daily reflection: i’m not different

In the beginning, it was four whole years before A.A. brought permanent sobriety to even one alcoholic woman. Like the “high bottoms,” the women said they were different; . . . The Skid-Rower said he was different . . . so did the artists and the professional people, the rich, the poor, the religious, the agnostic, the Indians and the Eskimos, the veterans, and the prisoners. . . . nowadays all of these, and legions more, soberly talk about how very much alike all of us alcoholics are when we admit that the chips are finally down.

— AS BILL SEES IT, p. 24

I cannot consider myself “different” in A. A.; if I do I isolate myself from others and from contact with my Higher Power. If I feel isolated in A.A., it is not something for which others are responsible. It is something I’ve created by feeling I’m “different” in some way. Today I practice being just another alcoholic in the worldwide Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.

repost: a down week

Searching for Hope

I have had a very low week. I feel like the honeymoon phase of my sobriety has worn off and my meds have either not kicked in or need to be increased. I have an appointment with my psychiatrist on Tuesday. I would like to increase my dosage of Sertraline. I’ve been at 50mg a day for six weeks now. I know it takes quite a bit of time for it to really kick in. Sometimes longer than eight weeks. But I’m not feeling good. I felt positive when I ditched the booze but that has waned. I spent all day in bed sleeping a couple days ago. At least I’m not waking up with a hangover.

I’m back from my trip and the anxieties of my work have come back full strength. I was stressed before I left. Now there is an additional two weeks piled on my desk…

View original post 117 more words

repost: a day in the life of my PTSD

Recovery Round 2

So I’m currently suffering worse than I have in a long time with my PTSD. I’m working nights and mornings so I think I’m hiding it well but everyone expects someone with PTSD to be a quivering mess, I function, sometimes better than others but it’s still hard.

When I’m finally free to sleep, after all my work is done I check the doors and windows twice before going back to my room. I’m currently sleeping with a knife near my bed, I know that this is more dangerous should something happen but it makes me feel more in control. I leave the light on or one of the hall lights, something so I’m not in complete darkness, I need to know my surroundings. My heart will be racing and I try to calm myself for sleep. I lie there for a long time before I can sleep, i listen…

View original post 322 more words

repost: the spiritual malady

Don't Drink and Don't Die

Resentment is the “number one” offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.

I have always felt that resentment was not my “number one” offender.  I think, for me, it’s been fear, and a kind of resentment turned inward.  I see resentment and fear and part of the same thing.  I do experience resentments though, for sure.  Just not quite as often as fear.

This quote, from page 64 of the Big Book, precedes the fourth step inventory.  It’s saying to me that if I can dig out my character defects, I can stay sober and live well.  And from where I sit, with 34 years of sobriety, I can stay sober, and I do…

View original post 238 more words

daily reflection: our paths are our own

. . . there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 25

My first attempt at the Steps was one of obligation and necessity, which resulted in a deep feeling of discouragement in the face of all those adverbs: courageously; completely; humbly; directly; and only. I considered Bill W. fortunate to have gone through such a major, even sensational, spiritual experience. I had to discover, as time went on, that my path was my own. After a few twenty-four hours in the A.A. Fellowship, thanks especially to the sharing of members in the meetings, I understood that everyone gradually finds his or her own pace in moving through the Steps. Through progressive means, I try to live according to these suggested principles. As a result of these Steps, I can say today that my attitude towards life, people, and towards anything having to do with God, has been transformed and improved.

daily reflection: the love in their eyes

Some of us won’t believe in God, others can’t, and still others who do believe that God exists have no faith whatever He will perform this miracle.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 25

It was the changes I saw in the new people who came into the Fellowship that helped me lose my fear, and change my negative attitude to a positive one. I could see the love in their eyes and I was impressed by how much their “One Day at a Time” sobriety meant to them. They had looked squarely at Step Two and came to believe that a power greater than themselves was restoring them to sanity. That gave me faith in the Fellowship, and hope that it could work for me too. I found that God was a loving God, not that punishing God I feared before coming to A.A. I also found that He had been with me during all those times I had been in trouble before I came to A.A. I know today that He was the one who led me to A.A. and that I am a miracle.

daily reflection: commitment

Understanding is the key to right principles and attitudes, and right action is the key to good living.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 125

There came a time in my program of recovery when the third stanza of the Serenity Prayer — “The wisdom to know the difference” — became indelibly imprinted in my mind. From that time on, I had to face the ever-present knowledge that my every action, word and thought was within, or outside, the principles of the program. I could no longer hide behind self-rationalization, nor behind the insanity of my disease. The only course open to me, if I was to attain a joyous life for myself (and subsequently for those I love), was one in which I imposed on myself an effort of commitment, discipline, and responsibility.

daily reflection: taking action

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us — sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p, 84

One of the most important things A.A. has given me, in addition to freedom from booze, is the ability to take “right action.” It says the promises will always materialize if I work for them. Fantasizing about them, debating them, preaching about them and faking them just won’t work. I’ll remain a miserable, rationalizing dry drunk. By taking action and working the Twelve Steps in all my affairs, I’ll have a life beyond my wildest dreams.

daily reflection: expectations vs. demands

Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 98

Dealing with expectations is a frequent topic at meetings. It isn’t wrong to expect progress of myself, good things from life, or decent treatment from others. Where I get into trouble is when my expectations become demands. I will fall short of what I wish to be and situations will go in ways I do not like, because people will let me down sometimes. The only question is: “What am I going to do about it?” Wallow in self-pity or anger; retaliate and make a bad situation worse; or will I trust in God’s power to bring blessings on the messes in which I find myself? Will I ask Him what I should be learning; do I keep on doing the right things I know how to do, no matter what; do I take time to share my faith and blessings with others?

daily reflection: we can’t think our way sober

To the intellectually self-sufficient man or woman, many A.A.’s can say, “Yes, we were like you — far too smart for our own good. . . . Secretly, we felt we could float above the rest of the folks on our brain power alone.”

