Running With Wolves


black-wolf-pack

I guess you can say this is a follow up to my last post about being a lone wolf.

Since I wrote that post, I have taken a few actions.  To wit:

I finally reached out to my sponsor and had a great discussion.  We caught up on some stuff going on with him, and he with me.  I came to see just how much I really do care and respect the man, and just how he has rocketed into the fourth dimension, as they say in 12-step recovery (meaning he is living on a spiritual plane).  He continues to show me how to be a man, how to be a man in our society and in the program, and how to care and give and accept as a man.  As a person.  He always re-ignites my gratitude for recovery and for the men and women who have helped me along, and continue to help me along.

I also have been meeting regularly with my step sponsor.  This is a friend, an old-timer with decades of recovered time, who is taking me through some step work.  Over lunch, we had a fantastic discussion on fears and surrender and coming to believe.  We always draw strength from each other and there was a great calmness to him that I didn’t see the week before.  That was mainly because he was able to reach out to others and share his issues.  Long time sobriety doesn’t mean that we can be a stand alone Easter Island fixture.  Folks, regardless of time, still need one another, and he showed me that, through his examples, not just his words.  As usual, he pinpointed so many very things about me that I really didn’t see myself and am grateful for that.

I have also been mysteriously getting calls and texts from those with less time in the program who have wanted to talk.  And I have spoken to them.  I say “mysteriously” but really I know it’s Creator showing me to where I need to be.  I have been grateful to hear from these other men and that they would come to me for guidance or to just be an ear to bend.  As usual, I am always lighter and yet fuller when I finish my discussions with them.  A sort of glow seeps in through my protective walls when this happens and it cascades and reflects into a greater radiance.  This buoys my spirits and bounds me to others.

The REAL Wolfman.  Can you dig it, Daddy-O?

The REAL Wolfman. He ain’t afraid to give those cats the skinny. Can you dig it, Daddy-O?

After my physio appointment the other day, I wondered what I would do with a pocket of time I had, and realized that there was a meeting about three blocks away.  I hopped on my (new!) bike and got there about 25 minutes into the meeting, but it was great.  (I want to note that I don’t even like being one minute late to meetings and often judge others who come late…but who cares! The time we walk in is the perfect time sometimes). I felt that buzz from being with others.  I found myself, once again, refreshed from hearing people’s stories and walking away with less judgement than what I walked in with.

For example, one of my good recovery friends and a stalwart for the program, Big John, discussed how he has been homeless for some time now.  I would have never known that because he never complains about it, never moans about it.  He speaks from a place of treasure and wealth of spirit, even if he doesn’t have a bed to call his own.  And I complain about what again?  He is an example of spiritual guidance and acceptance.  He plays out his life as if he chose it, and embraces what is there.  That is something I find attractive.  That is where I need to be, in my outlook.

I made (and kept) plans with friends for coffee or simple chats.  I have been blowing people off as of late, and it was surprisingly enjoyable to reacquaint myself with some of the guys I have know for a while, who aren’t in recovery or running.  Just regular dudes with issues and situations like the rest of us – family, jobs, kids, etc.

On the running front, I made it to my first running group workout.  I had some anxiety about it, but in the end I knew it would be fine.  I surprised myself by actually going up and introducing myself to a few of the folks there.  I didn’t linger in conversation much, but I made the effort.  For the workout, we were divided into small groups according to our speed / fitness.  Me and another newer member were paired up, and we ended up chatting a lot during the run.  She was very cool and even cooler was how the other faster runners, as they would pass us, would encourage us (“Good job guys!”, “Nice hustle!”)

Now THERE'S a nice hustle.

Now THERE’S a nice hustle.

To many readers, this might be a “big deal? I do this all the time and it’s not a struggle”.  And kudos if that’s the case.  To this kiddo here, this is Big Deal Stuff.  Important.  Vital, even, to my existence.  I am a toddler in many ways in this new life, so this is something I need to keep reminding myself of.

