Who Is The Problem In My Recovery From Alcoholism And The Negative, Selfish Mindset I Once Had? Me!! I Am The Problem.

“The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception and response to failure.”  –  John Maxwell

 

 

I didn’t choose sobriety and recovery from my alcoholism and alcoholic thinking just to be miserable.  I believe there is great power in the thoughts we have.  I believe I choose each and every day whether I am going to stay in a positive, grateful, productive perspective or a negative, selfish, self-centered one.  While the Serenity Prayer reminds me that there are the things I can change and the things I cannot change, it is still up to me to take action on the things I can change.  I must remind myself that sometimes waiting is an action I need to take and the best possible response to certain difficult times.

It is up to me to change my situation.  On one hand I accept reality and the parts of my life I do not have control over, especially other people.  Even though other people and their actions have a great and direct affect on my own life, I must try to give up the fight and stop struggling because there is little I can do to influence the decisions of others.  Each one of us has the power of choice.  Some might try and hold others accountable for what are in fact their own choices, and today I know not to allow that to bother me.  The choices others make are their responsibility, not mine.

No matter what, I am in control of my thoughts and there is power in that.  On difficult days I try to practice the 10% rule.  Attempting to accomplish 100% has been overwhelming to me in the past and has always led to negative thinking, giving up doing anything at all, and then sinking further and further into the abyss of depression.

Today I try to make sure and make 10% progress on any task, situation, or challenge I have in my life.  I take time during the day to meditate and “pray” for others.  I take time to make a real effort with my writing and with my blog.  Although I want to reach as many people as possible with getsoberbitch.com I know that if I try to take on too much I will become overwhelmed and if my goals for viewers are too high I am setting myself up to feel failure and defeat.

I am not a failure and I can only strive for progress, not perfection.  The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous tells me on page 85 “It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels.  We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe.  We are not cured of alcoholism.  What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.”

Keeping that mindset each day helps me to hold on to a positive outlook and to stay living in today instead of overwhelming my mind with thoughts of the future.  If I dwell on my list of “reality” too long; court dates, restraining order, supervised visits, cut off from my finances, new job, etc . . ., my thoughts will become full of negativity and self-pity.  I cannot move forward if I travel down that rabbit hole again.

“In thinking about our day we may face indecision.  We may not be able to determine which course to take.  Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision.  We relax and take it easy.  We don’t struggle.  We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a awhile.  What used to be the hunch or occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind.”  Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous Pg. 86-87

 

For now, for today, my goal is to give power to the thoughts that will lead me to greatness, whatever that greatness may be.  I have found a purpose in my alcoholism and recovery.  I have found a renewed spirit of life and desire to not only become a better person, but to encourage and support others in doing so, addicts or not.

It is this acceptance that I am the only problem standing in my way and the willingness to change that is carrying me through to the other side of these hurdles.  The sun is rising and revealing the other side of the mountain slowly but surely and I myst continue to take the hike one step at a time, one day at a time, and one moment at a time.

“There is no doubt in my mind that there is one way to be a winner, but there is really only one way to be a loser and that is to fail and not look beyond the failure.”  –  Kyle Rote Jr.

I still have a long way to go on this journey of recovery and my sobriety is not just about drinking and alcohol.  My recovery must include all parts of my life and my sobriety must be complete, including sobriety from the old ways of thinking, sobriety from toxic people and toxic relationships, recovery from judgmental people and situations.  I am aware of so much today and eternally grateful I have Alcoholics Anonymous and the support that goes along with it.  I feel sorry for those from my old life who do not see themselves as the cause of their own problems and hope one day they will.  I will always be here to help as long as I continue to give fuel to the positive and not the negative.

 

Will I Be An Alcoholic? What Leads To Alcoholism And Addiction? Can Trauma Lead To Becoming An Alcoholic?

 Does the past lead to addiction?  Will I become an alcoholic or addict?  How uncovering my past trauma helped me understand and recover from my alcoholism

 

These questions are so common and I do not believe there is anything wrong with asking them.  I can only speak for myself and my personal experience, but every story I have heard from countless alcoholics and addicts all have similarities to each other.  The substance is not important.  The length of time using is not important.  The amount used is not important.  Some people like to obsess over their “drunk-a-logs” and focus on the amounts, the situations, the arrests, the crazy happenings, and that is all well and good in the right context and with the right intention.

I know where I was.  I know what I have done.  I also know that I cannot go back and change the past, nor would I wish to.  Without my past choices, I would not be the person I am today and I love this person more and more as time passes.  I am amazing.  I am worthy of a great life.  I have so much to offer others.  I have talents to share.  I have support and care I show to the world on a daily basis.  I am worth it.  I focus instead on the future and how I am living life in a positive and productive way today.  What I have done is simply that, events.  They are not who I am nor do those choices define who I am.   I try to focus on the cause and the solution.  The cause tells me what led me to where I was and helps me to prevent going down that path again.  The solution allows me to continue to live in sobriety and grow in my recovery.

