I need to be Sober in a lot of things…

Many of you know, that I have struggled with drinking.  Over the past few years, I have tossed the idea around that I may or may not be an alcoholic. I have not, actually, been drunk in almost 7 years, but I would still have a couple of beers every night for almost all of those 7 years.  When I came to the lowest point of my depression and contemplated suicide, almost 2 years ago, I was seeing a therapist that gave me a list of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. I began going. And I struggled with it, like I do a lot of things. Is it the anxiety? IS it the depression? Who really fucking knows?

I struggled going to those meetings for over a year.  I was engaged in a lot of the positive messages, but struggled nonetheless. I would go back and forth trying to figure out if I can go back out and try what AA members refer to as “controlled drinking”. I always thought that sounded asinine – I mean, if you have to call it controlled drinking, then you’ve got a problem.  No, I’m way to smart for that (This is sarcasm, by the way), I didn’t call it anything other than “I’m not an alcoholic. I’ll quit anytime I want.” It was to a point where I had someone ask me at a meeting once, if I was up to my 30th 24-hr chip. I had made up my mind that I would show everyone there that I could do it. In fact, I made it past 90 days, at one point. Unfortunately, I have had some beer, since then.

I have gone out and drank. I haven’t gotten drunk, but I began to have a beer here and there and then I began having a couple here and there. My current job, when on the jobsite, doesn’t allow alcohol, so I can go two weeks without a beer and not even think about it – unless I feel like crap.

Why am I mentioning this?

Because, today, I want to cram a box full of twinkies down my throat. Yesterday, I had someone refer to me as fat. It’s not the first time it’s happened. I call myself fat, so why wouldn’t anyone else? No one can tell I’ve lost 12 pounds trying to eat right, no one can tell that my pants are a little looser around my waist, no one can tell that I am doing better. What they can see is that I’m not slim, I’m not fit, I’m not sexy. I mentioned, before, that one of my hang-ups about my gender-identity is that I can’t feel good in my body. I can’t find a happy medium on how to feel better.

And so, after hearing that I am fat, I did the first thing that made sense – I went to the store and picked up a package of twinkies, a package of cookies and a bag full of chips, after buying myself a chocolate shake and downing it. I haven’t eaten any of the crap I bought – oh wait, yes I did…for breakfast, I ate the damn donuts I bought. And now, as I am writing this, just a mere four feet away are the box of twinkies. I know it’ll bring me some pleasure for the 3.4 seconds it’ll take me to cram those yellow cakes of creamy goodness down my throat, and I know that it’ll be detrimental to my health.

Maybe that’s the essence of the psychological hook on addiction? Maybe that’s why I could be an alcoholic. And then it makes me think of other ways I have sought temporary pleasure when it comes to feeling horrible about myself: food, sex, masturbation, beer, being online, etc.  There is a list, I’m sure could go on and on. I think I run from what hurts me, I run from it and engage in destructive behaviors. Somewhere along the line, I began to question myself, I began to question my own self-worth. I began to question my own reality. I began to question anything I see as unique and positive about me. I began to think nothing really matters, because nothing can really make me happy.

And then I wonder, if keeping a blog like this does the same…

Catholicity and my Sexuality.

I am not normal.

I don’t remember the exact words the Catechism of the Catholic Church uses in describing homosexuals (and in my case, bisexual).  I’ve mentioned, before, however, that I see the word “normal” from a mathematical standpoint and I can understand the exact nature of normalcy. Normal has an exact definition and I’m not offended when I hear that I’m not normal. Normal has everything to do with the distribution curve of humanity – breaking people into numeric descriptions that yields a data point on a curve and seeing that the bulk of that curve lies within a standard deviation of the data.  It has a quality to it that expresses a certain flavor of uniqueness.  I would lie outside that “bulk” of the curve. That is EASY to embrace – I am unique and my sexuality is unique.

An abomination?

That is the more glaring understanding of how Christianity and Catholicism sees alternative sexualities. Specifically, it’s not that one man loving another man is a sin, because that is the reflection of God’s love for all humanity. No, this judgment and assessment is focused on the homosexual act – the act of one man lying down with another man. There are a few references in the Bible that addresses this behavior – among many other behaviors.  So, I can grasp and see where many of the opinions originate from the Christian community.

