her when she was at her prime. She was so excited about the world like no one to put her down. She’s almost always been like that. She explained to me one time when she lost a job for the first time in her life and she was devastated. Her husband at the time had to console her.

I’m different. I’ve had many failures and have learned from them early in life. Those lessons have been important. I find any failure as the most important, even valuable lesson one can ever have. If it happens at a company, it is their value. You now have an employee that may never make that valuable mistake again…or at least that’s the way I see it.

To June, any mistake is a complete failure that requires Catholic pendants.

I talk about June now because I’ve found I need her. And yet, I’ve screwed her.

I did a bad thing. I stayed sober for five months, then asked a favor. I was close to getting a job and needed to be prepared. I asked for some money, in credit, and she gave it to me, in cash. I saw it in alcohol. The math went into effect immediately. It was the exact opposite of what I wanted to do with her money and what I wanted to happen to my life. I translated the cash she gave me into the number of bottles of whiskey I could buy.

I asked her for credit to get my life back going…iron, ironing board, toiletries, etc. I asked for a way for me to created a line of credit, through her. She didn’t understand. I wanted a legitimate line of credit. But, it was much simpler for her to just advance me $120.00 in cash and avoid the entire shopping spree for her embarrassing homeless ex-husband.

I did the terrible thing of using these funds to buy alcohol and get kicked out of my housing. I told June. She responded:

“Nice job…I see what [you] did with money you FUCKER…don’t call or email me ever again!!! Have a great life!!!!!1”

There is no way out of that type of apology. She enabled me and I drank it. I don’t believe I’ll ever hear from June again.

This is what we do. We loose friends, lovers, co-workers, all because we can’t get over the fact that we sometimes have no one other than the bottle to go to when we are sad. Once those neural pathways are established, we’re screwed. It will take the next lifetime to erased them, and if there are any loved ones left around, it may be possible for them to have a normal live.

But for me, I’ve had none. June was it, and she’s found another ‘normal’ life. I don’t blame her. She deserves it after being with me.

There’s no way out after you’ve become alcoholic. You’re screwed.

-- Without Wax

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Recession Alcoholism

Good Kisser.
Originally uploaded by Jazmin Million
Wax (myself) has to keep reminding himself that he knows nothing when it comes to recovery. This borrowed picture is not strange to him since he’d called his sponsor for a ride to detox. He sees this daily, he does. It is mostly the black community that causes this unseemly publicly visual display, but I can’t image it to be any more easily comfortable.

I say this after an addict meeting that pissed me off! Thirty black guys and two whites, me one of them. The question was posed by a black woman about domestic violence. I could not relate with what every fucking black man used as excuses for, well, a whole list of things that would make a woman feel endangered at home. The most sickening thing is that, after all that, what I would have expected as the realistic response from what I would think is a good start to a training exercise, the black woman mostly responded with, "I understand." I understand why a black woman should allow a black man to slap her into submission. Maybe that is the way blacks do it, but it is wrong in any race. The female black instructor let it go, because there were 30 black guys to two whites...or maybe there was another reason I do not understand.

Actually, there is no reason, regardless of race, for a man to hit a woman...blacks are no exception. The fact that this black woman glossed over it because she simply understands 98% of the guys in the room by race is unacceptable.

It was like they made excuses for why a woman would make them feel the need to slap them. This group was sponsored by a black woman. And I would think that she would step up and state why this is wrong…but she didn’t. She did nothing. We closed with the serenity afront to it.

Look, I don’t know, and I don’t pretend to know, what it must be like to be violated in the most passionate of encounters, but I can understand how it can be misconstrued.

In other words: I have wanted it so badly, I didn’t think of her.

But, I have to say, going to meetings with these black people makes me feel that there is a lower life form…and they want to descend to it.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


Joy of Death cold
Originally uploaded by candy rudolf

Gillian’s idea of venting anger in a healthy way has us all perplexed, wondering if the next thing any of us do will be interpreted as stepping out of line. We’ve all just been chastised by her for not taking morning meditation seriously. Guys are complaining, not commenting afterwards on how it affects them, not choosing to read at all, leaving a number of books abandoned. When Gillian gives you that scowl, you know not to get on her bad side.

