addiction

Crossings…

Once upon a time…
Some people were wandering in the wilderness. They had been seriously lost. They had wandered for a generation and had begun to believe that they would never find their way out. Finally, they got to where they could see where they were going. They could see the goal that they had begun to believe they would never reach but, there was a river in the way. That brought their dreams to a crashing halt but, their holy men prayed and they were given an answer from their God. He said, “I will make a path through the water and you will set monument stones where you walk that path through the river.” They agreed. They had the leaders of their tribes set those stones in the middle of the river where they had walked on dry land. Then their God closed up the river over those monuments leaving them unseen except for in the memories of the survivors…

Now, no matter what happened, they couldn’t cross back and they couldn’t disregard the importance of honoring the monuments their God had instructed them to place. They didn’t know what the future would hold, only that their past was closed to them…

Our lives are like that. Sometimes we face obstacles that seem unpassable. We get to the edge and don’t know what to do. We can see where we need to be, it’s right over there,but, we can’t see a way to cross to it…and then something changes…

I was faced with one of those places recently. I have had issues with trusting people, with believing that they will remain true to what they say. I have friends that have helped me get to the edge of the river by showing me that THEY could be trusted but, that was hard won, like the journey leading to the river. Still, I wanted to keep my distrust because it’s safer that way…and something happened. Just like in the story, one more person came along and changed things. They changed it by trusting me first…

The story shows, to me, a bunch of other things…

It shows me that, once crossed, we can not go back to our past…

It teaches that, although we fear the river might close up and swallow us, it is better to cross and begin again, no matter our fears.

It also lets us know that those crossings aren’t done alone. They asked their God for help and crossed with each other…

We don’t always see those crossings. Sometimes we look back and realize we did cross.

Sometimes the milestones and monuments differ. Some are places in time. Others are locations or objects. The most important are the people that help us and we keep them in our memories and hearts forever.

In the end, the best monuments are the memories of the times that a person neither pulled or pushed but, took our hand and walked along side. They are never seen but, exist to this day.

I have my Stones. I do them Honor by both remembering them, they are with me always, and not going back to who I used to be.

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…And Now a Word from Our Sponsor

Being me is an odd place for some values of that word. To say that I have “trust issues” puts it mildly. I compartmentalize people. I am willing to share bits of what I think as the situation demands. I can tell people about the events of my past but, not the “internal” stuff that goes along with them. I guard, with a passion bordering on paranoia, my emotions from the chance of hurt. I will readily push away anyone that I think might cause emotional distress, won’t even think twice about it. Poof, gone. I “run like hell” at the first sign of a chance that I might be coming close to allowing more than superficial trust.

*sigh*

It’s part of being me. Not the best part but, something that exists. Sure, I’m capable of affection and care but, not close enough that affection could be something greater.

So, imagine my surprise, and “distress”, lacking a better word, when earlier this week, someone I sort of knew reached out to me and I replied, just expecting them to vent and be done. I’m a good listener and keep secrets. *editorial, if you ask me not to tell something, I NEVER do* So, she asked if she could “rant” to me. I don’t know why she picked me, not sure she does. We have sort of talked. I knew some of her past. I’ve even blogged about some of it, in a guarded way, in the past when I was talking about how women are treated by men. I digress…

Then the unexpected happened, she started telling me stuff that she really doesn’t tell people. I went from random outsider to, “these are the ugly bits, the private bits, the fears, what cha gonna do with them?”…

And I freaked out. Completely out.Buggy. “Danger Will Robinson”. “RUN AWAY!” out.

I started to. run I mean. I went back into “survival mode”. Was in the process of convincing myself that survival was the best plan. That the old instincts that had served me so well, were the best instincts. That trust is “a fool’s game”. I really wanted to run. I didn’t want to allow the off chance that my fears were correct. I wanted to take the empathy I was feeling and get rid of it. I wanted to not allow the tiniest chance that I might be hurt. I wanted to be ENTIRELY selfish…

So, I didn’t do any of that.

I put some demons to bed by deciding, to consciously allow trust. By deciding to skip the middle bits and go straight to *word for the week* *smile thingie* storge. It’s the Greek word that means ” the love that friends feel for each other… Storge love is unconditional, accepts flaws or faults and ultimately drives you to forgive. It’s committed, sacrificial and makes you feel secure, comfortable and safe.”

What the hell? If I’m going to risk trust and hurt, why not risk everything. Remember those parts a few paragraphs ago about “trust issues”? If that’s hard, why not make the hardest step?…

And I freaked out…again…lather rinse repeat…a couple more times…

And, in the mean time, because of what she has shared, I am, with her permission, writing blogs that are solely about her, these two The Worth of a Soul and Redefining a Person thinking to myself, “what a s**t head you are that you would write to serve a purpose and then run away”. I had accepted her trust, shared my demons in return, and I STILL couldn’t decide to run or stay…and I found myself writing this one Feeding the Demons. In the last one, I made a public statement of commitment. Hard to retract that.

