Nothing Is Wrong, But Nothing Seems Right


Sometimes you're the karate chop, sometimes you're the bottle.

Sometimes you’re the karate chop, sometimes you’re the bottle…or, where was this guy when I was drinking??

This seems just a little bit different.  It seems to be clinging on a bit more.  It seems to be a bit deeper.  There is a cloak feeling to it, as opposed to strips of it passing over me like those dull blue scrubbers at the car wash. I can’t put my finger on it, and yet my fingerprints are all over it.

A funk seems to have encased me, and it’s nothing like I have felt in my 3+ years of sobriety now.

I have started to even wonder if it’s a low level depression.  I am contemplating a doctor’s visit, but don’t relish the thought of taking pills again.  I have taken pills in the past – three or four different kinds – all with different annoying side effects.  Perhaps it was the fact that I was still drinking like the alcoholic I am that made things ineffective.  Or at least dialled down the efficacy of those little wonder drugs.  Do you think?

What I do remember well is the coming off of my last set of anti-depressants.  I was stone cold sober, so it had nothing to do with my alcohol intake.  I mean, these are powerful drugs. They are the most prescribed drugs on this continent (and perhaps the world) and yet we forget that they rewire the brain.  They play with the chemical make up of our minds. They alter and adjust and take in the seams of our system’s center.  These aren’t Flinstone’s Chewable Vitamins.  So coming off my last meds was difficult.  It felt like my brain had a wet blanket on it for two to three weeks.  There was a dizziness, a heaviness, a fogged feeling that I couldn’t shake.  I wanted to sleep and yet needed to get up.  Not fun.

Untitled

I can only look at my behaviour, and beyond that, my motives to see where I am coming from.

One of the comments from my last post had someone sharing that they were going through a burning bridges phase of sorts.  And I replied back that I too was doing that in some respects too.  Not in a spectacular fashion, but one where I am disguising isolating and anger as “whittling down” or “simplifying”.  Kristen at Bye Bye Beer wrote a great post about “stripping down” things.  And I identified, as did some others who are at about our time of sobriety.  But I wonder if I am going a bit too far, in terms of removing others from my life (online predominantly) and vice-versa.  I had someone email me the other day and asked if they had offended me, as I unfollowed them everywhere.  And the fact was, they didn’t at all offend. One of those “it’s not you, it’s me” type of mea culpas.

So checking my motives is where I get the real deal on where I am coming from.  Slashing and burning my ties doesn’t sound like it comes from a loving place or a place of peace.  A scorched earth policy isn’t exactly what I pictured in my healthy sobriety.  Having that sort of heavy head and heart isn’t what I signed up for, although it is a mild case.

And here is the prognosis of what has been going on:

  • taking things too personally (in person and online)
  • feeling like I have to defend the 12-step program (I have even gotten into heated discussions with other 12 step members – ugh)
  • having a hard time connecting with the Creator
  • skipping meetings (I did go to one yesterday, and while it was okay, it didn’t buoy me like they usually do)
  • haven’t worked with anyone in months
  • stopped meditating, or meditating sporadically
  • starting to see the negative in things
  • have become quick to anger at times

In fact, I have even had a hard time doing the blogging thing.  It took me some strength this morning to even reply to those comments from my last post.  Usually I very active in the blogging community, but don’t feel it these days.

468694__blenderss-designer-captures-toys-saying-humorous-things-to-one-another

Now, before anyone gets too concerned, I am just writing about this to show that sobriety isn’t always rainbows and unicorns.  I am not dive bombing into destructiveness.  I am not cannonballing into a kidney-shaped pool of lava here.  I am probably exaggerating things a bit. But these things have been coming up, and I need to just be aware of it.  That’s all.  That’s a first step in taking actions to correct these things.  I’d be worried if I didn’t see any of this at all and continued down the gang plank.

Even writing this now has opened things up a bit for me.  I know there is a light, and it’s up to me to continue moving towards it.  I can’t sit on my butt and hope that it happens.  I am just obfuscating His love and guidance through selfish and self-seeking ways.  I am allowing ego to creep in and take the reins.  I had to stop today and ask Him to take these burdens from me, whatever they are.  I am not even sure what they are, as things are a bit murky for me right now.

Old Paul is coming through, and there’s no room for him here.  I have too much going on, too much at stake, too much happening for that to push through and upend the cart.  This feeling down and moping and isolating and pushing others away is how I lived my entire life.  My. Entire. Life.  It’s like a silk glove.  A reflex (not the Duran Duran type).  An old haunt that haunts anew.

Now THIS is haunting.  Smile!

Now THIS is haunting. Smile!

I guess I ask myself this – what would I say to a sponsee (if I had one) if he came to me in the same predicament?  I would probably say the following:

  • hit more meetings
  • talk to other sober members of the program
  • get back to meditating
  • pray more
  • write out anything that is lingering  – resentments, fears, etc.
  • write gratitude lists daily

Now, I would be my own worst sponsee, as I have a terrible time taking my own advice.  Ain’t that rich?  But I will have to make some changes.  I know that those with double digit sobriety do talk about some low stretches.  And I understand that.  It can’t be riding high every day, every moment.  Impossible.  So I will have to make some changes.

