God Speaks to Me… But What is He Saying?

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It’s been awhile, yes? Probably the main reason for that has to deal with my lack of time nowadays. And the incredible decrease in my alcohol intake. I moved back in with my dad a few months ago to find stability. Instead, I discovered a need to better know myself.

I’m a “spiritual” person. I have some beliefs as well as doubts. I recently spoke with a few co-workers about their personal journeys toward a certain religion. Ba’hai, Judaism, Catholicism… heck, I even have a friend who’s Pagan. What’s been coming clearer and clearer to me is that I am a bit lost in that realm. I want to find my place… I can feel God speaking to me, calling me somewhere. What is He saying? Where is he calling me?

First step is this (according to WikiHow at least): Decide why you’re seeking a religion. I’m seeking a religion because I want to belong. I want a community that I can rely on. I want to connect with those who have not just similar beliefs, but similar fears, worries, doubts… I want to be able to converse on a deeper, personal level. I want to have a belief system that feels “right.” Something I can find strength in. Furthermore, religion has always been a big thing in my family. Sure, we didn’t have an “established” religion within the household, but it was always taught that that spiritual part of you is a big part of your identity. I still feel that way, and that is why I want to begin this journey toward self-discovery.

Next, do your research. I have found some belief systems that contain the basic tenants that I believe in, but everything else? I suppose some trial and error is in my future.

If you have any tips, advice, or just a personal story about your journey you would like to share, I would love to hear it! I appreciate any input I can get, but please be aware that in the end, this is my choice. Thank you for your courtesy and respect.

Cat Fights and Dog Days

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I am so bored. I was initially excited to end the academic year and move back in with my father while I job hunted, but that excitement has worn off and given way to pure boredom. I have submitted over 100 applications, have had 3 interviews with 0 resulting offers. What’s wrong with me? For anyone who reads my blog, I ask that you please say a prayer, send positive thoughts, or whatever you do in your personal spiritual life to give me some good vibes. I really need a job. And soon.

While I’m not working on online school work, applying for jobs, or sleeping my life away, I’m either reading or fighting with my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law is nuts. Sure, we all hear horror stories, but it didn’t become real to me until we started to get knee deep into wedding planning. The moment it is her turn to pay for something, she reacted as though the CIA were after her bank account and ran for the hills. What. The. Heck?! I thought we had come to an agreement about wedding budget and how we’d pay for things. Little did I know that she would pull a stunt like this and inadvertently (or maybe on purpose depending on how you see the situation) place a painful wedge in between my fiance and I. She’s killing me. Okay, so it will be over once the wedding is over… and then I’ll get pregnant, and it’ll start all over again. “You MUST adopt an all natural lifestyle. You MUST ONLY breastfeed. You MUST start solids at 7 months. You MUST NOT have your children vaccinated.” Where will be my choice as a mother? I have nothing against natural living… after recently being diagnosed with gastritis, I’m trying to cut gluten and lactose out of my diet. But I want to be able to make those decisions and not have someone tell me what I must and must not do as though I were a child myself. I believe I have earned that in my late 20s, no?

Moving on…

“Lipstick Jihad” is a memoir by Iranian-American Azadeh Moaveni. She grew up in the states and attempted to live her working adult life back in Iran. Soon, turmoil ensues. The political climate in this book is both heated and complicated, but she writes beautifully.

“We had a moral obligation to care when awful things happened to people around us. By treating beatings, lashings, or checkpoint arrests as commonplace – ordinary like going to the ATM – we were becoming dehumanized to the sickness around us. When did we start dreaming so small, start considering violence against our bodies normal?”

“How can [a man] love all of [his wives] equally in his heart? He can’t. The heart doesn’t work that way. The heart is not docile, can’t follow literal instructions, can’t be cordoned off like a garden. Sooner or later, emotions blossom or wither in places they shouldn’t, and the pretense of heart boundaries collapses.”

