Begin Again (Again)

Another year, another month in rehab; seems like this cycle never fails to repeat itself. Stress, depression, poor coping skills and ultimately, drinking. Drinking is not the origin of the problem, but the one that usually brings the issue to life in glorious Technicolor and Surround Sound. Learning who I am and why I do the things I do will more than likely be a lifetime project, but I am getting closer to my truths each time. How many times does one have to travel down a road before they recognize it leads to a destination that is not the one they want? How many times do I try again, only to fail? How many times can people be there for me, encourage me and help me when I just fall back to pieces again? Compassionate people have their limits and everyone has something they are battling, be it depression, simple unhappiness, a toxic relationship, addiction, avoidance and a painful past. The painful past doesn’t stay in the past; like a child coloring for the first time, it goes outside the lines of the past and bleeds into the present time, often without our knowing.

One of the things we learn in therapy is why we react the way we do to certain people, places and things (emotions can be included with things) and I am learning that my painful past is fully present in my present day. The strings that lead back to the original pain are like telephone wires, communicating and echoing the pain of the incident long ago. If I do nothing to cut those ties, heal those wounds and exorcise those demons, I will be destined to repeat this process over and over again, until I can fight no more or until I am dead and gone. This is not a post about blaming others for my past, but more to understand how the past is still manipulating my thoughts and with them, my emotional well-being. I have created a great deal of my painful past, simply by being a human being and trying to make myself happy, without having the understanding of how to create real happiness. Alcohol made me happy until it made me dangerous to myself and others; men made me happy until I realized the emotion I was feeling wasn’t happiness, but some ugly deformed cousin of happiness in which their happiness (supposedly) made me happy. The old saying “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” may be true, but it’s better to not pretend love when it’s lust you’re feeling. Not to confuse the two, which I have done for most of my life. If you’ve never felt true, unconditional and pure love from someone, how would you recognize it? The thrill of the love affair brings about emotions that could be mistaken for happiness, but I’m fairly certain that the formula for happiness does not include compromising ones morals or living in secret, experiencing alternating moments of bliss and shame. My life is what I have made it and will continue to be a mix of good and bad, but mostly what lies between the two. I am responsible for my happiness and my well-being. I am not responsible for everyone else on the planet, I cannot save anyone except possibly myself. Others may care, but their lives demand their time and attention, as it should be. The choices I have made in the past have led me to the place I am today as the choices I make today will lead me to tomorrow’s destination.

My painful past is not without its benefits, as pain is a sure sign of growth. I have learned how precious life is and how easily one (me) can believe that I am not worthy of such a precious gift and try to return it. I’m pretty sure God (or Buddha, or my Higher Power) doesn’t want me to take that gift and s**t all over it and return it to Him with a single finger salute. I’m pretty sure the idea is to live the life, to the best of my ability with whatever gifts and challenges that come with it; learn and grow, love and give, have and hold forever and ever. Understanding that to error is human and to forgive, divine is the formula and there is no pass or fail, there is only learning and growing. To love oneself seems simple enough, but for some of us, it is the most difficult challenge we face, every single day. So, I will begin again (again) and keep trying, keep learning and hopefully, ultimately, I will love myself as those of you who love me do. This is my wish and my most passionate prayer. For a life without love is no life at all.

BrotherWord-Love-Thyself

Happy Anniversary 2 Me

Holy Moly. I can’t believe 2 years ago I sat down and wrote my first post. So much has changed in these last couple of years but some things (thankfully) have remained; my sobriety, my circle of friends and family who (still) love me and (still) believe in me and my journey. I am thankful and still somewhat surprised to be so incredibly blessed. I’ve learned a great deal about myself, have spent a great deal of time outside my comfort level and have had the opportunity to continually redefine my “New Normal”. Dealing with difficult Life Events, such as death, divorce, sickness and ongoing stress are things that we all encounter and we all have our own unique ways of not only dealing with such issues, but in how we respond to them. Some encounter death and look upon it as just another destination; others believe it is the end of the line, a final destination, if you will. No life after death, no reincarnation, no Heaven (or Hell) just death. They respond in kind, either rejoicing and celebrating their loved one’s “graduation” as my dear friend GG used to say; others mourn and fall into a deep depression, feeling the loss as acutely as they would a severed limb. Some will make this their reason or excuse to overindulge, to fall off the wagon, to stop any and all efforts at creating happiness in their lives. Whatever the way we deal with Life Events, they will be a part of our lives no matter who we are, where we live or what we believe. Faith or lack thereof will either hinder or help one’s quest, for as we well know, positive thoughts bring positive feelings and likewise negativity breeds bad feelings. I have learned it is one thing to have the knowledge, but quite another to put said knowledge into practice. I started this blog with the idea that I could just have a forum to pour out all these thoughts that are constantly on my mind, dashing around in my mind, just like race cars at the Grand Prix, each one hot on the tails of the other, racing to be heard and brought out of the shadows into my conscious mind. What I never expected was that anyone (other than maybe my family and close friends) would read it, much less benefit from reading it. I am constantly and pleasantly surprised with the feedback I’ve gotten and am determined to keep blogging, so long as someone wants to hear what I have to say.
Happy 2nd Anniversary, sunnywithachanceofmanic. Here’s to another year and another after that, etc.

happy

When the Teacher Needs to be Taught

I am currently sitting in my morning class, with my teacher who reminds me of a squirrel on a steady diet of meth. She’ll start a sentence, not get even three words out, then takes a sharp left and leave the road of Understanding and Coherence. Trying to follow her is like being drunk, blindfolded and thrown into a carnival ride; everything’s spinning, I have no clue where this will lead and there is an overall feeling of anxiety and impending doom. The subject matter should be interesting, as we are studying Women in History, which is all about strong females, working and fighting for their freedom and protecting their way of life, as well as the lives of their children. Sounds good, right? Sounds like something that would have incredible stories of heroines and acts of bravery as well as out-witting the enemy. All of those things are included in the book (one of seven!) that we are reading about. So, basically, the lecture is just a regurgitation of the facts of the book, laden with her personal opinions and biases. Woe to the student who begs to differ, express another possible motivation (different) or even worse still – question the authority of the Professor. We spent a good 15 – 20 minutes this morning while my Passive-Aggressive Professor spoke in general terms about “a incident that occurred in class last Wednesday” and just went off about how she will not stand to be disrespected (apparently she’s the only one that is allowed to distribute disrespect generously to her long-suffering students) and that we are welcome to speak with the Dean; however, nothing would come of it. Good to know that our complaints will not only fall on deaf ears, but that she’s so certain of it, she puffs up with pride as she tells us that, much like peacock adoring their reflection in a mirror. I have to believe that my suffering will be rewarded, that these lost hours/days/weeks will amount to something greater. If nothing else, my tolerance for double standards and unreasonable expectations will increase. Needless to say, this will be a class I will celebrate my ass off, once it has ended. Nothing like a teacher asking a question and then completely shutting that person down, if their answer doesn’t line up with hers.

It reminds me of what my dad used to remind me of often – There are two things you can learn from your parents (or teachers, in this case) what to do and what not to do.

Someone really should teach this professor how to be a decent human being first, then a decent teacher secondly. I would gladly pay to see her schooled as she attempts to “school” us – condescending remarks, making differences of opinion personal matters and running to the Dean if someone has the nerve to call her on her inadequacies.

I hope your Saturday is going well and your heart goes out to me, poor little long-suffering student of an ill-prepared teacher. (sarcasm intended)

Time for prayer –

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can

and the wisdom to know the difference.