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Day 2

Jul 18, 2014 - 0 comments

The workday goes well.  Much better than I thought, though I had messed up some things I claimed I knew how to take care off.  The intriguing guy who spoke with me yesterday at AA invited me to go to Chocowinity today.  I said I would.  He called two minutes after five, said he would pick me up at seven.  I could already tell he did things by the book.  A little intimidating yet reassuring at the same time.  It's like being in good hands, but rough hands.  We talked on the way out about what got us involved with sobriety, it was around a 20 minute drive.  He said that he was looking at me during the meeting yesterday, and could tell when I felt a connection with what a speaker was saying.  Might have been pretty obvious because I rock back and forth due the bad back and often go into a head nod when I hear something I like.  It was weird that someone could look at me though.  Most people in AA just stare off into space it seems.  I kind of appreciate that.  I was trying as hard as I could to not look anyone in the eye, and not long at that.  It was pretty interesting.  I didn't really connect too much with him when he said church and AA are kind of like cooking a cake with four different recipes, and that sometimes the best results are from just sticking with AA first and foremost.  People in AA say that nothing comes before their sobriety.  What about God?  I don't feel like I sit in church and say, "Yeah, all i have to do is pray and my alcohol cravings and problems will go away."  I already know he isn't taking my bipolar away in the foreseeable future.  Speaking of which, the speaker tonight in Chocowinity was a Greenville woman who described her downfall, including "not taking my meds"- usually the greatest indicator of at least depression, probably bipolar.  When I was only taking medicine for depression, I would say "I need to take my medicine."  When I take 10 pills/vitamins a day, the word medicine becomes plural quite fast.  That was reassuring.  Anyway, back to the drive..  He made a point that what people going sober have in common is a feeling.  We all share that same feeling.  It made me feel a lot more connected to other members by the time we got there.  Yes, we have had different experiences, different struggles, but the same feeling.  Before the meeting, he went inside briefly for coffee.  Came out, and handed me a typed piece of laminated paper and said, "I volunteered you," as he held his own.  I spoke and for some reason his intro speaking about insecurities made me strangely at peace.  I felt God at that moment.  After this, we went and had Mexican with four other members.  The night ended with him telling me to maybe read a little bit, up until the part of the big book that says "And we were at the third step", to go over the things of my day I might had done wrong or right, determine if they were something I needed to speak about or not.  He told me that I could tell him just about anything, because it was likely something he had done before and would tell me if any reconciliation was needed.  He told me to try to have some peace and calm for around 10 to 15 minutes in the morning (if my morning wasn't already crazy enough) and to pray at the end and beginning of each day.  I dunno, it is intimidating.  But as he said about a woman who talks a lot who we ate dinner with, each time we are uncomfortable and try to get outside of that feeling we are bettering ourselves.  Sticking around alone is not going to work out forever, and probably isn't going to make me very socially adaptive.  This guy is the most extroverted people I've met in my life.  I am kind of intimidated, the audi- buying 6 people dinner including desert.  He lives the rock and roll lifestyle minus the drinking and drugs.  Some of the things he would say, I would think, "Are you really 7 years sober or are you drunk right now just playing some sort of sick game?"  Well, I think I'm going to go to sleep now.  I have begun to value a regular bedtime, which I am past right now.  G'night world.

A lot of this happened (the directions he gave me) because I accepted his offer for him to be my sponsor.  He said, "Well go to another meeting tomorrow."  Some of this feels unnecessary, but that is what all the speakers say had to happen.  You don't understand why at first, because right now it feels great being sober.  I know there will be another time in my life where it will be easier to be the 'old' me who had serious abuse problems with drugs and alcohol.  I don't believe I have felt suicidal since I stopped drinking.  I can't say I can remember.  Anway, good night.  I'm sure my life is about to get even more hectic.  16 hours a day alone to 2.  Wow.

AA begins

Jul 17, 2014 - 0 comments

Today, I went to AA.  All you need to know about this post is that the last line is all that matters to me.  It is the beginning of my life.  A couple of other things happened.  I told Bunny I would try to go this Thurs.  She said she would remind me.  I decided then that I actually had to go, even though she was quite a ways away.

I had a suspicion I might get my check today in the mail.  Some major things happened today.