All of these occurences have opened things up for me.

The timing of all of this is, of course, impeccable and reeks of Creator at work.  The alignment of these actions and opportunities is outside of my realm and brings me to lush reminder that I am not in charge of things – I just have to do the next right indicated thing.  I do the legwork (no pun intended) and He takes care of the outcome. He knows better than I do, that’s for sure.

Even when it deals with me dealing with others – never my forte.  At least, that is the story I tell myself.

And here’s the thing – all of these small rewards I am getting by connecting with others come only when I step out of my comfort zone.  I don’t like to want to get out of my comfort zone (who does?) but that’s where the good mojo happens.  That’s where the juice flows.  That’s where I see things in a new light. The bounty I get – stronger identification with others like me, deeper understanding that I am not alone or unique, bolder feeling of being linked to something greater than myself – far outweighs the initial fears I must move over.  And those fears can freeze me for a long time. As they have recently.

It’s taken me a long time, but I am slowly starting to see the real reason I am here – to meld with humanity, to help, to aid, to just be with others and not allow my fears to overtake and stunt me.  During a meditation at temple today, I asked Creator where it was he needed me to be.  I immediately had a picture of a detox unit that I once spoke at pop up in my mind.  Here is the “discussion” I had with Creator after that:

Me: But why there? (detox unit)  I don’t want to go there (and help others)

Him: Why?

Me: I am afraid.  I don’t like those places and the people in them.

Him: (silence)

Me: Why don’t I like those people, Creator?

Him: Because they remind you of you.

Me: So why do I need to help others like that?

Him: To be whole.

Epic stuff, eh?  But that’s it in a nutshell.  I have had these “conversations” with the Big Enchilada before and they always turn out this way.  So it seems that my floor plan includes, nay demands that I connect with people, even if I don’t feel like it.  But what did I say about mojo?  It happens outside my little safety bubble.

I feel like a newcomer in so many ways in my life now…and I am enjoying it.  Ego bruising, but needed.

I plan to hit a meeting tomorrow and at least 1-2 a week, if not more.  My running club is once a week.  Meeting with others in the program and out of the program may tack on another 1-2 moments out of my week again.  So I seem to be getting busier.  But that’s okay.  I certainly found lots of time to drink, so I can find the time to work on this, and work on my links and relationships with others.  Even if my mind wants to pull me back.

Action.  Humility.  Acceptance.

This works on all levels for me in all parts of my life.

These days, I feel like a pack animal and not a recluse.

I am truly running with wolves.

Seems like someone took video of the workout.  I am the one with noxious foam coming from his mouth, crying for help.

Seems like someone took video of the workout. I am the one there running on noxious fumes. There would be no water break after all.  (Sad)

Thanks for reading.

Paul

52 responses to “Running With Wolves

  1. At no point did I think, “What’s the big deal?” Paul, this is great stuff. You inspire me to step out of my comfort zone. I am so happy for the rewards you reap for aligning your will with His. Thanks for this shot of happiness 🙂

  2. Great post Paul! Fear can be so paralyzing. And getting out of that comfort zone is such a huge growth and amazing spiritual experience, it is big deal. Huge. I am so glad that you got to reconnect and feel like you fit right in – I am sure you were greatly missed. You have a great gift for reaching people and offering your support in a way that they get it, and they feel comfortable. And how wonderful that you have some new people reaching out to you too! Good stuff.

    Sending many hugs!

    • Ha ha…not sure about greatly missed – I am usually flitting about different groups, as I don’t have a HG. But it was nice to see others for sure. It has been a great lift for me to be back in the middle of the pack. Thanks for being a part of it 🙂

      Paul

  3. huge deal! You words, wisdom, actions not only help you, but so many others who are struggling with the same fears. Amazing how God knows exactly where we need to be at exactly the right time! in the short amount of time I have “known” you, you have impacted my recovery and have helped me step out of my comfort zone. Isn’t that what its all about? Helping our fellow drunk?
    😊Thank you!

