My Head

Navigating the Labyrinth


If I recall correctly, the above image (which I pulled from a public domain site) is of the atrium at The British Museum in London.  They completed this for the year 2000, one of the myriad projects to celebrate the millennium in that great city. I believe the brochure for this particular project states that each piece of glass for this undulating ceiling was cut individually.  Well, I’m not surprised.  All of those curves and angles means a lot of individual attention was needed, especially for this iconic repository of history.

My head was in about the same state this morning, except that nothing was catalogued or shelved or individually cut and placed in the complex grid that is my brain.  The universe knows that I’ve been collecting memories of voices, events, feelings, and dreams for only about 57 years, but there are days I could swear that my repository could rival the great museums of the world.  And there are mornings like this one when the weight of the mess is too much to bear.  Here’s a sampling:

  1. Do the laundry
  2. Declutter the laundry room
  3. Declutter the closet
  4. Take all unused clothing to Good Will
  5. Go through the entire house and find everything that needs to go to Good Will.
  6. Order a 9-yard box for the driveway because there is a lot of shit in this house that needs to go
  7. Why does my partner keep so much shit!
  8. Why do I still have all of this shit!
  9. Jesus, I should just put away the clothes that are folded up and sitting in baskets.
  10. I need to make sure I have clean clothes to wear to work this week
  11. I should go into the office today to catch up because I was out on Friday (sick).
  12. I should go to the gym today, too, because I missed that on Friday.
  13. If I go to the office, then I can go to the gym afterward, and then I’ll come home and do laundry.
  14. I should write thank you notes, too, from Christmas.
  15. Who gave me stuff?  I better make a list.
  16. I have to forward that email to my partner so he can get in touch with his friend.
  17. Oh, crap, here are three things in my email box I need to deal with
  18. Facebook is better than email.
  19. Facebook is full of crap most days.
  20. Why don’t people recognize fake news when they see it?
  21. Why don’t I just pick up after myself every day instead of letting everything get this messy?
  22. I should start with the bathroom.
  23. I want a nice, clean, uncluttered bathroom.  My bathroom should be a sanctuary for me, a place from which to start each day fresh and a place to unload before going to sleep.
  24. New towels would be nice.
  25. Oh, gawd, I should do something about this wallpaper.
  26. This stupid little closet in the bathroom is next-to-useless.  Who designed this?
  27. OMG, all of this old makeup!  I remember when I used to do my hair and makeup every day.  Well, that was the 80s.
  28. OMG, the 80s.  Big hair, high heels and blue jeans.
  29. I will never look like Meg Ryan.
  30. I loved Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally.
  31. Carrie Fisher was in When Harry Met Sally.  She was great.
  32. Oh, gawd, Carrie Fisher is gone.  So is Alan Rickman and Gary Shandling . . . too many people have died.
  33. I used to watch The Tonight Show with my dad when I was in high school.  I remember Gary Shandling being on that show.
  34. I used to know how to make coffee on the stove.  I didn’t drink it myself, but I knew how to make is just right for my dad.
  35. I wish my dad had liked me more.  I know he cared about all of us, but he never gave the impression that he was in my corner.
  36. That old house we lived in.  Crappy insulation, but I remember how warm it was under the covers.
  37. That morning when I thought I’d get up and help my mom out around the house, but I felt so dead tired, and all she could do was yell at me for not keeping my word about helping with the housework.
  38. That house looks so small to me now.

This is why I cannot meditate for shit.  There is no way to empty my head of all of this stuff.  So I called my sponsor.

I’ve had several different sponsors since I’ve been in the program.  I like to think I learned a little bit from each one. My current sponsor is someone who has been a friend in the program from early on.  We are definitely on the same wavelength for so many things.  My sponsor often just gives me a way forward, and that way forward is, paradoxically, to sit still for a bit a connect with my Higher Power.  When I connect with my HP, a lot of the bullshit can fall away.

Today’s bullshit has been a lot of shaming and a lot of “shoulds.” I’ve been mentally  berating myself for taking a sick day, for missing work at the office as well as a workout (as if missing one workout sends all of my progress down the toilet).  And then I was berating myself for not having done more work around the house in this time I’ve been at home, e.g., I should have started in on laundry, I should have kept up with decluttering, I should have put these other things away.

Writing in this blog/journal is a way for me to meditate.  It’s a way for me to get things out, and it’s a way for me to remember what I’ve learned from a talk with my sponsor.  It’s sort of like the only way out of this maze is to stop for a moment and make my own map.

