Oh the drama! Oh the tragedy!

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A friend in recovery shared the above words in an AA meeting several months ago.  Funny what resonates with us at any time.

Her context was in reference to her realization that she had been essentially addicted to not only drama, but also tragedy.  Specifically, the drama and tragedy that her life had become and, more so, the drama and tragedy that she continually created for herself.  Why? I wondered.  Well simple really…. they are a source of pleasure and meaning.  How would I know this?  Again, simple…. because I was the same way!

I loved drama and tragedy but I did not realize it.  Especially the tragedy piece.  I did not realize that I had found an identity in being a tragic figure.  It got me attention and sympathy.  Not conspicuously, but rather, silently, under the radar of my own awareness.

Somehow, my soul bought into this.  And in doing so, I unknowingly continued to subtly create drama and tragedy in my own life.  I sought it out, I attracted it.  Something in me loved being the betrayed, wounded, now-addicted guy.  Something in me wanted everyone to know how much I hurt.

A great business trainer I admire is quoted as saying, “we move in the direction of our predominant thoughts”.  Yes, we do.  Even if we aren’t conscious of it.

A danger I see in the recovery process is that once we gain some ground on the conspicuous manifestations of our addiction… such as our drinking, drugging, lying, raging, depressing, and financial irresponsibility… we often miss the next layers, which are the more subtle manifestations of our sickness and dysfunction.

It struck me that the reason I could hear and internalize a statement about drama and tragedy was because I was still hungry for more recovery.  I was not satisfied to simply quit drinking, raging, lying, depressing, etc.  I wanted more.  I still want more.  I deeply want more.

How much recovery is enough?  My answer to this question is another question…. how much is there?

The journey has been strange and wonderful.  A happy struggle.  The lights keep coming on.  I don’t think I will ever be satisfied.  I hope the hunger for growth and truth never ends.

Ciao.

Chaz

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About Chaz

Husband, father, brother, son, friend. Sober member of AA. Grateful for the life God gave me and for the happy struggle of recovery.
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15 Responses to Oh the drama! Oh the tragedy!

  1. Caddo Veil says:

    Excellent read, Nephew. I’d forgotten about that LONG phase–the drama and tragedy–how appealing it seemed, yet never got me the results, satisfaction I expected and so wanted. Wow–how easy it is to forget, once you’ve left if behind. And I want to be like you “when I grow up”–wanting more! More light, more truth, more wisdom, more growth–more GOD. Thank you, Chaz–God bless you abundantly! love, Auntie Caddo

    • Chaz says:

      Hey Auntie Caddo….

      “Appealing” it was. And not always consciously. This to me is where I got tripped up. Self-deceived that I didnt fall for things just because I didnt fall for them in the conscious arena. But subconsciously, unseen by my commonly used senses, I fell for it all the same.

      Thanks for stopping in and commenting.

      Glad the tragedy days are fading in the rear view for both of us.

      Ciao.

      Chaz

  2. Heidi says:

    Chaz! So glad to read your thoughts on recovery, and more recovery. Yes! How much more is there? I love that answer. I am going to think about the tragedy angle. Was I also wanting attention and sympathy? At first glance, I’d say ‘no’, but that’s just because only one other person knew all the pieces, all the pain. But that one person certainly saw me as a tragic figure. OK. Yes. I did want the tragic mask for my own. I just didn’t wear it in public. Still…it served a purpose and I milked that.

    Alright. You did it again. Thank you. I’ll be thinking of how self-serving my own dramatic masks served me in that active addiction phase and wondering if I still have them around here… why would I? But I might. Thank you for posting. I’m off to think!

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Heidi…. thanks for stopping in and commenting… always glad to hear from you. Yes, I don’t yet know the extent of growth and recovery… I believe them to be limitless so why not continue in them?

      I am pretty sure that “at first glance”, our remaining unhealthy thinking will tell us that we certainly don’t engage such behaviours…. which is the very reason we can’t rely on our own thinking alone. Like a friend in recovery pointed out to me one time, “you can’t spot self-deception on your own”. Which is one of the reasons we seek out community in recovery. It takes the reflections of others to help us spot many of the things going on in us. And, in my experience, once we get past the really obvious behaviours and patterns, it is all the more important to help us weed out the finer, more subtle defects of character…. the ones buried deeply and deceptively through our thinking and feeling.

      This is one of the reasons I blog. It is amazing what we can discover about ourselves in reading the words of others.

      Glad to provoke some tought.

      Ciao.

      Chaz

  3. Debby says:

    Chaz – you wrote on something going around in my mind too. The notion that for some, their drug of choice isn’t really a drug but an attitude, an emotional posture. Interesting. Glad to see you back. You always have much to offer. Like Heidi, I like your answer to the question how much recovery is enough. How much is there? A fantastic response.

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Debby! Yes, addiction to attitudes and emotional postures… probably far more common than drugs and alcohol. Not as dramatically lethal, but still crippling and limiting. In fact, these addictions may cause as much or more damage as they can exist over a lifetime and harm more people over time. Plus far harder to spot, especially by the addict. Which is all the more reason to continue to seek recovery over a lifetime…. it is limitless as God’s perfecting of us is limitless.

      Thanks for the reply.

      Ciao.

      Chaz

  4. Debbie says:

    I love your honesty and understanding . . .and you always wanting more. I’m praying for that too! God bless you and yours, and give you more of Himself today!

