That same day we got a new guy, Mike. He's real tall - and he HATES it here. I get a little depressed speaking to him because he does not want to be here and he is kind of putting a damper on my experience. I know that there are going to be people who don't want to be in the program, and they tend to infect the rest of the group with the negativity - and - get this, to boot, he got added to the kitchen staff with me. I am sure he just needs time to adjust to life on the ranch, and I am going to try to help him as much as I can - this is a really different scenario for people who are thrown in to this, I had been mentally preparing myself since December for coming here, and had time and opportunity to wrap up my life before I even set foot in the county - so, I suppose this is the time for me to show my ability to deal with difficult people. Apparently God is heavily involved in putting obstacles in my way was well - the great Case Manager in the sky I suppose!
My buddy, Lane, and I had a really nice talk the other night. We stayed up late to do laundry and ended up talking again. I was asking him about his program and how he is progressing and how he feels about it. He is super funny and very nice - but he has a real depth, almost a sadness that comes from his soul. He's also the youngest guy here, only 23 - a drinker for 8 years. I really like speaking to him about his thoughts. He is very social and spends a lot of time with our group of guys, but I can see him reflect a lot and... He said he understands how important it is for him to be sober, and he said that he is in love with a girl who has never seen him sober for an entire day, and he wants her to fall in love with the real him, not the drunk him. He also pointed out something that a lot of people in recovery discover - that life "hurts a lot more when you're sober." He's right.
I found out why my friend Rob sleeps with a tiny blanket - we used to make fun of him because he would sleep with this tiny towel like blanket, and he's huge - like 6'4"! He told me one evening when we went for a walk that he's got a three year old son who he has sleep in the blanket so it gets his smell on it, then Rob can sleep with the blanket every night here on the ranch and smell his son. He wants to get sober so he can be around for him.
There are so many reasons the guys stick it out day after day, why getting healthy is so important to them. Everyone takes their rehabilitation very seriously and everyone has a reason they want to make it work. We hear all the time from the counselors that we should do this for ourselves, and while I agree with that, it also helps to hang on to something, to have some sort of motivation to maintain sobriety - to have a reason - whether a person or a goal. I mean, if we were really our own first priorities, we probably wouldn't have risked our lives and our happiness travelling down the addiction read to begin with. What I am saying is that, without a reason to be sober, we are people who seem perfectly happy, even hell bent on killing ourselves with addiction. Knowing our own importance to other people helps us to realize how important it is to live.
The guys have been really grouchy this weekend. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we all have so much time to think. Luckily I have been busy in the kitchen, so I dont get those down times to really go crazy in my own thoughts. I also think the weekends are a time when many of the guys really understand what they are missing at home.
Theres a guy here, Brad, who looks amazingly like Detective Stabler from Law and Order:SVU. I told him this and he asked if this actor was ugly... I told him that he wasn't and that kind of made him happy - a weird 'man compliment' I suppose.
But, I also told him that I liked his really cool rain poncho because it was Navy Blue and really good quality. He told me that he got it from an army/ navy surplus store and that it was navy issue. It was really nice.
I went to lunch that day and when I returned, I found the raincoat on my bed with a note, "I know you like this poncho, and its yours. I was having a really tough time today, my self esteem was kind of shot, and when you told me I wasn't ugly, I really felt like I wasn't. You helped me through a storm, I hope this raincoat helps you through a couple, too."
WOW! It was super nice - and it goes to show that you just never know the impact a kind word will have on someone, and that the universe sends you what you need (like a kind word), when you need it - but you have to be clear, be open, be sober enough and be willing to see it and accept it. What's sad about it is that, 70% of the guys here at the ranch will relapse within the first year, and many will die within the next five years from over dose - many will die alone, in a motel room or somewhere where they just couldn't escape the demons, and that really sucks.
One thing that I think is such a weird irony is that, as addicts, we have all lost so much, we have all been abandoned or have neglected so many of the important things leaving our lives. But the idea of giving up the thing that causes us to lose so much of ourselves is something many of us refuse to do. We will give up almost everything to keep this one thing - and if you are not addicted to anything, I hope that tells you how strong an addiction can be.
But I am no longer conflicted. I love that I am wrapping my head around my routines here at the ranch - and I am happy that I am able to see the forest for the trees finally. The thoughts of home and what I am missing were clouding me, and at the ranch, I am clear again. I am beginning to see again. Its like reality and possibility and happiness is seducing me again and I think in a year, they are gonna give me a big wet sloppy kiss!
I didn't realize how unhappy, clouded, and conflicted I was a couple weeks ago. I mean, I knew it was there, but I didn't know what I was carrying around - I didn't know how much it was weighing me down. Its only been a short time, but each day I shed a little of the heaviness of unhappiness and I feel lighter and happier.
You know when Jabba the Hut encases Hans Solo in that carbon crap in Empire Strikes Back - then he is rescued and thawed and goes back and kills Jabba - I feel like my inner Hans Solo is melting and Jabba is on my shit list! I was going to use a different analogy - colon cleansing - and how good diet and a good colon cleanse really gets the sh*t out and it all feels good.... but I decided that I didnt need to be quite so descriptive. Besides, I dont have a suitable picture to post on the blog for that one anyway!
I do love the ranch, and I am becoming a really good farmer - I know this because I am usually out standing in my field.... just kidding. I love the baby cows, three of them have some sort of birth defect - the guys all seem to love these calves - I think its because we can relate to them - they're damaged, misfits, and need some help - but otherwise perfectly lovable. One of them can barely stand or move.... but I realized the other day while I was feeding her that, even though the calf has to limp, she is still walking. And happy to be alive, spared the bullet she would have received had the ranch not rescued her. You see, big ranches will kill a misfit calf because they cant make it - but here at this ranch, we'll take it and love it. But thats how I feel - even though I may be limping, I am still walking - and soon to run.
Anyway - I have more entertaining stories the rest of the week. Just thought I would catch you up on the progress of what I call Mental Detox. Its the observations I am making now that I am seeing clearer.