Gillian D. is a talk black woman from Kentucky. Sporting grandma glasses and a low-maintenance afro, she’s here on this weekend to do one thing: get us motivated. She is wise and kind beyond imagination, but this morning she is definitely not the latter. An African American grandmother is the toughest soul.

She splits us up in three groups of three, gives us each a daily meditation book from her private library, then asks us to read it and, “…I’ll be back.” After the chastising we’d all received, there’re no protests. Arriving back, she demands, “Now each of you write your interpretation of the reading. You have 20 minutes.” She disappears again.

When she reappears, she orders us to sit in a circle, collects all our papers, and distributes them to others to read as if they were the author. That last bit is a little odd to contemplate, but again, we’re all walking on egg shells, so no one protests. When we read each of each other’s letters we are role-playing. She calls on us by the author’s name and asks us to then interpret what each letter meant to us.

Dustin V. reads my letter on Joy:

“When one full of joy enters a room, some is bound to spill out. It’s contagious. When joy comes through you, it’s shared with others. If you wake with joy in your heart, just for that day, expectations will not become resentments. People in hatred will not overcome you, and may be affected by your attitude in a positive way.”

“Joy is also a way of seeing things, not filtered through rose colored glasses, but seeing the positive in some event that would normally appear negative. Yet another learning opportunity is at hand.”

“Joy can make all the difference.”

His verbal interpretation, even through the tears, gives a positive spin on the hell he’s endured over the last week. Dustin’s mother, grandmother, half-sister and her husband all died in an unfortunate car accident 1500 miles away in California. Dustin himself is mentally challenged, speaks in a monotone voice, and generally has a difficult time making friends. This on top of the challenge we all face here at The Station with addiction. Four days after the accident, his sister with three years sobriety ODs on heroin over the trauma.

What he said blew me away, “This was exactly what I needed to read today.” Those letters were distributed at random.

I learned at last night’s meeting that Neil S., who just received his one year medallion, had too lost his sister. She’d just got back from the hospital where she’d recovered from a drug induced coma. She then settled down with her drug of choice to unwind. The crack she smoked caused her heart to explode. “It’s never enough until your heart stops beating.”

I have 85 days sober today.

-- Without Wax

Saturday, May 02, 2009


Free Child Walking

on White Round Spheres

Balance Creative Commons
Originally uploaded by Pink Sherbet Photography
The disc continues to skip as a frustrated Manny presses the eject button on the DVD player. “I know what the problem is.”

I’m sure you do.

“It’s the alignment of the seek heads of this player, not the reading heads. See the seek heads are responsible for finding the correct track for the read heads so…,” he continues his seemingly endless rapid-monotone explanation of basic laser media mechanics. “…I’m not sure if it’s these scratches on the disk or the fact that this player gets beaten up so often,” this 5’ 1” skinny middle-aged man continues. I don’t dare interrupt his ramble for fear of throwing him off concentration of his desperate task at hand.

“Peanut butter smeared on a scratched DVD or CD can mend it…” How I’d like to smear peanut butter on your tongue right now. “…But I think replacing the DVD player would be smarter since they’re only $30 and the cafeteria only has chunky peanut butter, not smooth. Those digital artifacts are the cause of…”

Just fix the bloody thing in silence, please! If you hadn’t just had a UA, I’d swear you’re on something.

Manny P. is perfect a example of the need for balance in ones life. He’s a reminder of how difficult it is for me. For all his faults, we are talking about a man who has achieved three months of sobriety, earned a scholarship to Dunwoody Technical School, and found housing. From the look at him with his receding hairline and mustache, you’d assume he’s just a normal, white, everyday rational man. It’s only once he speaks that the illusion is shattered and the fear of an endless one-sided conversation occurs.

It frightens me to think of how tortured his mind must be to function in this manner. He is doing the one thing he knows will keep him safe, productive, and sober. He also believes that God will do for him what he cannot do for himself. But Heaven help him if he ever encounters an obstacle in the road that gives him an excuse to use.

A balanced life has harmony between a professional life and a personal life. Before I moved my life to be with June W. (my ex-wife), I worked hard twelve-hour days, yet had no personal life. Once moving in with June, my life with her was my addiction and work took a back seat. Once my work began to suffer, the excuse to drink about it became so compelling it soured every other important thing in my life.