And in the end, it comes down to perspective.  Alcoholism has also been called the disease of perception.  And I agree to an extent.  It’s all about where I see myself in the continuum of life – the flesh and the spirit.  For example, at work I have been asked to do morning shifts temporarily.  At least for the summer.  I am not crazy about the morning shifts – it starts at 6am and goes to 4pm.  Long days in which I am both mentally and physically tired (I get up at 5 am).  There is a lot of responsibility, as there is only one person in the mornings, as opposed to several at night.  So anything that goes on in the mornings lands at my feet.

Now, I have been the guy to fill in the days off for the person who normally does mornings.  I don’t mind the change up in the shifts – keeps things interesting for me.  But to do it non-stop…well, that’s a different ball game.  When I told my wife, we were both crestfallen in some ways.  It is more disruptive to our family when I am not there in the mornings, or around to pick the boys up from school, etc.  So it all falls on my wife.  And I am usually exhausted when I get home.

beofpp-23

Where’s this guy’s helmet? Doesn’t he know that there’s dog poop and kiddie cooties in them dirt sky?

But as we spoke about it, we both shifted that perspective.  I took it as a validation in some ways of my hard work and efficiency at work.  I saw it in a way of them seeing the work I put into things.  And my wife and I decided to look at the positives of this – more stable hours, more consistent days off, more planning of things at night for her (she needs the time to her self too).  And for me, I had to shift my perspective – that yes, I am going to be tired, but that I can’t lounge on the couch when I get home.  I will have to just stay in work mode, so to speak, and make sure things at home get taken care of – cooking, cleaning, bed times, etc.  I have to shift, mentally.  And I can do that.

So the same applies to what is going on with me.  I am going to have to shift my perspective and make the best of it…and then move upward from there.  But I have to get off my ass to do that.  I’ll have to step up my game.  I will have to make some sacrifices to make sure things get done and that I am in a position of being positive and rested to be of service to my family and others.

That’s all I can do.

I’ll be okay.  It’s always going to be okay.  It’s when we feel that we’re at a breaking point where things break free and there is more clarity.  I just have to be patient. And let things fall where they may, and not be afraid.  Because I am afraid.  But in the end, He’s got it.  He always did.

Thanks for reading.

Paul

 

Don't cry for me, although you're not Argentina.

You know the deal, Argentina.  Get with it.

 

75 responses to “Nothing Is Wrong, But Nothing Seems Right

  1. Paul, I have battled is severe depression in the past. I was one to suppress it, and few ever knew the depth of my depression. I had a child to take care of. I didn’t have time for depression. But eventually, in the late 90’s a doctor prescribed anti-depressants and I ended up with Serotonin syndrome, which nearly killed me. I was only on them for a short period of time when I ended up in ICU. The doctors told my parents that they didn’t think I would make it through the night. But I did. After that I knew I had to find alternative ways to help me deal with depression when it wanted to rear its ugly head again. That’s when I learned about brainwaves and brainwave training. It profoundly changed my life. So much so that I trained and licensed brainwave entrainment neurotechnologist.

    Based on what you’ve shared here, I think you may have low brainwave activity that needs to be raised to the sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) For most individuals, the frequency of the SMR is in the range of 13 to 15 Hz. You can do this yourself and very inexpensively. I’m not a doctor, but I know, based on my own experience and those of my past clients that raising your brainwaves to SMR can be very effective on depression.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121024124741.htm

    I can turn you on to some neurotechnology, such as isochronic brainwave entrainment.

    • Thank you Victoria for all this information. I never heard of Serotonin Syndrome – scary stuff. Glad you’re here 🙂 I am certainly going to check it out (as I mentioned in our emails), and while I don’t *feel* like I am depressed, there is nothing wrong with opening my mind (so to speak…ha ha) and trying something else. It can only help, right?

      Blessings,
      Paul

      • Right! I’ve no doubt it will, and I’m glad you are nipping it in the bud.

        http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2013/04/25/3-new-high-tech-ways-to-treat-depression-without-drugs/

        I could turn you on to neurofeedback and TMS as well, but as you can see, entrainment is effective and very inexpensive. Since you are not feeling like you are depressed, per se, this, I believe, will give you the edge you need and a connection you’ve been hoping to feel. The only con this article mentioned was that it hasn’t been well researched, but that’s not true. Around 80 years of extensive research, and you can find all the scientific research on the site I shared with you or ask me, if you’re interested. The research has also been published a peer-reviewed journal.

        Paul, I haven’t shared this with you yet — haven’t really made it public as I only found out about 3 weeks ago, but I’ve been asked to co-author a book with a behavioral neuroscientist, and work with him as a research associate which will include experimentation with complex magnetic wave forms. Things are looking up. 🙂

        Btw, were you able to open the email files I send you?

        • I just wanted to say congrats on being asked to co-author a book! That sounds fantastic! The Universe is paying you back in so many ways. And I too thank you for all that you’ve given me today and yesterday.

