Friday, July 27, 2007

Rationally vs. Emotionally

I feel completely out of control, have all day. Rationally, it makes no sense to me. But rationality has little effect over my feelings.

Emotionally, I feel completely abandoned. The woman I love has simply cut me out of their life. Rationally, again, that may be the best thing for me. But emotionally, it’s driving me crazy. I feel like one day the person I cared about most cared about me, even said she loved me. Then one day it turned on a dime, and I ceased to exist to her.

Emotionally, I sense that she knows me well enough to know how much I’m hurting, and she does nothing, doesn’t write, call or communicate in any way. Rationally, I know that even a short message saying she hopes I’m ok would make all the difference in the world, but I also know I have no control over whether she contacts me or not.

Rationally I think all the right things: powerless over her actions, accept the things I cannot change, let go and let God. But my emotions say something different: find me a long term solution to a short term problem. Find a way to shut off, permanently, the emotions that plague me so today. Find a way out.

Rationally I know that my life has been so much better since I got sober. For many months now, I’ve felt like a new man. I feel better about myself, I connect with people around me and try to help them when I’m able. But my emotions say I’m nowhere, I’m lost…lost to myself, lost to everyone around me.

Rationally I know not to do anything about the emotions, and rationality will rule the day. But the emotions still cycle through my head, telling me all the wrong things, making me feel like running away. So all I can do is pray, and go to sleep. And hopefully tomorrow will be an easier day.


Posted by Scottage at 12:43 AM / | |  

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Adult Child of an Alcoholic

I experienced a real epiphany this past week. For the past year, I’ve been working very hard at my sobriety, spending a lot of time in meetings, doing service work, reading, writing, and trying to turn my will over to God. But this past weekend I realized that alcohol was but one of my problems, and that being the adult child of an alcoholic also accounted for many of the issues I still face.

It all started with a disagreement between me and the woman I love. She sort of took my emotions on a rollercoaster ride, probably not intentionally but because her emotions were on the same rollercoaster. After the ride let out, she told me she needed space, and that she wasn’t going to communicate with me for a while. I guess I felt after taking me for the ride, it was her responsibility to be there for me, when really her only responsibility is taking care of herself and her sobriety.

I talked about this during a meeting (while carefully protecting her anonymity), and was basically told that she deserves space if she needs it, and that I need to respect it. But I was also told that during this period, our friendship was in hiatus, and I needed to look after my own needs, take my own space, and evaluate if I want her in my life. Many people commented that our relationship does not seem healthy, and I needed to get away.

The suggestion was made that I should attend an ACOA meeting. Now I know both my parents drink sometimes, and that they also do some drugs, but I don’t consider either one to be alcoholics. I do consider my father’s side of the family to all be alcoholics or addicts, but I guess I never saw him that way. Still, I was always told to take suggestions, so I decided to hit the meeting.

The meeting begins with the reading of common characteristics among ACOAs, and the Problem. The crazy thing is that everything mentioned described me to a tee. It was crazy! I mean, here I’m thinking this meeting wouldn’t apply to me, and yet within 5 minutes I know I’m right where I need to be, and that in that program lies the answer to many of the problems that AA has not solved for me.

I’ve been to an ACOA meeting every day since, and learned so much about myself and the issues that still plague me. I know that this is exactly where I need to be, and what I need to pursue, in order to beat back the demons that still haunt me. And I’m sure that if I put as much effort into the ACOA program as I’ve always put into the AA program, better days are ahead of me.

Regarding the woman, I’m realizing that I’m willing to accept her not feeling the same way about me, and sometimes treating me poorly, and this has everything to do with my being an ACOA. So does my inability to express my own needs, and my guilty feelings when I do declare my needs. Plus, my absolute terror at the prospect of abandonment, and the crazy things I do when I feel abandonment coming, trace back to my ACOA. As do so many other things that make this a potentially unhealthy relationship.

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that these issues all come from me, and even when I perceive her to be treating me poorly, I am at fault, because I allow it to happen, and because I cling onto the relationship for dear life. But I do love her, and think that she’s the most amazing person, and that I’m blessed to have met her. I hope that one day we can enter into a healthy relationship. But this only can happen when I get healthy.

For now, I’m going to give her all the space she needs, hope to receive all the space I need, and work on myself. As part of that, I’m going to write posts on every one of the points brought up in the characteristics and the problem, and blog about what they mean to me. Also, I’ll keep reading, hitting meetings, and learning about what it means to be an ACOA. And maybe this will help me to be the type of person who could be a positive influence in this woman’s life, and more importantly, to be of service to my God, myself, and all the people who have helped me become a better and healthier person.


Posted by Scottage at 1:48 AM / | |  

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Midtown Back in the News

In May I wrote about the Midtown group of Alcoholics Anonymous, a group that, according to Newsweek and many members of the Washington D.C. AA community, is more like a cult than an AA group. Well, the group is back in the news again, this time in the Washington Post, challenging the very core issues that have made AA the most successful treatment for alcoholism to this day.

