And so we come to the end of my first month on this very challenging job...
A lot of overtime today. An extra early start and, considering when we started, quite a late finish: 7:00am to 7:00pm. Some work more, many work less, that's what it was today. Not a complaint, merely a description. Context, if you will.
And from today I have this little nugget to share with you:
7:15am: I sit in the office with my boss, going over administrative things, reviewing what she's shown me for the past month. I think to myself, "She thinks I'm stupid. I look so stupid to her. She must think I'm stupid." Over and over, almost like a drumbeat. On the heels of those thoughts come: "I am not learning this quickly enough. This is a terrible situation. I'm just not cut out for this."
10:15am: On to different tasks, now I think: "She really got saddled with me. She doesn't like me. She probably is sick of me. I'm not working out here, and she feels stuck with me."
Kids, really, that is literally what I was thinking, so much so that I had to work hard to both listen to her and pay attention to what I was doing.
One of the things that has come up over the past thirty or so days is that she may go to a different location and, if I work out, I would take over the one we're at now.
At noon she looks at me and says, "Oh Mr. SponsorPants, when we're not working together," (alluding to the idea that she will go to another location) "can we still hang out and text and email and stuff?"
Yeah. I know.
Then, at the end of a long day, we sat down to kick around the past month: "Well, given your experience, we figured you'd be at par on some things, but you're really progressing much faster than we thought or expected on everything else. There's really nothing negative to say..."
Yeah, ok, let's just break that down, shall we?
In my head I'm convinced -- convinced, mind you -- that A) My boss thinks I'm stupid, B) My boss doesn't like me, and C) I'm not "working out" at the job.
The reality seems to be that A) I'm progressing faster than expected, B) my boss enjoys our working relationship to such a degree that it prompts an unsolicited request to keep in close contact should we not be at the same location, and C) there is literally "nothing negative to say."
Sometimes there's just no getting around this fact:
I. Am. Crazy.
Is it any wonder that the book Alcoholics Anonymous (AA's Big Book) states, and underscores in a dozen places, "Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body." (Big Book, pg. 23).
Now, at that point in the text what the book is specifically talking about is the "curious mental blank spot" which clouds the memory of an alcoholic who may have had terrible consequences to their drinking but can still find a way to give themselves permission to pick up a drink (thereby activating the "allergy of the body" which is the physical component of the disease, the terrible, biologically rooted drive to drink uncontrollably once one has started).
But the larger point in AA literature, and certainly what (somewhat embarrassingly) applies to me here, is that our perception of ourselves and our relationship with others and with reality as a whole can be seriously skewed to the negative; and that can become fodder for the slide into self destruction. The thinking I had today is one example of the kind of raw material alcoholism uses to create that curious mental blank spot.
Alcoholics don't "own" skewed or negative or self-obsessive thinking -- plenty of people struggle with that -- it's foolish and grandiose of us to invest in a belief which makes us "special" by being so damaged in this way.
But what we do own is that, without a spiritual connection, it is this warped version of reality we create which is a key trigger to how our alcoholism helps us give ourselves permission to pick up that first drink.
I am sick (sick!) of this toxic, self-obsessed, merry-go-round in my head which fatigue and fear seem to fuel... but today at least I can sit through it, not act on it, and be present for when reality proves quite a bit brighter than the darkness of my thoughts.
I can sit through it because of the relationships I have in AA, and because of the spiritual connection I feel which, although I snarl and twist and whine like a wild dog on a leash, intervenes on my behalf in strange, often subtle, but very tangible ways.
Thank you -- literally the you that are reading this right now, since, through the extended 12 Step family I believe we are truly all connected, all part of this giant lifeboat, no one of us more important than another, but all of us needed, all of us special -- and thank God.
I've spent enough time cursing the Divine lately -- though I like to think I've owned my process (mostly) as I've gone through it -- that it was important to me to put some gratitude in writing again.
Today I am grateful -- certainly for the work, but more so for the awareness and the recovery I have as I sit tight and come out the other side of those dark mental tunnels which seem so real when you're in them, but always just turn out to be addiction messing with my mind, one more time.
But I make it through -- we make it through.