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Spirituality = Reality

Discussion in 'Freedom from Hell ~ Staying Clean~' started by gettingbetter, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    "A woman on ice skates, alone and unaware, beautiful and free in the depths of winter." - some damn short story I wrote in college

    Same Time Next Year: Part II
    February, March, April

    "Hey, DJ!" I yell, over the whir and din of the ice skates and shouts of the people around me. "If you play 'Moves Like Jagger' one more time on this sound loop, I am going to take off my skate and use the long part of the blade to smash the speaker in until no one understands it anymore."

    I don't really say that, of course. I only think it. I'm whipping around the ice at the Tri-Town arena on my white figure skates that I've had for more than 20 years, and I think I might actually be getting decent enough to pursue this further, to have someone show me something different. I still can't skate backwards, no matter how hard I try. My legs separate and split and my butt sticks out. It's April, it's been a little over two months since I started skating again.

    When I was little my dad taught me to skate.

    He loved hockey. He loved everything about the ice. And I loved everything about my father. I loved his conviction and his passion and most of it rubbed off on me. I can still see myself out there, on the pond behind my house, my dad yelling at me to ease up, balance more, push off. For a while, after school, I skated every day for hours.

    Then I stopped, for more than 20 years.

    I think it was early February when, overwhelmed with schoolwork at both my job and in my actual schooling, I realized I wanted more than Bikram yoga - I wanted my winter sports back. I loved ice skating. Always had. Didn't want to go alone. One Saturday night alone in early February I said "who cares" and I got out my never-used ice skates that my mom got me as a present in 1992 and I went to Skater's Edge and I got them sharpened and drove to a northern suburb of the city above me and I hauled my butt on that indoor ice arena, determined and single.

    Two firsts: I had never skated indoors, and I had never skated as an adult.

    Another first: I had never done anything so difficult in my life. I could barely stand up. I had to hold the wall for two entire laps. I felt like a friggin' idiot. 38 years old, by myself, blah blah blah my head said over and over. I told it to shut up, and, as much as it ticked me off, I kept thinking of the Steps. One foot at a time, one lap at a time. Yeah, you suck, but who cares, just keep DOING this. One little glide at a time and you will get better at this. Every single thing I know how to do or approach in my life comes from that first initial run-through of stepwork: the approach, the execution. The falling on one's butt.

    I was tired of not doing what I wanted to do solely because I couldn't find anyone willing to do it with me. And I was going to do this, dammit, because I loved it. When I was a little girl I dreamed of being a figure skater.

    In my floundering years after college, I used to get stoned with my gay friend and watch this video: Yuka Sato "I Love You " 1996 - YouTube

    Look at how beautiful and passionate and graceful and charming Yuka Sato is. It still makes me cry, that song, her skill. It is one of the most perfect executions of what I want the embodiment of the whole of my life to be that I've ever seen.

    Also in college, I wrote some damn short story about a girl whose boyfriend breaks up with her on a camping trip. The girl, in spite and revenge, acts a certain way on the camping trip to get him to say he made a mistake. She basically manipulates him back into being her boyfriend. And at the end of the story, he falls on her in the tent to nail her while she takes it in bittersweet triumph. It's a hot summer day in Georgia, and all she can think about is ice skating and being alone. Last line went something like this: "She closed her eyes and put her arms around Ted's neck, but she could not rid herself of that picture: a woman on ice skates, alone and unaware, beautiful and free in the depths of winter."

    Like every stupid story I wrote in college that wasn't bad but wasn't good either, it was pretty much a true story.

    It never left me, the idea that I wanted to be alone and skate alone, like my salty and manipulative female protagonist. It wasn't until this past February that I realized I'd never lived it.