*****

It’s part of my own healing process. I was trying to help her because I am a nice guy…and slammed into my own baggage. That’s the odd thing. I may be helping her but, the reaching out that she started made me face my fears. She didn’t do it intentionally. I think that if she had realized the anguish it was going to cause she wouldn’t have. She can be many things but, cruel is not one. There was no intent to cause stress for me in her. My “public face” is confident and sarcastic. I can be a vocal person. I like to talk. I just don’t like to reveal much. *here doesn’t count. typing at a screen is talking to myself*

She uses the word “test”. We are both being tested in this case. Her’s is, will she decide I’m unneeded and leave when my usefulness is over?

Will she find herself thinking I require too much effort when she has no energy to spare? I wouldn’t blame her if she did.

Mine test  is different. It is,  if she does, how will I react? What if she does walk away? What if she doesn’t need my insecurities while dealing with her own “stuff” and does the smart thing, tell me to “eff off”? Will I say, “yeah, I was right, never trust anyone that hasn’t proven themselves”, “don’t become attached to friends because they ALWAYS let you down”? Or will I try again, knowing the risk?

In the end, only time will tell. Ask me in a year how it went. Ask me in 5 how she’s doing. Check back and see if some demons have finally been put to rest. Yeah, I’m still scared that I made a mistake but, I have to take the chance. I have to try to learn. I think that I have found a person that will not fail the test, I just hope that person is me.

Yeah, I Took Shots at EVERYONE…

Bits of thoughts…

I am NOT open-minded. In my world, people, as differentiated from “humanity” fall into 3 groups, people I like, people I dislike, and people that will be one or the other of the first two. Humanity is different, because of the people I like, I write about humans being treated with decency and compassion. I write FOR the people I like and love, to humans, about humanity and faith…

To the young lady parked next to me. Yeah, I saw the dyed pink hair and haircut shorter than mine. Yeah, I saw the rainbow flag on your rear deck. Yep, I looked to see what you looked like because I was curious. I “people watch”. Perhaps I’m reading more into the look you gave me in return but, you have no clue that I write a blog defending your right to live your life as you please so, perhaps instead of seeing a middle-aged guy driving a black Town Car, you might consider that not everyone that looks like me sees someone that looks like you as anything other than a fellow traveler on this rock, not the enemy…

I’m not sure that people really understand the word “conservative” *grins* I see a bunch of alleged “conservatives” wanting to get up in arms over the “bathroom issue”. They seem to think that “traditional conservative values” means that the Constitution was unclear when it used the word “citizens” and not “straight, white, male, Republican, Christian” in it. The Constitution uses that word several times for example here, “The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.” So if y’all all’s grasp of grammar is so poor as to misunderstand that one word, it comes as no surprise that bigger concepts like “equality” and “liberty” are beyond your grasp. Perhaps you should stick to simpler things like “fear” and “hate” as in this example, “Would y’all  misogynistic, homophobic, racist, semi-literate, cretins with delusions of grandeur please shut up?” *editorial, I am NOT a self-labeled Liberal. For most of my life, I have thought of myself as “conservative”. Now, that ideology has been hijacked by hate and fear so, I am of no political party and just look at the issues*…

While I’m at it… The nice thing about being me is that I have very few illusions about myself. I know my weaknesses and strengths. I know the bits of myself to be scared of and the places I trust. *there is a point to this* Guys that abuse women have no such confidence in themselves. All they have is weakness and the only way they are able to feel power is by making someone else less, sort of like those people in the last paragraph. The difference is that the people up there lash out at a group and the guys that abuse lash out at individuals. Either way, it is sadly pathetic when the only way you are able to feel any strength is to make someone else powerless…

And another thing…My Christianity doesn’t give me a lock on morality. When I first started using drugs, I owned and read a Bible and called myself Christian. If all it took was to claim a faith as the key, there would be no pedophile priests, spousal abusers in churches, or scammer t.v. evangelists. Just because you’re claiming “God Hates Fags” doesn’t make it so. If you actually read the words Jesus said, “love your neighbor as you love yourself” and claim that “God hates…” I suspect what you really mean is “I hate myself so, I’ll lash out at you…” Morality is a condition of your soul. It is entirely possible to be a transgender, Pagan, Lesbian and be moral. Just as it is possible to be a cishet, male, Christian and be a pedophile. It is the SOUL that matters, not the trappings around it…

Look, guys, we have to be realistic. We are not going to agree with everyone. We are not going to like everyone. There’s no way we’ll ever understand everyone but, we have to live together on this rock…at least to the day of our demise…so, it’s far easier on ourselves, and the rest of the world, if we spend less time hating and fearing what we don’t understand. There are a bunch of things to fear. I fear that a moment of weakness could bring relapse. I fear finding a scorpion in my shoe…I don’t have time to fear others because their lives are not inside my house or my head.

Predatory people happen. They are criminals. If I spend my life worrying that it will be disrupted by a criminal, I spend very little time LIVING my own and they win. If I spend my time making myself feel stronger by surrounding myself with cowards, how strong am I really? I’d rather be built up by the strength and courage of the people I know than to have sunk to the level of the fear mongers.

That’s it, in the end, do we have the strength to realize that “different” is not the same as “evil” or “loathsome”? Or do we stay with the comfort of our own xenophobic beliefs and forget Genesis 3:19?

