17 June 2018

"Truly Tasteless Treatments" # 16 (of 50) Cancer / Addiction / Recovery / Emergence


When your delusions start forming delusions of their own, maybe it's time to get a second opinion.
My name is Jim and I am an alcoholic in long-term recovery (14+ years) who is fighting cancer with a 7 week regimen of chemo and radiation treatments.
During the first week of treatments nausea found an early home in my gut and it took me 2 more weeks to fully realize that my hunger never ceased, but that my desire to satisfy my hunger was losing out to nausea.
I may as well start a list of questions, doubts and possible misperceptions for me to share with my medical staff, preceding it by "in no particular order."
1) My sense of taste eroded with each passing day until the end of the fourth week when my tongue took a nosedive (lol - mixed metaphor of sorts) and overnight my sense of taste approached the 0 percentile.
2) It seems that my sense of smell is still there but that it is still tricking me into having a phantom sense of taste, memories and expectations creating illusions of tasting. I knew what a tangerine does and should taste like, but was I having phantom placebo-like memories of tangerines when I bit into one or was this the real thing?
3) After the 3rd day of my 4th week, I noticed that it seemed by facial hair had completely stopped growing. Would it next start falling out? Whatever the case, the last 3 days have shown me that my facial hair had resumed growing again (never really stopped? Am I a dingbat?)
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The Pause that Refreshes!
When my friend, Mac, had a cornea transplant operation, he had to learn to see again. Depth perception had to be relearned (hard to imagine). New corneas returned him to a stage of sight similar to infancy and the many subtleties of his vision had to be relearned.
Out of habit, I only was imagining a sense of taste based of expectations of what I knew things should taste like. That illusion crashed one day recently when sipping on my iced coffee, I realized that in a blind taste test, I wouldn't have known if I were drinking iced coffee or iced water. That's when I realized my sense of taste had gone.
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4) New coping mechanisms would have to be developed to encourage my eating. Calories consumed had apparently diminished so that I'd lost 10 pounds over a 4 week period, however unintentionally. I've resorted to the empty calories of Cherry Coke (I couldn't taste the Coke and I couldn't taste the Cherry) because the fizziness of the soda offered replacement for the flavors I could no longer perceive (Deciding to buy Cherry-Flavored Coke in my Tasteless World reinforced certain fantasies of control and choice).
5) I've had to find new pleasures in eating when flavor took a back seat. Texture and temperature began to take on whole new meanings. I focussed on eating things that changed texture as you eat them. My peanut butter-filled oatmeal cookies gave me something to focus on as the oats slowly crumbled away and the peanut butter filling began melting in my mouth. The little symphony of mouth-feel changes would replace my usual enjoyment of the richness of flavors.
6) I'm going to stop numbering things here because its beginning to border on the ridiculous, despite it giving me a temporary sense of being grounded in reality with real goals and purposes.
*****
As a tired boredom creeps over me at 4 A.M., I realize the minute perceptions of my experiences with cancer have been changing daily with no clear trajectories. Unpredictable, unexpected changes are happening on a daily basis.
My most incomplete post in many years now, it can neither stand alone nor as part of the 50 posts I've projected. That's life. I'm counting this drivel as # 16 regardless! I will have to satisfy myself with knowing that there will be much I don't know and will never know. Jeez! I am left with recommitting myself to Cancer Recovery and Addiction Recovery and a small tad of Getting-Over-Myself Recovery.
*****
Uncertainty Reigns! Don't believe it? Re-read this Truly Tasteless Post.
At any rate, confusion is where I'm at today, here, well-exampled.
I didn't drink over anything. I drink TO things. I drink truly tasteless coffee TO my truly tasteless cancer and TO my truly tasteless recovery.
Things will get better. I can almost taste it.


*****
The 1st 15 (of 50) Cancer / Alcoholism / Addiction posts are immediately below this Sixteenth one on the link provided here (Reverse Chronological Order): https://alldrinkingaside.blogspot.com
(If you're already on the All Drinking Aside Blog page, consider this link part of my Ridiculousness!)
*****
#SurviveAddiction #SurviveCancer #SurviveYourself
*****
Finally, whether it be Cancer, Addiction, Alcoholism, Recovery or All of the Above,
"Hear Ye, Hear Ye... Read All About it, Wherever, Whenever, However!
*****
You may also wish to Explore ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal, by the same author:
http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 
An Addiction Fiction & Autobiography-in-One / Check out the 30+ 5***** Star Reviews!
*****
TAKE C.A.R.E. [Cancer / Addiction / Recovery / Emergence]!!!