          🙂

  2. Here’s an example. Get comfortable, and listen with your eyes closed — no distractions. Headphones are preferable, but not necessary. Make sure no one is in the room with you if you are not using headphones, including pets. Look for isochronic tones on youtube that may be more suitable to your taste as far as background music/sound goes. I’m really not that fond of the background sounds in this video, but I’m sure there are others. I just did a quick search. Make sure they are embedded isochronic tones. You can tell by the repetitive tones, which are very obvious in this video. Make sure they are in the SMR range. Remember, this is about training your brainwaves, so daily repetition or every other day is advised. Your brain is like a muscle. I also prefer the longer sessions, around 1 hour. This isn’t something you will need to do for the rest of your life. Usually 6 weeks, and then some maintenance every so often.

    Send me an email, if you like, and I can turn you on to a professional site that offers free software (scientifically tested by scientists) and you can create your own programs from your computer. It’s user friendly — not complicated at all. This is being used in medical clinics, by mental health professional, throughout the country now.

    Happy entraining. 🙂

    *hug*

    • My only reservation in this is finding that one hour uninterrupted! Is half-an-hour ok (I notice the video is 24 min). That is something I can do for sure. Anyway, I will follow up with more specific questions via email.

      Thanks again, Victoria. It’s touching that you have gone through all this effort for me 🙂

      Hugs
      Paul

      • Paul, as long as you are consistent with your sessions I can’t imagine you not seeing beneficial results. That’s key. Just like working out your muscles, you have to do this faithfully for about 6 weeks, everyday or every other day. So in answer to your question, yes, 20 to 30 minutes will work. There are a lot of sessions in the NP that are 30 minutes and under.

        My pleasure. 🙂

        • Cool! I am going to do this tonight (yesterday I was too tired). I will make this part of my self-care package and commit to it for the next six weeks. I saw a few tutorials on the NP and it seems quite simple.

          (I promise to get back to you re: your emails!)

          • It is simple — user friendly. Word of caution — don’t do the SMR session before bedtime, OK? It raises your brain waves to the low Beta and you don’t want that at bedtime. Take your time with the emails. I’m here to assist if you need it. 🙂

  3. I am sorry you are going through this phase. I am glad you recognize it. Your list of things that are “off” is very close to mine. Things that normally distract me from feeling lower or considering a binge/purge cycle aren’t working. Blogging? Eh. Reading? No.

    In my case, since I am medicated, the only relief I will get is from making a major life change (mainly, job/commute related). That’s easy, right? Ha.

    I am awesome at giving advice but never doing what I advise. Someone needs to kick me into gear, I just don’t know how they would.

    Hang in there, Paul. You are not alone, though I also know that doesn’t always help either.

    ((hugs))

    • Thanks Jeanette. I am glad that I am not alone 🙂

      Yes, nothing like a major life change to reset the mood…ha ha. It certainly does get things firing up in the brain there – good and bad!

      You being here and sharing really did help, my friend. Sometimes the simplest thing is the best thing – and just having others tell me that they have gone through or are going through the same is often enough to pull me through. So I am indebted to you.

      Hugs
      Paul

  4. Paul, whether you’re upbeat from running a half-marathon, euphoric at seeing your younger son legally becoming a member of the family, relieved at a judgment that allows you to continue your sober life or, in this case, wondering why you have hit a low, you never fail to offer great insight or to strike a chord in other people’s lives.

    The difference now is that you “Think, think, think”, rather than dismiss those feelings and dull the pain with alcohol. You’re doing a great job for yourself, your family and many others out there who identify with what you have to say.

    So glad you’re still blogging. You’ve helped me more than you’ll ever know.

    • Hi Anne!

      I have to say I am very touched by your response. I don’t know what to say other than thank you for what you said. It really did make a difference in my day today, as I went about my work day and coasted on inner thoughts, I found myself drifting back to what you said here. It truly did lift my spirits. You have helped me today more than you can imagine 🙂

      Blessings and love,

      Paul

  5. I’ve thought many times about going back on an antidepressant. I’m trying vitamins and exercise and getting enough sleep, but it’s hard to fight brain chemistry. It’s an option, you know? Options are good.

    It sounds like we’re in similar places. I see isolating as a natural part of my process, but because it’s a new groove I’m settling into, it feels uncomfortable. After reading others’ thoughts on scaling back and your post, the intent seems more important. You have an awareness of where you’re standing and trust in where your path leads.

    (Sorry this comment is so disjointed…hate typing on phone !)

    • Thanks Kristen for this. I do feel deep down that the pills aren’t for me right now. I don’t see myself getting too far down the scale, so hopefully that was as bottom as it gets. I hope. So my other option is to move through this, seek counsel with others (as I have done with you and the other fab folks here), talk to others around me and just take the actions that I know in the past have helped me. And perhaps add some new tools to my toolbox (I think that toolbox phrase is over used, but it does work!).

      I certainly felt what you said in your post, and I agree – it can be uncomfortable. As I told my wife last night, I just have to watch that line between stripping down and isolating. No need to toss the baby out with the bathwater.

      Thanks again for this – you have helped me immeasurably.