Getting Married

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While I am just under a year out to my upcoming nuptials, I logged on tonight to talk about how I never wanted to get married and how I think I am still doomed to a life alone after my husband-to-be tires of my illness.  But talk about divine intervention… I went to look up a Bible verse I want to be read at the wedding when notes came flying out of my Bible from a conference I attended in 2008.  When I was in college, I was so devoted to Christ and scripture that I fear admitting it considering the stark contrast today.  Regardless, amongst these notes were handouts from a seminar I had once attended when I was desperate for worldly love.  The seminar was entitled “Being, Finding, and Keeping the One.”  As I read through them, I began to tear… little did I know that my husband-to-be is my [nearly] soul mate.  I use the term soul mate very loosely since I don’t believe in them, but I have a difficult time describing his role in my life with other words.

Part 1: Being the One

“Know who you are and what you want because no other person can ever complete you.

‘The One’ is meant to compliment your life, not be your life.

You’ve got to know what you want before you can know when you’ve found ‘The One.’

Purse your dreams because life begins with God and not romance.

Much better to find someone who fits into your life than to find someone and then realize they don’t fit at all.  [That’s the part that really hit me.]

Recognize that you have something to offer because if you don’t believe it, then why should they?

Why should God ruin some else’s life by giving them to someone who doesn’t get the basics?  Remember: God is looking out for them, too.

Part 2: Finding the One

“Recognize that if they are not who you wish they were right now, then they’re not going to be.  Get a partner, not a project.

Do they really treat you how you want to be treated?

Do they really value what you wish they valued?

Do they really have the character that you wish they did?

Make sure your family and friends are as excited as you are.”

Part 3: Keeping the One

“Be away of the timeline; don’t jump the gun on going to the next level.  [Well, we’ve been engaged for two years and have another year to go, so I think we’re okay.]

Keep a life apart from each other.  [Check.]

Never ignore the stop signs.

Discuss real issues.  [ALL the time.]

Move in together when you get married, not before.  [That’s the plan.]”

I’m so glad I stumbled upon all this.  It was the assurance I needed to hear… or read, rather.  While I’m unemployed (yes, I’m not working – maybe I’ll talk about that at a later date) I’ve been working exclusively on wedding stuff.  This has undoubtedly given me the heebie-jeebies, the doubts, and the second thoughts.  But when I found these notes tonight, I feel a sense of peace in my decision… I’m getting married!

First Meeting

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Hello, my name is Em and I am a Bipolar Alcoholic.  

I sucked it up and went to my first AA meeting this afternoon.  And you know what?  I enjoyed it!  I didn’t really talk; instead I just listened, but it was through listening that I started to self-reflect and learn a lot about myself.

1. I am a control freak.  I suppose must of us are.

2. I can’t identify my triggers.  Well, yes I can… my triggers to drink are my mood swings.  Because I’m Bipolar, I use alcohol to medicate myself.  I drink mostly when I’m manic, but I often do the same when I’m depressed.  Learning to refocus is what I need.  I can’t afford distractions anymore!  I have too much on my plate for distractions: I’m getting married, I’m job hunting, I’m moving, and I’m working on my PhD.  No more distractions.

3. I really need to find a meeting that is non-smoking.  I’m allergic to cigarette smoke, so I ended the meeting with a nauseating migraine and my clothes reeking of it.

You know, that man who called me last time and preached sobriety?  He called again this morning to check on me.  I’m a little weirded out having him calling me, but maybe once I get to know other ladies in AA, I can connect with them instead.  I hope so… I hate talking on the phone.  Especially to strangers.  I’m just trying to figure out how to get him off my case– not because I don’t want to listen to him, but because I’d rather share this journey with someone else I can better relate to.  He convinced me to go to the meeting, but that doesn’t mean he’s got to be my constant coach does it?  I wonder what I’m supposed to tell him…

Random Phone Call

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So, my phone number accidentally got out in the alcoholism chat room I was in (yes, I was intoxicated, so that explains it).  A random retiree decided to call me about his experiences.  He even urged me to attend an AA meeting and insisted he would call me Monday.. Oh, crap… what did I get myself into?  I am quite confident this won’t continue when living with my parents…

It’s true I don’t want to be held accountable.  What did I get myself into?!  

