No bed, not much in furniture, its disappearance is a strange and yet interesting mystery to me. I have never really enjoyed my furniture, almost in storage from new and almost never used that much, it’s a bit of a concern to its whereabouts.
Other bits for me, a fridge arrived this morning and was just a standard sized larder fridge. It was too big to get in the kitchen without taking the kitchen door off. So a morning of scraping the paint off hinges and then taking off the door and then a fridge in its place and then putting it all back as it was.
And I saw my mother as I headed off to get paint stripper, and get a new batch of insulin, and make an appointment with my GP, long overdue to review medications.
So a busy morning and my sister turned up with a sandwich and then later to a meeting of AA.
Because it’s a normal day in many respects. The loss of my goods and chattels is neither here nor there in the big picture today. The interesting thing for me is not being wound up by events beyond my control. And to be amiable and right sized is so important.
After years of perfectionism, I am aiming at the middle ground these days so I may the beauty of dishevelled living as much as the reality of taking things in a pace which fits with me and my capacities.
And of course there must be forgiveness in this situation with losses. I am sure I have something to do with this, although I am uncertain how my part plays out. It does not matter overall. The roof over my head is pretty solid and the noiseless nature of the area, well not quite is nothing like the trains endured these past few years.
To a country person it might feel loathsome. To me it really is paradise and manageable I am beginning to realise.
I went and felt good to be there. People I know, people I care for, and new people too. Our meetings feel more full as summer ends and resolutions happen as people wake up to their disease. Well maybe they do for now, and then a Christmas to convince them and then back in the new year. We alcoholics don’t want to miss a thing especially when we cannot understand life without drink.
As for me these days, I see drink as it is, a poison to me and never will fulfill those old promises of oblivion, except the final obliteration of me if I were to go back on the sauce..
Much was made of living the changes we can, and realising life is about the good and not just the bad. So often we can vilify ourselves and we forget sobriety is as good as it gets, with every lump we experience. I am glad to be me today.
And lots of compassion for each and everyone. And this applies to people we have had hard times living with. Not me in this case. Some admissions too for desires of the heart from friends who see the good of being in company and dare I mention, making families themselves. These are the changes people can see and envisage.
I am quite content to make my singular way along, as the changes I have experienced of late, well they make me careful and considerate of my situation with regard to romance, that is I am not romancing just now and realise consolidation is a key.
I may say this and know that as with most of living, living happens and we have little much to say about it as it happens.. Or maybe we choose wisely in sobriety? I have no clue, just for today.
September 6th 2006 [All About Last Year]
Fool on the Hill
I feel that maybe me..
Hi KT, its really good to know we see the world as is, its very difficult to remove all filters and get on with real life, as real as it ever is and see the world spinning round.
I really do understand those feelings you mention, fear is always there just below the surface. Actually I reckon its not the fear of relapse most of the time, its often we understand the world too well and the fear is we know outcomes for others and ourselves and we have no permissions to help others. Relapse is often out of frustration I feel, our equal sized presence does not undermine our gift of foresight and predictions. Prophecy can be a real hindrance to wise folks.
The SAD’s lurk always in me too, so I realise keeping myself in the day and acceptance help. Wisdom is really a multifaceted part of us and sometimes leads to depressive episodes. Knowing too much and the gifts it brings means we must let go often, and let the world turn to its own rhythm, and afford others the luxury of learning their wisdom too. We need turn our attention to our part in our doings, love the people we love and be mindful wisdom cannot always be heard or understood by others until their experience enables understanding.
Any endeavour, and a course which leads to new experience is a good and healthy way forward. We can always bail out if we need. And as long as those around us understand where we are, then the endeavour is endorsed and understood. Nothing is ever in stone, or concrete, we can break free again and regroup as we know now wisdom allows for us to U turn if need be. We can make our choices and remake them by the day or hour or month, or even after years. There is no shame in endeavour in all elements of living or realising we may have been heading in the direction most appropriate only to find we have gone completely the wrong way. Smiles here your post helped understand some things about me again too.
In the olden days
In medieval courts, long before the Beatles and the Fool on the Hill, the court jester or "fool" was someone who was not expected to follow the same rules as others. A Fool could observe and then poke fun, the Fool unpredictable and full of surprises, sometimes the conscience, the seer who cajoles truth and consequences. And like the Fool of old, trusting that each will find their way with a little guidance, with faith in the good of all.
I reckon the role of Fool was mine, often, too innocent and full of joy. I could be a real pain as I could see the consequences and futures and possibilities. I always trusted to my judgment until it was undermined and lost to a hard time where all judgment was tainted by others maladies and left me corrupted by their misdeeds and treatment of me. I lost my natural and common sense understanding of life and took solace in oblivion.
I think the modern term is nervous breakdown?
Anyways I had one of them, a nervous breakdown, followed by years of darkest depressions. Actually more than one, indeed as the last few years has severely tested my perceptions. With hindsight I find that my perceptions and judgments in sober living are not wrong or ever were. The capacity of others to bend truth through their needs and wants is staggering.