      Hugs
      Paul

  6. So relatable Paul….
    and so interesting, this
    “3 year itch” phenomenon.

    My sponsor would say…

    prayer and meditation
    add a meeting, preferably a newcomer’s
    work with others, anyone, someone, just to get out of your head
    and she’d be right.

    I’d try all of that before medication (not that medication is bad…it works wonders for people), but we do have the advantage of some friend and true tools to help us through these slumps, and using them is what usually helps me.

    One o the things that always saves me, and that I see demonstrated again and again, either watching others or seeing myself in it…is that we are never alone, never. Unless we isolate ourselves, don’t reach out…even then the second we come up for air there seems to be a lot of helping hands reaching out.

    Lots of shifting gong on in your life right now, hard fort hose of us who don’t like change. But with change comes the biggest growth and rewards.

    Hang in, we got your back.
    xo

    • You’re the first to catch my back, M. First with the letters of support and now saying what you’re saying here. You are a true example of recovery.

      I am on track on not going with the meds now. It was a lingering thought that perhaps lingered too long…something that I am guilty of doing. I think just reaching out in the way that I did and having all these reaching hands…wow, what a shift for me. I sometimes forget that I don’t have to do it all on my own. Old ideas, eh? Just when I think I have an anchor on something…yank! But that’s recovery – forging on and learning from mistakes.

      I think what you say about change is right – I have to be crystal clear in some things and one might be that I am not as open to change as I may carry on about. I will have to investigate this, feel it out in my spirit and mind. Without overdoing it of course…ha ha. But that’s a great point. We joke about it often – we don’t like change and we also don’t like when things are the same – but it’s true in many regards.

      Let’s have a cheer for friendship, fellowship and the gentle (and not so gentle) nudgings of the Big Cheese…all of which help us move through these things.

      Damn, I am feeling better already 🙂

      Thank you.

      Hugs
      Paul

  7. Maybe it’s greater than you Paul? What I mean by that is that I know many people currently who are having a difficult time, myself included. Sometimes I wonder if it really is in the air so to speak? I hope your mood lifts xx

    • It seems to be that way, doesn’t it Lucy? I think there are just patterns and waves and such. Maybe many of us are on a down-trend at the moment. Who knows. I would find it hard to imagine that anyone with good, long-term sobriety hasn’t gone through some tough spots. Internally, that is. Some folks talk about a bottom in sobriety, emotionally, and while I don’t feel this is one per se, it does feel off. But I know I will rebound, as we all will 🙂

      Hugs to you 🙂

      Paul

  8. Paul! There must be something in the (recovery) air. Ask my family, I haven’t been feeling so hot lately, I’ve been moody and angry and all that. This post made me realise I am not alone, and neither are you. We are here to support you, and I need to tell you that your path is an example for me, I think you are wonderful. Even this post is like: wow! Paul is so wise! I haven’t written on my gratitude journal for weeks now, and I think my not-so-hot-mood has a lot to do with that. I also stopped meditating because I seeked for results, immediate results… but meditation helped me quiet that need for immediacy.
    We know what to do, Paul, we always do. And these posts help us realise how much we tend to exaggerate hard situations that only require us to stretch out of our comfort zones.
    You can do the morning shifts! You can get back to meditating! Write on your gratitude journal and get back in the loving path, it’s calling you.
    Lots of love, dear Paul. Keep your head up, you are amazing.

    • Erika! I am so sorry for the late reply…this Pablo has been busy but I know I needed to thank you for such a beautiful and encouraging response. I am sorry to hear that you are in a place that isn’t so hot either. I think you are very right in meditation having and giving that immediacy. I had a meditation the day after I wrote this, and I tell you, it was more a conversation with God than it was a meditation. I was in tears by the end of it. Powerful and immediate. And I wouldn’t have don that without you mentioning it and the support you and others have given.

      Thank you x 100. And hugs x 100 too.

      Love back at you

      Paul

    • Yeah thanks…I don’t know if it’s a depression – feels more like a blech phase or something. Not sure. Deep down I don’t feel it’s more than just a patch I need to move through. I will certainly be in touch with this and report back. I do feel better today already…thank you for being here 🙂

      Paul

  9. Sending strength your way. You are amazing. I heard a quote once “What matters most is not that you’ve walked through fire, but how well you have done so”. You, my friend, are walking through fire like a boss. You own that bonfire. Stay awesome x

    • I read your last post there, Steph – man, you’re the amazing one. If I had your tenacity, strength and persiverance…I don’t know how many lands I would conquer! And you do it while kids are telling you to F-off…lol. But thank you for the very kind words…you encourage me. I am glad that I crossed paths with you. You get it 🙂

      Paul

  10. Sending love, hugs, ups, warmth, giggles, space and time, slow breathing, Tara Brach, sugar, pop music, smiles, good sleep and warm fuzzes from my desk in my house in my suburb in my city in New Zealand xxxxx

    • Ok – confession. I had to Google Tara Brach. How did I not know about her? See – I learned something from you (again…). Thank you. I’ll take the sugar too (oh yes, I have enjoyed my sweets the last few days!! Not a good thing when slung up with a running injury!) But thanks for all those warm and fuzzy goodies. I’ll take them. Even all the way from NZ. Seems more exotic that way. More goodness as those things pick up some wild vibes as they pass over to Canada.

