Ceased Fighting Anything…

“OK” is just a better answer to any question or request.

No one is really looking for solutions, creative thinking or honesty – they just want answers and results.

Less to worry about or care about or try to control or manipulate. Just do the next right thing in front of you and don’t get distracted by thinking or stewing.

Easy in theory, harder to practice not pushing back, not saying no or “why”. They don’t really want any of that, no confrontation or queries… no rocking boats.

Why show up at all? that’s what I was taught… suit up, show up, do the deal. Doesn’t matter if anyone else is doing it, you just have to show up and work.

But I’m tired.

My Sponsor Wont Shake My Hand

When i first started going to meetings the very first direction I was given by my sponsor was “Shake everyone’s hand before and after the meeting” I wanted to stop going right then, I didn’t want anything to do with these people – I just wanted to learn how to drink like normal people. (surprise, surprise… they don’t teach that – boy was I disappointed) I had made a conscious decision NOT to go to NA because there was too much hugging (I was like 3 days sober when I went once)

I was willing to do that… willing to do anything to stop drinking and have a better life… so I started shaking hands at every meeting I went to. Soon that habit crossed over into the rest of my life and I shake hands all the time with all sorts of folks… it’s a great way for me to get out of myself and think about other people for a minute or two.

When I moved to the Phoenix area I continued my handshaking routines but soon found all sorts of people that just rush in and start hugging you… (I guess it was somewhat true of DC and WI too – but here there seems to be more of it).  Some of these folks I hardly know at all.. I almost don’t feel like the meeting was a success if I can’t shake hands with everyone – I’ve had to settle for fist bumps with a few folks too – see I’m open minded. I will hug folks if they shake my hand also… seems only fair.

My current sponsor won’t shake my hand… I reach out my hand and he smiles his big loving smile and hugs me. If I manage to get him to shake my hand and he realizes it’s me (I try to shake his hand when he’s distracted) he’ll pull me in for a hug and tell me he loves me. He’s a great guy and I love him. So the other week I said “I’m going to write a blog post titled “My Sponsor Wont Shake My Hand” and he kind of frowned at me in that loving way he does… but he stuck out his hand and shook my hand, I think he still managed to get a hug anyway.

Then I managed to fall off my bicycle and sprain my right hand and had to cut back on the hand shaking. I had it wrapped up in an ace bandage and people don’t pay attention and just squeeze as tight as normal. So I kind of had to quit shaking hands, it’s been difficult…. trying… As a result I’ve had to be open minded and let some people hug me that I otherwise wouldn’t have.. life is hard.

Tonight at the meeting someone else greeted people as I was handing out tickets (we do a raffle for people to share). This greeter hugged everyone it was awful… he’d track em down across the room and just hug em up and love em… I hope he didn’t set a precedent.

yes, this was a post about anti-hugging – it needs to be stopped

Slow Motion Perception

Yesterday while riding my bike I took a fall. I was on mile 8 of the journey and it just happened. What was really cool about it was the slowing down of time and the intense focus on the different aspects of the fall.

I first noticed the tire really close to the edge of the sidewalk and thought I should correct that… then I over corrected and started to fall.

My eyes did a close up focus on the tire, I saw the wheel start to slow down and I was amazed at how slow it was going. I then looked to my left and saw the ground was just hanging there out of my reach but I was getting closer to it so slowly.

This reminds me of Douglas Adams suggestion on how to fly – He says there’s a trick to it: throw yourself at the ground and miss. He suggests you do this by getting distracted at the last moment by a bowl of petunias, a long lost satchel or a pink towel…and boom you might be flying…. this sadly did not happen to me, I just hit the ground.

But the entire process happened to my senses in slow motion. Even the scraping of my arm along the sidewalk, though painful, seemed to take an eternity.

So I began to wonder why that happened, and thought back to a car accident I had been in in 89 or 90 and how that too seemed to happen in slow motion (I wasn’t the driver and walked away mostly unscathed). I found this little article on Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slow_motion_perception and while not a scientific journal I thought it was quite interesting, mostly because if something happens to me and it’s happened to others then I can relate and it’s suddenly relevant… it would have been much more interesting to be flying or discover I had superpowers, but this article will have to do.