Confidence to be Ourselves
I watched a lot of Newsnight on Beeb Two, all about the leadership stuff with Mr Blair, and also a powerful discussion with Claire Short. I feel like I have a lot in common with Claire Short and you can work the rest out I reckon. Knowing the realities helps not one jot does it? Or does it when we understand our gift of being merely the equal of others. If we are equal we can get on with our own stuff and stop caretaking people and being the moral compass other than for ourselves.
Back to me and my Breakdowns
So I have had some, and it reminds me that when I had a breakdown in the last big career job, the company Doctor intimated in his confidential report I would never perform in the job as before, ever again. I can remember the reading of those words and my denial was overwhelming that I had been damaged so. And years later I was able to see the Doctor was right. And so ending a fantastic run in big career success. Success by the way, I could not see for years and years no matter what people might have said, and my shame and guilt over my mental collapse was, is with me forever in some form. After all I had never learned the real meaning of failure or how to cope with it, writ large and for all the world who mattered to my career to see.
However, there ‘s no Fool like an old Fool
And I am smiling writing this down, for the complete nervous breakdown had some benefits. The benefit of enabling depression to be experienced, the slide into ignominy and then later into alcoholism. And then recovery! So much to my surprise I find myself on the path of restoration. What does not kill us makes us stronger? Not so, we end up different and with new wisdoms. And we have a healthy fear in the main, coupled with bravery and courage to start another day. Open, honest and willing, progress not perfection.
I am an old fool sometimes and still hold to those values which make me see the good in others and discount their lesser qualities. it’s a part of me, the eternal optimist and supporter of anyone who applies endeavour and needs a helping hand. It is in me, as is my fantastic perception of living and consequences. I read people well and then to my detriment often help where no help or contact is a better outcome.. It has always been so. Now however I am learning the balance of when disconnection and moving on and letting go are more appropriate.
Lost, Undermined and Reclaimed - my understanding of people
You know its easy for us to hope for the best and place our trust in expert power. I had let myself be bamboozled and let my own perceptions slide as times in depression don’t lend themselves to self belief. And this neatly brings me on to yesterday. And of course a meeting.
Seeing specialists at the hospital, connection to greater wisdom through the fellowship, and especially some sessions, one to one with my psychiatrist and a psychologist, has helped me get some perspective so sadly lost for a long time. And a realisation that I have not been wrong about much of what I have seen. Just shocked and completely unable to respond to life by fatigue and depressions beyond my control. Through all this I, like most who experience it, we don’t lose our gift of intellect or feelings, in fact they are more acute. We just cannot deal with our own pain and often pain of those nearest to us. We are disabled by life so raw it sets off a scream inside best depicted by the artist Edmund Munch in his work "the scream".
Belief in People
Yesterday, this fool on the hill was sitting perfectly still, wondering about a friend. And as with all things modern we have instant opportunities to send a message, which I did. And you know its an instinctive reaction to cave in to concerns for people we know and love. And know full well we are better leaving some people we know and love to get on with their lives. Yet the reaction was there and so I did send a kind and supportive text via the mobile. Man!
And that was in the morning. And with all things where nature tells me to be caring and supportive anyway, I did not expect any reply, certainly not instantly. Mind you, this old fool on the hill, smiles here, saw the sun going down and then got a reply. Half hoping it was a text unconnected to my earlier foolish folly, like a reminder to put some money in my phone account, it was reply to my earlier missive of concern and general bonhomie.
In my easy good humoured friendliness or largesse of earlier, I opened the door again. And with an enquiry for a chat later, thought nothing more about it, on my way to a meeting.
Before the Meeting
I had been foolhardy Monday night and got overtired with things. And then during the day, now yesterday, I had got stuck on a bus going nowhere fast, got off and walked home. Another error of judgment, so yours truly had feet on fire or as I quaintly put it, "my dogs are barking". Now I know its neuropathy and the medication will work when I get the dose right. Well it does not make it easier right now. And right now they are giving me gyp.
So arriving early with biscuits from Sainsbury’s on the way, I was early and had a great few minutes chatting with another fellow about life and just ordinary stuff. As the hour arrives for the meeting, there are lots of faces I know. We settle and the chair person makes their share on experience strength and hope.
I am transported back a couple of years or more
Sharing evokes feelings in me, happy times and sometimes a return to living nightmares. On this occasion it was a return to times I will never forget in rehab. Rehab for me? I think I mentioned I went for an assessment at the hospital to check how mad I was when I left as a self discharged client after a few months, and I had done my term. They wanted me to stay on, I could not stay another minute in their regime. And the assessment outcome was that rehab was not my way to recovery, that AA was in fact my path best taken. And it has proved to be the case.
