2019/07/28

Oldtimers Disease


This is from an old NA WAY, circa 1989(?)



Oldtimers Disease



Time of Onset
At any time during recovery.  The disease has been observed in its beginning stages as early as a few months into recovery (when it's sometimes referred to as, 'the ninety-day wonder condition.')  It is more common among persons with many years in the program.  Some researchers suspect that the longer people are in recovery, the greater the risk of the disease occurring.

Symptomology
Among those who have contracted the disease, certain behaviors and attitudes routinely occur.  Since no single one of them necessarily indicates the presence of oldtimer’s disease, but may, instead, point to some related or associated condition, the following list should be used to diagnose oneself rather than other persons:

Principle symptoms include:
-   Infrequent attendance at NA meetings.  Excuses: meetings are not the way they used to be, or are even boring, or do not have good recovery because of the presence of so many newcomers.
-   When speaking at meetings, reminding those present of the length of one’s time in the program.  Such reminders can be obvious or subtle.  They may even be preceded by assurances of gratitude to those who helped one to achieve recovery.
-   Refusal to get, or to use a sponsor.  This is often explained by the observation that no individual can be found whose recovery is longer than one’s own – which indicates a confusion between quality of recovery and quantity of recovery.
-   Complaints (privately expressed) that NA is not as it used to be, or has been watered down, or is in serious danger of becoming ineffective, in part because of all the new people coming in.
-   The belief that one is the definitive interpreter of and authority on the Basic Text, the Steps and Traditions, and thus is the savior of NA from it’s less enlightened members.
-   Preaching the message (often with the index finger upraised) rather than sharing experience, strength, and hope.  This symptom can show itself in a variety of ways.  For example, frequently beginning sentences with, “You should” or  “You need to” instead of , “I did” or “I am doing.”
-   Resentment if one is not called upon at a meeting, and resentment against those who have been called upon to speak.  Special resentment is reserved for the person chairing the meeting.
-   Referring constantly to one’s past struggles, defeats, and triumphs.  Only in the rarest of instances is there any reference to present problems.  Behind this lies the belief that, granted one’s years of recovery, one ought not have any current problems.  There is, in addition, the fear that admission that one’s life is not always wonderful and joyous might damage the effectiveness of NA in the eyes of newcomers.


Cause of Disease
Pride and Fear

Treatment
Depending on the severity of the individual case, one or more of the following will probably prove effective:

-   Frequent meetings. Daily for one to three months, if possible.
-   Involvement with a strong, insightful, available sponsor, especially one with extensive experience working with newcomers or potential relapsers.
-   Re-working the steps, beginning with Step One, with special emphasis on Steps Three and Eleven
-   Listening carefully at meetings.  The practice of listening is greatly enhanced by the decision not to speak at meetings, even if called upon, thus freeing one from having to prepare what one wishes to say while others are speaking.
= = = = = = = = = = = =
I have been afflicted by this disease many times in my recovery. The suggested treatment is very effective.
I need to keep reading this to remind myself of where I am in my program, because the alternative...

Keep The Faith*

2019/06/27

And The Beat Goes On...

Lah-dee-dah-dee-dee, Lah-dee-dah-dee-dah.

Life, too, goes on. For the past week now I have been hitting the pillow early. Mind you, early as in 22:30 hrs. or so and not midnight or beyond. 

I attempt to settle my thoughts, doing mindfulness exercises, focusing on my breathing and just trying to slow down. I get to a point where I feel truly tired and calm. I turn on my background sounds with brainwave frequencies to allow me to drift into deeper sleep or induce REM dreaming.

YAY....... Fuck me! The boy upstairs decides to move furniture in his bedroom. Or some dipshit outside goes off on a screaming tangent at a perceived bug-a-boo. or my cat suddenly does that "tear around the apartment" thingy cats are known for. Or a fucking june bug goes dive-bombing my head.

