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Journal entry for 18 June 2015

Regrettably, I have had to write too many posts that are just like this. I'd like to say this is the last time I'm going to write a post like this and I certainly wish that is true but my experience suggests there will be more. I only hope there won’t be.

So with that as a beginning, I have to update you on my progress, or to be more precise, my lack of progress. Although I had been doing reasonably well a combination of yet another relationship disaster and client conflict led me to drink again on Tuesday. I think my abstinence has caused me to lose all my tolerance.  I don't have a good understanding of how much I drank but apparently (although I don't remember it) I told the bartender at the bar where I had been drinking that I intended to kill myself. This led him to call the police and on Tuesday evening they came to my apartment. I'm still not sure how the bartender knew where I lived. I was passed out in bed and I was later told that they found empty pill bottles by me. When I got home I figured out that they found the pill bottles in the garbage can in my bathroom. They were old, empty bottles.  In any event, I was taken to the hospital for evaluation and at least temporarily I was involuntarily committed. I was subsequently able to convince them that I wasn't suicidal and this was simply a product of my intoxication. I certainly have been suicidal in the past.  I sincerely desire a way to escape this hell. That having been said, I am not suicidal now.

So where do I go from here. I believe that I currently have access to the tools and the support that can get me to where I want to go if I simply take advantage of them. I guess this post is a first step in that direction. I have come to the conclusion that I am not ready for a relationship and so I will be removing myself from match.com and concentrating my efforts on getting my life back together. I have had some positive steps in getting new, more financially stable, clients and I simply have to write off the bad ones and concentrate on rebuilding that aspect of my life as well.

I will try to keep people apprised of my progress and will see how it goes.

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Journal entry for 19 June 2015

It goes without saying that yesterday was better by far than Tuesday or Wednesday. I largely stuck to my client work and had a reasonably productive day there. In addition, I had a quick 14 mile bike ride, wrote my post here and exchanged text messages with the couple of sober folks, and went back to my reading of "Breaking the Habit of Being You" by Joe DeSpenza. This book was recommended in an online meeting of LifeRing and uses the latest understanding of neuroscience to explain why we engage in bad habits and suggests a program to break them. While I am only in the early days of the book, the premise is that our brain is a reflection of our past experience and without training and effort it will not do anything other than repeat past behavior. As we go through life, based upon stimuli and our responses to the stimuli our brain remembers these patterns and when faced with similar stimuli will react in like manner. The premise of this book is that we are able to overcome this past experience bias and allow forward thinking that allows real change. Accompanying the book are a couple CDs with meditations that are at the core of this program of change.

As I've written in the past, I have written about my loss of faith over the last couple years which has made AA a challenge for me. While I recognize there is some literature to the effect that the AA program is no more effective than people who try to quit on their own without it, it is undeniable that for some set of people the program works. Breaking the Habit of Being You is not a book about prayer but it does suggest that prayer or meditation works because the intention reflected in it is part of this forward thinking process that allows behavior to change.

As I've said, I'm relatively early into the book and haven't started the meditations. I am impressed with the discussion of neuroscience contained so far so I'm going to keep at it and let you know how it goes.

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Journal entry for 22 June 2015

Overall, had a great weekend. I've met a number of new friends and went to a party on Saturday night at a local art gallery that was more like a small concert. They have a garden in the back of the gallery and they had bands playing for around four hours. Lots of food and lots of drinking but I wasn't tempted at all and confined myself to water. To me it's important to not isolate and I was happy to have the opportunity to see a bunch of folks, some of whom I'd previously met and some I met for the first time.

I also did a lot of biking and had the opportunity to talk to my children on Father's Day for which I was grateful.

I also spent time reading the book that I previously mentioned, “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” and began listening to an audiobook by Rick Hansen, “Hardwiring Happiness.” Both of these books are dealing with the same subject matter and complement each other. The books are heavily based on recent developments in neuroscience and are aimed at breaking old destructive neural pathways in the brain and creating new healthy ones. At this point in both books I am still at the problem stage and I'm looking forward to getting to the books' solution part.

As I may have noted before, I am a technology junkie and I was surfing on my iPhone for apps related to addiction and I found a terrific one that is actually directed towards another addiction. It is called BrainBuddy and it easily applies to alcohol. It is entirely supportive of the program of the two books that I'm reading and so far I am incredibly pleased with it.

On the business front, I had a tremendous development today for which I'm very grateful. One of the clients for which I have a done small amount of work for has decided to list its securities on a stock exchange in the United States. The project is a big one for a client that is well able to pay my fees. This project by itself is almost a months’ worth of full-time work and should go a long way towards addressing some of my financial issues. Now I feel as though it is within my power to address my financial concerns.  I just have to deliver on the work that I'm easily capable of.

Finally, I have come to be at peace with my being off the dating market. This new work will give me plenty to occupy my time and my mind and I can concentrate on my sobriety and my solvency.

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Journal for 23 June 2015

From a sobriety point of view, yesterday was tough although I didn't drink and really wasn't tempted to. Late on Sunday night, after I went to bed, I received word that I had been retained by a client to list on the New York Stock Exchange. I'd put this proposal in last week and I was expecting the proposal to be accepted, but when it actually got here I was both excited and concerned. Given the challenges that I've had in my life over the past few years I have lost a lot of the confidence that I had and when faced with a project of this magnitude and the limited resources available to me I had questions as to whether I could actually do it. Notwithstanding that I had a ton of work to do and more on the horizon, I was effectively paralyzed with anxiety.

Two combat this, I texted frequently another in the program who provided great support. I also talked to my AA sponsor. Finally, in spite of all the work that I had to do, I spent most of the balance of the day reading my recovery books. I made it through the day without drinking.

Last night I had a very good night’s sleep and awoke with new confidence and energy and today thus far has been quite productive.  More about that tomorrow.

On the recovery books that I previously referred to, I am beginning to get to the solution phase. According to the books, our brain develops neural pathways that program us to feel certain ways based upon past experience. According to this one book, we are wired to live in the past. The goal of the book going forward is to teach meditation techniques that allow you to move out of these feelings and to project your intended feelings in the future. I'll let you know how it works.