    So I kept going back every Wednesday and every Saturday, alone, to that arena, skating to crappy music like "Moves Like Jagger" and the "Cha-Cha Slide" (which I like really, my students in 2000 and I used to have a hell of a time with that song) and "Teenage Dream". All around me, couples glided, little kids fell, and I made my way around and around and around, and I'll be honest, I carried that line in my head over and over and over:

    a woman on ice skates alone and unaware beautiful and free in the depths of winter
    a woman on ice skates alone and unaware beautiful and free in the depths of winter
    a woman on ice skates alone and unaware beautiful and free in the depths of winter
    a woman on ice skates alone and unaware beautiful and free in the depths of winter

    And I thought about my father, who taught me to skate.

    I called him a few times, told him I was skating again. He was so elated at the idea of skating again, said there was nothing like it. I told him I knew that and I would come to Florida to see him, head to a nearby arena. We would see if his snapped Achilles would work despite his new wobble. He thinks it will; I'm not so sure.

    By the end of March I was whipping around exactly like I used to. I was teaching myself crossovers and how to skate on one foot. It didn't take long as long as I went consistently and devoted myself to being better. And it didn't take long for me to start dreaming of a routine, because I still have a big fat ego and I still dream of being some type of triumphant athletic performer.

    This is what I think should be my epic figure skating routine music. I only need choreography and I'm good:
    Requiem For A Dream - Full Theme Song - YouTube

    That is "Lux Aeterna", the theme song from Requiem for a Dream.

    I had never seen Requiem for a Dream until the end of January. I stayed up till 5 a.m. watching it and was so shattered to the core by the reality of the nature of delusion that it presented that I didn't stop thinking of it for days and hearing this song and this isn't all epic figure skating triumph because all this long cold but not that cold and not that stunning of a winter much of what I did was think about the nature of delusion and Requiem for a Dream.

    Because it made me very sad, and I wanted to present that I knew what they meant in that film.

    As much as I was beautiful and free in the depths of winter and felt that, I also felt Requiem.

    And in those long winter months I heard the march of "Lux Aeterna" on the ice, alone and unaware, dreamy and delusional in the idea that one day my father would come back to skate with me, one day I would choreograph something to that haunting song. One day I would be as beautiful as Yuka Sato, the ice would open to me, people would applaud my beauty. I would be honest and full and real and passionate and people would SEE me, yes they would SEE, they would see what I wanted to show them -

    - they would see I was trying to show them that I understood

    - they would see that I saw the core of delusion and I knew it was there but I still embraced it

    - they would see that I knew and loved myself still for having experienced the horror of drug addiction, the end of that film, the spattering blood, the horrible infections, the degrading pornography, as portrayed in that film, that those sort things didn't hurt me anymore but they still lived on in me, they were part of me and who I was and those horrible moments when your self-created delusions meet up to the stark reality of reality, that I knew that $hit was REAL and I had so much compassion and so much love and dammit I would show the world that I had never seen a more powerful representation of what the nature of delusion truly is than that film

    - I would nail that triple axle and the string instruments would wail and I would have finally found some type of moment

    - and then, I would go back to school.

    In my real life, I always go back to school. I see the kids and really, none of this stuff matters as much.

    But that's what sustained me, these weeks last winter.
  2. Robyn

    Robyn Well-Known Member

    My hat goes off to you for trying something new; at least new as an adult.

    I'm so afraid of failure that I tend to stay with the familiar, or at least what I'm good at. That perfection thing always rears it's ugly head and tells me mediocrity is just not enough.

    I've been reading about your progress since I joined in 2008. So much I can relate to; your struggles with kratom and sudafed (mine was phentermine), that obsession to be thin.

    Thanks for your very personal stories. I hope you'll continue to share with us.

    PS Requiem For A Dream, huh? Sounds like an interesting read.
  3. glynntoo

    glynntoo Well-Known Member

    I loved that story. Thanks for sharing. I loved roller skating as a kid. I taught all three of my children how to skate (into my late 30s) and was disappointed they didn't enjoy it as I did. The last time I was on skates was when I tried to teach my grandson to skate 10 years ago...I was so darn stiff I was scared I would break something! I sure hope your dad skates again....I never ice skated - although I always wanted to.