And the serenity is lost. My brain cranks up the 4127 hamsters with their squeaky wheels and I am off to the races. I gave up trying mindfulness routines because my head is just too full of death and rage and the desire to go fishing.

In the past week, I have been up to 04:00, 05:00, 06:00... even staying up until the next day's bedtime. Like today, or yesterday, to be precise. It's 02:30 right now. I feel absolutely wasted, burned out and the boy upstairs has given up grinding whatever over the floor and has resorted to screaming & cursing.

I could call OCH security or the cops, but for what? To shut him the fuck up?! Do you think that maybe those same two forces could shut my hyper-active brain down while they're at it? Maybe use a baton to whack me over the head and send me into comatose la-la land??

Ah, to sleep, perchance to... Sleep??!! Fuck dreaming. I just want to go to sleep, for cryin' out loud. And screw the cryin' out loud biz. Johnny-Be-Evil above me is is working an orchestra! I s'pose I should be grateful he isn't wailing on his guitar. That would simply send me into paroxysms of murder!!!

Here I be. I am tempted to visit YouTube and watch some  bass fishing videos, or maybe magnet fishing. Cat videos?? Netflix? Curiosity Stream? Drag out my collection of DVDs and binge watch Stargate:SG1? Star Trek-TNG? Shit. I just had a thought of getting dressed and going to the local Quickie for some cigarettes.
Insanity - Thy Name is Robb.

...sigh... Maybe I should just break down and take a couple of dimenhydrinate (Gravol, to you uninitiated). I just hate the feeling of being hung-over when I wake up. Mind you, that's kinda what I am feeling right now, so would it be any worse a dozen hours from now? Bleh! I'd probably sleep thru my 08:00 alarm or turn it off and miss my morning insulin shot.

...double-sigh... The toils of living in my head. Johnny-Boy has shut up, at least. Ricky, however, is chasing a bug and meowing up a frustrated storm. Out of the pan and into the fire, eh? I guess I'll join him in his search and maybe take some satisfaction in squishing a bug.
Especially a june bug!
They make such a sweet crunching noise when stomped on!!

Keep The Faith*

2019/05/10

Stay Strong, Robb

After tonight, that is really something I need to remember.

I'm trying to keep in mind an oft-repeated phrase. "Let what you see here, who you saw here, what you heard here... Stay Here!" -- and, of course, almost everyone goes "Hear! Hear!" only to go out in the parking lot to jibber jabber about what they saw, who they saw and what they heard. but, I digress --

I chaired my HG tonight. Something happened that could have turned into a real shit show. I did my best to keep things focused in a recovery based mood, but it was hard for me. I wanted to do what was right, what was caring and understanding whilst keeping the meeting on track.

I think I did OK. I kept as calm and caring as I could, without doing what I felt like doing. Yelling, "STFU and Listen!" I actually feel somewhat... what? traumatized?? Rattled, for sure. Heck, just looking at what I have typed so far and seeing all the typos I've produced, yeah, I'm rattled.

I think I did OK? No, I did what was right for the moment. Whatever may occur afterwards is out of my purview, my control. But, I mean, Fuck!!

And as a saddening side note, I found out just how powerful, how insidious, how devastating this disease of mine is and can be. We lost another member to this fucking disease. Someone who had decades (yes, decades!!) of clean time. Which only goes to show me that I need to be ever vigilant in my recovery, because Clean Time does NOT equal recovery!!!

And the beat goes on... so, I gotta Stay Strong.

Keep The Faith*

Last Night

Last night. Yes, well. Last night. 

I went to my Thursday meeting. A small meeting, as per usual. Eight folks there. Two first time members at this meeting and the rest regulars. Wonderful sharing, as it usually is.

One fellow, a new attendee, I spoke to after the meeting was done. We talked about recovery. I gave him my 'recovery' biz card and told him that there was no need, absolutely NO need, to give me a call. The number is there in case of whatever. I also said that my email addy was on it, just in case that might be easier, and my website which has some recovery shit on it.