Slow motion perception is a subjective perception of time in which things are perceived as passing by slower than the normal perception of time. To a bystander watching a life-threatening situation such as an accident, time is moving at a normal speed. However, to the individual in the accident, time seems to have slowed down. As a result, the individual in the accident may be able to think faster and act faster during these events. However, even though individuals commonly report that time seems to have moved in slow motion during these events, it is unknown whether this is a function of increased time resolution during the event, or, instead, an illusion of remembering an emotionally salient event. Research conducted by David Eagleman has suggested that time does not actually run in slow motion for a person during a life-threatening event, but, rather, it is only a retrospective assessment that brings that person to such a conclusion. To bring this into the realm of scientific study, he measured time perception during free-fall by strapping palm-top computers to subjects’ wrists and having them perform psychophysical experiments as they fall. By measuring their speed of information intake, they concluded that participants do not obtain increased temporal resolution during the fall, but, instead, because their memories are more densely packed during a frightening situation, the event seems to have taken longer only in retrospect

what would be pretty cool is if while in that state of consciousness you realized it and like Tobey Maguire’s enhanced Spider-Man senses in the first set of those movies… we could catch all the items from that tray before they hit the ground… But instead I probably just looked like a flailing idiot at the time.

I think having Saturday Night Live do a skit series where one of their actors plays Neil Degrasse Tyson and uses physics to explain this kind of thing and then end it with “and you basically are just flailing around like the evolutionized chimpanzee you are.” or something… then he could show up and discuss other things that annoy people – like when i’m going leaving an intersection and still catch up to traffic that was doing 45 mph when they passed me “Why does this happen Neil?” we’d ask and he’d go into some long boring explanation of speed and relativity and we’d be all amazed. While he’s talking the camera would catch up to the car in question and we’d see some idiot texting or something instead of paying attention and the Neil could say… “but in this case we just had an idiot”.

I got back on my bike today and rode it to the shop for it’s scheduled tuning… my legs are sore and I can’t grip the handle bar with my right hand (or turn my house key, or a few other important things) but I got the bike there and walked home. I plan to ride it again and I’ll probably take another fall or two before I die some day… but next time I hope someone or something distracts me and I can just fly awayIMG_0403

Fire Hot

So I’m cooking things… well, I’ve always cooked things – soup from a can, tv dinners, pot pies, grilled cheese, pizza… that’s cooking right? There was also rarely a need to cook anything – my Mother cooked, my Ma cooked, my ex-roommate loved to cook – but I’m not the best person to cook for (picky eater) so they didn’t get to cook with the flare they all had really… But now I”m trying to cook other things.

My fire alarm in the apartment is extra sensitive and seems to go off on anything – I have the fan on the stove, the bathroom, two fans blowing out the window and both windows open and still that thing is going off… I swear its not really smokey… well maybe a little but come on… I’m learning here.

In the morning instead of some really great tasting cereal I’m making 2 eggs, sometimes i put em in a tortilla. I have difficulty with the yolks, I like it to be runny but not raw and I have issues flipping the eggs just right and sometimes I’ve not had them cooked where I like em… and if I break the yoke then I just try to scramble em… eggs are hard and I’m not a fan of hard eggs.

I’ve been cooking steaks for myself too. Between YouTube, Wikipedia and my old roommate Gary it’s been going ok. The first few steaks didn’t turn out quite right and I stuck em in the microwave cause they weren’t done… then they were too done… but I’ve gotten better, they’re very flavorful and not well done (which is how I used to like them 18 years ago or so… ). I’ve had frozen veggies with the steaks, mostly I love Green Giant Buttered Corn… omg so good (don’t look at the calories on the box or the sugar count, just eat it) but sometimes green beans, peas, and mixed veggies (no fuckin’ lima beans in my mixed veggies… those things are nasty).

