Happy Father’s Day to all of the great Dads out there! It’s now been, uh….76 days without hooch for me? I think? I’m gonna lose track of that pretty damn soon. Unlike the Alcoholics Anonymous program, I don’t see anything magical about these “days sober” milestones. It iz what it iz.
Unlike most people I don’t really celebrate Father’s Day, as I don’t have a father worth celebrating. Long, LONG story there, but defective “fathering” was one of the reasons I ended up wallowing in booze in the first place and finally checking my ass into Oakhill.
At the recovery centre, the staff used a lot of different techniques to help the clients sober up. Sure, twelve-stepping was one of the methods (and I ended up attending WAY more uncomfortable meetings than I was expecting) but it didn’t do much for me.
I enjoyed hearing from other people about their quest to stay sober, but far too many of those stories were tales of woe from folks “white knuckling” their way through life. Perhaps it was simply the meetings we attended, but there wasn’t a lot of joy there. Sobriety should be something we GET to do….not HAVE to do. I could totally get behind the Hip Sobriety approach far more than the AA model.
What Oakhill did give me that provided that AHA! moment was the concept of mindfulness, and the idea that inside all of us there are two entities….the primitive lizard brain that reacts to situations based on all the unhelpful defense mechanisms accumulated over time, and the “curious observer” that is wise, aware and just sitting back watching us be idiots and make bad choices.
In essence…our thoughts do not define us. Through mediation and yoga and journaling, we can examine our thoughts, reactions and behaviours with curiosity instead of judgement, and ultimately get a better idea of where those thoughts come from.
This, for me, was an eye opening concept. So simple, and yet so life changing once the lightbulb comes on.
During my time at Oakhill I collected a number of crystals during forays to Nan’s Rock Shop, a neat new-agey spot nearby. It’s not something the centre promotes but all the other gals were kinda into it, so I investigated. As a militant, almost card-carrying atheist I’ve never been what one would consider spiritual, but since entering recovery I’ve almost turned into a damned hippie. Although I don’t believe the crystals actually do anything to my body, (sorry, but no) I have found that using them in meditation helps me focus on certain concepts (like peace, or joy, or creativity) and set intentions for my day.
Even the cat is reluctantly getting in on the act. Namaste, kitteh….
In fact, I’ve gotten so into meditating, and my collection of “stuff” has grown to be so important to me, my son surprised me by making a special box to put it all in. Such a sweetheart, that one….I’m going to meditate today on getting him a new car or something…
I know, I KNOW, you’re skeptical. I was too, trust me, but ever since I suddenly “got” this concept I have a weirdly peaceful feeling with me all the time that’s hard to explain until you feel it. I haven’t had the urge to drink since I discovered it.
Of course, I think about drinking now and then, but they’re just thoughts and thoughts aren’t real. That’s the difference.
And on that note, I’m thinking about breakfast, so I plan on “curiously observing” some food getting in me on this weirdly unsatisfying Dad’s Day.
Until next time,
Peace and paternity,