      We’ll send you back goose down parkas if you ever need.

      In the meantime, I send hugs back. And thanks.

      🙂

      • OMG…

        jumping on the Tara Brach bandwagon here..
        she SAVES my ass on the regular…
        great meditations and dharma talks.
        LOVE her!

  11. Hello Paul, I am not trying to steer you away from what works for you in terms of recovery, but maybe you need a break from Recovery itself. It just sounds like there are a lot of ‘shoulds’ in your mind and whenever I have that kind of mindset it drags me down as I spend most of the time feeling like I’m failing. It’s like we set ourselves a trap of who we think we should be, rather than taking ourselves a bit less seriously and having a good laugh at the fuckwits we often are!
    Look, I don’t think the Old Paul is going to take residence, so don’t fret – you’ve come too far so just believe in yourself. But hey, I find it impossible to believe that the Old Paul was a complete asshole, despite what asshole-ish things he may have got up to. How about having another look at some of his traits and reappraising them? Behaviour like selfishness is a good thing – it can release us from the soul-sapping shoulds and free us up to do the wants. And meditation? Well, dare I suggest that some of us just aren’t suited to it? I’ve tried various types, but I only get a really clear mind during long runs and that’s probably because I’m physically f***ed and there isn’t enough oxygen getting to my brain! I could spend the rest of my life trying to reach wherever it is meditation is supposed to give me (oh yes, it’s inner calm isn’t it?) or just accept the whirring brain a bit, put on the trainers and get embarrassingly pink and sweaty, because that is what I actually want to do (that and lounging around reading and eating chocolate).
    Wonderfully disturbing photo of the baby. Thought you might like this too – it put a big smile on my face this morning and I plan to spend the rest of the day being a ginger, female him (without the muscles)! http://vimeo.com/42209600

    • Wow! Where have you been, K??? lol. I thought you were MIA or something…so I was chuffed to see you here. I understand much of what you say, and a while back (oh maybe even a year or so ago) I would have agreed about taking a break from recovery (I even wrote about it once or twice here)…but this is probably more from not doing enough of it. At least on the face-to-face level. I know that when I am not connected, I drop like a stone 🙂

      And yeah, Old Paul wasn’t a bad dude…just sick and warped in his thinking. And for sure did some good assholish things…lol. Thank you for being kind there. I think what you say is true – perhaps taking a look back and reassessing. I mean, I had good traits that I hope are still with me. I think we are all like that. We weren’t demons per se…even demons have a good side now and then!

      Long runs…that is what helps me…and I had one today – 10miles (16K) before getting into work, and I feel elated. Even with my injury nagging me (getting it checked out tomorrow at a sports clinic). So I did miss that.

      And I have missed you.

      I hope you and the boys are doing well, my friend 🙂

      Hugs,
      Paul

  12. Sorry you are feeling off… I think that can be a signal you are on a cusp of a change, or it can just be a signal to slow down and regroup. Either way, thanks as ever for doing it here.

    • I think you are right – that being on the cusp of a change usually brings resistance. That is what my sponsor always says…and I think you are all right. Very wise, Primmy 🙂 I have to say that your words and the words of all here have really helped to turn things for me. I know that I have some work to do, and there is some rubber-hits-road kind of stuff ahead, but I know that I am not alone…I never was. I just decide to be…and that’s not good.

      Thank you for being here…makes a difference.

      Paul

  13. Greetings my friend, glad you let folks know where you are at, honesty is a great thing if used properly, and that is the trick, using it properly. I advise that you make sure that you go to the right folks on this. Dual diagnoses should be diagnosed by a professional, not self diagnosed, not saying that you are self diagnosing, just putting it out there for it is something that a whole lot of folks do, they figure it out for themselves and then go looking for their own solutions. Some things to take into consideration is stress level, and that even positive stuff causes stress. You have been fighting the good fight and doing great things and have been under considerable stress, and you correctly are holding yourself to a very high standard, and that takes energy and affects every aspect of your being, mental, physical, and spiritual. You have great skills, yet you do need to get with the folks with letters behind their names and Doctor in front of their name, yet be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove when ya go seeking their advice. Make sure they do the right tests and are not playing Doctor Tylenol, take into consideration your diet, and other medical issues, and get prepared to practice a whole lot of patience. My prayers are with you and I know that you are doing the best that you can and will continue to do so.

    • There is something you said that struck me right in the rib cage, JR – that I tend to put myself to a high standard, and that’s not a cool thing. It’s self-centered stuff, you know? That somehow I am better than others, so I must perform better than others…and you just nailed me on that. Thank you for that.

      You are absolutely right about playing Doctor…I don’t do that, nor do I take any sort of mental / physical / chemical condition lightly. I am pretty certain I don’t have clinical depression…and hence am not entertaining that idea. If I do get to a point where it’s getting bad, then I will visit my doctor. But I have to say that since I wrote this, the combined cathartic effect and the support and some magical meditations and new tools that have been presented to me…I am much better.