    Wish I could hit the like button again!
  4. Trigger

    Trigger Well-Known Member

    it's cool that you went roller skating alone. one of the great joys of being single (and drug-free?) is handling stuff by yourself, and feeling absolutely fine about it. my last year in LA, I was constantly running out of gas and breaking down by the side of the road. I would laugh about it. felt great to have to handle trouble on my own, without any boyfriend or daddy to cry to.

    EDIT= lol, i guess i mean 'ice skating' not roller skating. also, did you know that 'Requiem for a Dream' and 'Black Swan' were written and directed by the same dude? you should check out his first film, 'Pi'. it's all about intensely obsessing about a personal art project...
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
  5. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    I love handling stuff on my own now. It took me a while to stop feeling sorry for myself. The new challenge is learning to ask for help when I need it, and not thinking I'm badarse for handling stuff by myself all the time. For example, listening to women at work complain about why their husbands haven't done a, b, or c yet ... I will tend to feel contempt and think 'do it your friggin' self, i will never again let a man be responsible for any aspect of my life' ... and that isn't humility.

    I did know that Aronofsky directed both Requiem and Black Swan - my movie friends were very surprised I had never seen Requiem because I am a fan of that director. And I did see Pi, a long time ago, and I'm quite sure I was on a ton of speed, so it would be worth another go. I do remember the intense obsession.

    I could ramble on but TRIGGER, I just want to see if you're around from July 28-August 7/8 or so. Because I'll be driving south my dear and I would love nothing more than to meet you in person.
  6. Trigger

    Trigger Well-Known Member

    absolutely. been thinking about this today, and i can't wait to meet you. i'll definitely be in town, so let's talk soon :)
  7. Skrambled

    Skrambled Member

    Hello, all i am brand new on this forum, though as a former worthless waste of space slammer of whatever,mostly opi's who had been desperately seeking help and advice online I have read many posts here. Only, just now have I registered, this was the first thread that caught my eye. I am glad I did. Congrats, on keeping it going 3.5 years, getting better! I will surely be posting more about myself as I am just 4 months out of a very deep hell and picking up the pieces from a long,long, adult life of being adventurous with my mind and body to say the least. Which, ultimately caught up with me and almost killed me. Definitely, flipped my world upside down and caused me to lose two separate beautiful women. I just recently a month ago had the latest one leave, very long, and sorted tale. So, will conclude for now by writing 10 things I am grateful today for. I have never done this exercise but am having a hard time going at relative sobriety alone. Relative b/c I jumped to only Kratom 4 months ago, and never looked back. I quit that for a week to see how deep I was and was happy to find it's mostly mental anguish with Krat wd's. Do to insanity in life and needing to be all the me I could be I opted to start the Krat program again. I do small amounts 1-2 g's 1 sometimes 2 x a day, never extracts, etc. I am very against them actually so anyway,sorry about the length got a lot to say I guess?
    1. Still having a car
    2. Not getting hurt totaling other car Friday
    3. My supportive friends & family (except bro not eye2 eye ever lol)
    4. My house
    5. My sanity(sometimes)
    6. My experiences good,bad, and ugly
    7. Healing from prior abuse
    8. Sleeping again
    9. My darn annoying but lovable cats,geez really? ha
    10. My renewed passion for playing music

    Cool, that was interesting had no idea what would come out. I am glad to have stumbled into the forum thanks!!!

    Read more of your posts gettingbetter you are very articulate and eloquent with your prose. I commend you for being so resilient and letting nothing get in the way of your "narrative" I love it..I am supposed to be leaving to do the friend having a b-day party at a bar, not that I have any issues with myself and a few drinks but I just do not like the going out scene. I have enjoyed my downtime reading your posts and time got away from me, that's a rare thing lately. Sober Enjoyment that is. The real world is quite crushing. I realize why I stayed vacant as much as possible with my mind blown in my own zone. Sorry random Rap lyrics come out of me often, lol. peace all and great thread gettingbetter, so glad you got back up and have the ice skater n you shaping your reality, gliding you to serenity..
  8. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much Skrambled and how are you?

