Alcoholic Brain

Hi and thanks for visiting. I have an alcoholic brain. I will try to post comments daily about how this alcoholic brain functions.
Sober date: October 4th, 2005.

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Location: West Coast, United States

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

With me, or against me?

Sounds like the president. On paper 30 minutes ago, my post was full of pearls of wisdom. After reading it, I threw it into the trash. It reminded me that I know too much about alcoholism and addiction. Knowledge can be a dangerous thing. It hasn't kept me sober. My alcoholism is just a symptom of the real problem. Me. I don't know very much about me. I see myself as suffering from a sickness of the soul. With that, I believe only a spiritual conversion of sorts can change me. Without it, I will, in all probability, die drunk. My current medical problems have caused an increase in physical pain, and that results in isolation. I don't feel good enough to go anywhere...Most of the time. The good thing about this, is that I am left with facing myself. I am forced to journal, work on my fourth step, and read all the AA books I have here. That's the good thing about all of this. Despite that fact that I have lived a life full of fear, resentment, blaming, lying, cheating and using others, I think I'm an ok guy. This past week has been an emotional rollercoaster, as I am in a relationship with a recovering alcoholic. I only lost my temper once. That's where Step 10 comes in. I had to work it. With all this being said, maybe somebody will call or come over to visit. It's nice when somebody calls just to say "hi." That's rare. I had one of those calls just last week. That was nice. I have users in my life, and they know who they are. I did manage to make it to the Alano Club this week. I saw and heard all the complaining and self-pity stuff I needed to hear for the day. I did mention to someone there in conversation that an x-ray revealed bone cancer in my leg. The response: "The fucking mail is so slow. I haven't gotten my check yet."
Self-centeredness is the root of the alcoholic problem.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Alien vs. Predator...

From 1979, to 1991, I attended AA two to three times a week. I had a good job, a wonderful wife, and owned a home in the high rent district. The 1980's were the happiest years of my life. Then in 1989, a series of events put me in a situation my psyche, in retrospect, couldn't handle. My mother died suddenly, and my wife divorced me...I changed jobs. It was then I stopped going to AA meetings. I felt that I had been wronged. I was on fire with anger. Resentment is the number one offender the basic text of AA says. Thus, in 1991, I returned to drinking. By holding onto resentment, I had lost my sanity. I have struggled to stay sober ever since. I think I nearly had three years without a drink once. The past 15 years, without going past the Fourth Step of AA, have been miserable. This misery has been all of my own making however. I have had to let go of the notion that God had dealt me a bad hand in life. I have been trying to recapture the happiness of the 80's. I was truly happy then. But without a fearless and searching moral inventory, I will never have that feeling again. This is a recent discovery, and that is a good thing. Oh, the title? I see Predators in AA, not many, but I do see them in action. They pick out a newcomer and pursue them for sexual reasons. It happens in AA all over the world. I wish they would stop that. Both men and women seek out prey. They are sick, and that sickness is killing people.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Two dudes...

I met with my AA "sponsors" yesterday for coffee and a chat. AA's have a thing about coffee; that's a good thing. I admire both these men. I shall refer to them as Bill and Bob. This blog is anonymous! Bob doesn't talk a lot. Bill can't keep quiet. Yet, they both have what I want out of a sober life. One has a powerful spiritual base, the other has a keen ability to help other drunks like myself. Bill knows the 12 Steps and how to work them, and has a unique, God given ability to guide newcomers through these Steps. Bob is smooth. Doesn't seem to have a worry in the world. I would swear that he has found an LSD that lasts a lifetime. A very mellow acid. Not like the acid that I used to take that would make me climb trees chasing mad clowns. I have yet to find the type of "acid" Bob has found...Maybe someday I will. Bill, on the other hand, is almost a fanatic about AA, and working with other drunks. He talks about sex a lot. I enjoy that. It isn't the barroom dirty talk about sex, but about the instinct for sex can override our other basic instincts, and knock us out of that necessary balance of instincts. That's me. I appointed myself as the only male that could successfully repopulate the planet, if a disaster were to happen. I desire to be as honest and caring as Bill, and as spiritual as Bob. During our coffee clutch conversation, I did have extreme difficulty comprehending what these two dudes were saying. At times it seemed to be a different language, that I could not understand. My character defects are still blowing their party favors in my Alcoholic Brain. I do recall Bill saying I have a week and a half to complete my written Fourth Step. Since my emotions are so raw, and I have been forced into being honest by an unknown external force, I have wrecked some "happy face" AA meetings. Sometimes, I just cannot comprehend how anybody with 30, 60 or 90 days off of alcohol, and Lord knows what other drugs, can be so "happy, joyous and free." Then there's that "I'm so grateful" bullshit I hear from newcomers...Makes me wanna puke...Ok, I'm done.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

But they work for me...

