(no subject)

Whoa, I haven't updated my LJ in over two months. What is wrong with this picture??

What's new:
I took a class over the summer just to stay connected.
I've been working at the Humboldt County library for a while; it's the perfect job right now.
I'm still sober. I haven't used any drugs or alcohol in almost SEVEN months!
I still go to meetings, and I have a great sponsor with whom I'm working the steps.
I have a new roommate named Lindsey; she rules.
Besides Lindsey, I still haven't made any friends yet. I'm still reclusive. Except now instead of drinking and drugging and going online, I read.
I go back to school in a week. I have a sweet schedule and I'm looking forward to it.

Most importantly, I am happy. I've been going with the flow of life, floating, not thrashing in attempt to save my sorry ass. I'm exhilarated to know when I'm taking the right turns. When I reach a fork, I pray for a sign, with the willingness to follow through.

For instance, I didn't know what to do about my education; I have 46 units under my belt and several major options: stay at a JC until I'm competitive enough to apply to Berkeley, apply to schools I can get into, or study abroad (New Zealand sparked my interest.) I asked God for a small sign on what I should do. He gave me more than a small sign. He gave me one of those giant flashing LANE ENDING MERGE RIGHT construction signs: My landlady has every National Geographic magazine ever published in chronological order. I felt like reading one from the 70's and grabbed one at random--July 1973. The featured article was about the glow worms in the Waitomo Caves in New Zealand. Check this, not only is my nickname glow worm, but I LOVE caves, and these caves are close to the university I had my eye on. In fact the article quotes students! To add a cherry on top, Waikato University offers cog sci as a major. So New Zealand, it is! I am so fucking excited. Before all this happened, my former roommate Jenine moved to Scotland for 6 months through a work abroad program. She's such a cool chick, she's traveled and lived all over the world. She was the one who suggested I study abroad. When the time comes, she will be a fabulous help with the bureaucratic details.

I am exceedingly grateful that I have such amazing options. I get to go to college. I have the means to live on my own in the redwood forest on the coast of Cali, one of the most beautiful places on earth. I have the means and the freedom to move to another country. I even have a car. I also have a keyboard and a computer. Shit, I even have an iPod. To say nothing about my good health, the clothes on my body, the food in my fridge, and the roof over my head! I have too many comforts and fabulous opportunities to fuck up my life with alcohol and drugs. It's unfortunate that I can't enjoy a brew or a bowl now and again. But I know how my body and mind work. To those of you who can, knock one back and blaze one up for me, and be grateful for the luxury. In turn I'll think of you carless losers tomorrow as I cruise around town, eating a Power Bar, blasting tunes in my '92 Honda Accord--sorry for rear-ending you, Sir, I was not paying attention when I opened my snack, don't worry I have insurance.

(no subject)

Do destiny and freedom contradict each other? I feel liberated; the options of things to do with my life are endless. But, on the other hand, I feel a profound sense of purpose--like I am right where I am supposed to be and I am doing what I am supposed to do.
Then, for an instant, I feel psychic; I can see exactly what I am doing in ten years and how all the events in my life have been preparing me for it. Then I realize people have a name for those kinds of thoughts--delusions of grandeur--and I am back to feeling aimless, crazy and depressed.
Then part of me tries to tell myself, "It's okay, those thoughts can be motivating, can help you achieve greater things."
Then another part of me says, "Who are you kidding? You never even leave the house."
"But some of the world's greatest thinkers are loners."
"Why are you even trying to compare yourself to the greats? What's your problem?"
"Some of the world's greatest thinkers are arrogant."
"There you go again..."
"ARGGHHH! I can't help it... Fuck off."
"Get off your damn pedestal.
And why are you talking to yourself?"
"I'm not! ... Shut up, shut up, shut up!"

My mind is a car full of kids on a long road trip. quarrel, Quarrel, QUARREL. Silence. quarrel, Quarrel, QUARREL. Silence...

But life in general is pretty good I guess. It fluctuates. I don't know what to say.
  • Current Mood

(no subject)

Row, Row, Row Your Boat is a fantastic song if you stop to think about it. It seems that everyone these days is blasting across the bay forcefully and angrily in a speedboat.

"Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily...
Life is but a dream."

(no subject)

When I am feeling annoyed, AA is extremely annoying. People spout cliches and bullshit and self-righteous wisdom and the same old "poor me" stories, and "i'm not perfect" means "but now that i'm in AA i'm pretty damn close" and "glad you're here" is a euphemism for "i am better than you. maybe someday you'll get it."
AA IS a cult, albeit one that has helped many people; the Big Book is the bible, and the ONLY way to stay sober is through the 12-steps. I'm not a fan of organized religion. There are some excellent things about AA however. It has indeed helped thousands of people stay sober, it is widely accessible, it is helpful to be around other recovering alcoholics and to help other alcoholics in their recovery, and the 12-steps have important ideas behind them such as honesty and forgiveness. What I can't stand about AA is the bullshit that you WILL relapse if you do not have a sponsor and live and breathe the 12-steps. And I hate how 12-steppers shun those who mention alternative recovery methods. Arrrghh, it's driving me nuts!!!
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed

a bit about social anxiety

I just remembered--Happy Birthday to me!! Today is my 60 day sobriety date. :)
However, I wasn't able to get myself to a meeting today to receive my chip because I was at school from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm.

