Archive for the ‘Addiction’ Category

h1

Unofficial: Summer is over

September 5, 2012

copyrighted... but borrowingMy mostly self-imposed summer blackout is over. I’m back; I’m better… maintenance dose of anti-depressants aside, I feel right with the world again. There will be opportunities to post again soon even as it has been busy times. Worked a 29 day stretch there where I was at work for a portion of all those days.

Out first few admissions were packing up today and leaving our care – 4 of them. Kinda sad but like mothers sending their kids off to the first day of school, excited to see them step out into their worlds again. We’ve don’t all we can; they have the tools and supports to continue their recovery as they see fit.

Lynda and I enjoyed her youngest brother Darryl’s wedding Saturday to his fiance Ria. Beauty weather, good crowd, music, & speeches… a little slow dancing. Couldn’t get g’son Owen off the dance floor. Good times.

Be back soon.

 

h1

29/07/2011

July 29, 2011

How’s that for a catchy title, huh?? A real eye-grabber.

What’s new…. hmmm…

Well, my grand-daughter Madison turned 3 the other day. If you didn’t catch this post on FaceBook here is the link to a photo session that her parents arranged: http://video214.com/play/O​5eCA4jJ7Y394cYFdiecSw/s/da​rk . Such a sweetie. I sent a message to my daughter-in-law Melissa saying I wish I could visit way more often so I could see the changes in Madison as she is growing. It is also less than a month before Melissa is due to deliver baby #2, ‘C’ section scheduled for Aug 25. They had some prego pics done as well, here: http://video214.com/play/DMyKs0m4wzgJVdj2360mUA/s/dark

Oh, glory-be!

Last week I marked off another successful year of ongoing sobriety through working the miracle which is the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I know I have thought this previously in this my twisted life’s journey but….. if I can stay sober through this past year I can survive anything. One day at a time and all that good stuff.

straight around

I’m glad I keep book review columns that I see in the newspaper otherwise I likely would have missed out on reading Rodney Crowell’s ‘Chinaberry Sidewalks’. I finished reading it last night and it was a terrific piece of memoir. He had me hooked from the first page and didn’t let up till it was all done. Highly recommended – 5 stars.

rush

Lynda and I enjoyed having g’son Owen with us for all of last week – he’s quite a character. We’ve also been getting out doing a few social things due to the fact that I have my weekends off (PTL). Tomorrow night we’re heading into Toronto for an evening with some of the folks I went through my Addiction Studies course with…. probably be a dozen or so of us. We haven’t done one of these get-togethers for a few years so it ought to be interesting.

 

lazing around at the flea market

Have a good weekend, folks. Time to get cleaned up for work tonight.

h1

State of Affairs

May 19, 2010

Shimmery When Wet

So…. thought I’d best check in here else folks’ll think I’ve gone AWOL or sumthin’. How am I? Well, somewhat better than I had been for quite awhile. Those last couple of months I was actively self-monitoring for signs of a return to clinical depression and some of the hallmarks were lurking about but seem to have been alieviated. Of course one of those signs is a lack of enjoyment or interest in things that you ordinarily DO enjoy partaking in… like blogging, for instance.

Truth be told I had considered (for a while there) deleting both blogs. One day last week I noticed someone had scanned some pages using ‘categories’ and when I began doing the same it illustrated to me that having written quite a lot here over the course of time I had made a significant investment here, touched on quite a variety of subjects, met a cool bunch of people and it’s all a source of joy for me.

Damn, just got interrupted with a call for work. Hmmmm…. Anyway, I had hoped to see cousin BJ tomorrow but that isn’t going to happen. See, our cousin G died and the graveside service is taking place in a town that is about equal distance for both of us. G is the first of our generation (well, who lived into adulthood) to depart this earth. G spent the last 30 or so years living in rooming houses, group homes, on the street, occasionally on psych wards,… you name it. G’s teenage experimentation with marijuana unleashed a latent schizophrenia that ruled the rest of his life. I didn’t know him at all well but feel for him and his parents just the same. God bless them all.

