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    1. #361
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      Re: The Sobriety Experiment: Chapter Two

      Saturday, February 17th 2018 (Filters of Reality)


      A couple of things to talk about then. A couple of things I missed out on either due to my word count limit or the fact that I often stall on things and allow myself to get carried away and intellectualise over things less important in a bid to detach from the important. Take your pick really. Lindsay is working a rare Saturday and so I have the house to myself until four. I'm going to post this then walk down to the Golden Bite for some decent breakfast. When I get back I'll be getting on with some college work for next week to help stay ahead of the game and will have the football on the radio in the background.

      On Thursday I had my usual fortnightly session with my clinical psychologist. Dr. Bacon and I only have two more sessions together after which I found out during Thursday's session that I'll be getting his boss as a replacement, a consultant psychologist. My case has already been discussed and so the transition shouldn't be too much of a big thing. It'll just be a waiting game more than anything else. I have my final two sessions with Dr. Bacon a week on Thursday (March 01st) and then a fortnight after that.

      It's important, then, that I have a good idea of where we are in therapy and where it is I am supposed to be going. And therein lies one of my main problems. Where I'm ''supposed'' to be going? Does that mean that therapy for me is all about waiting on Dr. Bacon to decide what it is I should be doing with my life? Being told what to do next? One of my issues is not making up my own mind on a lot of things and taking responsibility for my life at times. This is something I am told that the consultant, Dr. Bacon's replacement, will be good at. He's really experienced and will be good at pushing me. Bacon admits that perhaps not pushing me hard enough, or at least more often, is something he's perhaps been guilty of during our time together.

      Another of my problems has been regarding my attempts to connect with people already in my life. One way I avoid doing the hard work yet make it appear to all not trained in psychology or otherwise super observant as though I am working very hard is by targeting people who are unlikely to give me any real positive responses back. In other words I tend to try very hard and dedicate a lot of our session time to my mother when the reality is that she is often not available or capable of giving me exactly what it is I perhaps need from her. This means that these attempts, while often painful and frustrating, are still safe options as there is unlikely to be any new developments and so no next phase. It's this next phase I am meant to be working on. It's important from now on that I try to focus my attention on people who are available to take things to the next level of connection. This is harder as it puts me in vulnerable positions which triggers Little Stevie, but it is the only real way forward is I still want things to change.

      Risk taking. This is what I hope the consultant (I can already see that being his permanent name in the pages of this journal) will be good for. Encouraging me to take the necessary risks from one session to the other so that there might always be something good to look at. Optimism is another of these things I should be trying to think about since my pessimistic world view is something which often holds me back. It's important to be clear on what schemas actually are and how they affect a person's life. They are not just beliefs. They are more than that. When triggered Little Stevie will bring out a schema coping mode which then act as filter for reality, if you like. A way of seeing the world, admittedly a very distorted way. Everything and anything then passes through that distorted filter before it gets into my consciousness and belief system. The problem then occurs when it goes on like this for so long, usually a whole lifetime as has been the case with me, that the problem is then in convincing my brain that these filters aren't actual reality.

      This would become really frustrating in the early days of my sobriety and involvement in these forums and recovery services when it would be suggested that I click my fingers and change my view of reality. What would have been better would have been for someone to suggest that I try to find ways of doing this. Turns out that there are ways of managing this but no one has ever been known to flick a switch as a way to trade a pessimistic world view into a positive and optimistic one.

      So when I begin work with the consultant (or – now that we have established this will be his official title) the Consultant in a few weeks we will be starting from here. I know why my Schema Modes exist and where they have come from and I know the things I must work on from now on if I want to start seeing improvements in my life. Social isolation is a big problem for me. In this I don't necessarily mean that I spend all of my time on my own (this hasn't been the case for a while now I am happy to say) but is more in not feeling as though I have a place within my community, like I genuinely don't have a peer group. I would agree with Bacon on this. Sure – I like to go try new things every now and then (or at least think about trying new things from time to time) and I mix quite well with fellow students in my class – but I always get the feeling as though they are together and I am separate but joining in. Like I don't really belong.

