This is going to be a fairly short week in terms of keeping up – I went on an 4 mile hike at Longs Peak yesterday so I wasn’t around a computer to blog (we also didn’t have an addictions class, so I have nothing to report about that either), and the remainder of this week I am going to be getting ready for my weekend in the City.
I am extremely excited about going to the city – and frightfully nervous. But not because I am worried about relapse. I am a little worried because I will be seeing a lot of friends and I am worried that they wont make sense to me. I have been in this little bubble for a while now and the idea that people outside of it have gone on with their lives is real – but with that, I have to understand that they have changed as well…. Or worse yet, they’ve stayed the same.
My fear isn’t that I will be tempted in to relapse by them – I am pretty equipped for that mentally – what I am unclear about is whether I will bring them back with me when I return. How will I remember this weekend with them, how will I see them once I get back, and at what point does my personal growth involve leaving people in a previous set of memories and experience and who can I bring in to the next set. I suppose this is the part of the story where I will be describing this weekend either as a chapter in a continuing saga, or perhaps, this will be the preface of a whole new volume in my life’s story.
Or, maybe, I’ll go, have a good time, and no one will have changed beyond my ability to adapt and I am wasting good thinking time fretting about nothing at all. This is easy to do in rehab - without other people's problems, or TV, I recently found myself spending a lot of time thinking about the worst case scenario. This is called "catastrophic thinking," and I am trying to stop it!
I am also a little sad because one of my best friends, Nick, was asked to leave this past weekend. He also went on a weekend pass and when he came back he tested positive for the metabolites that your body produces when you do methamphetamine.
Now, Nick is not here because he is any sort of meth head – like me, his exposure to drugs is minimal, and hardly worth even mentioning. He once quipped to me, "I'm just your garden variety drunk." Everyone, including his case manager is convinced that he did not go back to the City on his weekend pass and suddenly feel the need to pick up a crack pipe – no, his dismissal was much worse because, all weekend on his pass, he battled a sinus infection and was taking alka-seltzer sinus medication – which has pseudoephedrine in it (in fact all daytime cold and allergy medicine does) and this causes your body to produce the metabolites in methamphetamine.
And, so it is very disheartening to realize that the whole thing can be derailed by some cold medicine and you can be asked to leave. And I have a lot to say about this situation that I will speak about in a later blog – but for now, I think it’s unfair, and very discouraging that you could follow the rules, want sobriety so bad, and have it taken from you and all for a stupid cold – and, as you might have expected, I have plenty to say on the injustice of it all. But rules are black and white here, and sadly, they have to be.
We also had a new black angus born yesterday. I was pretty happy to see this happen. Baby cows are SO affectionate and love to be loved. There is something that is so pure about the need for a baby to suckle and the need for the baby to immediately feel like part of the group, and to feel the touch of others – animal or humans. And so I was shocked when the mother angus rejected it, the other calves nipped at it, and it was found this morning, starving near the fence, with a longing look on its face and maybe some desperation.
What's interesting is that one of the old bulls was also found near the baby calf - by the fence, rejected by the herd. This bull was never slaughtered because it was a robust bull who had healthy calves - a rare bull because he was gentle with visitors and even the ranchers, and he was a fierce protector on the ranch against predators. So, the ranchers never wanted him slaughtered.
A few of us took the calf and the old bull to the calf huts where we fatten up the lame cows that we buy – we’ve never put one of our own, naturally born cows in this hut. And never have we dared to pen up a bull. But, a lot of the dairy guys said they felt a sort of kinship to this calf and you can only imagine why. Rejection is a real kick in the pants no matter what species you are. So, the calf found a mama goat who generously fed the calf until we could milk the jersey to get enough real cow’s milk for the new calf. The bull was just happy to get some grain.
Funny, I think this will probably be the most spoiled baby cow on the farm now – and much like many of us on the ranch, the rejection eventually leads us to a special place where we can find people to care for us, where we can live long healthy lives and not worry about the rest of the herd while we get our strength up. We’ll eventually send the angus back to the pasture when she is strong enough – and because she is being fed Jersey milk instead of angus milk, she will be a strong, robust cow and probably shock the other cows with how healthy she is. Even in my life, rejection has usually lead to something better once you let the Universe play it out.
We named this baby cow Shaft because it’s a tough little black calf- at any moment I suspect she will get up and say in her angus way, ‘Now Shut Yo Mouth, I’mma bad mamba jamma.’ Or maybe because everyone in the herd gave her the shaft...
But this leads me to the weekend fears I had and fitting in to my own herd. I wasn’t sure if this blog would connect, but sometimes I sit and start typing and the whole thing comes full circle - and little of this is by design, sometimes the thoughts just connect.
So, yea, there have been recent times I have felt a lot like that reject cow– and soon, but its gonna be nice to hit the pasture again and I’ll be a “Bad Mamma Jamma!” too.
But now back to the bull. The bull who now has a new life in a different pasture. He won't be rejected any more. Now I imagine that when someone you love leaves you, or when you face mortality, or grief, or loss of any sort anything like that - and when you seem like the herd is rejecting you - you should take some comfort that, if you led a productive life, if you did the right things, if you were gentle and protective, there should be some comfort in this. And the Universe sends you the right ranchers at the right time to take you to the right pasture. I know a bull like this, and I want to be a bull like this as well.
You surely must, at times, think I must make up these events in order to add substance to my situation, but I don't - and thats the beauty of the world that I've been trying to share with you, that these things must happen all the time, you just need to be open to hearing the message..... I'll be posting photos of Shaft and the retired bull this weekend.
And, I'll be blogging and cleaning up the blog this weekend.... and I am SURE I will have lots to share with you. Have a good week all, and write me if you want.
Days Sober: 75
Days without Bonnie Hunt: 66