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A Look Around.

29 July 2013

One thing we do in AA is take regular stock of ourselves. Essentially, this is the work done for the tenth step, which states, “Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.” Now, I’m certainly wrong a lot. And my admission of such is often less than prompt. But today, at this moment, I feel like I’m in pretty good standing. The people I owe amends to have been offered them. The mistakes I’ve made have been acknowledged. There’s nothing sitting on my chest, inhibiting my free respiration. I have no doubt that this is a temporary condition. But it’s current, and that’s peaceful.

But the tenth step is bigger than simply making sure that we make amends for wrongs we commit in sobriety. Being an alcoholic means taking constant measure of our emotional and spiritual condition (whatever that means to each of us). Making corrections when we’re out of sorts. I feel like, even though I didn’t make note of it at the time, my recent pause in twittering was tenth-step work. I was feeling off kilter with how I was behaving. I needed to step back, reinforce some of my boundaries for myself, and then reengage when I was ready to act in a way that I found acceptable for myself.

The tenth step is about keeping track of who we are, where we are, and what we’re doing. Maintaining ourselves, deeply rooted in good earth, so that we can be at peace and of use to others. It’s about taking a look around. Being aware of what’s happening within and without. If I notice basic trends about where my mood is going, I can make sure I am centered, and I can take advantage of opportunities. It’s as much about capitalizing on good things as it is on forestalling bad things. Insofar as “good” and “bad” even make sense to an alcoholic in recovery. It’s all just stuff that happens. Obviously, I prefer some things to other things, but all in all, life happens and I face it as best I can regardless of the hand I’m dealt.

But these days, I gotta say, I’ve been dealt an pretty amazingly good hand. The job is going well. I had an informal evaluation last week, and I have a formal one next month. But all indications are that the structure above me is very pleased with my work. I have two papers submitted to big-name glamour journals right now. One is under review, and the other I’m trying to convince the editor to send it out for review (It came back “rejected unless you can convince me to send it out”. I did my best.). I feel reasonably confident that I’ve done good work with the one that’s out for review; this is the first paper I’ve written for MECMC. It would be great to get into a venerable journal right off the bat.

My relationship is going incredibly well. Despite the distance, I am feeling very connected. I don’t know what the future holds, obviously. But I’m trying to let go of expectations about the future and just enjoy this moment. The moment is good. I’m open to the future. But I will not try to control it.

I am falling in love with ECC. It’s a gorgeous city with incredible arts and food and institutions. I’m looking for a condo now, and I’ve discovered that there are several in decent locations that I can afford. I’ll be in a smaller space than I’ve been used to. Square footage in ECC is at a much higher premium than it was in St. Louis. But I’ll have my own place. Condo financing is astonishingly complex. Sometimes the homeowner’s association fee includes taxes and utilities, sometimes not, etc.. Figuring out what I can afford is very complicated.

But it’s exciting. Life is exciting. I am sober. And reasonably sane. And very, very happy. I will do whatever I can to enjoy this now, accept the life I have been granted. And when things change, and difficulties arise, I will try to face them with acceptance as well. Life happens. Life is happening. And here I am in the middle of it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 29 July 2013 09:21

    Congrats. Seriously. I give you a hard time on twitter, because I’m a jerk, but it’s really great to hear that you’re doing so well. It’s hard to fight back from an illness like addiction, but you seem to be doing an admirable job. Keep it up!

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