I'm talking about basic survival instincts. Some of these include the social instinct that forms a society...To harvest food, obtaining emotional, financial, and material security. Cash, and lots of it, to making babies, even companionship.

These are normal instincts. However if these instincts exceed their proper function, they can end up knocking us out of balance. They can drive us, dominate and rule our behavior and lives. I am looking at Step 4 here of the 12 Step program. Step 4 reads: "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."

How instincts can exceed their proper function. Step Four is an effort to discover our liabilities. Basic problems of extremes in instinctive drives. Misguided moral inventory can result in guilt, grandiosity, or blaming others. Assets can be noted with liabilities. Self-justification is dangerous. Willingness to take inventory brings light and new confidence. Step Four is beginning of lifetime practice. Common symptoms of emotional security are worry, anger, self-pity, and depression. Inventory reviews relationships. Importance of thoroughness. (this is from the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, of Alcoholics Anonymous.)

Step 4 is critical. Alcoholics and addicts, Alanons, Naranons, anybody in any Twelve Step program of course has to do the steps, if they want their life to change. If nothing changes, nothing changes right? I have to approach this step with humility and courage, and of course with help from my Higher Power. If this step is done correctly, it will bring some significant emotional pain. That's okay. I have always said, without a wound, there will be no healing. Having been more "in" that "out" of AA since 1978, this will be my second attempt at a Step Four. I started it the night before last. I was up all night writing, and was awake until 1:00pm the following afternoon. I was on a roll you might say. I have approached this step differently this time writing an autobiography of sorts. I started with my earliest childhood memory, then using school as my guide. What was going on in my life in the first grade, second grade, all the way through school. Experts at the oldest institute of alcohol study in the world would argue this approach, especially if dealing with "family of origin" issues if they are painful memories. I know, I attended that university. They would suggest not to write such a story unless there is a minimum of two years of abstinence from alcohol. Something about remarkable deficits in cognition studied in the first two years of abstinence. There is a danger of an acute relapse episode if these memories bring pain too difficult to cope with. I will have remarkable deficits in cognition that I know will not improve, even if I remained abstinent from alcohol for 100 years in AA. So I shall proceed with this modality. Yes, I have found some painful memories during this exploration. I use a technique I call SBP. This is Stop, Breathe and Pray. It works. When my pain subsides, then I PBW. This is Pray, Breathe and Write. I will probably be a real asshole for a while. Maybe I have been a "nice guy" too long. Yes, I am a people pleaser, and people pleasers are liars. I have been living on my defects of character far too long. These things do not work for me anymore. So today I will continue to write while these defects of character continue with the pajama party they are having in my alcoholic brain. I am curious to know if they realize they are about to get laid off? The poor bastards won't even qualify for unemployment insurance, or anytype of compensation...

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I'm not that bad yet...