Blah blah. As we talked, I mentioned that I no longer do actual written shit no more, pen & paper stuff, because of my tremors. He said that he knows that. It appears that this lad has the very exact same tremors as I do. Essential tremors. It was like, for me, a holy fuck moment!

Here is someone I don't know from shit who tells me he has the same issue I have! Recovery? Yeah, like, fuck yeah! With all that I go thru in my life, all the things I share at a meeting, even with something that has absolutely nada to do with addiction, I find someone who is dealing with the same crap I do on a daily basis!

Another member of this group came up and I told the new fellow how going to meetings and talking with others can show our similarities. Because the other member, thru our sharing with each other, I discovered we shared things totally outside of recovery. He & I have the same birth date. December 30. He & I both have Type 1 diabetes. And, yes, we both face addiction.

My Fellowship talks about our similarities and not our differences. The member I took aside is easily 30 years younger than me, but... BUT, we are the same in oh-so many ways. 

THAT, all by itself, is why I -to use a phrase- Keep Coming Back! I never know when or where or what I might find that can help remind me of who I am and why I am here. Beautiful!

And to a second point I wanted to make here, I have just started watching a show on Netflix. Surprise!! It is called "After Life" starring Ricky Gervais. I love Gervais for his acting skills and his ability to take life by the horns.

Yeah, well. The show is a series about a bloke who lost his wife to breast cancer and his cynical look on what his life has become from that loss. I can identify with but one thing in this show, losing a wife, a partner. The rest... feeling suicidal, ripping viciously into others for whatever, and being just an absolute dick... well, yeah, I can be, and sometimes am, a dick. Thing is, I can understand his mind set. Right, and the last episode I watched, he started into smoking heroin. So...
He had twenty years with his wife. I had but eleven. It is the cynical outlook on what life can offer up that I can identify with. Even now, with the recovery I have found, the clean time I have... there are definitely times when cynicism can raise its... tee-he, cynical! head in my life. Which may be why I am drawn to this show, if only to see how this, errr, dickhead deals with it all.

sigh, and there is so much more I got from tonight's meeting that... well, I can go on & on & on & on &... you get the idea.

Suffice to say that I grateful for my small Thursday meeting, my huge Friday night home group, and that I am a part of this wonderful journey called Recovery. I must now depart since I see that both my hands have blood on them since I was having fun with my kitty Ricky and he can be just a touch viscous when playing. Kitty nails and teeth are sharp!

Keep The Faith*

2019/05/05

WOW

This could possibly be named "WTF??"

My area had their monthly meeting today. Their was great yadda-yadda and blahblahblah discussion over a group whose name is "Baby Blue". - - For more etc etc on that, Google it - -

To avoid more heartache than I wish to revisit, I decided to research other info I was offered about this, that and definitely the other thing. omg. What an absolute fucking mistake that was!

My intent, mainly, was to see if the WSC of my fellowship has / had / ever removed previously "approved" literature as being 'approved'. As an extreme example, our BT version 5 be voted as "unapproved literature" now that we have version 6. (I say 'extreme' because if such an example was even suggested, I {as in me, personally} would start a war that my fellowship has never seen before. But, that is who I am...)

In my infinite wisdom on all things "service", I began to download conference agendas and reports and summaries dating back to 1996. I would have gone for earlier, but our WB hasn't / didn't / won't provided them. And there I was struck with a horrendous omFg moment. No, it was actually a series of those moments.

I'm not going to get into the fellowship I am a part of. I'm not going to talk about the WB that... what? oversees?? the operations. I'm not... yeah, well, mainly because right now I wanna say - - - Fuck the living FUCK about & over & anything to do with the WB!!! - - -

I won't get into the minutia of why I am into this tirade. In its most simplest form, during my research (and far too much reading!) I realized the power that our ... my? ... WB has. The last conference (2018) had 59 motions on the table. Of that total, 34 were made / created by that very same WB. Over half. 57%+. 

