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Treading water (or unfasten your seatbelts)

tcr! · Jul 12, 2018 at 10:18 am

Wherein fate has limits, part 2 of 3.

Treading water

Toward the end of my drinking it was like treading water. Never going anywhere, not having any fun, just struggling to do the bare minimum to stay afloat. A soggy, pathetic, emotional mess.

I was well past my reckless youth, going out and getting into trouble, wrecking cars, being thrown in jail. Well past the padded room I chased an orderly out of with a safety pin. It was just me, the liquor, and myself. Paddling in a sea of cold air in a dark, damp basement.

I’m going to mix and match reality and imagination. Analogies and metaphors. Because that’s what you do when you’re me.

So to continue with the useless swimming metaphor, I would watch people up on the beach barbecuing, playing frisbee, soaking up sun rays. My family was there, too.

And there I was, what felt like miles away, growing physically tired of the repetitive stokes. And miserably alone. Really though, everybody was only a few feet away, just up and around the stairs.

A few years ago I used this same metaphor but in that story there was an anchor and a chain weighing me down. In the years since first writing of it I’ve change my mind. That rusty chain implied an external force that had me moored. But that’s not true. It was only me and my inner turmoil that kept me treading water on the futon.

Every now and then my ex-wife would tell me that I needed to come in from the water, be with them up on the beach. Sit with them. But I never listened. I couldn’t hear what she was saying over the water and my splashing. It was all too loud. It was all but impossible to listen. I couldn’t focus when I was drunk. My head sunburnt with hellfire hangovers. My eyes closed after my favorite sunglasses were washed away.

I would often think to myself, this is it. I’m not gonna die from exploding diving tanks in a fiery crash. I’m just going to be stuck here treading water, corroding over the decades. Because I can swim against the tides all I want but there’s no escape from the thrashing whirlpool, the sticky tarpit of fate.

And then maybe one day when I don’t have any strength left I’d just slip away. Lethally injected with alcoholic strychnine. In yet another metaphor. Poor me.

Anyways, one day in between waves (or days depending on your makeup) I’m spying my family up on the beach and then she starts packing up the car. I cried out in panicked silence as my insides unfroze.

“Holy shit she’s really gonna leave. She’s not playing around this time. The trunk is open and she’s actually putting the picnic basket and shit in there.”

And then I freaked. Swam to shore like a true Olympian. Like a flock of sharks were nipping at my toes. Whatever cosmic harpoon that had me tethered to myself had finally been cut.

When I reached the sand and the shore and the safety of solid ground, dear lord, the panic didn’t stop. It multiplied. In color. I hadn’t done the whole sober living thing since 152nd Street. And I sucked at it.

So I ran up and down the beach like my hair was on fire in a full blown, year-plus-long panic attack. Being out of the water and on my feet was messy. My eyes needed to adjust, my fingers needed to dry out. I needed to catch my breath.

And then I got a new futon. Because the old one had been torpedoed to death. With bullshit.

So I guess my point to this story is that when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change, we will swim for our lives. Fate be damned.

#alcoholism #fatedebate

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Speaking of consequences and desperation

tcr! · May 29, 2018 at 2:30 pm

Liquor store door

Alcoholics can related to this. I’m not sure if others will…

One of the things that made it so easy for me to continue drinking was that I never had any real consequences. I never was in jail for more than a day or so, the bank never threatened to take my house. My jobs were always more than supportive and somehow I still have all my fingers and toes.

It’s not that I didn’t think about the consequences. I could think about them all day long, but if it were in my head that I was gonna drink, there was simply no stopping me. I didn’t resist at all. There was no debate, no trying to convince myself it was the wrong thing to do. I never tried to talk myself out of it. All of that internal yammering was too painful and willpower doesn’t existent when I’m drinking. It was easier to just give in, give up, quit fighting a fight I’d never win.

Even just the “knowing” that I was going to drink gave me instant relief. Like pouring water over an Alka-Seltzer tablet. That immediate, fizzy, bubbly chemical reaction — that’s the uplifting, scientific relief I felt whenever I gave in to alcoholism.

A counselor told me once that I should “play the tape all the way through,” meaning that before I started drinking to stop and think about what would happen from start to finish.

Erm. That’s not how alcoholics do. We don’t have forethought before drinking or willpower when drinking. Consequences are irrelevant. We only see the next drink and never the dominoes falling down afterward.

Seriously, when it comes to drinking my thought process is this: I’m gonna get drunk and I don’t care what happens. My house burns down? Good, now I won’t have to pay the mortgage and will have one less responsibility. That may sound ludicrous but that’s the kind of disconnect I’m talking about here.

