Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gotta decent vibe, like Buddah

Yesterday was a much better day - I am really finding my groove in this place and really enjoying getting to know everyone. The tensions that arise with this many guys living in close quarters is evident, but, if you find the people who are here because they want to be, not the 'bread and breakfast' crowd (the guys here because they have no other place to be), you can do pretty well.

I couldn't sleep too well last night, the guy below me sleeps on his back and snores like a monster - really cool guy in the daytime, but at night I have to say I have moments where I want to choke him or at least roll him over - but I am afraid that he might then choke ME of I climb in his bed to tell him to roll over!! Loc (not a real name) is our house manager, he helped me fix my bike last night on the condition that I put him in my will - I told him I would leave him my bike.

I've been liking the freedom of the evening - last night I went with Marty to help him feed the chickens and baby goats - he is in charge of small animals and I like to go with him in the evening to feed them - the babies are so cute and sweet and he and I have some nice talks about what we want to accomplish.

I've gotten some of the summer schedule - we have several festivals throughout the summer and we're gearing up for a big one the middle of June - Family and friends are welcome to come and spend the day with us and there is going to be a big bbq and we're bringing a lot of the animals out for the to see and ride, etc. My family will be in Vegas that week and wont be able to make it I'm sure, so I volunteered to help the Ranch with some of the planning and serving on the day of- kind of a good will thing - I never mind being the host of a party, so this should be fun.

I hang out with a small group of guys, and two of them are 'phasing' this week, which means that they are moving from the candidate phase which I am in to Phase 1 - one of the guys in the other phases told me that they really get intensive the end of phase 1 and phase 2, and beyond, so I would imagine that this blog will get a lot more deep in the next month.

I am beginning to miss everyone at home, but I am busy through so much of the day and exhausted by the night time, that I dont even notice it much of the time. Time goes by so quickly sometimes so I think that is gonna help - at least until I get to phase 2, when I can get longer day passes and weekend passes to go home. I really miss my dog and I thought I was going to miss TV a lot, but so far, no big, I am pretty busy in the evenings with the gym, with movies, and just playing with the farm animals that I dont even notice. Then I retire to the dorm around 7 or 8, and sit around and chew the fat with the guys, sometimes we play cards, talk about what we did during the day, inevitably we always end up talking about our recovery. I think that these talks are really important to all the guys - it kind of casually reaffirms the reason we made it though another day and why we're gonna make it through tomorrow.

I also get to hear a lot of "One time I was so drunk' stories, and the ones that the previously homeless guys tell are my favorites - my God, those guys have been through a lot, but they tell their stories with such flavor - its cool. I avoided them when I would see them on the street downtown, but now that I know some of them, I might stop and chat on occasion - one guy told me that a friendly conversation was often more valuable than a hand-out to him when he was out there. He didn't mind being poor and homeless, he couldn't bear to be considered un-human.

Today I hung out in town for much of the morning because I had to get a TB test as well as a general physical to make sure that I was healthy enough to work on a farm. I passed - I suppose its a good thing when the doctor clears you to work - My throat is really sore and I wonder if it is because I am living with so many guys right now and I am still trying to get used to so many germs. I stayed with my family the weeks leading up to my arrival here and they have 5 young kids and I was consumed by germs - this is only slightly worse - and the farm is probably not as messy as an evening with the family at my moms.... kidding.

There are guys here for any addiction - alcohol, drugs, porn, sex, food, smoking, even one guy for shopping. Its interesting to see the similarities in the addiction, no matter what. Cigarettes and food are two of the most difficult addictions to treat because they are hard to quantify and the damage is so subtle that most people dont even see it, but regardless of that, the guys here, no matter the addiction, all take it seriously.

Some of the guys here have been to rehab like 5 or 6 times before this - they call them the re-treads- I suppose rehab is only rehab the first time, then its re-rehab, then re-re-rehab, etc. They like this program because it seems like it works - there is less structure and more personal interaction. The freedom with absolute accountability is cool. We dont have a 'lights out' time for instance, but we have to be at 'work' the next day on time.

Most of these guys are normal guys with families, etc. You might not ever know they have addiction issues if you saw them at the Wal-Mart with a buggy full of beef jerkey and a TV guide, but.... its very eye opening who we all are - some are obvious, ex-cons, former homeless, but many are just like me - I am helping a couple of the guys in my dorm with their GED - they read out loud to me in the evening and one guy I am helping him with math - so they like talking to me. I am also talking to a few of the guys about nutrition etc.

I still think my family and friends think of this like a jail or prison - its more like a college - we have issues, we have to overcome challenges, but they are not going to baby sit us and uiltimately our rehabilitation is our responsibility to put in to and take out what we want.

It was a little tempting to have a cigarette while I was in town this morning (a big no no), but I didn't because I decided that I was here on my own free will, and if I am going to bastardize the program by cheating, I may as well go home, stop taking help from family and friends, and get a job and go back to my life. I am here because I have the chance to make some changes - because I want to not because I have to, and that seemed like enough to talk myself out of it.

Plus, I can now run a mile without stopping to breathe.... and I want to run more - I may try a 5K in August and maybe a 10K by Thanksgiving..... wouldn't it be funny if I ran a marathon by this time next year.... Probably not!!

Baby steps, sometimes I have to come back to where I am before I start imagining where I will be -

In any event, I have a loaf of zucchini bread baking and better get back - I'll write tomorrow. For today, the vibe is good, and I am feeling pretty peaceful and healthy.

Peace out all....

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