I hereby promise I will never give my phone number out to a random chatroom full of alcoholics… I am not about to attend the meeting this random stranger told me to (regardless of the fact that it’s about 6 hours away), so what am I supposed to tell him?  

Just not answer the phone?!

In all honesty… I’m terrified.  What did I just do?!

Judgement!

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Oh my goodness… for those of you who are active in online Alcoholics Anonymous Chats, how about trying not to be so judgmental?  I got off early from work and decided to spend the afternoon drinking.  When I turned to an online community for support, all I got was hate.  I drank earlier that day, but should you greet a recovering addict with disdain?!  That is the exact thing that keeps people from recovery!!!
The AA online community needs to reevaluate themselves.  There were a few people who greeted me with open arms, but what disturbs me is that those who were hateful far outnumbered those who showed compassion.  Online AA needs to seriously consider where it’s at!  It was NOT HELPFUL for an alcoholic… Sadly, I doubt its effectiveness…

While I was incredibly happy with the progress I had made with wedding planning, AA online only hated on me because I had had a drink… how’s that for open arms?!  It’s that exact thing that makes people want to run away!  You make them feel ashamed for what they are!

 

Neglect

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While it may only take 5 minutes at the most to read my entries, do you know how long it takes me to write them?

I hit the “new post” button, then select “text.”  And then I let it sit for 20 minutes while I listen to depressing music and throw back wine or vodka, whatever I’m in the mood for (I suppose it depends on whether I’m attending to the Italian side of me or the Polish side).  And then I walk away for another few minutes…

Anyway, I don’t want it to make it seem as though I’m neglecting you.  I just hate talking to you only when I’m in a not so good place.  The majority of my posts are during my extremes, and that’s an unfair assessment of me.  I would hope so at least.

While I’m a Bipolar Alcoholic, I’m strangely successful.  I’ve held a good job for the past couple years, which has only come to an end due to university politics.  In other words, I’m not tenured and only have a master’s degree (I’m working on my PhD, thank you), so they’re giving my position to a tenure-track individual.  I hate academic politics.  My teaching evaluations are exceptional!  I had my one-on-one with my boss recently – I’m above the department average!  But it doesn’t really matter anyway… being here away from my family is making me nuts.  I need to go back, so this is my chance.  In that case, I NEED A JOB!  I’m applying everywhere!  Why won’t anyone respond?!

[5 minutes later]

I wanted to start this post because of my aggravation with my in-laws-to-be.  They’re meddlers to the max!  They won’t take a break, won’t back off, won’t let my fiance and I make our own friggin’ decisions!…  I’m not over it, but I’m shrugging it off until it bothers me tomorrow.  You’ll hear from me again.

Is anyone else bothered by media representations of Bipolar Disorder?  I watched the series premiere of “Black Box” last night, and I have mixed feelings… It’s nice that the awareness is there, but the sensationalism is unnecessary.  You know how many people claim that they’re Bipolar because they feel happy and sad within the same day?!  It’s already happening!  People need to realize that EVERYONE experiences mood swings, but Bipolar Disorder is remarkably different.  

[3.5 minutes later]

I just looked at my tags for this post.  Bipolar Disorder.  Alcoholism.  Wedding Planning.  Job Hunting… This makes me even more depressed.  Why can’t I handle these stresses like a “normal” human being?  I’m not about to censor myself… you know what I feel like doing?  Drinking more and burning/cutting.  Add self-harm to the tags… done.

It’s okay… the last time I met with my therapist (for the very last time, mind you.  I have to move in with my dad regardless because I’m to be unemployed very, very soon), she challenged me to actively engage in activities that may get me out of my depressive state.  Peanut butter sounds good about now.