Now is the Winter of our discontent,Â Â Â Â Made glorious Christmas by this son of Santa,Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â as all the clouds that low’rd up my merry, Deep in the bosom of snow drifts lay buried. Â Â Â
Parody: Richard The III Act 1, Scene 1, 1-4
As it doth break most everyday, I awoke to that dawn’s groggy chore.
“It’s only a dream Arthur — send in the sweeper.”
In practiced habit, my soft-spoken self-counselorÂ stated the obvious, “Just forget it.”Â So, onto the next step then: breathe,……. be aware,…….and grateful you’ve awoken again. The usual stretch, it echoed its explanation to me in firmly speaking over my voice that was not so gracious or thankful, which for no apparent reason other than its pattern of the years continued to plague my post dream-scape’s land. As it ever was the case when leaving my awakening I worked to eradicate that voice’s existence, knowing full well it would be silent only after commanded – reluctantly whimpering.Â Still, it was bringing me down as my alter-self clawed upwards, swimming for the surface of consciousness. There, I was sure that a deep, fresh breath of air and a grateful attitude at theÂ surface would spare me once again from the heavy mourning of my all too usual morning self-pity. After all, it was only 31 days until Christmas and five until Thanksgiving. Time to disconnect the cynic and ignite the joy generator.
“I have to work on my mood,” I thought.
Maybe you do this too. It’s like,… I can tell when I ought to make an effort in being thankful for life’s simple gifts. It’s Apparent as I start to find fault with everything and everyone, pulling me intoÂ that vortex, a swirling toilet bowl of emotional self-pity, my old nemesis of the darkness.
“Hit the lights and the road. It’s showtime folks.”Â Now its almost 13 years ago, when I didn’t know what to do where to go or why I even lived while I rebooted my life in the initial post-treatment center recovery mode. I wandered the grocery stores aisles aimlessly between support group meetings, eating-up the clock like a Republican waiting on an election, floating the aisles like Jacob Marley’s ghost. Passing time any way I could was the objective, winding-up the clean and sober odometer.
Time takes time and I needed some. It was all I knew; wandering the grocery store lanes with no money and my empty shopping cart. During that aimless adventure I got to know every store in town and all their prices, killing time.
That morning found me stopping-by my favorite bargain grocery-gas station run by immigrated owners from India. I called it “the used food store” because they bought pull-date goods and repackaged them for a quick-sale. No luck that day though, as the yogurt bin was filled with icky picked over flavors and down to the plain and pomegranate. ‘Yargh,….seeds.” I passed, but bit on the ham steaks. They were cured and safer. My vegetarian friends gagged as I bought three at checkout. “Please to be having a nicer day Sir,” my clerk said with a smile. But three blocks away at the Greek Grocers used food outlet — my totally favorite “Bargain Giant” — I scored on Black Cherry Yogurt.
The Baltics and Russians like this store, speaking their native language which I try NOT to allow to piss me off. “This is America God Dammit, speak English” I mumbled. The mood of intolerance I spoke of earlier was gaining a foothold on my spirit and when I came to a basket sitting on the floor in front of me in line, like an abandoned car in the middle of the street, I stepped around it. It’s owner, obviously new to America, walked up and asked if she couldn’t have her place in line back, thinking her basket on the floor would hold her place while she shopped further.Â No way. I went full “cranky old man” on her broken English, explaining that you can’t secure your place in line with a basket like a blockade on the floor while you “re-shop,”Â glaringly daring her to say ANYTHING. This was not Les Miserables and the wall. She muttered apologetically and I realized,…..”Gawd, I….was definitely getting the Holiday Shitties”. This usually sets a precedent for bad karma and my dharma drama got busy working on it,…. as you’ll see.
Okay,….to save gas I make a planned route around the north side of the city and my next stop was 5 miles out at a Fred Meyer. The low tire light blipped on as I slid into the parking lot.Â I checked it when I got out. “Yup, low driver’s left rear — but off to shop I went reassuring myself that I could limp into airing-up after I got finished,…and finished I was.