    Going to start with a gratitude list. It's been a while.

    Ten Things I Am Grateful For Today:
    1. I have somewhere to live.
    2. I make very decent money and support myself completely.
    3. my 16-year-old cat is in great health.
    4. I am in the best shape of my life.
    5. I quit smoking more than a month ago and am no longer killing myself.
    6. It's raining outside and I can listen to it with the slider open.
    7. There will always be more books to read. Many of them will be quite good.
    8. Despite what everyone says, there's actually some decent music being played now-a-days.
    9. I am looking forward to starting my thesis in the fall.
    10. my life. most of the time.

    A Letter To God: Interlude

    Dear God,

    If I hadn't had that brief relapse in January 2011, I'd be coming up on four years sober in a couple weeks. I've been living a determinedly sober life since then at any rate. And I want to write you a brief letter, here, tonight, since this was the place where I processed everything important through writing as praxis as I moved through sobriety, and I intend to do so, stream of consciousness, total honesty, let's hear it, dani.

    I have been good, God. I got up after my relapse and my rebound relationship and I got back into AA and I helped others and I got 21 graduate credits this past year, and I started ice skating again, and I went to Bikram yoga almost every single day, and I taught full-time, and I threw myself into every single one of those things like I always do.

    And now I weigh exactly what I want to weigh. I am in very good shape. I am starting my thesis in the fall. The apartment is clean. Every bill paid, everything that needs doing is done. I have some good friends I can rely on. I babysat my niece and nephew today. I show up in everyone's life.

    Everything is perfect and exactly the way I always wanted it to be. Every last thing, down to ownership of myself and my own life. I do things on my terms. I am almost over the divorce.

    Everything is perfect and exactly the way I always wanted it to be.

    Everything is perfect and exactly the way I always wanted it to be.

    And. Yet. I. Am. Still. Empty. And. Lonely. So. Much. Of. The. Time.

    Dear God, how is this fair? How? Is it possible? Yes, I know it's possible, because like everyone always said, sobriety and/or contentment are not contingent on externals. That's Externals with a capital E. And I don't think it's contigent on being with someone. Connection is so important though. A real connection with a real person. I don't have a lot of that. I mean I do but right now I'm just so alone all the time. I feel like I've been alone for a very long time at this point. Alone and just working hard working so very hard working very very hard all the time. And now that that's over for a few weeks, before school starts again, I look at my perfect F'ing life that I've created, and I hate it, and I hate myself for creating it.

    How pathetic of a first-world white-girl problem is that?

    And what do I do about it?

    Meditate more?

    Should I watch or read Eat/Pray/Love? Talk about white girl problems.

    I am reading a book on spiritual bypassing that my first sponsor recommended to me. It is a book about how we can use spiritual practices and activities to neatly leap over underlying emotional issues. Like fervently working the steps or attending meetings or saying that ego is the source of all our problems, or Bikram yoga, or any of a thousand things. Tricky thing about spiritual bypassing is that you don't know it till you're through it.

    I can't believe how much better I feel already just writing this here.

    I am going to start writing more. Maybe even screw the series I started before because I was going to tie it up with a pretty bow and there ARE no pretty bows. Especially in sobriety. There's just the next right thing and faith and oh god, sometimes I just feel so alone. I feel like I will always truly and eternally be alone and at night in this perfect apartment sometimes it just gets so quiet.

    I did everything right and no one loves me any more or any less than they ever did.

    I look at myself and I see my own version of perfect and I don't feel anything but hollow most of the time.

    When I go back to school and see the kids again things will be much, much better.

    Dear God, I don't mean to be ungrateful for what I have but if there is some kind of resolution to this I would be grateful. Right now the only reason I am not thinking more actively about going back out - which I won't do, because I tried that and wow did it suck - is because I am sponsoring someone. So please give me someone to love or take care of. I would be so grateful for that. I am sick of myself. I have so much love to give and I don't want to hold it in anymore.