Yeah, life could taunt me with blackouts, jails, whatever but none of it mattered once the drink was on or even the decision to drink was made. I was at peace and nothing could touch me.

And then there was that one time I walked into the liquor store door. Like I walked up to and in to the door. And then bounced backward off the glass because it was the exit and it automatically opened for people leaving. I’d like to say that it was a simple mistake but really I was pretty much lit from head to toe.

The whole door wobbled and complained during our encounter. I’d also like to say that I was filled with shame but any embarrassment was muffled by my drunkenness. Because drunkenness is like a wet blanket over the fire, a soggy forcefield that keeps the inferno of reality from being real.

So after solving the automatic door riddle and making it inside, two cashiers and a customer were staring at me with slight alarm. I ignored their stares and made straight for my aisle, as fast as I could while maintaining my composure and balance. Only momentum kept me walking in a semi-straight line.

And then back at the checkout aisle one cashier was still around. He was an older, taller guy wearing concern on his face. Like he wanted to say something, to ask me if I was okay because I obviously wasn’t. I wasn’t fit to be walking let alone driving.

But he didn’t say anything. I’m sure it was because working in a liquor store he’d seen the likes of my kind before and learned the last thing you wanna do is confront an alcoholic when they’re drunk and after more. That’s like poking a bear after his honey.

I don’t remember what I bought from the liquor store that day, only that I made an ass out of myself and was too drunk to know it at the time.

Anyways, see: no consequences. I have a grab bag full of stories just like this where there weren’t any consequences for my actions. Almost always nothing happened other than I got drunk. I was rarely even scolded.

But wait. There were consequences even if I didn’t think about them. Even if alcoholism kept me out of touch with them.

There was the perpetual guilt so harsh that I would cringe, close my eyes, and hang my head. Soaked in regret for the constant humiliation I handed out to my ex-wife and then following it up with gift-wrapped sorries and promises that I’d do better.

I tried to be a good person when I was sober, had all the right morals and so on, but drinking drowned them all. Suffocated every shred of decency. I’d be doing and say things I would never do sober. After five or so drinks I would be uncontrollably careless. I’m an alcoholic so I’d have twice that and then the real fun would start. I’d say things to people that I didn’t mean, completely smashed, flirting with other women, right in front of my ex-wife. Passing out at a friend’s party at 8pm because my party had started at 8am.

Then I’d wake up plumb full of shame, anxiety through the roof. Should I say something to that dude? Do I owe that girl an apology? Most of the time I wouldn’t say anything at all with the hope that they’d just forget. But you commit enough crimes and people stop forgetting, shit stops blowing over. People start looking at you differently.

And then I’d start drinking all over again as soon as I could and it was like magic. All the guilt and shame would be washed down the drain like dirty bathwater. Alcoholics have mastered tuning out the guilt when we’re turning the drunk dial to 11.

I drank to get drunk from the time I was 15. The last few years I did try really, really hard, though, to keep myself in check, to keep myself from doing stupid shit. But that never happened. I’d stumble around the house, fall into shit, make jokes that weren’t funny. I absolutely hated feeling embarrassed the next morning. All I wanted was to drink, feel that drunken serenity and not make an ass of myself. Lubricated but not falling over if you will.

That’s not something I can do though. My drinking always led me to a black hole I couldn’t pull myself out of.

And there was that piper to be paid.

I read something years ago about civilizations that’s always stuck with me, or it might’ve been on a documentary on TV or whatever.[1]

It was about one of those cities that set up shop at the base of a volcano. And of course the volcano blew its top because that’s what volcanos do. People were running around with their asses on fire and all that shit. But guess what? That’s exactly what the civilization needed, a major catastrophe to make them change. It took a volcano spewing lava all over their whole damn city before they decided to move.

It wasn’t until my ex-wife said that I’d “taken it too far last Christmas” on a Sunday afternoon that I experienced my own desperation, that smashed my cherry, fizzy glass of Alka-Seltzer into a thousand shards. She didn’t say anything more than that but that was enough. She had been on her phone with someone else and I saw a look detachment from her that I’d never seen before. A broken heart set free. She had let go and moved on.

The panic and fear overtook me that afternoon. I was sure that she was going to leave with Maggie, that she had found someone else, that she’d never come back from that day emotionally. The terror was endless, the horrifying possibilities and outcomes laid out before my eyes rattled me to the core. Shook my bones and instilled a fear of rejection in me that I hadn’t felt for a long time.

What I felt in one word was despair.

Tony calls it the “gift of desperation.”

There’s times when we see things off in the distance and they don’t mean much. We don’t take pay much attention to them. Because they’re way, way over there. And then there’s other times when things are right in front of us and everything is all too real. We take those times seriously.

