July 1, 2012: Let Go or Be Dragged

Still here! Have a new non-OA related blog and I’ve been posting a lot there. Had a second hand surgery on Thursday (this is surgery #3 in the last 5 years!) and it’s very hard for me to write my food down so I am typing it here. I really like the routine of writing my food down, even if I don’t call it in to my sponsor. Sometimes I will for months at a time, and other times I don’t. It depends on how shaky I feel.

B: 1 ezekiel english muffin with tofutti herbed cream cheese on one side & peanut butter on the other, bowl of fresh strawberries & truvia, coffee with coconut milk

L: orange tofu, steamed vegetables, ranier cherries

D: big ass salad, sunflower seeds, vegan omega 3 ranch dressing

S: (if hungry, but probably not) vegan mango lassi–plain, unsweetened soy yogurt with frozen mango & truvia

Just celebrated 5 years sober and my 2 year OA abstinence bday is next month. 84 pounds gone since August 16th, 2010 and I am still physically recovering. just very slowly. My endocrinologist would like to see me lose another 25-30 pounds. One day at a time…working step 9 for what seems like forever. One of my 3 sponsees is moving away tomorrow and I am so sad! She is amazing.

Just found out on Wednesday night right before I had my surgery that my little about to be 15-year-old dog (who I love dearly and have had since he was 7 weeks old) has a tumor that is pressing on his lung and his heart. He is having difficulty breathing and his heart rate is accelerated. There’s not a lot they can do for him medically.  He is still eating, sunbathing and rolling around in the dirt and does not seem to be in pain, but I will probably have to put him to sleep soon. It is killing me. My first response was a total lack of hunger and appetite, just like when my Dad was dying. I don’t want to do anything but cry, read trashy romance novels, clean my house and drink coffee. And stare at my dog, watching him breathe. I did a lot of that when my Dad was dying. Every time I sit down to meditate, I end up crying for the entire time. I can’t clean obsessively right now since one hand is bandaged up and I can barely type. Can’t drive to a meeting…powerlessness 101.

Strangely, I feel like my dog dying is the last part of my old life that is being stripped away…like I’ve shed everything I walked in the doors of OA and AA with and now there’s…? I’m not sure what. My whole life has changed, mostly for the good. The change has been painful, though. Even when I don’t fight it, it is still painful. Death, sickness, surgery…none of that is um, exactly “fun”. A lot of my changes seem like subtraction…losing jobs, money, relationships, homes, loved ones, weight, now my dog…I don’t want to get into the game playing of Recovery Calculus. You “took away” this, Santa God, now what do I get to make up for all of that loss? The voice of my Dad just popped up into my head—“you get a swift kick in the ass, kid!”

What I get is sobriety and abstinence, and through the process of recovery and all of that deep and painful excavation I get the ability to handle things that used to completely destroy me. I might stumble and fumble, but I handle it. I also get occasional moments of pure and subtle happiness that strike at unexpected times. That never used to happen to me. I used to scrabble around, hollow and desperate; seeking joy with a stranglehold and never finding it. The old me would be drunk in a bar, getting into fights and making out with strangers or binge eating nachos at 4 in the morning and later puking them up. The problems would still be there in the morning, only now they would be worse. Metaphysical hangovers are a real bitch.

I’m a big fan of Kevin Griffin’s books on Buddhism and recovery. Buddhism was one of the few spiritual paths I could relate to when I first got sober. Too much “God Talk” pushed all of my angry atheist buttons. I’ve been re-reading A Burning Desire: Dharma God and the Path of Recovery over the last few months. This particular passage says it all for me today:

” When we take the first step and admit our powerlessness, we are seeing the truth of our suffering. When we accept our addiction, we are ready to change. At first we might think that saying we are addicts or alcoholics is a defeat or failure, but it’s actually the beginning of recovery. This acceptance can bring us the first peace we’ve experienced around our addiction…this points to the critical relationship that we must take to all the forms of Higher Power: a relationship of living in harmony with God. When we struggle with the truth, with these powers, our lives are painful.  When we live in harmony and acceptance with the suffering aspect of God, a great relief comes over us. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t still unpleasantness, but it means that there is no confusion over it. Things are as they are.”

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