Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last post of 2008, or "I couldn't come up with a better post title"

I've decided to start a different blog. Tomorrow something or other will go up. It will be more of a column type deal, the type of thing I've always wanted to do. I'm not getting rid of this one. This one will be reserved for other things, like the occasional Al-anon angst and hard core nudity. No, not really. Just dirty lymricks.

It's been...well, a terrible year frankly. Not all of it has been a heart breaking, grueling monstrosity of a growth period that feels more like the bad kind of growth, like a tumor, and less like the good kind like a kid's shoe size or a bank account. So I'm trying to reflect on the good moments with the bad, and even how the bad stuff had good outcomes in the end. This is all very vague, I know, but trust me it ain't been pretty. To Chris and the kids' credit, they've been pretty good about it all. I imagine that I haven't been fun to live with lately, and this new person who's emerging isn't exactly what everybody is used to.

I'm still doing well with the book. The kids being home for the holidays has seriously cut into writing time, but I know I'll get back into a good routine soon. And the kids and I have had fun this Christmas. I'm still looking for a full time job. Tulane is suppose to get back to me either way in the next couple of weeks, according to the other editor. He said things move slow over there. Yeesh.

And yes, I'm still in Al-anon. Monday night I went to a meeting in the city and I think I like it better than the Metairie meetings. There are more hippies, and truthfully I feel more at home with them. They're bohemians at heart, and they've still got jobs and they're trying to be functional. I'm still going to go to the Metairie meeting, though. My sponsor and a couple of other awesome people go to that one. I'm still working with the steps. I'm stuck on two. I've been stuck on step two for a couple of months. It seems I'm struggling with the "higher power restoring me to sanity" thing. Could it be that I'm not sure that anything could restore me to sanity? This is possible. But I'm beginning to suspect that the problem is I'm angry with God. That and step one keeps slapping me in the face. All of the things I haven't wanted to look at for years and years and years are taking turns revealing themselves to me, and I have no idea how many of them are still waiting behind the door. Jesus. Christ.

So why is it that meetings, any kind of group meeting, is always in the same kind of room with the same kind of smell? When I was a girl scout we met in a multi-purpose church room with old, mismatched furniture, and a musty smell. It's the same with Al-anon, particularly the place I went to on Monday. The chairs are stained and torn in places. There's a jigsaw puzzle of an autumn forest that's been glued and framed on the wall. There are slogans like "It works if you work it" and "Al-anon spoken here" that look like they were pinned up in 1974. There is a plastic vase of dusty, fake flowers on a green coffee table. And somehow the room is comforting. Maybe it's all the people who smile at you and tell you they're glad you're there, and they don't even know you. Or maybe it's the things they say. I was telling one woman, a much older recovered addict-of-everything with long, oily black hair, a long nose, a football jersey, and a brown leather fanny pack (Did you know they came in leather? Yes, the fanny pack just got classy) that during the day, Monday, I was severely depressed, and she offered me a ziploc bag of dark chocolate M&M's and said, "Oh Al-anon lows are way worse than my AA lows."
"They are?" I asked.
"Shit!" she said. "When I hit bottom in AA, the worst that happens is I drink til I pass out, or I OD and end up in the emergency room. My Al-anon bottom is when my family's fighting, I tell off my girlfriend, I feel guilty about everything, and I just feel stuff. It sucks."

I agreed and took a handful of M&M's. Leather Fanny Pack seriously put things into perspective. It's when I talk to people like that I remember to be patient with myself, and that during this period where I'm learning how to stick up for myself and set boudaries (rotten, fucking, stinking, no good period of dumb ass time) it's not going to feel good. But eventually, as they say, it will. Just keep the M&M's comin'.

So perhaps 2009 will be better. Or perhaps in 2009 I'll be better. More patient, more self-accepting, less "I must mother the world and several dogs and cats." Peace with God would be nice.

Happy New Year, guys. I'll post the new link tomorrow. Rock 2009, my children!! WOO HOO!!


Anonymous said...

"When I hit bottom in AA, the worst that happens is I drink til I pass out, or I OD and end up in the emergency room. My Al-anon bottom is when my family's fighting, I tell off my girlfriend, I feel guilty about everything, and I just feel stuff. It sucks."

Wow, if that doesn't nail the whole thing dead center, I don't know what does. The person says, essentially, "I'd rather nearly die than feel feelings." Some of us just aren't that good with feelings. We don't like having them, and we don't know what to do with them.

People have skills in all kinds of areas. Some are great surgeons, some great in finance, others can play guitar well or fix machinery. Dealing with feelings is just one more skill, and for every skill a person is good at, there's one they could very well suck horribly at. Fortunately, there's always help! Glad to read that you are working the steps. Best of luck to you in the new year! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Genevieve said...

Thanks, Anon (as you shall henceforth be known, for both brevity and also it's Shakesperean language association). I didn't think of it that way, that she was saying she would rather die than feel anything. I've thought about going to an open AA meeting just to hear what recovery is like from the other side of the table. I wasn't ready to do that before, and I think maybe I should go through the steps before I do.

Happy New Year to you too, man. Thanks for the insightful comment.