Tonight I was cooking and it was a rather thick steak – I think that’s part of the problem, thinner steaks might be better to start with to get em how I like – and it wasn’t done quite right. I’m reluctant to do the microwave thing again after the last time. The pan I fry em in is safe in the oven up to 400 degrees so I thought that would be a good move. I placed the pan with the steak still in there in the oven after preheating it… great idea. But my mind saw that handle and decided to grab it… thus the title of this blog “Fire Hot” … ouch, burned my hand a little bit. On the bright side my reflexes are great… dropped that thing like a hot potato … which then splattered grease on my legs, my kitchen and my arm…. yeah… great cooking night tonight.

I think next I’m going to branch out to chicken… my ex-roommate used to make chicken breast all the time and I loved those.  I’m not a fan of sauces, so i’m not likely to branch out there or do anything that has nasty stuff in it (Nasty stuff includes but is not limited to: mushrooms, mayo, asparagus, dressings, soy sauce, cheeses that smell like feet, Chipotle… oh sorry, I was listing nasty things and that just came out).

Maybe I should take a cooking class, just for some basics… I don’t want to try out for Top Chef (love that show, couldn’t eat any of that stuff) but I’d like to have a better understanding of what I’m doing. A class isn’t likely to keep me from grabbing hot handles and at 44 if I’m still doing that it’s too late for me.

Anyway – Note to self: Fire hot

Swings and Belts

I took a rare day off from work to travel with my AA sponsor to Palm Springs – he had agreed to listen to a sales pitch for a timeshare in exchange for a nice weekend at a golf resort. I went to keep him company and had intended to sit by the pool reading books and spreadsheets related to a new treasurer gig I have.

We left Friday morning  – I spent most of the time in the car talking about different aspects of the treasurer gig (he held the position a few years prior) and I wanted to be sure I was on the right track in my questions and thinking. He steered me here and there and made some great suggestions.

We arrived in Palm Springs early afternoon and after a quick lunch checked into the hotel. The place was pretty nice – two bedroom suite with a kitchen, washer/dryer, pots and pans and everything. We looked for an evening meeting and drove around for forever looking for a place to eat (he gets a little irritated when he gets hungry). We hit a meeting and then headed back to the resort for an early bed time.

Saturday early we went for a walk around the golf course – until staff told us that was against the rules… so we headed off to get grips for his golf clubs and let him practice on the driving range. He opted to teach me about golfing and soon I was swinging at the ball on the tee – a few times I even managed to hit it towards what I was aiming at. He was very encouraging and helpful. After that we practiced chipping and something else I can’t remember the name of… kind of reminded me of miniature golf and I could do that a bit better. While I was hesitant at first and thought it’d be pretty boring I found I enjoyed myself. I expressed to my friend Jim that I wasn’t very good – he said “No one is, just go out there have fun and enjoy yourself” smart man that JIm. Saturday afternoon I rode on the cart with Flo as he golfed – it got dark quickly so he only played 14 holes – that was also educational and taught me some more about the rules of golf. Then we had dinner at a casino and gambled the free cash they gave us away.

Sunday morning we went for a walk and did some driving around – then picked up his “wife” for the sales pitch he had to listen to. Flo had neglected to pack his belt so I lent him mine – I didn’t want him to come across as a gangsta with his pants continuously falling down. They went to their little sales presentation at noon and I headed off to see my friend Jean-Pierre who lives in Palm Springs – we had a nice lunch and got to chat about all kinds of things. He looks really good and seemed happy. I headed back to the hotel to pick up the crew – we then went to the movies and had dinner before Flo and I headed back to Phoenix.

I drove half way back to Phoenix, we talked a bit and sang some old songs listening to the XM radio. I arrived home around midnight and tried to fall asleep.

It wasn’t until I was getting dressed on Monday I suddenly didn’t have my belt and remembered I had lent it away… I was being of service, really I was. And I have another.. but I’ve been giving him a hard time about it of course.

I’m glad I took a day off. The drive to Palm Springs wasn’t difficult or extremely long so I’ll likely head back often with or without other friends.