By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”

The Great Equalizer comes for all of us one day…

Dumb Question Time

I’ve written, mostly, about three major themes LBGT Rights, Religious Freedom, and dignity for women. I’ve also written about one minor but, recurring, theme, my past addiction. The question is, in the coming year, what focus? I do not see any major changes coming but, I keep thinking I’ve missed something. NO POLITICS. I try to avoid giving a left/right/libertarian bias so, I’ll avoid that. I write, as a Christian to anyone that will listen either for support or to modify their views. Please respond and I’ll take it under advisement.

The Walls That Harm Us…

I have lived Paranoid. For many years, I used meth. If you have never been awake for a couple of days trying to do enough meth to stay awake for more, you really have no clue how bad that can be. I have been terrified hiding inside my house. All the windows blocked. Jumping at every noise. Afraid that someone will want in. Scared to leave. Crawling around so that you can stay beow the chance of someone seeing in. Peering out through the tiniest crack looking for “Them”…I hid inside the walls, not realizing I created them and not wanting out because outside was Danger…The danger was me…The danger was the Walls…

I like on-line friendships. They still allow distance. My closest friends are on-line. There’s nothing wrong with that. My job forces interaction. I can not hide from it. On the other hand, home is a refuge. It is cool, dark, and quiet. My wife and my life are here…and my friends. People do not physically visit and that’s fine. *editorial, our house is small and there’s not much sitting room. That’s why*

I am no longer Paranoid. It’s been almost ten years since I last used. I can not imagine going back. The cost would be far too high. The price would be everything…

Anyway, the Walls…My best friend is Pagan. I am not. During the time we were starting to develop the mutual respect that led to realizing we were best friends, I had no idea she was Pagan. My world view, after I became sober, was concentrated around Conservative Christianity, and all its baggage…The day I found out, all that baggage came to roost. All the fears of Divination, Sorcery, and visions of Hell came home. I was hit with a HUGE problem. I thought I knew Aj. I knew she was “saved” because I knew her honor, honesty, character, and love. I was given a choice, tear down the Walls my learning had built or consign her to Hell and, by doing that, reject her. Like I say, present tense, “my best friend IS Pagan”. Those Walls that I thought protected me would have walled her out. They would have cost me someone that constantly if a bit testily *grins*, wants the best for my wife and me. I would have rejected one of the people that I, now, love as much as any of my blood family. That “protection” would have harmed me…and, I think, her since she would have lost the love and prayers I send to her. *editorial, my prayers are NOT for her to change but for my God to watch over and protect her*

The Walls…we think they protect us. We think that by excluding people we make ourselves safe. Nothing could be more untrue. Hiding below the windows denies the World. It only lets us see our fears. It creates Paranoid. The only things inside the Walls with us are our own Monsters.

It isn’t the outside we have to fear. It’s the inside. It’s the loneliness and xenophobia that says, “different is wrong” not realizing that EVERYONE is different…

*****

For what it’s worth and to clarify, Aj’s beliefs do not include the concept of “Christian Hell”. Mine do. Either was, I do not think that her soul is going there. I’m not a “universalist” by any reach. I just don’t think that Hell applies to people not of my faith. I believe that God is big enough and powerful enough to have made a place for all His Creations…for that matter *grins* Aj would even dispute that part of my beliefs because she believes differently…*grins again*…

Because Aj and Z…

Aj reminded me of something I had forgotten. She reminded me why I really started writing this blog. I’m no one’s idea of “open minded”. I have a whole handful of dislikes and narrow-minded “conservative” attitudes. It’s just that there are some things that have fallen off of the list…

Anyway…the reason I started was because I am narrow-minded and Christian and a straight, white, married, male, Texan. I am strongly distrustful of “agendas”…ANY agendas. I firmly believe that not thinking for yourself and blindly following Dogma should be a crime. I have very fixed opinions of “proper”. I am a bit of a prude. So, if I write for Religious Freedom, meaning not judging someone based on their faith, or LBGT Rights it is because I think that they are, after careful consideration, worth speaking for.

Honestly, I didn’t used to care. It didn’t make that much difference how “those people” were treated. Not the tiniest of cares what happened to a “cult”, the way I used to think of Paganism, or a “lifestyle”, the way I used to think of being gay. Why should I care? Didn’t affect me.

Things changed. Aj and Z changed them. Funny how that worked. I didn’t know Aj is Pagan. I didn’t know Z is gay. Became friends without knowing. It’s not like they said, “hi Miller, I’m (insert name here) and I’m (fill in the blank)”. It took me being a smarta$$ and them responding for me to find out. By then it was too late. Hard to call a friend a “them” or a “those people”.

***Interlude***

A funny thing happened on the way to work today. Yeah, it was really funny for several reasons. I called Aj. In the middle of the conversation, it turned into a double entendre about her “friend with benefits” wanting to get her top off…her Jeep…and her. Laughing about it I was encouraging both. Laughing harder, so was she. Then it struck me, not so many years ago, less than 5, I would not have been able to have that conversation. I would have been far too embarrassed to be able to have it. I would have stammered an exit. Today, I was a cheerleader for her.