With that being said, will someone become an alcoholic??  Are there any signs or symptoms or checklists to warn us ahead of time??  Speaking for myself and looking back to my 3-year-old self, I had an alcoholic mind before I ever knew what liquor was.  “Self will run riot” is talked about in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous many times and I absolutely had “self-will run riot” from the time I was born.  As far back as I can remember I was a liar.  I do not know why, but I was.  I was a story-teller and part of my lying was creativity and the longing to use my imagination to entertain others, but as time went on my lying became more about how it could benefit me.  It became a game.  I was challenged to see if I could convince others of anything that I decided I wanted them to believe.  I was very good at this and it gave me much pleasure, but it did not make me an alcoholic.  My inability to deal with life on life’s terms, my “self-will run riot”, and my selfish, self-centered mindset qualified me as an alcoholic.  I was restless and discontent.  I could not differentiate true from false.  I lived in my own world of obsession and spiritual malady.

I was an alcoholic long before I ever took the first drink and honestly the substance could have been anything.  Fortunately for me, I was never interested in drugs and never dabbled with them.  Each person is different and similar and when dealing with alcoholism and recovery I always try to look at the similarities in stories and not the differences.

My alcoholism took 10 years to form and it was little by little, but the drinking was a tool I used to try to heal the pain and suffering that had developed from traumatic events I suffered when I was in my childhood.  It was not until January of this year, after requesting permission and furlough from the judge to attend a treatment program, did I discover/uncover this catalyst even existed.  I had made no correlation between the sexual and psychological assault I had endured as a teen and the severe and paralyzing depression and anxiety I was using alcohol to cover.

For myself, the severe trauma of this type of daily abuse is directly related to my psychological and emotional suffering which resulted in alcoholism rearing its head in my life.  How I wish I would have known how to deal with these feelings.  How I wish anyone else, my parents, teachers, counselors would have stepped in and realized the severity of abuse and the seriousness of healing and processing that needed to take place long ago.  That was not the case and as a result I have found myself and am so thankful to know who I am.

I do believe there are events we can experience that absolutely lead to problems within ourselves and the desire or need to self medicate to find relief from those feelings.  This is part of my story for sure.  Alcohol was a small piece of the pie.  The larger problem was why I had turned to alcohol.  I used alcohol to quiet the negative thoughts in my mind that had been planted when I was 11 and then again when I was 13 and 14 years old.  

The self medication worked for a while until I could no longer drink enough to stop the negative thoughts.  Intrusive thoughts are killers.  I was convinced I was worthless and if I was worthless I should spare my family my existence.  The horrible people who haunted me in my younger years and pushed me to the brink of suicide back then had now manifested as these internal thoughts I could not get rid of.

I absolutely believe that abuse can lead to addiction problems, but it doesn’t mean it always will.  I think it is so important to put a stop to abuse as soon as possible and if it does occur, treatment and therapy should be sought to process the pain and gather the constructive tools you need to continue on through the rest of your life.  I had never developed any tools to deal with these issues and although it took some years, the trauma began to surface until it had completely taken over my body and mind.  I have finally had the opportunity to address and confront these events from my past and process them.  I have finally been in a place of willingness and open-mindedness to adapt some tools and learn how to use them effectively when coping with situations in life.  I am so happy to be an alcoholic and to have been put in a position I could finally see the forest for the trees and grab ahold of the chance to get help.  In the end it was still my choice and is always the choice each person has.

I urge anyone who has suffered any type of abuse, traumatic experience, or anything so severe to seek help in learning how to effectively accept the events, process what has happened, and develop the tools needed to move through life despite the circumstances.  I will no longer let those very sick people from my past control my life.  I will no longer let anyone in my present or my future have that kind of power over me.  I have found my worth through recovery and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and I have learned acceptance, forgiveness, patience, healing, and how to help others.

I have chosen the gift of a new life and anyone who wants to be a part of it may join, but there is no room for sick, negative, evil people anymore.  Evil people try to control others using fear and I will no longer allow anyone to have that kind of power over me.  I have found my courage again and I do not fear anymore.  My faith has grown through working the 12 Steps of this program, talking with other alcoholics and addicts, living in gratitude daily, and finding a power greater than myself I can understand.

“When I am willing to do the right thing, I am rewarded with an inner peace no amount of liquor could ever provide.  When I am unwilling to do the right thing, I become restless, irritable, and discontent.  It is always my choice.  Through the Twelve Steps, I have been granted the gift of choice.  I am no longer at the mercy of a disease that tells me the only answer is to drink.  If willingness is the key to unlock the gates of hell, it is action that opens those doors so that we may walk freely among the living.”  Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous Pg. 317

 

How To Deal With Friends And Family In Recovery?? Why Do People Pretend I Don’t Exist Because I Am An Alcoholic??

How Could They Turn Their Back On Me? – I Will Never Understand Why Most Of My Friends And Family Abandoned Me When I Needed Them Most

 

 

Something I have been thinking about lately is the idea of friends and family.  Old friends, family members, and how they have completely abandoned me during the last 7 months.  First off, not all of them have hung me out to dry or thrown me under the bus, but most.  I am so grateful to the ones who have looked at me for the person I am and not for the things I have done.  The truth is, we all have made choices that are embarrassing, we all have made decisions that were not good for ourself or others around us.  

I have come to realize, again, that forgiveness and acceptance are so very difficult for most people.  I am thankful to have lived through some extremely traumatic and difficult times because they have taught me empathy, compassion, acceptance, and true forgiveness among other lessons.

It is very difficult for me to know many in my life I loved deeply and cared about greatly have completely abandoned me during my time of recovery.  I am stronger because of my mother, my father, my stepmother, my few friends who love me the same and always will.  I am so thankful they are people of great character and treasure their honesty and the relationship I have with them even more so than I did before.