My mother came to visit me and take me out to dinner.  I left work at 5:00 and met her at China 10.  This is my favorite mom/pop place in Greenville and they just built a new one by me.  She tells me that my grandfather was finally happy to leave Lake Gaston and consider living in Charleston.  It has been a struggle trying to convince my grandparents to do so.  Most of it centers around them not liking my aunt.  It was such good news, but bittersweet.  I know it's best for them.  My grandfather can no longer stand up on his own all the time, and has a very hard time walking anywhere- even with his walker.  My grandmother, 90 years old, is trying to help lift him with her bad back.  So, needless to say, it is good they are not alone.  My grandfather has lost a great deal of his mental capacity.  Sometimes I wonder how much he understands/hears because he is nearly deaf.  Looks like a life of flying airplanes did not go easy on his eardrums.  I'll miss seeing them as often as I usually do.  It would have been nice to say goodbye.  It could have been the last time I see my grandparents.

At dinner, my mother tells me I had given her $750 when I got a bit too much loan money earlier this year.  I had completely forgot about it.  This makes almost 3,000 I can already pay back.  She then tells me that my late grandpa gave her money for each of us kids, and they invested it.  It is worth around $6,000.  I decide to keep it in investments, knowing that if I remove it and repay my loans, it may not be replaced very quickly.  She said that she had sent a card with a note about it.  When we arrived at my house, I check my mail and find the card and also my first paycheck from my budget job at the school.  The card, which I read later, congratulated me on being strong through all the drinking at my brother's wedding; saying that she knew it must have been hard.  It was in some ways, but more in feeling isolated after Bunny left, since I was kind of the only sober one there other than Brett.  And she is pregnant and very social at the same time.  So, not so held back.

I didn't know I'd be getting a check- I thought I had gotten my information to the payroll office in time for them to direct deposit it.  But, I am glad I got one.  It's nice to hold the first check of your career in your hands.  I fought really hard through some pretty rough times to get here.  I have a few tears in my eyes typing that.

My mother also tells me she has my diploma which was mailed to me a couple of weeks ago.  I hold it gingerly and set it on the table to be looked at later.

My AA meeting- I tell Bunny after that this was the most rewarding thing I experienced today.  None of this would mean anything if I wasn't sober.  I would squander the money away.  I might not have a degree.  I might not have a job.  I might be in such bad shape I'd have to spend the investments unwisely.

I met up at this church Walt, who helped me in staying sober, had told me about.  I almost made one meeting here before, but couldn't due to time.  Avoided it during school because of stress.  I went to one AA meeting about 2 or 3 months ago.  I really just know it was around my 6 month mark.

So, everyone was really nice at the meeting.  It felt a little more relaxed and on my level as compared to "The Hut" meeting.  People spoke of things that were beyond coincidences.  Miracles.  Things that do not happen.  Things that convinced them to find God, really for the first time.  Many described doing prayers as part of AA sponsor recommendations, and inevitably found religion after even years of doing so.  It feels nice to be around people who are this thankful.  One guy, an interesting speaker, spoke up about a story he had heard.  It was of a farmer to had all his cattle die, then all his sheep die, and then his farm all go under.  He layed down on the ground and called up to God, "Thank you".  For he was not thanking for what he lost, he was thanking for all that he had been given.

W, who I had heard started a group at my college rec center recently, ended the meeting with a surprise.  He said, "I know I had told a lot of you that I was leaving in December to move to Raleigh"- my heart sank- "but I am actually leaving tomorrow.  We need to elect a new RR, so anyone who is interested."  Moments before, they had announced he would give out chips tonight.  I was the only one who got one, at 9 months.  I felt so happy it was him who gave it to me.  He has given me so much more for giving me a chance to join this program.  To give me the one-on-one that may keep me sober for the rest of my life.  I hope it will.  I told him thanks, AA or not, and that it had saved me.  He said, "That's great to hear, now I feel like maybe I made a difference- even if in just one person's life".  How ironic it is that the second time I see him is the last (hopefully not) in AA.  He told me I should attend the campus meeting on Saturday.  

Moments before this, the man who told the story about being thankful for all that he had lost had approached me talking to some other guys.  He is very alpha-seeming.  Strong deep voice, a stare that makes you stare back.  It's like he never blinks.  It is easy to get into deep conversation with him.  He tells me that helps people out,; that he is 7 years sober.  He had described a story earlier about letting a "retard" guy sleep in his place, though he really didn't want him to.  He saw this homeless guy doing the morning AA prayer and realized that he himself was only telling his sponsor he was doing this.  Humility struck him; he began doing it; he became great friends with this guy who he eventually prepared a great care package for (when he left).  