There comes a time when we, as alcoholics, know it’s time to stop. We turn a corner and everything changes. The desperation moves us along.

I played dangerous games, took incredible risks and lost. The consequences caught up to me. People went away and then I was sitting on the floor in an empty bedroom a couple of weeks past Valentine’s Day. Sitting with nothing but my own thoughts and cat hair tumbleweeds.

Maybe it’s obvious now that nothing, I mean nothing could plug my jug other than desperation. I’d fritter about and be sober for a day or two, a week here and there. But for longer spells, I really needed to be punched hard in the soul. I needed to wreck my car and not be able to drive away. Well, that never really happened. I always totaled the cars but you get my point.

I had to filled with desperation from head to toe to fundamentally change, to get to that “soul shift” point. Where I didn’t want to drink any more because the pain of staying the same was greater than the pain of changing. As it goes.

And then the good news to counter my sad is that if I, as an alcoholic, continued to drink like I did, continued living at the feet of a volcano, when I least expected it the volcano would erupt and my alcoholic fantasy land would collapse.

So why did I write all of this since I’m so far removed from it in the here and now? I don’t know. A few paragraphs from this were originally in an email I sent to a friend a few years back and I needed to put it out to the cosmos. If you’re an alcoholic, struggling with despair, you’re not alone.

And so do I think about consequences now that I’m not drinking? Yes, but it’s only because I’m plugged into the cosmic spirit. Not because I’m a spiritual dynamo or something.

#alcoholism


  1. Listen in life for spiritual clues. The truth is out there.

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70 and 80 proof

tcr! · Apr 18, 2018 at 8:33 am

70 and 80 proof

Of course I don’t drink anymore…but whenever I see liquor bottles my eyes head straight for the PROOF.

Because that’s all that mattered. 😊

#photos #alcoholism

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Why are these people standing so close to me?

tcr! · Mar 13, 2018 at 7:48 pm

Stay Puft are you terrified

For much of my life I’ve been internally combustible and physically uncomfortable. I felt ill and under and unequipped just being human. Even trying to be human. Too much shit gurgling in my stomach. Never ending mallet beating my heart. Intestines put on backwards and inside out. My thoughts whirling and jerking back and forth by some restless, mechanical bull.

I’m melodramatic, I know.

But when I found drugs and alcohol as a teenager that fixed me, that calmed the bomb and made life tolerable, comfortable. The whole reason why I drank as much and as hard as I did was because drinking brought me relief. And not only that but it took me to a place of adventure, a place I was fond of, a place without restraints. A feeling inside and out that nothing mattered, nothing could touch me, and I just didn’t give a fuck. If it was sunny outside then that was perfect and if it were raining then that was fucking awesome, too.

Of course being alcoholic there always comes a point where the watered down solution becomes a problem in itself. Becomes more of a problem than the anxiety I was trying to do away with.

And then when I did stop drinking the pressures of everyday life were back. More painful than ever. I didn’t have many skills to deal with them and oh boy, did the mechanical bull launch full throttle again. The first year and two I was sober I felt the craziest that I ever had my whole life. Like every nerve in my body was exposed, every sight a cause for alarm.

Am I going to be able to drive all the way home? I can’t even fucking think straight.

And every sound twice as loud.

Why is everyone talking through a megaphone?

In related news, it feels like there’s been ringing in my ears since I was nine.

Freshly sober my anxiety would have me up at 4:30 in the morning, pounding down the coffees. Other times I’d be up well past midnight, smoking cigarette[1] after cigarette. Day and night making my combustion worse by not sleeping and pumping more toxins into my system.

In the here-and-now, even well into sobriety, when I’m uncomfortable my go-to reaction is to fix how I feel. Reach for cigarettes that aren’t there. Look for something outside of me to soothe the unrest within. Something, anything to take away the worry, the doubt, the paranoia. Unplug the melodramatic bull.

After I got back into 12-step recovery one of the most valuable tools that I learned was the cosmic pause. To take an interlude. To stop. For a moment. To breathe.

And also to learn how to feel my feelings, especially the uncomfortable ones. I’m sure I’ve quoted Tony before when he said, “those that make it are the ones who learn how to be uncomfortable.”

My last divorce was certainly uncomfortable and plenty difficult for everybody involved. Every time I would get a text message from my ex-wife my heart would race and I felt like I was holding a bomb. My hands would shake as I was pummeled with nervous, dizzy emotion. And it would all happen in an instant. Maybe kinda like a panic attack. :)

Then of course I would immediately read/react/reply, and the text messages would explode with overflowing wells of anger. Puke and shit everywhere. It was the same story with my first ex-wife except we’d actually be calling each other all frenzy-like since cell phones weren’t an everyday thing.