Dead flat on exit. About 100 yds away was an oil change shop and I rolled, inch by inch while people knocked on the window and pointed at my flatter than flat tire. “F**k-it”, I thought. I drove on it anyway. They aired me up at the lube station and I made a dash for the tire shop across the street only to abort as I contemplated them giving me the $25.00 fix when I appeared, like a hungry tire-junkie in need of a fix from their “only game in town” monopoly.
An insane risk taker (that’s me folks!) I hit the highway hissing while begging the universe for a stay of execution, in futility of course.Â Suddenly, an outlet of my regular Les Schwab Tire Store showed-up highway right, right as I’m thinking, “I gotta pull over.” They took me in and fixed my flat but first, the qualifications interview merits relating.
I was sure that I had bought the tires at a cheap used shop called Poor Boys andÂ not from them — but I lied to see if I couldn’t get a free fix.Â ‘Stuff that rigorous honesty crap” I thought. The adjustor lit-up his clacking keyboard in an authenticating search and couldn’t find me. “Uh-oh, I may be busted it occurred to me”. I lucked out. Plugging in my nick-name from a previous tire fix, they identified the rear tires as theirs and logged me in for the free fix. “Hoo-rah”! I thought. Somebody else who owned these used treads before me had covered my ass.
Then the 40 minute wait.Â Go figure,….. patience is my short suit. We’ve already talked about my virtuous level of holiday increasing intolerance and while I was congratulating myself on sticking their corporate monstrosity, I waited reading the daily newspaper.
It’s time for inserting a thematic addition of an old Beatles song: “A Day in The Life” watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=P-Q9D4dcYng
A little girl with a super sniffle and cough hummed around while her mother tried to monitor the rest of her out of control brood. Feeling annoyed, I got-up and moved. I’d just finished a nasty 5 day Upper Respiratory, ( my first in a few years) and I didn’t want to sit in the middle of the petrie dish again. “Where’s the Purell,” I thought, thinking of just painting her with a glaze of it. I “Luv” kids,….especially deep fried.
But then, like a scene from DickensÂ it occurred to me: the “Holiday Shitties” were yowling at me….“uhhhh-gain”. At least I knew, instead of just staying annoyed and getting worse for the mood. “Years of Step and Principle rehearsal show, right”? I thought to myself. “Uhm,… that’s progress not perfection” and the cliche use stung me with an irritating redundancy.
Then they were finished and I was off, on the road, feeling smug about having overcome the whole dilemma,….I made my acknowledgements to fate’s fortuitous favor of me. Shit, maybe prayer does work, lolol. Certainly,…. ipso facto, (after the fact).
There has to be a point here. I live my recovery, 24-7,Â One Day at a Time. I try to do so in the spirit of the moment, as Eckhart Tole would say: “In The NOW.” This requires a continuing effort on my part and as I reflect on my writing today, it appears that my 12Step principles and the pot-pourri of other guidelines, reminders and sayings (NO CLICHES PLEASE!) have replaced my pessimistic, cynical and often bitter perspective on the world and life that permeated the darkness of my addiction and alcoholism, now in remission for nearly 13 years.
You’ll remember that I earlier said I was being infected mentally and emotional by the “Holiday Shitties”. I appreciate these brief moments with you to account for my course correction and perhaps bring you to reflect upon your own, as often I’m now finding that things are NOT as they appear. The reason I am upset needs to be reflected on, after a regathering through breath meditation. “What is REALLY wrong with me here” — the all important question.
Of all those acquired skills, the reflection that there is no room for a Fear, Anger and Resentment attitude plagued by remorse in the realm of a grateful heart sticks here in this moment with you.
Thus we come to the Thanksgiving Seasonal Message and as we do so often in this blog, it is expressed musically: Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.
BIG NEWS READERS!
I have just learned that InTheRooms.com, the world’s largest on-line recovery fellowship for Addicts-Alcoholics and those afflicted or affected by other behavioral addictions has awarded my latest book:
“Tales from the Center of the Herd”
their Book of the Month Award for December 2013.
Paste this link into your browser to get either of my books: http://www.livingtwelvestepsrecovery.com/buy.html
You can get them both in signed print, shipped nationally USA or eBook, NOOK and KINDLE. Tales is being offered free on KINDLE PRIME LOANER through December 2013.