15 June 2018

A Summary of the First Fifteen #Cancer #Addiction #Recovery #Emergence Posts


1. "REVERSE X-Ray Vision STRIPPED by Chemo & RADIATION Therapy" (a tongue-in-cheek introduction, of sorts)
2. "Increase Alcohol Use with Prescription Medicine" (one of many ways I used to think when in the drink)
3. "CANCER SURVIVOR GUEST POST"  (inspiration through connection with others like me - Thanks, Kathy!)
4. "From the Ridiculous to the Sublime" ("New Beginnings Are Often Disguised as Painful Endings." - Lao Tzu... expanded here)
5. "The Mystery of the Pulsating Cancer Mask Revealed!" (take a gander!)
6. "Lies & Doubts, Cancer & Recovery, Alcoholism & Addiction" (crippling uncertainties)
7. "Cancer Reinforces My Recovery from Addiction & Alcoholism" (& Vice Versa)
8. "When Gratitude Descends into Entitlement " (don't think it doesn't happen)
9. "Virtuous Cycles of Recovery" (from Cancer / from Alcoholism / from Addiction)
10. "Cancer Stigma / Addiction Stigma / Stigma Schmigma!" (humor heals)
11. "Only Because My Cancer Spread Was It Discovered!" (imagine that!)
12. "Cancer / Addiction / Recovery / Emergence: Week 3, Day 4, TAKE 5!" (counter, clockwise!)
13. "CANCER Fear / ADDICTION Fear / RECOVERY Fear" (be fearless, read it here!)
14. "Fighting Fear, Surrendering to Fear, Surmounting Fear" (likely the lump in my throat is not the same as yours)
15. "Sober Counting, Cancer Counting & Counting on Others" (count on me to write all 50 promised posts, feel free to share, each and all. TYVM)

*****
The 1st 15 (of 50) #Cancer #Addiction #Recovery #Emergence posts are on the link provided here (Reverse Chronological Order): https://alldrinkingaside.blogspot.com
(If you're already on the All Drinking Aside Blog page, consider this link part of my Ridiculousness!)
*****
#SurviveAddiction #SurviveCancer #SurviveYourself
*****
Finally, whether it be Cancer, Addiction, Alcoholism, Recovery or All of the Above,
"Hear Ye, Hear Ye... Read All About it, Wherever, Whenever, However!
*****
You may also wish to Explore ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal, by the same author:
http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 

An Addiction Fiction & Autobiography-in-One / Check out the 30+ Five Star Reviews 
*****
TAKE C.A.R.E. [Cancer / Addiction / Recovery / Emergence]!!!

# 15 (of 50) "Sober Counting, Cancer Counting & Counting on Others" Cancer / Addiction / Recovery / Emergence



Sober Counting:

Barely remarked by me, the rearview mirror exclaimed that my Anniversary of the 14th Year of Continuous Sobriety had come and gone.
I've sort of stopped counting the days I've gained when stacked against the monumental losses of loved ones all around, all around.
There is sadness in a happy time, by any measure.
My Anniversary, a small, significant pleasure.
A sad time, with greater meaning deep within.
Fifteen beckons in its own meandering way.
Peace be your day, whatever day it is.
A Happy Sobriety has Won, again, today.

Cancer Counting:

Days completed, Days to come, Getting through today and various other sums.
There are more ways to Cancer Count than I'm doing here. It's the 5th month since the cancer mass in my salivary gland burst forth on my neck. Today is the last day of my 4th week of 7 weeks of radiation and chemo treatments. 3 weeks to go. 
Will I become cancer-free? I can't count on it. I can't count on there not being a reoccurrence even should this be so. Nothing is certain.
Diagnoses are given. Nothing is certain.
Nothing is certain but that I do have today. I do promise myself to live life more fully, precious gift that this life is.
My sobriety is a gift. My cancer is a gift. 
All packages are being eternally opened and I, you, we must remain open, too.
Any other option is a waste of my time.
And time is precious, precious, precious and few.