Lemme In - It's Wet Out Here

Tomorrow marks 6 years, 10 months sober for me. Monday will be 2,500 days. Just only sayin’ as it’s a fact and I’m not bragging mainly because drinking has crossed my mind on more than a few occasions during these last few months. Nothing like an educated alky to start rationalizing a return to drinking…. Sure, I can moderate, sure I can! Luckily I happened to be reviewing one of my pharmacology texts around that time and saw some stats in regard to what my chances were likely to be of being successful. A piddling 1 – 2% – I’m not that much of a gambler. So, I choose not to drink today.

Must go attend to some things – I’ll be back sooner than later. Ciao.

h1

Pithy, Pithier, Pithiest…..

January 20, 2010

…. or just plain pithed.

I’ve held out on posting to date in hopes the tides would turn and I’d have some positive news to share. Well, here it is January 20 and it is ‘same old, same old’. No news to share regarding the job search – same frustration. The financial stress has eased a little but the situation will quickly become problematic at any ‘sudden needs’ expense.

Mentally and emotionally I enjoy enough self-awareness to be acutely aware of where I’m at cognitively, mood-wise and attitude and perception-wise. At times it is downright scary where your mind can take you after a long period of unrelenting stress. Hypochondria?? Ever little ache, pain and twinge is the harbinger of some new life threatening illness. And looking in the mirror I can honestly say I’ve aged about five years in these last 10 weeks.

On the plus side – I have enough to eat; I have a warm home; I have a wife who loves and supports me; friends and associates who care about me.

Things of note: Yesterday I attended the follow-up meeting regarding funding for the mental health and addictions programming run through the local hospital and detox. Yahoo – their funding will stay intact through having creatively shuffled the finances. Had a quick word with the Director from there to let him know I’m still looking for work. (We keep running into one another at various functions so I’m on his radar.)

I regularly attend one hour seminars at the local Mental Health hospital that are put on for other area stakeholders re mental health and addiction. The topics are really varied and the presenters very good.

Last week was my girlfriend Audrey’s 90th birthday and I (we) was invited to a house party held in her honour on Saturday afternoon. When I get a picture or two I’ll post them here – she’s a sweetie.

Today marks 7 smoke free years for Lynda. I’m very happy for her and proud of her. Today is also exactly 6 1/2 years of sobriety for me – 2,376 days – one day at a time.

Sunday I chaired our monthly area A.A. executive meeting and it was the first time I felt I was on top of things and had done a good job of it. Progress, I tell ya…..

axaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxax

I wrote awhile ago about the season 2 premiere of ‘Spectacle’; must have been about 5 weeks ago now. A question?? What the hell were the programmers thinking by airing the premiere….. and then nothing week after week??? What was the point in that?? I’m all geared up and ready to go but they haven’t scheduled the follow up programs as yet. Makes absolutely no sense to me, at all.

azazazazazazazazazazazazazazazazazazazazazazazazazazazazazazaz

Such a contrast between last winter and this one. By this time last year I couldn’t shovel the snow from the driveway any higher; it was shoulder high. So far this season we haven’t accumulated any more than a couple of inches at a time and it has all eventually thawed, melted and disappeared. Last night we got a dusting but you can still see the grass. Incredible!! Loving it!!

Making tracks - Jan 6

 

goodbye crystals - hello lace curtain

h1

Dashing Off Notes

December 4, 2009

** We tied a 70 year old record for having a snowless November. Woo-Hoo! Colder weather is upon us and the white stuff could start any time now.

** Getting political – just sent a letter to several local and provincial politicians to protest planned cuts to funding for local mental health and addictions services. Per capita funding is way below average.

** My smoking quit is more a reduction for the time being – cut use by half. Not great but better. Yeah, yeah… I’ll get on it.