      This is the type of feelings that might – if I didn't know any better – trigger my brain into thinking it's time to get to an AA meeting. That would be a decent short-term fix and would give me the impression that I do have a peer group. I'm looking for more than that though. I'm looking for something genuine.

      This is where the hard work comes in, I guess.

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      Stevie

      Has a distorted reality.

      1135

    2. #362
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      Re: The Sobriety Experiment: Chapter Two

      Sunday, February 18th 2018 (Earth to Admin, Come In, Admin!)


      At least now I know that someone reads in here.

      Where would I find out why my post was deleted? How do you contact the moderators? Why would a moderator delete such a post? I have looked through the forum rules and cannot fathom which one of them I am supposed to have breached with that last post. For those reading on the other forum I post on (Ryver) I am referring to Friday's post – one still very much up for viewing on that site. For some (PC) reason or another it has been removed on the My Way Out site. Doesn't it seem absolutely bewildering that such a post should be deemed unsuitable for members of a forum?

      I had problems with the old WQD forum and some of its members when I joined. Some of it was geared at those who acted as though they were something special in their sobriety while discounting the fact that their own drinking was really tame. Some of it was aimed at those who laughed off the times when I was new and was feeling suicidal. At other times I just aimed it at anyone because I was newly sober and angry. I wanted to punish others for myself feeling bad. There was one time during my WQD tenure when my account was temporarily suspended until I removed some content from a post.

      This was a much better way of handling things. My entire journal was removed from the site until I contacted a moderator. When I promised to edit the content the journal went back online and I was allowed to edit the part that had caused offence. This meant that I and everyone else knew which House Rule had been broken and I was able to edit it myself to reword it appropriately. Then the whole thing was forgotten about. I had a huge amount of respect for Rich during that episode. This is different though. This is just deleting a post with no reasons nor explanation.

      Why not contact me? I don't know how to contact the admin department around My Way Out and so don't know what to do to try to get your attention other than write about it in here (now that I know that people obviously do continue to read the journals I type up) and hope that they can reach me via Private Message (although I MUCH prefer writing out in the open where there are no hiding places, but hiding behind PM is something I am willing to do). What was the rule I broke? Ryver WQD does not seem to feel as though there has been any violation as my post is still up on that site.

      For all the problems I had with WQD (and when we look back there were not all that many considering the mindset I had during my first year in sobriety and that fact that I was still drunk and high when I joined the forum – writing many times while steaming drunk and high on amphetamines. The experience was overwhelmingly positive and I still miss it) it had something (and still has in its new weaker state on Ryver) in that it let me be me. It let us be us. There was a line and if it was crossed then you were made to know. But it allowed us to be ourselves. This is something sorely missing from the My Way Out forum. It's a real shame that it is controlled in such a way. Created by snowflakes for snowflakes? Possibly.

      Perhaps there was a complaint about the post and this was the reason for it being taken down. If so then I am a little more understanding. The bottom line is that I don't know. There is no contact between an admin member and myself. Rich and/or Doodlebug on the old WQD forum would have contacted me. No one would have been named. It would just simply have been made clear that there had been a complaint and that there was a wish for me to edit said part out of my post. There is no such connection between us in this forum.

      I would understand if this My Way Out forum was a thriving, bustling community of ex-drunks, a successful forum in any way, shape or from, but it is not. At time of writing I am the only member online. Yep – the only member. There are eight guests along with me but they are probably spammers and robots. I might be the only human being currently online. On the old WQD a bad day would see me sharing this webspace with around twenty to twenty five members and a couple hundred guests. How busy must the admin department of this forum be?