Counting on Others:

The most important counting, not just of myself or of my various days, is the counting on others, again too numerous to enumerate.
Friends and family I have few, too few, one might say. Both parents and a younger sister, lone gone. My sole sibling sister on the other side of the Mississippi River. But numbers and distances from them are irrelevant because they are there, within my living memories of days gone by, of yesterday and of tomorrow.
My shared moments count most when I look back upon it all. 
My best memories circulate around activities and events shared with others without whom all other memories in exclusion of others warp towards meaningless. And I am more solitary animal than most. These thoughts you're reading here are most certainly recollected in tranquility, yet that tranquility could not exist were it not for the encouragement and sharing of others. 
If, for any reason, you feel yourself less fortunate than I (or more fortunate, better yet), join a group of any kind, addiction recovery, cancer recovery or Procrastinators Anonymous, but do it now. Do it today. Share your most precious gift, yourself, with others.
Truly, the biggest gift is giving to others and what you receive in return from giving. At long last, I have found that giving is my forever win/win. 
What a gift this living is. 
Be Sunny & Share (I could hardly wait to add that in right here).
Be a part of the mix (This post was written in a thought factory that also produces nuts!).
Happy Anniversary, no matter how you count this day. However it is you count this day, make this day count! :-) <3 :-) <3

*****
The 1st 14 (of 50) Cancer / Alcoholism / Addiction posts are immediately below this Fifteenth one on the link provided here (Reverse Chronological Order): https://alldrinkingaside.blogspot.com
(If you're already on the All Drinking Aside Blog page, consider this link part of my Ridiculousness!)
*****
#SurviveAddiction #SurviveCancer #SurviveYourself
*****
Finally, whether it be Cancer, Addiction, Alcoholism, Recovery or All of the Above,
"Hear Ye, Hear Ye... Read All About it, Wherever, Whenever, However!
*****
You may also wish to Explore ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal, by the same author:
http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 
An Addiction Fiction & Autobiography-in-One / Check out the 30+ 5***** Star Reviews!
*****
TAKE C.A.R.E. [Cancer / Addiction / Recovery / Emergence]!!!

14 June 2018

# 14 (of 50) "Fighting Fear, Surrendering to Fear, Surmounting Fear" Cancer / Addiction / Recovery / Emergence


The lump on my throat popped out when I raised my head to the ceiling in order to be able to give myself a close shave where this neck area joins my jutting-out jaw bone.  In one instant, there I felt it, my salivary gland, engorged by a tumor, despite not knowing exactly where the salivary gland is located. "Benign or Malignant," was my almost out loud self-diagnosis. I had two additional spots of cancer, on both my hard and soft palates, one of which being the tumor's site of origin from which it had spread.
*****
Every day is everyday precious. I knew that in the sixties even before receiving my English degree. My life had already begun being slowly rearranged (without my knowledge) by addiction to alcohol and a slew of other drugs. At that point, I didn't even consider alcohol a drug, it was merely an adult beverage of the well-deserved kind.
*****
This post could almost be the beginning Chapter of a Book on my Recovery from Cancer, and if I don't look out, may become exactly that. The million connections between things, the interconnections and the connections within them make a starting point for almost anything because I am rediscovering myself through Cancer, the "Big C" word.
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Connections are a salvation of sorts for me. Addiction severs connections with all else, excluding everything in its attempt to become and in its success at becoming one's everything, to the exclusion of all else.
*****
I am not exceptionally masterful at uniting my many extremes of emotions and circumstances, but let me say this. Almost by instinct, I had started giving All Drinking Aside a thorough rereading and the past that it contains continues to influence me in the present when rereading it.
Now I've begun a second and final rereading in reverse chronological order by Chapter. Chapter 90, Chapters 89 and 88. And backwards, back to One ("Doe, a deer, a female deer... ). See how connections effortlessly enter my consciousness?
*****
Cancer has become a Gift, feeding my Recovery from Addiction in ways too subtle and complex to want to individualize because it truly is a giant ball of wax.
Here, I'm working on the perambulations of fear, for no real reason except to use my fears as a tool to move forward in my Cancer Recovery.
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This excerpt from Chapter 87 is titled "Fight Fear with Flight," which in general is my reaction to the Survival of the Fittest theory of evolution that when confronted by something fearful, the instantaneous response is "Fight or Flight" and of course, how mangled that becomes in the realities of life. Addiction makes the "Fight or Flight" so difficult because the power of choice has been hijacked and the choices are almost illusory because addiction trumps choice whenever and wherever possible.
Here's that excerpt, followed by my "Fight or Flight" response to it.
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Evening Meditation: 


    Alcoholism itself is a defect of sorts. I can turn this liability into an asset when I help another recovering alcoholic. Helping someone else get sober helps keep me sober. Oh, but how these words are easier than these deeds.
*****
    “Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more.”
Jim Anders
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Question for Today:

    Will these questions ever end? Could they, should they, must they? Will someone help me please help someone else? Am I that someone? Are you? Are you?


