Sunday, May 5, 2013

How's That Working Out For You?

"Nothing's gonna put me out
It's backing down and under
I'm down on the upside now
It's turning back around
Turning back around."
-- Soundgarden "Dusty"

I don't know how to really write this out, so I am just going to type away. Bare with me.

I've been without a drink since last August, although my official sobriety date is September 12th, the day I turned myself in. While I have spent most of my clean time in custody and I now have a babysitter in the form of a semi-portable breathalizer, I am doing something I've never done before. I'm following my new principles and lifestyle change, and I'm sticking to my commitments. I'm working my ass off.

I'm not trying to pat myself on the back...I want to encourage anyone who reads this and wants to know how I'm doing it.

After half-assing 12-step programs on and off for years, it finally sank in that if I wouldn't do the work that my sponsor and other recovering addicts said I should, then I had better figure out some other way to change...or die. You see, I couldn't convince myself I was powerless. I just wanted to get fucked up and I didn't care. It was my choice every time. Also, I tried to over-intellectualize the addiction disease concept..."I think it's more of a disorder than a disease..." Yeah...I think it doesn't fucking matter how much or little power I have over my disease/disorder/ego. I think I need to change some shit. Now.

You hear in AA/NA rooms that you need to change people, places and things. I did that...but it was the same old me. I had to change my thinking. Completely.

That's...not easy to do. I started by trying to be positive all the time...which is hard in a Travis County treatment center. Faking positivity...I annoyed the hell out of myself.

Then I read "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz, and it gave me a simplified plan:

1. Be Impeccable with your Word.
2. Don't Take Anything Personally.
3. Don't Make Assumptions.
4. Always Do Your Best.

You can read expanded explanations of each online or in the book. These are not easy to do...but they are easy to remember. I reminded myself of these every morning and whenever I thought of them during the day. They led me to revisit Buddhist principles as well.

I need to remember these daily...keep my ego in check. I'm in a routine now, and it is easy to start slacking on the things I need to do to keep me on the path. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but that is how I know what I need to do. If there is something I don't want to do, that means I need to do it. "I don't want to go to a meeting. I guess I'm going to a meeting. Shit."

My biggest battle is not with desire to drink or do's with my ego.  Wayne Dyer wrote Seven Steps for Overcoming Ego's Hold on You, which I also try to work on daily. Some of them I like to be right and to win. And I loooove feeling superior.

Here's a shot to my ego: I am currently successful with my sobriety due to all of my past failures. Yes, I do not recommend:
-- Going to treatment because you have lost everything, burned all bridges and you had nowhere else to go
-- Getting into a codependent relationship early in recovery even though you were advised against it
-- Eliminating the very last of your denial by being arrested even though you no longer drive, just drink
-- Being sent away for half a year so you have ample time to work on yourself

I really should right a "How-Not-To" book.

How am I doing it? It took me getting to a point where I felt I had no other choice. 

I hope that makes sense.