Friday, December 7, 2007

Habits of the highly ineffective

Rehab: Day three
Bored: 11 days

This is the first time in six years that I can write how long I've been bored using numeric characters instead of spelling it while not breaking the must-spell-out-all-numbers-less-than-ten rule. Kudos, me.

Not sure what I think about tonight. I'm exhausted. My t-shirt was too tight and I was uncomfortable the whole time. After a lecture about our expectations for the class, as well as a brief primer on some of the lingo people have been using (which, thank GOD, finally. So much of Monday and Wednesday was lost in translation because I had no idea what people were saying or how it pertained to me), we talked in depth about the habits and signs of addictive personalities.

I'll say that one thing that's always bothered me about recoveryville, at least the little that I know about it, is that everything you hear is so black and white. I might be off, but my understanding of AA, for example, is that you ARE an alcoholic and you MUST have this deep powwow with everyone in your life about your mistakes and regrets and you HAVE TO submit to a higher power or you WILL end up dirty, toothless, and rooting for cigarette butts in the planters outside office buildings downtown.

I think that things are more black and white than addicts would like to admit, but less so than recovery counselors insist. Tonight we discussed a bunch of major traits, and some I could relate to and some I couldn't. I felt like a failed addict, kind of. I can't do ANYTHING right. No, but seriously, folks. An impulse I had, but did not entertain for long, was that maybe this isn't really for me because a lot of this seriously does not apply. Like, I would never check the box on the form next to "Do you explode with rage while intoxicated or while suffering from the after-effects of intoxication?". I may seethe and engage in passive aggressive mental trickery, but no, I do not "explode with rage". The way this was delivered though, it was clear he wasn't interviewing us, but breaking it down for us: this is how you are.

Here's a better example. One of the characteristics of an addict is that nothing is your fault, and there's always a good reason to be engaging in your addictive behavior. It's always something that's being done to you, and not something you're choosing to do.

So not me. And he delivered it in a real "Gotcha!" kind of way, like he was totally laying down the truth, and didn't it resonate? I expected to hear the Law & Order "CHUNK CHUNG" sound when he was done. And if anything, I'm the opposite. I drink the same way that, to a far lesser extent, I diet. I know I shouldn't do something, I do it anyway, I feel like shit about it and do it again. Repeat ad nauseam. The whole time I'm doing it I'm beating myself up for it. I know it's my fault and I hate myself for not being able to better control it.

On the other hand, some of the things he said were real home runs. Like how addicts try to solve peripherally, AROUND the addiction. As soon as he said that I thought, "Kind of like how I--"

"For example, you might move to a different city or change jobs". And DING DING DING! Score one for Bob, who just completed my thought for me. Sure, my move fifteen months ago was for school, but I also thought that by quitting my semi-cush job and comfortable living situation and moving to a city where I would be poor and friendless and constantly crunched for time, I'd have no choice but to be sober. Thinking about this point, I had no trouble coming up with dozens of examples in my own life. It's so fucking obvious that I can't believe it never occurred to me before.

But is it like reading a horoscope, where you're like "Oh my god, that is SO ME", and then you read the horoscopes for all the other signs, and a bunch of them apply to you just the same? And aren't you a little bummed when that happens? Like, now that you could be a virgo and/or a capricorn, neither seems all that special?

I'm still getting this party started, so I guess I'll have a more educated opinion further down the road. I can't help but lose faith in somebody's opinion though, when they're looking me in the eyes and telling me that something I just don't believe is correct is for certain.

There's this, though: several times tonight somebody would object to something he said, or just give a really reasonable sounding reason why they didn't think it applied to them. Then, in three questions or less, he'd change their mind. And it wasn't in a car-dealer-y way, mindfuckey way, either. It really seemed to make sense.

But then again, I've never been to a psychic because I know that, by week's end, I'd be forking over my rent money to talk to dead relatives I didn't even know I had. I'm like that.

4 comments:

luella kotex said...

maybe you need the miss cleo tarot cards jami got at a dollar store in new jersey. i told her she had to give them to someone worthy, since you can't keep them, since it's bad to buy tarot cards for yourself. that is probably true, but possibly not, because i think i learned it first from "my so-called life."

moobs said...

That's funny, I totally thought you were TAROT SPAM until I realized there wasn't a link to like psychicuniverse.com or something at the end and re-read it.

If I was Jami, I would keep those forever, even if it meant being suffocated by a chicken or whatever is supposed to happen to you when you buy your own tarot cards.

Remember how scandalized everybody was when they found out Miss Cleo wasn't Jamaican? That she was a drama student from Seattle?

And how sad to walk into Dollar Plus a few weeks later, only to find that the tarot cards with your face on them, they're lying next to returned copies of Ted Haggard's "From This Day Forward: Making Your Vows Last a Lifetime (with Gayle Haggard)"

The Dollar store as receptacle for fallen mighties.

buicksarehard said...

I would never check the box on the form next to "Do you explode with rage while intoxicated or while suffering from the after-effects of intoxication?". I may seethe and engage in passive aggressive mental trickery, but no, I do not "explode with rage". The way this was delivered though, it was clear he wasn't interviewing us, but breaking it down for us: this is how you are.

brillz. true. truly brillz. i feel your struggle in the recovery interstice. i read a book "addictive thinking and the addictive personality," and i *was* like OMG THAS SO ME, but i've also run screaming from the absolutes of 12-step rhetoric.

moobs said...

Right? There just is grey area in some places. And the places where they try to tell you there isn't are places where everybody knows there is. PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT. Class dismissed.

It's not even that I'm not willing to agree that 2+2=twelveteen if it means a sunshinier future for myself, and there's probably no practical way to address all the variables in a class as - diverse - as this. Still, drinking yourself into a stupor for no good reason is illogical, and everybody responds to logic. Can't we discuss logic?

Why were you reading that book? And I hope you didn't get the Buick.