Wednesday: Day Three (and Ashtok)

I woke up this morning in a really good mood, excited about the things I wanted to do today; and found myself using that as an excuse to try and weasel out of my morning routine. 😂

It comes down to this: I find the maintenance parts of life — eating, grooming, sleeping, etc. — to be monotonous, boring wastes of time; but, they must be attended to if we hope to make it to each tomorrow. *Exasperated Sigh*

Yoga took twenty minutes, and I hopped right into the shower afterwards. I skipped the ritual Greek Yogurt this morning, but only because I was anxious to fix the damn Bluetooth issues on my laptop.

The driver went spontaneously missing yesterday afternoon, and none of the support articles I found provided any remedy to the issue. Nor did enlisting Mitchell’s expertise. Both tired, we decided that I would try and call support this morning.

After hours of rehashing all the details to both Lenovo and Microsoft support, I finally got routed to Ashtok, who accessed my system remotely, and set about completing all the tasks I’d already completed through FAQ article instruction… except this time, it worked!

I didn’t try to hide my enthusiasm or how impressed I was.

“How on earth did you make it do that, Ashtok?! I did the same damn thing, to no avail!” I exclaimed.

Rather than give some scripted answer from the fiendish individuals who write the hellish Microsoft support articles, Ashtok shared an anecdote with me.

He said that when children in India feign illness to get out of chores or school, they are often presented to a family elder for diagnosis. The child is looked at, asked a couple of questions, and then told that there is a remedy to their problem — an antibiotic injection. When faced with the sight of a needle, many instantaneously recover. He ended his story by saying, “Computers are very much the same, Ms. Cassie.”

Not gon’na lie, Ashtok’s fable — along with his IT prowess — made my day.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference… even from half a world away.

Tuesday: Day Two (and Sexual Haunting)

I’m not well rested today. Mitchell came to bed around three in the morning, and woke me in the process — further dooming me to hours of tossing and turning (and very little sleep) from there on out. I was able to doze a bit once he got up this morning; but sadly, solid rest could not be found. So I gave up the ghost, and got up.

I wasn’t happy about “having” to do Yoga, but I again trudged through. Thankfully, the instructor I follow on YouTube has a very calming, relaxed approach to her practice. No matter how discouraged I feel going in, I always feel better coming out. (Note to self: That means you have now felt better for having practiced Yoga two seemingly dismal mornings in a row.)

I’m a bit sore and stiff, but have sustained no injuries. Therefore, I had little excuse not to go about my new morning routine — shower, brush my teeth, dry my hair, get dressed, and eat some Greek yogurt before all else. (To some, this may seem ridiculous to note as an achievement; but those of you who understand that such activities can be monumental tasks, I count as true members of my tribe.)

After that, I didn’t want to write… but that same annoying, little voice from yesterday said, It takes time to form new habits. Don’t yet give up! I promptly told it to shut the hell up, and grabbed the laptop to play Magic: The Gathering; but instead, have (rather reluctantly) found myself here.

The thing about positive behavior is that it brings about positive reward. Physical activity increases the amount of dopamine in the brain, and helps us to feel empowered.

The problem is that when I feel more empowered, I feel prettier — more sexual. The longing to be desired, and to receive physical confirmation of that desire, increases. And in my house, that quickly leads to arguments. Thus, I have begun to equate feeling better to further frustration.

Don’t misunderstand. I have a good life. I’m married to an intelligent, kind man who possesses a very quick, dry wit. He cares deeply for me, is an excellent cook (a talent I sorely lack), and supports me in my endeavors. He just isn’t interested in sexual expression.

I used to think that this was a part of his personality that had changed over the course of our marriage, and that I was somehow at fault. The better I get at listening to him, though, the more I understand that it’s far more likely I am the one who has changed.

He recently pointed out that I was always the affectionate initiator of our sex life; and that when I got sick, that part of me seemed to slip away. It only returned when I started drinking again; and (duh) he wasn’t/isn’t crazy about who I am when I’m drowning myself in Jameson’s.

This observation prompted me to reevaluate my sex inventory; and the hard fact of the matter is this: I’m not very comfortable initiating sober sex and when I have initiated such activity in the past (usually drunk or high), it’s been about power and manipulation versus love. It’s been about the mood altering effect, not the act itself. In its own way, sex is just a different manifestation of my addiction. And I don’t quite know how to fix that.