  9. Rainier

    Rainier Well-Known Member


    Have you not yet learned this truth yet? Perhaps you don't want to hear it, but fukkit - I'm gonna say it anyway:

    All that love you talk about - first and foremost, you need to give some of that love to yourself. I know that you get that at least on some level, because you also say this:

    Yes, connection is important, but connections - at least those involving other people - are Externals. With a capital E, no less. They can help you; they can also, ultimately, shatter you to the core. Happiness doesn't really lie there.

    Quit looking outside yourself for joy. I realize that this is completely, totally, utterly cliche, but it comes from within, from knowing and liking the person you are. Not from what anyone else does or thinks, not from your perception of how others see you. Let go of all that; it doesn't matter. To find your joy, let go of the expectations of other people.
  10. Rainier

    Rainier Well-Known Member

    "Personal narrative" is the story that we tell ourselves, about ourselves. As with all stories, there is some truth at the center, but it is necessarily distorted by reflection and perception; it is not and cannot be Truth.
  11. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    Okay, so this is EXACTLY what my thesis is about. And I have to tell you it is giving me a MASSIVE existential crisis. My summer program ripped my head open about it - I knew it going in, but my every assertion was challenged and debated by some very intelligent people - and honestly the angst/connection/depth of all the revelations was beyond searing.

    As for loving myself: of course. I get it. And thank you for writing, and yeah, I KNOW that on some level. And people say that all the time like it's easy. I do all these things to 'love myself', I take good care of myself, I put myself first, I KNOW that externals don't matter and it's like I don't know how to get to the core of 'loving myself' without helping or loving someone or something else. Does that make any sense at all? I take awesome care of myself ... stripping $hit away to get to the core of what self really IS and how to love it seems the bane of later recovery.

    So thanks for writing. I don't think this is a problem/deal that will be solved anytime soon. But I'd like to keep documenting the progression.

    And no, the longer I stay sober the more I realize I don't know ANYTHING yet. And part of me is okay with that, and part of me is more and more stunned.
  12. Robyn

    Robyn Well-Known Member

    Do you think it's true that we always want what we don't/can't have? Their's so many aspects of your life I am envious of.
    I would give anything to go back and further my education, Dani. Too late for me now.

    I've been married to a loving, caring, attentive guy for 39 years and counting. I still feel alone sometimes. And sometimes I just want to find a place to hide so I can have more of that alone time.

    I worry everyday about my expectations in sobriety.

    Thanks for posting your journey.
  13. serenity80

    serenity80 Well-Known Member

    The grass is always greener on the other side?? blah blah. Its NOT. We always want what either we don't or cannot have. I have a husband, 2 kids ages 6 and 4 and I want some peace and quiet!!!! I get run down from work, school, after school activities, and homework, taking kids to school, all the laundry that piles up, drs appts, cleaning, cooking, fighting, whining, that I would like to be alone sometimes. I know that sounds selfish but I don't do well with being overwhelmed, I usually fold like a lawn chair, lol
    Those unfortunately, are the times that I want a couple of vicodins to get me through the long days where I am running on empty and almost can't keep up ewith all the daily demands of my life. I haven't caved at all but its just my honest feeling at times.
    I hope you know that we should all appreciate what we do have. And love yourself 1st.
    Sometimes its hard to appreciate what we have if we don't have the time to actually stop and think about it. I hope you will be happy with yourself and the rest will fall into place.
    Good things cometo those who wait?? Maybe you have waited a little too long, but be patient.

    Ps. I always love reading your stories....
  14. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    It's not so much a "grass greener" thing; I was going more for "holy crap. Look at that. I've achieved my ideal of perfect and it ain't so perfect."

    I don't want a husband back either, thank you very much. Point taken. When I said "someone to love" what I really meant was a kid around who needed me. It would be nice to find occasional adult companionship in that realm to take the sting off the lonnnnng lonely nights here - someone who likes to watch movies would be ideal, I HATE watching things alone, I'm so over it.

    I hear what you're both saying and I appreciate it, I really do.