*****
There you have it. Fight or Flight? Recovery from Alcoholism and Addiction has taught me both are possible. Fight or Flight? Cancer has me in its white-knuckled grasp, but I am not white-knuckled. Recovery has given me a base so strong that my feet are firmly planted in the bedrock of recovery. From that bedrock, from my shoes and feet, I now stand tall, like a giant tree, stable, whose outspread branches have formed a million connections and have formed a canopy of growth reaching skyward and what takes flight is not fear or absence of fear, it is infinite primordial connections on what have become birds, magnificent flight of fancy, imagination unbuckled from addiction, connecting and reconnecting all things. The fight is over. All of nature emerges from my base of recovery and I become all things and all things become me. 
Life is good when flights of fancy from a solid base of recovery emerge, emerge, emerge.




*****
The 1st 13 (of 50) Cancer / Alcoholism / Addiction posts are immediately below this Fourteenth one on the link provided here (Reverse Chronological Order): https://alldrinkingaside.blogspot.com
(If you're already on the All Drinking Aside Blog page, consider this link part of my Ridiculousness!)
*****
#SurviveAddiction #SurviveCancer #SurviveYourself
*****
Finally, whether it be Cancer, Addiction, Alcoholism, Recovery or All of the Above,
"Hear Ye, Hear Ye... Read All About it, Wherever, Whenever, However!
*****
You may also wish to Explore ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal, by the same author:
http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 
An Addiction Fiction & Autobiography-in-One / Check out the 30+ 5***** Star Reviews!
*****
TAKE C.A.R.E. [Cancer / Addiction / Recovery / Emergence]!!!

10 June 2018

CANCER Fear / ADDICTION Fear / RECOVERY Fear (# 13 of 50)


"The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind." - William Blake
*****
Frozen in Fear, alcohol paralyzed me. Fears were the "reptiles of [my] mind." My continuing recovery from alcoholism has helped me face my fears with courageous acts. For real. Conquering one fear makes other, future fears, a quick study. After 50,000 drinks in my less-than-illustrious 30-year drinking career, recovery has slowly taught me many lessons in sober living.
Truthfully, my cancer diagnosis was not much of a shocker to me. Blasé-Blasé was my immediate response. And so far my fears have been mostly minute, justifiable and basically founded upon my own lack of knowledge (see my post # 5 "The Mystery of the Pulsating Cancer Mask Revealed!"). I would suggest changing the old maxim "A Fear Faced is a Fear Erased" to include "A Fear Traced is a Fear Erased" because often times, simply filling in gaps of knowledge with clinical evidence will buttress our strengths in all departments. Many emotions, by their internal clockwork and perception, feel justifiable, and in a very real sense are. Every emotion is real, in the feel of it, at least. But confronting emotions, especially those we know have no basis in reality, may seem insurmountable and unchangeable at times. We know it is not healthy feeling the way we do, but also know we may need time and help from others to keep us on the path to acceptance and change.
Shared Courage is the term I use to describe the help I sought in order to remain sober. The mutual benefit of sharing with others is universal. Everyone is a winner. It is a lesson well-learned and transferrable to all life experiences, including my cancer diagnosis. I cannot do it alone. No one can. ("No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main" as John Donne so aptly describes it.) Others are necessary, certainly, but not sufficient. We have to take part in our own Recovery. Resolve. I needed to resolve my commitment to continue on my sober path. My strength has been bolstered by bonds of unity with others, the low point of which was the near total severing of all bonds in my addiction. Humanity, my human glue, helped me piece together my shattered self in recovery from alcoholism and recovery from cancer requires these and newer, different and stronger bonds of connection to remain "a part of the main." Drugs, radiation and chemo are essential, but without connection to others, a cure would become meaningless.
Shared Courage, like the flying buttresses on the worlds great cathedrals, is the invisible, indivisible force in my recovery, from addiction, from recovery and from all that life may place in my pathway.
The "reptiles of my mind" can find no breeding ground at the intersection of solitude and belonging. My humanity, when I let it in, repels them.
Trust me, recovery from alcoholism has altered many of my opinions and strengthened my resolve in this battle with cancer.
Strive on.
Share forward.
Life is good.

