Sunday, December 19, 2010

This is a follow up to the earlier post about my grandmother.

I certainly would not read anything into this other than it was a chance to me to see the scope of life. Yesterday I touched my grandma as her organs began to shut down, today at the noon meeting my friend Lee's sister told me to hold her baby so she could grab a smoke. I looked down out that tiny 3 week old baby in my arms and I was so aware that everyone has an entrance and an exit. How anyone could teach this little thing enough to make his way in the world is beyond me. How do you try and show a baby how to be a good human. He is only three weeks into his life and my grandma is 3 inches from leaving hers. Both have been awesome and moving experiences and I have nothing but hope for us all.

What a Priveledge I had yesterday.

My grandmother's body had begun the process of shutting down and preparing her to leave on Friday. When I woke up I heard the voice of intuition tell me to get dressed, drive to Daingerfield and sit with her a while. Just as I was putting on my shoes my aunt called and I told her I was on my way to the nursing home. My grandmother was in her bed and the back was raised so it looked like she was semi sitting up. She held her neck up and I was supprised she wasn't laying flat out but my aunt told me because of the copious amounts of fluid build up she couldn't lay down flat. She was very quiet and only made noises as pain waves would hit her. Even the noise and the long physical drawing up of pain were hushed and muted.

I stroked her hair several times and touched her face and arm as I spoke to her. Her eyes would open periodically but she wouldn't appear to focus on anything in particular. The wonderful nurse she has tried to get her to eat horrible looking ground up and wet down food but it really wasn't happening.
I sat there with my aunt who has been there every step of the way as age, then Parkinson and Alzheimers took over. She received more verbal tirades than anyone should hear from their mother due to her illnesses. She just needed someone to sit and let her talk as we sat beside with my grandmother, who's organs were shutting down. There were moments when it was quiet, and my grandma with tense up and moan. Then relax again. At one point I felt so much peace fill the room that the hair on my arms stood up. The world didn't exist outside that little room, with my grandma , my aunt and me, surrounding by the pictures and things that represented Grandma's time on the planet.

My grandma is 93 years old and she has been stuck in a nursing home for a long time. Her leaving isn't so much an ending but more like being set free from a miserable place and from a body that has been out to get her for the last 50 years. lol

I would not have had this sacred experience, just as sacred as being in a room that is filled with a life being brought into the world, if I wasn't clean. I may have been in the room but I would have missed the experience all together. I'm grateful beyond words not to have had to take some xanax, valium, Klopine, shot of liquor, in order to get my body where it was suppose to be and yet miss the miracle of being present and in it.
It is something that if you had told me I would have made the short drive and stayed there without looking at the clock every five minutes to insure my impersonation of a caring person looked real then stayed there the appropriate amount of time I would not have believed you.

When I get to clear my head of all the trash of "What a good boy does" and I take my spiritual centeredness that the program and my own spiritual practices grant me, I suddenly can enjoy/be apart of/feel the life that unfurls in front of me. Real life.

I am so thankful to be a human, a recovering addict and a being of spirit that has the capacity to feel , love and understand on a super-human level that life is indeed quiet and sacred. Sacred not just in the end but in the moment.

I'm not sure how much long it will be before she finally gets a clear exit out of that old woman's body but I know she has earned the right to rejoin whatever source origin she came from. I think the source is love, and I send her with love to love.

Sitting with grandma for a couple of hours may have enlightened me in my own life to just how beautiful every part of the experience is, the experience of one more hour on the spinning rock, 3rd from the sun.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This was a note to a friend with Job issues and addiction issues. I wanted to save a copy to read later.

M, I had to make a "for real" decision. Is the world a place of lack or is the world filled with more than enough. My choice shades the things I see and experience. When I remember that I am enough and the world has plenty, I don't stress so much. There is either enough or there isn't. My experience with stopping drinking was that it popped up in the form of pills, which turns to my original drug of choice food. When my illness perceives I am going to be shorted , slighted or left to die I reach for something that makes me feel good. Food, sex, alcohol, pills, food has been my progression of quick fixers. And they all have individually kicked my as repeatedly.