I have a true appreciation of those who do not let the struggle of someone provide a reason for them to completely turn their back on a person they have known for years.  I am not what I have done, those were just actions, most of which have been completely fabricated and blown out of proportion and embellished.  I have been a horrible wife and a shitty mother for the last few years and I know this to be true because I have spent most of my adult life being a wonderful wife to my husband and a loving and caring mother to my children.

I was lost, covered up, enveloped in a deep and paralyzing depression and anxiety I could not fight or get out from under.  I have been able to process some horrific and traumatic events I experienced 20 years ago and work through them to finally uncover the blanket of isolation and depression from over myself.  I have been struggling with this for so long and giving and giving and giving to everyone else until I awoke one day to realize I had nothing left to give.  I had nothing for myself.

I had no tools, no way to cope with life, no skills or knowledge of how to deal with my feelings and my hurt from my younger years.  No one is or was to blame, I was simply stuck, paralyzed and afraid to ask for help.  I was screaming for help at the top of my lungs each and every day but in the quietest, muffled voice imaginable.  I truly believe my husband, who loves me more than anything, was helpless.  He did not know what to do.  I was drowning in a foot of water and could not get my feet underneath me to stand up and save myself.

Oh how I wish someone would have done something.  Oh how I wish he would have jumped in and reached out his hand for me to grab hold of, but he did not.  I am in no way upset with him and truly thank him every day even though I cannot speak to him for a few more months.  When I can finally talk to him, legally, I will tell him over and over thank you for saving my life, because he did just that.  I was on the path to death and destruction for myself.  I was convinced the happy times in my life were over and nothing would be good or great ever again.  I was being punished and felt that I deserved this punishment for I was worthless and should only have suffering in my life.  I was so wrong and it took all of the pain I endured and all of the unknowns still today to bring me to an understanding and acceptance of myself.

I am amazing.  I am so worthy of happiness.  I am destined for greatness.  I cannot wait to share with him this new person I have uncovered.  I cannot wait to see the joy on his face when he sees the light shining from within me and all around me.  I look forward to the day when I can share with him because he is my best friend.

It is so difficult to be away from him now and not to know what his mindset is and for him not to know what mine is.  He is my treasure and I want to help him in his struggles now, but I can only control what I can.  I accept that I cannot offer any change or support to him yet.  The day is soon approaching and I patiently wait with a warm and open heart.  The gratitude I feel in life today is unquestionable.  I had to give everything away in my alcoholism to be in a position with just myself and my thoughts to really see that there was hope for me and I truly never had to feel like that ever again.

Alcoholism has given me a purpose.  I have spent so many years struggling to find a purpose and a passion to no avail.  I wanted to be passionate about my husband’s business and to help him continue to grow and expand.  I did enjoy working with him everyday and truly loved making him happy, but in the end even that was not enough to dig myself out of the hole I spent 10 years forming.  I love him with all of my heart and only hope he will enjoy meeting this new person I have uncovered and become.  She was a stranger to me and I am so thankful she is here now.

On one hand I am amazed at my life now and even though I am in a position with literally none of what I have spent the last 12 years building and achieving, I have never in my life been happier.  I am no longer isolated.  I am no longer depressed.  I am no longer suffering from uncontrollable anxiety and judgment.  I have found a new freedom and a new happiness.  Although there are still speed bumps along the way, they are only obstacles, not walls.  I have had a difficult time finding employment because all of my eggs were in one basket.  The work I did was for my husband’s company and because of the legal restraints I was unable to continue working in that profession and could not use that on my resume or as a reference either.  I have been left abandoned essentially.

I am not angry, nor have I felt any resentment or anger during this time.  I am eternally grateful to have the opportunity, with the court’s help (LOL), to have found my true self, my true passion, my hidden talents if you will.  I have been searching and searching and searching for my self esteem everywhere I could think to look and was unable to find it for many years.  I am so appreciative I have it now.

The promises the program of Alcoholics Anonymous speaks about are so very true and happening all around me everyday if I choose to open my eyes and see them.  I have always been so intelligent and so very good at math, but I have spent years unable to count my own blessings.  Everyone has a different path to recovery and each of us has our own life story.  It takes everything that it takes for each one of us and for me, it took giving everything away and spending some time in custody the beginning of this year to finally have a clear mind and a clear understanding of what I wanted from life, how to get it, and what I could contribute.

I feel sorry for those I have known so well for many years.  I do not understand, nor will I, why they have decided to pretend I do not exist.  I have been asking myself why hasn’t anyone reached out to see how I am or to ask what really happened.  Do they not want to know the truth?  Are they afraid I am angry?  Do they really not care?  I have decided, it doesn’t matter.  My life has been growing better and better each and every day in sobriety and I could not have ever imagined the opportunities I have now.

I am so blessed beyond words and could not have envisioned I would have been able to touch so many lives through sharing my experience, strength, and hope.  I feel sorry for those who have decided to ignore my existence.  I have compassion for them and hope they can uncover the positive mindset I have found.  I do not wish for them to have to undertake the same experience I had to go through to feel how I feel today.  But, I do think about them each and every day and truly believe if they are willing and if they choose to they can truly find happiness in their lives as well.

 

My step father always told me “the truth comes out in the end” and he was so very right.  I have no shame or guilt or embarrassment for myself like I had before during my drinking.  I have been relieved of the mental obsession of drinking and depression and resentment and anxiety and am at peace and excited for the future.  I love doing things and going places, as long as it does not interfere with my AA meetings and my sobriety.  Life is amazing now and the success and opportunities are astounding.  I would have never guessed I would have the opportunities to really help change other people’s lives for the better that I do now.