Alcohol brought everything down to a level where nothing was in balance. There were times I had to climb mountains at work. There were times I didn’t recognize the extra energy needed to put into my relationship. Eventually, alcohol was the only thing I was doing well. If that doesn’t make sense to you, it’s probably because you’re not an alcoholic.

I have a need for a balanced life that takes into account friends, work, love, family, play, private time, recovery time, and spiritual time. Anyone of these things ignored for long enough could go dormant, just as any one these things obsessed over will suffer exhaustion. It is also noted that normal people, like June, can add liquor to that list with no detrimental consequences.

Alcohol in my system will always unbalance me. Now that I’m 78 days sober, I’ve come to realize these things about myself and balance: I have no inner voice to guide my balancing, I must learn how to live a balanced life, that this inherit character defect is not something normal people endure and that I will constantly have to monitor this for the rest of my life. Laying it out in the open like that doesn’t seem so daunting a task, just as long as I am willing to work on it.

For myself, recovery is like returning home from exile. I eagerly dive into the task of putting my life back together – securing a job and place to live, paying off debts, restore my driver’s license, rebuild damaged relationships. These external needs are all important, but the strength to consistently follow through on them comes from my spirituality – my relationship with God. By taking time each day to acknowledge His presence and to ask for the Power to do His will, I find a new sense of balance. And with balance comes serenity.

Diabetes is one of those things that can throw ones diet out of balance. It’s an ironic thing to have your body crave sugar when it needs it the least. Yet, since I’ve never really had the instinct to eat a balanced diet, my newly acquired eating requirements does balance out in a beneficial way; I’m loosing weight at least.

“Today, I will examine my life to see if the scales have swung too far in any area, or not far enough in some. I will work toward achieving balance.”
-- prayer from The Language of Letting Go, April 30

Manny acquires some smooth-spread Skippy peanut butter, applies it to the disc, and it plays flawlessly. For most people, the relief of completing such a challenging task successfully would follow solace. However unfortunately for Manny, it only leads to his next segway into yet another one-sided discussion on how “…the next generation of DVD players uses a much shorter wave-length laser light, blue rather than red, to read even finer detail pits from the disc; hence the trademark, Blue-ray.”

I nod in understanding. I didn’t have to heart to tell him that Sony does not have an exclusive on the usage of blue lasers on media, that Toshiba also uses them for their HD DVD players.

In conclusion, empathizing with Manny causes me to think like him, if not for a bit. My use of the slang term segway to describe his imbalance and the description of the financially unsuccessful personal transport vehicle Segway is ironically humorous: a self-balancing personal transportation device.

-- Without Wax

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Other Shoe Dropped

29/366 diabetes sucks!!!!
Originally uploaded by km928602
Being just 75 days sober, in a safe place with three squares and serenity, you’d think I’d be content, but I’m not…I’m never content.

I had been monitoring my diabetes for the last year and I thought I had it in check – until last week. My distant vision became blurry. Since I have perfect vision (20/15, meaning I can see at 20 feet what normal people can only see at 15 feet), this was of major concern. I immediately suspected diabetes, but was either in denial or too depressed to care. However, when I spoke with my primary care physician, he wanted to see me the same day. Without a baseline blood sugar, he started me on metformin and sent me home with a glucometer.

Within five days my eyesight was back to perfect. The diet is bland though: no sugars, limit starchy foods, avoid fats. Comfort foods, basically. All the things I was told to do when I was pre-diabetic to avoid full-blown diabetes. I must exercise, loose weight, and eat less. They’ve since doubled my medication dosage and it is reducing my blood sugar to a reasonable level.

I’m now dealing with both alcoholism and diabetes, caused by the alcoholism. I’m making a lot of support calls to my sponsor and A.A.s, and it seems to help.

Right now, I’m in treatment at Signal Station (or just The Station). It’s the right place for me right now. I told my PO I relapsed and she said she wouldn’t violate me. I’ve got until September when I’m released from probation anyway.

I’ll try to update this blog more often now that I have more freedom to leave and come back.

-- Without Wax