Don't let the fantasy of work or "Mike at Work" make you forget the difference between attaching identities to you for the simple ease of not having to become the real you. In the 50's men were "business men" who joined "Chamber of Commerce" and "Elks Lodge" and they were "Republicans" and "Methodist" and "husband" and "father". All of those things let the ego tell those men that is so they were but those were just identifiers that allowed them to be and function without having to look to deep. I know who I am, look at all the clubs I am in. Remember how a club was formed for Saturn Drivers. People used it to join a larger group that supplied some form of identification for them. One reason I got tired of the AA group I used to go to is they filtered everything in their life the the premise of "I'm alcoholic'. It's like that was the only thing about themselves they could claim. For me, I know I have to balance out in my life and reconcile my choices with the Narcotics Anonymous Program I work, but Addiction doesn't define me. In fact I think being an addict and gay are two of the least interesting things about me. Don't even get me started on the men who's soul mission is to perfect being "a gay man". I don't have the money or the costumes to be a professional gay guy( or the desire).

Life is really something

We go along assuming that we have seen it , done it and felt it all then suddenly, boom. Your exposed to something foreign and completely different from anything you have know. I dreamed last night that I had fallen in love. I fell in love with someone who loved me back. The chemicals that get produced in our brains when we fall in love must have kicked in in my dreams because the love was intense , powerful, consuming yet gentle. It was so fantastic that when I woke up this morning my body seemed to be mourning for the loss of the dream love. I've been 5 inches from sad all day. It isn't the sad without hope that is drepression, it is just the sad for a loss of something that was beautiful.

I've never been in love as an adult. I have learned to get the most out of flirty school girl crushes, but I haven't been in love with anyone since I was 18 years old. For most of the time in between, I certainly wouldn't have been able to love much in return if there had been someone. The dream only reminded me what was possible. I'm much closer to being able to hold my end of a relationship up because I have many moments strung together now, where I feel like I am worthy of being on the planet AND that I have something important to give away.

In many ways the dream of being head over heels in love with something has only high lighted the fact that I have a place for it in my heart and I deserve unconditional love.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

This is part Basic text and part someone's experience with the NA program and their take on spirituality.

Recovery depends on the awakening and growth of spirituality, and our lives depend on our relationship with what we believe is the source. The Spiritual Tenets express some of our most basic ideas about spirituality in Narcotics Anonymous. They are the foundation upon which our Steps, Traditions, and Concepts of Service are built. They make possible our individual and collective surrender to, and dependence on a loving God of our own understanding. They are the keys to our freedom.

1.There are no "Good days" or "Bad days" there are just days.

In Narcotics Anonymous we live "Just for Today"; we acknowledge, and let go of, our painful pasts and trust the future to the care of a loving God. In recovery, absolutes lose their meaning; we find that all things in life are a mixture of good and bad, of positive and negative. We begin to look at the events and situations in our lives as opportunities or gifts from God; each one is of value and provides a chance for us to learn and grow. We believe that each day we are given a reprieve from our active addiction; and that it is only our attitudes and our actions that limit our recovery.

2.There is a spiritual power greater than any individual.

Personal power has proven to be a complete failure for us, human effort has not been able to cure our addiction or keep us from destroying ourselves, our only hope for salvation seems to lie in a spiritual power. Our Steps are designed to awaken, develop, and maintain a relationship between us and a Higher Power. When we use the term "God" we are referring to a spiritual power that is loving, caring, and greater than ourselves. This power has the ability to care for us, restore us to sanity, and set us free. We also believe that there is a "God of our Fellowship" that we each personalize according to our perceptions and beliefs; it is this God that protects our fellowship, helps it grow, and makes recovery possible for the addict who still suffers.

3.Faith is the key to our new way of life.