I’m appreciative that I got to spend that time with my sponsor too – keeps me on track. There was a point during the movie (Taken 3 – I don’t recommend it) where a character said “he’s not happy unless he does everything himself” and my sponsor sat up and looked directly at me… ugh, sponsors! :-)

2014 Better Than I Imagined

So much happened this year I’m having difficulty believing it all fit in 365 days.

AA:

I started work with a new sponsor, Flo. Did another 4th and 5th Step. Sought his advice and direction in many things I’ve never asked a sponsor before, and its really changed who I am. Tonight at my meeting it was on Step 12 (Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principles in all our affairs) and just reflecting on the step work this year and my willingness I think I finally feel some of that “joy” we talk about – I still think it’s a bit overrated, but maybe I’ll get used to it.

I sponsored 4 guys this year – one of them moved back to WI (Matthew); one of them got drunk again (Zack) and then sobered up again; one of them has been sober longer than I (Mark); and one of them just kind of disappeared (Jordan).  Each of them helped me tremendously this year and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to share with them (even if sometimes they don’t listen). The very first sponsee I ever had (David) passed away and I was with my current sponsor when I received the news. Continue reading

The Root of the Problem

So back in November I had work done to prepare for two crowns – this was about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. I was in pretty serious pain – like 2 Advil and Tylenol like every four to six hours and even waking up in the middle of the night in pain and having to take more and go to bed. I was getting grumpier and grumpier – it wasn’t my best experience at the dentist (is there such a thing?).

I called after four days of this and they assured me since the teeth were next to one another it would likely be more painful for longer than normal… so I kept on keeping on.  But the holiday was approaching and even more importantly, my birthday, so I wanted to be able to end this nastiness. I called and got snippy with the dentist when they said there was nothing they could do – then they called shortly after to let me know my crowns had arrived and it might alleviate the issues if they were placed.

The dentist called me into his office and I was ready, damn ready for the pain to stop. I was in the chair, the dentist came in. Didn’t even look at my mouth but said “oh yeah, you likely need a root canal”. I took off work for him to tell me that WTF! I was pretty upset, maybe I was upset about the root canal thing too and it was helping to feed the fire cause after he told me “root canal” I started to hyperventilate, sweat and considered suicide (I kid you not, that’s what happens in my fucked up little mind). With the help of his staff I secured an appointment the 2nd of Dec… so after Thanksgiving :-(. I did manage to eat at Thanksgiving and enjoy myself but had lots of ibuprofen with me to help get through.

That night at my meeting I talked to my sponsor, I was really fearful about the root canal and made that clear. I also shared that I was mad at the dentist – he asked “cause you don’t know if you can trust him now?” and honestly that didn’t occur to me until that moment – I was all mad cause he wasted my time. It never occurred to me that he might have gone too deep or something and caused the damage, not sure if that’s how it works or not…

Root canal day came and I had the day off – I was pretty nervous and not sure if I would have the root canal done that day or not… was it just a consult or the real deal… also was it two root canals or just one… I tried not to think about anything about it for fear of panic attacks again. It was also a new place, a different dentist and that’s not at all comforting.

The new place was just down the road a bit, nice enough with cramped waiting room and many people. Is that good or bad? I can’t decide. I waited quite a while before a handsome step or two above a dentist showed put to take a look. They took more X-rays and said “Yep, looks bad, but we want to run a test first” He took this little stick thing and touched it to each of my teeth and told me to raise my hand when I felt it – first tooth raised my hand after a second, second tooth almost immediately and the third tooth didn’t feel at all… “Yep, that ones dead” he said. He then said he was going on the assumption the second tooth was just inflamed due to the other and he was only going to do one root canal.

They then put me in a different room and gave me some drugs. Told me to raise my hand if I felt anything, then they had me hold something to the roof of my mouth and that’s all I remember… until suddenly pain and I remembered to raise my hand. I had a dull ache. That was it… I guess they knocked me out and I probably signed something telling them they could but I don’t recall that :-) I went home with some pain meds and was uncomfortable most of the day.

So that was December 2nd and I had a few days of pain that was medicated mostly with ibuprofen, but the pain that woke me up at night and made me more irritable was not there. I had sensitivity to cold and hot and when I’d brush my teeth, but hey that’s avoidable. My regular dentist was called to put on my permanent crowns and the earliest I could get in was today – December 30th.