When the shit hits the fan you definitely find out who your true friends are, and I certainly have.  My hope is those people will see the light and know that I will always be here for them.  I hope my husband will truly think about what reality is and what reality he would like to have for himself, for our children, for us, for our future.

Although I cannot go back and change the past events I can and choose to make a new and brighter future for myself.  I pray that does include those people I care about.  I would like to continue imagining a future with my in-laws, with all of my friends, with my best friend-my husband.  I do not understand why some of my loved ones, I have spent many, many years with, have not reached out, and I probably never will know why.  I am curious, I am hurt, I do not understand.  I go back and forth each and every day as to whether or not I should reach out and make contact.

I truly do not know what to do, but it is a hurt I hope they never experience in their lifetime.  In reality, life is oh so short and the greatest illusion is the thought that we have more time.  My only fear today is that something will happen to someone I care about before I have the chance to see them or speak to them again, especially my husband.  I spend hours each day asking that nothing happen to him before I have the opportunity to speak to him again in January.

Honestly, my life has changed and the way I live my life has changed.  My recovery is paramount and first priority.  As much as I would love to continue those relationships so dear to me and those I have had for so many years, if my recovery cannot be supported and others find it more important to drink or live in a negative way, I will not be able to allow them in my life.

There is just too much at stake for me today.  I have gone through one hell of a time finding the person i have been meant to be all along and am not willing to give that up for anyone or anything.  I refuse to walk back toward the abyss and misery my life was.  I refuse to go back to a situation or relationship that is negative and toxic.  No one should ever have to live like that and I know I never have to live like that again.

So, in conclusion, I do not know why so many have left me sitting on the shelf as if I don’t exist at all, but you better believe the clock is ticking down to the time for me to be present again and I am not sure you have a ticket on my train any longer.

What Is Humility? 11 Ways Alcoholics Anonymous Has Taught Me To Be Humble And Live In Humility

 

The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion. – Paolo Coelho  How can I practice and live in humility on a day to day basis?


 

Instead of asking why me, have I asked myself why not me?  Humility comes to mind.  The thing I have had to learn about humility is that I can’t just say “I’m going to be humble today” and leave it at that.  “I’m going to be humble because this program of AA says I need to be humble.”  Humility is a state of being that occurs as a result of living outside of myself.  Humility is a by product, not a product.  It is not something I can just choose to be.  It manifests itself as a result of how I choose to behave, the choices and decisions I have made and how I act on those in my day to day life.

One of the greatest places, nobody ever talks about, in reference to humility is in the Big Book.  Right there on page 63 in the third step it says “we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs.  More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life.”    This is one of the best definitions of manifesting humility I can think of.  I am so grateful for what Alcoholics Anonymous has given me, this way of life, and it all comes back to how I feel on the inside today.  Because I am okay today and okay is good enough.  It really is.

I will do what I need to do and I will be who I need to be.  Every morning when I wake up and have a morning meditation, one of the affirmations; the main affirmation i have been using is me reflecting on who am I willing to be today, what am I willing to do today in order to be the person I am committed to be today.  Because that is what this whole sobriety and program of AA is about for me.

If you want to know how to stay sober, you want to know how to get that life you love, you want to know how the promises will start manifesting in your life?  It is about learning how to show up in life and be that person.  It is living life from the inside out not from the outside in.  It is never about what is going on, it it always about who am I going to be in the face of what is going on.

 

Since coming into these rooms and turning a corner and going through the processes outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the thing I can tell you is there is nothing that has happened in my life that has overwhelmed me, nothing has occurred that has put me over the edge.  I know several people in this program who have lost children to suicide, to overdose, they have sat with their dying parents.  They have lost jobs, gone through divorce, lost their homes, they have experienced everything you can experience and they walked through it, they stayed sober, and went on living.

An older gentlemen working at a treatment center I was able to visit told me, “If I had to try not to drink today I would be out there with a big bag of cocaine and a big bottle of tequila or scotch or something.  This program, AA, is not about that.  This deal is not about trying not to drink.  This deal is about becoming a person through that process who is relieved of maladies of the spirit and is truly willing to embrace the amazing role set aside for them.

 

There is a catch we read about on page 72 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  It warns us that through that process, it is the one or two things that I hold onto, that I won’t give up, I won’t share with another human being, and there by refuse to bring God/Higher Power into the picture.  “If we skip this vital step we may not overcome drinking.  Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives.  Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to other methods.  Almost invariably they got drunk.”

You can write 18 pages of crap (during step 5) and it’s the half page you didn’t write that makes you a  bigger liar, a bigger cheat, and a bigger thief than you ever were.  The worst thing I believe someone can do is to complete a fourth step and a fifth step and omit something.  According to the way this program is laid out, when I take that third step I have just made an agreement with a higher power.

I have committed myself to this open and honest relationship and I cannot start out with dishonesty from the get go and throw it in the face of the entity.  I have seen it several times over this last half of a year and have heard others speak of the importance many times.  The results are not good, if you do not truly honor this agreement and lay everything out on the table to seek true redemption from and through that and working with and for others, humility.

Here are 11 different ways I have learned to practice and live in humility.