      I am hoping that they might be able to take some pride in their forum and contact me so that I can learn exactly what it is I am supposed to have done here. The other forum I use allows us to be ourselves providing there are no obvious attempts to offend another member. This forum seems instead to be run by snowflakes for snowflakes. Amazing considering that new members could join at any moment and could genuinely be in a life or death state. They could be armed to their drunken teeth with offensive language and we would just delete all of their posts? I am grateful that the old WQD did not take this stance when I was washed up on its virtual beach nearly four years ago. I might never have found AA. I would probably, in all seriousness, be dead. Somehow I feel as though this particular forum has little to no experience in real situations involving drunk people.

      I don't really know how to proceed with this journal in My Way Out. Lindsay and I were contacted on Friday to find out that we are top of the list again for the Relationships Scotland sex therapy workers and so this will be starting up soon. The old WQD forum would have looked upon this as an exciting time to start discussing a topic that is of great problems for many of us who have drinking and drug-taking histories and it might have helped others struggling in silence, not bold enough to write about it in their own journals. I am sure that the new Ryver WQD will have no issues with me discussing it either.

      My Way Out will likely ban me if I consider even mentioning it.

      It's the site's loss really. Unless admin contact me and I can discuss a little with them what I can and cannot post then I'll have no option but to edit out the parts of the journal that I reckon would be of any worry to a snowflake whatsoever. It'll just become another journal.

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      Stevie

      Let's talk, Moderator1.

      1171

    3. #363
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      Re: The Sobriety Experiment: Chapter Two

      Monday, February 19th 2018 (Two in a Camp)


      St. Andrews, where I come from, the Home of Golf, and all that. Probably one of the most famous places in Scotland. My grandparents lived there their whole lives. I don't think that they ever thought about leaving. They were actually concerned when we said that we were leaving back in 1996. My auntie warned us:

      Auntie – ''Once you leave you'll never get back. You won't be able to afford a house here and you won't be able to get on the council housing list!''

      Turns out that this is not strictly true but never mind. What I'm trying to say is that some people, quite a lot of people actually, don't tend to move very far from where they were born. They tend to just stay put. (apologies if anything I have mentioned in my post so far has offended any of the snowflakes on the My Way Out forum.) I know people who have lived in the same little village their whole lives. Barry the Bullet (does the word ''Bullet'' cause too much offence to the My Way Out community? Is it perhaps too violent for the punters here?) tells me that he has a school reunion coming up in the summer. This will be twenty five years since he left school. He must have been a Christmas leaver in 1993 being born in February. I was born two months later but won't be out of school for twenty five years until next year, leaving in the summer of 1994.

      He says he's looking forward to meeting up with some people he hasn't seen for ages. He does bump into old school pals around the town though. Many of his peers have stayed put. They are still living, like he is, not far from where it all started. I don't know if I would be to be honest. For one thing: I don't really care about how most of my peers are getting on now. There are a few I would like to meet again at some point down the line (including Greame who is still on my AA Step Nine amends list) but most of them I would probably struggle to remember. Barry says that some of his classmates are long gone, dead for whatever reason, and so I would imagine this to be the case with my own year, and so that would be interesting to know also. Generally though – I don't think it would be for me.

      They seem awfully like they would be performance comparison exercises. I should think that Barry will walk away from his reunion feeling a tad bad about himself and the way his life has turned out. He'll look at some of those doing ''better'' than him and perhaps get into the mindset that they all had the same schooling and so the same opportunities and he fucked up. Actually – I think that this paragraph is getting a little to opinionated and could likely offend some of the My Way Out snowflakes so I'll edit out the next paragraph, just leave them the word count in parenthesis as I shall do from now on when it comes to any topic that is not simply your bog-standard internet journal affair. I'm going to be talking about something said in my last Dr. Bacon session and I don't want it to hurt any of those hypersensitive sods on the MWO.

      (204)

      (137)

      (94)

      Isn't that crazy? It kind of makes Victor Frankl seem as though he doesn't know what he's talking about in his book. There's some important stuff to think about there though when it comes to giving myself a break for not being perfect. It also suggests that fate is, very loosely, based on some kind of truth. We are on some kind of road that cannot be completely transformed.

      Anyway. . .

