Why is it that being a parent means not being able to sleep in? Elder decided to start doing a load of laundry in the wee hours of the morning, then Younger comes in later asking if she can have her candy — a reward for sleeping in her bed all night. I only stayed up till midnight playing Dyson Sphere Program, and I didn’t drink, so I’m not hungover, just groggy.
I went back and read post from November’s past. This blog is mainly a journal for me to go back and see what my past self was up to. It looks like I’ve been blogging daily for over a year now, and the other posts are semi-regularly for another year past that. Some of the older posts are pretty useless, mostly political stuff and some useless tech posts. This one from November 2, 2019 stuck a nerve for me. It was following 100 days of sobriety, after I had started drinking again.
I’m on day three following a period of regular drinking, and I can tell my mood is turning very sour. I found myself losing patience with the girls last night as we were leaving scouts. Usually I’ve had a beer before I drop them off. It’s not that they were doing anything out of the ordinary, I just got triggered easily: Elder took her sandals off and was running around the playground in her socks; they didn’t come when I told them to leave. Also, the Daisy leader wound up getting “stuck in traffic” so I wound up standing in to watch Younger and two other kids. I was not prepared.
These cycles of abstinence always follow this cycle. My mood gets disrupted, then I have trouble sleeping.
I picked up a quarter yesterday. I was sneaky about it, leaving under false pretenses. Old behaviors. I stashed it and haven’t touched it, but I got the vape charged up and my lizard brain keeps thinking about when. I managed to keep it at bay yesterday. I ran three miles in forty degree weather. That wasn’t enough so I went and cut the grass as well. By the time I got back with the girls from Scouts I figured it was too risky. I know Missus will not look kindly on me smoking again. And there’s the rub.
The church where the Scouts meets also hosts an AA meeting the same time we’re there. I haven’t been to one since my state-mandated treatment program following my DUI some fifteen, twenty years ago. I think part of me thinks I’m better than those people. Missus used to call me an addict. To think about it in the context of weed seems silly, but it really goes to pretty much anything I set my mind to. There’s a single-mindedness I have about me that extends from substances to hobbies and anything else that I focus on.
I’ve extended my meditation practice. I’ve been reading The Mind Illuminated for the past few days, and have decided to make a serious go at it. The first step is setting a practice. It’s funny, in that I’ve been practicing somewhat daily for almost three years now. I’ve been subscribing to the Waking Up app for several years, but lately I’ve just been using it for the timer. I actually just sit there and let my mind wander, or actively think about planning or other problems. It’s silly that I’ve been paying seven or eight dollars a month for a meditation timer, but when I got it, it was the only app I could find that integrated with Apple Health, and I just wanted a record of my activities.
By chance, they updated the app, and I couldn’t find the meditation timer, so I started doing the daily, guided ones. I think that’s what caused me to click on The Mind Illuminated when I needed a new book in my Kindle library. So now I’m up to thirty minute sessions. I need to get up over forty-five. That’s what the book recommends, and I even remember reading a David Lynch interview years and years ago where he said that was the minimum time needed to get the full benefit from meditation.
I don’t know if I want to go back up to the sixty minutes that I was doing before. I’m not sure if I’m willing to commit that much time in my day to doing that. I still much rather sit for two or three hours playing video games, or working on computer science stuff. And I don’t think I want to be straightedge either. Maybe meditation will change that, I don’t know.
Unlike the last time I did the sixty minutes for sixty days challenge that Naval recommended, I’m actually making this more of an active practice. His recommendation was not to put any effort into it, just to sit and let the mind go wherever. This time I’m actually making an effort to focus my attention and awareness, and to bring this focus into my daily life. Whether it’s running, doing chores, or talking to my children. And especially when I’m thinking about getting a drink or a smoke.