      So thank you, JR…you do make a big difference in my life. And for that, my sincerest thanks and blessings to you.

      Paul

  14. Good morning Paul,

    We are, once again, on the same page. Of course, I have more definition to my blase attittude and feeling, but still I can relate…. everything is an effort, and the things that once gave joy now feel like a burden. I wish I couldn’t relate, but I can.

    So much interesting advice above, I’m not sure I can top it. My sponsor might very well be yours, because she would say the exact same thing (plus berate me for how long it’s been since I’ve contacted her, so thanks for this reminder and list). I absolutely believe with all of my heart and soul that when I expend the energy to help another (does not have to be recovery-related, sometimes I pick the person standing closest to me), it does get me out of my head and lightens my dark mood.

    But only you know if you are in a place that requires a doctor’s visit, so if I were struggling with that decision, I would be getting quiet and trying to get in touch with our Creator to resolve that issue for myself. Once you get to the doc’s office, you pretty much know what’s going to come next (prescription for anti-depressants), so I would want to feel comfortable that that is the route I wanted to take.

    I look forward to hearing what road you travel, and where you turn up. I will be praying that your destination is the intersection of Peace and Serenity!

    • I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge your past post when I wrote this…it’s just uncanny how we really are attached at some invisible spiritual hip…lol. I wish we both couldn’t relate, and yet, here we are.

      I will have to call my sponsor tonight or tomorrow – it’s been weeks since I have spoken to him, and he always gives me a spiritual shot in the arm, and feel refreshed after talking to him. He is only a year or so ahead of me, sobriety wise, but he is sometimes light years ahead of me in other ways. So thank you for that reminder, Josie.

      As I have mentioned to others, I will probably hold off on the doctor’s office. Deep down I know that this is a phase I am passing through, that pills isn’t something I will probably end up playing with. Been there done that, and really don’t want to get involved again with them. So I have some wonderful meditation and Victoria has introduced me to some wonderful brain entrainment that seems to be helping me already, plus I have wonderful you and the others who let me know that I am never alone. A lesson that I often seem to forget 🙂

      Thank you for all that you have done for me, Josie – I hope that you are feeling better too 🙂

      Hugs and blessings,
      Paul

  15. It’s always hard for us to follow our own advice Paul:-) We know exactly what to do but we don’t always do what we know will help. For me it’s the old ugly patterns of behavior and thinking that bring me to that place. I still have them!!!!!! The unicorns and rainbows didn’t take them away!! So I go back to step one…:-) and then step two…and so on. It will be ok…it always is! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank YOU Tracy. I am always given some peace from that kind smile of yours…therein lies serenity, I tell you. There is tranquility in those eyes. And that’s what I seek. So when you speak, I certainly take attention to it. And yo uhad me thinking throughout the day…do I *really* understand step one? Or two? I mean, I do, but do I *really*. Funny thing – I was listening to a tape today as well, and the speaker talked about how the steps mean something completely different to him now that he has had X amount of time. Hmmmm…so perhaps that is something to ponder.

      It’s something I have thought about, and now it’s getting more to the forefront. Perhaps this is where the push comes.

      I am very excited about this…and fearful!

      Anyway, thank you for what you said…it’s really opened me up to some new possibilities.

      Blessings,
      Paul

      • Thanks Paul!! You know that’s my son’s name:-) it is true…as we gain years of not drinking and our lives become about serenity the steps do take on new meaning and we have to keep working on them…forever!!❤️

  16. As I approach 3 years of sobriety, I’m finding that I don’t recognize things as triggers because they’re not as obvious to me. In earlier sobriety, it was obvious that something was triggering me because it made me want to drink. Now, I just feel a sense of being off balance. And, the things that trigger me are far more subtle than they used to be and much harder to recognize. Life used to be easy: I see/experience something that makes me want to drink, I use my resources to avoid drinking, I don’t drink, I feel better. Now, I don’t automatically want to drink so I just feel “off” and I’m not sure what’s going on. Does that make sense? If I compare my sobriety to a child’s life, I’m in the stage where I’m discovering that the world is a lot more complicated than eat/poop/sleep. 🙂

    • I am very much with you, Karen. The thought of drinking isn’t there. It’s been a while since a real, true thought like that has passed (teeny weeny off-the-cuff ones come up, certainly, but they are swatted away as fast as they show up). So, like you, I just get off center. And that is how I describe it to others – I am off center. So it totally makes sense. Unbalanced is another way I describe it. When it really gets confounding and confusing, and I am moving from meh to blech…well, then I wonder how far the rabbit hole goes. and my crazy mind wonders if I am depressed, insane or what. And it’s “what”. Something is on the verge of something. I just don’t know what!

      You had me laughing today with your last line….that’s something only a parent can come up with…lol. And it’s true! Oh, to be at that eat/poop/sleep stage again…ha ha.

      Thank you for lifting my spirit.

      Love and light,
      Paul

  17. I’ve never suffered real crippling depression – however I have in sobriety had a few “depressive states” (my term). In the end I’ve had to accept them at times, esp if I can’t figure out what is causing it, or if I can then I have to try and work against it.

