Thursday, August 6, 2009

My new address.... a New Dorm.

When I went in to Jim’s office Monday morning to request that he print August through October blank calendars for me, I got to thinking. It was August 3 and I had used the May, June and July calendars he printed for me the first week I got here.

I’ve always considered myself an organizer, or at least someone who has an indescribable need to document everything that goes on in my life. I said many blogs ago that I keep a couple different kinds of journals – and I needed three new calendars.

Jim laughed and said that he remembers the first week I was on the farm and asked him to print these calendars for me, I said that I would only need three months of calendars, and that it would be a long time before I needed another set. WOW! Was I wrong. Those first few days, rehab seemed like an impossible chore and in the limiting confines of being away and so isolated , August seemed like decades away. I explained earlier that to an alcoholic, time is always a little bit skewed – and many times its entirely wrong.

But August is here, and I need three new blank calendars.

Reaching this small goal of filling up the past three months of calendars is one that may have gone unnoticed had I not glanced at the previous calendars – and on them I noticed all the numbers and codes.

I watched the days of sobriety (and no Bonnie Hunt Show) increase. Every Tuesday I have a number which indicates the time which has passed since I decided to get drunk – May 5th.

May 20 – 14 days sober, 5 days without Bonnie Hunt.
August 4 – 91 days sober, 82 days since Bonnie Hunt.

I will quietly celebrate 100 days of sobriety next Thursday. Nice goal to reach.

Every Monday since I started since (my first Monday – May 18) I also have a number. This is my weight, I started working out and trying to keep track of the physical part of my new creation – read the blog description at the top of this web page – I say I am trying to CREATE myself…. This requires a completely new person - physical, emotional, spiritual, and therapeutic. So, I look at the numbers in weight go down….

May 19 – I was 182lbs.
August 3 – I am 156lbs.

This week, I also was able to finally do 3 sets of a 110 lb bench press. I had given myself until Christmas to reach 150lbs and 5 sets of a bench press over 100lbs. I am ahead of the game. New Goal: 5 pull ups by Christmas!

I am packing tonight because I am moving to a new dorm, another sign of my progress. I am moving to a dorm with 4 guys in it. When I started I slept in a room with 24. Seemed like forever before I got here. I didn’t think this day would ever come.

I am training horses in my spare time, and can bridle a mare in about a minute. This week marks the first week I have ended every single ride without falling, woken up without soreness, and have managed to get the horse back in to the stable by calling her and not using a lead. In horseman terms, this is real progress to get a salty old mare to trust you.

It was my goal to learn how to be alone and not feel lonely – and last Sunday night I was walking the mile to the dorms from the gym, in the dark (its damn dark on a farm), and although I was physically alone, I was hardly lonely.

In addictions class all last week we worked on something called a reality model. This is an exercise whereby we start with where we are now and work out way backwards on how we got here – we connect the dots to see at what point out path lead us to the farm, to being single, to being estranged, whatever place you decide you are.

Basically, we have needs – this leads to beliefs on how to get those needs met, this leads to rules on how to execute the beliefs, then we develop a behavior, and this leads to results. In this model, the further you work back, the earlier you change your pattern, the more likely you are to change the result.

In other words – You may feel that you need love and affection. Your belief is that you must get love from another person and that this is your priority. Your rule is that you will date or sleep with just about anyone because you think that this is feeling love and affection. Your behavior is to become a tramp – to abuse drugs or alcohol to appear popular, or to put yourself in positions where you will meet people who you just settle for – the result is that you feel like you have reached love and affection.

But then one day you look around and see that you’re not happy. You’re with the wrong person, you have a venereal disease, you cant maintain a real relationship, you are unfulfilled. If the results of your behavior do not meet your needs over time, there is an incorrect principle way back in your belief window.

You can try to change the behavior, but it wont really work. You can try to change the rule, but it wont really last. You have to move all the way back to your belief on your need. Results take time to measure, but true growing is the process of changing the principle in your belief window. Addiction is the result of deep unmet needs, and where people have problems is that they begin to believe that their needs are being met through superficial things and then they’re in big trouble.

But when you get your belief into order – when there is harmony in this, your rule changes, this forces your behavior to change and the result becomes awesome! This is inner peace, I believe.

If you really want to change the quality of your life tangibly, you MUST change the quality of your thinking, your principles - go as far back as you need to in order to see where its going wrong.

Your mind and heart naturally seek harmony when presented with two opposing principles.
Psychologists call this cognitive dissonance, your brain can NOT maintain two conflicting ideas, and the stronger set of principles will eventually rule to roost.

So – lets apply this to me. One need I have had is to escape boredom. I believed that I could do this through drinking copious amounts of booze. My rule was that I would do this in front of the TV or locked away at home. My behavior was to rent movies, and plant myself on the couch with a bottle of gin. The result is that I was lonely, and often left MORE bored.

These days, I still have a need to try to escape boredom. I believe I can do this through activity with people or even alone. My rule is to always have a couple things I want to accomplish (ride my bike, run, work out, write this blog). My behavior is to do these things all the time. My result is that I have lost 25 lbs., have great friends, and feel great – and I am no longer lonely or bored.

This is a real simple example, and my true reality model was more complex than this – and – like so many of the things that I explain to you about these exercises that we do in addictions class, these things seem real simple until your try them and until you can see them spread out on paper and you can reflect on them.

True changes are taking place.

But if you are not getting what you want from a relationship or a situation or a job or even life in general – start with where you are now, and work backwards – and WOW!! It suddenly becomes real clear where you need to change what you are doing.

This has been a really great week, and I am very happy to report that many of the goals I set for myself before I got here are goals which I am beginning to reach. I spend a lot of my time noticing the places that I am failing, or have failed in the past and, as the universe would have it, success has come to me in a series of events which are bolstering my confidence that what I am doing is working.

We've also started a really fascinating portion of the program that deals with an alcohol addiction in a biochemical way - and that reconnecting dopamine receptors and pleasure centers can be achieved through proper nurtition - that there is a component to alcohol addiction that is biochemical - hormonal and chemical. There are people who have predisposed propensities towards drinking based on natural tolerances or deficiencies in their nutrition.

I will report more on this next week once I learn more, but so far.... ITS AWESOME to learn about this stuff. Thank God I have a year for this program - they're throwing a lot at me.

Its also been a week of laughter. For some reason, I have been laughing out loud more, I have been smiling more – I rode my bike about 10 miles last night to the top of a plateau north of the ranch. I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich – Dave Matthews on the .mp3 player and my thoughts. I watched the sunset the way God intended it to be seen and I rode home.

Satisfied that this was a good week, and I’ve accomplished a lot. Hope you have too.

1 comment:

  1. I would love to see a sunset the way God intended....
    your sister