*****
The 1st dozen (of 50) Cancer / Alcoholism / Addiction posts are immediately below this Thirteenth one on the link provided here (Reverse Chronological Order): https://alldrinkingaside.blogspot.com
(If you're already on the All Drinking Aside Blog page, consider this link part of my Ridiculousness!)
*****
#SurviveAddiction #SurviveCancer #SurviveYourself
*****
Finally, whether it be Cancer, Addiction, Alcoholism, Recovery or All of the Above,
"Hear Ye, Hear Ye... Read All About it, Wherever, Whenever, However!
*****
You may also wish to Explore ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal, by the same author:
http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 
An Addiction Fiction & Autobiography-in-One / Check out the 30+ 5***** Star Reviews!
*****
TAKE C.A.R.E. [Cancer / Addiction / Recovery / Emergence]!!!



07 June 2018

# 12 (of 50): "Cancer / Addiction / Recovery / Emergence: Week 3, Day 4, TAKE 5!"


I'd have to call my way of passing time during my 15-minute radiation treatment "Spiral Ham Meditation" because that's about the easiest analogy I can think of at this moment to describe it to you. Picture a Festive Spiral-Sliced Ham on your dining room table. Now replace the table with the slab you find yourself horizontal upon while the custom-made cancer mask is fit over your face and upper torso. You are now the ham. To pass the time while you are supra-positioned in place, with radiation's laser-like precision aimed at any and all cancerous spots, let meditation take over. Start with your toes and slow as molasses, work your way to the ankles, calves, knees, thighs, etc., in slivers. The ham analogy is a visual aid for your mind's slow ascent to the top of your head.
Not that I intended it to be a 15-minute journey from tip of toes to top of head, but that's just how it worked out, conveniently. The radiation treatments have reinforced the rewards gained by practicing a daily meditation regimen.
When the mind wanders away from this guided meditation, gently place any extraneous thoughts upon a leaf floating slowly downstream in your mind and refocus your loosened attention back on whatever part of your meditation journey that your outside and inside thoughts have been distracted by.


After over a dozen radiation treatments, today (Week 3, Day 4) I opened my eyes for the very first time, having had no clear idea the the radiation equipment actually WAS spiraling around me. 
Ham again. 
Third, and final ham reference: In an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting you'll occasionally hear someone utter that "Only Hams are Cured!" which applies equally to addiction and cancer, as I understand I will likely be retested for cancer all my live-long days.
Addiction Recovery and Cancer Recovery are both time-consuming processes. The patience I had to acquire in overcoming my alcoholism has come in handily in my cancer progress. Knowledge accumulates. That's why I have to sometimes place such extraneous thoughts on the leaves drifting by in my mind's eye.
"Everybody's Recovering from Something."
TAKE 5!
*****
The 1st 11 (of 50) Cancer / Alcoholism / Addiction posts are immediately below this Twelfth one on the link provided here (Reverse Chronological Order): https://alldrinkingaside.blogspot.com
(If you're already on the All Drinking Aside Blog page, consider this link part of my Ridiculousness!)
*****
#SurviveAddiction #SurviveCancer #SurviveYourself
*****
Finally, whether it be Cancer, Addiction, Alcoholism, Recovery or All of the Above,
"Hear Ye, Hear Ye... Read All About it, Wherever, Whenever, However!
*****
You may also wish to Explore ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal, by the same author:
http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 
An Addiction Fiction & Autobiography-in-One / Check out the 30+ 5***** Star Reviews!
*****
TAKE C.A.R.E. [Cancer / Addiction / Recovery / Emergence]!!!

06 June 2018

# 11 (of 50) "Only Because My Cancer Spread Was It Discovered!"


There is something surely sad in the title I instantly had wanted to give this post. It was "Only Because My Cancer Spread Did I Discover It!" You see, all I had really discovered was a lump that popped out on my throat quite suddenly when I was shaving. It took a team of Doctors and a jungle gym of Technology to discover, diagnose and treat these multiple (3) threats to my survival.
The title I almost gave this post would have revealed an ego slightly out of kilter.
Humility is learned.
Thinking I was all that, led me at one point to remind the chief radiologist that really, all doctors do is prepare the conditions necessary for the body to cure itself, if and when possible. Even if true, it was a bit of a smug statement, don't you think?
Humility is unlearned and learned again.
Had my hard and soft palates not spread their cancer cells to my salivary gland on the right side of my throat to pop out when I was shaving (chicken or egg here, not sure if it really matters at this point), I likely would never have noticed the two spots of cancer in my mouth and it could have ended right there with me likely dying from it all because I might have been diagnosed too late to cure. I would have unsuspectedly not sought treatment at all. Never mind if I had still been drinking.
It is incumbent upon me to show you how, why and when all this came upon me today.
I've begun rereading my book, All Drinking Aside, combing through it for clues to how my recovery from alcoholism may help me in my recovery from cancer.
Oh! One additional thing before I continue, is that the subtitle to this post, too long to fit neatly after its lengthy title of "Only Because My Cancer Spread Was It Discovered!" (so what could more easily be done than but I blurt it out here?) is but place it here, in all caps, for all to take a gander agog: IF CANCER IS YOUR HIROSHIMA, THEN CANCER IS MY NAGASAKI!!!
*****