  1.  Avoid curiosity.
  2. Accept small irritations with good humor.
  3. Speak as little as possible about myself.
  4. Give in to the will of others.
  5. Accept insults and injuries.
  6. Keep busy with my own affairs and not those of others.
  7. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
  8. Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
  9. Accept contempt, being forgotten, and disregarded.
  10. Do not dwell on the faults of others.
  11. Accept censures even if unmerited.

Does Alcoholics Anonymous Really Work For Long Term? Can I Recover After A Relapse With Alcoholism Or Addiction?

How one man was able to recommit to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous after a relapse and find a new recovery and life of sobriety again.

 

 

One day I was sitting on the patio and man I was really, really feeling bad. I remembered that I was just starting to feel good in my recovery before I let the outside world get the better of me and went back out. I stayed out for a few weeks and just realized I didn’t want to go down that rabbit hole again and I came back through the doors of AA. That was the most productive thing I ever did in my life.

It was the first day of a new life for me. It is never too late. This program really teaches you that you are somebody. This program is a we program and that is why everyone shows up at these tables, at these halls, at these churches or shacks, or wherever you can hold a meeting.

Some of us have short periods of time and some of us have long periods of time, but if we keep coming back and helping the new people it helps us with some sober time too. After we find that we are somebody, it is a feeling, a self-confidence that can carry us through from one day to another, to the next day, to the next week. Before you know it has been years and you’re still going.

I remember when I came back in. I had been coming around since before 2006 and it was good for a while, but after some time I realized there was not a connection in my recovery somewhere. I wish I could have figured myself out then and figured out what it was that was missing, but I just couldn’t. I had so much resentment I was still carrying from years before and now I was piling on new resentment everyday.

 

I am grateful today that I understand those defects of character, those faults that kept me out. I forgot how to listen. I spent all my time talking and talking and talking about something I didn’t really have. I have heard many other people say “you can’t give away what you don’t have” and they are so right on the money with that phrase. I had some sober time and it really wasn’t quality. I had quit drinking, but I had not really looked at myself in the mirror honestly and done any changing whatsoever.

All of the reasons I started drinking n the first place, the resentments, the anger, the self-pity, were still there and now they had grown into something monstrous inside me I couldn’t ignore or control anymore. I had been so quick to rush through the first few steps and really just skipped right on down to the last few without doing the work I needed to do in the middle.

I found out, after having a relapse, that the middle part was where I missed the entire point of the Alcoholics Anonymous program. I had not really looked at what part I had played in all of my misery and misfortunes. I had really just blamed everyone else for my sorrows and my failures. Where was I in all of it? What part did I play? What joy and time had I stolen from my wife, my children, my family and friends?

I am so grateful I did make it back through the doors of AA. So many others I have known over the years have not. I do not take my sobriety or this program of recovery lightly in any way. I might laugh and joke from time to time about alcoholism and being a drunk and the silly, stupid, insane things I did and still do, but it is a matter of life and death for me when you get right down to it.

 

This program saved my life and I am beyond blessed to be a member of this worldwide organization where I have a friend no matter how far from Chicago I travel. I would never be this far and my sobriety date, my renewed sobriety date is coming up on June 30th, 2014. I make sure to connect with my sponsor almost every day and I come to a meeting almost every day too. I realize now that when I stopped coming to meetings often and stopped calling and talking with my sponsor, I eventually stopped worrying about not drinking and then as soon as something in my life went haywire – there I was completely drunk again.

 

I had stayed sober for 8 years and then let my own cockiness and an argument with a few other people in an AA hall about outside issues get me riled up so much that I used it as an excuse to stop coming to meetings. I was sober, I had been sober, I forgot that I really needed

the hand of Alcoholics Anonymous and talking things through and hearing from other alcoholics and addicts how to stay sober.

I never lost anything that I had learned in and out of the halls and I always had my Big Book and some other materials like As Bill Sees It to read at home, but I didn’t. I was so angry with other people over something so unrelated and then I was angry at myself and too embarrassed to show my face around those people and admit that I had lost my temper.

I was a fool. I could have gone to any number of halls in the area, but I chose to sit and stew, alone, until I finally did go right back to my selfish, self-centered ways and once I picked up that first drink it was off to the races again for this old drunk.

My advice to anyone who is just starting out in recovery and alcoholism and those that have a lot of sober time is this, don’t get too confident in the years you have under your belt because that date can change in an instant if you don’t stay vigilant and remember how close we all are to falling off of the sober mountain. I slid right back down further than I had been before. It is true. It does not get better; it only gets tougher and harder to climb back up.

 

I was fortunate that I hadn’t run anyone off and when I came back into my home group, I was embarrassed and nervous, but welcomed with open arms and have been ever since.

 

 

How Can I Change My Life ? How Do I Have The Psychic Change ?

Where is the Hope?  –  A Psychic Change is Truly Required in Order to Have a New Outlook and A New Hope for Life to be Different for an Addict or an Alcoholic.

For many years I felt and believed that trick that my head always told me.  “It was going to be different this time”.  “I’m going to be able to drink like a normal person”.  Once I put that crap in my body I always, always, went on some sort of spree coming out on the other side with nothing but disaster and more problems.  Not everyone’s stories are the same, some will be similar and I always look for the similarities when relating to other alcoholics.

Another alcoholic shared a bit of his story with me recently and although his experiences are different from my own, the mental obsession, the thoughts, ideas, the feelings, the turmoil is very much the same.  He too felt the trick his mind tried to play on him.  He came out on the other side usually with felonies when he drank and used drugs.