Lately, however, I have received more followers to my blog that are Christian. I have several people that are Catholic following me, as well.  Having been raised in a Catholic home, I have an understanding of the….hmmm…for lack of a better phrase…an understanding of the mentality that goes on from the Christian community with respect to alternative sexualities.  I have mentioned in previous posts, that I had a decent grasp of the apologetics of Catholicism at one point in my life. I read the Catechism, the Bible, and various Catholic literature on a regular basis.  So, I can see and understand some of the reasoning that goes on in that community.  But I am always amazed that anyone from the Christian community would have anything to do with me – I am the abomination that they have learned.

Recently, I mentioned that I had an old friend that I almost revealed my sexuality. It was almost a scary moment.  Well,when she and I were much closer as friends, I had a suspicion she might be Catholic, although it was never discussed – mostly because I was immature and made rash assumptions without ever knowing facts.  During our recent conversation, however, she had mentioned she was Catholic but still supported LGBT rights.  She had several friends that had come out to her before, but she had taken her father’s understanding of sexuality because of her friends’ sexualities – that God loves us all and that loving someone is an example of His love. She also mentioned that her dad had expressed that God doesn’t make mistakes, so being born a certain sexuality doesn’t seem fair that they couldn’t love someone based on their birth. Of course, hearing this almost pushed me over the edge, because I had a lot of respect for her dad too.

But there is something else that stands out in my head from what I have learned about Catholic theology: Although God does make some of us with an “abnormal” (based on my definition of “normal”) sexuality, He still has rules for how we express sexual love – that it should only be expressed monogamously among a man and a woman who are married to each other. The idea that someone has been born as bisexual does not relieve him or her of this responsibility; this person has a special cross to bare (Side note: I can’t remember if I should be using bare or bear…I’m running into this a lot in my writing, lately…and it’s beginning to piss me off).

That seems like a wide river to cross as I am now in the midst of a failed marriage. Naturally, I have questions about what direction to take my life and whether or not I should pursue another relationship sometime in the future. I certainly don’t believe a relationship would serve me in the best way in the immediacy, but I am curious about that possibility in the future. I fluctuate in my sexuality too -What if I find another woman that I love?  What if this is the springboard that brings Stephanie out? What if I fall in love with a man? Or, maybe this is the time I give everything about myself up and hand myself over to God?

This concept of a Higher Power has been a struggle of mine for quite some time, as many of you are aware. I have not read my Bible in years, but for some reason, on a whim, I brought it with me on this time I am away for work.  And last night I read it. I opened it up to Psalm 62. I have taken comfort in this particular Psalm before and it has been recommended to me from a priest before.  I went to bed last night and read it before sleeping and I can’t really explain what pulled me in to read it.  I am at a crossroads in my life, again, and I have rarely approached my life without deep thought (A predisposition to my anxiety, obviously). But I read something last night that pulled me into this thinking.

I follow a blogger that I really find inspiring. I won’t mention her name or cite the post of hers I read, because I have not asked for permission, but she wrote something yesterday that got me to thinking.  She is “pro-life” and so am I.  I don’t want to get into a debate about the topic, other than to say her post really got me thinking about how much I have pulled away from my faith.  It made me question myself, again. In many ways, I feel ‘right’ about the part of my being that is Stephanie, but there is another part of my being that tells me I’m not on the right path in life at all.  There are times when I miss the faith in which I was raised, but there are other times when I feel like being bisexual, being Stephanie, being who I feel I am makes more sense. And then there are times when I look at life through the lenses of science and I question the reality of my life and what it means to me.

“Trust in God” is a tough piece of advice for me, because the reality for me is that I don’t trust God.  But it is this piece of advice that is suggested time and time again by priests, family, friends and others that have a strong belief in God.  And as a Catholic, I have not done Lent this year or in recent years…

And now, I wonder if I might be backtracking on myself – not a good place for my mind to be.  It makes me wonder what is next for me. It has me questioning if I have been using sexuality as a means to hide my own personal responsibilities in life. Am I a scared little boy unable to handle life? Or am I a woman coming into her own and this is the natural process that has to occur? Or worse, like alcoholism, have I been using my sexuality as a means to achieve some short-lived, superficial happiness based on some mental defect? Is this simply a manifestation of a disturbed mind?

These are my thoughts this morning, as I wake and have a cup of coffee and I prepare to work in one of the most male-driven, masculine-based industries known – drilling for oil.

Sober: 3 Months

This past Wednesday, I crossed the date that marks 90 days sober for me. I’very been attending AA meetings and working the 12 Steps Program. I’m doing it slowly – in fact, today I met with my sponsor and did the 3rd Step and trying to turn my will over to my Higher Power.