It can be the best thing for a person or the worst thing, but who are we to know when we have endured untold torture before we get there and our senses are shot to bits? I had no clue what rehab was really. Or that many who get there have been there before and know how to play the game of least resistance and least trouble and pain. For some as I say, the rehab will be the best thing that ever happens and they find their way, one in three makes it and goes on to sober living. Not good odds. Or for me, I was not one of the one in three.
My feelings suddenly came back full force in rehab. Not my good feelings, they were lost and submerged by rehab activities and exercises. My bad feelings about life and living were provoked and came to the fore. These feelings were provoked daily by all kinds of exercises to highlight our characters and our defects. My defects of feeling were never really experiencing my sad, my ill temper, my anger and rage at life. All these feelings came out in abundance, after all they had been suppressed since childhood days. If ever a regime was geared to help a person manifest feelings this rehab was worthy of a gold star. Unfortunately for them, the rehab counsellors, they are the resident powers that be (Romans 13:1. 'Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: The powers that be are ordained of God.') although they had mastered the art of provocation and enabling feelings to come out, they had not the wit, skill or time to help me really sort out my stuff. Me, a trained counsellor in the past, I could not get to grips with what was going on till too late, and better judgment led to me leaving later rather than sooner, the streets were far better for me. And consequently, and in my own humble opinion, their success rate of one in three to sobriety is remarkable, it might have been a lot less and often is when statistics reflect the truth. A hapless and questionable endeavour made so by their own view of their expert power in their field, rather than the reality. They tried to do too much in a short space of time.
Feelings and Fellowship
And you know I am a lucky son of a gun. Because the fellowship programme really helps us deal with our feelings. Sticking to the fellowship and just going to meetings helps us get back our confidence and esteem. It takes as much time as we have with our feelings, we cannot fix them or make them other than they are. We need time to work them out and express them, not reactively, unless spontaneity is key, but most often in a responsive way with a bit of thought in them.
I learned after my rehab trauma that as we get feelings back, we humans feel as anyone can, all of what life offers and we are all capable of anything until we have checks and balances in place. We can feel everything and do, we can feel love and the opposite, and we just darn well need to learn what to do with our feelings which are beyond our control.
And I shared my feelings had been sorely tested of late with assessments of me by powers that be, needing to know my relative well being. And those assessments had been erroneously founded on misinformation. And as a consequence I had been left full of rage. My way to deal with it, not to react or lash out, but to respond and share my feelings in meetings till the power ebbed out of them and I could see the picture true sized as a result. That in reality I had the feelings, and still do to an extent, now placed in a bigger context of my life and living and no longer rage, but adequate anger. So in future, when the same happens again, I can manage the whole affair better in my own way, responding and not reacting or acting out.
And I also shared how lucky I am to be here at all, thanks to modern science and the recovery programme. I never fail to see the significance that I would have been dead long ago if interventions had not been there to help me recover. Its true and not to be forgotten. I was feeling drained by the end, sharing these unpalatable truths about my feelings being so out of ‘whack‘, and needing to work on them rather than suppress them, well glad I can and not turn to oblivion as I have before.
Going Home and confidence and esteem
Going home was good, long enough for my head to settle down. Sharing my deepest feelings and not my best side of character, well who wants to? I know though I have found out how human I am. But for the grace of "good conscience", taught me by exemplars in my life, anyone including me can be provoked beyond the pale to unacceptable behaviour. And the fellowship helps me rebuild confidence and esteem and how to respond well to all situations.
And I reflect its an everyday thing, we never stop learning or we get stuck and lose our way. And this is good to know.
Texts sent reactively
And I also reflect on the odds of my friend calling as promised. Not that good…
Home and Bed
I got home and made some dinner, with a weather eye to keeping my blood sugar the same. It can be done, some foods don’t make sugar levels go all over, they just seem to release enough sustenance to make living ok, and insulin injections small doses.
It was a judgment thing whether my friend would call and fortunately I did not hold my breath. And much later a text saying how sorry they were to have been caught up in another matter and maybe a call back today. Well most likely they will today.
And to matters of Judgment
Hmm, I am still pondering on judgment. It is all very well being able to predict and be a smart ass fool on the hill, seeing and being part of this world spinning round. It does not change how we feel when we know we are not that significant or we are unapproachable or there is something which precludes friendship from others, as its just that way. I know this too well and accept where things are and my feelings too. I need not react as if I am less than, or more than am, just an equal and finding my way, as does my friend. And so let go and make room for friendship as it may be. And most likely from elsewhere in this particular time and situation. Let it be…
And now. With a weather eye to my next steps, its Wednesday and the morning dawn broke a few minutes ago. Sleep has been missing, I woke from "a nightmare in rehab", thankful it was a dream and not a reality. I recalibrated by feelings to where response helps and reactions would hinder all well being. I understand my consequences are shaped by me.
And confidence and esteem come from my continued journey a day at a time. Sometimes backwards, then forwards, just as life deals and we take our risks and live our hard knocks.
Copyright © Don Oddy