A goal is a dream put to paper.  Achieving your goals in 5 simple steps.  That’s quite a cottage industry they got going right there, isn’t it?  The motivational tapes and videos and books and guides and retreats where you learn to really understand what you want out of life; where you are given workbooks, charts, checklists, tips, tricks, and talismans, depending on the touchy-feely level of the seminar.

Step Two: came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

That doesn’t mean it’s all bunk, even though they tend to scream their messages.  Sure, I’ve cracked open my fair share of self-help books in the past, but when it came to schedules and stick–to–itiveness, well, my alcoholism had a way of fucking up my best intentions.  Sure, I’d get up early and plow through much, if not all, of my to-dos for the day.  I was a functioning alcoholic, after all: I still had that to be proud of.

Now I’m in a program that’s got many of the same mantras as the other self-improvement systems out there, only this one won’t be pacified by crossing “mowing the lawn” off some list.  This requires doing things that don’t garnish immediate results.  Which sucks, because I then get nothing to point to for recognition.  It takes a special kind of crazy to demand kudos for not ruining something.  Hey, notice how nobody’s crying?  You’re welcome.

So when it comes to working at staying sober, it’s not enough to check the “don’t drink” box each day and think that in any way is enough to get the job done.  That check box needs to be checked each day just to allow me to start working the steps, working the program, and working the me.

All that being said, today I start writing down what I put into my body and mind and at what time, how much, my sugar and caffeine and nicotine intake, as well as my morning prayers, readings, meditations and meetings.

I’m sure I will be surprised by the results, as I tend to be an in-the-moment, what’s-in-front-of-me-right-now-type personality, where each individual action isn’t too bad taken alone; however, the cumulative effect is often enough to knock me off stride, causing me to withdraw and reassess and disbelieve in the program and my ability to work it, doubting my ability to be honest and willing.

But until I get a clear picture of a typical day in my life, it’s going to be difficult to adapt and adjust appropriately.  In the past I’ve always over-corrected, usually to everyone’s detriment and my own serenity and sanity.  Self-imposed pity.

I know that my sobriety is of number-one importance.  My serenity depends on it.  I’m thinking all this might be a little less hectic if I limit the other addictive, destructive substances that I’ve been mainlining into my system for years.  Case in point: I’ve eaten more chocolate in the last two weeks than I have all year.  Why?  Because there’s a big bowl of Halloween candy in the house.  It’s what’s in front of me.  But the bars are small, and it’s only one here, one there.  Until I’m literally unable to sit down.

Today: Stop doing the next right thing.  Start documenting it.  Let’s find out what I don’t know.

One thought on “journal, my ass.

  1. Good luck with this. Keeping a journal has been a benefit for me. I think more clearly with pen and paper, and the habit reinforces my daily meditation need. I have made a habit of throwing the journal away whenever the book was filled (in about 3-4 months). Initially this may have been about privacy, but over time it has become an act of letting go and humility. I am not writing wisdom “for the ages” (sure, like I know) but personal thoughts and feelings “just for today”.

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