As I am learning more and more about myself I am discovering things that I either forgot that I enjoyed or just had no time for them. A big one is music, perhaps the biggest. Music used to be the only thing I cared about. I loved discovering new bands and reading about them in obscure punk rock fanzines that my Dad used to bring home for me. He worked in Ottawa and would frequent this news shop near where he would stay during the week. I was the only one in the Valley that had frequent access to these magazines and I would scour them for new bands that I could keep my eye to locate their CDs. Today I do the same thing with the internet, and in record shops. I am in love with Google Play music, I can plug a band into the search engine and start listening to them and all sorts of bands that are similar. This is amazing! If I had this as a kid I wouldn’t have left the house EVER
I also forgot about how I loved comics as a kid. I remember when I was young I spent a long time in the hospital with some kind of sickness in my stomach. I was so sick I couldn’t eat or drink for weeks. I was on an IV for fluids for so long that I thought the pole with wheels that held the fluid that was keeping me alive was going to be only friend for the rest of my life. My mother brought me a bunch of comics, everything to from Howard the Duck to Archie and some Mad magazines. I read this stuff probably twenty times over. When I was drinking I used to think about going to get some graphic novels to read, but of course never did. I have since been frequenting the comic book store and I have been enjoying picking through the comic book racks. It’s one of those places that I feel like a certain sort of outsider hangs out in. It’s a place without judgement and everyone is super friendly. Just my kind of place, something right on the fringe of cool. My comfort zone.
I am feeling really good today. I woke up before my alarm and the birds were greeting me to plunge forth into my day. But with the death of Anthony Bourdain I have been thinking about something that I have kind of noticed a lot lately. I have never told anyone about this but I have a tendency to idealize suicide. I am not saying that I am suicidal. I don’t want to die, I realize that it is a sad and permanent solution to a temporary problem. But when I get into those low waves of depression it sometimes becomes a constant nagging thought, something I can’t get out of my head. I will be driving along the road and start to wonder how bad will this hurt if I just swerve into this dump truck. Or as I am taking my medication at night, what will it be like if I take this entire bottle. Probably the craziest one is I’ve been sitting in a coffee shop near a cop and wondered if I could get his gun and use it on myself before he stopped me. The depression and anxiety will finally be over, I can rest. I know that this is irrational thought, that I would never again get to see my friends and family. But with this much going on in my head it is sometimes a very overpowering feeling. I don’t want to exit this life prematurely, I have come to see far too much beauty in this world to want to give it up. I have become attached to people again and it is lovely. I have reasons to be here.
I want to believe that if this feeling ever gets to be too much that I have a program that will help me get through it. I have people that I can reach out too. I have a sponsor whom I need to begin leaning on more. I pray that everyone I know has the same access to these things as well.
What a major difference taking a pause and evaluating my situation can make. I have come to realize that food is more than just something I need to eat to survive. I had a few days where I was ending up with huge surplus of calories and I couldn’t figure out what was going on with my energy levels. When I was at the gym I was getting dizzy and feeling like I was going to pass out. I have tried for a couple of days now to eat more and make sure that I am not going hungry. So far so good. I have had a couple of really good gym sessions. I managed to get through a 5km run yesterday and it felt amazing. I’m not even that sore today. I’m going to try to ensure that I am eating quality foods that have energy and nutrition not just salt and fat. So in other words, no FUN food.
We’ll see how this goes.
I am so frustrated at things right now. I have been feeling really good about my progress at the gym lately. The last couple of nights excluded. I struggled last night to keep my motivation up and get through my workout. Tonight however was a fucking disaster. I was excited to get there and see everyone and hang out before, or after, or whatever. As I got there I started to feel a little weird. Hard to describe type weird, I don’t know if it was hunger, or nauseau or whatever…. But I got onto the treadmill and was feeling motivated to get a fantastic 5 km done and feel awesome after. But after only 5 mins I started to feel really tight and dizzy. I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath and I had a few moments where I stopped because I thought I might fall over. I couldn’t focus at all. I tried a few times to walk it off, stopped and caught my breath, tried again…nothing seemed to work. I couldn’t find the strength to keep going. I had to stop as the dizziness progressed to where I had to sit down. I went and found one of the chairs at the front and calmed down for a few minutes. I eventually made it home and after pausing lots and feeling really odd driving home. I went and checked my blood sugar and it was really good, 4.5, right about where I would expect after a clean eating and workout day. But holy fuck am I ever pissed off now. I was getting ready to quit the club that I go to. I was so upset with myself, why can’t I just get through a short fucking run. I used to do these 5kms 5 or 6 times a week. I had weeks where I would run 3 or 4 10kms and feel pretty good after.