— AS BILL SEES IT, p. 60

Even the most brilliant mind is no defense against the disease of alcoholism. I can’t think my way sober. I try to remember that intelligence is a God-given attribute that I may use, a joy—like having a talent for dancing or drawing or carpentry. It does not make me better than anyone else, and it is not a particularly reliable tool for recovery, for it is a power greater than myself who will restore me to sanity—not a high IQ or a college degree.

daily reflection: “the root of our troubles”

Selfishness — self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 62

How amazing the revelation that the world, and everyone in it, can get along just fine with or without me. What a relief to know that people, places and things will be perfectly okay without my control and direction. And how wordlessly wonderful to come to believe that a power greater than me exists separate and apart from myself. I believe that the feeling of separation I experience between me and God will one day vanish. In the meantime, faith must serve as the pathway to the center of my life.

post from what…me sober? on grieving brings back some fond memories

Since stepping through the doors here March 28, 2010, at the tender age of 60, I’ve been to more funerals than previously in my entire life. Years in the music industry showed me a lot of stuff; I saw some folks make unbelievable stupid, breathtakingly dangerous decisions with their brains and bodies… and sometimes they paid the full tab with both.

My take on death has been a little different for me, to my way of thinking. I left an alcoholic home when I was young because I couldn’t stand being around an angry, drinking father. It made a lot more sense — and my odds seemed a lot better — to be out on my own. It didn’t make life better; it simply got me away from the house.

I didn’t get any deep healing to speak of with my father until he was on his deathbed in 2007 and I had been called home to care for him. Long story very, very short: No, there were no scores evened. Instead, I bathed him, made sure he took his meds properly, wiped him when necessary, fed him, and helped the nurse change sheets on the hospice bed.

Dad was 90 and suffering from testicular cancer. He was in and out a lot, but when he was in, he was really in, and he knew I was there. And he knew I was there to care for him. And to this day, I hope he knew I’d rather be there next to him doing all that I could for him than be anywhere else. I need to keep telling myself that because on Sept. 25th at 1:30 a.m. when I was drinking yet another Blue Moon and watching Don Henley being interviewed on Charlie Rose (with the sound down), Dad slipped away very peacefully.

I sat there very still and just watched him for about 10 minutes and then quietly said, “That is so like you to beat closing time. Some things just don’t change.”

On the flight back to Indy, my now-Higher Power made a point of nudging me and letting me know my going back to care for him had been The Plan all along. Everything I had in mind prior to that — and apart from that — was just jibberish. I was so deeply comforted by that nudge. Just sayin’.

Bill at the wonderfully readable What…Me Sober? has an excellent post on the mechanics of grieving. Here’s just a sample:

Grief is a strange thing – totally normal, but much feared and even more misunderstood. It comes in stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance. They are not negotiable. We go through them or we suppress them. If we suppress them they’ll haunt us for the rest of our lives, keeping us from developing a healthy emotional balance, and we may never know the reasons.

Children may grieve the loss of a parent, loss of parenting, loss of a normal childhood. Adults may suffer the same things, as well as loss of a loved one in later life, loss of a relationship, even such seemingly mundane things as loss of a job. In each case, we need to work through the stages in order, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but the choice is not ours. It happens as it happens.

Those stages go something like, “Oh, no, it can’t be! It’s something else!” “Dammit, if those doctors had only___, or “If she’d just caught the later plane!” “God, if you’ll save him, I’ll___ (fill in the blanks), or “Don’t take them, take me!” Then come the feelings that things will never be right again: I’ll never, we’ll never, this unhappiness will never go away. And, finally (if we allow ourselves to grieve fully), “It is what it is.”

This is good stuff. Seriously. Go read the whole thing. What’s important to keep in mind is to know how we’re grieving, what we’re grieving, who we’re grieving, and why we’re grieving. That’s all part of the healing process.

new hope for dry bones: the work ethic of partying

From Mike at New Hope for Dry Bones comes an outstanding comparison/contrast… and there really is one. A pretty strong one, actually.

So, when I was a connoisseur of the party life, I worked hard to get a paycheck, I worked hard to stay out late, I worked hard to find party allies, I worked hard to make it home, I worked hard for everything.

When it came to a party, my ambitions were high (as well as my body) and my efforts were never less than my best.

In fact, I think I can honestly say that there is nothing in my whole entire life for a very long time that I did not pour my heart and soul into like I poured every effort, desire and moment into the void of partying.

Familiar turf, right? It sure is for me. Makes for great reading. So go read it.

via The Work Ethic of Partying