Monthly Archives: January 2012
The theme of my Tuesday Night Meeting is “Adventures In Sobriety”. At first, i assumed there was a specific definition to this and wondered what that was. Now i understand the signification changes not only according to the individual, but my own interpretation of it varies as well. i like it like that. It reminds me of life.
One Adventure sobriety has brought me is a plethora of opportunities that wine goggles prevented from seeing. Another Adventure i now have (perhaps unfortunately) is the energy to act on them.
“Unfortunately” because what with my fiction writing, freelance journalism, full time job and family…i want to do Everything now that i feel that i can.
The problem is, it’s easy to put any of these adventures in front of Recovery because Recovery brought them to me.
At times like these in my life, it’s critical to remember the Alcoholics Anonymous saying,
If you put something before your sobriety, be prepared to lose it.
The most irritating thing about me? Hmm, there are so many…
i guess i’d have to say my good mood.
One thing i’m starting to recall in my sobriety is that i’m naturally happy. It was easy to forget because during the last few months of my drinking, i woke up sad and got progressively worse as the day wore on. i had no energy and each early afternoon saw me crash and burn. i was plagued by paralyzing fear.
Now, mornings start off well and get better. i wake up with faith in the day and it usually doesn’t disappoint. Sure, some days are harder than others but even during the roughest ones, i have an optimism that it will get better. And then it does.
BTW, you know how annoying young love is when you’re not the one in it? My new found love of life really bugs the crap out of others!
i’ve been working on Step 6.
[We] were entirely ready to have God remove all [our] defects of character.
“Willingness” is the operative word here. Nobody is perfect, but in my heart i have to be willing to let my Higher Power take my defects of character.
Fear is a big defect of mine. Guilt is another at the top of the list. Then there’s Anger.
When my children were toddlers, i refused to take sides in their arguments. i told them they had to work out their disputes between themselves and i always told them “It takes two to fight.”
If one person doesn’t want to argue, an argument cannot take place. If i find that i’m in a heated discussion, i am doing something to perpetuate the spat. A tool my Sponsor told me about is the question, “What is my role in this?”
The trick is to consciously avoid the situation—to catch myself out when my ire begins to rise and shut it down. The second i notice my tone is cutting, there are tools i use to dull the edge in my voice and remove the sting my words bring on the tip of my sharp tongue.
- Agree with the other person’s perception (“I see why you would think that.”)
- Ask for precise details (“Can you be more specific about that?”)
- Stall (“Let’s talk about this later.” “I’ll get back to you on that.”)
- Don’t say anything
i have to remember:
Not one single disagreement has been resolved because a person talked more…, l o n g e r, or LOUDER than the other.
Today i went to the meeting where i picked up my one-year chip. Here’s what i said after getting it.
i don’t deserve any credit for this. This chip is thanks to my Higher Power, my sponsor, the rooms, the program and you guys. So congratulations on my success.
Of course it didn’t come out like that. i was all choked up and trying to get through it before my voice broke, but that was the spirit of what i had to say
Thanks to you guys as well. Your support is a basic building block in the foundation of my recovery. Congratulations to you all as well. You do great work.
i made it! Today marks my one year anniversary of sobriety and i’m psyched. When i look at the wonderful changes that have taken place in my life since one year ago today, i’m amazed. i had no idea i could feel so optimistic about the future!
Thinking about it all day today, i think the single most important change in my life is not something that’s mentioned in the AA Promises. Believe it or not, thanks to my recovery, i am able to love better.
Back in my previous, drinking life, i was continuously obsessed over what i was drinking, when i was drinking, when i could drink again, when i couldn’t drink again because i knew i wouldn’t be able to stop once i’d started, why had i drunk again because i felt like crap with a hangover i wanted to die from, how i had embarrassed myself when drinking, what excuses to make to my family and friends over why i’d drunk again, should i go on the wagon again and if so when and for how long and how long would it take for people to cut me some slack so i could drink again without feeling guilt a trip from them, just myself…
All this took an astonishing amount of mental and physical energy. Now that i don’t have to spend every waking minute calculating the costs of my binges, i’m free–totally free!–to spend this care and attention on others. i’m not perfect yet, but i’m able to give more love than i would have if i were dead, and i’m giving more love than i have in 30 years.
i’m off to a good, fresh start.