** I attended that meditation session back on Tuesday and enjoyed it; found it to be beneficial. I’m getting details on whose recording we were listening to and will share them later. Prior to – they had a labyrinth set up in an adjoining room and I walked it. It will be there once a month on the first Tuesday of the month. Similar design to ‘Chartres’ but a wee bit different. Walking palms down inward letting go; upward on the way back out receiving. A bit of self-care.

h1

The Basics

November 12, 2009
SSPX0436

ABC's of Life

This engraved stone was a table-top display at the funeral home where Terry’s viewing was held. I tracked down the text but wasn’t able to find who to attribute it to. Here ’tis:

Live With Intention

 Accept differences;  Be kind;  Count your blessings;

 Dream;  Express thanks;  Forgive;

 Give freely;  Harm no one;  Imagine more;

 Jettison anger;  Keep confidences;  Love truly;

 Master something;  Nurture hope;  Open your mind;

 Pack lightly;  Quell rumors;  Reciprocate;

 Seek wisdom; Touch hearts;  Understand;

 Value truth;  Win graciously;  Xeriscape;

 Yearn for peace; Zealously support a worthy cause.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

I’ve been hunkered down trying to apply myself to searching for a job…. any job that brings an income. Objectively I know I’m mentally hyper active but at the same time I’m battling a seeming inertia – lots of confusion, wasted and mis-directed energy, dithering and stewing.

Mainly I’ve tried to impose order in life – little things. Get up at a certain time; ‘x’ amount of time to eat, have coffee and be cleaned up and ready for the day by ‘y’ hour. Have a plan for the day; vary the activities, accomplish little things.

My CV has been re-written into a couple of new formats stressing different things. There are a couple of leads to track down and get more information on today; calls to make. Tonight I intend to attend an a town hall meeting put on by an elected provincial MPP on the topic of Mental Health and Addiction. There might be contacts to be made there and perhaps I can make some noise about the closure of the centre.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Thanks ‘out there’ for your acts of kindness and interest. Means a lot; really it does. I’ll be back soon.

h1

Guidelines

October 28, 2009

In the comment section of the previous post I made reference to the Serenity Prayer. Routinely, the first 4 lines from this ‘long version’ are recited to open A.A. meetings in this area (and many others). For anyone who isn’t familiar with it…. it helps keep me from sitting on the fence. By using this I’m better able to let go of things beyond my control and get on with the work on things I can influence the outcome of.

God grant me the SERENITY to
accept the things I cannot change;
COURAGE to change the things I can;
and WISDOM to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it:

Trusting that He will make all things
right if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen

This journey in recovery from alcoholism brought about  the process of redefining my identity and attaching once again to ethics, values and ‘humanness’. This prayer has played an important part in my attitudes to others; in being of service to others. The Prayer of St Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

 
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

 
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

What jumps out at you in this? What do you use for your personal guides? Care to share?

SSPX0420

autumn rushes

h1

Turning Turtle

August 22, 2009

This week has brought a definite inward shift…….. keeping myself to self moreso than usual. Not writing so much; commenting on others blogs less than I normally do.

Although here at the treatment centre we’re operating at capacity and the group of residents we have are a good quiet bunch the phones have been unusually busy through the night. Frankly, some of the calls I’ve fielded this week have been incredibly sad and upsetting. There have been a few calls left unanswered because I was in the middle of another one where the person was in crisis. A few times I had just hung up from one call and with no time to de-stress, pick up yet another one back-to-back.

It eventually puts me into self-preservation mode; battening down the hatches and shutting down the emotioal onslaught. Some of the things people disclose to me leave me shaking my head and wishing I had never been made party to it. One fellow called two nights in a row so drunk that I don’t know how he managed to dial the phone; so impaired I could barely make out what he was saying. There was no way I could do a proper intake with him as he couldn’t participate in a linear conversation. He says he knows he will die if he continues to drink but he’s completely unable to stop – he’s alone, he’s isolated, he can’t keep food down, he has night terrors and can’t sleep, he wakens from his stupors retching, he’s living in the disease and can’t stop. It’s like looking into the past, darkly.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxxoxooxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxxoxox

Thursday evening on the way to work I heard a tornado warning broadcast over the radio for our area. Half an hour later I was escorting our guys to a meeting on the bus and advised them that should the weather look threatening to get inside the building where the meeting was taking place. Sure enough, with 15 minutes to go before the beginning of the meeting the storm blew in – lashing rain, high winds, non-stop lightning. One of the guys called me to a window to see the genesis of a funnel; luckily it dissipated in the crosswinds. But it had dropped about 50 feet downward from the clouds before it was swept away. I went to the door and there were a couple of our guys outside watching the storm from under the shelter of a tree. ‘Hey!! What part of what I said didn’t you understand?? GET IN! NOW!!’ There was some moaning and bitching about not being able to see properly from inside but at least none of them got hurt. The power went out but the meeting went ahead by candlelight.