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Debbie…. thank you for stopping by and commenting. Yes, I feel it is my duty to want more. For too long, I have experienced recovery communities to have become settling ponds of spiritual mediocrity… which is disappointing as God is limitless. And we were spared from a painful and lethal death… to do what? Settle for ok? or good enough? No! I personally feel that if God was gracious enough to snatch me from the jaws of death, that I should be eager to seek and receive all that he has for me and others. And give away everything I have received. I wasn’t saved to be complacent. I don’t believe any of us were.

      Thanks again for the encouragement.

      Ciao.

      Chaz

  5. How much recovery is enough? …. how much is there?

    The elders of AA, I’ve read “1000 years of sobriety” not long ago, and those men and women with 50+ years or more sobriety say that meeting makers make it. You have to come each day to fill your cup, so to speak. Every day we try to practice these principles in all our affairs. But we are imperfect beings, and maybe we need to hear a daily message of support and truth. Sobriety never ends, it is a lifetime journey. because the drink is just out there in the parking lot doing push ups waiting for us to come out there.

    It is all about getting over drama and crushing our egos, so that we can be made good use by the God of our understanding. As for how much s there, each day we get enough. Sobriety is bankable. provided we just don’t drink, we go to meetings and we talk to our sponsor and be good stewards to our families and friends and our jobs. Keep on keeping on…

    Jeremy

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Jeremy… a pleasure as always to hear from you. Been a while, I have been tied up with life.

      When I start bouncing around inside my head, I do need daily input and refreshing. In my life, AA meetings make up only a small part of this input and refreshing. I am still hungry for far more than what my local AA community can provide. Which, I am of the understanding, was how original AA was practiced. Members were encouraged to re-seek their faith and affiliations. AA was not in and of itself a destination, but rather a safe and effective exit point from the destructive lifestyle of active alcoholism. An in addition, an effective entry point to a spiritual life. This is the context in which I practice my AA involvement.

      Interestingly, many old timers in my AA community are not who I strive to be like when I am 20, 30, 40 + years sober. Many in fact sadden me and do not inspire me. Many appear self-righteous in their sobriety and do not appear to be seeking anymore. To me, it seems they have found their “enough”. Yet I have met others who have not settled for “enough” and are still seeking and growing at 80+ years of age.

      Indeed I would agree that meeting maker make it. Which to me means they stay sober. I hope to stay sober and have so much more in life. Happiness, great marriage, health, integrity, and to be able to continue to give to others…. especially family and those closest to me.

      Thanks for adding to the dialogue.

      Ciao.

      Chaz

  6. Yeah I agree with your summation of old timers in your area. I found the same thing at a group I was once a member at. 40+ years of sobriety but no spunk, self righteous and bored. It seemed they weren’t seeking either, so I left that group. Some old timers get complacent I think, they are sober but aren’t really sober but maybe dry, if they aren’t seeking any more, you know?

    God gives us what we need every day.

    J.

  7. ruby tuesday says:

    hey,

    this is my first time commenting on your blog. I’m a recovering heroin addict and also have anorexia. Due to my eating disorder I have pulled away from NA and pushed all my recovery friends away. I would really love to go back to my support group but can’t seem to find the courage or confidence. Do you have any advice? I love your blog,

    Much love xxx

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Ruby…. in my experience, it is never easy to re-enter a community. Especially those of us prone to addiction of any sort…. we tend to over-think a great number of things in life, especially those involving relationships with others. So there is every chance you may be worrying a about the impact of re-engaging your recovery relationships. The chances are far greater that they will be very happt to see you return, and especially if you let someone or the group know you are needing some help and/or support.

      I don’t know you so I have no idea if I am hitting the mark on this one. I am just speaking from experience what I tend to see. So my suggestion would be to turn off any thoughts that it will be a negative experience walking back into the rooms or making a phone call and just do it.

      Pray and ask for wisdom, then do the first thing that comes to mind, believing in faith that it is the right thing. When I do this, it has never, repeat NEVER, been a bad result. It may not be exactly what I expect, but it is aways good. In fact, it is often better than some of my positive expectations.

      So try not to overthink and just take a step of faith by dialing the phone or showing up to a meeting and letting someone know you need some support today. We have all been through it 🙂

      Ciao.

      Chaz

      • ruby tuesday says:

        hey chaz,

        Thanks so much for your reply and yes you did hit the nail on the head, I’m overthinking things and I am in other peoples heads wondering what they will think of me. I suppose if I go back I want to sure that I am committed this time and not going to half ass it like I’ve done before. But as ever I am procrastinating and you are right it would probably help to ring someone and link in before going to a meeting.
        Thanks again and I will let you know how I get on.

        Ruby

        • Chaz says:

          No problem Ruby… glad my comments were helpful. I’ve been there… churning over and over until I was immoblie… emotionally paralyzed from making any kind of move that would be helpful to me. This is one of the more subtle strategies of addictive thinking that tends to keep us where we are at.

          I have experienced my addiction and other aspects of flawed thinking (we may call them defects of character or what have you) to be self-preserving. Our flawed thinking comes up with all kinds of manourvers to keep us sick, including pre-deciding what outcome will happen and how others are thinking and will react. But if we think about it, how can these little forecasts be reliable?

          Keep in mind that hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year to scientifically forecast the weather and financial markets…. yet these forecasts are seldom accurate… almost never, in fact. So how is it that we addicts can be correct in our forecasts of outcomes? In my experience, we can’t. But if we expose this untruth of our addictive thinking, we can gain some incredible freedom and move forward in life.

          Go ahead and follow through with a simple step in reaching out to your recovery community…. you will probably be amazed!

          Ciao.

          Chaz

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