    My wife spotted one recently, I’ve been ok just flat – just thinking “What’s the point?”. An advert arrived for a race meeitng event at a local race car track. Something in the past my son and I would have just gone to but… he lives over 100 miles away now and has his own life with his girlfriend etc. My wife suggested I email him – I did saying “Hey this is on, would you like to pop home to go to it?” (Esp as being a bank holiday weekend – he wouldn’t lose time away from his PhD work). He replied that he was probably going to visit an old school friend that weekend. Heyho.. it was ok … then out of the blue he calls last week and did come down and we went and it was great. I do wonder if my wife interjected? Whatever not for me to judge or ask really. So – good things happen if you work for them I suppose or some trite oldtimer phrase like that.. 😉

    • I like the “depressive states” tag there, Graham. I too have not raged against it and am just taking it as it is. It’s been a few days since I wrote this and am feeling a bit better. I am taking care of certain things and opening myself up to whatever the universe deems helpful to me.

      I love that story about you and your son. I get the feeling that my wife will be very much like yours – pushing me to be more open, etc. My mother was like that with my dad, so I guess the cycle continues… 🙂 I am so glad that you and the boy went to the race. I hope to get those kinds of moments with my own boys once they get out and do their own thing.

      Thank you for sharing all this Graham – loved it all, and very helpful to know that I am not alone, and that the universe does indeed provide 🙂

      Paul

  18. Good morning, Paul,
    You are a loving and sensitive guy and you feel things deeply. I know this because of your empathy for others. As someone wrote to me — it’s a blessing and a curse.
    What you are experiencing is healthy. It means you’re no longer masking your feelings with alcohol. We would rather feel high but life has its lows, too. It’s all good, my friend.
    Now, I will go back to my blog and try to take my own advice. 🙂
    Love you!
    Fern
    p.s. “Bitch mints?” HA HA! I’m glad you still have your sense of humor!

  19. Paul! Dear lord, are you freakin’ reading my mind? I have also been feeling flat- not really blogging, not really writing, not really doing all the things that I do that keep me feeling so fresh and so clean clean in my head and heart. I have been being sort of lazy (ok, actually really for real lazy) about feeding my soul. And recovery can be exhausting and annoying and sometimes I just need a break for a bit. Plus I had a difficult situation in my recovery group that has really taught me a lot but sucked at the same time. This post helped me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I am so grateful for you! 🙂

    Cheers! Amy

  20. Hi Paul. I’m sorry to hear about your slump. And may I just say, I can totally empathize. I have actually been on anti-depressants since 2004. I finally went on them after suffering from extreme insomnia for about 8 years. The doc wanted to treat anxiety disorder, and it worked. I started sleeping without anxiety and was less irritated. I tried to go off of them 6 months later and hell broke loose. Holy crap. I couldn’t eat slowly. My emotions were all over the place. I was extremely irritated all the time. Every thing pissed me off. And I was an insomniac, once again. Went back on them until I got pregnant with my first in 2006. Weaned off of them and didn’t seem to have much of a problem. However, once Caue stopped nursing, all of the symptoms came back. Went back on them and couldn’t even get off of them entirely when I was pregnant with Hannah. It really sucks because even though I’m on them, I get depressed, anxious, stressed beyond belief (mainly because of my Aspie son and the frustrations I go through with him. As well of the lack of support and professionals to help me with him). At any rate, not wanting to rant and have a pitty party here, just expressing my empathy. I read the first comment by Victoria and am thinking of trying what she’s suggested to you.

    On another note, great post, once again.

    Hugs – Staci
    🙂

    • Thank you Staci for sharing so much of what it’s been like for you. I am sorry that things weren’t particularly easy for you…and I can’t imagine how it is with Caue’s Asperger’s…yikes. Frustration has to be one of the top things at times. But I am sure he is loved beyond measure. I can understand that up and down in the emotional roller coaster…and the medical one too.

      Thank YOU.

      Hugs back,
      Paul

  21. While I haven’t had to deal with alcoholism (because I am a lousy drinker), I have addictive tendencies and a history of depression. Thus, I found your post a breath of fresh air. It’s the isolation that tells you that you are alone, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. I really did identify closely with this post! Thank again!

    • Thank for the comments, my friend. I am glad you’re a lousy drinker…ha ha. That part that tells you that you’re alone is bang on – it’s all lies, but it is certainly charming and manipulative. And you just saying all this tells me that you’ve been there, and that I am not alone. Thank you for this. It means a lot.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  22. I really enoyed Victoira’s insight. I am a poster child for a “People pleaser”. It can get very exhausting. Than I reach a point of shut down. When I shut down my energy wanes and I do believe I suffer features of depression. All of my remedies, candy, exercise, on and on…. blow up in smoke and are no longer waterproof. Than comes the familiar knudge of, “well you know what usually works don’t you?” Yes the very voice that got me into a tailspin…….
    I to am open for anything that can ease the unrest….Luv this provactive piece.

    • Yeah, Victoria is quite awesome, isn’t she?