("We all have two lives. The second one starts when we realize that we only have one." - Tom Hiddleston on Pinterest)
*****
"Not too long ago I was quite moved by an article I read in the Atlantic City Press. It was about a man from Japan who had actually survived the atomic bombs of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was a traveling salesman who, having survived the first bomb, returned home to be nearly decimated by the second bomb.
Does that seem possible? Does reality seem possible?
My first relapse and the second time I hit bottom seemed equally impossible as well, except, of course, in retrospect.
Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, wrote a book called The Language of the Heart. I love that title and its deeper meanings. The human attempts to express the inexpressible. My love of language and the intrigue of the inexpressible drew me to the fringes of the human experience.
My last roommate before I left Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for Atlantic City, New Jersey was Dan, who was legally blind. And then, in Atlantic City, I had become friends with Jeffrey, Jean-Paul's nephew, who, being totally deaf, communicated in sign language. What other people may have seen as handicaps, I saw as fertile soil for exploration of life experiences and their means of expression.
Handicapped by alcohol, I seemed to seek out others challenged to negotiate their ways through this difficult world. The common sufferings as underdogs, suited my own perception of self. In denial about how much help I needed, I reached outward as a substitute for dealing with my own inward sense of emptiness. Out there stood the Platonic drink and subsequently my un-Platonic nightmare."
*****
"Only Because My Cancer Spread Was It Discovered!" fits nicely around, among and within the caption to the illustrated poster in this post. "We all have two lives. The second one starts when we realize that we only have one (Tom Hiddleston). 
I, You, He, She, It, We, You, They. They conjugate themselves like endless strands of DNA forming a new being. 
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
Cancer, too, has provided me new layers of appreciation for living, for having lived, for continuing to live. 
Gosh, if you got this far, I hope this post gives us all: I, You, He, She, It, We, You and They evermore subtle reverberations of recovery. 
Cancer and Addiction be damned. Ring in each new day with gratitude.
Recovery & Peace be with you.
*****
The 1st 10 (of 50) Cancer / Alcoholism / Addiction posts are immediately below this eleventh one on the link provided here (Reverse Chronological Order): https://alldrinkingaside.blogspot.com
(If you're already on the All Drinking Aside Blog page, consider this link part of my Ridiculousness!)
*****
#SurviveAddiction #SurviveCancer #SurviveYourself
*****
Finally, whether it be Cancer, Addiction, Alcoholism, Recovery or All of the Above,
"Hear Ye, Hear Ye... Read All About it, Wherever, Whenever, However!
*****
You may also wish to Explore ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal, by the same author:
http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 
An Addiction Fiction & Autobiography-in-One / Check out the 30+ 5***** Star Reviews!
*****
TAKE C.A.R.E. [Cancer / Addiction / Recovery / Emergence]!!!

03 June 2018

# 10 (of 50) Cancer Stigma / Addiction Stigma / Stigma Schmigma!


Abracadabra! Shazam!
Words won't make IT! go away (Whispered, aghast at first, "I have cancer.").
But Silence is not a Cure for Cancer, Alcoholism or a host of other Alphabet Soup Afflictions (Whispering, hoping against hope, will not cure IT!). Stigma laughs in the face of fear and denial (Fear... Denial... Oh, I was so afraid and denied my fear with a frozen exterior, a decaying interior, way, way back in my dying days of addiction).
Right off the bat how could anyone so simply proclaim, "I have Cancer!"?
Never could it be so simple to pronounce. (It was once so easy to ignore, deny, continue down my destructive alcoholic path. I was programmed for silence, raised behind white picket fences. Ignore whatever it is and it will go away.) My decades' long struggles in addiction and recovery had paved the way for me to more easily state firmly today, resolutely today, "I have Cancer." No question. No hesitation. I am an Alcoholic in Long-Term Recovery. And I have Cancer.
Learning how to say, "I am an Alcoholic" was once a very big deal on the emotional level, having to face the Truth after Decades of Denial. If I were still drinking, I'd have never been diagnosed with cancer because I would have simply continued drinking. Dental Health, Mental Health, Financial Health, in the all-or-nothing of addiction's orb, all manners of health were "much ado about nothing" (Thanks, W.S.). Alcohol was my everything until I was nothing but a shell, capable of only being filled by my most intoxicating "More!"
Now, I live in recovery from addiction. And now that I am in recovery with cancer....