I’ve changed. Conversations I could not have had are now comfortable. Not with everyone but, with people I am relaxed around. Discussions I could not have had with anyone. Laughing with a woman about her getting laid.

It’s a realization I’ve come to, I don’t have to apply the rules I use on myself to others. Being Pagan is not right for me. It fits Aj. Being gay is not right for me. It is for Z. How do I think I have the right to inflict my personal rules on another adult? My eyes have been opened. I watched it happen. I actively participated in the opening. I WANT to love Aj and Z exactly the way they are. I don’t want them to change. I want me to encourage them. So, I do.

*****

Like I said right back there, being Pagan or gay isn’t a fit for me. However, I know Aj and Z and, knowing them, I find it hard to be as “black and white” as I used to be. I have a hard time convincing myself that I am infallible. I can not bring myself to condemn them for being themselves. In fact, I refuse to condemn someone I love for being their individual selves…

Back to where I was waaay up there, the reasons I write for them. I love those Ladies. Part of loving them is that I do have a voice. I have two choices. I may remain silent and by doing that condone the condemnation and scorn of a society that has slight regard for the parts of them it considers unconventional, or I may speak for them. There is no third option.

To remain silent is to fail in fulfilling the phrase “I love you”. It makes me a party to their repression. It fails to encourage them. It makes a lie of the word “love”. A private statement without a willingness to say and act on it publicly is hollow.

So, the other choice, to speak. That is easier and harder. I have had to learn what the people that are not for them think. I’ve had to see the obstacles they face. I’ve had to see the slanders and slurs and dangers my loved ones face. There is not one single part of that I enjoy. I am “protective” of them. It is another fact of this blog that some posts use the things they face as examples. Having to type those things about the people I love, even to point out the fallacy, is something I would avoid. It feels like I am saying those things about them. If I could, and I can not, I would shelter them from those.

The “easier” parts of speaking out are basic. I LOVE them. By speaking, I get to say that over and over. I get to talk about people I am proud of. I get to express my warmth for them. I get to show the world their courage and kindness. I get to say how lucky I am that they love me in return. I get to spend time doing some good things for dear friends.

*****

Something I also left out about myself. I am a Meth Survivor. I know that has left it’s marks on my psyche. I use Jan 6, 2006 as my “birthday”. That means, to me, I am an emotional youth. I am learning my way around…still…through the parts of my mind that were left to not grow. The scars that remain give me reasons to question my own sanity. I spent a bunch, 20ish, years living as an emotional hermit. I have a tendency to spend far too much time worrying about what someone, read my wife, Aj, and Z, think, never considering that they just don’t stress it. It leaves a propensity to be concerned with minor difficulties giving them far too much weight. I know all those things and, yet, I can not seem to stop.

They know all those things about me. I do try to pretend to argue with them because I argue and get defensive but, I know they are right when they tell me I am wrong. They are my support. They pray for me or light candles. They listen when I have rough nights and nightmares. They don’t push me away when my emotional confusion and overthinking get the best of me. They don’t question my sanity…even when I do.

So, you see, the people that others fear, embrace me and protect me. They are the place that does not judge me even though I judge myself. I feel like I come up wanting in comparison…and they tell me I’m wrong. Odd thing, my heroes tell me they look up to me. They do not allow me to wallow in inferiority. They are quick to correct me when I even try.

My harshest critic is me. My biggest fans are them. Seems fair since I am theirs.

*****

I know some would disagree but, I believe we have a soul. I believe we were born with a purpose. I do not think this is some kind of cosmic accident. I further believe that people are put in our lives for a reason. I think that some of those reasons are to build up the people we are given. Again, for the who knows how many times, I love these Ladies. Allowing them to be looked upon with scorn or disregard does not build them up. Not speaking IS tearing them down. That is not good enough. Speaking for them is merely fulfilling part of the reason I exist.

This is a blog about Aj and Z, Religious Freedom and LBGT Rights. I can not write about who I do not know. I know and love them, so, it is specific to them. They are my way of putting a face on things. They are my way of saying that it is not about MY morality…or yours. They have their lives and loves. They are people I can not imagine my life without. The fact that they exist, even when we do not speak, reassures me that some humans are Treasures. They are not “them”. They are Aj and Z.

Religious Freedom and LBGT Rights go hand in hand. They are about giving room for difference. They are about humans that have different ways of living than me…and not forcing them to conform to my path. My path is the correct path…for me and no one else. The way I got here is my own way as theirs belong to them…and yours to you. When we say we have the ONLY “right” way, we limit humans. We say that they can not be what they were created to be. We say that we have possession of them and that we have the right to dictate their lives. That we know better. That we are God. I am a frail and imperfect being. I am not God. I do not have all knowledge and an unshakable lock on morality.

So, why do I write? Because I can. Because I should. Because honor. Because, most importantly, Aj and Z.

Who Knows? You Guys Suggest Something. If I Like It, I’ll Write It…

I have three days off and no clue what to type…I liked my last one “note to self” but, it was written over several days with Z’s input. I want to type something because I’ve learned I like to write. I think I’m a bit of a narcissist…

I really have zero idea. I don’t want to write about politics. I’ve got friends all over the political map and my views don’t really fit any party. My views are my own. *grins* I make a decision, not based on party or ideology, but on my own internal compass…

I don’t want to write about what I think of the government or environmental issues because there are enough people writing about those. Same with race issues.

