Monday, December 2, 2019

Monday Morning Check In

I'm a few days behind on blogging. Thanksgiving came and went. My job has me on 10 hour days mandatory overtime. I went to an AA Big Book study last night and turned in kind of late. I'm on Day 21 of reading Chapter 8 of "Greatest Salesman in the World" over and over. I'm on Day 9 of doing "Morning Pages". I have failed to do 30 minute daily walks and I haven't done my pushups either. I think at the moment, I am just dealing with lack of time from being at work so much. But no matter. Work will slow down after Christmas and the deadline for my fitness goals isn't until July. I've done some reading this morning, and I'm grateful that I woke up at 6:30AM instead of last minute rushing to work, like yesterday.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A Late Start Today

Today, I woke up at 6:21AM and got out of bed. I had been pressing Snooze since 5:00AM. I had time to write my "morning pages" (See Julia Cameron and her book The Artist's Way). That took up a lot of time to fill 3 pages. I felt like my mind had been cleared as I wrote the words, because I've spent the last week complaining about my life in the pages and there was nothing more to say. That, plus I was tired and waiting for the coffee to kick in. I'm a little disappointed that I don't have time for a 30 minute walk this morning, although I did enjoy the sunrise.

Last night, I worked late and therefore, did not attend a recovery meeting. Even so, I feel like I waste some of my evening time. Especially the seduction of Facebook. Yet I was exhausted from waking up early yesterday and doing a 10 hour work day. I think the month of December is going to be difficult for any kind of self-care as the holiday season is coming and we will likely be working 7 days a week, 10+ hours per day.

Last night on Facebook, a man I know, a conservative person (nothing against that), made a post about the value of experience that was in direct contrast to something I've been reading and re-reading in "The Greatest Salesman in the World" by Og Mandino. Og says:

"...the value of experience is overrated, usually by old men who nod wisely and speak stupidly. In truth, experience teaches thoroughly yet her course of instruction devours men’s years so the value of her lessons diminishes with the time necessary to acquire her
special wisdom. The end finds it wasted on dead men. Furthermore, experience is
comparable to fashion; an action that proved successful today will be unworkable
and impractical tomorrow."
  Yesterday, I thought again about changing jobs and becoming a peer support specialist for either substance abuse and/or mental health. I still have a ways to go to get enough sobriety and enough time since my last episode of psychosis, but it did leave me with the hope for meaningful work in the future just thinking about it. Meanwhile, I'll be in the warehouse scanning boxes and moving them around.

This morning was mostly reading and writing. I do not feel the time was wasted, but I wish there had been more physical activity this morning. However, I am mostly concerned about my reading and morning pages at this time. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I will have the day off, following by working probably every day the next few weeks.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Establishing Morning Rituals

I am on a two-day streak of waking up early. Yesterday morning, I took a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood just after sunrise. What a pleasure that was, despite the cold. It feels good to get walking back in my life, after not having the time anymore to go on long nature hikes. I feel walking is part of a pilgrimage, and part of this journey I am taking.

I am enjoying the reading of the Og Mandino scrolls from "Greatest Salesman in the World" and I can already see the benefits of that tedious exercise, although I got sleepy last night and did not read the words aloud before bed. I stayed up pretty late last night, not really doing anything useful with that time. Scrolling on Facebook, chatting on Messenger, etc. Those are old, bad habits and maybe they aren't really so bad compared to other habits I have.

I am reading a chapter per morning of the book "One Hundred Days of Solitude: Losing Myself and Finding Grace on a Zen Retreat" by Jane Dobisz. I am not able to go on a 100 day silent Zen retreat myself, and it's nice to sort of live vicariously through her account of the experience. My key takeaway from the reading this morning was her analogy about boiling water. I paraphrase her words here. The best way to boil a pot of water is turn the flame on high, and do not take the pot of the flame and put it back on. Just keep awareness on high during all activities of the day. She's talking about mindfulness. This is not so easy to do.

Last night, I attended my home group meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and the subject of the meeting was finding happiness. I kind of bombed during my share. I have a terrible problem with fear of public speaking, and I am not yet skilled with oral communication. I can be, depending on the circumstances, the audience, and so on. Sometimes I get confused trying to process what I want to say. What is happiness, anyway? It's a fleeting thing. What I should have said at the meeting was that I find happiness from having a clear conscience from not harming people. I am happy when I am honest and not dishonest. Is that freedom from guilt, maybe? I used to try to find happiness in external "things" like booze, girlfriends,money, status, road trips and vacations, so many things which are transient experiences, causing pain when you lose them or they end. Some good shares in there. Perhaps if I could simplify my life, maybe I would find happiness in little things. I think progress makes me happy. The pursuit of perfection makes me miserable, because it's just never obtained and there is pain in falling short of perfection. This is I did not share at the meeting. I did get across the idea that happiness is not found in external attachments, but I choked, and said "That's all I've got" instead of finishing my thought.

