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              It was a blustery weekend in Muskrat Flats. The wind was conducting a symphony as the poplars bordering the vineyard...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Shelter Me From the Powder and the Finger ..."

Ah yes, "the thought that pulled the trigger."

The carnival came to Muskrat Flats a few short weeks ago. We talked about that. Good music, good vibes, good people. And of course, the good people who were doing bad things, mostly to themselves, with nary a thought about how their actions might affect anyone else.

There could be the immediate consequences such as doing just a little too much and having someone caught unawares, as they slide barefoot through your vomit. Or, you could totally freak out the EMTs who have never had to deal with some one who is freaking out on acid, badly in need of both thorazine and some restraints.

You may not think about it, but you could be that guy who is just fucked up enough
that you are on edge and in an unpredictable state of mind - being loud, aggressive and incoherent ... bad vibes. You can feel it. And guess what? everyone else around you can feel it as well.

Perhaps you can be there and view all of the insanity and be thankful that you are not a participant, a reminder of how things used to be and could be again. Being in the presence of such excess can also go the other way, where you are tempted. You thought you could be strong, you thought that hanging out with the Wharf Rats would help ease the pain of the struggle, but it didn't and you pick up anyway.

And then there is the anomaly, like myself, strong and determined inside that scene, where drugs and alcohol are as available as if you were in a corner store along a canal in Amsterdam, but fearful and vulnerable and alone, at home.

I guess the freaks forgot to take their roller coaster with them when they left the flats with the rest of the carnival, because I have been riding it incessantly.

Oh the ups and downs. Those awful, misguided thoughts. The thoughts of insecurity and self loathing. The thoughts that you are less than and your worth has permanently been diminished by the excesses you have endured and the crimes for which you were never held accountable. The thoughts that led you into the arms of a lover you have no business interacting with ... at least if you truly want to stay clean. "The thoughts that pulled the trigger."

The thoughts that pulled the trigger. No one knows like you know, how you can lie to yourself. Well, your sponsor does, if you are practicing the spiritual principle of honesty with them.

Being honest is a hard, hard thing, especially when you have spent so much time in active addiction lying and spinning yarn after yarn to avoid being caught and having your inflated sense of self-image stained and tarnished in the the eyes of another. Even worse is the untold truth, the information withheld. You might as well lacquer yourself with a thick coating of patina, because you are harming yourself more than you know. Sometimes it takes numerous suggestions of those who are rooting for you before you open your eyes and realize that the program you think you are working is absolute shit and you need to get back to basics.

I have been playing a dangerous game, associating with someone from my past. And I paid the consequences. I have let that person go, She is off and running with her old boyfriend who left a program to do so. When he gets caught he is going to JAIL, no doubt about it. I have, in the past, had strong feelings for this woman but she is not worth losing my life and family over. I was expecting this. I was expecting the other shoe to drop, for the walls to cave in. I was Charlie Brown running up to FINALLY kick that football only to have Lucy Van Pelt pull the ball away, yet again. Leaving me gasping for air, frustrated and flat on my back, even though I know better.

I hope she finds recovery, but I am not the one to help her in that journey. It is time to Let the boyfriend step on a few land mines for me. He is going to jail anyway, the program he was in was imposed by his probation officer. What does he have left to lose? Let them lose what little she has, together, because I made it clear that I am unwilling to do so, unwilling to be that irresponsible party throwing caution to the wind to feel good. The thought that pulled the trigger.

I am back to counting days, instead of months. Sorry Mom and Dad, but it is what it is. I am back on track and have been doing good. I have been going to meetings and have been in very close contact with my sponsorship family. I have been asking for help and have been taking many good suggestions from those who came before me. I was fortunate to have only lost the clean time I had accumulated. I didn't lose vast sums of cash, I didn't lose my license, I didn't lose my kid, I didn't end up in jail and I didn't die. I did get very very sick, and I deserved it for fucking up.

It has taken me a while to write this.

One thing a member of my sponsorship family said, in convincing me to be honest with myself, was - If some one truly loves you they will not put you in harms way.

If, Someone truly loves you, Paul, they will NOT put Paul in harms way.

This is so true. I have to accept my part in the charade and acknowledge that I can not associate with people who are using even if it is casually. Look where it ended up for my friend, where it always does, down a long and hard road of insanity.

My friends in the fellowship have been very supportive calling me every day. I have been doing the same with them.

I felt vulnerable yesterday and made a phone call. I said, "I feel like I should not be alone today, I don't feel safe." He told me to come over. I talked to my sponsor on the way, I spoke with my buddy when I got to his house. We hung out all day and had a great time, we spent some time with other addicts who welcomed me into their home for the first time. After a while, the thoughts that pulled the trigger were so distant and foreign to me. Yes indeed, "This too, shall pass." I went to a meeting last night, where I saw my old dope dealer. She is clean and is in a pre-release program from prison. She asked me if i had the same number and she would call me when she got out. I told her, "Yes, I do," And that it was good to see her clean and healthy. As far as the phone number goes ... Okay, I told a lie, my phone number has changed.

After the meeting I went to a restaurant for some post meeting fellowship. I eventually ended up with my best friend, with less than an hour to go in the day. I had made it, another 24 hours under my belt. And guess what? I worked hard to accomplish that feat yesterday.

So, here I am today, nary a bad thought has gone through my head and I feel safe. Funny how it works that way. Yes, my actions DO affect the ones I love, there is no doubt about it. (stop crying)

Like I have said so many times in the past, I'll worry about tomorrow when It comes, but Just for Today, I am doing fine and know that today can sing at the top of my lungs with great joy and enthusiasm -

"Shelter me from the powder and the finger. Shelter me from the thought that pulled the trigger!"

Thanks to Neil Young, hearing you on the radio when I did ... you really helped me out yesterday, brother.

Once Again, with the "Hail on my back" and a smile on my face, I am "Running Hard Out Of Muskrat Flats."

(Sorry, I must apologize in advance for this one - clean and sober Deadhead/Trekkies - Worf Rats?)

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