There are a wide variety of rumors floating around about the Midtown Group. There are claims of forcing minors to have sex with older members, of pushing new members to sever ties with their families, friends and therapists, and refusing to sponsor anyone taking prescribed medications. All of these would be huge divergences from common AA practices.

While none of these rumors are definitively substantiated, there is one divergence from the AA program that has been admitted to: this group clearly has leaders, and they act as governors of the lives of the newer members. Michael Quinones is the leader of the group, and is revered by most members, while other old-timers in the group direct the day-to-day lives of the group newcomers.

This is contrary to AA’s second tradition, which states that “our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.” This is a very fundamental concept to Alcoholics Anonymous; most AA sponsors will do nothing more than make suggestions to their sponsees, and will never force them to take any specific actions. Group members do not even determine the way the group will be run, as all these decisions are determined by group conscience.

Perhaps most troubling though is the creation of an isolated community around the Midtown Group. Members are pushed to live, eat, sleep, and work inside of this very close-knit community. While certainly this provides a very safe environment which keeps new members from drinking, it fails to recognize that AA, at heart, is a program of living, and that it provides members with a method for living sober in the real world.

"It's like a prepackaged community," said David, 26, a former Midtown member who initially adored the group but now is highly critical of it. "You're thinking, okay, maybe I can stay sober for the rest of my life, but how do I have fun? I went to a different group, and it was 50-year-old men who went bowling on Tuesdays. That wasn't going to do it for me. At Midtown, everything is there for you. Here are your women, here are your dances every weekend, ski trip every March."

So many of the stories presented in both the most recent Washington Post article and the former Newsweek article indicate clearly that, when leaving the isolation of the Midtown Group, the members of this group are completely unprepared to live sober in the real world. While it’s true that the Midtown Group is very successful at keeping members sober while in the group, it fails to provide a way to live sober outside the group.

The Midtown Group supports its methods by referring to its higher success rate than other AA groups. They claim that some changes were necessary to modernize the AA program, and perhaps they’re right. The ineffectiveness of the no-governing tradition has been shown by the Central Office’s inability to act upon allegations of wrongdoing by the Midtown Group. The program has no mechanism to deal with such issues.

For me, the fact that AA has no leaders in the traditional sense is what made it a program that I could utilize; I would never have accepted a program that maintains the level of control displayed in the Midtown Group. Furthermore, I believe that the program is based upon the belief that every person is powerless, not only over alcohol but over people, places, things and situations, and that the leaders of Midtown do not recognize this powerlessness.

Yes, I find allegations of underage sex disgusting, and I think the isolation of members is just plain wrong. But destroying the fundamental nature of AA, changing it from a program that teaches a person how to live life soberly to a program that provides sobriety at the expense of living a full life eliminates the true benefits that can be derived from the program. In the end, these changes threaten to destroy the benefits of the AA program.


Posted by Scottage at 1:05 AM / | |  

Monday, July 23, 2007

It’s Alive!!!

No, it’s not the blob, and it’s not Frankenstein’s monster. It’s Caravan Radio, the radio station built by the majority of the staff from the former BigDawgRadio. And as of late last night, it’s finally broadcasting.

Many of you know that a bit over two weeks ago, the members of the BigDawg staff realized that we had an amazing team, with great DJs and a wide variety of talents. But we also knew that under our former ownership we could never reach our full potential. As a result, we decided to band together and build a better station, one that caters to the needs expressed by our listeners, and provides quality entertainment.

Today, that project officially begins. In less than a week, Luna and Val have put together a really amazing site, and are now working on the features to really enhance our offering, like request pages, dynamic schedules, and DJ web pages. But today, the music lives again. Yes, we have our auto DJ playing right now, but soon enough the live shows will be playing, the chat rooms will be buzzing, and the station will be in our listeners’ hands again.

We have huge plans for the new station. Not only will there be a wide variety of live DJs playing different genres of music, but there will also be talk shows, a comedy show, complete albums with really cool background information, a Grateful Dead hour, interviews with musicians of the day, and a serious dedication to the new musicians of today, especially the musicians who don’t get air time on your standard radio stations.

The music has started, but we are gearing up for our big launch in two weeks, August 3rd through 6th. That weekend we’ll have music 24/7, and a variety of parties in different chat rooms so listeners can get to know each other. It should be a fun time, and we hope you’ll join in.

If you’re a new artist and would like to either get some play time during the launch or even contribute a disc as a giveaway, let us know, and we’ll make sure people hear your music. Plus, e are also looking for new DJs, or really anyone with an idea for a show. So if you feel like being part of a great team, give us a holler, and be part of Caravan Radio.

The journey has begun, and we want you along for the ride. So check out Caravan Radio, and let us know what you think. And we look forward to seeing you at the launch in two weeks. Caravan Radio: Where The Music Is A Journey.


Posted by Scottage at 3:37 PM / | |