And then somewhere along the way the cosmos gave me some insight.

I didn’t have to respond to someone’s messages[2] right away. I didn’t even have to read them right when my phone popped up an alert. Hell, I didn’t have to read them at all if I didn’t want to. Fucking spiritual revelation.

When I get in those kind of tense situations where I’m feeling nervous or unsure I do my best to simply pause. Accept that whatever I’m feeling is how I’m supposed to be feeling at that very moment. And then say a little prayer, sometimes a big one, and ask the cosmos for direction. I breathe out and imagine I’m exhaling the anxiety. Blow it out like the smoke that used to give me so much comfort.

On a side note, imagine taking a drag off a cigarette and then never blowing out the smoke. That choking feeling, that suffocation is how I feel when I only hold on to my emotions and don’t process them.

Anyways, absolutely not doing anything when I’m in a mess is almost always the right thing to do. I’m not good at reacting under pressure. Even more so when there’s barbed history. I usually make the situation worse if I act on that first impulse. I can easily freak out and go some place emotionally I don’t like being. So I pause and ride my emotional, mechanical bull until it powers down. Afterward the feelings subside, if not pass altogether, and then I’m able to make sound decisions with a clear mind.

My solution is always divine. No amount of material things will ever fix me.[3] I need to reconnect with the cosmic spirit if I want peace. By letting the cosmos care for and guide me I don’t have to take on the burden of trying to fix myself, trying to manage my anxiety. Control whatever situation I’m in or even control how I’m feeling. I can just let go and know that the answers will come so long as I allow myself to be a complete human being. With uncomfortable feelings and all.

And back to that “holding a bomb” feeling.

The funny thing is I know now most of that was pretty much all about me. My gears grinding and circuits working overtime. My heart would beat so fast and there I was the one holding the mallet.

Mechanical bull up in my head, glaring eyes of red, snorting steam they said.

I can’t speak for my ex-wives or anybody else but it wouldn’t surprise me if both felt just as nervous as I did when they reached out to me. My behaviors and responses were unpredictable. At best. And divorces are messy, too. Emotions high. Feelings hurt. That in itself is reason enough for anybody to slow way the fuck down.

Most of my messages in the here-and-now are light and nonchalant. I’m overall calm. I don’t feel the mechanical bull winding up and bashing me around when certain people message me. I do my best to stay consistently plugged into the cosmos and walk that spiritual path. When I am and when I do, I’m not as eager to race ahead and react to fear, perceived or not.[4] If I stay ahead of the anxiety game I’m less likely to lose when it’s time to play.

When I’m plugged in nothing can touch me either. I’m on that spiritual journey and get a text message bomb, then it doesn’t matter. I don’t care. Other people can behave badly and I don’t give a fuck. And that feeling of being okay is what I was after the whole time I was drinking. I was trying to get okay. I just made the mistake of using man-made fixes.

Physically uncomfortable and internally combustible. Life doesn’t have to be that way. More importantly, life’s not supposed to be like that.

I needed a better way to live. My solution has been always divine but there were things that I could certainly do.

So when I stopped chugging coffees after 8 pm was when I started closing my eyes and falling asleep come bedtime. When I stopped taking things so damn personal, when I stopped seeing people as threats was when I finally was able to relax and life wasn’t so loud anymore.

When I stopped analyzing and scrutinizing every detail and started trusting in the greater good of my fellow humans was when l started building meaningful, long term relationships.

When I stopped worrying about getting hurt was when I was finally able to love you guys.

When I stopped using quick fixes for the major problems was when I started to heal.

And then when I realized that most of what I thought was important in life was irrelevant, when I finally let everything go was when I was finally set free.

#anxiety #alcoholism #advancedsoul #diariespodcast


  1. “I never knew I had anxiety. I just knew I needed another cigarette.” I don’t know who said that on NPR but I was all like “YES” when I heard it.

  2. Text-based conversation is possibly one of the worst things that has happened to modern communication. It lets people write things that they would never get away with saying to another person face-to-face.

  3. Just to throw this out there, some people need medication. I’m not saying that everybody can get by on a spiritual solution alone. But for me much of my anxiety was driven by how I lived my life.

