Give it a go?

I have recently begun listening to this podcast about alcoholism.  I haven’t really listened to podcasts for the past ten+ years, since I discovered that there would be far more podcasts that interested me than I actually could take the time to hear, and so just gave up on them, instead of being frustrated over having to pick which ones were the most important, being stressed out over feeling like I must listen to them as often as possible, and all that jazz.  However, someone sent me this podcast, and I accepted the proffered link, because of the various degrees of connection various members of my family have with addiction, and specifically alcohol addiction.  (Let’s just say that, while not everyone has it, we’ve had from the slightest to one of the worst cases of it just in my lifetime.)

It’s called “An Addict Named Mary”.  I was surprised to find that, while the podcast is just a girl – I say “girl”, but she is actually a woman in her upper thirties or so – recording with her phone or laptop in each episode, it is actually really interesting.  I don’t know if there are other podcasts done by recovering alcoholics, but I like this one.  She spends the time talking about the experience of addiction and what is involved in recovery and moving beyond the active addiction (i.e. still drinking alcohol) into a fully sober life, which she hadn’t experienced in decades… and it’s kind of fascinating.  I keep coming back to it and listening whenever there’s a new episode, partly because I find it beneficial for myself, as someone who is around people in active addiction, as well as people in recovery, but mostly because I like the girl.  She’s funny and goofy, and she’s totally honest about the b*** underneath at times – it almost feels as though I can see the light and depth in her eyes, the eternal joy becoming manifest at last within them, as she struggles willingly through it all, and aims to make a difference for others however they are ready to have her help.  I also get the occasional glimpse of the sad, outwardly fun, go-getter who desperately just wanted to be loved, little girl who used to hide in a sea of alcohol (and, occasionally, plenty of other drugs)…, and it’s beautiful to see the transformation.

I particularly liked the first two interviews she did (at least, I think they were the first two).  The first was with her sponsee, someone she is sponsoring in recovery, and it wasn’t exactly an interview, but more like just the two of them talking about things.  Specifically, the way they talk about their active addiction days is very eye-opening for me, especially as I saw how many people I know who say the same things these girls were expressing…, but who are not recovering alcoholics…. and it had me wonder about how much I’ve been living with blinders on regarding alcohol addiction/abuse.

The second was actually an interview.  And it was rough, but super good.  She interviewed a guy who admits to being an alcoholic, but who says also that he is not willing or ready to do anything to stop his drinking, despite the many and deep negative effects it has on his life (including, but not limited to his relationship with his young children).  Now this one was…. just wow.  For anyone dealing with a person who is in active addiction, I highly recommend listening to this episode.  For everyone else, I still highly recommend it, because I find it so important for people to see an honest expression of what is going on inside the head of someone who cannot give up an addiction.  We have them all around us in society, and the first step to helping them and our society as a whole is to understand and thereby love them.  I believe that all change, to be true, must come from love.  And this is a guide to the first step involved in loving the people who can not (currently) give up their active addictions.

As a whole, I recommend the podcast.  Like I mentioned, it is not very professional, but the sound quality is good enough to sit through it, and the information is definitely good enough to sit through it.  Give it a go, trust me.

As I understand it, there are multiple ways to subscribe and auto-download the episodes, however, I just check back regularly and listen via my web browser, because I’m old-school and don’t want to download anything else to my phone.  😛  At the beginning of just about every episode, if not all of them, she encourages feedback and contacting her through her e-mail address – anaddictnamedmary@gmail.com, to be sure.  I sent her an e-mail, asking about something a friend and I were wondering, based on something she’d mentioned briefly, but that we totally didn’t get, our not having the alcohol addiction and all.  She replied back, telling me that she’d do an episode on it!  That was just recently, so we’re both anxiously awaiting the episode.  🙂

Here’s the first episode: The Beginning
Here’s the episode I mentioned of the first interview, with the sponsee: Getting Grounded with Ciara
Here’s the a-maz-ing one with the active alcoholic: Dr. Ew Kaleidoscope Dream Theater

And here’s the website to the podcast as a whole: An Addict Named Mary

Enjoy!

Post-a-day 2019

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Alcohol

I kind of grew up in a world where nobody could see how people could party or have fun without alcohol… and yet I have never been able o see why people can have fun with it.

To me, alcohol has almost always shown up – for the party and having fun version of it – as a means of escaping real life, forgetting about what’s going on right now in one’s life, and numbing the mind enough not to be able to have genuine interactions, thereby keeping (or even creating) a distance between individuals.