Yes, I know the psychology of sexual abuse. I know that when young girls are victimized (especially preceding puberty) their sexual identity gets twisted up and comes out the other side a very elusive and sometimes damaging aspect of their personalities… and yet, the desire to enjoy sex in a healthy way pervades, however subtly, the rest of our lives.

I will never know what my sexuality might have looked like had it been left to blossom in its own time, in a more acceptable way. As it stands, the twisted version of my sexuality that just is infiltrates every fiber of the woman I have become.. and is forever haunting my relationships.

Tuesday Soundtrack: Lady A

Monday: Day One (and AA Shouldn’t Suck)

I woke up grumpy and pessimistic this morning. I walked into the living room, sat in the recliner, and gave myself at least a dozen justifiable (okay, somewhat justifiable) reasons for not starting a healthier routine today.

I sipped my water, smoked my vape, and commenced brooding. And then suddenly, amidst the clamor of excuses to be a slug today, the thinnest, annoying little voice whispered, If you just do it, it’ll be done, ya’ big dummy. And you’ll probably feel better for it.

Begrudgingly I pulled on my pajama pants, turned on Zelinda from The Yoga Room, and started her seven day challenge for beginners. After just twenty-six minutes of practice I felt better. I ate a yogurt afterwards, started that load of laundry I’ve been putting off, and got showered and dressed for the day.

Then I checked my phone, and called (not texted, called) a friend who said she was feeling a little blue… and by the end of our conversation, she didn’t sound quite as sorrowful as when she answered, and (bonus!) my own spirits were lifted.

I found myself frustrated, however, by one of the reasons for my dear friend’s sadness… members of AA. And here’s the thing, folks: AA should not be a source of dissatisfaction in one’s life.

Often, when I hear folks speak about problems in the program, one issue resurfaces again and again: sponsorship.

Sponsorship is a challenge. It means different things to different folks. It’s misunderstood by some, and gets abused and/or misused by others.

Sponsors are not priests, clerics, clinical therapists, nor financiers. Sponsors are not fairy godmothers (or godfathers) that can wave a wand and fix all your problems for you. And sponsors are not your mother (or father).

As I mentioned before, the word “sponsor” doesn’t even appear in the program portion of the Big Book. All that is truly required to work your program is a close-mouthed friend to call on when step work (of life) gets challenging.

I further advise women to create a network of people they can call, because my experience and/or suggested solution to a problem may not always be the one they need. (The proverbial “It takes a village…” perspective.)

There should never be a hierarchy between sponsors and those they guide through step work. (i.e. If you’ve become a housemaid, chauffer, or laundry attendant for your sponsor, something has gone terribly awry.) All a sponsor should do is guide other members through step work — and the daily challenges of life — by sharing their own experience of having (hopefully) done the same.

If you expect your sponsor to listen to hours of “poor me” lamenting, or to confirm that you are in fact a victim of the cruel outside world, then you aren’t really looking for sponsorship. You’re looking for someone to co-sign your bullsh*t, and all that indicates (to me) is that you may not be ready to get yourself straight.

Sadly, this is where a lot of folks are when they enter the rooms. They cling to the delusion that their problems are of someone else’s making, and therefore, only someone else can solve them.

News flash: Bad things happen. People can be cruel. And I have yet to meet a fellow female in the program who has not been a victim of sexual abuse. But as a sponsor, I don’t have the expertise to walk someone through trauma or grief recovery. That’s what mental health care professionals are for.

And don’t leave with the impression that I don’t care about what you’ve gone through in this life. I absolutely care! But I can only share — and then keep — that which I freely give away… and if I spend all my time feeling burdened by events I am not qualified to walk through, both parties suffer for it.

I end up grouchy and resentful, and the person on the other end of the line hasn’t been offered the help they truly need. Thus, the cycle repeats. Leaving each of us emotionally and physically exhausted.

That’s not how AA should leave you feeling. The fourth and the fifth step can be tough (and daunting)… but if you’re working with someone who has done the work themselves, it can be easier to understand, gentler to approach, and I promise… there is nothing so terrible it can’t be faced.

AA is a simple program. It requires only two things: self-reflection and taking responsibility.

It’s work, people. Challenging work? Yes, but well worth the reward. Ultimately, it is the reconstruction of one’s self.

So. If you aren’t ready to pull yourself from the desolate mire of thought that fuels that desire to be rid (restless, irritable and discontent) of self, then… Don’t. Call. Me.

I cannot afford to return to the twisted, snarling vines that choke the alcoholic in their lonely mental swamps. I have absolutely no desire to do so… and I hope to help others feel the same. That is the power of program.

“We absolutely insist on enjoying life!”