Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Fortunate

I was reminded at a meeting recently how fortunate my life has been.  Despite my years of drinking I remained what many call "a functioning drunk", i.e. I got up every morning, got dressed and got to work.  I did enough at work not to get sacked and therefore the money continued to come in.  In fact I was very fortunate that I was in an industry and a job that paid very well indeed and therefore the money I needed to feed my habit wasn't difficult to find, I could drink enough and not have to squirrel money away for that from the bills, the shopping etc.  I was lucky too that I found recovery before I started to lose the things that really matter - family in particular.

Others tell stories of true horror, of ending up in places and conditions I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to have to live day in day out like that.  It is vitally important that I listen to these people, "listen to the similarities not the differences" they say.  I do, and I realise that; but for my extremely good fortune I would indeed have had to face the hardships some of them did.

Recently I've also been reminded through reading the blogs of partners of addicts and alcoholics what damage is done on the other side of the fence.  It is a startling truth that I can relate more to stories of street drinking drunks than I can with those of a woman who is the partner of an alcoholic in much the same situation as my wife was with my drinking.  I still often feel no matter what I do I can never repay the debt and "make amends" for all the harm I caused.  I was not a physically abusive drunk, worse I was an emotionally abusive drunk - often in total ignorance but still it is true.  I have to be honest given it was a default engrained behaviour for so long I can't deny that there are still elements of that behaviour in me today and I have to work hard at that if I know it is surfacing. 

My children - again look at how fortunate I am, my son had great university exam results last week.  The first person he called to tell was me - I am blessed that he did.  My daughter often will text me straight after a GCSE to let me know how it has gone - all fantastic stuff that I'm so glad I'm here to receive that - I wouldn't be if I was still drinking, at least I wouldn't acknowledge it I wouldn't have an iota of appreciation for what those acts really mean.

I find myself drifting a bit at the moment in many things.  I feel unsettled.  I don't feel centred, grounded or with a purpose.  I feel I'm "going through the motions" on many things.  There is a passage in one of the stories in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (version 3 I think) that talks about living life on life's terms, accepting what is and not what I want it to be - I need to dismiss these restless thoughts and focus on living my life today in the best way I can.

The funny thing is if you were to say "so why the restlessness?"  I couldn't give you a straight answer, I'll come up with something that sounds really plausible no doubt and some excuse or rationale about why it is impossible for me to correct right this instant, but in truth I can't see what it really is other than simply not accepting what a terrific life I do have and that I should stop watching it go by and live a bit more in it in the moment.

Furtheron...

15 comments:

  1. a huge hug to your wife.

    approaching the 'empty nest' years - as my children became more independent. i was still married, but effectively single, as my husband lived a few hours away. the restlessness became consuming.

    that's when i started blogging. i started doing a lot of other things shortly thereafter - motorcycling, SCUBA, recreational bicycling. i found that being physically active helped quench the restlessness. as did having things to look forward to...

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  2. "listen to the similarities not the differences"

    I love that! It rings true both for the addict and the partner.

    My husband will come home from his meetings so thankful that I am still here waiting for him. Surprised even. Sometimes he comes happy and other times sad, sometimes he's able to talk about his meetings and others unable to share and I always respect his need for privacy (although it does drive me crazy at times LOL)

    I appreciated reading this, Furtheron, because it helps me see things from his side too. Sometimes it's hard to remember that he is in pain too from the hurt that he caused. Hearing about your reflections and your healthy progress is always a good, helpful reminder for me.

    Thank you.

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  3. I was not and am not an alcoholic, but there are still times I positively cringe to think of things I've done and people I've hurt. I feel ashamed and like there's nothing I can do to make it better, and there's no way to really make amends, in many cases. I also sometimes feel like I'm going through the motions. I think those are things that people with a degree of introspect have (and many people don't), and that they are excellent traits to keep us humble. In the end, we are all no better than someone else. It's good to feel humbled and even regretful, I think, because it does also make us appreciate what we do have, in spite of ourselves.
    You're a good man, Furtheron.
    :)

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  4. I recognise the 'restlessness' of one's late 40's, even as someone without kids - there's a sense for me of time being precious, and wanting to cram more in, but not being quite sure of what the 'more' I want actually comprises. It can be a positive spur for change, though, if you don't get too angsty about it, and just try a few new things out with a relatively open mind....

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  5. I think the answer to your question is in your post, you know. x P

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    1. You think... darned if I know :-)

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  6. "in truth I can't see what it really is other than simply not accepting what a terrific life I do have and that I should stop watching it go by and live a bit more in it in the moment."

    Words to live by. Thanks for sharing your journey with us so candidly. You deserve the best of all things. Hugs.

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  7. I think you are cool, brave and honest with this post. I think the restlessness can be a few things. One the ego trying to disarm you and get you to "do" soething. But it can also be a source of energy to do a new project or learn something new. I think Daisy was close with the idea of the kids needing you less. And you are not alone with shame...everyone who wants to be a good person or has had a glimpse into their own ego and how unsatisfied it is with living life on lifes terms...can feel shame. That shame can be a catalyst like restlessness for positive inner changes.

    As ever you are so inspiring!

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  8. good day my friend... I go through those periods of "disconnection" or resltlessness as you've described. For me, that's an indicator that I need to get busy in my psiritual life by helping others, praying more, getting to more meetigns and making a gratitude list.

    It's great to be able to see these subtle "mood shifts" in ourselves and take action before the whole house of cards collapses.

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  9. power of now...... simple to say hard to do......good luck!!

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  10. I like reading the gratitude. I get out of sorts as well, as you know, sometimes without reason. But yes, focussing on gratitude is crucial and helpful.

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  11. Living for the moment, now that really does take practice, I try to do it but often fail.

    Hope you get your mojo back soon. Spring is on the way.

    (where near Gloucester?!)

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  12. Sometimes I just feel restless and it passes in days or a week or perhaps longer. I'm not terribly in touch with my emotions, but every state of being is cyclical. This time of year I suspect it has more to do with the change of season. That being said, I'm in a running kick right now, so I feel more energized than restless. It's easier for me to sound blase about the whole thing. But I know exactly what you're talking about. It will pass.

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  13. Well, folks have already touched on it but I'll go ahead and belabor the point. I'm familiar with the restless and somewhat aimless sensation, and you've already sussed out its cause: not living in the moment. Read a book by Eckhart Tolle (kind of New Agey but made a lot of good points) that discussed this very concept, and how our sense of "lack" prevents us from living in the glorious "now". We get so preoccupied with reflecting on mistakes and losses (if only this hadn't happened, etc) from the past, or obsess on future goals and wants (when I get "X" THEN life will be great), we lose sight of all of life's offerings that are right here in front of our faces. So, as a result of this, I just do my best to let go of the past, not focus on the future too much (both the past and future are not real, only the now is happening to us), and take pleasure out of what life has to offer today...even if it's something as simple as a good cup of coffee, strumming a guitar, or hitting a golf ball (ok, that last one can veer off into the "not so pleasurable..."). Thinking like this has brought a great amount of peace to my life, and with that, additional happiness.

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    1. Super reply JJJ... as a friend of mine so eloquently said the other night "One foot in yesterday, the other in tomorrow and I'm just pissing all over today"

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