i’m in a crappy mood.
The best way to deal with this is for me to meditate a minimum number of hours on what might be the source of this discomfort and, after penetrating introspection, write a long treatise in which i analyze my thoughts and feelings and float hypothesis as to the possible origins of my malaise and, through a dialectic process and expository reasoning, develop a list of courses of action that i might feasibly take, not forgetting to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each proposal.
Or maybe i just need to go to bed earlier.
Sometimes the easiest solution is in front of your eyes…after you close them.
“Sleeping It Off”: It’s not just for drunks anymore.
The Three Asshole Rule
When you meet your third asshole of the day, it means you’re probably the asshole.
Heard in the rooms last Saturday
i went to a blues concert last night by Jake La Botz, a man who partied his demons to death and came out the other side with a sacred clarity that is so scarred it’s poetic.
While the show was superb, the thing i didn’t like about it were the drunks. The gig was in a cafe here in Yeaman and most of the patrons were either too young to know the blues or too drunk to feel them.
Then, in a moment of clarity, i realized that this is Live Music. It also explains why i prefer to sit at home and listen to studio recordings through my headphones; still, in a live concert the noise and the talking and the mistakes are all part of the music. That’s when i understood that Life is “Live”. That even if i want Life to be a pure and flawless studio recording filtered through the bubble of my headphones, Real Life is full of noise and mistakes and surprises. And all of it is part of the music.
Here’s Jake La Botz singing an apt song for this blog, “Lay Down The Bottle”.
Also, i interviewed him for the Bar None, so be looking for that soon.
PS Thanks are owed my wife, Celeste E Hall, for her permission to use her great photo!
When is a reason not a reason? When it’s an excuse.
i am not totally insane. When i am angry, i have a reason to be angry. When i am sad, it’s because i have a reason to be. Then again, when i went on a binge, i always had a reason to as well.
i would wager that most if not all mass murders, rapists and serial killers have a reason to explain away their actions. i know for a fact that Hitler, Pol Pot and Ben Laden had reasons to justify their atrocities.
Reasons, however, are not “get out of jail free” cards. Having a reason, obviously, doesn’t make you right or mean you are doing the right thing.
The next time you find you have a reason to drink, to yell, to pout, to scream, to run away and hide, substitute “excuse” for the word “reason” and see if that makes any sense.
Sometimes, doing the right thing means ignoring the reasons to do the opposite.
i’ve been working on Step 6.
[We] were entirely ready to have God remove all [our] defects of character.
“Willingness” is the operative word here. Nobody is perfect, but in my heart i have to be willing to let my Higher Power take my defects of character.
Fear is a big defect of mine. Guilt is another at the top of the list. Then there’s Anger.
When my children were toddlers, i refused to take sides in their arguments. i told them they had to work out their disputes between themselves and i always told them “It takes two to fight.”
If one person doesn’t want to argue, an argument cannot take place. If i find that i’m in a heated discussion, i am doing something to perpetuate the spat. A tool my Sponsor told me about is the question, “What is my role in this?”
The trick is to consciously avoid the situation—to catch myself out when my ire begins to rise and shut it down. The second i notice my tone is cutting, there are tools i use to dull the edge in my voice and remove the sting my words bring on the tip of my sharp tongue.
- Agree with the other person’s perception (“I see why you would think that.”)
- Ask for precise details (“Can you be more specific about that?”)
- Stall (“Let’s talk about this later.” “I’ll get back to you on that.”)
- Don’t say anything
i have to remember:
Not one single disagreement has been resolved because a person talked more…, l o n g e r, or LOUDER than the other.
One of the guys in the rooms is a pretty choleric guy. He’s got more time in than i do, but also more anger. One time, he shared that he comes to AA meetings to hear how much people are hurting and their difficulties in sobriety. It’s not so much that he doesn’t care about other people’s happiness, he actually finds it offensive.
Last week, he was with a group of guys after a meeting and i started hanging out with them. i mentioned that this is the first Christmas in 28 years that i don’t feel the need to run and hide in the bottom of an eggnog, or where i’m not curled in a ball under the Christmas tree cursing myself for being a failure and praying the holiday will, like Santa’s weighty sled, pass over me as quickly as possible while causing as little permanent damage as it can.
This year, i’m happy. This year, the Holiday Spirit is overflowing and not the holiday spirits. i have more energy and not just the stones to confront the season, but a desire to go out, shake its hand and invite it into my home. It’s a feeling i did not bargain on at all when i went sober. There are a lot of fringe benefits to sobriety that fall in your lap like Christmas presents you get after you thought you’d opened everything.
i was explaining this to a group of friends after the meeting and, before i’d even finished my first sentence, the Angry Bird flew away and found another flock of fellows to crash.
And that’s OK because his anger is not my business. i get that a lot of people are going to be hurt or jealous or angry that i’m in a good mood. Like Life magazines they use for toilet paper, those are their issues.
As for me? i’m obnoxiously happy and refuse to feel guilty about it.
Once upon a year, many times ago, i was riding in the back of a bus and reading a book. The seats at the back were arranged facing each other but my head was buried in my book when i felt someone’s foot encroaching on my foot space. He was pushing my shoe with his even though my foot had clearly been there first. i nudged his tennis shoe back to reclaim my territory—these inches of corrugated rubber bus floor were rightfully mine and i’d be damned if i gave them up just because some twat thought i wouldn’t hold my ground.
After ten minutes of this back and forth, i finally raised my head from the pages and saw i was engaged in a turf war with a 15-year-old mentally handicapped boy sitting next to his mother. In that instant, i learned more about fighting for my rights than i ever would at any other time in my life.
Unfortunately, at times i also forgotten more than i’ve ever known about fighting for my rights.
A few years back, a drinking buddy of mine committed an unforgivable affront. As it was totally unforgivable, i’ve never forgiven him (hence he ‘unforgivable’). However, as we work together, i’ve seen him pretty much every day since his heinous act. In the last 2½ years, i’ve spoken to him twice and i was drunk both times. Since entering recovery on January 11, 2011 i have not even acknowledged his presence when we are in the same room together.
Today, i read the following in the Alcoholic Anonymous Big Book.
When a person offended we said to ourselves, “This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. They will be done.”
We avoid retaliation or argument. We wouldn’t treat sick people that way.
–Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, page 67 (Emphasis is mine)
Reading that, i was taken back to the petty fight with a disabled teen over 6 inches of dirty bus floor. i may not be better than any other person, but i can be better than our conflict.