  4. “…we are our very worst selves in fear. We are the most dangerous to ourselves and to each other.” -Brené Brown

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PechaKucha Night (cont)

tcr! · Nov 30, 2017 at 11:03 pm

In follow up to tonight’s earlier PechaKucha Night in Batavia

This lady was eating popcorn with complete disregard for public safety
This lady was eating popcorn with complete disregard for public safety

I was sitting in a room full of people that obviously have the same kind of interests that I do. But I didn’t know anybody. So I did the next rational thing which is to get on my phone, post on Facebook, and visit the event website. For some reason I had it in the back of my mind this was all related to anime or Pokémon or something.[1]

I was quite wrong. It’s more akin to TED Talks but it gives everyone a chance to present. “Great!” I thought non-sarcastically.

I read more from the FAQ. This Q/A stood out:

Is PechaKucha Night a social network?

We believe there is nothing social about online social networks, so get out from behind your screen and get to a live event, with real people, real communication…

Oh.

So there I was at a live event, reading from the event website that I should put down my phone and socialize.

This is a tricky scenario for me. I don’t do well in groups of people, even more so when I don’t know the humans. It’s part of the story when I relapsed. I want to hang out with other like-minded people but group settings make me feel awkward and uncomfortable. Overstimulated. Like I’m in a swimming pool and there’s constant splashing. And too many people talking. And I have water in my ears. And there’s beach balls flying around. And I’m trying to keep myself from drowning. Maybe it’s not exactly like that but it’s close.

Drinking makes social gatherings easier. It lubes the conversations with people I don’t know. It feels like I’m wearing a life jacket when I drink. It takes the edge off. And I have too many edges. Too much shame and too many bullies when I was a kid or something. I doubt if I’ll ever feel confident or at ease in public.

And then also drinking makes me feel normal around other people. Like I fit in then. I’m part of a tribe that I’ve never belonged to. When I relapsed I was in a similar situation, a venue serving alcohol, surrounded by creative people enjoying themselves. And I was out of place. Without social skills. I didn’t know how to swim. And then I got a drink. And then the pool party wasn’t that hard. It wasn’t really a pool party but you get the analogy. And then that one drink last for ten years.

But I wanted to be at tonight’s PechaKucha event, wanted to get to know people in the area other than those in recovery. Not that there’s anything wrong with the latter but I also have a magnetic attraction to another set of people, ones who are artistically passionate. Because we’re similar. Same expressive wavelength. The art makers and art lovers. I’ve got something to say creatively, just as they do.

When I read the “get out from behind your screen” line I knew that I was doing it wrong. So I put my phone away and walked over to the greeter who had taken my money when I came in. I asked her how I could get one of the name badges some people were wearing. The lady told me those people were either helping out with the event or presenting that night. I asked her what time would I get to present. Because when I feel awkward I make jokes. She smiled and told me that I needed to fill out a form and maybe I could present at the next event in February. That was good enough.

I then saw Jaime and his wife across the room. He had invited me so I was happy to see him. And he wasn’t with a group of people. I hate when I feel like I’m standing on the perimeter, waiting for my turn to talk. I won’t even bother with that anymore.

Anyways Jaime, his wife, and I had a nice chat about the event and then meditation which was kinda surprising. But cool. Then the presentations got underway.

I left the event a little early to go to a 12 step meeting. I enjoyed myself at PechaKucha, got a dose of artistic socializing but it’s important for me to remember that if I hang around non-alcoholics too much there’s a good chance I’ll start to think that I’m non-alcoholic as well. But I’m not. When I drink at social gatherings I continue drinking afterward at home. On a Thursday night, well past my bedtime. And then when non-alcoholics are having their morning coffee I’m having a morning drink.

So I guess my takeaway for the night is that it’s important for me to get out. Replenish my artistic well. If I sit at home I’ll have nothing to write about, nothing to talk about. Other than my sad songs from yesterday. Well that’s not completely true but you get the point.

And finally social skills are like any other. I won’t be good at them unless I practice. Put myself out there. Go outside. (Albert gasp).

#pechakucha #socialproblems #alcoholism #lettherebehope #diariespodcast


  1. Maybe because I was pronouncing PechaKucha like Pikachu. That little yellow guy with the black tipped ears.

jimi hindrance experience jimi hindrance experience · Dec 8, 2017 at 2:45 am

thank you t.

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tcr! tcr! · Dec 9, 2017 at 7:23 am

Yep 😊

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Each and every time I started writing

tcr! · Nov 24, 2017 at 8:45 am

People always say that the 12 steps are in order for a reason. I guess I never really paid that much attention to that statement until after I was in recovery for a year or so. Looking back on my experience with Step 4 I know there’s no way in hell that I would’ve been able to write a searching and fearless moral inventory if I didn’t have a concept of God that I believed in. I just wouldn’t have.