Today, I will be begin exercise tests using my Just 6 Weeks fitness Android app. I may not have time to walk this morning. I have one hour left before getting ready for work. As long as I get my walk in this evening, I'm fine.

I will begin composing affirmations this week. December will be a rough month with high demands from work, but at least I will be making money for the holidays. I'm looking foward to New Years and setting resolutions. I think if I get some good habits going for the next month, I will really be going already by Jan. 1st.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

A Lazy Sunday...

I woke up around 10AM, feeling exhausted, immediately reaching for a cigarette and a cup of coffee. I managed to read Chapter 8 of "The Greatest Saleman in the World" by Og Mandino. I'm on Day 12 of 300 days, and so far I have successfully gone through the readings three times per day as prescribed in the book. I spent a very long time writing "morning pages", of which I'm on a three day streak.

I've been really struggling with morning routine lately, but aware that I want to make changes. I want to change the morning ritual from pressing the Snooze button for a full half hour, only for a quick shower and a rushed commute to work at my warehouse job.

I did manage to get in a 30 minute walk in the neighborhood, which will be a focus of mine for the next 30 days. Get in a daily walk, no matter what. Succeed at that, add pushups, squats, situps, etc.

I have a problem with procrastination, but I had a little insight this morning, realizing that my procrastination is actually a result of perfectionism. If I can't do it perfectly, I don't do it all. I remembered the Pareto principle, and I will constantly remind myself to shoot for 80%, not 100%. 80% is good enough. That's where I'm at.

I managed to get my dishes done, and some of the laundry done for the week, but otherwise, I haven't really attacked the messy house. I have messy habits. I also have messy kids.

Either way, I'm shooting for a comeback in my life. I'm grateful for just over 7 months of sobriety from alcohol. I'm grateful for almost two years since my last hospitalization for psychosis.

Tonight, I am going to the Louisville Recovery Sangha group, a Buddhist approach to addiction recovery. I used to go back when it was called Refuge Recovery, and I'm curious as to what the changes are. It's quite a drive. I wish we had more Buddhist groups out in the sticks.

Tomorrow begins a holiday week. I have Thursday off for Thanksgiving, and from there it's probably going to be non-stop overtime until January. I plan to endure the rest of the year, and look forward to the New Year as a time to implement resolutions.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

By the Time I Get to Phoenix

In 254 days, I will weigh between 150-155 pounds, and be able to perform 100 pushups, 200 squats, 100 situps, 20 pullups, and run 3 miles.

In 254 days, I will have all debut album Earps songs mastered and club ready (should actually be very easy!).

In 254 days, I will have 446 days of sobriety.

In 254 days, I will personally put on the very best show I have ever done.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Let's Get the Band Back Together!

The Earps, 2006

On November 17th, I received a private message on Facebook, asking if I could participate in a reunion of The Earps for a private party in Phoenix on July 4th, 2020.

By far the most toxic band I was ever in. Everyone leaves bitter and talk about lineup changes! Damn. Why on Earth would anyone want those guys back together?

 According to friend and fan Larry Merry: "From an audience perspective that really was a fun lineup to watch. Here's hoping you guys can put all of the past 'behind the scenes' bullshit aside long enough to go out and have some fun on stage and everyone parts ways peacefully this time."

At the time of this writing, I am now 43 years old, and about 20 pounds overweight. I have 7 months of sobriety via AA and some other recovery groups. I've been through jails, mental hospitals, and lots of therapy since The Earps days. My Kindle is loaded full of books on self-help and Buddhism, and I trudge through the days with a low-wage warehouse day job. I went on to perform with a pretty successful local Kentucky country/rock cover band The Moonshine Millionaires, and a couple road shows in Nine Pound Hammer. Otherwise, I haven't done much, or at least not anything that really took off. 

So here's my project. I want to make a comeback and be in top shape for a really kick ass couple of shows with The Earps next year. I have 225 days.
"Finally only nostalgia remains, a light grief without the painful sadness. At last we contain our own history—no longer driven or possessed by it." - David Richo (psychotherapist/author)

Monday Morning Check In

I'm a few days behind on blogging. Thanksgiving came and went. My job has me on 10 hour days mandatory overtime. I went to an AA Big Boo...