I’d write a “Z Post” but, for now, there’s nothing to say that doesn’t seem like a repeat. I’d tell the people I’m surrounded with that I love them but, I’ve done it so many times they should know it…Just to make sure…Dear People that love me, I love you, too. You are an unearned gift and have my gratitude in this life and the next…

Write about my hobbies? Well I cook stuff made up from ideas I get at work, I’m a butcher, and I write a blog and I “do nice things for my wife”…That covers those…

My addiction and my past? Nope, not today, no context for it…

Same as usual? Human dignity and LBGT Rights? Not today. Today, I’m going to just think that people are civil and treat each other with respect. Today, when I think about the people I love, I’m not going to put them into the box this blog seems to have to put them in. Today, I’m going to think about the whole of them and that I want them to have all the blessings in the world…and for some nice Lady to wander across Z’s path *grins*…

So, you guys come up with something. Leave me a note under the link on my Facebook wall. Drop a comment here. Send a carrier pigeon or smoke signals. Let me know what you think. If it isn’t politics, I’ll see what I can do. If you have a different perspective I might write about my “usual”, I’ll look into that, too. *grins*

Some Boxes in the Attic

I’m gonna clean out the attic. There are some boxes up there that need to be poked into. Maybe there are treasures, maybe junk. Let’s see which and we can both decide…

*****

I was thinking about something I said and Z called me on. I used the phrase “predisposed to like girls that like girls”. It sounds like, in retrospect that my preference is for Lesbian friends or female friends. Z even pointed that out. It bugged me and stuck in my head. I have a tendency to waaaaaay over think things. It is possible that it is the truth, even if its not a conscious thought. I really didn’t set out to have my closest friends be women. It has struck me as odd that it worked out that way. Who knows? I mean, it isn’t part of some interview process. “Would you like to become someone I talk to and some years down the road trust? Oh yeah, are you a Lesbian?”

I don’t love Z because she’s a “girl that likes girls”. I love her because she’s Z. We don’t need a list of things that make her who she is, I would still miss stuff. It’s enough to say that she, as a person, is a Treasure. I’m not gonna think it any further through than that. I will give it this, though, if she weren’t gay, this blog wouldn’t exist in the form that it does. I HAVE to have a person to write for and about. It’s part of me. I am good with specific people, not so much a “demographic”. The numbers are just too big…

*****

Yesterday, I wrote about my addiction and it sounded like I was down on myself or putting down what I’ve done. I’m really not. Like I told someone, some days are almost easy, some are hard as Hell. It’s been almost ten years and it isn’t a walk in the park. I still have nightmares. I wake up yelling…like last night. My wife is patient, she just wakes me up and then goes back to sleep.

Anyway, not to make light of things, I’m a Meth Survivor. I know that’s a rare thing. I know I have a bunch of baggage, read “boxes in the attic”. I merely have this perspective, pardon me quoting something I said to someone else, “What I beat was done BY me. What y’all beat was done TO you. Just as you think I overcame something seemingly insurmountable, from here, it seems the same to me about you. I can not imagine how hard it was. Y’all are my heroes, too.” Does that make sense? I made my bed. I wasn’t an addict when I was born. I had a chance to stop every time I started…and didn’t. I suppose that’s why I don’t think it’s that big a deal. That and I really don’t know how to handle compliments or praise. I just don’t have the tools…

Back to my point, though. My past shaped my now. Expecting nothing from life has taught gratitude. Not being able to trust anyone has given me an appreciation for the people I trust…and a fear of trust because my mind still expects betrayal. Knowing what it’s like to beat something that usually wins means I tend to root for the underdog. Not loving myself means I am scared of it, love, now but…I am enjoying the learning process, even if it confuses and scares me. For what it’s worth, I have some people that are teaching me and I don’t know quite how to take that. I always expect conditions even while not imposing them on others. *editorial, my mind is an oddly shaped place*…

One last before this goes away. I got a second chance. I grabbed it and ran. I was given a gift beyond price. I was given Life. I will always appreciate that. If you are given a gift like that, never turn it down.

*****

I think I want to revisit the “Z thing” again… I didn’t really set out to spend as much time writing about LBGT Rights as I have. I was going to write about Religious Freedom, random stuff, Drug Addiction, love and, yeah, LBGT Rights. It just kind of turned out that The Muse needs a voice. We, she and I, use her as the example and the inspiration for these words. *editorial, “use” is not a word I like, in the future I’m gonna say “share” because she’s not a tool to be used. She’s a human* My point being, LBGT Rights have covered all the rest. If we learn that Humans deserve respect, then we learn to respect their values, even if we don’t do things the same way. When we see Z, not as a part of a group but, as the Treasure she is, then we may learn to see other people in the same way. She’s not an (insert pejorative). She’s one of the very most valuable people in my world. She’s a Treasure and a Lady. Period. She’s a cherished part of her family. She is a space in my heart that I didn’t know existed ’till she filled it.