    • Thanks Kate! We are not alone in this, are we? Even if a part of me wants to be alone. I guess it comes out of intentions. Having time alone is one thing, but isolating is another.

      And yes, helping our fellow drunks is what it’s all about. Thank you for being here.

      Paul

  4. Marvelous post! Looks like you’ve been putting yourself out there on several fronts. Peeking outside of your comfort zone is opening you up to the world right outside the door. The running club sounds intriguing. I hope you continue writing about it, too.

    • Thank you – I have been feeling better about getting out of the comfort zone. I know that a part of me will want to get back in there as soon as possible. I go through phases, like many others do, and that’s okay. As long as I am not hiding out.
      As for the running club – I am sure it will get woven into my posts at some points 🙂

      Thank you for being here 🙂

      Paul

  5. having heard you saying so many times recently that you needed to do all these things, it is so great to hear that you have! odd, isn’t it, how when we obey that call good things happen?

    connecting with others is the true richness of life. glad you are banking that!

    • Thanks Prim. Connecting with others really is a good thing for a guy like me…for anyone, really. Spend too much time on my own…not always a good thing 😉

      Glad you’re here

      Paul

  6. paul, this is awesome on so many levels.
    but i needed to hear this on MY level, which has been one of pulling away from being very active in AA lately. it’s starting to bother me, and i need to deal myself back in while it’s just “starting to bother me”..right?
    I went to a meeting tonite and it was the first time in a while i actually shared, and wasn’t in a judgmental place (oh i HATE me judging!). i left feeling better and now reading this is putting a smile on my face. it really is simple, we have such simple tools to keep us ok.
    This last week or so has seen realizations coming fast and furious about many things, and it boils down to this, what you said.
    thanks for that.

    • Thanks M.
      I was at another meeting yesterday (two so far in one week- hurrah!) and I was thinking the same – how simple is this? I didn’t share (too many folks at the mtg, not enough time) I seem to have that thing where I easily forget what worked for me in the first place. I certainly will endeavour to continue this thing I am doing – reaching out and staying open to others. It is working for me (again) and isn’t as daunting as I make it.

      Thanks for your comments – I am glad to see I am not alone 🙂

      Paul

  7. It is uplifting to read such a post from you Paul. I had a smile throughout my read and wanted to give you a big soppy hug cos you sound so at peace with what’s on your mind, so positive about your life and just happy with yourself. I envy where you are right now.

  8. I’m so touched by your posts!! My running partner is a recovering alcoholic. I can see so much of her in your post. I can tell when she is restless and when she achieves a time of calm….she also makes plans then cancels! Lol. But I understand her struggle and I love her just as she is. Thank you so much for your raw honesty! You seem to be in a good place right now!

    • Hi Jen! It’s amazing how much this thing reaches out – I think everyone is touched by alcoholism at some point in their lives – either a friend or family, or knows of someone, etc. It’s cool that your partner is in recovery and running with ya! I know a LOT of alcoholics and addicts that run. An amazing amount.

      Thanks for being here and the comments – I really appreciate it and hope you have a wonderful day 🙂

      Paul

  9. Hi Paul,
    To build off of the kind words you just wrote for me….I’m gushing with awe. Seriously. You are so honest and vulnerable as you explain and walk us through the internal struggle you wage in being with and without people. You are so unselfish in that struggle as you ultimately end up where you need to be.
    I feel soooo selfish sometimes as I hear the Creator telling me/guiding me/leading me to our local Rescue Mission and I blatantly ignore the message. “I am afraid. I don’t like those places and the people in them” *Gulp. Those could be my words.
    I just can’t do it and thank goodness there are people like you who can.
    All that wood chopping I do? Sometimes I think I do it to keep my muscles sore enough to keep me wading outside my comfort zone. That’s why I read and devour your message, Paul. You inspire and teach me and goodness knows…it’s not easy to teach an old wolf a new trick.
    Blessings right back to you, Paul!
    (thank you for visiting and commenting on my post yesterday).