BTW, half a dozen tornadoes did touch down across the southern part of the province leaving a couple of people dead, some unaccounted for and hundreds of homes damaged. On my way home come morning there were a good many trees down, some areas still without power and lots of traffic signals either dead or flashing.

abababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababa

Less than two weeks until Mom’s real estate deal goes through and she’s kept herself busy sorting and packing. I dropped in on her a few days ago and she asked if I wanted to go through some pictures she was throwing out. Hell, yes!! I’ve sorted through 6 or 7 big packets of pictures and a few albums and scored a bunch of goodies. Old family gatherings; lots of shots of family friends I hadn’t thought of in ages. Seeing as how my memory appears to be impaired these pictures managed to joggle some things to the surface and fill in a few blank spots. There are huge gaps where I have very little recollection of, literally, years of my teens and early to middle twenties. Nice to have some photographic evidence that I wasn’t completely missing in action. (Shoulda listened to the warning at Woodstock – ‘Don’t do the brown tabs of acid!!’) * Note to BJ – I grabbed some you’ll be interested in. *

qtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqqtqtqtqtqtqqtqtqtqtqtqtqtqqtqtqtqt

stainage

stainage

eioeioeioeioeioeioeioeioeioeioeioeioeioeioeioeioeioeioeioeioeioeioeieoeioeioeioeioeieoieioeio

‘This Week……. Live at Ronnie Scott’s: JEFF BECK’ — Buy this DVD.

h1

Doppelgänger

July 26, 2009

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Doppelgänger: In the vernacular, “Doppelgänger” has come to refer  to any double or look-alike of a person.

Earlier tonight one of our clients calls me aside and says, ‘ I finally figured out who you remind me of; it’s Peter Fonda.’

‘Hmmm…???’, I’m thinking. Okay, is this a set-up?? Where is the zinger coming from?

Yeah?, I say.’ The more current one of ‘Ulee’s Gold? (1997) Or the old one from ‘Easy Rider’? (1969)

Peter Fonda - 1997

Peter Fonda - 1969

‘Oh – definitely Easy Rider’, he says.

‘Good answer’, sez I.

(Buddy should really get his eyes checked.)

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Mistaken Identity:

A few weeks ago I had just arrived at work wearing a dark crewneck shirt that had a cream-coloured band around the neck, a collarless black shirt over it and a grey jacket. From 15 feet away the mother of one of our guests looked my way and said to her son, ‘My, I didn’t know they had clergy on staff here, as well.’

in my father's house

in my father's house

I laughed nervously as I waited for the bolt of lightning to smite me straight to hell. From on high my father is laughing his butt off. ‘Say WHAT???’

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Self Image; Self Esteem; and the Face we present to the world

Recently someone (who shall remain nameless) commented on a shot I had posted here of myself and called me ‘handsome’. My reaction to the compliment was same as always – HUH!?!? – I never know what to do with them when they come my way. I suppose it’s because I don’t think much of my looks and like most folks I ‘get up, suit up, present the best face I can, and show up’. Like Popeye always said, ‘I y’am what I am and that’s all that’s I y’am.’ Gotta work with what God gives ya.

I think I could get a consensus to this proposition – 10% of the population would get classed as attractive, beautiful, handsome; at the other end, 10% would be lumped in as unattractive, ugly, hard on the eyes; the rest of us – the other 80% fall somewhere in the big middle ground.

A post I was reading last night included a section where the gal used to play a game with herself – ‘if I could change one thing about myself it would be…..’. Well, as I’m starting to show the signs of my advancing age that one thing would be my eyelids. I’m getting this hooded look to my eyes that I don’t like but in the big scheme of things…. so what?? I’m not going under the knife anytime soon, that’s for sure.