They shot me full of Novocaine and did some removing of temporary fillings from the root canal… I was still pretty sensitive even with the shots. But soon it was over and now I have two teeth in my mouth that feel really weird and they likely will for a while more.

me at the dentist
me at the dentist

I’m glad this part is over and the new year is upon us…. but I know already from the X-rays I’ll need at least one more crown in the coming year and with that comes the fear… sigh… oh well, I’ll worry (or try not to worry) about that then.

Christmas 2014

I wasn’t sure how travel would be on Christmas day, many years ago I traveled on Christmas eve and the lines and crowds were overwhelming. But Christmas day was nice – no lines, no crowds and quick check in – I think even my flight had open seats available. I started a book a friend gave me Tattoos on the Heart  – kept me occupied the whole flight.

I rented a car and drove to Galesville from Minneapolis airport – the GPS suggested going a route differently than I normally would and that seemed to be pretty quick, before I knew it I was at my Ma’s. As I was driving down there was no snow on the ground, but the further south I got closer to my Ma’s the more snow piles that were still visible… was backwards.

Was great to see my Ma, Kenny (and Sheila), Rhonda (and Greg) and we had a good day, dinner and watched  12 Years a Slave – good movie. I did some computer stuff down there fixed the wifi password, found a crossword puzzle app Ma wanted.

The day after Christmas was when we celebrated – the nephews and grand nephews were there, was a really good time. Sheila cooked more than anyone could possibly eat. I got noisemaking toys for the boys (that’s what uncles do) and a good time was had by all. It snowed that night – a little over an inch so that pleased people (not me).

Saturday we had breakfast at Garden of Eatin and then I headed off to Black River Falls to spend time with Dawn, Ryan and Amy. Amy’s new place is very pretty and easy enough to find. Was great to see all three of them and spend time. Got to catch up and see what everyone is doing and had a nice meal prepared by Amy (Dawn made the dessert).

Then I drove off to the airport – was dark on my way up and many stupid people were on the road – people driving under 55 on the interstate – wtf people. I arrived at my hotel around 7:00 after dropping off the rental car – there are two places to drop off the rental car and I picked the wrong one and had to go to the second location.

Spent the night at a Fairfield Inn near the airport, was in bed by 9 and woke up at 4 to catch my flight. Travel on Sunday was similar to traveling on Christmas Eve – long lines, stupid people and screaming children.

Glad to be home, glad I got to see the family – now if only they’d all retire and move to warmer places.

The Gift of Bill

I attended my home group tonight – like most Wednesday nights. Tonight we were on Step 11 and had a great lead and some great follow-up call ups to make for a great meeting. I was fortunate enough to sit by my sponsor during the meeting – we had both attended a retreat committee meeting before the meeting and just kept those seats. During the meeting he reached into his pocket and handed me a wrapped gift and card (for a moment I felt special, then I realized he brought all his sponsees  gifts – then I realized I”m unique, like everyone else ) Continue reading

Ding! 44

I dinged Saturday, turned 44. Don’t feel any different, probably won’t for the rest of em either. I started receiving birthday wished a day early and a co-worker even saran wrapped my cubicle items… was a good day. Friday night took a nap after work – forgot to turn off my phone, so it was a short nap – friends calling to wish me a happy birthday (for my 40th birthday I was awakened by someone on the east coast around 3 a.m. when I was in Hawaii, you think I’d have learned to turn that thing off).

Saturday morning sleeping in – forgot to turn off my phone again… so there you go – self-imposed crisis I could neither postpone nor evade.

I did what I wanted to do for my birthday – not much of anything. Video games, comic books, spicy food… naps. yeah, I had a good day. next year though I think I’ll return to Fort Lauderdale, I miss being there for my birthday.

Anyway, here we go starting another year of my life. This past year was much better than the previous – has a lot to do with the new sponsor and a lot to do with the new job, both are things that have helped me immensely. Here’s to continuing on that path.