Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ninety Days

It's late and I'm tired. But I'm going to try something that I've not really tried before: Structure.

Since it "works if you work it" and I used again yesterday, I think it's time to work it.

To the four or five people who read this blog and know me personally, I haven't told everyone yet that I'm starting over, again. Tonight I told my Friday night group and my sponsor. And now I'm telling you. That's all I can handle for today.

So without fanfare or drama or swearing or crying, this is my plan, based on the suggestions of those wiser than me:

Ninety meetings in ninety days.
A phone call a day, to my sponsor or another friend in recovery.
Continued service in my Tuesday and Friday meetings.
Daily quiet time that includes each of these things: reading from my recovery bible, reading from recovery literature, written step-work, prayer, and my daily inventory.

These are the things I am going to do whether I feel like it or not. (What a concept!) I must do them because I can't stay sober without them, and if I don't learn to stay sober, I am going to lose my family and my job. I am going to lose Linsey, and I adore Linsey. She is the joy of my life.

Of course, there are many other pieces that I need to fit into my life. It helps me to be here in blogland most days, either posting or reading your blogs. I am overwhelmed at your kind and helpful comments and your encouragement. So I'd like to try to post most days for the next few months. (To do this, I probably need to post slightly shorter, less cerebral posts.) I want to spend more time with my kids. I need to eat better and get off the couch more. These are all important, but not as important as the non-negotiables listed above.

I'm not just an addict. I know there's something here worth saving.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Unreachable Pie

I'm in that familiar post-relapse conundrum. A poisonous emotional mixture that's usually buried is now very accessible. I know for a fact that these emotions were already bubbling up; my inability to handle them contributed to my relapse in the first place. And once I start using, everything I've been suppressing comes spilling out in an orgy of self-pity and resentment. So it is with the alcoholic. The Big Book nails it on this point.

When I'm healthy and sober, I sometimes find it difficult to pinpoint exactly what I'm angry about. That is not my problem this week.

On the other hand, I'm pretty much in the doghouse, for lack of a better phrase. I screwed up. Right now seems like the absolute least appropriate time to bring up the things in my marriage that I'm mad about. I mean, what kind of a jackass complains about his sex life after relapsing for the umpteenth time?

I broke the trust of someone who has some pretty serious trust issues to begin with: an incest-survivor. For Linsey, the “survivor” part meant becoming a full-fledged adult somewhere around the age of eleven, and building walls that are tall and strong and impenetrable enough that no one would hurt her again, ever. As I've said before, look at us: The untrusting and the untrust-worthy. What a pair.

And yet, here we are. And once she says “I miss you and I want you again,” we get back to work. “Work” is the right word. I used to think about how awesome it would be to go to sex therapy, and come home with sex assignments. That's the kind of homework that you can look forward to, right? Not so much. Turns out it's mind-games, tedious conversations, passionless high-effort encounters, and triggers upon triggers, like walking through a mine-field. And once in a while, if the stars align just so, when we least expect to find nirvana, we stumble into a tenderness that is mutual and full of warmth and excitement. Just often enough to remind us that it's possible, that we're not chasing after a mirage. Just often enough to whet my appetite for more, and to make me realize how truly hungry I am for her.

Restaurants sometimes display your dessert choices using artificial models of apple pie a-la-mode and Boston cream pie behind a glass counter. They know how it works: You might be planning on saving that extra money or avoiding a few calories, but a convincing enough vision of a decadent hot fudge cake just might change your mind. Of course, when you order, you're not served a foam rubber, plastic and spray-paint concoction, but the real thing. At this point, only an actual dessert would satisfy your appetite.

I am married to a woman who is beautiful and charming. She makes me laugh like no one else. I am also married to an incest survivor. I'm tired of staring through the glass at my dessert.

[Photo by DigiDi under C.C.License]
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