Thing is, everyone someone denigrates is a Z to someone else. No matter what you might think of them, when you put down that person, you are deciding that you have the right to assign and diminish value. You do not. I don’t care what your reason is. Just because someone doesn’t fit what you want takes nothing away from them, it just makes you blind and it makes you smaller…

I honestly don’t care what you do with your treasures. I’m proud of mine. I’m proud of her courage and willingness to let me share her with the World.

*****

Different box…I use the word Lady with a capital because I use it as if it were a title. Same with the word Treasure…or any other random use of caps. It’s a part of me and them…*grins* I didn’t assign the titles, they earned them.

*****

It seems there are lots of boxes today…

I admit this is a bit hypocritical but, meaning I’m going ahead anyway, why are people so concerned with what other people do? Why such great concern with someone else’s life? Why not worry about your own? Yeah, I ask those while trying to persuade people to change. My point being, if you are a something and someone else is a different something, why does that make you want them to be the same something as you? Why not just treat them as a person and go on? Wouldn’t it be simpler? Maybe a tad less stressful? A whole lot less complicated than saying, “you don’t fit my box so I gotta tear down your box and rebuild it before we can interact”? It seems that way to me. I like having different perspectives in my life…even if I disagree with some. *grins* Maybe I missed something. Maybe people like their tiny boxes and feel safer in them. I like exploring my big box. It’s got a bunch of interesting stuff in it…

*****

Sometimes I wonder…other times I’m sure…I digress…*grins* I think the whole of what was stashed in the boxes was an attempt to get us, you and me, to lighten up. Life is short and can be difficult. There are principals to stand on. Loyalty, trust, honesty, and love come to mind. Why complicate things by being concerned with the details of someone else’s life when we have enough in our own that could use a bit of polish?

*****

*grins* The Muse is fishing. The Surrogate Muse is doing whatever Surrogate Muses do when they’re not around to surrogate. *grins again* So, they left me alone to see what was in some boxes…Look, I found my old blankie…Y’all have a good day. Maybe some of this made some sense? *sweeps dust off of the floor and wanders off…*

 

I Was an Addict, So Don’t Praise Me…

I love being married. I suppose I appreciate it more because I never expected it. I was long past the point where I ever expected to find someone that would want to marry me. I always thought I was “damaged goods”…

It’s funny, very much NOT ha ha, that people fight against who they are. We believe that we are trapped in a place and unable to bend or change. I was convinced I’d go to my grave an addict. I hated myself and decided God had abandoned me so, I’d abandon him. I had a warped view that allowed Hell to exist and not Heaven. I could pin down a locality for Hell, just look inside my clothes. It was wandering around in there…

I do not equate what I went through with what some friends did. I struggled against my own perception of who I was. I fought against a view that I was trapped in a pattern of MY OWN making. It is truly not the same as knowing who you are and being told by “society” that you can not be that. Addicts are islands. We remove ourselves from the world. We live in isolation out of shame and self-loathing that WE OURSELVES have created. We think the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves are the truth. We justify a continued series of criminal acts with “I can’t help myself…” We fool ourselves into thoughts that no one knows when everyone does. When we finally realize we aren’t trapped and do change, hopefully before it’s too late, we are praised…

Honestly, I don’t think that praise is earned. Why should I be praised for not slowly killing myself and poisoning everyone around me with my toxicity? What kudos for not being a criminal have I earned? If you want to praise me for doing a good job at work, fine. If I do a good job at cooking a meal and you enjoyed it, I’ll take that. Just DO NOT tell me how great I am for being an ex-addict. I shouldn’t have been one to begin with, I knew better. I am a nice guy. I am a loyal friend. I do my d**nedest to be a good husband. Those, too, do not deserve praise, they’re what I’m supposed to do…

Society also forces roles. It tells a fraction of the population that they have to be what the other 90 odd percent think they should be. Sometimes people become trapped in that spot, too. They try to conform and be what’s expected of them. Sometimes, they break free. I have a few friends that did that. I am prouder of them than I am of myself. I fought me. They fought everyone and themselves and they won. I didn’t know them when they were someone else, I only know them as the persons they are now. I love those people. That they don’t judge me based on who I was is a gift I gladly take. That they don’t hold against me that I spent more time as a criminal, yeah addicts are criminals and ex-addicts aren’t, than I haven’t is a blessing that I am grateful for.

Why do we think it’s our “right” to judge? *Yeah, skip the “criminal” part of what comes next. We can agree that crimes need and deserve to be prosecuted.* Why do we think we should be able to tell someone “you have to be what I want you to be?” Our individual lives are the only things that we will ever own, as fleeting as they may be. Possessions may be lost or stolen. Why then do we think we have a reason to steal someone’s “self” as if we own them? What reason to impose our view of what context for some life that is not our own. What reason to demean or degrade a human that has not earned our scorn?