Today has been my first good day after a whole string of shitty ones. I was so damn down that I couldn't even update my LJ. I couldn't flop out a single word--nothing. And I had to write a five-page persuasive essay in that condition, which I naturally saved until the last minute. Luckily, my suicidality was of some use, as my essay topic was euthanasia--physician-assisted suicide. I found myself pumping out thought after thought after thought until I completely changed my mind on the issue. I recreated my outline to reflect my new thesis and started all over again. Well, today I got the essay back. A+. The professor said, "Gloria. I want you to bring your essay to class next week and read it outloud. I was hoping you could read it today, but there are too many people absent. I want you to have a larger audience."
Holy shit!! I couldn't enjoy the compliment at that moment because I was overwhelmed with anxiety. It's a struggle for me to read the frikkin AA Preamble at meetings, let alone read an entire five-page paper--that i wrote--to a college english class.

I can't even begin to tell you the irony of this situation. Part of what was feeding my depression the past week was my social anxiety and the unbearable feelings of humiliating myself in front of others. On Saturday I was called on to speak at an AA meeting when I was already on the verge of a panic attack. I don't even remember what I said, but I know everyone was cringing at my discomfort--red face, stumbling over words, staring at the ground, shallow breathing and pausing for breaths in all the wrong places, probably talking too fast, and undoubtedly making little sense. I couldn't hear a word I was saying. I think I made a sorry attempt to joke about my discomfort, commenting on how I keep a radius of at least 1 empty chair on all sides of me; no one laughed. Then in my group on Monday, I had to read a packet about my addictions outloud to the group. Extremely similar feelings, except this time I was in the spotlight for 15 whole minutes. It was a fat packet. I tried to read it as quickly as possible, to get it over with ASAP, and I didn't even realize until yesterday (yes, I dwelled on it the entire day) that I was reading too fast and no one could follow me or become engaged in what I was saying.

If I could just HEAR myself when I'm speaking, if I could just RELAX and breathe deeply, then I would be okay. I just feel like such an idiot that I can't talk in front of my fellow human beings. I feel so conceited that I am only able to focus on myself. Of course the best thing I can do is practice. I know that it's no accident that I'm being confronted with all these public speaking situations. But shit, this is dangerously uncomfortable.

Now how the hell am I going to read this paper to my class on Monday?

EDIT. Here is an excerpt from an e-mail I just received from my friend Mohamed:
"Also, breath. I helps you relax a bit, and try to slow down because nervousness tend to drive us crazy and may even puts us on an empty freeway, where we go way to fast trying to get home, or our disk, where we might feel a little more comfortable that right there with the staring eyes on us. Believe me, it is going to be alright."
Is that not the cutest thing ever?

(no subject)

It's really easy to rag on myself about all the things in my life I still need to work on (make friends, become less self-conscious/self-centered, do something creative, exercise, get a job and on and on...) I can't win with that kind of thinking--there will always be more to work on. Yesterday, I ran into the dude who did my intake 6 weeks ago and he said, "Hey Gloria! You look a hell of a lot better than the last time I saw you!!" And I realized how right he was. I have made phenomenal progress in the past 6 weeks, and I lost sight of where I'm coming from. And what more could I ask for than progress? If I don't set more realistic standards for myself and treat myself with more respect, perfectionism will be the death of me. Literally.
  • Current Music
    smashing pumpkins - stand inside your love

(no subject)

The last few weeks I have been telling myself over and over how busy I am and how I don't have enough time to do anything but stay at home. Well, it just hit me that I am probably the most unbusy person I know. I only have two commitments: school and my IOP. Why do I feel so busy??

Tomorrow, however, I actually am busy--or at least I think so. I need to get a TB shot at school, go to the grocery store, go to an AA meeting, go to an interview with an employment agency, hit the gym, go to my evening group, then do homework. That doesn't seem out of the ordinary to you guys, does it? I have been delaying getting the TB shot and going to the grocery store for so long now that I have ZERO substantial food and will get suspended from my program again if I don't get that shot tomorrow!

My mind can only handle so much stimuli. I am overwhelmed by and out of touch with the world.

But, believe it or not, I have made an impressive amount of progress, and I am significantly less depressed than I was before I moved. I have a lot going for me, and I am not as big a loser as I make myself out to be. I am so fucking thankful everyday for the luxuries I have: I have my own room in a warm house, my own money, my own car and other material posessions such as books, my keyboard, my computer and my extensive music collection. I am physically presentable, I have an excellent resume, an academic past and future, 44 days of sobriety, a connection to my Higher Power, and a desire to live--I have it all. But man, it sure is tough to embrace this world all alone. I don't know if any of you are familiar with such a dark and profound loneliness--no friends, no family, no familiar faces, no love interest, no social support. It's just me, my mind and the world.
  • Current Music
    audioslave - the last remaining light