Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Pause Button and Fear

Rereading Tolle's book the past few days. Trying to stay present. Trying to understand how I am identifying with my fears and how this identification with my fears is creating havoc for me.

So, when I identify with what might happen - that is - the bad thing(s) that might happen - I lose serenity. Here's what I do;

I begin visualizing the drama that might play out. I imagine people in a room, talking or arguing, and it comes around to me, or about me. Some where, some how, I am criticized. I become, . . . , "less than." This pisses me off. And I react.

My reaction is usually tenseness. A tightening in the solar plexus. Shoulders tighten. I forget to breath.

I then leave the present moment and build escape routes in my mind.

A True Story
This happened at work yesterday. Before I went to work, my soon to be ex-wife sent a shit-eating email to me. I was "threatened." [As I write this - I realize how ridiculous this is; I am threatened by a freakin' email. Are you kidding me?!] I reply back. I barrage her with everything I have. I am typing furiously. I become the Shakespeare of modern day emails - my email has both attack and defense. It goes; "If you think this . . ." and "Do really believe you are not delusional and . . . "

Well, this isn't what I really wrote - but the jist is the same.

Fortunately there is this gap - a space now in my mind. It is a pause button. Albeit, a very small button. The pause button allows me to remember this "x" on the email - upper right. You know, the one that closes the email. I look. I pause again.

"But it is so well-written, this email.", my little ego says. "Send this. Send this" my ego chants.

Microsoft and the "Draft Option"
I am paused. I press the "x" at the right hand side of the email, It comes back with the option, "Do you want to save as a draft?" type of option. I click "draft" - essentially saying - "Save this for later." What it doesn't say, but it maybe implied is this: "For at this moment you are a moron and a lunatic. When you are better tomorrow - you can send it - if you decide to."

What happens is; I will not even read it and probably never delete it. This is just in case I need some more fiery words and beautiful attack prose. I have about 20 drafts now, sitting there, waiting to be reopened, reread, reused and sent.

Thank God or my HP for allowing me to get a "pause" button in my life. It is a small pause button, but it one just the same. And thank you Bill Gates and team for allowing me to save the emails to a Draft folder.

How-Freakin'-Ever (Or I was almost good)
How-freakin'-ever, and I do mean "how-freakin'-ever" - I did talk to my soon to ex-wife. I called her. I was like a moth to a flame.

My conversation drifted into parts of the netherworld. I brought them there, because my ex-wife knew where my buttons were. And of course, I would not be trespassed against by her insults. So, I - the King of Fear - and the Prince of Rejection - put up the barricades against the assault and placed all the troops along the fortress walls. Waiting with my slings and arrows to fire. And that they did. My slings and arrows are now pretty good at aiming. I know that the knees are weak and I can attack there. The adrenaline was coursing through my body, I was in "fight-mode" now. No turning back, no disengaging, you still have that shit-eating email you read, and that is underlying the defensive posture you are taking right now, so fire away!

Shit - she hung up on me. Hmmm. Must have wounded her. Adrenaline still flowing. Maybe call her again and fire the words I have saved up from previous draft emails.

Okay. In reality - my mind does not think like this - the "building the barricades" thing and the "slings and arrows" thing is really the caffeine this morning - and in truth another part of me that hopes you will think I am funny, witty and smart. And then there is another part of my - hoping you get the drift and relate to what happened to me. This is the "I hope I can fix you part of me." [Jezz, how many parts are there of me?]

Back to the story.

I was engaged, and damn it, it felt friggin' good. I was clear headed and articulate. I engaged with the precision of a brain surgeon.

Ed - The Dude
Another pause button. It comes in the form of "I wonder what Ed would say?" Ed is my sponsor. He is cool. A cool dude who I trust. He is a smart dude too. [Why this dude thing? I have no clue.]

I call my sponsor. Finally. "Hey Ed. Need some help here. I am addicted to the adrenaline. I am clear headed. I am not angry. I am precise. I need for you to help me to stop."