I feel my attitude changing in a lot of ways. I am taking better care of myself – logging my food to be aware of calorie intake, drinking 90 – 120 oz. of water each day, walking strenuously a few times per week and even praying.

Why? Well, because I am seeing how these things seem to work for others. I am doing my best to change my thinking. There are days where I still think of downing a few beers, there are still days that I pander to the idea that I might be “notmal” someday. But I am filling my thoughts and mind with a new way of thinking, because I have a tendency to obsess about things. I want that to change.

But today, I’m “working the program”…

Day 92. – The longest I’ve been without a beer in the past 10 years.20170303_133215.jpg

God: What I think he or she should be…

Yesterday, in my post on Acceptance, I had a friend suggest I make a list of what/who I think God should be. If you’ve been a part of my blog, it becomes readily obvious that I struggle with God and religion. I was raised as a Catholic, but I find that concept to be rather limiting to someone of my sexuality.  Before I continue, I also believe there is some danger in being selective about what we believe – the idea of moral ambiguity seems chaotic to me.

However, I will perform the suggested exercise, and here is my list of what I think God(dess) should be:

  1. Obvious – I don’t like guessing games. I need a higher power that easily self-identifies as such.
  2. Natural – I believe we have an amazing world and I can’t help but think that a God or Goddess would want the natural world around us to be destroyed.
  3. Loving and understanding – We make mistakes in life and I need a cushion.
  4. Accepting of human sexuality in its natural forms – being bisexual, most of you can see why I need this to be open. Most organized religions reject alternative sexualities.
  5. Clear messages – like number 1 above, I admit I’m a bit stupid and I want something to be clear, so I know if I am doing something wrong.
  6. Instant judgement for some “sins” – let’s face it, there are some monsters in humanity and I think there should be instant punishment (lightening strikes and such) for such deplorable as child rapists.
  7. Etc.

This is a beginning, but these are som3 things that I think God SHOULD be.

Day 89.

 

A Higher Power and Sobriety

It’s no secret that I struggle with the concept of a Higher Power and have become more aligned with the funny little monikers in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) than I have with an actual God – i.e G.O.D. = Group of Drunks. But if you read the Daily Reflections (One of the many forms of literature offered by AA), it is readily obvious that the months of the year are synonymous with the 12 Steps of the AA program, so February is all about the 2nd Step – one comes to believe that a Higher Power can restore us to sanity. It might be tough to understand – especially coming from a “sinner” like myself, but I have been praying this past month.

Do I believe in a Higher Power?  There is so much about this topic that it is hard to conquer in one simple blog post.  But I have realized one thing, praying causes my mind to focus.  I’ve lost focus in my life, from all the things I carry in my mind and in my soul and in my heart.  Last night, I had a small panic attack, and instantly recited the Serenity Prayer in my mind and it calmed me.  But it made me think about other times that I have handled stress and anxiety in a successful way. It made me consider all of the things I take on and try to accomplish – somewhere in my mind, I think I am superman (or woman, as the case may be) to assume I can accomplish everything. Is this the issue a Higher Power is supposed to solve – the overwhelming effects of an anxious mind worrying about everything?

I think about the fact that I have taken on a lot of things, and sometimes not very successfully, because I don’t know how to establish boundaries. My desire to do everything for everyone and fantasize about doing things I enjoy is a hindrance in my life. Although, the entirety of my blog seems to be one of negativity and pessimism, the reality is that I am an optimistic person and I believe I can do what I set my mind to accomplish.  The sad reality for me, is that there are natural limits in life, and because of those limits, I can’t do everything.

I’m going to take a slight aside here and put some perspective on this topic. For some reason, in my life, I have a difficult time feeling meaningful, unless I have millions of things going on around me.

I tried to take a break yesterday evening and just sit on my couch and enjoy some downtime watching television.  I found myself, fidgeting and unable to remain seated. I began to wander around my kitchen and wanting to find something to eat – I felt hungry, because I’m trying to reduce my calorie intake – but I didn’t need anything to eat. I went back and sat down, while a saved episode of “Dance Moms” finished playing. I attempted to watch an episode of “Special Victims Unit” on TV, but discovered myself trying to read, answer emails and a variety of other activities that I Felt needed to get done.  Then I went into the kitchen again and wandered around without real purpose. The anxiety hit, as I began to breathe hard and shaking my hands to try and shake off whatever it was.  Then I went for a walk and said the Serenity Prayer.  I felt a calm come over me and I know some would say that is the God speaking to me and taking care of me.  Truthfully, I speculate the reality of that.  I felt like my mind focused on the walking. I felt the physical energy of the impending panic attack disappear.