If I stop and examine the evidence I guess I am being too hard on myself. Or so I am told….I just felt so worthless and frustrated. I was wondering why am I even fucking bothering with trying to get more healthy. It doesn’t matter here. Shit doesn’t change in my life if I do or don’t. I am down another pant size and some of my shirts are too big, big fucking deal, I am not any happier. My home life hasn’t changed.
I also realize (later) that if I go in tomorrow and manage to get through one I will probably want to run around the gym doing fist bumps and high fives to everyone. Even the “bros”…….
pause, breath, reflect, examine, listen, and be grateful.
I used to play golf. There was a time when I was actually half way decent at it. I would play two or three times a week. Of course, the best games always involved booze. I loved tournaments because we would get some guys together and stock all of our bags up with tons of beer and assorted goodies and it would be a whole day affair. Drinking from early morning to whenever we finally crashed. I didn’t always drink while playing golf. There were many times that I would just go and play as a form of fun and exercise. Sometimes a beer was had after the round of golf, sometimes we just called it a night and went home. Pretty normal stuff. At one of the last tournaments that I played in it was a different story. I pre-drank to get there, then we had a few at the course. It was my friends son’s hockey club tournament. They had all sorts of games and prize holes and even some free drinks. We had a great time, but one thing that stood out was that I remember thinking that I wasn’t going to be able to get drunk enough to fun with these guys. I snuck into the clubhouse a few times in order to order some “double” whiskeys or jagermeisters. This is crazy behaviour I know, but it seemed necessary at the time. By the end of the tournament I was feeling pretty good, not wrecked, but on my way. They had one of those raffles that you buy an arms length of tickets for a sum of money and you get to decide what bucket to put the tickets in. Each bucket corresponds to a desired prize. OF COURSE they had a few prizes that were several hundred dollars worth of liquor bottles. OF COURSE I went and dumped all of my many tickets into those buckets. At the appointed time of the draw I was excited thinking that I had a good chance to win a bunch of free booze (the fact that I had spent 60 or 80 bucks on the tickets was lost on me at the time). The draw happens …… OF COURSE the ONE guy in the room that DOES NOT DRINK wins the big liquor prize……
Looking back on it now I find this hilarious. I think the universe protected me from myself that day. I can only imagine what would have happened if I had brought a prize like that home.
I had to leave the house. I was sitting there brooding about this evening. I was trying to read my book and I can’t focus on anything. Then the cold hand of panic gripped me. I start focusing on every negative thing in the world. Why? Why am I feeling like this? I have done this before, the speaking part….and the panic part I suppose. But the last time I spoke it was in a much bigger group and I did OK I think. Maybe I am just not in as good of a head space right now? I keep telling myself that no one is going to judge me, that no one will think less of me. But it doesn’t matter. I am terrified that I am going to have a breakdown up there. I worry that I am going to start blurting out my 5th step and then everyone will know how unhappy I am right now. I just want this to be over. I feel like this is a shame and fear based reaction. I don’t know how to control this. I am so unfamiliar with coping with this without alcohol. I was just remembering how I actually got drunk once at work and did a big presentation to a few hundred people about our base network and about all of our upcoming projects. That was my coping mechanism back then. What the fuck am I supposed to do now?
I know what the program tells me to do. Pray, meditate, pause and reflect, and reach out and talk to someone. I’m trying so hard to do this right now and it’s not helping. I am sitting in a coffee shop and I feel like my heart is going to explode. I have been here before and I know from experience that this is the edges of a panic attack. Where I struggle in my experience is how to come back from this edge.
So I was asked by my sponsor to be the speaker at our home group meeting tonight. I of course said yes, because I have been told that you should always say yes when asked to do something in the program. Well as I get closer to the end of the day and the start of the meeting I know that I am going to be living with the butterflies in my stomach. There is no real reason to be nervous in this case. But I do tend to get a block thrown up between my brain and my mouth. I know what I want to say but it seems to come out as gibberish. Or at least that is how I perceive it. My disease of perception tells me that everyone is going to be judging me. Judging my story, judging my message, judging my recovery…..
I know that this isn’t true. Because I have been to many speaker meetings and I have never done that. But I still get slightly nervous even sharing when it’s a small group. I guess I am scared of sounding dumb. I go to meetings and meet and hear so many people that carry the message so well that I am intimidated by them. Sometimes I pass when it’s my turn to share, even when i have something pressing that I need to get off my chest. Which is dangerous for me. I have to get this shit out of my head or it’s going to kill me. This blog is a help for sure but sometimes it is nice to get a little feed back from someone who understands what I am going through.
So for now I am going to fight the urge to prepare for being the Guest Speaker and just let the universe tell me what I am supposed to say.