Ed answers. He asks me questions. This is like hitting the needle on the record player - if you remember this. To those too young - it is ejecting the CD from the player essentially.

He always calms me. I laugh at myself. He says, "Where is your serenity?" [This one gets me now. I am programmed to aim for serenity - aim is the key word].

He says, "Call someone in the program, call me, journal, but what the heck are you doing calling her?" Well this is not an exact quote. But he says, "you are fighting with alcoholism. You are wanting her to recover, why?" Basically I have this sad and logical excuse, "Weeellll, to save my child." It is lame. I know now that it cannot be done.

Another excuse lingers; "I have a crazy wife - soon to be ex-wife - who is blaming me for her drinking, tells me yesterday that her friends say 'If I were married to Joe, I would drink too.'"

When I reminded her, after that rediculous statement she made, that her friends loved and adored me, because I was sooo funny and that they always asked if I was going with the group, she got pissed off and hung up.

And of course, not letting sleeping dogs lie, I called her and asked her; "So, which friends actually said this?" - as if I would get an answer - And then I did the ultimate - I said, "If you are saying this, and really believe it, you are NOT in recovery."

Getting Recovery - Pause to Stop
Yepity depity. I was in true form yesterday. I was unproductive at work part of the day - But, I was fully engaged.

My sponsor. My sponsor. My sponsor. He is a pause button for me.

PAUSE. Better yet; STOP. I need to build I new button. A STOP button.

A Little More On Where My Fear Is Coming From
Anyway, our mediation date was set up and changed and now set up again. For those who are not familiar with mediation date, this is the last ditch effort to dissolve the marriage and spilt stuff up and get on with a new life as amicably as possible. It is the last ditch effort before a true court date. My fear is I am dealing with an alcoholic. And this alcoholic knows how to obfuscate and deceive. I feel she is not facing the music and she is making me out to be the bad guy. And that makes my fear rise in my chest and head. I am not the bad guy here. But some how, she knows how to get me thinking that maybe I am.

Hope this helps you to see what is running through my head - at least what was going on yesterday for me.

One More Thing - Steps 1 & 3
I need a break. I need another Step 3. Oh, by the way, my sponsor said many things, but he said, "Sounds like your life has become unmanageable. Have you gone to Step 1 and Step 3 yet?" He also said, don't go and make amends when I asked "Duh, should I call and apologize?" He said, "No. You are jumping all the Steps if you do. They are in sequence for a reason. Do Step 1 and 3 - you already believe in a HP. He has already acted in your life. Use your HP again - today." Great advice. I need to follow it. All this advice and it is soooo for free.


Kim A. said...

Joe..when I was 25 and got pregnant, thinking this would sober my ex up, I went off the deep end and plunged in head first to craziness. My shining moment was when I ripped a page out of the BB that writes about the different types of drinkers. I highlighted the one I knew was my husband and taped the page to the front door so when he stumbled in 2 a.m. he would be forced to read it. Yeah right..keep coming back... I was a loon and didn't need one drop of liquor to prove it. Sponsors show me where I can be if I work it and remain teachable. God bless them all and that wonderful "draft" option.


Cat said...

Joe the pause button is a wonderful tool. I have used it myself on many ocassion and always it is with my reminding myself I am not finished dealing with this yet, but right now my head is not in the right place to see this clearly - so I put it awway until later.

Kudos to you!


Progress, Not Perfection said...

Hey Joe,

Lately I have been telling myself just for today I will not dial pain. Sometimes I tell myself every five minutes...

Hang in there. Peace and Serenity.


In Recovery said...

you have inspired me more than you will ever know. I find a lot of myself in your stories! I started blogging too..... In Recovery

Syd said...

I do the inventory for Step 10 when my thinking goes to stinking. It helps and I don't act out what my ego says to do. It sounds as if you are using your sponsor and the program to help in this difficult situation with your wife.