I’m a “doer;” I have a hard time just sitting still, and I often think that the only way to get things done is to just start at one end and work to the other.  But my house is too big for me to tackle in one day, and my recovering won’t ever respond to that kind of linear approach to sorting and cleaning.

So, here is the way through the woods for me today (my Action Plan, another of the tools of recovery):  Make sure I have clean clothes for work this week (which will likely include tackling some of the laundry concerns), get my gym bag ready for a trip to the gym tomorrow morning before work, stop after those two tasks and consult with my HP about what might be the next most beneficial activity for today.

Updated 1:55 p.m.  Gym bag ready for tomorrow.  Clothes enough for the week.  Laundry started.


Truth on Tuesday

The Miracle of Freedom (sort of)


Somebody brought in a plate of goodies and plopped it on the table in the break room.  I am pleasantly surprised to find myself able to walk away, but I’m still obsessing a little bit in my head.  Part of my thinks, “Oh. Cookies.  That’s interesting.”  Another part of me thinks, “Hmm, I wonder how they taste?”  Still another part of me rationalizes, “I should eat one because I might not get another chance.”  The devil on my shoulder says, “Take one or two. It won’t matter.”  The angel on my other shoulder says, “Take care of yourself.  You don’t need cookies today.”  And my inner beast says, “OMFG, COOOOOOOOKIESSS!!!”

Here’s the truth:  Glad as I am that I’m not stuffing myself with cookies (because, you know, I might never get to taste a cookie ever again in my entire life), the crazy is still there inside of me.

In the program, we talk a lot about miracles.  Miracles come in all sizes and shapes.  Today the miracle is that I’m not physically crazy for cookies even though I’m fighting a few battles in my head.  I’m not a person who really believes in miracles because the ones that happen to me often don’t seem as spectacular as I think anything called a miracle should be.  Inasmuch as I’m grateful for today’s little miracle, I want the big one.  I want it now.

Here’s some more truth:  I rarely want anything in a small way.  Whether it’s cookies or recovery, I want it BIG.  I want it to be MAGNIFICENT.  I want it to be INSPIRING and I want it to go viral.  A lot of that is ego.  A lot of the desire for the BIG miracle is because the feeling of wanting to eat junk food is overwhelming at times, but the lack of desire is *meh.*

Imagine this:  You’re in your house, maybe watching TV, and suddenly there are fire alarms going off.  You don’t just sit on the sofa and say to yourself, “Oh, fire alarms.”  No.  You jump up and you run to the door.  Well, that’s how it feels inside me most of the time when I’m craving something to eat (usually junk food).  It’s like there is a fire and I physically need to get up and run to the food for safety, for calmness, for satisfaction, for relief from the tension.

And here’s the God’s-honest-truth:  Recovery really isn’t spectacular.  It’s having to deal with the inner demons that come out to play as soon as I don’t give in to food cravings.  On a good day, it’s just calmness (i.e., a lack of the drama that has been part of my life for longer than I can remember).

So, maybe in time I will find joy in the quietness.  Maybe in time I will realize that freedom from the addiction is a magnificent gift even if it’s not celebrated with fireworks and rainbows.  Until that  release finally comes, I’ve got friends and I’ve got a program and I’m going to take this just one day at a time.



How I Get My Sorry Arse to the Gym


Last Monday I promised myself I’d get my sorry arse to the gym.  I’d gone into work early (it was a holiday, but there were things I needed to do), I ate a decent breakfast, I’d run the one errand I needed to run.  But I didn’t want to go to the gym.  I was tired (lack of sleep), but that wasn’t the reason, either.  I just didn’t want to start on this journey.

Crowbar #1:  Call a friend.  Talking to someone, saying it out loud:  That makes it real.  I have to own up to my sorry excuses for not doing what I need to do.

Crowbar #2: Drive to the parking lot of the gym.  This was what the aforementioned friend (the one I called last Monday) suggested, and I found that it works.  I don’t have to go in.  I just have to be willing to drive into the parking lot.

Crowbar #3: Try just 10 minutes.  This one came from another friend, and I like it.  If I still feel like crap, I can stop after 10 minutes.  If I feel good after 10 minutes, I can continue.

This week I have promised myself that I will drive to the gym every morning before work, and on Wednesday and Friday morning I will actually go in and try for 10 minutes.  Driving to the gym in the morning helps to set the pattern for changed behavior.  All of it is a practice of being willing.

I don’t believe I will ever love exercise or going to the gym, but I know from past experience that I will like the results of the effort.