Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sick and suffering

I finished up radar on Wednesday, taking exams in the afternoon. I was relieved to receive a great score, one that I feel I don't deserve.  I was in class with fellows who work full time in the maritime industry and who have spent years at sea.  I was called the "blow boat" captain in class, and also called Dr. Syd. And yes, the instructor was making fun of me.  It's okay though.  I used the tools of the program to not take it personally, focus on first things first, and get it done.

The lack of deserving comes from the familiar Impostor Syndrome in which I think that I don't deserve the success I've achieved.  I think that it comes from the effects of alcoholism, which tells me that my success has come from deceiving others into thinking I am more intelligent and competent than I really am. I fight those thoughts of being an impostor whenever something good happens that brings attention to me in a setting where achievements are noted.

Fast forward to the Al-Anon convention where I had a good few days of speakers and workshops.  I know that I was still stuck in "freak out" stress from the testing mode when I arrived.  I felt manic which is not common for me.  But I was glad to shake off the test stress and shift gears into a more calming place in my head and heart.

A lot of pain and healing was evident in the workshops.  People shared about feelings and healing after the loss of loved ones from drugs and alcohol.  Powerful stuff.  I enjoyed hearing the AA speaker who was engaging, funny and had a great message of recovery.  The Alateen speaker was really good, having so much enlightenment for a 17 year old.  What a great benefit that program is to young people.  I tell a 19 year old that I sponsor how fortunate it is that he is learning about himself at such a young age.

Today, I am processing news of a friend who has suffered a devastating loss from the disease.  I know the disease wants to kill those who embrace it.  If you will, please say a prayer for those who are sick and suffering.  I am hoping that they find their way.

You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.― Anne Lamott


  1. I am glad that you can find solace and meaning in your program. There is so much that you say which is true and valid which applies no matter the disease.
    Thank-you, Syd, for continuing to share your life and your journey.

  2. nice...sounds like the convention came at a good time you know...for you personally and others...its good to break away like that...and its why we have programs to work as well...

  3. I knew you would do well... hmmmm, I'm thinking of the imposter syndrome you mentioned. Its so hard to balance true healthy humility with all of our weirdness, isn't it? I err on the other side though....thinking I'm all that and I have answers for everyone, only to find out, uhhh, not really. lol
    Your posts are motivating me to go to our convention in March. :o)

  4. I am glad you did so well, but I don't think I had any doubts. Embrace your success, you are much deserving. Thank you for sharing that's a good one.

  5. It's good to keep from taking yourself too seriously. Taking yourself too seriously often gets in the way of learning, having fun, and personal growth. I know what you mean about the feeling of not deserving praise or success or any good thing. I know my alcoholic told me how worthless I was very often. Even though I know it was his thing and not mine, it's still part of my disease. I've got a lot of healing to do, but I know I can do it if I keep working the program.

  6. I just wrote a comment and it vanished. Forgive me if you are now getting two from me.

    Congrats on the test. Whenever I do better than everyone else, I decide there is something wrong with me. yikes. I am a good test taker.

  7. I'm glad you did well. great quote.

  8. I relate the impostor syndrome you mentioned,
    Woddy Allen's film Zelig personifies this to a tee.
    Being able to laugh at myself helps me to soften it for my life.
    Anne Lamott is such a valuable resource I enjoy her work.

  9. I completely understand that imposter syndrome. In my case, it originated from either being exalted or vilified by one parent, depending on her mood, and being completely ignored by the other. I ended up overcompensating because I was afraid that the worst things she said about me were true. Also, that I would end up being like her. Reading your post was a good reality check, because based on everything you have written (and I've been following you for a while), you seem like a brilliant, compassionate and truly authentic person. I can see how that mis-perception could occur, and how false it is. I'm glad you had a chance to shake that stuff off and find your core again.

  10. Good to read you again Syd and congratulations on doing so well.

  11. I don't remember hearing that quote before, I like it. Helps with the loss of my mom so many years ago. Glad you did well on your test.

    with your sharing here Syd.I've
    been out of touch and yet here I
    am visiting after all this time
    your post hits close to home.So,
    I again thank you for sharing..
    And for all the love and hope you
    share,may you savor some for amazing
    self too!

  13. Now you can be a deep water sailor and the power captains can worry about running out of fuel while you tack the wind. In short Fuck 'em. Yeah man i get that confidence thing but I went in another direction, when shit starts coming at me I simply isolate. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing but I never hold any animosity when I am by myself.

  14. Syd...thanks for your words of hard earned wisdom here. As I type, one of my friends is dealing with the one year anniversary of losing a baby in her 8th month of pregnancy. She is still consumed with grief and all I want to do is erase her pain and fix it for her.

    Love Ann Lamott. One of my favorite lines from one of her books was given to her by her pastor about religion vs. faith: "You know you've made God in your own image when He hates all the same people you do."


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