Monthly Archives: September 2011
Tonight in the rooms there was this guy who said he’d been sober since 1967. Look at that again: 1967. Sober for 44 years.
i waited the entire meeting for him to speak so i could hear what wisdom someone of that experience had to share. When he finally spoke, this is what he said.
When I tell people I’ve been sober for nearly 45 years, I see them look at me like it’s a prison sentence. Condemned to 45 years of boredom and niceness. I’m here to tell you, the weird stuff is still out there. When you get drunk it falls in your lap, but when you’re sober, you may have to look for it, but it’s out there. The weirdness is still out there.
One of the things i love most about AA is that it’s a program of action.
i’m a thinker, and not a very good one, but a thinker nonetheless. i spent my whole life trying to rationalize and intellectualize and philosophize my choices and decisions. Where did that get me?
i drowned myself in my addictions just to give myself a couple minutes of not thinking.
AA doesn’t want me to think because my thinking is flawed. AA wants action, which is perfect for someone like me who thinks “faith” is a mind game and “understanding” is for intellectuals.
My Daily Action Plan:
- Eat breakfast (banana and yogurt). Eating regularly and in normal quantities helps keep my mind alert
- Read my daily “prayer” (page 86 of the Big Book) to remind myself not to be a control freak
- Put my 6 month chip in my pocket when i get dressed to use as a good luck charm reminder
- Write about recovery during the day
- Do some AA step work during my day
- Call my sponsor regularly
- Attend a meeting after work
- Read from the Big Book before bed
My favorite thing about doing all this is that the busier i am, the less time i have to think. And my life is living proof that i really really suck at thinking.
Overcoming alcoholism is overcoming instincts.
If i felt compelled to do something, i used to think i had to do it. Because it came from me meant it was a part of me. As a result of this, i spent a lot of time telling people they could take me with my alcoholism or leave me, but if they stayed with me they had to accept my drinking. Because my drinking was me.
i’ve since learned that while instincts are a natural part of me, they do not define me. i choose if i want to act on that impulse or not.
So much of this must seem obvious to outsiders, but you’d be amazed how the alcoholic mind can twist the simplest of concepts.
i was born without an Off switch. i have no Stop button.
Let’s look at the basics.
- Sleep: i stay awake as long as i possibly can, sleeping only a handful of hours every night, until i am angry and depressed. Then i crash and can sleep a day.
- Food: i starve myself until i’m sick and suffering from low blood sugar and then i eat enough food for three people.
- Drinking: Even now that i’m Dry, my coffee intake is measured in pots, not cups.
- Writing: i get a real buzz when i write and now that i don’t drink anymore, i’ve replaced drinking and hangover time—which was all the time—with writing time.
- Sex: Tonight i attended my first Sexaholic Anonymous meeting.
To overcome my obsessions, my sponsor has prescribed 90 meetings in 90 days. Apparently, meetings are the only thing i refuse to binge on because i told him i’d do 7 in 7 and then we’d see.
The Bottom Line___________________________________________________
i am addicted to too much. i’m addicted to extremes.
i am addicted to addiction.
The name for this post might be a little obscure. Maybe this well help… Sound it out, slowly. No? What day of the week is today? Still no help? Try this: It’s an alternate spelling of ‘Friday’.
Every Friday sees an Open Bar at the company where i work. At 5pm the reception area is lined with all of the whiskey, gin, vodka, and beer you can handle. Coworkers and customers are encouraged to drink up and, after the clients leave, my colleagues head out to the nearest bar never to be seen sober again.
Not only did i participate in this orgy of alcohol every Friday night for nearly 20 years, it also played a role in my divorce and was certainly one of the main reasons i’ve been working there so long. My previous record at one company was 2 years–that place didn’t have free booze every Friday.
Tomorrow, i will wake up sober. i will not have a hangover. i will be present for my new wife. i will be capable of giving quality time and of myself to my children.
Because tonight, for the second time in my recovery, i went to a meeting. FridAA.
And Captain Jack ain’t comin back
Carry on, Carrion
Solo and so low
Buy a good wave, a long wave goodbye
He went overboard for the last time
Today someone told me they had a good 16 years drinking. That got me thinking.
My drinking career lasted nearly 30 years. Long enough that i shouldn’t call it a “career” but my “drinking life” because i boozed for almost as long as Jesus lived. How many of those drinking years were good ones? The first 6, max.
How crazy is that? i spent–no, strike that– i wasted 24 years for a decent 6. It’s like saying i got 6 dollars and all it cost me was 24.
[We] Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
i know some people in the fellowship who don’t like the word “insanity”. For me, when you throw away half your life for a few moments you don’t remember that well anyway, what else do you call it ?
To misquote Woody Allen, “Sobriety is like sex: When it’s good, it’s really really good, and when it’s bad.. it’s still pretty damn good.”*
My life is immeasurably better now that i’m sober than it was eight months ago. There’s only one small problem with this and that’s the improvement is so regular it’s becoming routine. Complacency is a risk, because complacency leads to a relapse.
When ‘better’ has become normal, where do you go for ‘good’?
Easy, a meeting.
*The original quote goes, “Sex is a lot like pizza: When it’s good, it’s really really good and when it’s bad…it’s still pretty good.”
One of the things you get for free in Recovery is a Toolbox.
You fill your Toolbox with tips, ideas, thoughts, prayers, concepts, realizations and whatever else you can find to build a lasting sobriety. My sobriety is only as good as the tools i use to build it with. So from time to time i’m gonna open my toolbox and share some of my tools with you.
Today’s tool is the concept of “Think it Through”. Every recovering addict is going to be tempted to relapse. My personal triggers are things like a bottle of wine sitting before me on the table in a restaurant or a group of people on a café terrace in the sun drinking fruity cocktails and smiling and having fun.
At these moments, my alcoholic brain starts saying things like, “Go for it, dude. You only live once and some people not even that. Don’t be a wuss. Life’s too short. Screw it. You can always go back on the wagon tomorrow. Everybody relapses once,” and so on and so on, add nausea. Before i let my brain get the best of me, i “Think it Through”.
Thinking it Through goes something like this:
- i have a drink
- i’ll want another drink–i know me
- i’ll have that second drink because that’s what i do
- After the second, the third is easier and after the third, all bets are off
- i’ll drink until i get so drunk i make a fool of myself and lose things and get into trouble i won’t be able to live down or get myself out of. i will drink until i cease to exist.
- i’ll pass out (at home, if i’m lucky)
- i’ll have a hangover that lasts two days and through which i’ll have to take care of my kids, pay attention to my wife and maybe even go to work through
- After the physical hangover will come three more days of a spiritual hangover where i’ll hate myself, beat myself up and wallow in depression
All of that for two hours of euphoria that gets less and less thrilling every time i binge. Mentally going through all these eventualities makes it easier for me to take a step back and take my hand off the “Screw It” button.
Powerful tool, that “Think it Through”.