Politics still looms large for me, all day, every day. I haven’t been successful in making it a small, important, comfortable part of my life yet. I’ve struggled with it before from time to time, but this time the change in me is permanent, so it’s important that I right size it.
I still struggle with a sense of unreality but I think that makes me severely normal. The other day C SPAN had three lines for viewers to call; one if you believe the president, one if you don’t, and one if you’re not sure. And they don’t mean the regular “has the guy spun this so thoroughly we can’t recognize it?” They mean “is he stating something that is just not in any way true?” It happens. Weekly if not daily. I still fine this very disturbing as well as being disturbed by the people who fail to be disturbed.
I have a sort of ideal I’m aiming for, though. Most days I mean to move my time and attention away from this disaster quickly, giving it a bit of my attention and moving on. Sometimes I’ll give it more time, like when I go to a rally or help in a campaign. Monthly, at least, I’ll give it my money. And daily I’ll read the New York Times at least a little bit, starting in a random section and not concentrating on politics, though he who shall not be named makes his evil way into most sections these days. I aim to get a little bit more informed and educated about everything.
My program as applied to my problem. It tells me in no uncertain terms not to hate, though honestly I often feel hatred for people I’ve never met who, to my understanding, want to hurt vulnerable people. I hate that. And really I think that the ones who don’t want to hurt vulnerable people are too stupid to understand that’s what the agenda is. And yeah, the program has things to say about that attitude, and they aren’t good! I’m grateful it’s there to show me the way. I will use it to give myself a good quality of life in this strange and terrible time.
Three years ago at this time I was in a place far, far away, visiting my daughter. A place where graves were marked with numbers rather than names. I wonder who is under number 137, man or woman, boy or girl? Did number 137 meet that fate due to alcoholism? It’s entirely possible. Alcoholics throughout history had no access to a program of recovery like I have.
Now I’m visiting her in a much colder place, one not so far away, but still far. She’s buying a house here. She’s doing very well. Cleaning out some of the picture mess of my ex-in-laws’ past I made a pile for my daughter. At her brother’s baptism party her father, his best friend, and my uncle all sit together. All gone, all dead from drugs and alcohol in their 50s and 60s. I know that her father and his best friend tried the program and achieved periods of sobriety. I doubt that my uncle did. He’s the one I called to tell him about me and my program after he was already dead. I picture my voice playing into the empty kitchen, him dead around the corner on the couch. That really happened. The phone I called was part of scene of my last drunk, at my grandmother’s kitchen table, my uncle arriving at the end of it. I didn’t drink after that, and he did.
That’s what’s on my mind. My days are pretty good. I’m still struggling to make personal sense of a “president” who said yesterday that job numbers used to be phony, but are real now, even though the Bureau of Labor and Statistics said they haven’t changed a thing. That, and the people who support him. It’s a struggle for sure, and I’m grateful that my mind pretty quickly turns to program to try to deal with this. I guess I shouldn’t complain about being schooled in advanced acceptance.
I’m sick, and I think it’s hay fever, even though it should be deep midwinter in my part of the world. It’s almost 70 degrees, sunny. Spring bulbs are coming up. It’s frightening.
Along with so much else these days. I remember sitting in a political science class in 1984(ish) and realizing the danger of the nuclear weapons the world had produced by then. Frightening. There’s so much more now, and it’s so much more dangerous. I don’t understand why some people in the United States don’t care if the bumble bee becomes extinct, and why their supporters don’t care.
In other news, nine days from now my son won’t have his 29th birthday. He was a leap year baby! Born to this alcoholic, never yet endangered by my alcoholism. Given that, I should have more faith in miracles than I do.
It’s Friday and I’ve found I’m “alone” in management at work. This is something that will increase in my life over the next ten years as my work partner of almost 20 years retires and probably won’t be replaced in the same capacity. Really, I’m far from “alone.” I work for a big agency with 20-30 staff people just at my site, and many managers above me readily available. Still, hearing that my immediate manager will be off and my partner being off spark a fear reaction in me. I will breathe a sigh of relief at the end of this day that I made it through, which is just goofy.
Trying to think of how to embrace this day enthusiastically and confidently (because I am competent and should be confident). Thinking of the Saint Francis prayer because that’s the next piece of program stuff I should consider. I’ve long visualized a “channel of peace” that extends from the heavens down to me. But the darkness/light, despair/hope, doubt/faith rubric is hard for me except in the most dire of situations. Today I want to bring faith to overcome my own doubt. I am so blessed and so fortunate to have the ability to help people at least a little bit every single day at work. If I’m “alone,” “at the top,” my attitude will be the most important one here today.
Lord, make me a channel of Thy peace . . .
PS added this evening: I nearly had to evacuate 60 individuals with multiple, severe disabilities and many many staff into the cold, cold morning, as a bathroom fan stopped working, heated up and started smoking. Whew.
A little bit better and a little bit better, inch by painful inch.
Carole and I had the dining room painted and wallpapered. It was the last room we hadn’t painted since we moved in…..twelve years ago now? It looks great, and with Konmari we’re getting rid of lots of stuff. But not enough. My work is good. My daughter is buying a house, and that is both good and bad. I’ll confess here that it breaks my heart a little how far away she lives. Of course I’m grateful that she’s happy and healthy and that all it well with her. It hasn’t always been and I take not one minute for granted. But I miss her, and I can’t help wishing she was here and buying a house and having a baby…..That’s not my reality. Step Seven tells me I’m not being humble, pining for things I don’t have. So I aim to completely eradicate the pining, but I don’t think I’ll ever make it completely.
Three weeks into the new administration I have lessened my despair and heartache a little bit. I’m taking constructive action and I’ll do that every day for the rest of my life. Step Seven also tells me that I learn to be the way I should be through the pain of character building. And while I do view character building as something worth while in and of itself, as the Step promises, it seems like nothing gets my muscles moving like heartache and heartbreak and despair. So here I am. Sober, grateful, and moving forward, inch by painful inch.