Over time, after 5 DUI’s, a few years in prison, then another trip was how it went for him.  He couldn’t hold a job, couldn’t support his family, lost everything worthwhile in his life over and over and over again, because he kept thinking he could drink and drug like a normal person.

“It was so incredibly elusive.  It would simply sneak up me every time”.  The program of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Big Book tells us the only way we can recover is through experiencing a “psychic change” and the only way to get that is to work in the 12 steps.  When he finally chose to do that, his life changed more than he could describe.  Today he is successful, married, a father, but he had to fix the problem in his psyche, in his mind, in his heart.

The way he thought and felt about himself had plagued him for so many years and was truly his demise.  “I was full of resentment, anger, grief, shame, and guilt.  I had to get it out, so God could come in”.

I can truly relate to those feelings of worthlessness, of shame, of resentment.  My low self-esteem had bottomed out to the point it didn’t exist anymore.  I had no coping skills to speak of and my “toolbox” was full of the wrong tools I needed to

work on this “machine” that was my mind, body, and soul.  The struggle was so exhausting because while I had lost all care for myself and carried no self-worth, my ego and pride had grown to enormous proportions.  I could not ask for help, because that would be admitting I had failed and could not solve my problems – problems I still fully could not admit I had.  I was aware of these ideas and how ludicrous they were, but simply could not figure out how to remove the wet blanket from around me.

I believe all of us have these similarities to our stories and because of the other alcoholics who have shared with me around the rooms and tables of A.A., I no longer feel alone.  Someone once gave me an empty box of darkness and I have come to understand and treasure that gift.  I needed it to be empty so I could fill it with me, my truth, my good qualities, my contributions, the goodness of my heart.  It contains my sobriety and the pieces and tools I need for my lifelong recovery.

The chaos in my life and my unnerving domestic situation just did not allow for any type of growth or recovery or sobriety of any kind.  Changes, big changes, had to occur for my story to turn around and for me to experience all of the blessings I am truly grateful for everyday.  The chaos had been nothing more than a distraction for myself and others so the real, true problems could not be seen.  Finding yourself alone and in jail can have a great humbling effect if you choose it to.  It was only through removing, giving everything in my life away, and experiencing some truly horrific events, that I was able to experience a psychic change and choose life.

Now I am hope.  I feel hope in all those around me.  I choose hope very morning when I wake and carry it with me throughout the day.  If I feel the need to refuel, I know I can go to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, call my sponsor, speak with another alcoholic and find it in their words, their comfort, their compassion and understanding.  I fill my internal jar of hope by staying out of my selfish, self-centeredness ways and doing for others.  Gratitude reminds me to be humble and that I offer so much help just by sharing my story and putting others first instead of myself.

My sobriety has a price tag just like every other person living.  All lessons have a cost.  I am grateful my recovery did not cost my life, but it did require vast sacrifices and still might in the future.  The unknown will always be to “what lengths” I will have to be willing to go to in order to stay recovered from the grips of alcoholism.  I am forever grateful to be the person I am today and to stand on my feet so proud to know I am an alcoholic and committed to my recovery and helping others to recover.  I could have never imagined my life would be so full of joy and happiness.  I embrace everyday and have received nothing but wonder and serenity in return.

How Do I Help Other Alcoholics Without Enabling Them? – Having Compassion In My Recovery From Alcoholism?

 

Are You Carrying the Message or Carrying the Drunk??? – Helping others by allowing them to find their rock bottom.

 

“When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.”  –  Pg. 64 Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous  

 

“It was very difficult for me to come to terms with my spiritual illness because of my great pride, disguised by my material success and my intellectual power.  Intelligence is not incompatible with humility, provided I always place humility first.  To seek prestige and wealth is the ultimate goal for many in the modern world.  To be fashionable and to seem better than I really am is a spiritual sickness.  To recognize and to admit my weakness is the beginning of a good spiritual health.  It is a sign of spiritual health to be able to ask God everyday to enlighten me, to recognize his will for me, and to have the strength to execute it.  My spiritual health is excellent when I realize that the better I get the more I discover how much help I need from others.”  –  Daily Reflections, May 23rd

I used to live always telling others I was fine, no problems here, and keep on going with my life.  All the while I was full of suffering and the spiritual malady it talks about in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Every person has to have something to believe in and if it is not something spiritual, it will be something else.  For a long time mine was alcohol.  Alcohol stopped the rapid negative thoughts, numbed the feelings of depression, and quieted the anxiety I was suffering from.

I have experienced some truly horrific and life changing events at the beginning of this year and those events ignited the flames of psychic change inside my heart and my mind.  The alcohol was a small piece of the pie in my life.  What needed to be fixed, to be worked on, was the horrible way I felt about myself in my head and in my heart.

So today I use the serenity prayer quite frequently.  I can only control myself and I have learned to accept that I have no control over others and their decisions.  I choose to do the next right thing every day, continue to attend AA meetings daily, spend time with my thoughts, and work with my sponsor through the Twelve Steps the Big Book lays out.  These help me keep on the right track of sobriety.

If I want to get out of myself, I need to help others.  But, there is a fine line between helping and enabling.  It tells me in Step Twelve of Alcoholics Anonymous to try to carry the message to other alcoholics.  There is a difference between carrying the message and carrying the drunk.  Let that one soak in for a moment.  What I have come to realize about those who are not alcoholic, is that they do not understand enabling someone, like me, is the quickest way to get me drunk.