Writing them was hard (I’ve done two) and I felt all kinds of feelings with the second one. Anger, shame, guilt, regret. Horror. Felt all the things that drinking kept me from feeling. I had burning resentments and sexual traumas. Had broken friendships and ruined relationships. And more.

I needed to pray for the strength to make it through, pray to that God concept each and every time I started writing.[1] All those feelings I’d kept hidden under blankets and in boxes in the basement came up and out. Like boiling bubbles in a stock pot. I was finally feeling what I should’ve been feeling all along when I was drinking. Being in touch with that hideousness forced me to lean on, rely on that Higher Power. Reaffirm my decision to turn my will and life over to the care of God. Remember that a better way of life lay on the other side.

And I was willing to feel and deal with all my monsters if that meant that I didn’t have to drink again. If that meant that I didn’t have to be the person that I’d become. Be the person that I hated. That I was. I was willing to work the Fourth Step if it meant that I could be somebody new. Be a sober me.

Back in the Second Step it talks about being restored to sanity. Writing the Fourth Step is part of how and when that restoration happens. It’s part of how my life became manageable again.

This step also gives us the freedom to make our inventory however necessary, with the guidance of a sponsor of course. It doesn’t even say that we “wrote” it but only that we “made” it. I pay close attention to the wording of the steps as they are the program, they’re how we get and stay sober.

As an aside I got into a minor debate once with someone regarding if everyone should actually “write” their inventory. We need our sponsor’s input on how we make it and that doesn’t always mean that we write it. Why not? If a person is blind or if a person can’t read or write, then they need to do what works best for them to make their inventory.

The most important thing is that we make it. Don’t complicate or procrastinate.

I was also relived to find out that we don’t need to make a complete inventory but only a “searching and fearless” one. I wrote the best one I could at the time and the Tenth Step allows me to self-analyze and follow up on issues later as needed.

And after I put the pen down (because I wrote mine), I realized that doing my Fourth Step hadn’t kill me. It was horrible for sure but I made it through with only a deflated ego. And that was one of the best things that needed to happen to this alcoholic.

I also finally got some real relief. The kind of relief that drinking never gave me. Relief at the spiritual level. All of my secrets were no longer secrets, they were out in the open. At least on paper. After carrying around emotional trauma for so long it felt good when I was done.

So I made an inventory the best I could, took a look at the things that were holding me back, that were standing in the way of me being the best me that I could. And I thank God for the help I was given. Without God, I wouldn’t have been able to write those words.

#alcoholism #twelvesteps #diariespodcast


  1. And not “needed to” because those were the rules. But “needed to” because I needed help.

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I only saw her rage

tcr! · Nov 5, 2017 at 6:02 pm

I only saw the rage

Last night I heard an Al-Anon speaker say that she was very angry with her husband while he was drinking. But really she was scared. Scared for a variety of reasons, if he was going to really hurt himself, and so on.

When I was drinking my ex-wife was also very angry. The kind of anger where it felt like I couldn’t do anything right. And I took that very personal because, to me, it just seemed like she was constantly upset with what I was doing and what I wasn’t doing.

It really struck a chord with me, what the speaker said yesterday. Looking back now I can see that my ex-wife was also most likely scared. And frustrated. And hurt. I wish I could’ve seen through to her fear at the time. Seen her hurt instead of her aggravation. Seen her loneliness instead of her judgment.

I feel sad that I only saw her madness and didn’t or couldn’t see what was underneath.

After I’ve moved on and things have passed, it’s easier for me to have an objective look on what was really going on. But in the moment it’s too hard to detach from the then and there, even more so when emotions are high. We’ve all heard that anger is just a cover up but I only see the rage when it’s directed at me.

I started to tear up listening to the speaker because I felt like if I would’ve seen my ex-wife as simply being hurt and scared I would’ve done things differently when we were married.

Instead of reacting defiantly to her anger, I would’ve tried to react lovingly to her pain.

#alcoholism #relationships #diariespodcast

jimi hindrance experience jimi hindrance experience · Nov 7, 2017 at 12:11 am

i was just thinking about this today. thankies for the share.

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tcr! tcr! · Nov 8, 2017 at 7:22 am

I think I might think about it a little more often. 😊

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They deserve it

tcr! · Oct 13, 2017 at 11:55 am

They deserve it

When I was drinking I would hurt people, because that’s what I did when I was drinking, and then I would feel bad and avoid them. Sometimes go out of my way not to see them. And then when the day came around that I did, I would hang my head in shame and hope that they had forgotten.

My guilt would pile up like garbage. The trash can would be overflowing, shit falling on the floor, and I’d just ignore it. But then I’d walk by the guilty trash pile and step on something and it’d stick to my shoe and I’d be like…

“Dude just get off”

And that’s how I lived.