I get that people do not understand any other human. I barely understand myself. I get that people want to think that some things are “choice” and are not. I get that we tend to impose what we think on someone without having the tiniest clue if it’s actually the truth. We assume that some people have the ability to change…not realizing they did. They changed from living a lie to living the truth. We tell them that their truth is of no value or “against my religion” as an excuse to deny them the right to be themselves *sigh* while demanding the recognize our same self-demanded rights…

I may be any number of things. What I am not is someone else. Who I happen to love is my wife. She’s the center of my world. No one ever told me I couldn’t marry her. No one ever told me that my love for her was worthless. Who someone decides they want to spend their life with is not for another human to judge except for the person they offer their love to. It is SOLELY for that person to accept or reject. It is a gift that is the greatest offering one human can give another. So, why then, do some persons think it’s their right to judge that? What possible personal reason to impose a third view where only two are important?

Does any of this make sense?

Agree or disagree with Obergefell or not. It no longer matters. What’s left is looking inside ourselves and finding a way…We, individuals, may celebrate a victory for our friends. Some of you may call it a defeat for morality. Either way, it is the law. It doesn’t matter what our, outsider, views are. How someone else views a relationship is no longer a reason to disallow it. What finally matters is what the individuals inside of it think.

*sigh*

Like I said up there, I am proud of my friends. I survived me. They survived everyone else. Letting them live their lives with the same peace and lack of judgment that I’m given is not too much to ask. So, please, look at the individuals and base your view on their individual lives and not some preconceived notion? Please, they’ve earned that much…What we should be doing is rejoicing with them that they’ve found love in the first place.

 

Looking Back at My Addiction: My Perceptions and a Few Other Thoughts

In the past week, I’ve written about my addiction. There are some things that need to be added. I’ll put them in. There’s not really any order to them…

The best thing that happened, while I was an addict, was the very end. It was the hardest on my father. I showed up for New Years drunk and high. He put me on a bed and I passed out. When I woke up, he told me (paraphrased) “I love you but, I don’t like you. I’ll give you one ride to one place and I never want to see you again.” I believed him. A week later, I was walking back to his house to beg forgiveness. I was done. I knew, at that point, my way would never work and something had to change. If he hadn’t done that, if he’d kept helping me, I’d still be an addict…

*****

There was alienation between me and my family. It wasn’t their fault. It was my perception. It was me being too high, or out getting messed up, that caused the rift. They didn’t approve and didn’t know the extent. I never clarified things, either. Over the years, I missed all manner of holidays, trips, and events because of my poor choices. That has left a bunch of scarring on our relationship. We, as a family, still carry the baggage of that. I’ll accept all of the blame for that one. They did the best they could to process what information I gave them. Problem is, I really didn’t give them any. I’d promise to be there and not. That, too, was a pattern. Broken promises and un-made commitments were a way of life for me.

*****

I was also a champion at fooling myself. I didn’t do meth every day, or even every month. I could go for a few months at a time without it. Then, I’d go for a year or two using it as often as I could. I never stopped smoking pot or drinking. I’m not claiming sober during that period. What I am trying to say is that I would get far enough away from meth to think I could start back using a little bit on the weekend or something and then I’d get back into the hugely destructive pattern…as compared to the other hugely destructive pattern of being an alcoholic. *sigh*

I was able to convince myself that, as long as I had a job, I was ok. That was a lie. It was a justification for doing what I knew was wrong.

*****

I still have a hard time processing emotional information. The first person I ever told I loved, that was not a blood relation or a dog, was my wife. I really didn’t understand the meaning of love. Honestly, I’m still not quite sure that I do, now. It’s a hard thing to believe that you are worth being loved. I’m getting better but, there are days and times that I have a hard time with it. Just ask Aj, she’ll tell you how many times she has to try to convince me that I’m worth it.

I think that, for me, using stunted my emotional growth. It stopped me from learning the lessons that I should have learned in my teens. *editorial, I started drinking weekly and smoking pot daily when I was about 16* That is baggage I still carry. Learning to love is a constant source of amazement to me. It’s why I, so often, write in defense of love and about it…sorry, I digress.

I’m also left with a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I never quite feel like what I’m doing is quite “good enough”. I’m always trying to do better. Sometimes, that’s a bad thing. I try too hard. I know it’s perception on my end. When someone tells me “good job” I’m never sure if I believe them or not.

*****

On a semi-related note, when I was a year sober, I expected my family to be as willing to believe it as I was. Here’s the issue. I had a decades long track record of messing up. They hadn’t had enough time to believe that I had really changed. That was a fair assessment. I wanted things to be all “sunshine and light”. They NEEDED more proof. Given the way I had done things in the past, their judgment was fair. I would appear to be doing well and let them down…again. I think, looking back from a few more years, they had every right to feel that way. If the pattern is failure, then family needs the time and distance, too. They need to make sure that they are not setting themselves up for another letdown.

*****

I still don’t trust myself. I do not keep alcohol in my house. I won’t buy a bottle of wine or a beer for a recipe. There’s a cliff. If I take the tiniest step over the edge, the stop is the bottom. I don’t go to restaurants that are “Bar and …”, at least not by myself. On my wedding day, there were six glasses of champagne and one of club soda at our dinner. I don’t mind being around people drinking as long as they are family. I know they’ll help me stay protected from myself.