And I thought about all the different things in life that I have made Higher Powers – weightlifting, martial arts, hiking, sex, beer, reading, money, working, school, relationships, TV, video games, eating, fucking chocolate, etc., etc. (Funny, irony – right after I named those Higher powers, my word count was “666”…LMAO, I see irony in so many things). The reality is that I have a mind that obsesses. I have to constantly solve problems and challenges (You can probably imagine how difficult a disagreement might be with me, huh?). And I’m going to venture something else slightly controversial – I’ve even made religion and God a Higher Power that was obsessive at one point in my life. I realize there are some that would claim this to be a good way to go, but I can tell you that my tendency is to fall so deep into something that there isn’t an escape that allows me to relate to people in a normal manner.  This is dangerous, if you ask me.

So, what is my Higher Power? What is the God of my conception?  I don’t honestly know, but I have been willing to accept that I don’t know and I am willing to follow some ideas that seem to work.  I know that right now, there are many things I can’t “fix”, but I haven’t figured those out yet. So, I pray to a God…or a Goddess…or a Universal Power…or a Pagan Diety…or to a Group of Drunks…or all of you who read this blog.

Today, I am sober 84 days.
 

Cravings

It’s been 78 days, since I last had a beer. My mind is more clear then it has been in a long time. I’m feeling more positive then I have felt in a long time. I feel slightly more healthy then I felt in a long time (Seriously, I have more lifestyle changes to make but step by step I’ll get there). And I am much more accepting of myself then I have been in a long time.

But, I still have cravings, but the cravings are different then they were before. A year ago, I knew I wanted to drink to hide my emotions, but today I know that the drink is only a temporary fix to the emotions that need to be addressed straight on. Now the cravings are due to the flavor of the beers I miss.

The other day, I was going to a Starbucks to get a coffee and there was a delivery truck nearby a liquor store and the truck was advertising Fat Tire Amber Ale and I reminisced the flavor of that beer (even as I write this, my mouth begins to water) and it made me question myself. It made me question if I can ever have another beer, like a hearty stout. It made me ponder if I am actually an alcoholic or if I just felt like crap for so long that I needed to see how life could be.

And then I wondered if this debate is proof that there needs to be another day I go without.

Today, I will finish sober.

Day 78.

Sometimes I Want to Cry…

Today, I am struggling.
It has been several weeks, since I’ve felt this low, but it is hitting me like a train today.  I have been working some ungodly hours at two different jobs. I am putting in over 65-70 hours per week, trying to work on an advanced degree online and still managing my family responsibilities. But today my efforts feel like they are falling short. 
I am tired.
Physically, emotionally tired.
I want to cry.
I have not been tempted to drink in quite some time either, but last night I was craving a beer in a monstrous way. I am overwhelmed by the lack of balance in my life, which because evident last week, when I went to the Urgent Care for this earache and horrible sinus infection I had.  I expressed to the nurse practitioner that I Was a type-1 diabetic and hse said to me, “Are you sure you’re type 1, because I’ve never seen a type 1 that weighs as much as you do.”
I hate that nurse. Bitch!
But I hate myself more. Double bitch!
I feel like I have no time to take care of myself. I feel like I have swapped beer for eating more. I can’t seem to find the right emotional balance to accomplish all that is in front of me. I feel like it’s all going to come tumbling down soon. I don’t know why I feel the need to puch myself so hard to accomplish so little.  Because I am sacrificing myself in the process.
The fight is always the same.
I don’t know how to do it.
I need some major stress relief, and I have no time, money, motivation to relieve myself from it all.
I’m happy I stopped drinking, believe it or not. It reminds me of a time, when I never drank – except on extremely rare occasions. At that time, I was so incredibly healthy, so incredibly health conscious, so incredibly aware of my health needs. And I thought I was a sexy bitch too.
But I lost it.
I forgot about myself.
I began to loathe myself.
I’m back in a dangerous rut and I need to shake it.
I don’t know how to achieve the balance I need to meet all of my needs – financial, intellectual, emotional, physical, relationship, etc.
But I am on day 69 (I soooo love that number.)
I cried today.
I’ll make it, I just don’t know how at the moment.