These past few weeks have caught me in a place i’d promised myself i’d never go again. On my knees.
i was very religious in another life. i was president of my church’s youth group and preached a sermon before a congregation of 200 odd people. Then i became disenfranchised with the hypocrisy of organized religion and converted to agnosticism. i wouldn’t bother God if he wouldn’t bother me.
AA has strong religious overtones. Fortunately for me, here in Yeaman, the Christian aspect of the program isn’t stressed so much as giving up control of your life to a Higher Power of your own choosing. One of the guys says his Higher Power is Bus #59 because that’s the bus that brings him to the meeting room.
After my religious falling out, i have surprisingly little difficulty accepting a Higher Power. i tried controlling everything for 28 years and i screwed my life up royally. For me, the key is in that sentiment: a Higher Power is a power outside yourself that can “restore you to sanity”.
So every morning i get on my knees, in a very physical and real way, and i pray for guidance to a power outside myself and Higher than i ever was in my drinking life.
Literally. Today is Epiphany because the 6th of January, Epiphany, is the Christian holiday celebrating the wise men visiting baby Jesus.
“Epiphany” is also the word that means “sudden realization of great truth”, and is basically how i’m going through the AA steps. With each step, i’ve had an epiphany where i’ve understood the essence of the step.
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
My realization here was the second part of that sentence. Everyone knows the part about “powerless over alcohol”, but when i heard the “unmanageable” thing, my recovery kicked off. i clued in that the way i’d been living my life wasn’t working.
Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
My sponsor helped me with this one. He told me that AA Meetings were my Higher Power. By going to 4-5 meetings a week, i found something i could have faith in that wasn’t religious…something that paid me back more than i put into it.
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
My epiphany with this step came at a meeting when i shared about how i had problems with humility and fear. It suddenly came to me that giving my will and life over to the care of God meant i had to be humble, because i was admitting “someone” else could do something that i couldn’t; namely, control my unmanageable life. On top of that, there was no reason to be afraid because i wasn’t in charge anymore. God was in the driver’s seat, so i no longer had to fear where the car was heading.
Like they say in the program,
Step 1: i came
Step 2: i came to
Step 3: i came to believe
Thanks to Mrs D, who made the link between Epiphany and Epiphany for me when we were in the shower.
Recovery: If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.
One of my original followers, Day After The Hangover, commented recently that i should post about the advantages of recovery. As i will be reaching 1 year of sobriety in a week, i thought this might be a good time to do just that.
First on the list is this nugget.
i went on the wagon for 6 months one time. People always congratulated me and asked me how i was feeling and i always said better, and that was even kind of true. It did feel better living hangover free, but i still wasn’t happy.
Before i went sober this last time, i wasn’t happy. i knew i wasn’t happy. i also knew what i had to do to make myself happy, but i didn’t feel like doing it. It was too much work. It was easier not to try. It was easier to drink.
For some reason, i’m in a better place in my recovery now. The only thing i’m doing differently this time is attending group meetings, but whatever, i’m happier.
Recovery has given me the energy to work for what i need. The strangest thing is that, the more i work i do, the more it isn’t work. i’m making myself happy and i’m not even trying.
Recovery: If your life isn’t better, you’re doing it wrong.
What is a coaster? A coaster is a cheap piece of future trash meant to temporarily soak up liquid dregs.
It is also someone who coasts.
My recovery has been going so well lately, that i’ve been letting things slide (gratitude lists, morning prayers, phone calls to members, meetings, this blog…). i haven’t stopped them completely, but i’ve downshifted. Taken my foot off the gas and started coasting.
What happens when you become a coaster? You become a cheap piece of future trash that will soon soak up alcoholic dregs.