Without alcohol, one kind of has to face and to deal with whatever is going on in one’s life, one has to face the people around oneself, and one has the opportunity to be genuine and close with those people, and have true connections and build real relationships… it is definitely difficult a lot of the time, but it more than pays off through the genuine connections and relationships that come out of it.

Also, when I consider how people use alcohol for the former purpose, I begin to feel sick with sadness.

That’s always been my own experience of alcohol on the party front.

I’ve learned through certain specific individuals how alcohol can be a fun – almost nerdy, even – something to have among friends and/or family, when it is used for its flavor, uniqueness, and quality, and not for its potency nor for the purpose or outcome of drunkenness.

I usually am utterly comfortable not having any alcohol in my life, however, I have learned to appreciate these somewhat nerdy joys that can be part of alcohol consumption… and I usually participate (as do most of the others) with a mere few sips of whatever the specified delight is, and am fully satisfied in the small, unaffecting amount.

But I also can see easily how alcohol could cease entirely to exist in my world; it just isn’t a requirement, even for those nerdy times – we can always get nerdy about homemade juices and smoothies and holiday drinks instead (and we often do, anyway).

And I never cared for nor was interested in alcohol for everyday consumption – I want water or tea at the end of the day, or maybe some gelato…, but not alcohol.

I’m not opposed to alcohol, I think – I was fine when with a close friend at bars and hangouts where he would have beers (but not at all to the point of drunkenness) and I might have a taste of whatever he had… I just don’t have much of any interest in it for myself.

But perhaps I do have an opposition to it, along with drugs, whenever used for becoming drunk…

Drunk on love, not alcohol, folks – that’s my motto for all of this. 😛

Just some thoughts on my mind tonight…

Post-a-day 2018

Beer & Cigarettes

Chatting with an acquaintance recently, I sort of weasled some interesting information out of him.  The weasling wasn’t exactly intentional, – I was genuinely just curious – and it was more that he opened up after I shared information about my family and friends, as well as the general population in the US.  But it was still some info that he was obviously super-hesitant to share.

It all came from our chit-chat about nothing special, and our never-ending back-and-forth about his smoking.  We both agree that smoking is something terrible, both for individuals and the world at large.  And we both agree that he is 100% addicted, and doesn’t really feel like he’ll fall to bits in his early- to mid-forties.  So we occasionally have little goofy bits of conversation, which leave us both tickled and chuckling, usually as he goes off to smoke a cigarette.

A recent little anecdote was when he asked how I was doing, since he knew I’d been sick.  I commented that I was doing alright, but was tired and had a bit of a cough still.
“Oh, me, too,” he said, accompanied with a coughing gesture.
“Oh, you’ve been sick, too?!” I express, concerned.
“No…  Because I smoke.”
We both laughed.  And coughed, actually.

And so goes our acquaintanceship, for the most part.

Recently, however, as we were chatting about the browning of his teeth, and that it does not match the obvious effort he puts into his daily physical appearance, I happened to ask him when he even started smoking.  He smiled, and got real quiet for a minute, and I wondered if he was figuring out what to say.

“Twenty,” he finally said.
I raised my eyebrows.
“When I was twenty,” he repeated.
Really?” I declared with pure doubt.  (Think SNL’s “Really” skit from Weekend Update.)

He then reminded me unnecessarily that 20 is the age in Japan for smoking, I asserted my knowledge of the fact, and we moved on.  I talked about how I remember my brother discussing his secret first cigarette, shared with siblings in the backyard as kiddos.  I described the general standard for kids in the US with their first cigarettes and first drinks of alcohol, and how everything pretty much seems to happen around high school.

Eventually, this acquaintance, with a lowered voice, suddenly had a new story.  No longer was he the follow-every-rule individual he initially (albeit hesitantly) declared himself to be.  He was, in fact, just like all the kids back home.  First drinks (beer) were at 16, and the first cigarette was not long afterward.

Now, there are two main things I pulled from this conversation.  1) I wonder if this is standard for Japan, the way it is for the US.  2) Was this bit of honesty a step towards our becoming friends, instead of just remaining mere acquaintances?

I, of course, know the answer to neither of those inquiries.  However, I have a mind to figure them out!  Plus, I’m really glad he opened up to me with the truth of it all.  Not that it’s necessarily any big deal, but with how closed off people have felt to me here, it was really refreshing to have some openness, and on something that seemed rather sensitive.  (Okay, there’s a third things that came out o f the conversation: What is the Japanese viewpoint on breaking that law of ‘No one under 20’?  How quiet he grew and how unsure he was at first about answering my casual question really make me wonder…)  😀

 

Post-a-day 2017