We talk in 12 step meetings about how the steps change us, make us better people. How they awaken our spirits. And with that I was thinking about Steps 8 and 9 recently and the cool thing about working them is that years later when I have something to do, amends to be made, or whatever I know that there is freedom after I walk through it. After I sweep up and take out my trash I’ll feel better. “Freedom from bondage of self” as it’s written.

The first time I was making my list, preparing to make those amends and so on, I had all kinds of anxiety and fear because I’d never done something like that before. Not something that monumental anyways. I didn’t have much experience with facing not only what I had done but also facing the other person. I didn’t know what was going to happen or how it was all gonna work out. So many unknowns. And unknowns are scary. Plus, I felt bad for what I’d done that led me to the person’s door in the first place.

People in the meetings said it was going to be okay and I knew that it was going to be okay just from earlier step work. But right then it wasn’t okay. Because I hadn’t made them. I was still living with the burden of my trash heap.

So in the here and now, because I went through the whole amends process, became willing, and knocked on people’s doors, I know there’s good stuff on the other side. I can rely on my past experience of taking action. I have that benefit now. The steps not only clear away the “wreckage of the past” but also give us the skills to live a clean life moving forward. Steps 8 and 9 are “training for Step 10” as John recently said.

Walking around with something on my mind, something that I need to do it really bothers me in the here and now. After having a clear conscience and knowing what a blue sky feels like, whenever my conscience isn’t clear it grinds on my emotional gears. It’s like life comes to a halt. It interferes with my relationship with god, with the cosmos, with you guys.

Today, I don’t have to walk around a trash pile. I know what to do. I can reach out to whoever now and be done with it. I won’t have to wonder if someone’s still mad or hurt because I can take responsibility for what I did. I can simply say “I was being an ass. And I’m sorry.“ It can really be that simple.

Then all that burden, all that discord, it goes away. Doing that kinda thing is how come I’m happy today. It’s how I get to live my life fully in the present. Not looking back, not feeling bad, but enjoying everything this very moment has to offer. There’ll be no fucking trash on the floor.

Also, just knowing that a relationship can be repaired or set back on track is a wonderful feeling. Just knowing that it will no longer be an obstacle, that I don’t have to avoid someone or not look them in the eye. Just knowing it’s gonna be okay gives me hope, gives me relief, gives me the motivation to clean it up.

And it will also make the other person’s day just that much better. They can have and share in that same freedom, in that same closure. They deserve it more than I do.

I’ll never forget the look on his face after I said, “I was wrong. I’m sorry.” His eyes teared up the same as mine as we shared that moment, as we both let go of a shard of glass that was holding us back. That was keeping us from having the best relationship possible. We shared in that release. I’ll doubt if you’ll find something better than that.

#alcoholism #twelvesteps #relationships

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Relapse and reservations

tcr! · Sep 4, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Relapse and Reservations

20170904 - Relapse and Reservations - MP4 Watch on YouTube →

After I’d been sober for a number of years I relapsed. It wasn’t something that I thought was gonna happen. And also, it didn’t “just happen” either.

So with that being said I feel qualified, I feel confident, I feel like I’m able to talk about relapse overall. I have experience with it.

I didn’t have any deep, dark, dank secrets. I didn’t hold anything back when writing my Fourth Step and I didn’t hold anything back when sharing my Fifth Step. I made all of the amends on my Eighth Step list. I was more spiritual than I’d ever been my whole life.

So why did I relapse?

Because I quit going to meetings. I quit hanging out with people in recovery and hung out instead with “normal” people. that drank like normal people do. We had a lot in common those “normal” ones, similar interests and so on. We could bond over things I couldn’t with people in the meetings.

And really we alcoholics aren’t that much different from them. I’ve known plenty of “normal” people who had resentments, who’d been plagued with fear their whole life, who felt lost and couldn’t find their way.

Anyways with my relapse, somehow I had convinced myself that I was okay, that me drinking was okay. Plain and simple: I’d lost touch with where I’d came from.

And I write this because I hear people talk who say that the reason alcoholics relapse is because they have reservations. And I think it’s bullshit to say that everyone who’s relapsed didn’t work the steps to their full ability.[1] I’ve heard that in meetings.

And further I’ve known people who have relapsed or were in the midst of a relapse who were and still are more spiritual, more kind, more compassionate and caring then those 20+ year sober guys who think they know it all. And obviously something is lacking in their program if they’re up there pounding their fists at the soapbox about a relapse they never had.

Yes, some people do relapse because there’s a secret that they don’t want to tell or they never found the humility or willingness to make a certain amend or whatever. But that’s not fucking everybody.