Far more importamt to me these days than the external is anyone’s internal composition – heart, mind and soul sorts of stuff. By the time I sought help for my problems with addiction I was a hurting unit bled practically dry of identity and self-esteem. This process of recovery I’ve engaged in for the last 6 years has been very much one of  re-building; putting things back together when you don’t have all the original pieces. At first it was all about substance, the absence of it and finding ways to a new state of ‘normalcy’. Then it got to be about re-attaching to roles – son, husband, father, friend, employee. Finally it came about to integrating values, ethics, qualities of character, moral beliefs and living a life that included spirituality. From that eventual internal foundation I’ve been able to move more to outside concerns where I’ve been allowed to be of use to others – family, friends, clients and strangers. It’s being open to ongoing change, adopting an attitude of willingness and engaging in action toward improvement. Progress not perfection….. hand steady on the tiller.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

When is the last time someone confused you for somebody else or told you that you strongly resemble someone??

Has anyone ever thought you actually were someone you aren’t??

How do you deal with compliments?? How do you feel when complimented??

Do you feel good about how you look?? Satisfied?? or, are there things about your appearance you would change, given the chance?

How do you feel about your internal condition?? Mental, emotional, spiritual??

If other people could see / hear the nature of how you think would they be terribly surprised??

Have some fun and comment.

h1

Perception Check / Alteration

June 26, 2009

Oooo, there’s been trouble brewing in them thar hills this week. I don’t normally have tough weeks or particularly tough days for that matter. To have a string of them in a row is really unusual. Each day this week has seen some sort of problem right off the get-go to start my day. It has been a struggle to get my mind and mood altered sufficiently to be civil once I get to work in order that I treat our clients accordingly. ‘Cuz it wouldn’t be fair to take my frustrations out on them, would it?? No. Thank God for that 20 minute drive to work, I tell ya.

Most of it stems from problems getting a service guy out to check the air conditioner; then when he did arrive for the check up the fan motor was seized. This, of course, occurred during our first real hot weather of the season – the house is like an oven. Anyway, it has created some tension between Lynda and I – plus there have been other situations happening in concert with that which haven’t helped. The weather is supposed to cool off somewhat by Saturday which is when the replacement motor is to be installed. Natch. So that has been my week so far – less than ideal…. but read on. This isn’t just a bitch session.

On arriving at our community meeting tonight, on the bus with our clients, I ran into my female friend C___. We give one another a hug and a check in, ‘How you doin’?’ We both acknowledge that we’re having a few tough days, laugh it off initially but it’s really apparent that C___ is deeply troubled, dwelling on something. There’s an interruption, my cell rings with a call from a former client, a quick dialogue and then the meeting starts. Following, C___ and I cross paths again and she asks if we can talk – ‘Sure, what’s up?’ “During the meeting I realized I’m angry; really freaking ANGRY and it’s AT my therapist!” We didn’t get into the issue that is causing her to be angry but did have a talk about who her anger is harming, what the anger might be a symptom of, how to deal with the subsequent emotional fall-out and whether it might be an adverse reaction / delaying mechanism to where her therapy is leading her. She had cancelled her last scheduled appointment with him because of how she was feeling about him. (Besides being an alcoholic and an addict C___ struggles with having been sexually abused as a youngster by someone in a position of trust.) I came away feeling my problems were small potatoes. I can deal with my stuff.

The meeting itself was a special one celebrating one of the members, Murray, who had achieved the 30 year mark in his sobriety. Everything throughout the night went off without a hitch except for one notable absence – Vince, the fellow who was supposed to present him with his medallion pulled a no-show. Seemed sort of odd but he is, after all, pretty old and known to have problems with memory. Could simply have been feeling off as it has been awfully hot and humid. After arriving back at the residence I received a call to inform me that Vince had been found dead in his home today by a family member; likely as the result of a heart attack. Stunning….. and suddenly I felt as though I have no problems large or small. I’m living, breathing, am cared for and about, I had enough to eat today and have a roof over my head… I’m okay.

A couple of special notes about the meeting. Murray asked his 26 y.o. grand-daughter to be the speaker and she did a terrific job speaking about her 3+ years in recovery. Difficult circumstance with so much family in attendance; wonderful execution. I also spent some time talking with my 88 (89?) y.o. girlfriend Audrey – in a couple of days she leaves for western Canada for 2 weeks holiday at her son’s. While she’s away she will mark 52 years sober. God love her.