When you give someone a dollar or two every time they are asking for it, because you feel sorry for them, that is the worst thing you could really do for an alcoholic.  Those sufferers are the people who desperately need the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and desperately need help with their selfish, self-centered, self-pity and manipulative ways.  You have to allow someone to get to their bottom.  An alcoholic must be allowed to reach the point of such desperation, such agony, a state of hopeless discomfort in order for us to have a psychic change.

As long as someone is comfortable with their situation, they will allow it to continue.  Addicts and alcoholics can withstand and endure an unimaginable amount of pain and hardship to avoid change.  In every story I have heard from both addicts and alcoholics, there was always the word yet.  “I hadn’t been arrested yet”, “My wife hadn’t left me, yet.”, “I had not been fired, yet”.

This was so true of my own life.  As much as I would love to say my rock bottom was 6 months ago, or 6 years ago, it was not.  I had to “give away” absolutely everything I had to be at a point where I could honestly ask myself if I wanted to choose to live or continue to choose to find a way to die.

I do consider myself extremely lucky and fortunate that my rock bottom did happen when it did and it was not 6 weeks, 6 months, 6 years from now.  I would have never made it that long.  I was on a mission that did not include living life in any way.  I am so grateful for the time I spent in custody and the furlough I was granted to attend a treatment program.  I am also grateful for the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and the other alcoholics that I share the table with.  I am most thankful and grateful for my husband.  I hope to repair the relationship with him and continue to live in a successful partnership and marriage, but no matter what his choices about that are, I will make certain he knows how grateful I am for his decision to let me reach my bottom.

I cannot change or fix anyone but me.  I admit I am powerless over alcohol and my life had become unmanageable every morning.  If I hadn’t been allowed to get to my bottom, I would have stayed sick and on the short road to death.  I truly believe this to be true of all alcoholics and those suffering any kinds of addiction.  It was so true for me.

My life was too comfortable and even though I was entirely miserable and didn’t know how to change that, I was allowed to continue doing what I wanted to do.  You cannot water a dead plant and expect it to flourish.

With this being said, I do believe in compassion.  Compassion is a noun, and defined as a deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.  The wish to relieve it.  I wish to see others free from their suffering, but I am not required to take any action further than that.  I have struggled with boundaries in my life before alcohol and in my addiction.

Now, living in my recovery, I have made a few changes to better my life as a whole.  I have to set and keep boundaries.  Boundaries with family, friends, strangers, and especially in Alcoholics Anonymous and with other people recovering from addiction.

My sobriety is at the top of the list in my life today.  As long as I keep my sobriety and recovery first, I will always be in a position to make good choices and do great things for myself and others.  I am very compassionate to the plight of others, but I will not cross or tear down those boundaries.  When dealing with alcoholism and addiction specifically, I must be careful not to enable the addict or alcoholic in any way.  I am not helping them if I do.  I am not allowing them to reach their bottom, however deep it may be.  If I truly care about them and wish for them to have full recovery and quality sobriety, I have to always remember this and sometimes be willing to walk away and separate myself from the situation and the person.

 

How Can I Accept The Things I Cannot Change? – Serenity Prayer at Work

 

Acceptance is Difficult and Painstaking but Provides a Freedom I Must Have to Live Today.

 

 

The topic of acceptance is definitely a popular one.  I have struggled with acceptance and realizing that I can not control the outcome of situations long before I ever took my first drink.  Control was always a big deal for me from a very young age.  I did not like being told what to do and if you really wanted me to do something, you simply had to tell me I couldn’t or I shouldn’t.  It am so thankful for the hand of Alcoholics Anonymous and truly grateful the chairs around the tables of the AA halls are there because through this program I have learned acceptance.  I have been able to solve problems that had nothing to do with my alcoholism by simply learning how to accept the things and situations in my life.

In a conversation a few weeks ago an AA friend of mine was sharing some thoughts on acceptance and peace with me and he said, “I can be an asshole, even with 5 years of sobriety, but it makes my day miserable.  When I’m at not at peace, don’t have peace of mind, I feel miserable.  After all the years in Catholic school and all the years in Catholic church, the Serenity Prayer has been the most helpful to me and it was something I never heard in either of those places.  The Serenity Prayer made the most sense to me and it was something shared with my mother in Alanon and she shared with us when my father was dealing with his alcoholism.”

I use the Serenity Prayer quite often when I find something in my life unacceptable and at times there are several things I find unacceptable, and it is perfectly okay for me to find some things unacceptable.  I can change my reaction to the thing.  I can change my response to the thing.  I can change my connection to the thing, but I can not change the thing.

However, there are actions I can take.  I can choose to go sit in the corner and do nothing or take steps to see that I do not place myself in that uncomfortable and unwanted situation again.  I can take steps to make sure the pattern does not continue where I am finding myself dealing with unnerving things.

 

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.  When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, or situation – some fact of my life  – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.”  –  Pg. 417 BB Alcoholics Anonymous

 

 

When I drank I didn’t have any set of standards or boundaries and I found myself in places that were unwanted.  It still amazes me to this day, I survived certain experiences.  I do not live like that today and have no desire to ever go back to anything remotely close.  I have standards and boundaries because of the things I have learned living in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and I know I have choices.

Other people, if they wish, can do that as long as they don’t have their hand on my leg dragging me down.  These are gifts, of knowledge, I have received from the AA halls and other alcoholics like me.  I share my experiences and the lessons I have learned with the hope they will not fall on deaf ears and truly be the tipping point for someone else who might be in the same horrible place I once was.