In recovery, we come to depend on a power greater than ourselves rather than our own resources. Faith is composed of belief, trust, and acceptance. Belief is the lowest form of faith, it is conceptualization. Trust is the application of belief in our lives, it is action based on what we believe. Acceptance is the highest form of faith, it is instinctive rather than conceptual. In recovery we reach a point where we no longer need to know the "why's" and "wherefore's"; our actions become appropriate without the need for conscious thought. Our instincts change from destructive and misguided to constructive and spiritually correct. Recovery is a natural way of life.

4.Narcotics Anonymous is a spiritual program, not a religion.

Spirituality is the relationship a person has with what they believe in. A religion presents a specific concept of a deity, a specific code of ethics, and a specific method. In N.A. we believe, unconditionally, that all members have a right to their own religious beliefs and concept of a higher power. N.A. is inclusive rather than exclusive. Each of us follows our own path based in spiritual principles; we believe in believing and have faith in faith. Our fellowship is based on learning how to apply spiritual principles in our daily lives; coming together for mutual support and care; and one addict helping another through sharing, sponsorship and service. Narcotics Anonymous recovery is something that happens within the individual; it is the way we live; we are Narcotics Anonymous.

5.Narcotics Anonymous is based on spiritual principles.

There are basic spiritual truths that are universally correct; they are not dependent on time, place, personality, or circumstance. "Our program is a set of principles, written so simply that we can follow them in our daily lives." There are many spiritual principles expressed in our literature; honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness are the most basic and make change and growth possible for us. The active application of spiritual principles is the basis of recovery from the disease of addiction. "There is one thing more than anything else that will defeat us in our recovery, that is an attitude of indifference or intolerance towards spiritual principles."

6."True spiritual principles are never in conflict."

We believe in a loving God as our ultimate authority and as the source of spiritual principles. By definition, something that is universally correct can not be true sometimes and false at other times. One aspect of God is harmony, and there can be no disharmony or contradiction between principles that are spiritually centered or "God centered". Actions that are spiritually correct can not violate any spiritual principle; when our actions violate any spiritual principles, they are not spiritually correct. We utilize this basic truth as a guide for appropriate action and decision making in Narcotics Anonymous.

7."What goes around, comes around."

This program saying is an expression of the principle of reciprocity and is fundamental in our way of life. Recovery is a reciprocal experience: we get out of it what we put into it, we reap what we sow, people treat us the way we treat them, and the way we live determines the way we live. If we base our lives on dishonesty, disrespect, destructiveness, closed-mindedness, negativity, and selfishness then we will be miserable; if, on the other hand, we base our lives on honesty, respect, caring, willingness, open-mindedness, positive action, constructive effort, and love then we will be happy and at peace. A life based on the active application of spiritual principles is its own reward; we become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

8.Recovery is a spiritual journey.

"We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection." The purpose of our way of life is recovery from the disease of addiction. In order to achieve this we must grow spiritually. We often say "Work the Steps", by this we mean live the N.A. way; approach life by utilizing a set of directions based on spiritual principles. We change the way we live by following a new set of instructions, we do not change the instructions to fit the way we want to behave. We believe that we never fully complete the steps and that "Living the Program" means we apply the principles of recovery to every area of our lives on an ongoing basis.

9.Recovery is based on Divine Intervention.

When we share our experience, most of us relate a series of unplanned events that led us to find recovery in the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous. We believe that these events did not happen by chance; but rather that they represent evidence of a loving God intervening in our lives. If we live by spiritual principles we are always given what we need and never given more than we can handle. This happens with such consistency that, in time, most of us find it had to deny the presence of a Higher Power working in our lives, and in the lives of other N.A. Members. As our ability to depend on God increases, God's presence in our lives increases. The degree to which we surrender our will and our life to the care of a loving God is equal to the extent to which we are freed of our disease and our self-destruction.

10.God works through people: "I can't, we can".

We call Narcotics Anonymous a "we" program, and believe that if we are left to our own devises we will continue to destroy ourselves. According to our literature, addiction is progressive, incurable, and fatal. We are powerless over our addiction; we cannot recover simply by our own power of will, we need each other. "An addict alone is in bad company" and isolation is a symptom of our disease; only by mutual support and interdependence do we recover. God works through each one of us once we surrender. We find we are given words beyond our understanding and talents beyond our ability. We express our trust in God by depending on each other; and by caring for each other we are offering ourselves as an extension of God's grace and love. "One addict can best understand and help another addict."