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      Stevie

      Maybe some people are happy with where they are.

      1110

    4. #364
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      Re: The Sobriety Experiment: Chapter Two

      Tuesday, February 20th 2018 (Thinking Graded Units)


      Yesterday I completed one of my assessed shows for the college. Today I'll be doing another one. The genres couldn't be more contrasting. Yesterday's was about boy bands of the 1990's while today's is progressive metal. I prefer the latter. While I will be working with Barry the Bullet for the majority of the day I will be finishing up a little early to go to college and get some studio time for myself. The time in the studio for me is very limited this semester. I won't be able to record any of my assessed shows on Monday as it is the sports show I am involved in. The only chance is during my other show which is on a Wednesday afternoon but I share this time with classmate Paige and there will be times when she will want to take the controls. The only option (other than moaning about it but that never really gets me places) is to block book a slot for a day when we are not in class and no one else is using the room. The only times this is possible is on a Friday – which is no good as it interferes with work too much – or Tuesday afternoons. The latter is the option I went for (for want of a better alternative) and so I am in the studio every Tuesday from four until five whether I am working during the day or not. It isn't ideal but it is the only way I can see of working it at the moment.

      With regards to some of the stuff that Dr. Bacon has been working with me through the course of the last year (time to say goodbye to the My Way Out guys). . .

      (774)

      All that has to be put aside for now though as work is on the menu first thing. It's not as cold at the moment as it was this time last week I'm happy to say.

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      Stevie

      Off to work.

      1128

    5. #365
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      Re: The Sobriety Experiment: Chapter Two

      Wednesday, February 21st 2018 (Diving for Cover)


      Looking back at my Filters of Reality post I am asking myself this morning how my week has been. Have I been taking risks? Have I been reaching out? Have I been directly asking for what I want rather than trying to give off signals and hope that the other party can guess?

      I think that (yep – I am actually going to do that thing that some people on the My Way Out forum are scared shitless of and actually have an opinion, offer a thought, a personal insight, rather than just regurgitate a popular belief or say something I know to be politically correct and base everything I write about on whether or not it will cause offense. I am going out on a limb here and am going to offer up something that I am actually thinking myself and have not been told to think or feel – something that scares the bajeezus out of some members of My Way Out) – I think that it's a fine day today!

      DIVE!!

      . . .

      . . .

      . . .

      I look out from under the bed. It looks as though the coast is clear. The My Way Out snowflakes have not come to lynch me after all. Perhaps they are waiting, for the offense that has been caused to them by my opinion (which I will evolve into an assertion) that this looks to be a fine day today has frozen them stiff. Fear running through their veins rendering them immobile. It is a fine day though – that's my opinion!

      Fine day aside I have been thinking a little this week about the coming of the end of my sessions with Dr. Bacon, my clinical psychologist, and the work we've done so far – most of which has just been exploring my defective behaviour patterns of a lifetime and how and why they've come about. I mentioned most of these in the post the other day: inadequacy; the sense that people won't be there for me when I need them to be; abandonment; the feeling that I am defective, that there's something wrong with me. Actually – wait a moment while I edit this next part out from the My Way Out forum. They might start getting all hot and flustered. . .

      (664)

      One very interesting development that will be happening this coming weekend is meeting Lindsay's son, Leon. This will be happening on Saturday. It's Lindsay's birthday on Sunday and so everyone is getting together but with me never having met her son before there is something of an issue surrounding it. This will be getting sorted out before we go. I think one of his workers will be bringing him to the house before we go out and we'll get the chance to be introduced to one and other. I'd rather have not done it this way – would rather have met him supervised only by his mother and given a little more than a quick introduction immediately before we head out for a family meal but it has gone on for long enough now and so I'm just glad it's going to be happening at all.

      So – with that to look forward to (and to feel nervous about) this coming weekend, and with my final psychology sessions coming up over the next few weeks as well, there is plenty to keep a Stevie busy.

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      Stevie

      Staying busy.

      1114

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