    • Thank you Michelle for all of this. It’s always comforting to know that all of us, in addiction or not, still have similar feelings and fears. We all have our comfort zones, and I am no stranger to wanting to stay warm and cozy there. But not much else happens there. I actually start to get stale there, start to listen to my old thoughts. So a good shot of something else is what I often need, even if I don’t want it!

      It’s never too late for us, to move out of ourselves. I guess the only difference is that the consequences play out a bit differently for us who are in recovery…lol.

      Thank you for being here – you are always an inspiration.

      Paul

  10. I truly admire you for doing this. I need to, I know that, but I keep letting that recluse make excuses for me. Thank you for leading by example 🙂 ❤

    • HI J! I rationalize and justify too (I just came off of two months doing that, so I am very fresh with it). If as shlum like me can do it, so can you. I am in your corner, my friend 🙂

      Hugs,
      Paul

  11. Hi Paul, Thank you for opening the door AND the window. Now that there’s some light and a view outside, I can see how my reclusiveness and isolationist tendencies have kept me addicted. I also now understand now that this sobriety thing is a lifelong and ever unfolding journey, that I’ve only just begun. (53 days, now). It’s good to know there are so many others to share with. Thanks for all you do (and write)

    • Congrats on your sober time! Isolation and addiction go hand in hand. We isolate for many reasons, often out of fear and also because our addiction likes to keep us that way. We get to use / drink the way we want to without judgement or criticism. It also keeps us in our heads, which is a dangerous place for us. We get bad advice there 😉

      This is a lifelong journey, but not a burdensome one. It’s only a burden when I fight the things I don’t need to fight. It’s only a burden when I let my ego run the show.

      Thank you for being here and writing. Means a lot to me…it really does.

      Blessings
      Paul

  12. Loved your last post…and love this one too. All I have to add is that runners are odd people. We come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. And we recognize that and accept one another for that. You run? That’s all that matters.

    • It’s true – we ARE odd ducks. I think that is why I identify so well with y’all! I have had two runs now with my running group and I can say that more and more I can see how we are all so similar – everyone I have spoken to have similar fears, anxieties, etc. when it comes to running. It’s nice to see that I am not alone in many of my running-related thoughts. I got a good glimpse of that on Twitter following you and others and seeing how you guys manage with things. So to see that in “real life” (is there another way of rephrasing that?) was cool. I was worried about being the slow one in my group, but saw a young lady struggling mightily last night, and in the end she was leaning on one of the other members later on…her in tears and he feeding her granola bar…lol. Touching, and it shows that we are all in this together.

      Thanks for the warm comments and thank you for being here – I am honoured 🙂

      Paul

  13. Too late to comment?
    The stories, the stories, the stories … I’ve spent the last 10 years unlearning the stories. It’s all outside my comfort zone, even when I think I have expanded beyond, beyond … there is still more out there to grow toward. What a wonderful post in all the ways your readers have already said. I just wanted to come over and reconnect since I have been isolating (with the IRS). I really need to make some connections today and this was on the top of my list. You are a giver and you barely know it. That’s what makes it so beautiful. Thank you Paul. For all of it. Lisa

    • Never, ever too late, Lisa!

      I am sorry to hear about the IRS issues (as you outlined in your last post) – I hope the turmoil has abated and things are going back on course for you. Thank you for coming over here – I am always touched when you read and comment and offer up so much to me and the other readers. You are my teacher in so many ways.

      I look forward to connecting more with you – now that both of us are our of our cages, so to speak (I had about two months of isolating going on…so typical, eh?)

      Love and light
      Paul

  14. Love that you are now running with purpose and vision Paul. No more running to the bottle! You’re proving once again that as long as you have the right mindset you can keep going even when you don’t feel like it and the rewards are greater than you ever imagined.
    Fabulous!

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