The intent (to my understanding) of a WB and its biannual meetings is to give my fellowship a voice in what the fuck goes down. But, and I didn't get into greater detail, BUT, at that last WB get-the fuck-together, NONE of those 34 motions (57%+) were EVER brought forward to the greater fellowship I (supposedly) am a member of. And all, as in every fucking one of those 34 motions!!, were passed. Every one of them!

As much as I might frown over WB tactics, I scream bloody murder at those delegates who voted "yea" on all of those motions without bringing them back to our... "their"?? ... fellowship. Sure, yeah, many of those motions were procedural or simple house-keeping motions. Thus, I won't regurgitate the ones that made me......... 

Even tho' I have been taught that MY recovery and the addict I might just help comes first, I am dismayed, disappointed, -FUCK!! - horrified at what can and DOES happen at the WSC... let alone the WSB.

Gee whillickers. Now ain't that a gosh-darn conundrum! One of the few issues that made me re-think my participation in recovery all those years ago has regurgitated itself once more. Thank the stars that I have a sponsor and meetings and other members to spew this crap at.


Because, otherwise,..
I. Would. Be. Dead.

Keep The Faith*

2019/04/20

Celebrate!

Indeed, Celebrate!

Last night, I celebrated 27 freaking years of clean time at my home group along with another member who was at her 1 year mark. We had an excellent speaker who shared his past and his present in an excellent mix of Experience, Strength and Hope. Along with many newcomers and long-timers, it was a great way to Celebrate Recovery with everyone!

I guess I was (am!) over-stimulated from it all. I mean, heck, it 04:30 right now. The melatonin I took a couple of hours back hasn't done nada. I thought about dimenhydrinate (Gravol, to you purists), but I didn't want to be phased out in the morning. Ha! As if I'm not going to be that way, anyhow, staying up all night!

Well, I suppose it is best to say that another year has come and gone. Life continues its inexorable path. Ups and downs and sometimes a few sideways thrown in there for good measure.

Still, one thing I do know is that -Just For Today- I am cleanNOTsober!! And for that fact alone, I am grateful!!

Keep The Faith*

2019/03/29

Principles before Personalities

What did I say in my last entry? Something about not being here for a while? Yeah...

Again, Home Group (HG) tonight. I had received a phone call from a friend, a member, earlier today. He left a rather cryptic message about group conscience. No idea what he was talking about. He said he was going to work late tonight, but would see me at the meeting.

Well, tonight was our Group Conscience meeting (business meeting, fyi). An issue was brought up about an incidence at the last week's meeting. It dealt with the fellow who called me today. The issue was handled pas des problèmes.

However, my friend was a no show by the time our break was ending. I decided to head home and give my friend a call to make sure all was OK, or as OK as OK can be. I told a few members of my HG where I was going and why.

I spoke with him after I got home and learned what had happened last week after  the meeting. It appears that one long time member of our group went on a bit of a "tirade" with my friend and another member. And a second member, a long-timer also, told my friend that he had "fucked up". 

I've known both these folks for a very long time and respect their recoveries. However, after what I heard had happened I was upset, to say the least. To act in such a way with a relative newcomer was inexcusable. I've walked away from an HG because of such an occurrence.

The difference this time around is 1) I've changed in my recovery and 2) I wasn't there and did not see or hear what went down in the two cases I listed. I told my friend that it was a non-issue, imho, and to not fret overly much about what had happened.

I honestly thought that maybe it was time to find a new HG. But, sanity prevailed. I realized that both those members, even with their clean times and recoveries therein, might just have been having a bad day. They reacted instead of simply responding. Far too many times in my dark & mysterious life in recovery, I let one person push me away from that which is my life saver. By doing so, forgetting all the other people who I have come to rely on to help show me that better way of life.

Those two members who so shabbily treated another member will still be a part of my own recovery. As long as they and I keep coming back, we will be there. I can't let the actions of a few sway me from my own path because it would mean that I  would suffer. And I don't need that sort of shit in my life.

Keep The Faith*