Monday, March 05, 2018

THE OUCHING

So, there I was, in my cardiologist's office. My symptoms were weakness, fatigue, nausea, inability to focus, stumbling into things, difficulty in forming words, loss of appetite, weight gain(?), and a depression that made the Spanish Inquisition appear by comparison as a fun time in Jamaica. I had just gotten out of the hospital from a ventricular tachycardia episode that knocked me unconscious as well as forbade me by state law to drive a car for the next six months. This was day two of the ski trip I was supposed to be on, and I was not in a good mood.

The doctor reduced a medication I was on, then my guardian angel Regina drove me home almost two hours away. The extra burden of driving me around was wearing on her, which added to my guilt about no longer pulling my weight in the family. I had to cancel out of the remainder of my ski trip, I sat down to write and fell asleep. When I woke up, I found myself muttering, "Y' know, I don't give a damn how this story turns out." I'd been planning this series of books, The War Whisperer, for the better part of fifty years, and had let everything else go for the past three years to write it, and now I didn't care about it? That was a sure sign that I was suffering from crapitude.

Crapitude is depression that takes the form of being uncaring about what is important, things such as relationships, my art (writing), and even recovery. It usually evolves into anger. Of course, at the end of this nightmare would be going back to using, except for a little song I made up and began singing. The tune was roughly borrowed from "I Learned About Women From Her," and it went like this:

 There are dog turds all over the floor,
Cobwebs hanging off of the door,
That stuff in the sink is beginning to stink
And I don't give a shit any more.
(Chorus)
Oh, I don't give a shit any more,
I don't give a shit any more,
I gave it all that I had
And watched it turn bad,
So I don't give a shit any more.

And I felt better. I went to a meeting the next morning and came away feeling better still. Feeling better after going to the effort of making up and then singing that song, however, puzzled me. I mean, anyone singing a song like that has to have a bad attitude and is greasing the way to a big slip, right?

Not really. That song was the roundabout way I had of saying "ouch!" As it was explained to me many years ago, before the acceptance of the things I cannot change and the letting go comes the ouching. I used to try to be  what in my mind was "program perfect." That meant that things that hurt or disappointed me, loss, devastation, shattered goals, the unkindness of a thousand lonely moments, instead of complaining or crying or feeling bad, I would shoot directly for "letting go," thereby feeling nothing.

My sponsor at the time referred to this as my "pee pee" program. "Before the letting go, there is the ouching. Trying to stuff feelings by using the Serenity Prayer like a drug may seem to work for a time, but all of those unacknowledged hurts, losses, and disappointments are still there and they come out as irritability, anger, and depression. Feel your feelings. That's what they're there for." Or, as a person at an Al-Anon  meeting once said, "Before you can let it go, you've got to pick it up."

So, you have a hard time showing pain and saying ouch, sing that little song again and again until you start laughing, then take a small moment out to be grateful for the laughter, for grateful addicts never use.





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