He tells me that this would be a good place for me.  He tells me he can be my sponsor.  He says, "I go around to other towns' meetings with people sometimes.  It lets me see a different group- to hear a different story."  He asks if I can go tomorrow, that he will pick me up.  Normally, I don't jump into social things so fast, but I said I would like to go.  We walk outside after I say goodbye to Walt.  We stop talking after a few minutes and begin heading up the ramp towards my car.  He says, "Do you have a big book?"  I said "No".  He says, "I'm going to get you one, hold on"  Then he rushes inside and just as I enter the church basement after him, he is returning and says to the other people leading tonight's meeting, "I'll pay for this, I'm getting him a Big Book."  We stand outside and he tells me about the beginning of the book.  Tells me to read everything up until the first chapter, then to stop.  He emphasizes the two parts of alcoholism are the obsession and compulsion.  He says, "After the first 72 hours of stopping alcohol, it's out.  The physical addiction is gone.  Then it is your mind, the obsession, that you have to fight.  You have to become nothing, see what this is over here, and slowly make your way to over here." as he motions with his hands.  We climb up the ramp some more and he talks about how I have to fill the void, how I have to do something to keep myself off alcohol.  How it will present itself to me, the temptation to drink.  We conclude, having already given him my address and number to be contacted at 5 P.M tomorrow, Friday, in order to take our trip.  He goes inside as I walk into the parking lot.  When I near my car, I see him hustling up towards me.  He gets closer and I see his car key in his hand.  "In a hurry to get somewhere, huh?" I say.  He says, "No, I have to hurry up and pay for this book,"  A great gift has been given to me, not just a book, and I hope I never forsake it.

July 5th

Jul 05, 2014 - 0 comments

I don't know what to say really.  I got the job I had interviewed for.  Been there about a week and a half.  Just attended my brother's wedding at my grandparents house.  About 50 family members showed up, only a couple couldn't show up from both families.  Met a girl, the brides sister, who was going through sobriety too.  I heard that the bride wanted to hook us up, and it seems like everyone else thought it was happening too.  I just knew she was a month sober, and that's about it.  We never really got to talk more than five minutes or so during the two days they were here at the lake.  I just wrote a five letter word to describe it, but medhelp covered it (*******) like so.  I haven't really talked to someone as similar to myself as she was in a long time.  I didn't even think there was romantic potential as much as just someone to confide in. So, I went to their rental house with my brother and the bride last night.  Just their family and my brother were staying there.  With no ride back (we drove a boat), I slept there.  Woke up super early around 6:45.  Just wearing my wedding clothes wasn't exactly cutting it.  Called my father and he picked me up.  Then, I drove to my hotel room in town and got ready for the day.  I got back to find out from the bride's other sister that they had left.  It felt like something was missing.  We were around so many people when we were discussing sobriety and our past with drinking.  It's like we never got to make that connection, and that *****.  I'm bummed I crashed immediately after.  I trace my last 5 days back to Tuesday, where I would say I was hypomanic- making a mess in my apartment by making 50 homemade ginger ales, losing my wallet, forgetting to turn in a check to my work to set up my direct deposit.  I was wearing thin, but did not realize it because my mood was so high.  So, Tuesday-Friday is the classic four-day period for me to be excited and then crash.  They say the higher the high, the lower the low.  Couldn't be more true.  I was charismatic, social, what I felt was 'myself' last night.  I thought it was impossible for things to not fall into place.  Today, I wake up from a nap and discover all 40 of my family members hustling and buzzing around the house- happy, talkative.  I couldn't feel more opposite from them.  I have lost so many things throughout this vacation, including my happiness.  Now I lay alone in my hotel room, counting down the minutes until we are charged for an extra half-day.  Now I know that I will have to sleep somewhere else tonight, somewhere where I have no escape.  I can't stand the thought.  I think about all the things I need to 'fix' when I get home- how long it will take, how being depressed makes it so much more difficult.  I can't eat.  I can't talk.  I can't look anyone in the eye right now.   I just want to leave.  Unfortunately, I feel like it will make a lot of people upset and judge me.  My brother and everyone else has flown from hundreds of miles from across the country to be here.  On the other hand, I don't have anyone talking to me.  I realize the only thing people really started conversations with me about were related to trying my ginger ale.  Everyone has a place now but me.  The one person I knew also felt like an outsider was the bride's sister. ShI wish everyone knew what it was like- how hard it is to witness other's happiness as it accelerates the destruction of the last glimmer of your own.  Happiness is the second thing on my life priorities list.  It is difficult to want to flee when I know leaving doesn't make me happy; leaving makes it easier to deal with the depression.  I now fear what it will be like going into work on Monday.  I wish I could tell them already.  I fear so much that they will witness something and label me though.  I just had the epitome that I should go around them, and just do my own thing.  Nothing I do will make me happier per se.  But, I can do things that will please me later- perhaps even summon happiness when I am my better self.