Okay, obviously I have some emotion behind this but just to be clear, just because you’ve never relapsed that doesn’t mean that you can come along and tell me that I didn’t do something right the first time. Or that you can make some broad assumption, or borderline accusation against everyone who has relapsed.

Be careful with airs of intolerance or ones of arrogance. They’ll get you in trouble. Further, you’re the authority on your recovery, not mine. And further still, my relapse doesn’t discount my previous recovery. It doesn’t wipe the sobriety slate clean or take away the decade plus I was sober. It only makes my recovery now that much better.

And lastly while I’m picking bones… Who cares if I would have been sober for over 25 years if I hadn’t relapsed. I’m not keeping score. Why are you?

#alcoholism #twelvesteps #diariespodcast #diariesvideo


  1. Okay, I concede to the fact that I fell down on Step 12 before I relapsed. Step 10 and 11, too. But not working steps 1-9 to the best of my ability didn’t have anything to do with my relapse.

jimi hindrance experience jimi hindrance experience · Sep 4, 2017 at 9:11 pm

Because he has enlightenment as his aim, a bodhisattva-mahāsattva is so called.

I still have Walter Becker on my mind but I was very struck by your comments, as usual. “Bodhisattva” is of course a rockin’ lil’ number by Steely Dan.

In other news, I feel like I’ve said these things before. I’m not thinking plagiarism, just that you are so completely in tune with things I’ve thought for a long time.
I am super-qualified on relapse.

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keamoose keamoose · Sep 5, 2017 at 4:29 pm

I don’t expect I’ll ever really understand this, but the way you write about it always just sounds so honest that it makes it more ok for me to talk about the stuff I have issues with.

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tcr! tcr! · Sep 5, 2017 at 5:17 pm

Somewhere in one of my recovery books it says something along the lines of, “when sharing our pain if it helps just one person with their pain then it was worth it.”

I’m happy that my sharing is helping with your sharing 😊

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Morning drinks mute the fires of hell

tcr! · Aug 16, 2017 at 7:56 am

Halloween tonic bottles

And then there was that one time when it was 8 or 8:15 in the morning. I had called in sick the last couple of days because I’d been drinking. Too much. I called in[1] that morning, too, because there wasn’t any way I was going to be able to pull myself out of it. Not that day for sure.

And Hell was especially hot that morning because I had not a drop to drink. Whatever I’d been drinking those past few “sick” days was gone and that wouldn’t do.

My ex-wife was going to take Maggie to school and then stop at the grocery store or something. I watched from the window as they drove down the street and around the corner. And around the next corner. The moment The Cube went beyond the trees I ran to my truck and drove to the liquor store like it was closing in five minutes. Even though the business day had barely started.

I was scared shitless while driving but really my heart was racing for a different reason. Soon the horrible morning alcoholic pains would quiet down. Soon I would feel that sweet release as Hell was put on hold. For another day.

At the liquor store I bought two half gallons of whiskey. I didn’t care what I looked like, what I smelled like, or what the cashier thought. Any public shame in that store no longer applied.

Then I raced back home as fast as I could, barely obeying traffic laws, and ignoring the other drivers. I didn’t want to see anybody I knew. Back at home I got nuzzled in the basement like I’d never left and put on Elizabeth from 1998 for background noise.[2] Then sweet bliss as I squeezed the cheap plastic whiskey bottle over and over again. Like there was no tomorrow. Any consequences for being drunk that day (or the days before) were no longer my concern. Tomorrow was tomorrow. Morning drinks mute the fires of hell.

This is what it means to be powerless over alcohol. This is what it means for my life to be unmanageable.

And to make my horrible story even worse I have a whole bunch of stories just like this. I played the odds each and every time I needed a drink and didn’t have one handy. I played the odds even when I did.

A guy said in a meeting that he knew exactly when he crossed over to being an alcoholic: when he started lying to his wife about his drinking. When I started hiding my drinking, started the sneaking around…that’s when all was truly lost. If you’re there — there’s a way out when you’re ready.

As I write and review and write this morning at 7:56 am, I’m filled with gratitude that the only morning drink I need in the here and now is a gallon of coffee. I still don’t do moderation well but I’m no longer magnetized to the basement futon and filled with emotional sludge.

And just so I don’t end on a Debbie Downer: recovery isn’t so much about all the wonderful things I now have. It’s so much more about the horrible things I don’t.

#alcoholism #confessional #lettherebehope #diariespodcast


  1. Well, I didn’t actually “call in” because that would require talking to someone. Instead I sent emails to save any verbal embarrassment.

  2. I watched A LOT of movies when I was drinking.

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