11.Recovery is a series of surrenders.

"Surrender means that we do not have to fight anymore." The internal battles that have raged within us for many years are set aside in our recovery. We are free to become who we are and no longer have to live in contradiction to our inner nature. We begin to recover by letting go of the contradiction between the reality of our addiction and the illusion that we are in control of our using and our lives. Surrender is inherent in each of our Steps; and each time we consciously work a Step we make another surrender. Each time we surrender it goes a little deeper and the burden is lightened a little bit; ongoing spiritual growth implies an ongoing series of surrenders and the search for a better relationship with God.

12.The promise of recovery is freedom.

In Narcotics Anonymous we are given a choice and a chance to be free of active addiction and the limitations of self-obsession, self-hate, and self-destruction. We often talk about a choice, but sometimes forget that there is more than one choice. When we deny an addict the right to reject our way of life, then we also deny them the opportunity to choose our way of life and have a chance to recover. Recovery and freedom are not automatic; they are contingent on our choice, our commitment, our courage, our willingness, and our ability to apply spiritual principles in our daily lives. We never have to use again against our will; we can be free.

Thank You for My Life!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

check in

"Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out." I've never met a single addict or person with little to know self esteem that doesn't use some mutant version of the idea of "Success" to beat themselves up. If "Success" means that I have managed to portray what society says I should be then NO, color me NOT successful. But if I have taken steps to become the human I came to earth to be, then I am a success. If anyone thinks of me and smiles or remembers a kindness I have extended or a laugh I pulled out of thin air to share with them, then I am a success. The world, the government, or religion does not provide for me the definition of success in my life. The quiet, still knowing when I close my eyes and I see what I am rather than what I am not/have not, and the knowing that I fill a space on the planet, in peoples lives and in this massive universe that only I am shaped to fill, is my success. To me success is a knowing of the spirit, not a house, car or picture in the paper with an award of some kind. The moon has no illumination source of it's own and is simply reflecting the light of the sun. Any success that is visible to the world outside me is just a reflection of my light within. On most days I'm pretty bright on the insides, thanks to a program of spiritual growth and learning, and to several people who allow me in to their lives and 2 be a part of their very human struggle with balancing life, the now and the spirit.
I totally woke up in the loop this morning and I just want to thank my friends for illuminating me on the days that my spirit just can't shine. Paybacks aren't a bitch, they are a live saver.



Thursday, December 2, 2010

I guess it's time to make a decision.

If I would have had the childhood and the growing up experience I would have chosen I wouldn't be who I am. As messed up as many parts of me. If I had not known what it felt like to be frightened to death for long periods of time I wouldn't know what the look on strangers faces mean when I see them come into the NA hall. I can see a stranger standing in the grocery line who doesn't have a speck of life in there eyes and the loneliness, isolation , pain of not being loved or feeling loved by the people around you envelopes me like I was there.

I either need to make the decision that the pain I went through was school for my soul and be done with the whining about the past or I need to give up. I had to learn what it felt like to be hungry. Real hunger, if I ever was to learn what feeling full felt like. I had to have no hope, in order to gain it and share it in a way that those who are lost can understand.

An eastern thought I read a long time ago is that the bowl has no use when it is full. The emptiness is what makes it purposeful. Getting me to the point of being purposeful to the human race, ultimately is what my difficult childhood did. It made me useful.

The greater the wound the more profound the healing can be.

My trial by fire as irony has it, has given me the strength, experience and hope to reach others.

It's time I let go and quit picking at the scabs and scars because in the end they all made me stronger and they all gave me the purpose I have today. My experience will let me reach people that other people just can't. I am funny, compassionate and loving. I am forgiving, understanding and hopeful. These are my super powers and I wouldn't have them now, if I had, had my way then.