 

“Before A.A. I judged myself by my intentions, while the world was judging me by my actions.”  –  Pg. 418 BB Alcoholics Anonymous

 

 

On my own, I could fuck things up so bad, there wasn’t anything left do but drink.  I wasn’t practicing any program.  My loved ones are packing their “bags” and getting ready to leave.  My kids don’t want to be around me.  The story went on and on because I created my own problems until I finally put my foot down and gained some acceptance.  It was helpful for me to then realize that sometimes by not doing anything, things come out a lot better.  Keeping my mouth shut was a difficult task for me to learn how to do.  I put it in to practice daily now, and it amazes me how calming, peaceful, and better I feel when unwanted or uncomfortable situations are hard for me to accept at first.

 

I had to chill my attitude out a little bit at a time until my head was cleared of all the shady characters that used to live there.  It was a bad neighborhood I didn’t even want to walk around in.  Acceptance has been the key for me in clearing out those nasty characters and sweeping out the clutter and trash.  AA meetings and hanging out with other alcoholics has been a key to unlocking these lessons for me.  I have been really reading and studying the Big Book and the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions material over the last several months and they too are a necessary part of my recovery from alcoholism and maintaining my sobriety.

 

“It helped me a great deal to become convinced that alcoholism was a disease, not a moral issue; that I had been drinking as a result of a compulsion, even though I had not been aware of the compulsion at the time.” . . . “At last, acceptance proved to be the key the my drinking problem.”  –  Pg. 416 BB Alcoholics Anonymous

 

 

Are you boastful in your recovery? Are you waiting for acknowledgment? – Serving without selfish motives is a freedom.

Are you a “Coin Collector”?  – Are you boastful and only acting to receive compliments on your sobriety?

If one side of a boat gets too far out of the water, it is likely to tip over.  I must always be careful not to build myself up too much and expose myself to falling and failing.  I have to be careful of having too much success so I do not allow for any over confidence in my abilities to remain sober and never to measure my recovery in lengths of time instead of the quality of the sobriety.

My goal can not be measured in achieving one year, five years, ten years and so on of sobriety, because as soon as that is accomplished, where do I go from there?  What do I do then?  Overconfidence is a very dangerous beast.  It has fooled me into believing I am capable of things I am not.  I am very good at convincing others I am someone different, and worn many masks to hide my true self and intentions.  With much gratitude and a hard look in the mirror, I have stopped hiding in my own head and lying to myself about who I am.

Oscar Wilde said, “confidence is good, but overconfidence always sinks the ship” and Norain went on to add that “overconfidence will drown you in the sea of reality”.  They are both so right.

Am I doing things because it is the right thing to do or are my intentions selfish?  Does the question, what is in it for me, occur in my mind?  I need to have the desire to be a part of something, not because it helps me, not because it only makes me feel better, but more importantly, because it needs to be done and it is the right thing to do.  I do not live my life with the thought of receiving recognition.  I speak with the hope it will help others and help AA as a whole.  When I apply this mindset in all of my affairs, I feel better, and great things happen in my life.

I do not feel it is boastful or braggadocios to say my sobriety date.  I am proud of my recovery date because there was a long time, many years in fact, I could not get one day together.  I could not comprehend the understanding of 24 hours as a start for the longest because I was always thinking about what had happened and what was going to happen.  What about my court date?  What about my kids?  What about my husband?  What about, what about, what about?  I was always in the future or I was always in the past, never in the present.  Never in the 24 hours.  I am better about that today and it is because of the Alcoholics Anonymous program and the other recovering addicts and alcoholics that I share a table with.

I need my AA hall to keep my changed way of thinking.  When I was drinking I was selfish.  I was constantly trying to figure out what I was going to take from someone, what I was going to get out of it. Doing something for nothing carries so much freedom with it.  I need AA to survive with a selfless way of thinking and I find that through service work and offering anything I can without the thought of how it will benefit me.

This perspective includes not expecting anyone to say thank you either.  I serve to serve.  I serve because it is the right thing to do for my heart.  I needed to learn how to choose my thoughts in the same way I was picking out what to wear everyday or what to eat for lunch.  If I want to have control over the things in my life, I must first start with my mind and my attitude.  Those are truly the only things I can control and should be trying to better.

What can I read about AA and addiction? Where to start if you feel lost in recovery.

 

Big Book – A new freedom and a new happiness

Here you will find several titles including the “Big Book” and the “12 & 12”.  While these two titles are the most popular, there exist several other great guides, historical books, biographies, and supplemental guides to help you understand the program of AA better and to assist you in your own sobriety and recovery or the recovery of another.

I will also be adding some great links to audio material if you are not a reader or have difficulty visually.  I encourage you to at least pick up some recovery and sobriety material.  My mother was able to email me the first 164 pages of the “Big Book” while I was in jail so I could begin to read and it brought me a hope that was otherwise unavailable in the county jail I vacationed at.

I am amazed at the number of titles that do exist and I applaud all of the authors who take the time to contribute, organize, interview, assess, and wrap everything up for us in great informational sobriety booster shots.  I have not read through every title listed here, but am working my way through one day at a time.

What is your favorite book to read about recovery?  Is there a specific author or title that provides you with hope and inspiration in your recovery?  Please comment below or email me at getsoberbiatch@gmail.com