My list of priorities is to try put spiritual health and happiness before all else.  When I realize I am depressed, I just imagine the juxtaposition of people telling me "feel better" and imagining the serotonin and other chemicals pumping through my brain like a cross section of a heartbeat through a vein.  I imagine trying to explain that chemicals control thoughts, not the other way around.  Perhaps there is some influence, but control is what others seem to think I have over my brain.  I don't.  I have no way to make things better.  Things might be less bad in ideal circumstances, but I do not know what those circumstances are other than being alone and avoiding what I percieve as direct judgement.  I have been missing my second daily buspar dosage once or twice during this vacation.  I have noticed even missing it once can push me through the normal self to depression.  I really thought I would find some way to become manic during this vacation.  I even had a horrible nightmare the night before it where I verbally attacked my sister in a sinister way that was unforgiving and regretable during the dream.  I also used again in it.  It is weird that I dream about smoking weed, yet am only tempted to use alcohol when I am awake.  I chalk that up to not feeling high for about a year of smoking once my Lamictal dosage finally muted its effects.  I wish for the inhibition when I was drinking.  I didn't have to  steer my mania during conversations at social events for the best outcome.  I would just blurt out when I wanted.  It would make me get more positive attention and I would feel better about myself.  I would feel like I was someone worth being around; I was someone people stared in awe at.

Also, my knee is better but I have almost stopped my exercises entirely.  It is still quite weak when I try to do them, yet my progress is way ahead of schedule according to my physical therapist.  It is now 2:30 and I have around 15 minutes to enjoy to myself before packing up my car with dirty clothes and various oddities.

The plan for today is to clean out as many of the beer bottles as I can from the recycling trash-can, to locate the $120 I have somewhere in here, to buy contact cement and repair tears in the front two speakers of my car, get my cousin to help figure out why my brake fluid is leaking- and hopefully fix it, work on this Jose Gonzales song I have been trying to learn, and locate some of the many things I have lost over the past few days.  Worst thing is, other family members taking things that they think are yours.  It's pretty hard to ask 40 people where your brown shirt is.  Apparently, I can't keep anything straight right now.

At least I do feel better somewhat.  I just decided I will find a capo today to help me with this song.  Somehow, I found a place in this rinky-dink town that is beside where my grandparent's lakehouse is.  Perhaps I will go on the boat or try to swim.  I do have a masseuse cousin who offered to help stretch out my leg.  I definitely need that.  I'll try to review this entry when I get there so I can keep my head up.

Was at a 2/10, now I am at a 3/10.  Went from crying in the car over here, to just teary eyes when I think about how I feel right now.  What improvement.

Job offer

Jun 17, 2014 - 0 comments

I got a call today from one of my interviewers saying that they submitted my name to HR as the candidate.  I hope that my lack of 2-week notices in the past doesn't hinder the process.  Crossing my fingers.  A little nervous about the tradeoff between stress and monetary compensation.

At the very least, I will be able to possibly get help through school.  I hope that they allow me to work at the same time as going to classes.  I am allowed two free classes a semester.  Fortunately, there are retirement benefits and some group insurance possibilities.  Number one is to get constant experience for one to two years, yet two years is the goal.  My professors have said your first job you should hold for a bit longer to show you have the determination and allegiance necessary to be a good employee.

I'll be interacting with a whole lot of new people and situations.  Those can often be very rough at the beginning for me.  I just need to make sure I have a good mentor (which I have feared I will be without) and practice my social skills I have developed.  I'd like to be done with this town in 5 years, no matter what.  At that point, I should be on my way with a high-salary job of at least 60k.  Then, I'll go wherever I want to be.

The MSA stuff still scares me a little bit.  It is supposed to be very challenging at my school.  I can work with the GPA requirements here better than other places though.  So, we will see what happens.