Went to a great meeting tonight. I actually shared my "drunk-a-log." It's quite graphic, and I do not sugar coat it. I simply tell the truth about my drinking. I know that my alcoholism took me to places that a lot of alcoholics dare to tread. When I would lose control of my drinking, I would drink 24/7, just to avoid withdrawal symptoms. As with many illnesses, denial is a common symptom. Having been a medical professional, I would often see this in people with cardiovascular disease, and during a heart attack, they would say "I think it's something I ate." I have heard this line just before a total cardiac arrest. Killer food. My drinking took me to a place I refer to as "Skid Road." When one thinks of skid road, what do they see? Homeless winos, bums, tramps and other social misfits that are alcoholic. Some newcomers to the 12 Step program of AA define Alcoholism as such. Although they may introduce themselves as "alcoholic" the killer is that the secrete self talk is "I'm not as bad off as these people, they're really alcoholics!" Skid Road is an awful place to be, that's for certain. Many people forced into AA because of the courts often view AA this way. But they will come into AA meetings and say the things they think we want to hear, to remain in compliance with their court order to attend AA. Of course not all people court ordered to AA think this way. But many do. Even those not court ordered to AA will often think that way. "I'm not that bad yet." Denial is a natural defense mechanism utilized when faced with a crisis such as the alcoholic. I know this to be true, because I used to think that way. The result of that thinking is easy to predict. They will return to drinking. I will tell you exactly where my skid road is. It is between my ears. My alcoholic Brain. My brain is like a bad neighborhood...I should never go there alone. I have done sad sickly things using my alcoholic brain. If you are a newcomer to AA, please remember this. A head full of AA and a belly full of alcohol does not mix well. AA will ruin your drinking forever. If you continue to drink, the "I'm not that bad yet" will become your reality. That's a promise. Your "yet" will happen. I know this to be true. I did it. I pray that you don't have to enter into your own "yet." You might not be as lucky as I am. I made it back alive. Most do not...If you are in AA, it is critical that you squelch any reservations about drinking. By trying these simple steps in AA, you just might find yourself an inner peace you have never known or felt before. That is a promise. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Don't give up...Ever!!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Higher Powered...

When I first came to AA, I had difficulty with this stuff about God, prayer and all that spiritual stuff. But I hit an emotional "bottom" recently and in a sense, was body-slammed to give up my own willpower. I don't really know the psychodynamics of this emotional upheavel. I do know this; The power literally drove my to my knees. My knees were on the floor. While there, I prayed the best I knew how. I asked God to take over my life, and send me some info on His will for me, and what to do with that data. That prayer was answered straight-away. Some prayers seem to never get answered. Some get answered in time. I went to a nooner AA meeting Monday. Low and behold there was a person there who I have been praying for to get sober and back to AA for a long time. Two people I had asked God to direct to AA were there that day. What a wonderful day!! Some people, much like myself, have to get beat up pretty bad before they admit complete defeat at the hand of alcohol. I am grateful we are all given another chance to get over ourselves...Prayer...Today I believe it works.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

My Brain in action...

Went to an AA meeting Friday night. I had been asked to be the chairperson. This is a meeting where we study a chapter of the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous. The meeting members read a paragraph or two then pass to the next person to read. After the reading is completed of the chapter, the meeting opens up for discussion of the topic. This meeting has been operating that way for years.
My Alcoholic Brain likes this type of meeting. When not reading from the book, I'm free to think about anything I want. Mostly non-AA stuff. But this meeting was different for me. I did focus on what was being read. I had picked a large complicated chapter to read, and it was getting boring covering so much information. I found myself getting frustrated. After about twenty minutes into the reading, an oldtimer with about 100 years of sobriety, jumped in and complained that maybe this was too much information at once. I know this guy, and he has a tendency to lecture. I began to resent him, and his control issues. I let him take over the meeting as I sat and simmered a while. I realized that he did what I wanted to do, and that was to get the meeting going in a simple direction, but I didn't do that. I wasn't resentful toward him. The truth is I was resentful toward myself for not stepping up to the plate and making the change myself. That's how my Alcoholic Brain works. It knows if I hold onto a resentment long enough, I will drink. Remember, my Alcoholic Brain wants me dead. It continues to try and kill me. I let go of this resentment before the meeting was over...I still have episodes of sudden spiritual illness...

Friday, March 04, 2005

It's trying to kill me...

Wednesday I went to a small AA meeting. Going to these meetings helps me to stop thinking about how nice things are in my life. What these meetings do is help me interrupt the thoughts from my Alcoholic Brain. After the meeting, I went to coffee with a friend to a restaurant for coffee. People in AA like their coffee. During our visit, he said, "Your brain is trying to kill you. It wants you dead." He's right. I believe this to be true with all alcoholics, as well as drug addicts. Looking back, my brain, which used to be my friend, wants me dead. It's critical that I stop thinking, and let others do that for me. If my pride steps in and tells me that I can make up my own mind, make my own decisions, work my own program of recovery, I will surly die.

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