I have a very strict policy about associating with people from the “bad old days”. If I did meth with you, I don’t associate. There are some people I knew then that I have contacted once or twice and then lost track of. There are some people that I knew in my teen-age years that I still love and cherish, even if I rarely talk to them. Those didn’t do meth with me and have stopped, as far as I can tell, smoking weed. It really is a matter of protecting myself.

I’m also a homebody. I really don’t want to go out. I like and need the security of a stable refuge. Sure, I go to work. I rarely, less than once in six months, go out to eat. Home is safe and calm. I need that stability.

*****

Back to perception. I was/am used to living in my own head. I am a goof. I love to joke and tease. I read everything I can get my hands on. Those are not the same as letting what I’m thinking out. *this makes sense to me, I’m trying to let it make sense on the page* Even writing this feels like talking to myself. There’s only me, here. That means that I can feel guarded by the impersonality of the words on the screen.

If you have learned to distrust yourself and you can not trust the people you associate with, then distrust becomes safety. It is far easier to expect to be let down and not trust success than it is to expect good things. In my past, when things went right, I KNEW, they were going to come crashing down. Because I lived so close to the edge, I spent every dime on drugs that didn’t go to basic needs, the tiniest hiccup was going to cost far more than it should have. Does this make sense? When you fly without a net and you eff up, the only thing to catch you is the ground.

*****

*sigh*

Anyway, things are better. This is nine years, NINE YEARS, down the road and there’s still baggage. I suspect there always will be. Things are better. It gets a bit easier every day. It is less hard to want a drink. It is easier to trust people and myself. I am really learning to love myself and extend it. *editorial, it is still easier to love someone else than it is to love me*

The changes are incremental. I was high longer than I have been sober. No matter how bad I want it, it is a series of imperceptible steps. The stopping using was only the first step. Even without the drugs, the patterns still exist. The first step seems huge. It was. Thing is, that is not the only step. If I stop taking them, it would be easy to relapse. I have to keep moving forward.

There’s also something else I watch out for. I’ve seen people relapse. There’s a moment where one second using is bad and the very next, it is ok. That is the most dangerous moment. If I can keep that moment from ever happening, I’ll stay clean. All I can do is make sure that I never let that spot happen. Part of the way I do is to stay well away from people that still use or justify it. There is really only one person I know can never go back, me. I’m not making a value judgment about them or their lives, I’m only protecting myself from myself.

I do not begrudge my past. It shaped me. It gives me more appreciation for what I have now and how far I am from what I was. I live in a place that is Gratitude. I love my wife with all my heart. She knows my fears. She wakes me up from my nightmares. She is a constant in my life and is a support when I start to fall.

I do trust myself to reach out when I need to. That’s the first part of learning to trust myself. I have friends that I can call. There are Aj and Z. I learned to trust them. Actually, Aj has known me for some years and I had a hard time believing her when she told me that she loved me.  *editorial, as a friend, the only woman I have romantic love for is my wife. she’s the only one I ever will * Aj is the one that boots my tail when I get down on myself. Aj’s the one that has to tell me I’m worth being loved when I don’t really believe it.

Z is the Christian I go to first for prayer. We all need a first person to go to, no matter our faith. Z knows when I need someone to talk to God for me, she does.

There are bunch of other people on my side but, those three Ladies are my “support group”. I need them and they know it. *grins, if they didn’t, they do now* Having them has made a huge difference in my life. I don’t have to tell them every thought but, when I need to tell someone, they are there. Knowing that Aj knows I’m writing this now makes a difference. It means that I can write it and know there’s support and energy being sent my way. Does that make sense? Also, knowing that people I admire and love return that love makes a difference. That there are friends that have picked me to be their friend helps my confidence in myself. *editorial, family, you are born into, it doesn’t make them less, it merely removes “choice” They’re stuck with you.* That my wife made the decision to marry me is beyond my comprehension…except for the part that she really did and puts up with me. *editorial, I’m either 4 or 50, drives her nuts. grins*

This ran longer than I expected. It was only going to be some passing thoughts. I do want to emphasize something else, I always do. I WAS NOT a victim. I picked the path I took. I repeatedly took steps to ensure I stayed on that path. There is no one to blame for my actions except for myself.

Good things did come out of that path. I am a good person. I was then, it is just that I was an addict. If I hadn’t been him, I wouldn’t be married to the woman I love now. If it weren’t for that path, I would not know either Aj or Z. That would be my loss. I learned that my way is not always right and someone else’s isn’t always wrong. That has made me willing to embrace people that are “differently normal” *see previous post*. Because Aj and Z have my back in private…and public, I write a blog that is to support them. Yes, if I hadn’t been an addict a blog about Religious Freedom and LBGT rights wouldn’t exist, probably because I wouldn’t know Aj and Z. So, the unintended consequence of me being who I was is that I am here now. *editorial, I know this paragraph paraphrases ones in previous posts about addiction. I don’t care. It needs repeating*

I didn’t reread my previous posts about my addiction, I have tried to avoid the word “we” in this post. All I can do is to speak for myself. I have no way of knowing if any of this applies to anyone else’s life. It is only about my experience. If this does help or give better perspective, that is my intent.

Thanks for reading this far.

Thanks, too, Sweety, Aj, and Z, more than words will ever say, you have my love and gratitude.