Good morning cyber friends and mentors. Admittedly, I am using this space to share today in hopes of relieving myself from some pressure. Apologies in advance is this is too intense or sad.
As some of you have read in my posts, I am grieving a loss of love and dream that I did not want to lose, and also not smoking. We started building an off-grid house together last year. It was a dream of companionship more than materialism. In the settling out of things and her rapid run from it all, I retained that land and place, and went there this past weekend with my son and his friend. But I am indebted from our loans and investments and will be paying for this for years; the shift has brought big financial strain and insolvency. Beyond $, in this place, there are so many symbols and signs there - all the heart rocks, all the things we built with our hands in the 80+ days we spent there last year, the walkways, and land tending, all the special touches and co-created magic. Our wedding altar was still there and I burned it in a sacred fire this weekend to try to let go, and on and on. I'm at my wits end and really struggling with smobriety through this.
This is the half-built house we started; it's where we got married; it's where - yes this is true: I LOVED getting up in the morning and having a coffee and a smoke on the deck, looking at the mountains. At one point I joked with my friend saying I started building this thing so I could have a coffee and smoke on the deck! I don't know how to say this any other way - but that feeling of smoking on the deck (and the feeling of being in companionship building a dream) was better than money, food, entertainment... anything. Those two feelings are not available anymore. I have my coffee, and I hold loose tobacco and make a prayer in the morning, and cringe with the emptiness.
Peers without current emotional pain and withdrawal from addiction see this picture as an asset and opportunity. That doesn't help. It's not. As beautiful as it is, it's in the poorest county in CO. It's $ value is less than the investment to date and it is but 1/2 finished. It was an investment in a dream and life. I am challenged to explain this to our acquisition and ROI culture. I hope that I can metamorphose into a new, sweet relationship with this place someday, and be smober. Truly, I do.
Even with the challenges this weekend, I crossed 40 days without smoking though I wanted to smoke more than I have so far in my quit. Every 5 minutes craving and struggling even with nicotine mints.
I burned our wedding altar late Saturday night under the stars and in a cold, 20-degree wind after a sweat lodge ceremony. I am going through the motions of what I think I am supposed to do to let go. In the past, tobacco would have been an ease and a sacred guide - it talked to me, explained the reasons of things to me, encouraged me and comforted me... and, I also got to the point where it owned me, where I was coughing and had lost the power of choice whether or not I rolled up and lit up. So I did not smoke this time, and I got another day smober, but I also did not get the comfort and guidance to understand the significance of what is happening in a way that I could carry. It's confusing. I have not found another ally, either in plant or person, who can teach me in the way tobacco did. I hope that my smoke-free relationship with the plant will eventually shift into another dynamic where I can learn from it, or that some other broad-seeing mentorship will come to me.
I'm committed to not smoking, but I am growing tired of the grind. If feels like there's a limit to how many days in a row I can wake up with dual grief and still resist picking up, still hold a vision of a better, freer life. I think the combo is too much at times like today.
Today, I want to go for a walk in the woods, lie down and sleep, and just stay there forever. I'm feeling profound loneliness and though appreciative, also tired of the counsel of friends who say, "you'll get through this, it'll be okay [pat on the back while they go home to their 10-yr+ marriages and have a smoke; or from the ones who have never struggled with addiction or serious love loss]." In other moments, I want to rage and smash things to relieve my frustration.
I'm not going to smoke today; that is my intention. But I'm weary and wondering when the weight will lift. Too busy, too broke right now, moving at 100 mph to try to maintain life, show up, appreciate, perform, take care of self, be a [good] single dad, borrow from Peter to pay Paul, etc., blah, blah, blah.
Western culture sometimes over-values happy happy - go shopping, complain about politics, global warming, the neighbors, traffic, etc., but focus on being happy, looking good, plant flowers, go on vacation, go out for dinner - entertain, distract, compartmentalize feelings in favor of progress... Where are the social containers for grief, for recovery from addiction as a positive, even spiritual social-emotional process, for catharsis, rebirth, soul healing. Is everything about money, tech, science and social media; about looking good and being (or pretending to be) happy? Do we only want the stories of true struggle at the end of the hero's journey when all is well again? Are we in Hollywood, and will we live long enough to reach those happy endings?
I'm tired; I'm venting; I know. I am grateful for this place to say something about this quit and how today it's got me like a Pit Bull has a chewtoy. Tired of the tears, tired of the cravings, tired of the sleeplessness, tired of the $mountain to climb to get back to zero and start over.
I'm 42 days in today. Wondering when the freedom starts to trickle in? I know intellectually that this is way better for my body and breath. And, I am longing for an ease in mind and heart. It's a classic addiction pickle: the compression from withdrawal gets so intense that one starts to wonder if it's worth living this way and picks up. I'm aware of that dilemma, and the struggle is real.
So that's where I'm at. I want to be free, but I still feel like I'm hanging on to driftwood and don't yet see any signs of shore.
Apologies that this is a bleeding instead of a pep-talk. For today, I'm tired of trying to sound happy when I'm not. Tomorrow, I may be waving pom-poms in your face. You never know... watch out! More important, I'm grateful for this space - this unique and only place - to share some of my truth and challenge with people who know what 42 days and 1,000 night feels like.