      I like that all those things mentioned no longer are waterproof – I enjoy that image. They certainly can be smoke and mirrors. I was just saying that I don’t feel that I can run or eat or over-work myself out of this…and obviously drink is out of the question…so I go the other way with that question you pose – “well you know what usually works don’t you” and that is reaching out and doing the things that got me well…stuff I am slagging off.

      Thank you DB for being here. Means a lot.
      Paul

  23. Hey bro

    Sober life is a bunch a mountains you gotta climb. You gotta keep going. Cant hang on a mountain top for long cause it gets old. Gotta climb down and walk the valley a way. Next mountain got a different path than the one you took before. You got your map but you cant read it alone. Capeche? Stay close to your two guides. The mountains are treacherous as shit. You can loose your footing easy and slide back. Do it right and them guides will catch you. Go it alone…..you gonna get lost. New mountain, aint like the old mountain. Thing is, you already climbed the first mountain. You know the path. Theres a whole shitload of other dudes wanting to climb the mountain you just come down from. You go guide them guys, whether you like it or not. Self doubt and laziness will imobilize your ass. Go guide them guys or you aint gonna have the strenth to climb the next mountain yourself. Internet is bullshit. You gotta do it hands on. Them one, two, three, guys calling you all the time, invading your space, is gonna do more for you than you ever gonna know. Yeah, you will do the steps again. Many many times. Difference is, you’ll be helping another guy through it, and youll grow right along with em. Lastly, the worst advice I ever got, I got from me.

      • Pauli
        You are the last dude that I would ever think had their head in their ass.

        You spent the past 4 years in turmoil and major changes. Big time legal, adoption, writing and AA mountain climbing. Now its levelling off. You aint got all that stuff driving you anymore. Who the fuck was it that said, when you take somthing away you gotta fill it with something else? lol dude, you might be greiveing some loss in an ass backward kinda way. We are programmed and or very used to having alot of shit running round in our heads and our lives. If it aint coming from the outside, we do it internally to make up for the loss. I bet you been doing alot of cleaning out and organizing latley. Serenity takes some getting used to my man. LOL bro! In the early AA years I hated the serene life. I was very used to having mucho internal and external drama running me around. First half dozen years sober, I went out of my way to create shit. Still do sometimes.

        Then again, if ya cant get outta bed and are thinking whats the point of living, then you should definitly check it out. I been on that road myself. It can be very unpleasant without doc prescribed brain candy. Somehow I’m thinking, you might be equating it to what you wrote recently about losing weight. Then again I know you got a history with the shit like I do, so its your call. FYI- There is a new one out called Viibrid. If you use it, you dont have to mainline Viagra or tie a helium ballon to the johnson to get it up. In my case, I would need a weather balloon…..but thats another story.

        later

        • when the novelty of sobriety becomes basic day to day life, one has too keep it green. like hanging round greenhorns or the ones green behind the ears. you want to help em out and it also reminds you of what you dont want to go back to. the newcomer is a great motivator for me

          • Yup – as I said, went to a meeting yesterday and spoke to a newcomer or two. Gave my number out. See what happens (usually nothing, but it’s the act of reaching out, yes?)

            Thanks again, Mike.

        • Ha ha – you got me on the part about the cleaning and organizing. Have a hard time settling in sometimes, Mikey. I tend to moan to my wife that I “didn’t get anything done” on my day off. She tells me that self-care is doing something. I don’t have to have the house re-organized to feel good about the day. So yeah, I tend to do that.

          The down feel has lifted, Mike. I am going to write about that next. Your words hit me hard, I have to admit, about the internet being bullshit and all. I had to reach out to some flesh and blood folks that I can see and touch, and that helped a lot. Spoke to the sponsor, etc. Gonna meet up with some guys for coffee. The stuff that we’re supposed to do.

          As for weather balloon…you had me laughing really good there, Mike. You have a way with words yourself…ha ha.

          Big hugs
          Paul

  24. i so understand what you’re going through, and have felt like this off and on myself lately. For me, it’s an easier diagnosis as i’ve trimmed my AA meetings down to once a week and i know that the program is like a protective layer that surrounds or coats me and the less i practice the program, the more that layer evaporates until i reach the point where i’m raw and exposed. i’m sure i won’t drink anyway, and that’s the most important thing today.

    As sadness is also a part of life (and i’m no where near qualified to talk about depression), i do know that being bummed in sobriety is like rain on vacation: it may not be the best times, but it’s a hell of a lot better than having the same where i used to be.

    • Thanks Al for this – you seem to understand this intimately, and that shows me that you’ve been there (or are there now) and hence, we aren’t alone in this. I’ll take that rain any day.

      Paul

  25. Rich as always, Paul, as different a track as this one took. I love that perspectival definition of alcoholism as well as your peeling back the irritabilities and dissatisfactions for a hard look at your motives.

    You remind me of a letter I wrote myself about a decade ago when I was as stuck as stuck could be. Easier to counsel someone else, right? So I approached myself as an outsider, albeit a close one. I berated myself, comforted myself, preached to myself….inspired myself LOL! It was amazing. My husband had himself a new wife.

    You will keep on, my friend.

    Wife sounds wonderful.

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