Cancer Will Not Own Me / Control Me / Lessen Me

That is my Clarity ("Cancer Stigma / Addiction Stigma / Stigma Schmigma!," catchy little title that it is, true as it is, tongue-in-cheek as it is, feigns the power over things even greater than myself that recovery has taught me. I must continue to learn to{Insert Serenity Prayer here}: "... accept the things I cannot change, ... change the things I can. and... know the difference" between those two things. It is not joke. Cancer is real, got real. Fast!
Just as I have learned to say...

Addiction Will Not Own Me / Control Me / Lessen Me

I have cancer. I am an alcoholic in long-term recovery. And with the crystal clarity of sheer repetition, here, let me repeat it once again,

Cancer Will Not Own Me / Control Me / Lessen Me

It's another beautiful day in recovery. I am. You are. We are.
Conjugate THAT, Stigma-Schmigma!

(Strive on!)


*****
The 1st 9 (of 50) Cancer / Alcoholism / Addiction posts are immediately below this tenth one on the link provided here (Reverse Chronological Order): https://alldrinkingaside.blogspot.com
(If you're already on the All Drinking Aside Blog page, consider this link part of my Ridiculousness!)
*****
#SurviveAddiction #SurviveCancer #SurviveYourself
*****
Finally, whether it be Cancer, Addiction, Alcoholism, Recovery or All of the Above,
"Hear Ye, Hear Ye... Read All About it, Wherever, Whenever, However!
*****
You may also wish to Explore ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal, by the same author:
http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 
An Addiction Fiction & Autobiography-in-One / Check out the 30+ 5***** Star Reviews!
*****
TAKE C.A.R.E. [Cancer / Addiction / Recovery / Emergence]!!!

# 9 (of 50): Virtuous Cycles of Recovery from Cancer / Alcoholism / Addiction


Since Time Immemorial, time has been the subject and the object of mankind's vain attempts at understanding time. Does time travel in a straight line, an ever-repeating circle, or, mysteriously, is time interwoven with space and somehow un-understandable? Does time tick with different tocks on different clocks at different times and places or is time a constant, immutable? Is it the edge of an infinite arc, curved or straight? On and on, time bewilders and beckons.
In my experience, time recycles itself, like the waves lapping the shore, beneath me, fanning outward and upward as it spreads out on the wide, slow tilt of the shoreline, drifting back into itself as gravity takes over the water's force, completing itself in hypnotic rhythms inescapable to the eye, palpable beneath my surfaces of consciousness.
The waves of time repeat themselves over and over again. Addiction and Recovery from Addiction, one wave. Cancer and Recovery from Cancer, another. Perpetual undulations emerge, hypnotic. Each wave, more fully whole, each virtuous wave of recovery completing itself with both an individual and group identity.
Time is Recovery. Recovery is Time.
Time beckons, let loose on the shore. All else seems out of sync. Addiction and cancer are beaten down by the wheels of time's perfection. Moments spray upon this landscape, grey and white mists, pastels, desired, held, caressed, released.
After living, after dying, addiction and cancer loose importance in the final tally. It is, was and will have been for recovery, recovery, recovery that meanings find their moments.
Addiction and Cancer have well-prepared me for future storms. Softened by experience, subtle, serene, like sea glass found on a thousand shores, I am me and you and we, smooth, malleable, modest and complete.
Cancer and Addiction, you are minor irritants. I will make a pearl of you, indistinguishable from the sea glass all around me.
Recovery is unbound. Time, irrelevant, where here and now, Recovery is King.


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The 1st 8 (of 50) Cancer / Alcoholism / Addiction posts are immediately below this ninth one on the link provided here (Reverse Chronological Order): https://alldrinkingaside.blogspot.com
(If you're already on the All Drinking Aside Blog page, consider this link part of my Ridiculousness!)
*****
#SurviveAddiction #SurviveCancer #SurviveYourself
*****
Finally, whether it be Cancer, Addiction, Alcoholism, Recovery or All of the Above,
"Hear Ye, Hear Ye... Read All About it, Wherever, Whenever, However!
*****
You may also wish to Explore ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal, by the same author:
http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 
An Addiction Fiction & Autobiography-in-One / Check out the 30+ 5***** Star Reviews!
*****
TAKE C.A.R.E. [Cancer / Addiction / Recovery / Emergence]!!!