    And no offense, but if I had a nickel for every woman who wailed "OH MY GOD I'M SO JEALOUS do you know what I would give for a day without my kids and my husband?" Notice they always say a DAY. Sure, I love being alone. Sometimes. You try it ALL THE TIME and get back to me. It ain't me sittin' pretty here with a metaphorical glass of wine and soft music playing while I contemplate what hobby I will embark upon next. When you are alone, really all alone, all the time, despite how you fill your days, at night you only have yourself to face. This is a blessing and a huge part of the problem.

    Robyn, it's not too late for you to go back to school. I was in grad school all July with women your age. I would give it some time but you could do it. Congrats on your time by the way.

    SO - MY POINT - my version of 'perfect' was a complete crock and I'm PO'd because that's been my goal for 18 months. What the hell do I do now. :)

    Glass was right. Self-abandonment, not self-improvement. I heard what he was saying this winter but I hadn't EXPERIENCED it yet. And now that I have, I'm going to learn how to best abandon self. Can one even set that as a goal? :)
  15. serenity80

    serenity80 Well-Known Member

    Point taken. I guess I don't know what alone everyday would feel like. I suppose thats why people would like 2 trade lives for a "day"
    What is it that you want???? A child to care for and love???
    I remember when you got divorced. And I know you don't want to go back there. But where do you want to be now?
    Why are you striving for perfection.
    I don't think anyone is truly "happy tappy" about ther life completely.
    I wish I would've done some things different but I don't let it get to me so much.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012
  16. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    Essentially what I am biatching about is the idea that I am not the ultimate ruler of the universe and that I cannot puppeteer the world and its peoples to my liking, having them around when I would like them to be around and to go away when I want them to go away. :)

    Kidding. Sort of. But definitely being an addict. And realizing what my mom always said is true: "Life is tough, Danielle." Living Sober means dealing with life on life's terms and no amount of rearranging it or accomplishments or the idea of the perfect solution will fix it. There is only the moment.

    I also keep thinking about this Irish proverb I heard the other day: "It's not the life that's so hard, it's the living of it, and that was hard because we made it so."

    I think there's a lot of damn truth in that.

    And - more than anything - what I want is to have students around me daily again.

    I don't do well without them around to temper me and give me raison d'etre and joie de vivre.

    C'est fini.
  17. Allgood

    Allgood Well-Known Member

    When we stop trying to "get somewhere" .....we get somewhere ....... now ain't that a biaatch - Tom
  18. Robyn

    Robyn Well-Known Member

    Wow...I totally get what you're saying. Master manipulator...that's me. If you figure out how to make people appear when you want, let me know.

    That page in the BB re: acceptance? I have copies of that everywhere.
  19. Rainier

    Rainier Well-Known Member

    Therein lies the problem with being goal-oriented, I think. Not that it isn't good to have goals, but when you set your sights on the destination and stay focused on that instead of paying close attention to the journey, you miss an awful lot.

    I understand what you say about loneliness, all too well. Nights can be rough sometimes. Tonight is a prime example of that for me; I'm exhausted, in pain, and alone in a huge hotel room with only Shark Week for company. You'd think that after living 24/7 with other people that it would be a welcome break - but really, not so much. Not to say that I can't be comfortable in solitude. Just...not tonight.
  20. serenity80

    serenity80 Well-Known Member

    I think you are too hard on yourself. You are successful. You take pride in being with children and teaching them. It takes a special person to do that job. Your not the person you were 18 months ago and that is a good thing considering you aren't doing kratom, pills, or anything else destructive. You are a special person who I think should start writing books if you ask me, lol
    Dani, life is hard. My mom always said Life's a biaatch and then you die. Wow!! Thanks mom. But sometimes I find that she may be right, atleast on certain days I believe it.
    I would be proud of you. And you should be too.
    Nip that addictive personality right in the bud. U rock and you kick arse. Remember that.
    And those kids are lucky to have you. I almost wish I was a kid again....almost....lol

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