01 June 2018

# 8 (of 50): "When Gratitude Descends into Entitlement (Don't Let It!) [Cancer / Addiction / Recovery / Emergence]"


"The person to whom good fortune is unnecessary is more blessed than the person who has it in his grasp." - Seneca, Letters 9.5
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Given everything, earning nothing, surely we do not blame a child in swaddling clothes for declaring its wants and needs in cries and tears. But babies grow up and responsibilities are grown into. A temper tantrum could easily evolve into a sense of entitlement years down the road.
I believe gratitude can be taught because I learned all about it in my recovery from alcohol and other drugs.  One of my favorite examples of an "Attitude of Gratitude" is briefly mentioned in literature from Alcoholics Anonymous and is also one of my favorite scenes from the movie, "Zorba the Greek" which in my memory plays out something like this: Zorba sees an old man planting a seedling for a tree that will surely never bear fruit in the old man's lifetime. Perceiving this, Zorba inquires why he would bothered, the old man replies that he chooses to live each day as if he will never die. Floored, Zorba replies that he has always lived as if he could die at any moment. These stark contrasts in daily living clearly shows how "One Day at a Time" means vastly different things to different people. Obviously, I veer closer to the old man's perspective (at this point, by my interpretations, Zorba's world had taken a seismic shift through this experience, and, frankly, this small scene rocked my world! 
I am planting this post on the internet today, not knowing how distant in time and place that my planted seed of Gratitude my blossom and flower in a reader's heart.
In the Rooms of Recovery for Alcoholism and Other Addictions, in time, one will eventually hear something along the lines of "Sobriety is a Gift, Recovery is Earned." I would like to add here that Gratitude is a Two-Way Street, part Gift, part Earned. It is abundance on the smallest and grandest scales. Gratitude is thriving, most fully alive, fully present, fully accountable. It is a choice. It is not owed you, but you certainly owe it to yourself.
Entitlement? Those days are long gone for me, gone the way of the horse and buggy. Gratitude, older than the Mystics, Sweet Mystery, Sweet Desire, Gratitude is the fulfillment of this very moment.  
Entitlement? Forget about it! 
Recovery, whatever you're recovering from, Cancer, Addiction, Someone Else or Yourself, Entitlement will not free your shackles! 
Gratitude is the surest path to follow! Taken from by book, I remind myself (daily, Zorba, daily!) that "nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober, everything matters more"!
Ditto on Gratitude! 
If and when you feel Entitlement rear its ugly head, rise up, count your blessings! They are numerable, innumerable and infinite! 
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This is the 8th of 50 posts on #Recovery from #Addiction, #Alcoholism and #Cancer

CANCER*****ALCOHOLISM*****ADDICTION
Recovery********Recovery**********Recovery
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QUICK INTRODUCTION TO THIS SERIES OF 50 POSTS: I am Alcoholic with 13+ yrs. of Continuous Sobriety after an 8 year period of Chronic and Perpetual Relapse. Now, leading a Solid & Joyous Life in Recovery, I Face Cancer & Cancer Recovery.
These 50 Posts are a tool in my Recovery from ALL OF THE ABOVE!
I AM A TOOL! (I've been called worse, in my drinking career, and as recently as yesterday.)


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Strive on!
Thanks for Reading, but Enough Already!
Mañana, Part Nine!
(Suggestions for future posts warmly greeted)
*****
The 1st 7 Cancer / Alcoholism / Addiction posts are immediately below this eighth one on the link provided here (Reverse Chronological Order): https://alldrinkingaside.blogspot.com
(If you're already on the All Drinking Aside Blog page, consider this link part of my Ridiculousness!)
*****
#SurviveAddiction #SurviveCancer #SurviveYourself
*****
Finally, whether it be Cancer, Addiction, Alcoholism, Recovery or All of the Above,
"Hear Ye, Hear Ye... Read All About it, Wherever, Whenever, However!
*****
You may also wish to Explore ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal, by the same author:
http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 
An Addiction Fiction & Autobiography-in-One / Check out the 30+ 5***** Star Reviews!
*****
TAKE C.A.R.E. [Cancer / Addiction / Recovery / Emergence]!!!